Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Have The Best Defense In The NFL?

By John Beauchamp
Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been very inconsistent. Last season the Bucs rush defense was ranked number one in the NFL, allowing the offense about only 83 rushing yards per game. With this great rush defense you would think that Tampa would have gone farther in the season, but the Bucs pass defense was the main reason for the losses as they were  ranked last in the league with each team averaging about 310 yards a game.

As a fan of the Buccaneers it was embarrassing to see how bad the pass defense was, and I was just about ashamed of the Bucs when Nick Foles threw for nearly 400 yards and led the Philadelphia Eagles to a game winning drive on the Super Bowl Anniversary Game. Those were probably embarrassing times for all the Buccaneers Fans, but the dark days are over.

This offseason Tampa acquired Dashon Goldson through the free agency. Goldson is an All-Pro safety who played with the San Francisco 49ers last season. He is a hard hitting safety and all receivers in the NFC South should be intimidated to play him at least twice a year.

Tampa Bay also improved the pass defense by getting one of the best pass defenders in the league by trading a first round pick and a conditional pick to get Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets. Revis is looking good at training camp after coming off of knee surgery, as he is even practicing without a brace on. Tampa expects Revis to perform at the same level he did with the Jets, and many people will be surprised when he performs like he didn’t even tear his ACL in the first place.

Gerald McCoy had a great season for Tampa last year with 30 combined tackles and five sacks. Now playing at a Pro Bowl level, you should expect to see even better things from McCoy this year.

Adrian Clayborn‘s season fell short when he suffered from an ACL tear in his right knee, but Clayborn’s recovery process has gone well as he is participating in training camp. Clayborn’s rookie season was great having 42 combined tackles with seven sacks. With the return of Clayborn to the starting defense, the Bucs’ chances of winning improve greatly.

Second year players Mark Barron and Lavonte David will also look to make an impact on the team as last year the two combined for nearly 200 total tackles. David is the leader of the linebacking corps, and Barron is a safety who can hit like a linebacker. These two players have great careers ahead of them as future stars in the NFL.

With the loss of a first round draft pick, Tampa drafted cornerback Johnathan Banks from Mississippi State in the second round. Banks has been showing good signs to the Bucs coaching staff since cornerback Eric Wright was recently released from the Bucs roster. Banks should have a great rookie season with the support of Revis on the other side of the field.

Tampa’s defense has a very bright season ahead of them. With many weapons all around the field, these weapons are sure to make an impact in NFC South who is based on mostly offensive threats. These threats consist of Cam Newton and Steve Smith on the Carolina Panthers, Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints, and then Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez for the Atlanta Falcons. It will be very interesting when these divisional games take place.

John Beauchamp is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers writer for Follow him on Twitter @John_Beauchamp or add him to your network on Google

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