Bill Sheridan's first impressions of the Bucs defense
Bill Sheridan has only been the Bucs' defensive coordinator since Friday, but he's spent substantial time since them watching cut-ups of some of the defense's worst moments from the 2011 season.
It makes sense to watch the bad before the good because it gives a better sense of what needs to be fixed. To that end, Sheridan said he believes much of what he saw from last season -- when the Bucs had the NFL's 30th-ranked defense -- is repairable.
"They’re very correctable (problems) from a technique standpoint," Sheridan said. ". . . I think when we watched the film – and, again, we’re watching the worst just to get a feel for our personnel and just to see what the real issues were – a lot of it was just technique (issues) that you see. We were just watching this in the last couple of days."
A related issue, Sheridan added, was that, "a lot of that has to do with (the lack of) great effort and pursuit to the ball, which Greg (Schiano) and I saw exactly the same from an importance standpoint."
Another observation: the lack of a consistent pass rush.
"The one common thread was, on the big pass plays, there wasn’t any pressure," Sheridan said. "And I don’t mean just four-down (lineman) pressure. Of course, if you can pressure the quarterback with four down you’re going to win in the National Football League. But from a schematic standpoint, it was kind of ironic, the one thread was that it was all (against) four-man rush. Now, you’re vulnerable (when you blitz) because the passing game is so fantastic in this league.
"The skill level for the passers and the catchers is so fanstastic. But unless you disrupt the guy throwing it, it’s tough sometimes to match up and cover the down-the-field routes. So, it’s very easy to sit up in the stands and critique the DB who got beat. Everybody can see that. But that the fact that the quarterback had one thousand four, one thousand five, to throw the ball, that’s not fair to the guy who is trying to play on the back end."
So, how will the Bucs fix this? If you listen to Sheridan or know anything about Greg Schiano's defensive beliefs, it's pretty obvious the Bucs are going to be bring a lot more heat than they have in recent memory.
"Everything we do defensively. . . will be all aggressive, across-the-line-of-scrimmage techniques, especially up front," Sheridan said. "We always say, we don’t let the offense climb up on us. You definitely have to pressure in this league. You can’t just say we’re good enough on the back end or we’re good enough with the front four. If you can do that, that’s great. And there's a place for that in every single game. But you need to pressure. For one, it turns your players loose and gives them a chance to run at the ball. The other thing is it poses problems for the other side and you definitely want to create that for them."