Tampa’s Defense Shines Bright In Camp
Training camp has just begun for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and already there’s a big change to be noted from the past few seasons. No, it isn’t the lack of music.
It’s the Defense.
Tampa’s Defense in 2018 was not only one of the worst in the NFL, but statistically one of the worst of all time. Corners were 10 yards off the line of scrimmage, missed assignments, poor tackling, and all around lack of effort.
Only days into Tampa’s 2019 Training Camp, there’s a complete 180. Todd Bowles is playing to his players strengths, and allowing them to be much more aggressive and be comfortable doing it. Young Bucs corner Carlton Davis earlier this week called Bowles a “genius” for his way of making the defense look new multiple times throughout practice. Mixing in coverages, disguising them against Winston and sending blitz packages from all positions. These young Buccaneer corners WANT to be thrown to. They WANT a chance to contest the ball. They WANT to lay a hit on somebody. Tampa’s DB’s are flying around the field making plays and visibly making Jameis Winston and Mike Evans frustrated.
It’s a beautiful thing to see.
Vernon Hargreaves finally looks like he has found the VH3 from Florida. Carlton Davis has 6 passes defended and an INT in two practices. Sean Murphy-Bunting is holding his own against Tampa’s best guys. There’s finally a battle being waged and the Bucs offense isn’t running away with it.
One of the biggest takeaways from the first few days of camp is how much FUN this Buccaneers Defense is having. Jaw jacking with the offense and entire position group rowdiness when someone makes a play. When rookie Safety Mike Edwards intercepted QB Ryan Griffin and took it to the house, the sideline erupted. Then, the players formed a human rollercoaster in celebration. Tampa’s Defense had little to celebrate in 2018, and are already looking to change that.
It’s still early in camp, but one thing is for certain: this is not the same Defense we’ve seen for the past few seasons. This is different. Exciting. Even hopeful.
It’s early, but maybe it’s okay to believe. Just a little.