It Starts Up Front: Booger McFarland Argues that the Bucs May Need a Pass Rusher Before a Corner Back

Most people will take a look at our pass defense and scream from the mountain top, “We need corners! We need corners!” I truly agree with you. But let’s take a minute to not always judge a book by its cover.

The pass defense was ranked at or near the bottom most of the year and deservedly so. They were hell on wheels against the run; however, they were feasted on in the air.

The more I uncover the layers the more I see that the biggest problem isn’t in the secondary, it’s with the defensive line. Let’s think back to the glory days of the most dominant defense many have ever seen in Tampa. From 1999-2003, when the Buccaneers pass defense was at or near the very top of the NFL, we recorded no fewer than 43 sacks with the exception of 2003 when we had 36. How many sacks did the 2012 Buccaneers team have? A whopping 27!!

The correlation of pass rush to pass coverage has always been the key driving force behind pass defense. So when we look at EJ Biggers, Brandon McDonald, or Eric Wright, let’s not judge them solely on their merit but more correctly by the ability of the engine that drives the car called the defensive line.

So as draft day rolls around and everyone screams “Corner! Corner! Corner!” Just remember that in this new NFL that is now more of a passing league than ever before that IT STARTS UP FRONT.


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