Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
First-year defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has seen his young defense struggle this year with everything from pressuring the quarterback to defending passes, so it should come as little surprise that there are some that have called for a change at the position already.
The Bucs will likely end the season with the NFL's worst pass defense, surrendering more than 300 passing yards per game. The 29 touchdown passes and 68 passing plays of 20-plus yards both rank as the second-most allowed this season.
In short, their passing defense has been downright awful.
Which begs the question: is it the scheme or the personnel? Could it be a combination of both? And perhaps most important of all, if head coach Greg Schiano determines Sheridan has some responsibility for the historically poor pass defense, would the second-year head coach be willing to make a change to either the philosophy or coaching staff?
In Sheridan's defense, the lack of pass rush by the defensive line has put him in a position where he feels he has to blitz to supplement the lack of a natural rush, thus leaving his young and inexperienced defensive backs alone in the secondary.
That said, Sheridan has made some questionable choices during critical moments of the game that ultimately have appeared to cost the Bucs.
For example, the constant barrage of blitzes he sent after Eli Manning in Week 2 allowed the Giants QB to throw for more than 500 yards and put up 25 fourth quarter points on their way to a late-comeback win.
All told, the Bucs blew fourth quarter leads on three occasions this season: New York, Washington and Philadelphia, which when looking back, could easily be the difference between their 6-9 record and a 9-6 record.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda.