Bucs defense 'multiple,' but staying in 4-3 base, coach says
Just to put to rest any speculation that the Bucs could be shifting to a 3-4 defense this fall, defensive line coach Jay Hayes reiterated Thursday that while Tampa Bay will continue to have multiple looks defensively, they'll do it from a 4-3 base.
"I don't know who (is) speculating that," Hayes said. "We have the potential to do a lot of multiple things. Smitty (DC Mike Smith) has always had multiple packages. Is there a chance we could have a look that looks like a 3-4? Potentially, sure. For us to wholesale change and be a 3-4, I don't see that happening. We're always going to be a multiple front."
The Bucs had occasional looks last year that deviated from the standard four down linemen and three linebackers -- or two linebackers and five defensive backs in their nickel defense. Hayes said the goal is to take advantage of the athleticism at outside pass rusher while keeping offenses guessing as to where pressure will be coming from.
"When we have the types of athletes we have with Noah Spences and Jacquies Smiths and Ryan Russells and those types of guys. we're going to move people all around," Hayes said. "We're going to rush people, we're going to drop people, we're going to keep people on edge and not let them get a guage on swho is our guy. The NFL today, you have to do those things to be effective."
Spence has kept his weight down in the offseason and said he reduced his percent body fat from 13-14 to 9-10 percent, but Hayes said that doesn't point to his role changing -- he's shown he can not only be a third-down pass-rusher but an end on first and second down as well.
"Everyone's saying he slimmed down. He's actually heavier now," Hayes said. "Some of the games last year, he was weighing like (238). He's in the high 40s now. ... He's always going to be around a 245-250-pound guy. If he eats a whole lot, he might be 253. I wish I had that problem."