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January 29, 2014 @ 8:34 pm
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Cullen Talks Bowers, McCoy, Evaluations, Use Of Stunts

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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New defensive line coach Joe Cullen met with the media on Wednesday at One Buccaneer Place and shared his thoughts on Tampa Bay's defensive line. Cullen like a lot of what he sees so far but is still in the early stages of player evaluation.
New defensive line Joe Cullen likes what he sees in terms of talent on the Bucs roster.

Finding a way for them to fit within the Lovie Smith-designed scheme and then coaching them to play up to their ability will be the challenge.

Defensive line coach Joe Cullen spoke to the media in a sit down session at One Buc on Wednesday and talked about a number of subjects including the ongoing talent evaluation, and the scheme they will employ.

Cullen was asked how far along his was in his evaluation of players and what excites him when he turns on the game film.

“I obviously know a lot of the guys because I’ve been in the league and I’ve gone through all the games," Cullen said. "I’m still in the process of doing the evaluation but there are some really good guys to work with and I’m excited about that.

“Obviously, the thing that you want to have here is a guy up the middle and Gerald McCoy has really come into his own and has done a good job with the type of season that he’s had. He’s a relentless guy that plays every down as hard as he can and can disrupt the game like nobody in the league.”

One of the big question marks from many fans and the media is the strange lack of development from defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. The former Clemson star was virtually handed the starting role when Tampa Bay declined to re-sign Michael Bennett last spring, but Bowers rewarded the coaching staff and management by coming into training camp out of shape. Cullen is looking forward to seeing if he and his staff can get Bowers back on track.

I think the big thing is, coming into the NFL from college, this is a totally different game now,” Cullen said. “And usually in that third year, some guys blossom late, some blossom early. He’s done a lot of good things. I can’t comment on what he’s done here prior to me getting here and our staff getting here, so there are some things that I think he has, qualities, to a dominant defensive lineman. He’s big, he’s powerful, he’s strong and those are great qualities. He has all the qualities you look for, he really does. He’s been injured, missed some time.

“Some guys come in right away and have a major impact, other guys it takes time. (Former Jacksonville Jaguar) Jeremy Mincy was cut four times. He was out of the league in 2009, a sixth-round pick, so it’s a different situation, but within two years he had nine sacks and was a pretty good player for us (in Jacksonville).

"I wasn’t here last year, I know him, he did some great things at Clemson, done some really good things here and I’m really excited to work wit him. He’s a strong powerful player that at times shows that he can overpower tackles and tight ends."
Cullen went on to talk about some of the other defensive lineman on the roster.

“I really liked [Adrian] Clayborn coming out of Iowa and some of the things he did as a rookie and even last year, even though they were in different schemes, and he plays hard every down.

“Akeem Spence when he was coming out of Illinois, he was kind of thrown into the fire as a rookie but he did some really good things.

“(And with) [William] Gholston, there are some really good guys here. When I was up in Detroit he was a youngster. I have a Big Man camp that I usually do and he might have been involved in that as a junior high player or early high school player. but I’ve followed his progress, really liked him coming out. Met most of the guys, but I’m excited about him and liked what he did at Michigan State and some of what he did last year. He looks good, plays hard, did some good things as a rookie.”

A small pocket of Bucs fans have convinced themselves that former head coach Greg Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan invented stunting by defensive linemen, but Cullen said the Bucs will at times use the dreaded “S” word as part of the package to get pressure on the quarterback.

Each scheme is different,” Cullen said comparing Sheridan's and head coach Lovie Smith’s. “We will use some stunting but we will also use the player against a one-on-one block. You can get after someone with a four-man rush, a seven-man rush, eight man, all out blitz, either way the play has to be effective, no matter what you’re doing. So we’ll do some of both.”

The former Lions and Browns defensive line coach, and close friend of Rod Marinelli, said the staff will be on the lookout for players that will fit the new scheme, but thinks there is a foundation already on the roster.

“The thing you want to look for is, how are they athletically , what are some for the things they do well, and obviously each scheme is different, so you have to try to look and see if this guys is playing hard, (and) does he do some of the things you like?

And like I said, most of these guys, I knew coming out of college so I have a great feel for them.”


Last modified on Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:13

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  • avatar

    Hilarious post! Brick wall... That's awesome!
  • avatar

    Loved the article & comments by posters! One thing that comes to my mind during the reading of recent PR articles is that these players NEED to really work in the offseason. Bowers needs to get in shape BEFORE preseason, M. Williams NEEDS to make sure he rehabs & works on getting separation from DBs, and Glennon NEEDS to hit the weight room & work on avoiding rushers (no, he doesn't need to be a running QB, just not be a statue in the pocket).
  • avatar

    You guys are hilarious by the way these posts have my laughing out loud
  • avatar

    As long as the stunts are defensively sound and logical, ie still have contain and gap control built in, then there shouldn't be a problem and can be effective. It's the long developing, looping idiocy that was the problem. I really like this hire
  • avatar

    I agree on all comments made, especially the funny ones!
  • avatar

    @stlbucsfan - totally agree, it's not that stunting in and of itself is a taboo, but when you instrument the ridiculous half marathon maneuvers that the past regime tried, it gets a bad rep. Two thoughst on all of the coaches early remarks really: 1) what a refreshing breath of air to hear coaches actually say something without a paranoid fear of giving away information to the enemy...very much appreciate their early thoughts; and 2) they are saying the right things, but I'm not getting too excited just yet about their ability to turn lead into gold...haven't written Bowers off myself, but I think an upgrade is certainly possible.
  • avatar

    It's great to see the coaches at the Bucs available to publicly speak about their plans for the upcoming year. You should hear what TE coach, Jon Embree says about the need for a playmaking TE. How refreshing, a form of "Glasnost" has returned to the Bucs. We will no longer be referred to as "the Factory of Sadness"!
  • avatar

    I wouldn't even go that far scubog. The halftime adjustment was going from lemon-lime Gatorade to Orange Gatorade at best!
  • avatar

    So, next to the Super Bowl victory statue at 1 Buc, can we get the Actual brick wall Schiano smashed his head into over & over & over mounted. Maybe a speaker of John Gruden yelling, "Pound that rock!" Fans can take photos of themselves smashing their face into it. It will be like Tebowing only we'll call it, "Blitzing the Victory Formation." IDK, what do you think? Too subtle?
  • avatar

    Don't you get the feeling already that there is a plan in place? Horse: I think the half-time adjustments were Schiano re-setting the locker room thermostats and pulling his boxers out of his crack.
  • avatar

    The S word that was the problem was Schiano not the stunts. I have total confidence in the new scheme as I've seen it work at this level. I just hope bowers takes this summer more serious than the last and comes into camp with a Chip on his shoulder. At some point the internal light needs to turn on or else coaching won't help him. Get in shape!
  • avatar

    Agree with all Horse said. However I have the feeling Cullen is talking about the stunt scheme that helped the Bucs under Dungy become a top ten Defense, not the insanity Sheridan engaged in way too often last year. I think Cullen will develop this Defensive Line into a real dominating force as long as he gets one free agent DE that can up the sacks right in the first game while Cullen is still molding some of our current players into the disruptive sackers he needs. If he truly is a Martinelli Clone we are in High Cotton!!!
  • avatar

    So "stunts" is not the bad word, unless we have bad "schemes" to go with it and that's what many of us posters saw right off the bat last season. Schiano and Sheridan learned very little from their first season. It's the main reason after three games into the season that some of us were ready to fire Schiano. The offensive and defensive schemes and especially the lack of 2nd half adjustments was sickening. Maybe other posters are on to something that we are closer to a turn around; I sure hope so.
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