Bucs Ss Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
There was plenty of praise for Bucs safety Chris Conte from this week’s SR’s Fab 5 readers, but plenty of concern for Bradley McDougald.
Welcome to another installment of SR’s Fab 5 Reaction where every Tuesday I take the time to answer your questions and respond to your comments from the previous week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Due to time constraints from my responsibilities as publisher, I am unable to respond to every reader comment each week, but I do read every one of them.
Comments have only been edited for clarity and grammar. Now on to your comments.
The topics in this week’s SR’s Fab 5 column include: Spicer Spices Up Buccaneers Defensive Line; “Granddaddy Smith Brings Experience To Bucs LBs; Bucs’ Multiple D-Line Looks Causes Headaches For O-Linemen; Tampa Bay May Keep 5-6 Defensive Ends On 53-Man Roster
Bucs DC Mike Smith and assistant DL coach Paul Spicer – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Scott, that was a great SR’s Fab 5 again. I didn’t know diddly about Paul Spicer before today. He seems like a good guy to keep around. So much talk about the defensive line being thin the last few months I’m heartened to hear that might not be so. I’ve said this before, that one or two superstars don’t make a defense great. You need the solid lunch pail guys to supplement them. Getting Clinton McDonald back will be awfully huge.
I didn’t know diddly about Daryl Smith before this season. He sounds like he has had a pretty good career so far. He has had some nice stats over the years. I’m not really an AFC kind of guy, so those AFC guys don’t pop up on my radar.
Hopefully Smith can kind of play a Hardy Nickerson role, after all is said and done. Experience counts. I am super excited about the defense so far this year. As an old time Bucs fan, I really believe that defense wins it all. I had high hopes for Bradley McDougald. I always liked an underdog. I hope he picks it up so Ryan Smith can return punts and kickoffs. I’m starting to think that passing on Von Bell might have been a mistake.
Here are two words that I didn’t think I’d hear in the same breath: Conte and stud. Good for Chris. Maybe he has been bad-mouthed all these years because he was coached by a certain individual named Lovie Smith. It’s funny how people can be judged by whom they attach their wagon to.
Come to think of, we damn sure have a bunch of Smiths on the team.
I’m getting more psyched up every day. The regular season can’t get here fast enough. Go Bucs. – chetthevette
Thank you, chetthevette. I’m glad I could educate you about Paul Spicer and Daryl Smith. Both will play a role in helping some of Tampa Bay’s young defenders. Ryan Smith has impressed in training camp and the preseason, and his interception in Jacksonville was a sign of progress. The Bucs passed on several safeties in the second round when they drafted kicker Roberto Aguayo, including Vonn Bell, who went two picks later to division rival New Orleans in the second round, and Kevin Byard, Darian Thompson and Justin Simmons in the third round. Hopefully Smith can play as well – or better – as these bigger name safeties from college. And yes, Chris Conte has been quite studly in August. We’ll see if it continues from September through December. – SR
It was understandable that we could not fill all holes in the offseason, but safety has been such a glaring need. It was a really atrocious effort last year. It’s mind-boggling how we did nothing to address it. I’m sure Roberto Aguayo will be a fine kicker, but the gain he represents over Connor Barth versus the gain we could have had at safety in Round 2 over Bradley McDougald, will be our weakest link this year. – EastEndBoy
That’s an interesting observation, EastEndBoy. That’s the way it looks now. We’ll see how it shakes out at the end of the season with Roberto Aguayo. He’s really struggling right now and had some more bad kicks in camp on Tuesday versus Cleveland. I know Bucs general manager Jason Licht hopes you are wrong. Keep in mind that Tampa Bay did draft a safety in Ryan Smith, who has had a solid week and keeps getting better. Smith had an interception at Jacksonville on Saturday night, and also had a nice pick in practice on Tuesday against the Browns. Smith might be a year away from starting, as it’s a big jump from tiny North Carolina Central to the NFL, but he has ability – and confidence. All he needs is experience. – SR
A very interesting and informative SR’s Fab 5. I can’t think of another source where you can find such great material. Even though it’s still preseason, I believe the Bucs defensive line will be much improved this year.
Not only have they added Robert Ayres and Noah Spence, but I believe the rest of the lineman like Will Gholston, Akeem Spence and Jacquies Smith are just beginning to mature as players. Two of them are entering their fourth years and both Spence and Gholston were very raw products when they were drafted. Good coaching from their previous coaches, especially Joe Cullen, has helped develop them.
Bucs S Bradley McDougald – Photo by: Getty Images
A lot of people cited the Eagles’ poor offensive line for the Bucs’ success but the same Eagles line seemed to hold their own against their next opponent, who didn’t put nearly as much pressure on the Eagles QB as the Bucs did.
It’s interesting, Scott, that you singled out Bradley McDougald’s play, as I noticed the same thing after watching the replay of the Bucs-Eagles game. McDougald always seemed to be out of position to make a tackle or a play.
One final thing about Paul Spicer, who I didn’t know that much about. When a new coach keeps a prior assistant coach from the previous regime it speaks volumes about how the head honcho thinks about the man’s ability. When he had a chance to clean house and hire another guy, Dirk Kotter chose to keep Spicer instead. – drdneast
That’s very kind of you to say, drdneast. My goal with each week’s SR’s Fab 5 is to inform my readers and make them the smartest Bucs fans around. I am excited to see these young Bucs defensive linemen mature. The talent is there and they have gotten great coaching from Joe Cullen, Jay Hayes and Paul Spicer. You are right about Spicer. The new regime thought very highly of him and definitely wanted to keep him. – SR
Fab 1 – Great insight on a young and upcoming coach in Paul Spicer.
Fab 2 – Too many Smiths, including Daryl Smith; oh my.
Fab 3 – Excellent analysis. Some things I never considered about the headaches the D-line creates for the O-line.
Fab 4 – Too many good DL. Never thought we’d have that problem.
Fab 5 – Chris Conte is a stud that most people don’t know about. I am surprised about Bradley McDougald. How could we have been so wrong about him?
Good job! – 76Buc
Thank you, 76Buc. I appreciate the kudos. I’m glad you also recognized Chris Conte for his very solid play. I think he’ll really have a good year in 2016. This defense seems to fit his skill set quite well. I’m surprised Bradley McDougald also hasn’t thrived given his cornerback background at KU and the amount of man coverage the safeties are engaged in now in Mike Smith’s defense. – SR
Great SR’s Fab 5 as always. We all knew that safety was going to be a weak spot this year. For those screaming we needed to draft one earlier, there were a lot of holes and there was no way we could address everything in this one draft. But I am disappointed to hear how much Bradley McDougald is struggling.
Do we have any interest in Donte Whitner? Any idea of some other safeties that are out there on the bubble that we could pick up once roster cut-downs begin? – Rob
Thank you, Rob. I haven’t heard of any interest in Donte Whitner as of yet. I think the Bucs are hoping that Bradley McDougald is slow to learn the new defense, but will come around. Tampa Bay only signed him to a one-year deal, so McDougald needs to rise to the occasion quickly. Keep any eye on Ryan Smith, the Bucs’ fourth-round pick. He may be McDougald’s eventual replacement. – SR
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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