Tampa Bay Buccaneers Front 4 Failure Doomed Their New York Blitz

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer ISeptember 18, 2012

Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett didn't get near Eli Manning. (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)
Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett didn't get near Eli Manning. (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)

Teams that live by the blitz, die by the blitz.

That one's been around before Vince Lombardi saw his first clipboard.

You all witnessed the carnage that can take place when the blitz doesn't work. You saw it Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

You saw the horror.

You saw Eli Manning pass for a career-high 510 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that surely died by the blitz in the fourth quarter, if not sooner.

If you'll please turn to chapter six in Pro Football 101, it will tell you that if you are going to blitz, you better get to the quarterback.

It also tells you that you might get away with the blitz a few times against a really good quarterback, say a guy like Eli Manning, but you better not press your luck.

Manning can read a blitz faster than a six-grader can pour through a Marvel comic book.

The fact of NFL life when you play against quarterbacks with Manning's experience is that you might get lucky a couple of times, but when it counts most, Manning will get you.

Manning more than "got" the Bucs. He buried the Bucs, cut 'em open right there on the field with the defensive guts spread all over the field, kind of like when a possum gets hit by a speeding car.

It was ugly.

The demise of the Buccaneer blitz came about from one main source—your not-so-fiercesome front foursome.

Yep, Gerald McCoy, Roy Miller, Michael Bennett and Adrian Clayborn had an afternoon to forget.


If the game had been touch football Manning probably wouldn't have ever been down.

Late in the game, the non-fiercesome foursome was getting gashed by third-string running back Andre Brown.

It wasn't pretty.

Which brings us back to the blitz.

The blitz failed and failed miserably because these things start with the guys up front. They have to do the job and get the ball rolling so that the blitzer can quickly squash the quarterback.

With time to eyeball the field, Manning simply spotted Ronde Barber anytime he tried to sneak his way to the front. Manning knew at that moment, that he had one-on-one matchups with both of his wide receivers. He could audible for protection, then simply put it up there for Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz to have their way with Aqib Talib or anyone else that tried to cover them in man.

Speaking of Talib, it got so bad it reminded me of the scene in the Clint Eastwood movie  In the Line Of Fire, when Eastwood's character, aging Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan is taunted on the phone by would-be assassin Mitch Leary, played by John Malkovich. Alone, Horrigan gets a phone call from Leary and it goes like this:

"Frank, when you're alone at night and the demons come, what do you see?"

We might ask the same of Talib. No doubt, when Talib is alone at night and the demons come, he will see a big "No. 88" in his face, catching yet another pass from Manning.


It was that bad, a corner's nightmare.

The Bucs will play an interesting team on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys. Through two games, there have been the really good Dallas Cowboys, who upset the Giants in Week 1. There has also been the really, really bad Dallas Cowboys, who got bum-rushed last Sunday in Seattle, 27-7.

No telling which one will show up Sunday on either side.

One thing's for sure, if Greg Schiano wants to use this blitz-thingy of his, the front four needs to get on their horses and pressure Tony Romo.

A few tackles wouldn't hurt either. Last Sunday, Bennett managed an assist, Miller had one tackle and two assists, McCoy was the class valedictorian with two tackles and two assists and can you believe that Adrian Clayborn didn't get any tackles, not even an assist?

Bucs fans, that simply cannot happen this coming Sunday.

The defense has to play better and it better start up front.


Buccaneers re-sign Jordan Shipley, promote Demar Dotson:  OneBucSite.com