Bucs Defense Slowly Improving Week By Week

October 22, 2021

The Bucs defense continues to improve week to week despite playing without two starting corners most of the season and starting linebacker Lavonte David last week in Philly.

The Bucs gave up 451 yards to Dallas, 348 to Atlanta, and 407 to the LA Rams. The last three weeks the defense has given up 294, 301, and 213 yards.

A few weeks back, Bruce Arians said they weren’t concerned with the number of yards they were giving up. Their goal was to keep the opposition at 17 points per game or lower.

The Bucs allowed 17 points against the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago. Last Thursday night in Philadelphia, the defense allowed 213 yards against an Eagles offense that features a dual-threat quarterback in Jalen Hurts.

As the Bucs head into week seven of the NFL season, the defense has been slowly improving. It is currently number nine overall, giving up 336 yards per game.

The Bucs continue to have the number one run defense in the league. They are giving up 54 yards per game on the ground. The Bucs have improved to 27th in pass defense, giving up 281 yards a game.

However, the defense remains near the bottom of the league sacks with 12 but is 18th in red zone defense.

Dee Delaney, Ross Cockrell, and Pierre Desir are getting more comfortable and playing better each game as they pick up and learn more of the Buccaneer’s defense.

-The Bucs must also cut down on the number of penalties on both sides of the ball before it costs them a game. The Buccaneers are the most penalized team in the NFL after six games with 470 yards in penalties. The Bucs also have the second-highest amount of penalties with 47.

Bruce Arians is not happy about the number of penalties. “I was not pleased with the number of mental errors we had in that game on the road, again. Obviously, those three critical penalties, so there are things we have to correct before it ends up costing us a game.”

–With the trade deadline approaching, there is speculation that running back Ronald Jones may be on the trading block, now that Leonard Fournette has firmly taken control of the number one running back spot.

Fournette has averaged over 100 yards of offense in the last three games. While Ronald Jones has yet to run for 30 yards in any game. Arians was asked if there was any inclination to listen to offers for Ronald Jones. “No, none at all. It’s a long season, and just that scenario that happened last year and still with COVID, you can’t have enough good backs.”

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made an under-the-radar roster move this week, which could pay big dividends down the road. The Bucs cut wide receiver Jaydon Mickens whose primary job was returning punts and kicks. The Bucs will use the speedy rookie from North Texas, Jaelon Darden, in the return game for now.

Darden, a fourth-round pick from North Texas will take over the return duties from Jayden Mickens. It was somewhat of a surprise when Mickens was named the opening day kick and punt returner at the beginning of the season.

The return game was where Darden was going to get his playing time. It would be tough for Darden to cut into the wide receiver rotation of Brown, Evans, and Godwin. The Bucs also have Tyler Jonson and Scotty Miller waiting for their opportunity. โ€จ

Mickens averaged 25.8 yards per kick return and 6.8 yards per punt return. Mickens was eighth in the league in kick returns and 18th in punt returns.

Darden will get his first opportunities this weekend against the Chicago Bears.

-Carlton Davis (quad), Sean Murphy-Bunting (elbow), and Rob Gronkowski (ribs) are all expected to miss this week’s game against the Bears, along with Richard Sherman (hamstring).

Antoine Winfield Jr. has cleared concussion protocol and will be ready to play against the Bears.