Film Room: Tampa Bay’s Talented Front-Seven Can Cause Havoc

After facing criticism over a “weak” schedule, the Cowboys play their fourth straight playoff caliber opponent this Sunday night. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently the sixth seed in the NFC race, and have been rolling in large part due to their defense.

Their defense, and front seven in particular, is loaded with play-makers who will be looking to make Dak Prescott’s life a living hell this week.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what the Bucs bring to the table defensively.

Pass Rush

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Against the pass, the Buccaneers give some unorthodox looks defensively. In obvious passing downs or formations,  they sometimes give double 3 techniques, putting both offensive tackles and guards in one on one pass blocking situations.

They then rely on talented edge rushers like Robert Ayers, William Gholston, and Noah Spence as well as quick twitch defensive tackles like Gerald McCoy to win in these situations.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another look the Bucs like to give on passing downs is this double A-gap formation. Here, they are trying to confuse the quarterback when he checks to protection, forcing him to pinch the offensive line to account for the A-gaps. Sometimes, they will bring all six defenders, but more often than not at least one of those middle linebackers will drop back into zone coverage.

If the Cowboys aren’t careful in their protections, they could allow a free rusher off the edge in these scenarios.


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With a traditional front on this play, the Bucs are still able to get pressure by just rushing four. Why? Because their defensive linemen are just that talented.

Gerald McCoy is an absolute stud, and you can see how he wins with a great quick swim move on this play. If the Cowboys allow McCoy to get pressure up the middle, it will be a long day for their offense.

Run Defense


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Against the run, the Bucs like to stay in their base defense and allow their play-makers to make plays. The Saints actually do a decent job of blocking this at first, but allow Lavonte David to run free and fill the hole.

Sensing trouble, Mark Ingram tries to bounce the run outside, only to be stopped by David for a loss of yards. This is a fantastic individual play by David, who the Cowboys will need to account for with guards when running zone.


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As mentioned before, McCoy is an absolute beast. They like to move him around the line a lot, normally to the offensive strength to allow him to play the 3 technique. The playside guard has awful footwork here, and McCoy makes him pay with another quick swim.

He doesn’t make the play, but he causes enough havoc to ruin the Saints chances at gaining many yards.

Simply put, the Buccaneers can cause problems for any offense, even one as dynamic as the Dallas Cowboys’. The Cowboys need to get back on track this week after two lackluster offensive performances. In order to do so, they must account for a defense which has been balling over the last several weeks.

What do you think?

Kevin Brady

Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


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