Yardbarker Horiz

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bye Week Analysis: Young Core Defense

This is a check similar to the one done last January.  I've cross-referenced the depth chart and roster for the defense and kept only the players with four or fewer years in the NFL (i.e. less that 5 years of wear at tear).  This chart then represents the "Young Core" of the Buccaneers -- put another way, these are the players who will have to get us to the playoffs in 2013-2015 (2 to 4 years from now).

Starters through the first three games of 2010 are in bold: 

RDE  White, Stylez (4th year); Bennett, Michael (2nd year); Gilbeaux, Brandon (1st year)
RDT  Price, Brian (1); Miller, Roy (2)
LDT  McCoy, Gerald (1)
LDE  Moore, Kyle (2); Crowder, Tim (4); Lorig, Erik (1)

WLB  Hayes, Geno (3)
MLB  Hayward, Adam (4)
OLB  Black, Quincy (4); Watson, Dekoda (1)

RCB  Mack, Elbert (3); Lewis, Myron (1)
LCB  Talib, Aqib (3); Biggers, E.J. (2)
SS   Piscitelli, Sabby (4)
FS   Jackson, Tanard (4); Lynch, Corey (3); Grimm, Cody (1)
A lot of these names are the same as January in the linebacker group and the defensive ends.  The defensive backfield has many of the same names as well.  Back in January it was mentioned that quality on the interior of the defensive line was needed, and indeed the interior defensive line has been fortified with two top-flight defensive tackles by way of the 2010 draftThe linebacker group remains high on talent but low on numbers.
Veterans holding starting positions on the defense are, of course, Ronde Barber at left corner, Barrett Ruud at middle linebacker, and Sean Jones at strong safety.  Nonetheless, there is good depth here among the youngest Buccaneers which bodes well going forward, particularly since many of these players are already starters and learning to play together.

What is needed (and there is never enough in the NFL) is depth.  And lots of it.  And not run-of-the-mill stuff, but high quality athletes which can maintain a high level of play when the current starters need a break.  When the team reaches that point the Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense will have returned to top form.

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