The Buccaneers will look to improve in several areas this offseason, including the defensive line.
The Bucs recorded only one sack against Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 148 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Tampa Bay's defensive line recorded five sacks in its final five games, one in each contest. The unit's last multiple-sack game was against Detroit on Nov. 23, when it had four.
"We didn't get enough pass rush. We've been saying that for the last four weeks," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "When we did, we had a facemask or a penalty. I think we had a sack called back for an offsides. I think we had another big play, an interception, called back for a facemask.
"If you can't get there with a straight four-man rush, it's tough."
Tampa Bay's trademark Cover 2 scheme is predicated on getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks with its four linemen. Without that pressure, the linebackers and defensive backs who drop back in pass coverage are asked to cover for too long.
Defensive end Gaines Adams received much of the criticism for the defensive line's shortcomings this year. Adams, the fourth overall pick in 2007, finished this season with 6.5 sacks, compared to 6.0 his rookie season."I'm not going to say it was a disappointing year," Adams said. "Like I said, I did some good things. I still have a lot more room for improvement. I've just been down on myself because things haven't been going like I wanted it to, but you just have to be patient in this game. This is only my second year."