A lot has been made of the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have produced only four sacks and that should be the case. Four sacks in six games is simply unacceptable and it’s part of the reason the Bucs made the league’s only trade before Tuesday’s deadline to bring in defensive end Alex Magee from Kansas City.
We’ll see if Magee, who has two career sacks, can provide any spark for the pass rush. The other easy answer is that the Bucs should blitz more often. But the folks at ESPN Stats & Information just passed along some surprising numbers that strongly suggest the Bucs should pretty much scrap the blitz because it’s done nothing to help their pass defense.
When the Bucs have sent five or more rushers on pass plays (and they’ve done that a league-low 28 times this season), opposing quarterbacks have a 117.0 passer rating. Surprisingly, when the Bucs have sent four or fewer rushers, opposing quarterbacks have a 65.8 passer rating and the Bucs have recorded nine interceptions.
What’s it all mean? Tampa Bay’s secondary is pretty darn good because it’s producing without a pass rush. But numbers can be misleading. If the Bucs really are going to challenge for a playoff spot this season, they’ve got to start putting some pressure on quarterbacks and it doesn’t matter if it comes from the front four or from blitzes. The Bucs simply can’t continue to rely so much on their secondary.