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August 21, 2012 @ 1:32 pm
Current rating: 4.50 Stars/2 Votes

Watson Primed To Take The Next Step For Bucs Defense

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Dekoda Watson is one of the most impressive physical specimens inside the gates of One Buc Place. But looking the part and actually performing are two different things. The former Nole is excited to take the next step in whatever capacity head coach Greg Schiano asks of him and thinks 2012 will be an impact season.
Buccaneers outside linebacker Dekoda Watson is a physical specimen. One would be hard pressed to find many with the athletic skills and physique that can match Watson anywhere inside Tampa Bay’s locker room. So why hasn’t the ability and physical skills translated to on-field success?

Several factors could be the cause – some Watson controls and others he doesn’t.

First, the contract of current starting strongside linebacker Quincy Black certainly may play a part. With Black signing a five-year, $29-million contract prior to the 2010 season (with the first two years guaranteed), the Buccaneers are giving Black every opportunity to earn that money on the field as opposed to standing on the sidelines.

Secondly, sources have told PewterReport.com that Watson just hasn’t developed into a three-down linebacker, struggling in pass coverage at times and limited to being a one-dimensional situational pass-rusher as a result.

Lastly, sources also told PewterReport.com that at times last season Watson struggled with maturity to a degree and frustrated his coaches by getting down when things didn’t go as well as Watson liked.

This season, however, signs are pointing to Watson finally perhaps becoming an impact player for Tampa Bay – even if it happens in small doses.

“I feel like right now—I tell myself 10 plays,” Watson said. “If I get 10 sacks I feel like that’s more than enough for the team. At the same time I feel like it is going to be a lot more to come. 10 big plays. That’s 10 plays that I need, but it's other things that comes with it. Of course with the tackling, maybe an interception, you never know.
“At the same time I am not going to minimize myself just because I am not a starting linebacker right now or anything like that. I am going to play hard wherever I go [whether it is] special teams, defensive end, strong side linebacker it doesn’t matter.”

While 10 sacks – or 10 big plays – are goals Watson is striving for, he knows there is still much to learn in the new Bill Sheridan defense.

“I can’t necessarily say that I am comfortable (in the new defense),” Watson said. “I am never going to be comfortable in this. My mindset that I always have is if you get comfortable you start to get comfortable (in your goals). You get what I am trying to say? I am trying to stay on my ground. Just make sure that I get familiar with the defense and continue to stay on the ball at all times.”

Head coach Greg Schiano has been pleased with what he has seen from the former FSU star.

“I think he’s been (making a case for more playing time) since the beginning,” Schiano said. “He’s been playing in our first rush group, so he’s continuing to make that case that he should be there, justifying the case is really what it would be. I mean, he looked great in one on ones and he ripped it up. That’s good.”

Being a seventh-round draft pick in 2010 has been a source of motivation ever since Watson entered the league, and he uses it daily in an effort to get better.

“Every day,” Watson said. “Every day. To this day I still write down on things 217, 217, 217. That’s the number that I got picked and I take that very personal. But at the same I am not mad at anybody. I am just going to show everybody that I am worth more than that. [I] am worth more than 217. It has always been a fight. I would rather be the underdog than just live by name. I am not saying anybody out here is, but I know for my personal value, I would rather work for mine.”

Assistant coach Bryan Cox has taken on a similar role that former Viking great Keith Millard held last season, being in charge of improving the Buccaneers anemic pass rush (just 23 sacks in 2011). Watson, who was just 13 when Cox retired, smiled when asked about his first time meeting Cox.

“I didn’t know who he was when he first walked in,” Watson said. “I didn’t really care for him because I was like, ‘who is this guy trying to tell me what to do’? Probably didn’t play a down of football in his life. [I] looked him up (online) and, uh slap in the face!

“So I really respect him. I respect what he is teaching me. I respect him because he knows what we are coming from. What we are going through and everything. He has really helped all of us out, speaking especially for the linebackers through this camp.”

The Aiken, South Carolina native knows that despite some success in training camp and the preseason, it won’t matter unless it translates to the field when the regular season starts.

“Personally I just look at it like this – we are still in camp,” Watson said. “We are still trying to get better. I mean none of these numbers count. The sack that was made or the things that we did these past two previous games it means nothing right now. Everything matters when we play the Panthers. Right now we are just trying to make ourselves better. Take it one day at a time and then we will go from there.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 17:46

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  • avatar

    Mr. Incredible, Horse or whoever; Lay off the Raheem stuff from last year. We got blown out this weekend in a preseason game. Is that Raheem's fault? We are not a good team and have no depth, with plenty of question marks. These questions marks are; Freeman, Black, Trueblood, McCoy, and many others. So, please blame Dominick or move on! Don't be the guy that gets divorced and years later your blaming your ex, because your a loser. You guys were jumping up and down on Raheem's (Nu??) when he won 10 games. Now every scrub that can't play it's because Raheem did not coach him properly. Really!!!! As soon as, Shaino does not turn this team around. The fair weather fans will jump off his (Nu??) and on to the next. Shiano, has not won a regular season game, nor has he coached one pro bowl NFL player, and some are giving him a yellow jacket. Mark Dominick, is the problem not Raheem! Remember, follow the bad picks and signings. No free agent signing in 2011 except a punter. Questionable draft picks, Myron Lewis, G. McCoy, Myron Lewis, A.Benn, B. Price, wasted draft picks on Luke Stocker. Don't forget signing Qunincy Black, the wasted 6th rnd pick to the Eagles for the garbage receiver REggie. For the record, Desmond Briscoe had 3 catches 51yds and a TD, against the Bears. Another, great move! Like over paying for a CB in free agency. Don't be distracted by the "shinny new object"
  • avatar

    I think we all got a little "down" last year with the way things went. I think it would be difficult for Watson to fill the roll of QB of the defense. Dudes know when a guy just isn't that sharp. That being said, there's no reason this guy can't contribute significantly this year. Horse - totally agree that a guy like this suffers most with a romper room atmosphere like Raheem ran.
  • avatar

    I like Watson but I really believe what he needs is a good tutor to teach him the playbook and teach him the mental side of the game, to the extent he can learn. I think that drawback is why he wasn't picked a lot higher. I also think Black is having to overcome the negative impression he left on the fans when he was brave enough to play hurt last year because of his big contract instead of going on injured reserve like he should have. Will he ever be a superstar as I believe David will--no, but I look for him to have a lot better year this year. Coach Quinn, the Defensive Coordinator for the Florida Gators in the off season worked up a video for every one of his defensive players, which shows the great plays they made in the past to build their confidence and then shows them from their past plays also what they need to work on to get better. It motivates each of them to keep striving to improve their games. The Gators also have a weight room expert who used to prepare college players for the Pros; he has built them into much stronger players for this season. I hope the Buc weight program is doing the same. Our backup linemen don't seem stronger than the backup players we had last year; so I wonder! That is an area PR hasn't really focused on. Hint. Hint.
  • avatar

    Raheem Morris was the worse kind of Coach for Watson. I watched him in every game he played at FSU and he can play this game if given the chance. There are players that look great in practices like Q. Black and can't play worth a darn in real games; Watson doesn't fit that scheme in my opinion. Time to give Watson the chance; he can't be worse than Black?
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