While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has received plaudits for their performances throughout the first two games of the season, some more than deserved, there are still some glaring issues that, if not resolved, will undoubtedly lead to a quick exit from the playoffs come the end of the season.
To start off, the Bucs rush defense and blitzing ability is top-tier, if not the best in the league.
This has been the case the past few seasons under head coach and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. While his ability to manage an entire team is still being tested, Bowles has clearly demonstrated his ability to not allow opposing teams to run the ball with any type of consistent success.
The Bucs are currently top-five in yards against (552yds) and turnovers forced (6) as well as 1st in the league in points given up (13) through the first two weeks. These are all great stats and should be expected given that lack of talent the Bucs have faced in their first two games.
Now, for the side of the defense no one is talking about; the secondary. Despite the impressive stats so far, one thing they do not show is the ease at which opposing receivers are catching footballs.
The Bucs secondary, which was awful last season but is healthier now, could still be an issue against a competent quarterback.
For anyone who has watched the games so far, it seems the Bucs are very content to provide very little pressure and give up easy 5-10 yard passes down the entire field.
The only reason this has not been exploited is simply due to the quality of the opposing QBs they’ve played. Jameis Winston practically threw the ball directly to the Bucs secondary on his three interceptions with none occurring due to impressive defensive play.
On top of that, Winston also had multiple wide open deep throws that were incomplete because they were overthrown, not contested, and if completed, would have likely been touchdowns.
And during the Bucs season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott, who is a very solid QB, had arguably the worst game of his career.
This is a particularly huge issue given the fact that the Bucs will surely play teams with talented QBs and receivers if they hope to make another Super Bowl run. When this happens, barring another absurd performance by the Bucs defensive line like they had against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl two years ago, this year’s team will get crushed.
So it is surely too soon to say the Bucs have the best defense in the league. It is correct to say they are elite in aspects of their defense, but there is definitely a lot of work to be done in the secondary still, and it’s up to Bowles to figure out how to be ready for those top teams.
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