It’s expected that the Buccaneers will make a significant amount of roster changes during the offseason, but one area that needs no adjustment is at quarterback – both offensively and defensively.
Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“We saw what Kwon was able to do – he’s a playmaker,” head coach Lovie Smith said Monday during his final press conference of the season. “You just look at the offensive side of the ball, it starts with the quarterback. Defensively, it starts with the Mike linebacker and that’s just starting with him.”
Smith wasn’t going to make excuses for the team’s four-game losing streak to end the season, but it goes without saying that Alexander’s suspension played a big factor. Since earning the role as the starting middle linebacker, the fourth-round pick out of LSU established himself early on as the leader of the Bucs defense.
With 93 tackles and four forced turnovers, all while improving and elevating the play of those around him, Alexander provides a great deal of hope for Tampa Bay’s future.
“He brought energy, toughness and relentless pursuit to the football,” Smith said. “When you don’t have everything established, all the foundational pieces, and you lose one of those key pieces you see the results of it. We didn’t win another game without him out there – and it’s just not Kwon, there were others. We missed Vincent Jackson and we just didn’t play as well as we needed to. But we were definitely missing something without Kwon.”
So while the secondary may still not have the right combination, or an upgrade could be used at defensive end, Tampa Bay can at least take comfort in knowing it can build both sides of the ball around the most important position.
“For all of us right now, I think it’s safe to say we have our quarterback of the future, our franchise quarterback in place,” Smith said. “So a lot of the optimism is based on that. And I’m going to also jump to the other side and I think that Mike linebacker position is pretty important, too, with what we do. And to get both of those guys at the same time; they’re close, they realize their role right now, too, on our football team. So yes, that does give you confidence as you’re going forward. Quite a bit.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
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The Bucs are going to have a lot of dead cap money freed up this year when Michael Johnson, Anthony Carter, Dashon Goldson. Mark Barron and yes even Carl Nicks are scrubbed off the books.
That’s 20 mill right there. The salary caap is expected to go up 10 mill this year. The Bucs were under the salary cap by 11 mill last year.
Simple addition tell you the team will have close to 41 mill this coming year in unused money.
2016 season also marks the first year each team has to spend a set amount of money on players salaries.
Although we didn’t do well in FA in 2014 in FA signing starting players, we did much better by adding depth in FA this year.
But we need some quality first string players at the DE position and the CB slot.
There is a DE from Miami who looks promising.
But signing starters is always iffy because once they get that fat contract many of them lose the hunger to play at a high level.
drdeast, you are correct about who we sign; I’m for further psychological analysis in more detail to determine if big money will effect their drive to play better. I would start it with Martin because it sure has effected GMC. Why I say that? Why would anybody in their right mind play at the weight he went down to considering his height. He’s one guy who needs to change his trainer and add 20 pounds. Of course this is just my opinion with little proof, but my commonsense.
Eric, why unload players unless bonus money is involved without showing them film of them coasting and not going full throttle? I would prefer to give them an opportunity to prove it otherwise on the practice field. Meanwhile we still bring in FA Players and draft at positions of need. Just my thoughts here.
Horse, it’s because carrying loafers on the team will effect the other players . The coaches need to send the right message.
Horse, I’m not sure thee is a psychological testing tool out there that can measure the heart that is needed to win championships.
I think you have bee concerned about McCoy’s weight all year. What is his playing weight this year.
He should be anywhere between 290 and 300.
76Buc, I believer they will be sending those messages in the next few months.
You would have thought shipping out or cutting Mark Barron, Dashon Goldson, Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins would have sent that message last year.
But lets face it, some of these guys might be okay as backups, but are definitely not starters.
Leonard Johnson was one of those players. God knows they say he worked his butt off but in the end he was a third stringer.
William Gholston is another. He has worked his butt off but he really shouldn’t be starting.
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