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The misconception behind the Bucs’ Top 5 defense

If you haven’t noticed, the Buccaneers are currently ranked fifth overall in total defense in the NFL. Many are glorifying the statistic but it’s not what the team should be proud of. 

The statistic in itself is misleading. There are several factors to consider when reading statistics like total defense for example. Tampa Bay holds the fourth best passing defense in the league but are the eighth worst team against the run. This could be because teams have jumped out ahead of the Bucs all they have had to do is run the football to finish the game. And on the flip side, their fourth best pass defense also made Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles look like an All-Pro quarterback.

But aside from all that, the issue here is that the Buccaneers’ defense is not as good as what some are praising them for. Logically, there shouldn’t be much of a gap between them and the top ranked defense in the New York Jets (4-1). However, there is.

I did some research to see exactly how many scoring drives Tampa Bay has given up compared to the Jets. Both defenses have faced 61 possessions. Of those 61 possessions, New York has given up 11 scores. That means they give up a field goal or a touchdown 18 percent of the time they are out on the field. Tops in the league.

The Buccaneers’ defense has also faced 61 possessions. But they have given up 23 scores — almost a touchdown or a field goal every other drive. That puts them in the bottom 10 of the league.

There is also that argument about the defense having a short field to work with as many have used that as an excuse to defend the defense giving up so many points. Well, of those 61 possessions, Tampa Bay opponents have started their drives at their own end of the field 52 times while New York’s opponents have started at their own end of the field 55 times. Not that big of a difference.

What about the average starting field position? Bucs opponents at their own 30 while the Jets opponents at their own 26.

Tampa Bay isn’t stopping anyone from scoring when the Jets and a lot of other teams are. That’s the big picture here.

They better not pride themselves on that Top 5 defensive ranking as they still have a lot of work to do at 2-3.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thebaycave.com/the-misconception-behind-the-bucs-top-5-defense/

16 Comments on The misconception behind the Bucs’ Top 5 defense

Pauly26 said : Guest Report 9 months ago

The argument you are making involves averages, which may not tell the whole story as well. If we turn the ball over and give it to them inside our 30, then the next drive we pin them deep the next time, they have a really good chance to score around 50% of the time. But, if they have 2 drives starting at their own 45 (which is the same average starting position), I would argue that we could hold them to a lower scoring rate. We would have to look at those scenarios for the argument to be valid. Now, do I think they are the 5th ranked defense? Probably not. Not to the eye test.

Jerry from the Block said : Guest Report 9 months ago

OK Gil, I’ll bite.I’m a huge fan of the Cave… read it often but your entire assessment seems to overlooks a few details that are worth mentioning.First, there’s the piece about our team’s D compared to the Jet’s D seems to be unfair.First, the talent between the two teams aren’t close by any stretch.The Jet’s have arguably one of the best D-lines in the league… one of the few teams that has an abundance of pass rushers.A more fair comparison is when you compare our team’s defense to the league’s as it will take into consideration total talent.In weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – the team allowed 185, 219, 227, 111 and 270 passing yards, respectively.The league’s average passing yards for weeks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5:247.1, 262.03, 278.63, 255.4 and 244.6, respectively.By that account, the Bucs held teams below the league average in 4 out of 5 games.That seems pretty significant, at least to me.Next, T.O.P.What your assessment omits is the opponent’s T.O.P., in other words, the amount of time our defense has spent on the field through 5 games.Our D has been on the field an average 30.26 minutes, which impacts our ability to get a pass rush, stop the run, etc.Asking a defense to play lights out football for 30+ minutes is an unrealistic expectation.Next, your argument on average starting position for opponents.As someone pointed out, your argument doesn’t given any consideration to turnovers, which flips position in favor of the opposing team and more importantly, skewed the starting position for a team.Additionally, it’s equally noteworthy to discuss the many FGs that were missed, which which too, flips the position of the field for the opposing team.When you look at the team’s overall performance, it’s difficult to take your assessment and run with it.As you noted, total defense is a misleading stat in its own as there are several factors that are overlooked.However, given our noticeable improvements from the same time last year, I think having a #3 ranked passing defense is something that isn’t the misconception that you’ve alluded to and is something our team and fans should be proud of.We have given up too many TDs / points per game, again when the field is flipped and a D is exhausted, I’m not sure why that’s not understandable.

RodeiroMsr said : Guest Report 9 months ago

LoveYouSomeTwan ProducingDave GilArciaTBC I'm with you on that, it's always what the bucs don't do good at never the good or slightlygood

Pawel said : Guest Report 9 months ago

Ok what about the Winston INT for points and field position?

drod_424 said : Guest Report 9 months ago

GilArciaTBC good "behind the scenes" stats on "real stats" Gil. Exactly what I've been seeing all year

LoveYouSomeTwan said : Guest Report 9 months ago

ProducingDave GilArciaTBC lol have there sacks made a difference? Sure the hell did it stopped plenty drives. Definitely gave us wins

LoveYouSomeTwan said : Guest Report 9 months ago

ProducingDave GilArciaTBC haven't seen one positive article about being top 5 we always bash our own team it's so funny.

ProducingDave said : Guest Report 9 months ago

LoveYouSomeTwan GilArciaTBC and the title says how the top 5 ranking is a misconception. it's not meant to talk about what they do right.

ProducingDave said : Guest Report 9 months ago

LoveYouSomeTwan GilArciaTBC and sacks? have their sacks made a difference? NO. they are 2-3 and Bortles balled out, almost won. so yea...

ProducingDave said : Guest Report 9 months ago

LoveYouSomeTwan GilArciaTBC how does converted field goals make up for the defense not stopping drives to begin with?

LoveYouSomeTwan said : Guest Report 9 months ago

ProducingDave GilArciaTBC oh and they haven't put us in the position to win multiple games had we been able to kick huh?

LoveYouSomeTwan said : Guest Report 9 months ago

ProducingDave GilArciaTBC true they don't get after the QB at all, they surely haven't improved there huh?

ProducingDave said : Guest Report 9 months ago

LoveYouSomeTwan GilArciaTBC dude, what are the positive things they do? because until they stop people, there's nothing positive.

ProducingDave said : Guest Report 9 months ago

GilArciaTBC This puts things into perspective. Their Top 5 defense is a fluke on many levels. Nothing to be happy about. #Scoreboard

LoveYouSomeTwan said : Guest Report 9 months ago

GilArciaTBC stop hatin you didn't mention the POSITIVE things that make them top 5

sloopjohnb15 said : Guest Report 9 months ago

GilArciaTBC right on point, just watching the Bucs on tv, u can see they're not a top 5 defense. Lots of work to do on that side still

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