It has been the mantra since the heyday of players like Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch. Last year was no different, except for the timely turnovers’ and the occasional sack that would have fans standing on the edge of there seats. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is not all that far off from becoming a dominant force once again in the National Football League.
In the passing game, even without a consistent pass rush the defense managed to rank in the top thirteen in every statistical measure but one.
QB Rating: 8th (76.42)
Completion Percentage: 12th (58.93)
Passing yards: 7th (3,216)
Yards Per Attempt: 8th (6.17)
Yards Per Competition: 13th (10.48)
Touchdowns: 9th (23)
Interceptions: 7th (19)
Passing First Downs: 8th (171)
Sacks: 31st (26)
We all know the defense was gashed for much of the season, but the Bucs were the only team out of fifteen teams to give up more then 1,840 yards rushing and still hold opponents under 20-points per game.
There also one of only two teams (Bucs & Ravens) to have 30 sacks or fewer and hold opposing quarterbacks under a quarterback rating off 77. So while there is still a ton of work too do defensively. The team is still managing to get certain things done.
One wonders just how good the defense could become if it were not for the uncertainty surrounding Tanard Jackson and the unsettling future of Aqib Talib. Throw in a consistent pass rush and an ability to slow opposing runners down and the defense would again be in the top ten.