Eagles vs Buccaneers: Preparing for the enigmatic Bucs defense

US PRESSWIRE

Best against the run, worst against the pass. That's the 2012 Buccaneers defense.

There maybe no harder to understand defense in the NFL than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are hands down the best run defense in the NFL allowing just 82.3 yard per game and only 3.4 yards per carry. They are the only team to not have allowed at least 1,000 total yards on the ground this year.

Their pass defense however, ranks dead last. The Bucs are the only team giving up over 300 yards per game through the air and opposing QBs complete 66% of their passes against Tampa. They do generate a good b amount of turnovers with 17 picks, but rank near the bottom of the league with only 18 sacks.

They really are an enigma and Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was asked to try and explain how there can be such a spread between

"Normally when you have that separation, usually there are a host of reasons and some that we won't know. The only way that you'd know is being involved in it. The things that have become clear are that they are beat up injury-wise, certainly in the secondary. Secondly, you mentioned that there is a philosophy there of stopping the run with some run blitzes and crowd the box. Even when they're not, they're very quick at recognizing a running play so they get there pretty fast. They have some excellent players and that's why they are number one against the run. They are very good that way."

Whether this is a good or bad thing for the Eagles is an interesting question.

For one, the Eagles are kind of the mirror image on offense. They can run the ball now, but they're not a dangerous team through the air. So in some ways you might say the Bucs are well positioned to shut them down... But on the same token, maybe playing against a pass defense as bad as Tampa is just what Foles & co really need to get the air game moving. We certainly saw it start to wake up last week against Dallas.

As for the run game, this will be quite a bellweather for not only where Bryce Brown is but also where this suddenly decent looking offensive is. Certainly if we look at guys like Dennis Kelly & Jake Scott... They could be legitimately playing for starting jobs next year.

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