FanPost

Fact Check: Rivera's Tall Tale of a Buccaneer 8-Man Box

After Carolina's ugly 16-10 loss to the Buccaneers, head coach Ron Rivera was asked in his presser, why he got away from the run so early. Rivera had this to say...

"Well, they put 8 in the box for the most part. If you look at what they did, they were saying 'we're going to force you to throw the ball and become one dimensional'. To continue to pound it, the next thing you know you're in 2nd and 10 or 12, as opposed to if you're throwing the ball you have a chance to be 2nd a 5 or 4. So we tried to adjust to what they did, and one of our adjustments was to try and throw the ball ... If you go back and look at what they were doing, putting those 8 guys in the box, and some of what we do is an option run pass, the decision was to throw the ball on the QB's part too"

I remembered Tampa bringing the house at Cam at times, so when I heard this I took Rivera at his word. And this led me to a theory that poor play calling was more at fault than the O-line, who had been taking most of the blame. But the only way to be certain was to fact check Rivera, and go through each offensive snap to analyze the Buc's rush. So that's exactly what I did... After the jump...

I've put the details below. I could be a man off here or there, and they were moving around so much that it was difficult sometimes to gauge how they were lined up. However for the most part this should be accurate. While the Buc's did put more than 4 in the box quite often, I didn't see an obvious 8 in the box at all. Sorry Ron, but you misspoke like a politician at a national convention. Of course in his defense, he did just travel from the host city of the DNC, to the host city of the RNC. So maybe the fact twisting rubbed off on him.

What I found out was that on average the Bucs put 5 defenders in the box, and on average rushed 5. That sounds simple enough, except for the fact that they only put 5 in the box and rushed 5, 6 times. What this means is that Schiano put together a very active and diverse defensive rotation. DE's, Safeties and LB's were stepping up to and away from the line of scrimmage on every play. It was pretty common to see 7 at the line of scrimmage with 4 dropping back, and the next play only 4 at the line of scrimmage but with 3 additional blitzers. I can see how a newbie like Amini Silatolu would have been thoroughly confused.

Speaking of Silatolu, I noticed McCoy drop out of the box a few times, causing Amini to slide over to double the other DT. But then at the snap McCoy would rush anyways, leaving Amini completely out of position to block him.

Most importantly I noticed that while the O-line was not performing as well as they should, most of the time the QB pressure came with more than 4 rushing. For example, Cam was sacked on the offenses 3rd series when the Bucs rushed 7 defenders. Cam was nearly sacked just before the half, but scrambled for no gain after they put 7in the box and rushed 6. And on Cam's second INT that he said was "disgusting", he responded quickly after the Bucs rushed 6.

If you want to attempt to decipher my chicken scratch of notes, here are all the offensive snaps (assuming I didn't miss one :)). The 1st number is the down. "Rush" includes the blitz, and if it doesn't say how are many are in the box, then they rushed only those at the line of scrimmage.

1st Series

1 - rush 4, run for loss

2 - rush 4, pass complete to Olsen, 1st down

1 - rush 4, run for loss

2 - 7 box rush 5, pass dropped by Olsen

3 - 7 box rush 3, deep pass incomplete

2nd Series

1 - rush 4, run for 2 yards

2 - 5 box rush 4, pass complete to Olsen

3 - 6 box rush 5, pass tipped incomplete

3rd Series

1 - rush 4, complete to Murphy 1st down

1 - rush 4, pass complete to DWill in flat for 1st down (where was this the rest of the game?)

1 - 6 box, run for 8 yds

2 - 4 box rush 7, pass complete to Tolbert for a loss

3 - rush 5, pass compete to Smith for 30yds

1 - rush 5, pass complete to Murphy for 1yd

2 - 7 box rush 7, Newton sacked

3 - 6 box rush 6, deep pass incomplete

4th Series

1 - rush 4, pass complete Smith 1st down

1 - 4 box rush 6, pass complete Smith 1st down

1 - rush 4, pressure but pass complete to Tolbert for a loss

2 - rush 4, pressure, Cam scrambles for 2 yd run

3 - rush 3, pass complete to LaFell 1st down

1 - rush 3, pass complete to Olsen

1 - 7 box rush 6, pressure, Cam scrambles for no gain

2 - 7 box, false start offense

3 - 7 box rush 6, pressure, deep pass incomplete

HALF

1st Series

1 - rush 4, complete Smith

2 - 6 box rush 3, complt Olsen 1D

1 - 5 box rush 4, complt Smith 1D

1 - 5 box rush 4, complt LaFell TD

2nd Series

1 - rush 5, run DWill for 1yd

2 - 5 box rush 6, pass complete to Olsen 1st down

1 - rush 4, run DWill for 5yd

2 - 5 box rush 4, Cam scrambles for no gain

3 - 7 box rush 6, Cam scrambles for 15 yardsd 1st down

1 - 6 box rush 6, deep pass INT

3rd Series

1 - rush 5, pass complete to LaFell 1st down

1 - rush 5, run DWill for loss

2 - rush 4, pass complete to Olsen

3 - 5 box rush 6, deep pass incomplete

4th Series

1 - 5 box rush 4, Cam almost sacked

2 - rush 5, pressure pass incomplete

3 - rush 3, decent protection but Cam holds the ball too long and fumbles

5th Series

1 - rush 4, pressure, pass complete to Tolbert 1st down

1 - rush 4, pass complete to Murphy for 51 yards

1 - 4 box rush 7, pass complete to Smith

2 - rush 4, pass complete to Smith

1 - 5 box rush 7, Cam runs for 4 yards

2 - rush 4, pass incomplete

3 - rush 4, Cam runs for no gain

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