Another week has gone by and another week that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowed an insurmountable lead for the offense to try and overcome. This is nothing new for the Buccaneers this year who have allowed an average of twenty-five points a week, good for 24th in the league.
While the defense has registered a franchise high in plays for a loss, they have failed to translate to anything meaningful as most teams simply convert the long third down conversions against the thirty-second ranked pass defense. You would think with such long distances to go the Buccaneers would be able to capitalize on it and get more sacks, but they haven’t been able to do that either.
The problem with the Buccaneers started early when Eli Manning tore the passing defense for over five-hundred yards, and they never recovered. The next week their top pass rusher from a year ago Adrian Clayborn went down with an ACL tear and so went away the Buccaneers pass rush.
Despite Michael Bennett having nine sacks on the year and Gerald McCoy having his best season to date with five sacks they haven’t been able to establish a pass rush when they need it the most.
To counter this head coach Greg Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan have sent more blitzes then anyone in the NFL. The problem with that is that they never get to the quarterback. Every time the Bucs bring in extra guys they telegraph where they are coming from and quarterbacks adjust to get it picked up. They just don’t have a guy that can consistently win one on one battle.
Another problem that the Bucs have is a lack of talent at the corner back position. I will give Sheridan a break on this, as our starting corners now wouldn’t sniff the field on any other team in the NFL. A seventh rounder in E.J. Biggers is being forced to cover elite receivers and he has no chance. Leonard Johnson was a quite surprise early in the season but previous to the game against the Rams has been abused by opposing quarterbacks.
The problem I have with it is the scheme that is ran on a weekly basis. If the Bucs were to line up man to man and get beat, that is something that I can live with. What I can’t live with is watching receivers run down the middle of the field wide open. It’s something that boggles me on a weekly basis that is something that should be corrected but still has yet to be done.
The big problem that I see with Sheridan which was the same while he was in New York is his inability to call plays at the right time. Too many times does he send the blitz from the wrong side, or the worst, drop eight men into coverage including defensive tackle McCoy.
While I see that there are some arguments that could be made to keep him around, I just don’t think there is patience for him to figure it out. He’s had all season to find some way to slow down the pass game, but has failed to. In two seasons as a defensive coordinator he’s allowed franchise high’s in passing yards. He just isn’t cut out to be a defensive coordinator in this league.