Posted in Feature

Morris Bucs’ Defensive Woes Stem From Personnel Issues

by Staff Report on November 17, 2009

The ugly truth of the matter is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is horrible in pressuring opposing quarterbacks, stopping the run, and third down percentage. Surrendering an eye popping 1,506 rushing yards, a gaudy 167.3 yards per game, a 4.9 yards per carry average, allowing teams to convert 42% on third downs 49/116. Then there’s the inconsistency of the pass rush, out of the teams 17 sacks, 12 of which came in just three contest, against the Redskins, Eagles and the Packers.

“We’re just not made right now to knock people back,” Morris said to Stephen Holder, of the St.Petersburg Times. “That’s not how we’re cut. We don’t have big, intimidating linebackers or big, intimidating linemen. We have to hit you. We have to be perfect.”

Listening to Head Coach Raheem Morris talk Monday, it sounds as if his staff is incapable of putting a square peg in a round hole. So why not adapt the scheme to better fit the players on hand? It does make you wonder, what all of these so called intellectuals who are in the coaching profession would score on the Wonderlic test administered to college prospects year in and year out. It’s as if, the coaches are so smart they are in fact dumb when it comes to common sense.

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Its clear Jim Bates and Raheem Morris are insane, if they think they can continue to run the current defensive scheme with the personnel on hand and get a different result then what has transpired through the first nine weeks of the season.

So, now that we have ascertained that both Bates and Morris are clinically insane for expecting something different out of the current personnel and scheme being run, it’s time to offer some insight to what has plagued the ineptness that has taken control of a once dominating force.

With the current scheme deployed in such a manner that the defensive tackles are required to occupy space and eat up blockers. It can be blocked because they are reading instead of attacking. When the defensive tackles are two gaping, they have a delayed reaction – they have to wait and read the offensive lineman’s movement in front of them before they attack and react to their action. The reading style is suitable for larger more talented defensive lineman. Which based on the current personnel assembled on the roster just don’t fit based on their performances too date.

Then the scheme leaves the center uncovered, which allows the center a free release to the second level of the defense, in effect naturalizing the middle linebacker, because that dominant force in the middle, who can effectively two gap is missing.

“We don’t have the big people, the big personnel that you need to knock out runs, the physical person up front that absolutely dominates the block and gets the tackle for loss for a third-and-13,” Morris said to Stephen Holder, of the St.Petersburg Times. “We’ll get there or we’ll find those guys. We’ll get out there and get them. But we have to play with the guys that we have and they have to continue to play the way they played yesterday as far as having five series with three-and-out, having two series with a four-and-out and having two turnovers. We have to get the big guys in there and let them play a little bit.”

But, by using a slide front one gap technique it would allow for defensive lineman to be more aggressive – because they already know their gap responsibility before the snap – which allows them to attack there man in front of them with a leverage arm free in their responsible gap. By using the slide front with one gap control, it allows the defensive lineman to become the aggressor instead of vice verse – attacking style of play allows the lesser talented front four to have a better chance at dominating the line of scrimmage.

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