About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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  1. 1


    OK, What am I missing thats preventing Spence from particiapting in anything until training camp?

      1. 1.1.1


        Again, since when do nfl league rules prevent a player from practicing prior to TC because of an off season surgery? Also, all players get to participate in OTAs and mini camps prior to TC unless they are one of the rookies dealing with some college rule stuff. It still isnt making sense from a NFL RULE perspective. Trevor?



          I know you addressed this question to Trevor and I now understand the import of your question. I know of no league rule that would prevent any player from practicing before training camp other than the completed semester rule for rookies that you mention. There are league rules that prevent an injured player from practicing until cleared by medical staff to participate. That is why some teams release players for failed physicals.

          This may be a distinction without a difference since Spence will not complete rehab and be released by team physicians until training camp. May be best to let Trevor explain what he meant, but like you, I know of no rule. Good Luck Trevor! lol.

  2. 2


    Smitty is huge for this team.

  3. 3


    I didn’t realize Hargreaves led the league in receptions against him including most yards. What’s the issue with Spence not practicing?

    1. 3.1


      Jenna Laine
      ESPN Staff Writer

      Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Noah Spence won’t be able to start practicing with the team until training camp due to his right shoulder injury. He underwent surgery in January to repair a fully-torn labrum. He has been at the facility daily rehabbing it.

  4. 4


    NFL rules no vets can practice until TC. Stevie T playing 5 tech? Bizzare comment from Smith right at the end there.

    1. 4.1



      I think what you’re referring to is the NFL rules against contact until training camp. Obviously, all players practice during OTAs, but there are very strict rules as to what can be done and how much time per day is spent doing it. Teams have lost draft picks for violating the rules.

      The defense in particular hates these rules. Training camp and the preseason are where teams can really make the most educated decisions and evaluations of their rosters especially the defense. There’s no substitute for seeing how players perform once the pads go on and in live-game situations.

      Re Stevie T. and Chris Baker as 5 techs, it is no secret that Smith wants to play more 3-4 this year – 4-3 base but some 3-4 fronts aka hybrid defense. Will be interested to see how that works. Us old-timers remember David Lewis and Richard “Batman” wood from the McKay USC 3-4 defense – didn’t win much but was fun to watch. Lol.

      1. 4.1.1


        I remember those days macabee. Folks called the 3-4 a “college defense”. Soon other teams adopted the system. Of course people would claim the offense ran college plays such as 28 Pitch (aka student body right). I used to ask those who made the comment to draw me up a college play and a pro play and explain the difference. No one ever did. I actually have a legal pad with hand-written plays that MacKay left behind when he moved from his home on Bayshore.

        Team didn’t win much from 1976 to 1978 but that defense in 1978 was # 3 in the league and in 1979 it was # 1.

  5. 5


    I understand the potential appeal of running some 3-4 sets. Diverse looks = surprising opponents = more difficult to gameplan for, etc. The downside, though, is that you’re giving these guys more to do, more roles to perfect, more techniques to have to be able to command. McCoy has been a 3 tech his entire career, and he’s great at it. I’m not sure I like the idea of him learning a new role as a 5 or 4i tech at this point in his career. Similarly, we’re presumably going to have Spence rush as a DE out of 4-3 looks, but also learn to rush from a 2 point stance at the same time, and maybe occasionally drop into space.

    And despite adding some players that would better fit the traits you want from 3-4 defenders as opposed to 4-3 defenders within your front 7, we’re still lacking, IMO. I’m not even sure McCoy CAN play as a 5 or 4i tech well. He really doesn’t have either the length to reach or the lower body to anchor as a 2-gap DE. I can see Stevie filling the 0 tech role and 2 gapping very well, but Smith called him a 5 tech, which doesn’t make any sense to me. The Ghoul could play the other DE spot well. But our LB group….ugh. I guess any of Spence, Smith, and maybe Ayers could rush as OLBs, but Ayers was bad at that after being drafted. Him being used that way kinda killed the early part of his career. And there really aren’t any great places for Kwon and Lavonte, two of our best defenders, as 3-4 LBs. They can play roles there, but it doesn’t fit their strengths. Beckwith can obviously play in a 3-4, but do you really want to run looks that basically limit GMC and swap out one of Kwon or David for BECKWITH? Come on, man.

    So really, you’re going to be playing AGAINST the strengths of what are likely 3 of our 4 best defensive players – GMC, LVD, and Kwon – when you go to a 3-4. And again, you’re going to be expecting most of the guys on your defense to play two different positions and play them well.

    I won’t mind the occasional 3-4 look just to confuse offenses. But our best players are clearly naturally suited to play in 4-3 alignments. It doesn’t make any sense to me to put a major focus on running a lot of 3-4 concepts. If we do, it’ll be a big mistake.

    1. 5.1

      Honey Bear

      I love the idea of occasionally running a 3-4 look. I think McCoy, Ayers, Baker, and Gholston could all play DE in that scheme, and Stevie T, Baker, and McDonald can play the nose. To address your concern with linebackers, I think Lavonte would play the Sam, Spence would play the Buck, and Kwon and Beckwith play inside. I really like the depth and flexibility up front, and think Smitty will make it difficult for offenses to gameplan against us.

  6. 6


    I like Smitty’s idea of running different sets, because it keeps the offense off balance.
    The Steelers have run the same 3-4 defense with zone coverage against the Patriots for years and every post season Tom Brady and the Patriots come in and slice and dice them apart like a piece of cheap cheese on the way to another Super Bowl.
    You think after all these years they would get a clue.
    This was also one of the key problems of the Bucs when they would continuously run out of the Cover 2.
    QB comes to the line, sees Cover 2 and knows immediately how to attack it.
    Of course you have to have the personnel who have the versatility to play out of different fronts and the players have to be unselfish which is not common in today’s ego driven narcissistic times.

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