The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be the only NFC South team making much news or much noise. The Bucs have been putting some of the new hires to their coaching staff in front of the media and that happened again Tuesday as defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan spoke.
Sheridan said he plans to run an aggressive 4-3 scheme.
“It’s going to be Greg Schiano’s defense because he’s our head coach and I’m coordinating for him,” Sheridan said. “Obviously he hired me because he thinks I have a lot of experience, knowledge and competence, and he’s relying on that as well. I’m excited about jumping into it and trying to mesh our ideas. But it’s Greg’s defense for sure. He was an outstanding defensive coach long before he was ever coach at Rutgers.”
Schiano previously was defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and a defensive assistant for the Chicago Bears. Sheridan was with the Dolphins as linebackers coach the past two seasons. He had been hired as an assistant at Ohio State, but left the Buckeyes to join the Bucs.
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Sheridan spent five years with the New York Giants. The first four were as linebackers coach. In 2009, Sheridan was promoted to defensive coordinator and that didn’t work out very well. Sheridan was fired after the Giants allowed the second-most points in franchise history.
“I took and take full responsibility for the fact that we didn’t play good enough defense at the end of the year when I was coordinating that year,” Sheridan said. “Because I was put in charge of that, and the bottom line, at the end of the year, we didn’t keep people out of the end zone well enough to be successful.”
Sheridan said the Giants suffered several key injuries.
“We started to falter and we hit a skid during the middle of the season,” Sheridan said. “In hindsight, looking back, I think one of the things we probably did was we assumed, as a defensive staff, we assumed because we had made the playoffs four previous years ... that things would get turned around, they would get better.”
The Giants were forced to sign several “street’’ free agents and give them extensive playing time. In hindsight, Sheridan said he may have made the defense too simple.
“It’s great for your own players that you present to them a simplistic scheme that they can execute on Sunday, but you’re also not posing enough issues for the teams you play against,’’ Sheridan said. “You’re not giving them enough problems.”
With the Bucs, Sheridan will be taking over a defense that’s very young in the front seven. There also could be some new players in the secondary because the futures of cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib are uncertain.
Sheridan can learn from his past. He needs to make Tampa Bay’s defense complicated enough that it can cause problems for opposing teams.