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.