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Posts Tagged ‘jim bates’

The Bucs Are Bad Tacklers

March 22, 2010 at 09:39am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Imagine how high up Sabby would be if this list included blown coverages.
I’m kind of a sucker for vague and unscientific stats that might mean something but probably don’t, and the people at ProFootballFocus.com have one. They have called it TIR, or “Tackle Inefficiency Rating” (not to be confused with TYR, an awful, awful Black Sabbath album) and it measures… oh, hey, they already explained all of this.

We’ve taken a detailed record of tackles from our game analysis, which you may find differs from the standard tackle counts you’ll find everywhere else. That is because we look back at film retrospectively to assess who is making tackles. This retrospective watching allows us to be sure about who is making a tackle, and can often involve multiple viewings of the same play, if necessary. From this data, we’ve devised a simple formula to work out what we have coined the Tackle Inefficiency Rating. It works like this (25 being the qualifying minimum number of solo tackles):

(Number of Missed Tackles/[Number of Missed Tackles + Number of Solo Tackles]) x 100 = TIR

It’s too bad this is all they did. As long as they were going back through all 256 games and studying each tackle, they should have taken note of whether the defender whiffed or was run over or was outjuked or whatever and given a reason for the missed tackle. That might have been useful. But this is what we have and nothing else is happening, so here are the results.

One Buccaneer corner makes the “worst” list: Ronde Barber.

Continuing the theme of high-profile players showing poorly, Ronde Barber (often lauded for his excellent tackling) was ninth overall. He missed 16 tackles last season, trailing only Samuel for cornerbacks in the sheer numbers of missed tackles. To give Barber some credit, he also tied for top in the list for the number of tackles made (at 72 for the year), but even so it’s an absurdly high number of missed tackles and another indication that the remaining Barber twin is on the decline.

I know Ronde missed some, although I don’t recall it being that many. But I know he’s always around the ball and I’m sure he’s doing more good out there than harm.

Both safeties make the list of worst tacklers, too.

Tampa Bay fared very badly in this study, with Sabby Piscitelli and Tanard Jackson ranking inside the bottom three. No safety missed more tackles than Piscitelli’s 20, and he is saved from the top spot only by Detroit’s Marvin White, who notched 15 misses on 52 solo attempts. His TIR of 28.85 was five points higher than Piscitelli’s 23.53, but both players will need to answer an awful lot of questions about their tackling performance if they hope to contribute in 2010.

Piscitelli had the highest number of missed tackles than any other safety, which lends some credibility to this list. But Jackson was second? Really? I think an important thing to know would be how many of these missed tackles took place during Jim Bates‘s tenure and how many happened after Raheem Morris took over the defensive playcalling. Not that scheme should necessarily make a difference in how well he was tackling, but if he was closing in from a weird angle or wasn’t getting the help he needed, maybe that had something to do with it?

And one linebacker cracks the top worst tacklers, too. But it’s not who you think it is. It’s Geno Hayes, who the authors don’t know well enough to write any commentary on. I definitely saw Hayes miss some tackles, but he’s also the biggest splash playmaker of the linebackers, so if that causes him to miss a tackle or two, I think that’s a fair trade. Barrett Ruud didn’t make the list probably because he makes so many tackles that it covers up the ones he misses, even if it’s a relatively big number. And that’s not the problem people have with him anyway. The concern is that he makes a tackle after the ball-carrier has already gained a good chunk of yardage. That would have been a nice stat to include also — how far from the line of scrimmage did the tackle or miss take place?

No Bucs made their best tacklers list, but you could have guessed that since the end of the 2008 season.

These guys are trying to be the next Football Outsiders and they do have a lot of stuff on their site, so give them a look sometime. One thing I do like is they have a “player participation” table that tracks who was on the field for every play of every game and where they lined up. I’m not sure it can be 100% accurate unless they have some special coach’s tape since the broadcast doesn’t always show the entire defense. But I’ll definitely be referencing back to it during the season. One missing section of their site: cheerleader stats. No rankings of who is kicking the highest and who has the lowest skirt to leg ratio? Boo!

What The Hell Is A Megamorph?

November 24, 2009 at 11:09pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Under Bates's scheme, he'd still allow 200 yards rushing.
Just something I noticed when I was reading this bit from Raheem Morris on what his hopes in hiring Jim Bates were.

“I learned a lot of football from Jim Bates, there’s no doubt about it. And I learned a lot of football from Monte Kiffin. I thought we could be that super, mega-morph that we could get together and get this thing going and really get it rolling. And we probably still can. And I’m just going to go do it because it’s my responsibility to do it if I can. I’m going to give you my best input…Now, it’s my job to do it and I’m going to go do it.”

I’m going to assume that the “mega-morph” is some kind of hybrid of the Tampa 2 and Bates’s two-gap scheme and not an assembly of several football players into one 30-foot tall Voltron-type defender (although Tanard Jackson with lions for arms would fucking kick ass.) That seems like too much to take in. Even the teams that play both 3-4 or 4-3 play one scheme 95% of the time and only go into the other on certain occasions. He was really thinking of hiring all new coaches, dismissing the veteran leadership, and then making everyone learn two different defenses? No way. Wasn’t going to happen.

And that thing about “And we probably still can” better not mean that he’s still thinking about pursuing this ridiculousness. It didn’t work with Bates, what makes him think it will work without him? Just go with your Tampa 2, add a few little flourishes and twists to it that I’m sure Bates can show you, get the right players for the plan, and coach them to play like hell. The wheel is already there; there’s no need to re-invent it. Every year or so, put some new tires on it, tweak them a little and go. It worked for years before you ever came along. There’s no reason why it won’t work now.

Barber Defends Morris

November 24, 2009 at 01:28pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Is that a camera? AND a microphone? Wait, I'm coming!
Apparently, there is talk that the Jim Bates demotion was the result of players revolting against his system and demanding a change. Ronde Barber has gone on the record to say that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t think any players, save a few, knew about this until today,” Barber said. “There wasn’t any player input, it wasn’t a mass revolt against Jim Bates. That’s conjecture and fun to write, but completely false.”

I’ve looked around and can’t find anything that initiates the revolt theory, so maybe it’s on the radio or a blog or somewhere less reputable. But it was loud enough that Barber thought he had to respond and stick up for his buddy Raheem.

And, hey, that thing we were talking about last week regarding the defense’s lack of identity. Ronde agrees.

“Let’s not get it confused, we’re still trying to form an identity,” Barber said. “You can say it yourself, there’s not anything we’ve done particularly great to say we have an identity. We know we’ve had a lot of turnover on this team, so we’re still trying to establish that for the rest of these six games and going forward. Identity will be what it is from here on out. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s the way it’s been, there probably will be more changes.”

Yeah, big ones.

“You know what? We’re a 1-9 football team,” Barber said. “I don’t think anybody ever expects to be that. Obviously, you’d rather have stability, but you live with your decisions, you know? At a time like this, I wouldn’t say they made a bad decision on Jim Bates. Jim’s done some great things for this defense.”

NAME ONE! God, why didn’t someone ask him to cite just one example of something great Bates did for the defense? Did he switch from store brand donuts to Krispy Kreme in the morning? That must have been it, because it certainly wasn’t anything we could see on the field.

Coordinators? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Coordinators!

November 24, 2009 at 09:22am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

But I *AM* smiling.
Hey, guess who got relieved of all playcalling responsibilities.

Saddled with the worst run defense in the NFL and a 1-9 record, coach Raheem Morris decided Monday night to relieve Jim Bates as defensive coordinator and take over the defensive play-calling duties.

Bates is going to stay with the team in a “consulting” role, but that just means that he’s going to remain a technical employee while standing around impotent and looking like less than a man. Bates’s defense this season has been nothing short of fucking awful and there’s no way he’s going to be contributing anything meaningful to whatever new defense will be introduced. But Morris is likely keeping him on the staff because to actually dismiss both of your coordinators IN SEASON means that you are the worst evaluator of personnel ever and should not be in charge of anything more important than the coffee maker.

Morris is expected to immediately return the Bucs to their Tampa 2 scheme, which will allow their undersized defensive linemen to take advantage of their quickness rather than penalize them for a lack of size.

This is no problem for Ronde Barber and Barrett Ruud and Chris Hovan where the Tampa 2 resides snugly in their DNA. But for Roy Miller, Kyle Moore, Geno Hayes, Dre Moore, Aqib Talib and any other defensive player who has been with the team less than two years, it’s going to be a pretty big adjustment. And these are the players who make up the youth movement that the team undertook when the season started. For the defense, this truly was a wasted year. Everything they learned, starting with the first minicamps in May up until now, is useless. Fuck.

I was on board with the Bates hire initially because I remember what he did in Miami and thought he had that same kind of old-guy passion for football that Monte Kiffin had. And let’s be fair. Bates is not instructing these guys to miss tackles, which is one of the big problems this season. But it has been apparent for weeks that whatever he is teaching isn’t working on the field. The team has been creeping back into Tampa 2 for the last several weeks, and Bates is not the man for that job.

Maybe this defense will finally have an identity again. At least now these next few weeks can be used to transition everyone back to Tampa 2 and use that as a jumping off point for next season. That is assuming Morris is still with the team next season. These two wasted hires really look bad for him, and the only thing you can point to that Morris can hang his hat on is recommending Josh Freeman as their first round pick this year. Winning a game or two or at least being competitive is going to be critical for Morris this season. When Freeman looked good right from the start, I thought that would be enough to save Morris’s job for another season. After this, I’m not so sure.

This Defense Has No Identity

November 16, 2009 at 03:32pm by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Talib and Wilkerson lament the season they are pissing away.
Raheem Morris admitted that he second-guessed his defensive playcalling on Miami’s game-winning drive. Wait, HIS playcalling?

“I did that all night, thanks,” Morris said. “It’s one of those things where you say what would you do differently. The coverage I wouldn’t change. You want play two man, but maybe you do bring a guy in two man (coverage) or some kind of two man blitzing coverage. But realistically, it’s your guys versus their guys and you just want your guys to win in that situation. We’ve just got to believe in that.”

What the hell is Jim Bates around for if Raheem Morris is in there calling Tampa Two coverages? You practiced the Bates two-gap thing all summer long.

“It’s easy to do that. Ronde Barber called me last night and apologized because he second-guessed the first call (Tampa Two). He said, “I shouldn’t have done that. What am I doing? That’s what we do.’”

That’s what you do? REALLY? Because the bill of goods we’ve been sold all offseason and up until now is that you’re a press team now, not a Tampa Two. I guess it makes sense that Jim Bates has been reduced to a clipboard-holding statue if you’re going back to Tampa Two. I guess you’re just keeping him around because firing BOTH coordinators during the season would make it seem like you don’t know what you’re doing and we wouldn’t want that now would we.

Pick something, please. You drafted Roy Miller and Kyle Moore specifically for this defense. Have those picks been wasted because you’re switching defenses? Or are you jettisoning Bates and going back to Tampa Two, completely writing off whatever progress these players made this season?

Things People Said

September 24, 2009 at 09:59am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

What the photo doesn't show is that he ran around the building first to get to the dummy here.
Lots of defensive personnel got face time yesterday to talk about what their various problems, how they’re dealing with them and what they’re doing to solve them. I’ll warn you now, it’s not a happy story. First up, Gaines Adams:

“We’re 0-2, so it’s not just me that has to work harder,” he said. “The guys that are in the spotlight need to make more plays. The guys that are depended on, such as myself, they all need to make more plays.”

Ugh, this is depressing. This is probably like something that happened to him in elementary school. “Mr. Adams, were you talking in class?” “Yeah, but so was everyone else!” Except he’s doing it as an adult. If, two games in, he is trying to deflect responsibility to his teammates when Raheem Morris called him out by name, it’s a bad sign for the rest of this season. This may not end well.

Jim Bates:

“It’s awfully hard during preseason to tell where a team is at,” Bates said. ”You’ve got to get into the season, and we have to make adjustments. It isn’t like we have Deion Sanders out there that I was part of for years or that we have (former Dolphins cornerbacks) Sam Madison and Pat Surtain. I mean, we have to adjust a little bit to what I’m accustomed to doing in a lot of situations.”

Please leave your opinions on this in the comments. Is Bates really saying that he is having to change his scheme because his cornerbacks aren’t as talented as he’s used to? That’s just wrong on so many levels. What are Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib supposed to think about themselves now? How are they going to have faith in Bates when Bates has no faith in them? Deion Sanders was one of the most physically gifted athletes to ever play football… any position, any time. What purpose does it serve to compare your guys to a standard that they can’t possibly achieve? Imagine telling your wife that you have to adjust your boner because she’s not Angelina Jolie. Would she take it well? Would she be more inclined to try and please you?

And I’m not even done with Bates yet.

“I have to be able to adjust. … We put the plan together. It isn’t a Jim Bates game plan. It’s all bringing it in together and working as a defensive staff.”

Maybe I’m looking at this too negatively after the first quote, but it sure sounds to me like Bates is relinquishing ownership of the defense now. Bates has been the coordinator since February. If he didn’t think he had the players for his scheme, he had plenty of time to change them. Maybe Morris didn’t let him. Maybe that’s why Derrick Brooks and Cato June are gone. Bates couldn’t use them and that’s as many starters as Morris thought the fans and ownership would accept losing, so now Bates is stuck with players whose weaknesses he has to work around. This is all just thinking out loud here, but what else could he mean?

Now Raheem talks about it:

“We can always mix and match our coverage,” Morris said. “Like I (said) when I hired Jim, he was always pounding me down trying to figure out about the Tampa 2, and I was always trying to hound him down trying to figure out about quarters (coverage). Now we’re just trying to find a happy medium where our players can get comfortable and go out there and play as fast as they possibly can.”

There are any number of possibilities for mixing defenses; teams do it all the time. But they’re usually primarily one kind of defense that they can adjust out of from time to time as the situation requires. It sounds like Tampa Bay doesn’t have a defensive scheme right now. They have a hodgepodge of shit that they’re trying to mold into something cohesive using players that they don’t sound very confident in. Thus the #31 defensive ranking in both yards and points.

Morris tried to address the doubts.

“It would be if you were a mentally weak team,” Morris said when asked if players would start to naturally question the defense at this point. “This is not a mentally weak team, neighborhood, staff or locker room. I’m sure you guys remember that in 1996 Tony Dungy walked in here and had a defense with Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch. They said Lynch couldn’t play safety and should be moved to linebacker.”

Move a safety to linebacker? No, that would be crazy.

“They said Brooks was too small to play linebacker, and they said Sapp was too fat and had too many off-the-field issues. Thirteen years later we can’t believe we got rid of them and that they’re no longer with the Bucs.”

You can’t believe you got rid of Brooks, huh? Were you being controlled by hypnosis when you cut him in February? Are you aware that he is still unsigned and that if you thought he could help, he could be made part of the team again very easily? What a fucking dumb thing to say. “I can’t believe we got rid of Brooks.”

But I think his point is that even the evolution of the Tampa 2 was slow even with the quality of players they had on board back then, so expect this to go slowly as well. It’s his way of gently lowering public expectations, which is a smart move at this stage. Between this and the local media predicting a winless season, I think we’ll all be happy if the team successfully finds their way to the stadium each week.

Thursday Minicamp Summary

April 03, 2009 at 10:57am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Why is Morris watching the ball?  Eyes on the target!  Fuck it, you're benched.

  • In addition to the guys who didn’t participate Wednesday afternoon, Greg White and Ronde Barber also weren’t there on Thursday. Additionally, Jeff Faine, Kelly Campbell and Cadillac Williams were there but didn’t practice. There were a couple others, too, but my guy didn’t get their jersey numbers.
  • I’m surprised about Barber. He’s the senior guy on the team now and really should be setting the bar as high as Derrick Brooks did for the rest of the team. I realize it’s voluntary, but if you want to be really great, you have to put in the extra time and Barber should be illustrating that by example.
  • At the end of 11-on-11s, John Gilmore and some defensive player got into a fight. They were on the ground going at each other when it was broken up.
  • Luke McCown looked even sharper Thursday than Wednesday. If this minicamp is any indication of how he’ll do in training camp, he’ll be hard to beat.
  • McCown was, however, picked off by Sabby Piscitelli on a short pass that never had a chance.
  • Michael Clayton was returning punts. This, I assume, is a contingency plan in case Clifton Smith is injured.
  • There were several drops. Jerramy Stevens, Brian Clark, Dexter Jackson and Cortez Hankton all had drops, with Jackson’s being pretty bad. Clayton didn’t drop any from what I heard.
  • Anthony Mix made an incredible catch in coverage.
  • Raheem Morris played both quarterback and defensive back in various drills.
  • Jim Bates went from being pretty quiet on Tuesday to absolutely yelling his guts out on Thursday. Bates was not happy with the performance of the defense during the last practice.
  • The whole practice looked slower than the last two days. Morris is stressing conditioning and playing with the proper weight by the time summer hits.

In all this was a nice opportunity to see who is taking this seriously and who may be prone to coasting. Even though no one was as sharp as they need to be later on, it wasn’t really expected in April. As Morris said here, the emphasis was on timing, precision, chemistry and conditioning. And it gave the coaching staff some material to work with over the next month. Now, how do we burn three weeks until the draft?

Greg Peterson Is Getting Laaaaaarger

March 25, 2009 at 03:36pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Greg at 280.  Look how fancy he is -- he hits the bags with his pinky out.
Pewter Report is reporting (it’s right in their name!) that Jim Bates has decided to split the defensive line coaching duties between defensive tackles and defensive ends. DTs will be coached by new guy Robert Nunn and DEs by Todd Wash. Greg Peterson, who I guess was the one guy hanging around the weight room, seems to like the idea.

“I’m real excited,” Peterson said. “Coach Nunn has the inside – the defensive tackles – and Coach Wash has the outside – the defensive ends. Even when we’re doing drills, Coach Nunn will come up to you and work with you one-on-one. When we just had Coach Wash here last year, he could only see so much. I think it’s a good thing for us to have two coaches.”

Then Peterson went on to explain how Nunn thought he needed to gain weight for Bates’s scheme, so he has spent this offseason putting on thirty pounds. Try to imagine him gasping for air at every fifth syllable.

“I’m up to 310 pounds,” Peterson said. “Coach Wash wanted me to add the weight for Coach Bates’ system. I feel a little heavy, but I’m getting in the weight room and I’m learning how to run with it and move with it. It’s a lot different from 280, but I’m starting to feel comfortable at 310. I actually think I can get a little bit heavier, but I just don’t want to get too heavy.”

Hey, why not heavier? Nothing feels better in the middle of summer in Tampa than being obese and running a lot, right? Hey, I know even at 310 he’s not the heaviest guy on the team. But Ryan Sims and Davin Joseph didn’t get there in the span of two months, either. Nunn must have him in a veal stall with a trough of Crisco at one end and a weight bench at the other. I know Bates likes those big elephants in the middle collapsing the pocket, and in theory it’s a good plan. But, man, thirty pounds in two months seems a little dangerous. Find something that weighs thirty pounds and attach it to yourself, then walk around for a while. It’s tough, isn’t it? Now do it when it’s 110 on the field and you’re not conditioned for the extra weight and instead of walking, run and hit stuff. “Plugging the middle” doesn’t include laying on the field and clutching your chest.

Jim Bates Likes Man On Man

February 18, 2009 at 03:32pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

You can barely tell he's wearing adult diapers.
Jim Bates spoke with the media today about his plans for the Buccaneer defense. All in all, not a lot is going to change. Here’s what I took from it:

- He will try to continue using the Cover 2 philosophy of rushing only the front four. But he’s prepared to blitz if necessary.
- No more over/under fronts. Just a straight four in a one-gap scheme.
- He does like bigger defensive tackles and wants to rotate the linemen a lot.
- Lots more man on man coverage by the cornerbacks. This is not good news for Ronde Barber.
- Safety play won’t change.
- Mentioned Barrett Ruud specifically. Says he’s very bright.

Here’s the best part. He’s speaking about defensive ends:

“So many guys come out of college and they’re speed guys and all they do is just rush off the edge. And in this league, you can’t do it. They have to have what we call different pitches. If you’ve only got a fastball, you better lookout because they are going to hit home runs against you. You have to have some changeups.”

Are you listening, Gaines? You can’t line up ten yards from the ball and expect to get to the quarterback with speed. I’m really looking forward to Bates giving Adams a new repertoire of pass rush moves and him exploding for double-digit sacks in 2009. That, all by itself, would be change enough. He also said he likes bigger defensive tackles, but could work with undersized ones. But if they’re not productive (as Jovan Haye was not in 2008,) why would he keep them? Look for a big time defensive tackle free agent signing or a high DT draft pick this year. Peria Jerry (Ole Miss) is starting to look like a very strong possibility.

He said other stuff about his time in Miami and how much he respects Monte Kiffin and blah blah blah. The bottom line is that not all that much is going to change except the cornerback play. That could be huge for Aqib Talib and Phillip Buchanon, who are more physically suited for bump and run. Barber won’t be released, but if this plan goes through as Bates wants it to, he’ll be phased out this year and probably released next offseason.

Now, can someone tell me why Bates is six years younger than Kiffin, yet he looks about 20 years older? That’s the kind of accelerated aging usually reserved for presidents and meth-whores.

Joe Baker Hired As Secondary Coach

January 26, 2009 at 08:55am by Scott   •  No Comments »

I just picked this photo because everyone else is going to use the Denver one.
This one is for real. Joe Baker, most recently the Broncos’ linebackers coach, has been hired to be the Buccaneers’ defensive backs coach. Baker worked with Jim Bates in 2007 when they were both in Denver. He’s been working for NFL teams since 1994 and has plenty of experience coaching the secondary. In fact, the Bucs interviewed him a few years ago for that position when Mike Tomlin left for Minnesota. And on top of all that, he’s a Princeton grad. I like this hire.