Bowles Has Plenty Of Options With Bucs’ New-Look Defense


New Bucs head coach Todd Bowles has an issue on his palms. It’s not a kind of “dangerous” issues. It’s positively extra of a “is an excessive amount of of a very good factor a foul factor” downside.

I think about he is likely to be feeling like a child in a sweet retailer. I do know I might be if I had been him.

What’s the issue, you ask?

Properly, Bowles has plenty of actually good gamers on his protection. And final I checked, the NFL is simply going to let him put 11 of them on the sphere at one time. Now he could also be interesting that, and I want him properly if that’s the case. However till that hypothetical attraction is received, Bowles will nonetheless have to make some robust choices.

Or will he?

A number of gamers on this Bucs protection present a powerful quantity of versatility that can enable Bowles to maneuver gamers round like chess items.

What may a few of these personnel groupings appear to be? Let’s begin with the straightforward and work to in the direction of extra unique seems later.

Bucs’ Base Protection

Bucs SS Keanu Neal – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

Is smart for us to start out with base. The Bucs function out of a 3-4 base. Most definitely that look goes to function Vita Vea, Akiem Hicks, and Will Gholston because the beginning down linemen. Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will lineup as rise up exterior linebackers. Devin White and Lavonte David will man the within backer spots. Carlton Davis III and Jamel Dean are my bets to be the beginning exterior corners with Antoine Winfield Jr. and Keanu Neal lined up as safeties.

I’m going out on a little bit of a limb projecting Neal for the beginning security spot reverse Winfield. My argument relies on Neal being the most effective suited participant to fill out the standard sturdy security function towards 12 personnel (one again, two tight ends). He can match up properly towards most tight ends in protection and lays the increase within the run recreation. In base units I believe Neal is the best complement to Winfield for these seems.

Nickel (Three Security Units)

This would be the package deal the Bucs will line up in most. From the bottom set you will notice Gholston come off the sphere. This can depart the go rush as Vea, Hicks, JTS, and Barrett. Changing Gholston will likely be an additional defensive again within the type of Logan Ryan. On condition that the Bucs are closely that includes Winfield within the slot throughout coaching camp I believe it’s protected to say that Bowles will likely be using extra three security seems this 12 months. There’s a very good likelihood this might be the Bucs’ normal nickel look. I see another substitution to finish this grouping. Security Mike Edwards changing Neal.

Edwards brings extra of a ball-hawking ability set to interchange Neal’s superiority towards the run. The attention-grabbing a part of this package deal will likely be how Bowles deploys every of his safeties. I’ve famous up to now that I believe Ryan is best within the slot. Edwards performed 191 snaps within the slot final 12 months as properly. Throw in Winfield and all three may lay a declare to the function. I may see Bowles taking part in every of them there relying on particular matchups.

Now Let’s Get Bizarre

Bucs NT Vita Vea and DT Logan Hall

Bucs NT Vita Vea and DT Logan Corridor – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

Now let’s get into some extra unique seems. One I’ve been salivating over because the Bucs assembled this Avengers-like crew is a 5-1-5 look. Think about if you’ll, the Bucs lining up towards 11 personnel with 5 down linemen within the type of Barrett-Logan Corridor-Vea-Hicks-JTS. Behind them Lavonte David or Devin White manning the center of the sphere. Lastly, rounding out the protection within the secondary you can have a nickel package deal of Dean-Winfield-Edwards-Davis and say Neal to maintain a little bit of a run-defense factor.

We’re not giving something away, as we haven’t seen this package deal in camp practices. However this package deal would undoubtedly drive the offense to maintain a again or tight finish in to dam or threat having their total offensive line run one-on-one towards a significantly formidable go rush. This may additionally enable Bowles to lean into his creativity.  JTS or Barrett may drop right into a hook or a flat zone whereas Neal or White/David are available on a zone blitz. The choices really feel countless. And Bowles has to have thought of this look this offseason.

For Bucs, Versatility Is The Key

Whereas the Bucs publicly spoke about getting youthful and quicker alongside the defensive position this 12 months it seems they’ve prioritized versatility as properly.  Final 12 months’s major slot nook Sean Murphy-Bunting is specializing in being a boundary nook throughout coaching camp whereas free security Winfield is getting plenty of reps within the slot. Neal can man up tight ends, work within the field, whereas nonetheless providing some capability as a two-high security. Ryan is adept within the slot in addition to up high.

From a strain standpoint, White has proven he could be an efficient go rusher. Each Corridor and Tryon-Shoyinka have expertise speeding inside and out of doors, as does Gholston. Bowles has proven a willingness to take his huge inside guys like Vea and Hicks and have them push leaner offensive tackles round. Add on high of that stunt and twisting and surprising go rushers and it turns into thrilling for followers and analysts alike.

This versatility can enable Bowles to mix-and-match based mostly on particular matchups or just to create surprising seems that can drive opposing offensive coordinators to regulate in-game. Finally Bowles hopes it would enable him to raise his protection into the NFL’s high protection.

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