TAMPA, Fla. -- When a football team is losing, the easy scapegoats are the quarterback and the head coach. Josh McCown and Lovie Smith have been getting their share of the blame during Tampa Bay's 0-2 start.
But Smith pointed the finger in another direction Monday.
"A lot's being said about our offense and what we're doing in certain situations," Smith said. "But where we're really not performing well enough is on the defensive side. From long drives to taking the ball away to third downs. Our first goal on the defensive side is to score. We haven't come close to any of those things right now at this stage of our season. But they will come."
Smith brought up a good point. In his system, strong defense is supposed to be the key. In losses to Carolina and St. Louis, the defense has been ordinary. The Bucs rank No. 14 in overall defense (tied for 19th against the run and 15th against the pass).
A lot of people just assumed that the return of Smith, who served as linebackers coach under Tony Dungy, would mean instant defensive success. Smith brought the Tampa 2 scheme back, but he hasn't been happy with the way the defensive backs have been executing it.
"To a man, we're not pleased with how we're playing," Smith said. "That's starting with breaking on the ball, stripping the ball, taking the ball away. Our entire game right now, we're not pleased with. Even tackling. It's all of the above right now. We have to see more improvement. If we can just do that, we're going to be in pretty good shape."
"We need to get more up front," Smith said. "We're not getting enough. We've had two quarterbacks come in and we haven't pressured them enough and gotten ourselves into a position where we felt like we had to blitz more just to be able to get some pressure."