Clinton McDonald missed the last six games of the 2015 season after suffering a pectoral tear during the Bucs Week 7 collapse against the Redskins. His year in 2015 was a far cry from his 2014 season, a campaign in which he started 13 games, recording five sacks and a career-high 45 tackles while serving as a great compliment to Gerald McCoy against the run.
Bucs DT Clinton McDonald – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
But McDonald could be poised for a rebound year under D-Line coach Jay Hayes, who gave the 29-year old defensive tackle a ringing endorsement last Thursday.
Hayes had McDonald for his first two years in Cincinnati, after the Bengals selected him in the seventh round out of Memphis in 2009. While McDonald’s career didn’t take off until he was traded to Seattle – 44 starts in three years with Seahawks after spending the majority of his time in Cincinnati on the practice squad – his attitude and professionalism as a young pro left an impression on Hayes.
“I’ll tell you guys a quick story about Clinton,” Hayes began. “When he was a rookie on the practice squad and we would have an away game, he would show up at the stadium when we get off the bus from the airport. He would be there every game. No one told him to do it. That’s just the kind of guy he is and that’s why he’s had the kind of success he’s had throughout the league in Seattle and Cincinnati and here. He is a grown man and he’s carried himself that way since I’ve known him.”
Hayes, who called McDonald a “mature player” and a guy serious about his craft, said he was happy to see him win a Super Bowl in 2013 with Seattle.
Fast forward three years later, to McDonald’s third season in Tampa.
Though Hayes didn’t get into specifics on where McDonald could fit in along the four-man front this season, one could assume that he’ll reprise his role as a rotational tackle. Coaches and teammates alike have praised his leadership and he’s fared particularly well against the run when healthy.
The Bucs aren’t especially deep at defensive tackle, either, and while there have been questions of weather the team could move defensive ends like Noah Spence and Robert Ayers inside for certain formations, Hayes said it’s too early to make those decisions.
“Until we start getting some pads on and things like that, that’s kind of hard to tell,” Hayes said. “We’re just going to have to mix and match the guys we have. My history has been we’re going to roll guys through, keep people fresh and just keep coming after people in different ways. That’s kind of what I’ve always done and that’s what we’ll continue to do here.”
As it stands currently, the Bucs have six defensive tackles including three undrafted rookies. Outside of McCoy and McDonald, the team’s other two tackles are Akeem Spence, who also missed half of last season with a back injury, and A. J. Francis who they just signed on Tuesday. Tampa Bay did not re-sign Tony McDaniel, who remains a free agent.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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McDonald is ok not great so is A Spence but DT is not the worst unit on this team where it does feature a pro bowl DT and some compliment players like players mentioned above, PR try looking at the safety position that features McDougald, Conte and Tandy if you want a position of mediocrity
I’d agree with both of those comments – McDonald is a JAG as far as I can tell; Safety is a disaster waiting to happen this year…all that blitzing that we’re supposedly going to be doing is going to show whether Safety matters or not I suppose…
I have to agree with jongruden about the Safety’s; I’m hoping the CB’s this year can help the slow play of the present Safety’s.
Oh, I forgot about the cB whose is going to plsy Safety that we drafted.
Sorry jongruden, but I believe McDonald is more than nust :ok.”
Would rather give players an A to F rating and in this scenario McDonald is definitely a solid B. Ok is average and I just think McDoanald is more than just an average player.
Injuries happen to players at sometime in their career. It’s just a matter of time and when it is going to be, today or tomorrow.
Football is a brutal sport.
We should be good at DT as I’m sure they’ll be moving some guys around. I can see Gholston playing some DT as well.
I agree on the safeties but at the same time I like the “wait and see” approach. Maybe the scheme change will make a big impact. We shall see
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