2009 Tampa Bay Defensive Recap

Aqib Talib (Getty Images)

With the NFL Combine and Draft right around the corner, the time has come to revisit the Buccaneers 2009 offensive season. Whether it was the development of Geno Hayes, the suspension of Tanard Jackson or the continued success of Ronde Barber, there was plenty of good and bad things to talk about from this season.

DEFENSIVE LINE:

LE Jimmy Wilkerson (Starter) – 42 Solo Tackles, 24 Assists, 2 Pass Deflections, 3 Forced Fumbles

NT Chris Hovan (Starter) – 27 Solo Tackles, 30 Assists, 0.5 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble

DT Ryan Sims (Starter) – 28 Solo Tackles, 20 Assists, 1 Pass Deflection, 1 Sack, 1 Fumble Recovery

RE Stylez G. White (Starter) – 36 Solo Tackles, 18 Assists, 1 Pass Deflection. 6.5 Sacks

DE Michael Bennett (Backup) – 4 Solo Tackles, 1 Assist, 1 Sack

DT Roy Miller (Backup) - 33 Solo Tackles, 21 Assists, 1 Pass Deflection, 2 Sacks

DT Dre Moore (Backup) – 4 Solo Tackles, 7 Assists

DE Tim Crowder (Backup) – 37 Solo Tackles, 10 Assists, 2 Pass Deflections, 3.5 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery

DE Kyle Moore (Backup) – 8 Solo Tackles, 6 Assists, 1 Pass Deflection

DE Maurice Evans (Backup) – Practice Squad

The Bucs made a mistake thinking any of these guys would be suited for Jim Bates' two-gap system. It was square pegs in round holes. The Bucs didn't want to bring in any players who had played Bates' system. So 10 games into the season, Morris took over the play-calling duties on defense and re-installed the one-gap front. Miller and Crowder look like players. Moore was hurt much of the season. The Bucs need an overhaul at this position.

Unrestricted Free Agents – None

Restricted Free Agents – None

LINEBACKERS:

Quincy Black (Starting SLB) – 58 Solo Tackles, 35 Assists, 1 Interception, 5 Pass Deflections, 1.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble

Barrett Ruud (Starting MLB) – 107 Solo Tackles, 35 Assists, 1 Interception, 1 Forced Fumble, 8 Pass Deflections

Geno Hayes (Starting WLB) – 90 Solo Tackles, 46 Assists, 3 Sacks, 2 Interceptions, 7 Pass Deflections, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery

Adam Hayward (Backup) - 9 Solo Tackles, 5 Assists

Matt McCoy (Backup) – 6 Solo Tackles, 3 Assists

Rod Wilson (Backup) – Injured Reserve

Lee Robinson (Backup) – Practice Squad

Niko Koutouvides (Backup) – Special Teams - 11 Solo Tackles, 7 Assists

Angelo Crowell (Backup) – Injured Reserve

The Bucs had a big shake-up in the offseason, cutting Derrick Brooks and Cato June. That was to enable Hayes and Black a chance to play. Hayes proved to be an impact player once Morris took over the defense. Black showed improvement. Ruud had more than 200 tackles, but most were of the drag-down variety. The Bucs aren't sure what to do about Ruud. He's smart and effective, but he lacks the splash play-making and leadership skills.

Unrestricted Free Agents – None

Restricted Free Agents – Barrett Ruud, Rod WIlson

DEFENSIVE BACKS:

LCB Aqib Talib (Starter) – 62 Solo Tackles, 7 Assists, 5 Interceptions, 17 Pass Deflections, 1 Fumble Recovery

RCB Ronde Barber (Starter) – 67 Solo Tackles, 26 Assists, 7 Pass Deflections, 3 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery

SS Sabby Piscitelli (Starter) – 71 Solo Tackles, 20 Assists, 2 Interceptions, 4 Pass Deflections, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery

FS Tanard Jackson (Starter) – 57 Solo Tackles, 28 Assists, 5 Interceptions, 10 Pass Deflections, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery

S Corey Lynch (Backup) – 1 Solo Tackle, 1 Pass Deflection

CB Branon Andweson (Backup) – Practice Squad

CB Elbert Mack (Backup) – 24 Solo Tackles, 6 Assists, 3 Interceptions, 4 Pass Deflections

CB Torrie Cox (Backup) – 10 Solo Tackles, 2 Assists

CB Derek Robertson (Backup) – 2 Solo Tackles, 1 Assist

CB Stoney Woodson (Backup) – Practice Squad

S Will Allen (Backup) – 14 Solo Tackles, 7 Assists

S Jermaine Phillips (Injured Reserve) – 6 Solo Tackles, 5 Assists

Talib is everything the Bucs hoped he would be -- on the field, anyway. He tied for the club lead with Jackson with five interceptions. Remember, Jackson missed the first four games with a suspension. Piscitelli was a huge disappointment, a bad tackler who takes bad angles and rarely makes a play on the ball. He had just two interceptions and three passes defensed despite starting 15 games. Barber, who is declining at 34, did not have an INT for the first time since his rookie year.

Unrestricted Free AgentsJermaine Phillips, Will Allen

Restricted Free Agents - None

SPECIAL TEAMS:

PK Conner Barth – 14-19 Field Goals, 12-12 PAT, 1 Punt 46 Yards

P Sam Paulescu – 24 Punts, 1022 Yards

KR Sammie Stroughter – 11 Kick Returns, 324 Yards, 29.5 AVG, 1 TD, 12 Punt Returns, 119 Yards, 9.9 AVG

PR Clifton Smith – 23 Punt Returns, 232 Yards, 10.1 AVG, 31 Kick Returns, 902 yards, 29.1 AVG

P Josh Bidwell (Injured reserve)

P Dirk Johnson (Injured reserve) 62 Punts, 2558 Yards

The Bucs had the top special teams unit in terms of kick returns and kick coverage, but they're specialists were a mess. Barth was the Bucs' third placekicker; Paulescu was their third punter. Bidwell went on injured reserve with a hip injury. PK Mike Nugent was released after going 2-for-6 on field-goal tries. His replacement, Shane Andrus, was worse. Barth stabilized the position and will be asked to return in 2010. Johnson was ineffective before going on IR.

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