Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Dec 2008

Defensive Resurgence Leading Bucs

This week's ESPN MNF feature looks at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rebuilt their defense and returned to their early-21st century status as one of the league's best teams.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 07 Dec 2008

5 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2008, 1:23am by G Mack


by exdeadguy (not verified) :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 1:02pm

While I am thrilled at the defensive performance so far this year, I think it may be the last gasp of the old guard. Brooks may be done after this season, even if he stays on for a while, and Barber looked pretty bad early on before bouncing back against some mediocre competition. Kiffin is most likely gone, and he has truly been the heart of this defense for a long time. There is some excellent young talent on the team: Ruud, Jackson, Talib, Adams, Morris, but I'm not sure if they are ready to step into positions vacated by Hall of Fame quality players/coaches.

That being said, the secondary and linebacker corps are in pretty decent shape. Ruud and June are extremely solid and we have some backups that have the ability to develop into a Shelton Quarles type journeyman system backer. Of all the secondary to step into the leadership role, Jackson seems to be the most promising. I don't see P-Buc in that role, Phillips may be gone and Talib is still too young.

The place that has the farthest to go is the line. Adams, while not the pure pass-rusher I thought he'd be, is a fantastic all around end. The main thing to acquire now is a serious push up the middle.

Morris will be handed a golden opportunity (if no one goes crazy and hires him as a head coach) to shape the defense for a couple of years before he starts running his own team. I say that based on past Bucs D coaches (Tomlin, Marinelli, Smith, Edwards) more than on Morris himself who is, of course, an unknown at that level.

The building blocks are there, but I fear we'll be in for a bit of a slump before another of these "resurgence" articles is written in 2011.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:04am

Or not . . .

by Inimicus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 9:52am


I guess not indeed

300 yards and 4 TDs on the ground.

More like Garcia's Tenacity Keeps Bucs Alive.

by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 11:01am

I'm getting this mental vibe of Mr Farrar in a court room being cross-examined, and the Prosecutor says "Would you care to revise your statement? Please remember you are under oath."

Actually, I think this is similar to several other games I have seen lately. If the Offense can't let the Defense some rest, it's going to get messy. The Panthers' D got a rest over the 3rd-4th Qtr break, and that got them charged back up. The Buc D - especially Ronde - got gassed chasing Steve Smith around all night, and then couldn't make the stops, once the running game got going.

by G Mack (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 1:23am

Farrar, the lame Hawks Homer and star apologist for all things Holmgren, with his impressive football acumen laid the poverbial egg on this one.

The "Monte Kiffin is not Mortal" fan club lost a lot of members on Monday night.