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March 26, 2012 @ 11:55 pm
Current rating: 4.17 Stars/6 Votes

Pewter Confidential 3-27

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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What really happened in the Buccaneers pursuit of Falcons free agent linebacker Curtis Lofton? Are the Buccaneers really as bad off defensively as they showed in 2011? What are the chances tight end Kellen Winslow is traded before the start of the season? Find out Mark Cook's thoughts and these subject and more in this week's Pewter Confidential.
Mark Cook offers up his insight and the latest inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from his sources at One Buccaneer Place and around the league in the Pewter Confidential, which appears on PewterReport.com weekly.

The Inside Scoop On Lofton
With the play of the Buccaneers linebacking corps in 2011 it would have seemed almost a certainty that Tampa Bay would have made improving that position one of its top priorities during this offseason. Within the first few minutes of free agency on March 13, reports began circulating that Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton was signing with the Buccaneers. But as the day turned into evening, then nighttime, the signing never happened.

Talking with a very credible and reliable source last week, it appears the Buccaneers were never really “in” the Lofton sweepstakes as most felt. The Buccaneers did do their homework, and even “kicked the tires,” but as far as making an offer, it most likely never happened.

In a Pewter Confidential column leading into free agency, I wrote specifically about Lofton and how much of an impact I thought he could make – not only with play on the field, but also in the leadership department. A national writer who covers the Falcons was also in agreement that Lofton possessed solid, on-the-field talent, and above average skills in leadership. The only question we both seemed to have, was Lofton a two-down or a three-down linebacker? We both agreed Lofton didn’t excel in pass coverage, but after watching the Buccaneers in 2011, neither did any linebacker that wore the pewter and red.

The source confirmed that the Bucs organization also had serious doubts about Lofton’s ability in pass coverage. In fact, they were actually emphatic in their opinion that Lofton was strictly a two-down linebacker. They did agree his locker room presence was intriguing, but the fact is there are hundreds of guys walking the streets who could have a impact on a young locker room. That doesn’t necessarily mean they would be a good fit on their football team. The source also hinted that there might be some concerns health-wise that made them also think twice.

Another misnomer the source revealed was that the reports of Lofton demanding $9 million per season being completely false. The starting point may have been in the $5 million range, but steadily dropped after a lack of interest from around the league. In fact, the source said just before Lofton reached an agreement with New Orleans, the asking price for his services dropped under $3 million per season. Yet Lofton’s only real interest came from the Saints, who are facing the possibility of starting the season without Jonathan Vilma, and are desperate for linebackers.

The source made the case that if Lofton was such a highly-rated linebacker, why did the Falcons go out, even before free agency, and sign his replacement in Lofa Taputu, who wasn’t even in the NFL last season? And where were the other teams blowing up his agent Todd France’s phone scheduling visits? The reality is that it took Lofton two weeks to find a home and the Bucs clearly weren't interested enough to make an offer.

So what now for the Buccaneers as far as linebacking goes? Are the Buccaneers still bent on making Mason Foster their starting middle linebacker? It appears that is the game plan heading into the draft next month. But don’t be shocked if Tampa Bay shocks everyone and addresses the position early.

Very early in fact. Not necessarily at No. 5 but inside the top 15. It will take a willing trade partner and the right deal, but the Buccaneers will have no qualms with trading out of the No. 5 spot, forgoing LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Alabama running back Trent Richardson in the process in order to acquire more draft picks. Although running back and cornerback are areas of need in Tampa Bay, the draft is very deep in those positions.

The Buccaneers will most likely bring in a few free agent linebackers as training camp approaches, not with the idea of starting, but just as camp bodies. They have already signed one in Rennie Curran. And if things don’t work out in the first round as they may like, it seems no one at One Buccaneer Place will lose sleep if Foster lines up on opening day as the starting middle linebacker.

I also took from the conversation with the source that the Buccaneers are eager to see what Foster has to offer after a full offseason and a season of coaching from what many perceive to be a better defensive staff than in 2011.

The Demise of Tampa Bay's Defense
Let’s face it; the Buccaneers defense in 2011 was terrible. No need to sugarcoat it, they were very difficult to watch, and I didn’t drop a couple grand on season tickets. So the big question is why did the Buccaneers only address a cornerback in free agency? The answers are several, one of which may be the biggest factor – they couldn’t fix all the holes in one offseason and targeted Jackson and Nicks as the two best overall players available in free agency.

Secondly, some the players that were available, the Buccaneers weren’t convinced they were good fits or good values.

Lastly, the team has a higher level of confidence in the current talent of the defensive side of the ball than most fans or those in the media care to believe.

Stat-wise there is not a lot to argue with. The Buccaneers were 30th in the league in total defense, last in points allowed, last in sacks and first in plays of 20 or more yards allowed. And of all the futile defenses the Buccaneers have out on the field since 1976, none have allowed more points than the 494 Tampa Bay surrendered to opponents last season.

I am not trying to be a Buccaneers apologist or sway anyone’s opinion, but looking at the defense after the first six games, the team was 4-2, first place in their division and playing competitively on both sides of the ball. While the defense wasn’t ranked in the top 10, it was middle of the pack and gave no indication of the late season swoon that was about to begin.

In the course of those four wins the Buccaneers were able to beat the Falcons and Saints, two playoff teams, including holding the Saints to their lowest point total (20) in all of 2011. The key to winning both of those games was the Buccaneers defense’s ability to shut down the run. Tampa Bay held the Falcons to 30 yards on 15 carries. Against the Saints, the Buccaneers run defense once again was stellar holding the trio of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles to just 70 yards on 20 carries, while forcing three Drew Brees interceptions.

So the big question is where did it all go wrong? Did these guys all of a sudden forget how to play defense? How do you hold Michael Turner to 20 total yards in the first game, and then in the last game of the season allow him double his total on his very first carry?

Part of the downfall can be attributed to the attitude of the defense. Playing defense is about scheme and talent, but a big part is about wanting to impose your will on your opponent. In those four wins the defense wanted to do just that, and it showed. Rookie middle linebacker Mason Foster played better earlier in the season, as most players did. But also like many players, the wear and tear of a long season and lack of metal toughness became the story line. When thing started going south, heads hung and the “want to” went out the window. By the last game of the season the Buccaneers defense was like a dog that had been kicked too much, afraid to come out from under the porch with its tail tucked firmly between its legs.

The biggest factor though might have been the injuries that took their toll. Sure, all teams are beat up after 16 regular season games, but when a young team lacking depth gets hammered by the injury bug, it is a recipe for disaster.

The string of injuries began in the first game when starting strongside linebacker Quincy Black suffered a leg injury. Black attempted to play the following week against Minnesota but was ineffective. The following week saw starting safety Cody Grimm catch friendly fire from teammate Geno Hayes, putting Grimm out of action and on injured reserve, sending Hayes to the bench in a hazy fog of a concussion on the same play. From there things went from bad to worse. Defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, cornerback Aqib Talib, defensive end Michael Bennett, safety Tanard Jackson, linebackers Dekoda Watson and Foster, and other key defensive contributors missed significant playing time at some point in 2011. By the end of the season, the Buccaneers were starting defensive players who were literally signed off the street (defensive tackles John McCargo and Jovan Haye) and asking them to play significant minutes.

Again, injuries are part of football and the Buccaneers were ill-equipped to handle them due to poor depth on both sides of the football, but even the most cynical fan would have to admit Tampa Bay suffered more than their fair share of injuries, and would also have to admit it played a significant role in the poor showing of 2011.

Management is aware of holes and gaps that will need to be addressed, and will attempt to do so in the draft and by possibly bringing in players who are released closer to the start of the season. But while the numbers don’t lie (remember someone once said stats are for losers), the gloom and doom may not be quite as bad as it appears on paper.

The actions by new head coach Greg Schiano and his staff by not being aggressive in free agency on the defensive side of the ball speaks volumes. Schiano believes that there is enough talent to develop and win with, and that most of the mistakes made on film are correctable with better coaching. We'll see if he's right come September.

Prospecting the State: OT Zebrie Sanders
It is hard to imagine the Buccaneers drafting an offensive linemen in the first two rounds with the amount of money already committed to that unit over the next several years. But RT Jeremy Trueblood is in the last year of his contract, and despite having one of his better seasons in 2011, the possibility exists that Trueblood won’t return after this upcoming season. While the Trueblood critics will be pleased, the fact is, currently there is no one better on the roster to replace him with.

Florida State’s Zebrie Sanders will likely go in the second round and while the Buccaneers may have other pressing needs, Sanders is someone Tampa Bay may still consider, especially if he somehow slips to the top of the third round.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, Sanders is a mountain of a man and showed very good lower body strength and power during his four seasons in Tallahassee playing for Jimbo Fisher and offensive line coach Rick Trickett. Sanders was one of the most dependable and reliable offensive linemen at FSU over his last two seasons. FSU ran a zone-blocking scheme and would fit in nicely with an NFL team that runs the same. Sanders is better when blocking down and crashing the defensive line as opposed to man-on-man or releasing to the next level, but his agile feet will allow him to grow at the NFL level.

At the Senior Bowl in Mobile Sanders didn’t standout, but also didn’t show any glaring weaknesses, either. Scouts seemed impressed with his lower body strength and also with his lateral movement. The one knock I saw in watching Sanders time playing for the Seminoles, was his occasional tendency to lose focus and make mental mistakes, primarily offsides penalties. In his defense, most college linemen not named Reily Reiff, David DeCastro and Matt Kalil suffered from the same fate occasionally.

While doubtful he falls into the third round, if somehow that happens, the Buccaneers could do much worse than drafting what could become the heir apparent to Trueblood as the team’s right tackle of the future.

Check out this video of Sanders against Miami last November.

Extra Points
• With Aqib Talib’s felony trial now pushed back to June 25, general manager Mark Dominik may be scratching his well-manicured head of hair, wondering how to handle the upcoming draft. Not knowing the fate of Talib will certainly cause some adjustment in the approach to the draft, but ultimately the Buccaneers should – and probably will – draft the best player on their board. It isn’t as if the Buccaneers are one or two players away from making a serious run deep in the playoffs.

You would have to think Dominik and Greg Schiano have always been planning for the worst and would now count Talib’s availability for 2012 as a bonus. By bringing Ronde Barber back and signing free agent Eric Wright, it appears the Buccaneers have had contingency plans at cornerback all along.

While I do not believe the Buccaneers have seriously considered trading Talib around draft day, if the possibility was ever being talked about, those chances went out the window with his trial date being moved for the second time.

• Tight end Kellen Winslow was rumored to have been shopped around the league a couple of weeks ago, but most likely it was an exploratory situation to gauge interest around the league. Right now, the Buccaneers have little in terms of replacing Winslow’s production (75 receptions, 763 yards and two touchdowns) and the fact is most players on the roster are always a trade possibilities, although trades are not very common in the NFL.

The Buccaneers may have some concerns with how Winslow’s sometimes abrasive personality will mesh with new head coach Greg Schiano, and if it appears there is any friction, Tampa Bay would most likely try and move Winslow.

A factor that could make it easier to get something in return for Winslow as opposed to an outright release, is his salary, (less than $5 million as opposed to nearly $9 million in 2011) is the lowest it has been since the former Hurricane came to Tampa prior to the 2009 season. That salary cap number also works in Winslow’s favor in staying with the Buccaneers at least one more season.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 11:11

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  • avatar

    So that was the "Plan All Along"? Take 3 years to have no depth at any position?! Clever, Dom.
  • avatar

    The buc's might need to address Right tackle in the future, But rb,cb,and lb are the position's that need the first three pick's.
  • avatar

    Its funny to me how some people suggest cut Talib and move Barber to safety when we have such little depth at corner. Look, if Talib is found not guilty, and has a better year than last year, he's not going anywhere. Period. Above average corners aren't a dime a dozen, ask Biggers. And why would they move Ronde to safety, he's a CORNER, we need CB's...geez. Why move a veteran to start at a position he's never started at in 14 yrs? Talib is not a "criminal" or "thug", just a hothead, and this latest case he was protecting his sister. And owlykat, no disrespect, but you could have Vince Lombardi coach Biggers up and he won't take Talib's roster spot on his worse day. He just can't cover. Even with our glaring need at CB I hope we take Richardson at #5 if he's there. Why? Well this team needs a spark, and only offense can do that. RB's have the easiest transition from college to the pros, and he's the best back in the draft and an instant impact player. This year we won't be able to fill all of the holes, that's just fact. And we might have to beat teams 38-35. But i'd rather see a shootout than a blowout any day of the week. And another thing, were not bringing back any players we cut 2 yrs ago, we cut them for a reason!
  • avatar

    Mark, thanks for giving us the inside scoop on Lofton. I also agree with you that getting a MLB in free agency should have been a top priority. I noticed, too, that Foster got worse instead of better as the year wore on. I hope Shiano can coach him up in the off season, but I'll be surprised if that works. That is why they need to be playing a healthy Quincy Black at that position as well in preseason, in case it doesn't work. If we get injuries at LB, we badly lack quality depth. I also agree completely with Horse that Talib is a character problem and should be gone. If he hates to lose he should have been playing at Pro Boxl level last year but he didn't!!! A rotten apple can spoil the barrell. We need more draft picks this year to fill all our holes and trading Talib is the best way to pick up one or more. Claiborne needs to be picked in the first round. He will be better than Talib. Biggers can be taught by Shiano to tackle and he has proven he can cover and has experience but he will never be a play maker. We need to keep him for depth at Nickel. Move Rhonde to safety and we'll be fine there with Black back there too (two good playmakers!) Take Miller in the 2d round to fix RB, the best OLB in the third, and then get Hardy off the Saints Practice Squad, who can outplay and replace our expensive TE, then the other 3 draft picks for backup depth (incl. another DB and LB) and a good FB who can start and free up Lorig to play some TE for us and be backup FB. Get Caddy back for our 3rd down back in free agency.
  • avatar

    You're saying that Quincy Black is a playmaker? Playa , maybe. Playmaker, I think not. And Ronde is fine at corner. He was out best corner last year so why move him? Safeties are fairly easy to find.
  • avatar

    doesnt Claborne need surgery on his hand ? If this is the case,any info on the condition ?
  • avatar

    Yes, he had the surgery last week. The Buccaneers told me Friday they have no issues with it and it will not affect his draft status. He will be ready for training camp wherever he is.
  • avatar

    I think the prosecution is stalling in the Talib case since I believe their client is currently behind bars..Hard to defend a guy with a huge wrap sheet..Talib is no thug~just an overly emotional guy~happens a lot in homes without a soild father figure(and from the case against him,we know his momma has a temper.We learn from what we are exposed to ). Winslow is close to his end in Tampa ~ the sooner the better is how I feel,next year would be fine too,just think we need a better option.We will see how his ego does when he realizes he is playing second fiddle to VJ.. Tampa is a rebuilding team,period. one FA period and 1 draft will not erase all the problems or shortcomings of this young team ~we need to get in the practice of drafting BPA instead of for need(always bites us in the *censored*) and biuld for the longhaul and not the short trip..I wouldnt mind seeing us trade with SD/PHI/CHI and grabbing a few picks with the move down.Having a shot at "the best" RB/CB in the draft is tempting,but I would rather drop down and get the best LB and with the extra picks grab the 2nd or 3rd best option at CB/RB..Our defense needs some poppers ~some smash your face kinda guys~like tjack pre weed bust...We are not yet contenders,but if we build right over time~there is no reason we cant become consistant contenders..Its almost our time again..Patience is whats most needed..
  • avatar

    Don't cut Talib.. with the new coaching staff his passion for winning will come out and his off the field issues will be no problem. The dude has huge talent, he could freakin be one of our top wide receivers if he wanted to. Draft Richardson at 5 and then grab a will linebacker in the second round. If freeman has blount and richardson running through these huge holes our o line is gunna create plus vjax going deep on playaction we will be down right dangerous. Our defense will be so much better with the ability to rest on the sideline. I truly believe a real offseason will benefit the defense in a huge way. Tanard Jackson was forced into playing last year after his suspension and was obviously rusty. I know he has pro bowl potential. Everyone remember his hit on dwight clark? yes he can tackle. put cody grimm and him back there together and they have great potential as long as grimm can stay healthy. I also think its unfair to judge foster after his first season being the general of a defense as a rookie. We don't need lofton, tulloch, fletcher, we just need foster to be coached up so he can become a real leader of this defense. With experience and good coaching our d line can become something great. Clayborne has a non stop motor and bowers has nightmare potential. McCoy needs to stay healthy but I will tell you that Brian Price is special. I watched him all his years at UCLA and when he is healthy he is scary. He is unblockable. Just wait Bucs fans were gunna be alright
  • avatar

    I know a lot of folks think we haven't filled enough holes in FA, and I agree, but I also don't think we are done yet. Wouldn't be surprised if we don't do much before the draft, but I hope we bring some guys in for depth before TC. I think we should go BPA in the draft, with an eye toward the big 3 needs (DB, LB, RB). Then hopefully we can pick up some of the more quality crumbs for depth. I feel that there are always some good players on the downside of careers, who are still available after the draft, even right up to the start of the season. As long as we are not as thin at RB as we were last year, when injuries exposed us, I think we will be ok. I do like the idea of London Fletcher quite a bit, to show our youngsters how it is done, but don't know that we will do it. Great insight into the Lofton soap opera. Makes me feel better about passing on him, just hope he doesn't catch anymore TDs from Free this year...
  • avatar

    Hey, I am of the mind that we should keep both of them. Of course that depends on the legal outcome with Talib. This article speaks about depth. If you take them off the roster then you are really gonna be hurtin come time where depth is needed. From the get go with the Talib situation, I have said that the FO should prepare as if we will not have his services this season. If he gets off great and if he is found guilty then he's gone, obviously. This team desperately needs all the help at TE they can get. Whether it's a pass catcher or run blocker, so cutting K2 wouldn't be prudent at this juncture. If they can trade him and get something for him OK, but they would need to replace him with a guy that can haul in 70+ balls and rack up at least 700 yds & 5+ TD's. I really think with VJax running around out there could make K2 a serious option in the air. They just need to iron out the RB position because those three positions feed off each other with opening up things for one another. I just think this team needs all the veteran players it can find, and we need both of these guys.
  • avatar

    one of the interesting things not brought up is how do we fill the holes?? we have 2 rbs on the roster we have a weak lb crew. some pieces are there, but not enough. talib is still a question mark, and with the gunslingers in our division, we need at least one more cb.. we only have 6 draft picks. again.. how do we fill all the holes? wouldn't an experienced pro or two do a world of good, like london fletcher, for instance?? foster could play outside for a year or two, gaing knowlege from him...
  • avatar

    THe Bucs cant fill all the holes this season. They know that. Now with that said they need to fill the roster with at least some more bodies. The Buccaneers will draft at least one if not two running backs. They will also sign undrafted free agents running backs after the draft. Blount, Graham, Madu and Lumpkin and Madu were all undrafted free agents. Linebackers are the same. I suspect two will be drafted and a few more added before cam begins. Not the optimal way, but again Tampa Bay targeted Nicks Jackson and Wright and wanted all three badly. Had they not gotten one of them there was a "next guy" list.
  • avatar

    Exactly, there was no way for them to fill all the holes in one off-season. I think if Dominick and Shiano can draft a great DB someone who can start right off the bat or maybe after a few games into the regular season; Along with a solid LB and a decent compliment to Blount out of the backfield we could call the draft a success, as long as they draft guys who will be there several years. Ultimately if they can get this team to improve to atleast 7-9 wins or even a wildcard playoff spot we can call this a solid off-season, and what we dont cover this offseason we can next off season
  • avatar

    Awesome article MC. I think this may have been the best Pewter Confidential yet. I agree wholeheartedly with every section. Lofton is great against the run but he's the E.J. Biggers of pass coverage. Teams would have just picked on him on every 3rd down. It was also great to hear your feedback on how Talib operates on the locker room.
  • avatar

    Mark, you tell us to watch Sanders against Miami and I did. Are you watching the same #77 that i did . You have got to be kidding. The kid gives up sacks and when run blocking on the second level he hit guys that are already on the ground . Goog thing you are not a scout. GO BUCS.
  • avatar

    Eric Sanders is an O lineman and there are not 100 highlight videos. I watched him for four years at FSU, every game. The thing I liked about the highlight video was it was most of his snaps in the game, not just a best of. If you read my analysis I stated Sanders is a better down blocker. As far as jumping on guys who are on the ground, if that is his man, you are taught to bury him. If Sanders is lying on top of you, you arent going to get up and make a play down the field. another factor is Sanders is a natural right tackle but was forced to play left tackle due to injuries on the FSU line. I'm not saying the guy is a future all pro but people who are (as you stated I'm not) actual scouts have him projected as a mid 2nd to early third round pick right now.
  • avatar

    I appreciate the comments on what Tampa may do. But where ever Tampa does,They are better off today then last year at this time. GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Mark i agree that Talib is judged to harshley we need him if he is found innocent we would be insane to release him...huge key to the secondary...but he couldn't do it alone last year...Biggers is the one that should be cut...if they cant see that by watching film then thats a problem...EJ's name was written in every DC handbook we faced last year! Lets get Talib and if we get Claiborne...teams will have to beat us over the middle or running.
  • avatar

    Mark also a great article that would be cool to read is draft projections if the Bucs go Claiborne @5 and draft projections if the Bucs go Richardson @5 ?? How long would the Bucs wait to address RB if passing on Richardson ?? What if they targeted Doug Martin in rd 2 and he was taken, do they reach for Wilson?? Also look out for Mychal Kendricks as early as rd 2. He is real good. Good article!!
  • avatar

    Mark, if void of depth was a problem last year, what will it be this year? Backup MLB Jacob Cutrera is a special teamer with camp bodies only at WLB. The Bucs only have 6 draft picks.. . . . . . You spoke of 3 and outs hurting the Bucs, which had a lot to do with no RB or running game due to lack of depth. The Bucs have actually lost 2 RBs since then. And again the Bucs only have 6 draft picks.
  • avatar

    No doubt the Buccaneers will need to pick up some depth. but if they take Richardson, or lamar Miller or Doug Martin then that shouldn't be a huge issue. I have no doubts the Buccaneers will add a few as training camp approaches. The bucs started last season with just three, Blount, Graham and Lumpkin. And the lack of depth did bite them in London.
  • avatar

    I fear we are seeing a repeat of last year's offseason miscalculation. Last offseason, Dominick and Raheem overestimated the talent and stood pat during free agency. That poor choice helped usher Raheem out the door and helped lead to an awful season. Now, we appear to be doing the same thing (on defense). In fact, it's much worse than that. Last offseason, at least you could make an argument to stand pat on Defense. This offseason, the tape is so awful that there can be no doubt we need a major talent overhaul. I'm not buying the attitude excuse. And, yes, the coaching was poor. But, still young players like Foster should have improved as the year progressed. We only got worse.
  • avatar

    No argument with a lot of what you are saying Bucterp, but I don't think Ray Lewis is making many plays in this defense towards the end of the season. D-line affects, LBs, LBs, affect secondary and so on. If the Dline had a great season then I would tend to agree. I will admit I was surprised no linebackers were brought in. In fact i would have bet the farm that that position would have been the major upgrading in FA had someone said the Bucs would land Nicks and Jackson before addressing the LB position.
  • avatar

    Good article Mark and much to think about. I believe that this Coaching Staff is not going to keep players with off field issues. It doesn't appear to be their style. Why would they keep Talib? It would go against all that they are trying to create in Tampa. One of the changes is front and center; character. It does make a difference. They may pay Talib in 2012, but I do not see him putting on a Buccaneer uniform until this case is resolved. I know I am going against many "Soundoffs", but a gun was involved. This case will play itself out and whatever happens, I just see this Organization moving on past character issue players.
  • avatar

    Horse I see where you are coming from. And I think character will matter and be more of a important factor with the new staff. But you can't cut Talib till the case is over. He may very well be innocent of the charges. Everyone is due their day in court before we judge too harshly. Let's see how it plays out. Thanks man.
  • avatar

    I think another reason was the number of 3 and outs on offense. You can't impose your will if you can't stay of the field long enough to catch your breath. With the additions on offense I think that will make the defense better as well.
  • avatar

    I totally agree on that. And in turn the defense hurt the offense as they were playing from behind most times, especially during the second half of the season. The Bucs gave up 304 first half points this season, 494 total. Both sides, along with coaching share in the blame.
  • avatar

    I see what you're saying about the defense giving up the second half of the season and we did have poor coaching. BUT I still contend that Hayes and Black would not be starting on any other team in the NFL and Sean Jones can't pick a football to save his family's life, while Biggers should never be more than a 4th corner. You can't coach talent and they all suck.
  • avatar

    Thug is a word used very often to describe Aquib Talib. I met the guy before and he was a cool dude. Nice had a good conversation with him. I can admit he is a hot head but thug he is not. Most of his actions so far in the NFL were due to reacting with his emotions without thinking. I do not see him robbing people, mugging people, or any random acts of killing. I know people will have things to say about me saying this, but I grew up in the hood I've seen thugs. He is not a thug.
  • avatar

    Sneedy, I agree thug isnt accurate. Bad temper, too emotional, etc.. yes. A decent guy in the locker room also. Actually was civil to most of the media on a daily basis. Never turned me down for an interview request. Barked at me a couple times but mostly willing to at least speak. And I will say this although some readers probably won't like it, but Talib hated to lose. One of the more emotional guys on the team. Extremely competitive. If more guys had his desire, the team would have been better off. Guy is also very intelligent, from a football standpoint at least.
  • avatar

    Great insight Mark on the Lofton situation -- puts it in perspective. I don't regret this not working out now. But: "A dog that was kicked too much"? Really? How much dog-kicking is just the right amount? :)
  • avatar

    I would agree with the statement about too many holes to fill in one offseason. The Bucs are still in the building mode and it was unfortunate the roster wasn't evaluated properly last offseason. The problems on defense were the result of poor coaching/leadership, injuries and a roster void of depth. Schiano might be able to coach up some of the current defensive players but talent is needed at CB and LB. I can see a defense heavy draft this time around. Throw in a RB and this team will be competitive.
  • avatar

    Wow, didn't know he dropped in price (Winslow) this season. And on the Lofton front, I thought he might be good in coverage. When I looked into it, it was pretty bad... it was really bad. I don't know how much the scheme could have masked that much inability. - 3SK
  • avatar

    Let Winslow go with Talib. One can;t practice and the other is just a thug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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