The Bucs defense was supposed to be the strength for them this year. The defensive line was expected to not only control the line of scrimmage, but also force turnovers.
After three games, that hasn't happened.
Lovie Smith has always prided himself on being a great defensive mind, but his Buccaneer defense has had mixed results so far this season. The first two games were decent, but the defense failed to generate any "splash" plays. This team must have their own defense play much better than "decent" to have a chance to play the kind of football Lovie Smith plays.
The third game was a disaster.
If the Bucs want to be that elite defense the defensive line has to dominate. Not having a healthy Gerald McCoy is a big deal. Not having Michael Johnson playing at all makes that unit easier to block. Johnson, as much as any free agent acquisition this year by the Bucs, has the chance to make the biggest impact. Teams double team McCoy, leaving Johnson one on one in pass rush situations. Advantage Bucs. So far, after three games, for various reasons, that hasn't happened.
As Smith said Monday at his press conference when talking about the defense, "it’s about individual play leading to a group being good, and, as far as gelling together, I think you gel when guys within the group start making plays, start beating the guy in front of them and I think momentum starts when you see one of your teammates making a play. "
If the Bucs want get their 1st win this Sunday in Pittsburgh, their defense will have to gel together in a big way. Having Johnson and McCoy on the field would be a great start.