Buccaneers' new defensive coordinator Mike Smith has big plans for the Tampa defense in 2016, and has said that a "flexible" 4-3 will be the scheme it operates in. Smith alluded to this plan of defensive elasticity by pointing to his coaching history when meeting with the media.
"We've been multiple through the years. We've kind of morphed back and forth," Smith said. "The big thing for us is that we want to make it simple for each player on our defense, but we want it to be complex and complicated for the coaching staff and the quarterback that we're playing against."
Smith also emphasized a need for his defense to play to the strengths of its players, while still forming a cohesive unit that asphyxiates offenses and generates turnovers.
"We've got some guys that have some unique skill-sets, and it's our job as a coaching staff to put those guys in the best positions to be successful," Smith said.
This could mean gluing first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves to specific receivers in an attempt to highlight his solid ball-hawking abilities, or starting fourth-round pick Ryan Smith at safety rather than corner, which has already been heavily discussed. The Buccaneers' blitz frequency in games may also be cranked up due to the aptitude that linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander have in being able to get to quarterbacks, if Mike Smith plans to bring out some of the best traits of his unit's individual cogs.
Also, with potent additions like Robert Ayers and Noah Spence made to the Bucs' defensive line, Smith will likely shuffle the new front around in an effort to find the best combination for pressurizing quarterbacks and tackling running backs. According to him, the defense as a whole will be varied, as well as custom-tailored to the personnel available.
"We want to be as multiple as we can be, and play to the strengths of our players," Smith said. "That's our goal."
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