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Warren Sapp: Bucs’ defensive play upfront will be key

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On a conference call with media on Thursday, former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp was asked about his old team, the Buccaneers, with whom he spent the prime years of a career that earned him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.

Sapp, while noting he would be present when the Bucs open training camp next Thursday, had this to say about the Buccaneers’ efforts to improve their defensive backfield in the offseason with the additions of cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson:

“I’ve seen a lot of great defenses in the NFL. I just haven’t seen one led from the back end.”

A few thoughts on Sapp’s comment (alas, there was no further discussion of the issue on the call): First, Sapp was a defensive lineman; of course he’s going to insist front seven play is key, especially in a 4-3 scheme like the one the Bucs employ now and as they did in their prime years. And Sapp, of course, is right about the importance of the play upfront.

“Whenever you’re running a 4-3 scheme, when you’re sending the front four and dropping seven, that front dictates how much time the quarterback has, how disruptive in the run game it’s going to be and the different things that have to be done,” Sapp also said Thursday, this in response to a question about the scheme his former Tampa coordinator, Monte Kiffin, will now run in Dallas.

And here’s the good news for Tampa Bay: the Buccaneers’ front seven play shapes up as a strength in 2013. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy made the Pro Bowl a season ago. Ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers have shown promise. So too has second-year weak-side linebacker Lavonte David, who racked up 139 tackles as a rookie.

It’s quite possible the Bucs’ front seven could lead the way for the Bucs’ defense this season. And this is much is certain: the Buccaneers had to improve a secondary that allowed more passing yards per game than any other in 2012.

In short, the Buccaneers made the necessary offseason improvements, and Sapp made a valid observation about winning defense. It will be interesting to see what he says about the Bucs’ defense after observing camp next week.

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26 Responses to “Warren Sapp: Bucs’ defensive play upfront will be key”
  1. bucrightoff says: Jul 18, 2013 4:30 PM

    I think it was on Pro Football Focus I saw this, but the Bucs D-Line last year had less than 3 seconds from the snap of the ball before coverage in the secondary broke down and the pass was out. You cannot generate much pass rush when you don’t have any time. The improvements in the secondary will give the defensive line that little bit of extra time they need to get more pressure.

  2. dbones750 says: Jul 18, 2013 4:42 PM

    No one cares about what Warren Sapp has to say.

  3. vibesid says: Jul 18, 2013 4:43 PM

    Bucs will be great this year and win the NFC South division.

  4. joeytorontosucks says: Jul 18, 2013 4:45 PM

    Bucs defence is nice! They’re just in the NFC South where the offences are very high-powered. Should be an interesting division

  5. shogunassasin30 says: Jul 18, 2013 4:45 PM

    “First, Sapp was a defensive lineman; of course he’s going to insist front seven play is key.”

    Be that as it may.. He is absolutely spot-on.

  6. westampa says: Jul 18, 2013 4:48 PM

    The Buccaneers will be much better than people think (#24 in PFT Power Rankings). What other team in the NFL will have 4 Pro-Bowlers playing that either weren’t on the team or were injured? Nicks, Joseph, Goldson & Revis. Clayborn was looking like an above avg. DE as well before he got hurt, and the sky is the limit for Bowers. Assuming these guys can stay healthy the Bucs should have no problem exceeding expectations.

  7. dublindemonszfl says: Jul 18, 2013 5:03 PM

    SAPP, another guy who should just go away.

  8. 509seahawks says: Jul 18, 2013 5:10 PM

    I’d defiantly listen to what Warren Sapp has to say about football. I defiantly wouldn’t listen to his financial advice.

  9. jetslakersfan says: Jul 18, 2013 5:16 PM

    A lot of talent doesn’t always mean wins. Just ask the Eagles the past 2 years.

  10. tampamac says: Jul 18, 2013 5:30 PM


    The difference is the Bucs didn’t try and bring in 12 outside free agents in one shot. They’ve still drafted well and filled the holes they weren’t able to by drafting via free agency. Totally different strategies.

  11. jetslakersfan says: Jul 18, 2013 5:44 PM


    That is true, but u guys are putting a lot on a player coming off a ACL tear and I don’t think he going to push himself to hard the first half of the NFL season. Because Revis is all about the money. I’m one of those guys who thinks a player should get all the money he can. I’m still a big Revis fan and I hope he can get back to the old Revis. Imo I think Goldston is overrated because his job was easy playing with 9ers and the way they can get after QB.

  12. thegreatsantini56 says: Jul 18, 2013 6:00 PM

    I’m definitely not a Buc’s fan, but Warren is 100% correct. 4+3=7, so does 3+4. Up front is where the game is decided, defensively as well as offensively. Simple really. Grand-Ma can run the ball if you block for her.

  13. weekendatberniemadoffs says: Jul 18, 2013 6:07 PM

    If you can’t put pressure on the QB, those db’s won’t stand a chance.

  14. sillec28 says: Jul 18, 2013 7:24 PM

    It’s a team game. If the DL can’t pressure the QB the DBs look bad. If the DBs can’t cover the receivers the DL looks bad. And if neither can do their jobs then you get what the Bucs had last year.

  15. thermanmerman99 says: Jul 18, 2013 8:39 PM

    why are people giving thumbs down to statements about how much sapp sucks? he is garbage at all levels and should be fired from the NFL network because he is an epic joke to society. get that bumbling moron off TV forever please

  16. 69finfan says: Jul 18, 2013 9:00 PM

    Thanks Warren for that unbelievable, earthshattering insight. This guy’s a real genius.

  17. whodey420 says: Jul 18, 2013 9:05 PM

    Nice observation Mr. Obvious! Too bad you weren’t more observant about your finances!

  18. packerbackernj says: Jul 18, 2013 9:13 PM

    thank you capt obvious. for every team the defensive play upfront is key.

  19. wingz101 says: Jul 18, 2013 9:38 PM

    Wow. Sapp said something that wasn’t totally stupiid. There is hope for humanity after all!

  20. ososrule says: Jul 18, 2013 9:43 PM

    Warren Sapp was a defensive force at one brief point in time. Now he is an over paid and unqualified commentator that has no logical reason what so ever, great hire NFL network.

  21. bigdawgy54 says: Jul 18, 2013 10:02 PM

    A side note to what Warren Sapp has to say about the defense. And that is, the offense (especially meaning Freeman) has to play well enough to give the defense some rest. The defense can’t be on the field most of the time. Freeman can’t throw interceptions and keep putting the defense back on the field.

  22. natijim235 says: Jul 18, 2013 10:06 PM

    wow there’s a shocking prediction!

  23. akboot says: Jul 18, 2013 10:40 PM

    he can state the obvious like no one else that’s for sure. what a dope

  24. moss49thteam says: Jul 18, 2013 11:43 PM

    Warren Sapp is stepping up to replace Emmitt Smith.

    Just because you understood an on field scheme and had talent to execute it does not mean you are capable of a media explanation of the game in general.

  25. steelcity412 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:22 AM

    Warren sap .. Shut up .. Hate everything about you

  26. nyg201 says: Jul 19, 2013 7:23 AM

    Sapp: The least talented player in the HOF.

    Must’ve got in because of his big mouth.

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