The Buccaneer’s defense took a step back last season and is hoping to be much improved in 2022.
Will the Buc’s defense be better in 2022? Can they be better than the defense in 2020, which saw the Buccaneers lead the league in run defense and win their second Super Bowl in franchise history?
In their Super Bowl season of 2021, the Bucs finished sixth in total yards allowed with 327. The Buc’s pass defense which has been their Achilles hill these last few seasons, finished 6th in the league allowing 238 yards per game.
The strength of that defense was the run defense, as they finished first in the NFL, giving up just over 80 yards a game.
The defense took a step back in 2021, despite having a franchise record 13 wins and winning the NFC South.
The Bucs allowed 331 yards a game which was good for 19th overall in the league. The Pass defense gave up 239 yards a game, while the run defense slipped to third, giving up 92 yards a game.
The Buccaneers also lost some key players along the way. Safety Jordan Whitehead signed a two-year contract with the New York Jets.
Defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, both unrestricted free agents, will probably not be back.
Suh, because he wants close to nine million a season, and Pierre-Paul due to his injuries. The Bucs gave Pierre-Paul’s number 90 to their second-round draft pick Logan Hall.
So how do the Bucs get better in 2022 and improve their 2021 performance?
It all started with the re-signing of defensive back Carlton Davis to one year contract in early March.
The Buc’s defense struggled when Davis was not on the field. Davis battled a quad injury which caused him to seven games last season. In the games Davis played, the Bucs had an 8-2 record.
Opposing quarterbacks completed only 57 percent of the passes against Davis with a combined QBR of 83.2. If Davis can stay on the field, the pass defense will be much better this season.
The Bucs then signed defensive back Logan Ryan, who most recently played with the New York Giants.
Ryan started 30 of 33 games with the Giants and was a team captain. He will bring his leadership to the young Buccaneers secondary and be a huge asset in the locker room. An anonymous teammate had this to say about Logan Ryan and his locker room presence.
“He works hard. He was always on time. He coached up young guys to do extra if need be.” It sounds like Ryan is a guy that doesn’t talk a lot but leads through his actions.
The Bucs also re-signed defensive end William Gholston, and free-agent defensive linemen Deadrin Senat to one-year contracts.
The Bucs drafted one of the best front seven players in the draft in defensive lineman Logan Hall from The University of Houston with the first pick in the second round.
Hall can play in the interior and along the edge.
The Bucs drafted defensive back Zyon McCollum out of Sam Houston State in the fifth round.
And with their seventh-round pick, the Bucs selected defensive end, Andre Anthony from LSU.
With Todd Bowles as the head coach, the defensive philosophy should not change. The Bucs will still run a 3-4.
I look for the Buc’s defense to improve from last year, especially in the passing game; The run defense can improve, although giving up 92 yards a game is still pretty darn good.
The Bucs are in the middle of their OTA schedule with mini-camp scheduled for June 13-15th.