Word has it that it is always darkest before the dawn. If that’s truly the case then there’s reason to believe the Buccaneers may be on the brink of breaking out of their early-season defensive slump.
Over the course of the last two games alone the Bucs defense has been primarily responsible for allowing a total of 58 points, which is about as dark as it gets for an NFL team.
Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith seems confident, though, that brighter days are ahead for Tampa Bay and he seems to believe they could begin as soon as Sunday when they face the Broncos.
“I think we’re a lot closer than we are away from (getting the defense fixed), I can assure you that,’’ Smith said Thursday. “And really there’s only one guy that’s got to do a better job and that’s Mike Smith.
“He’s the guy that’s got to make sure these guys understand what we’re trying to get accomplished, what we’re trying to get done. We’re having problems with Coach Mike Smith. He’s the guy responsible for this.’’
That sounds like typical coach-speak, but there is some truth to it. After all it was just last week that Smith said The Bucs would probably need a month of games to develop a comfort level with his complex scheme.
That month is just about up, of course, which is another reason to believe the Bucs may be on the brink of breaking out of their defensive doldrums.
“We know what we’ve got to do as a defense and we have not played up to the ability we think we have to,’’ Smith said. “But I believe you have to be judged on the long haul and right now we’re three games into it.
“We’re playing a very good football team this week that’s going to challenge us in a lot of ways, so I’m very anxious to watch the way our guys on defense respond to what’s happened over the last two weeks.’’
So are we.