Just how bad has the pass defense been in 2009? Based on stats dating back to 1991 the Buccaneers defense has never surrendered more then nine pass plays of forty yards or more in a single season. Through seven games this year though, the defense has already been beaten deep 9 times. The last time such a feat was accomplished by opposing offenses was back in 1993 in Sam Wyche’s second season at the helm, with Floyd Peters calling plays for the defense. It was also the year free agency started, which brought the no nonsense vocal leadership an intense play of Hardy Nickerson to Tampa to man the middle of Peters 4-3 defense.
The defense is currently on pace to allow 21 pass plays of 40 plus yards in 2009, which would more then double that of the 1993 defense.
Since 1991 the team has allowed on average 36 plays of 20 plus yards per season, but are on pace to allow 43 plays of 20 plus yards in 2009. To find the last year the team allowed 43 plays of 20 plus yards you have to go back to the 2001 season, the last year in which Tony Dungy was the head coach. In all, since 1991 the team has only surrendered 43 or more 20 yard pass plays in three seasons (1992, (54), 1995, (44), 2001, (43)) since 1991.
With an average of 223 passing yards allowed per game, it would rank among the teams third worst in terms of passing yards per game over the last nineteen seasons, couple that with 14 yards per reception which ranks as the worst such stat for the defense since 1991.
There are a lot of factors when considering the teams 2009 woeful pass defense, but it must start up front, the lack of consistent pressure by the front seven is part of the problem, add to it the lack of talent and a new scheme and it’s easy to see why the secondary is struggling.