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Not since the days of Simeon Rice roaming the field at Raymond James Stadium have the Buccaneers had a proven defensive end pass rusher that puts fear in the hearts of offensive coordinators. While the coaching staff has high hopes for some currently on Tampa Bay’s roster, none are proven, and fans are wondering where the edge pass rush will come from.

Following Monday’s offseason conditioning workout at One Buc Place, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and defensive line coach Joe Cullen talked about the defensive ends and where they may fit in this season.

“(Jacquies Smith) did some good things at left end for us last season, and it’s hard to say that he couldn’t flourish if we left him at that spot,” Frazier said. “He’s (also) going to get a shot at the right-end position. But we know we can play left and play it well, so we’ll see. But to say, today, which of those guys would be the starter would be a tough one to make that decision. We need a little bit more time with them and just see.”

Cullen included Will Gholston and Larry English as players that could see a decent amount of snaps at either end.

“We’re kind of working all of them at both spots, right and left,” Cullen said. “(English) is playing both sides, (Smith) is playing some right, that’s where he’s really more accustomed to playing, but also playing some left. (Johnson) has played both and he’s probably more accustomed to left but he played a lot of right last year when he was in Detroit and then (Gholston) being a swing guy has played both.”

Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

While no one knows if the next double-digit pass rusher will emerge from the current roster, the Bucs have players who have shown promise, particularly in Smith and George Johnson. In his first season with the Bucs, Smith notched 6.5 sacks during 15 games with seven starts, while the latter recorded six sacks in a rotational role in Detroit.When the season begins, Smith will likely be the starter on the right side, and receive the vast majority of snaps. As for Johnson, while the coaches are hopeful that he can build on last season’s success, they’re not going to enhance his role too much from what it was in Detroit.

“We’d like to have a good rotation across the line so when we get to the fourth quarter, our best guys are on the field in key situations,” Frazier said. “So we don’t want to put George in a situation where he has to play 80 percent of the downs, nor do we want even Gerald (McCoy) to play 80 or 90 percent of the downs.

“I think he had a little more than 600 snaps a season ago, so he may end up right around that range again or a little bit more.”

Frazier also mentioned some other young players who might be able to develop and contribute this year.

“We know a little bit more about T.J.(Fatinikun), Jacquies (Smith), a little bit more about Larry English and Will Gholston as well,” Frazier said. “We had high hopes for Michael (Johnson) but we feel good about the guys that are here. We are watching and looking forward to seeing them develop. They are still very young as I mentioned earlier. They only have so many games under their belt, but we expect those guys to get better and better and create problems for left tackles and right tackles as well. We are excited about the guys we have in camp.”

–Mark Cook and Zach Shapiro contributed to this report

 

 

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EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

This was the same problem we had in the late 90s…until we finally stopped playing around and went and got Simeon Rice…and the whole Tampa-2 began to flourish…as for now, I suspect teams will just run over our DEs and continue triple-teaming GMC on passing downs….and somehow he will still lead our team in sacks!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Oh how I miss Simeon, one of the most underrated pass rushers ever. As for the picture in the article, I’m sure that was called roughing the passer since it’s baby brees.

DreadNaught
DreadNaught
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

We made it to the NFCCG in ’99 w/out Simeon. He was obviously a great addition that propelled our defense to be even better. But we held the ‘Greatest show on Turf’ to 11pts pre-Simeon. I think we will add a DE in the first round or a big name FA next offseason. But we can be a good defense without an elite DE. Although it certainly helps.

skipper
skipper
6 years ago

Not sure how one could be excited about the defensive ends on this roster as Frazier is.

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

I don’t think we can get the help we need from the waiver wire- we need to make a trade and get someone ready to go. We might be able to draft a guy next season and again hope he pans out… Maybe use that same pick now and get a proven winner if there is anyone looking to move some meat…

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

Good things come to those who wait. Here is our 1st round pick next year sacking our 1st round pick this year!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-IEvBOXReU

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

I wouldn’t waste trading for any pick this season. We will need all those top draft picks next season. We have to be patience and see what happens yet in the next 2-3 months. Martin is still available to make a swap for an older DE that can help us get thru this season.

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

Reminds of when we had Regan Upshaw and Greg Spires, ugh. William Gholdston is trash anywhere else he would be cut by now same with larry English, oh well next yr we will be a top ten pick so we should be able to grab a DE or two, this team is a few yrs from doing any real damage in the league but at least we grabbed a qb and hopefully that works out or well endure ten more losing season

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Bad grammar but I can’t edit for some reason

georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

Thanks jongruden thanks for the history lesson! I really believe that Tampa could have settle have gotten a very good Defensive Linemen with no# 34. Then moved up with tampa #65 for that Og. Then Trade back into the 3rd for the best Offensive Tackle still available. I believe Tampa could have given up 2016 #3 plus Tampa late round pick. But Iam only a fan. But I hope the Bucs hit its mark. And next year Tampa in Rd-1 select a Good DE next as a good RB in Rd-2. Don’t Tampa has several mult picks in 2016! Go… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
6 years ago

The Bucs defensive tackles and linebackers are so good, the defensive ends can rotate all game long and be effective, especially late in games at home early in the season. That will be the theme with this d line squad – rotation. The first 5 games feature 3 home games against the Titans, Panthers, and Jags.

BucWild02
BucWild02
6 years ago

Defensive ends are a lot better when the offense gives them a big lead. Pressure is on the offense to produce(finally). 4 td’s per game. No excuses.

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

Good point BucWild. I agree that the strong interior of our defensive line should make things a little easier for the mediocre group of edge rushers. I also recognize that if our offense is able to generate points and actually put that type of pressure on the opposing offense to answer our scores our edge pass rush will have a few more opportunities to shine. That said, if they aren’t up to the task, we’re stuck with the lot we’ve been dealt. In any event, we should look to the 2016 Draft and not make a panic move now. Let’s… Read more »

fredster
fredster
6 years ago

There were too many holes on this team to fix it all this year. We are weak on DE. Yes the interior added depth so that helps. I guess the O line was a bigger need with rookie QB. Hopefully this year will be first year of righting the ship.

The White Tiger
The White Tiger
6 years ago

Anyone following the Jeremy Mincey saga in Dallas? Ran into him a week ago in an airport and he was a bit perturbed that there has been NO movement on his contract negotiations with his beloved Cowboys…but said he has “nothing but love & respect for coach Smith”

The White Tiger
The White Tiger
6 years ago

Money would be a FANTASTIC fit at RDE…just sayin’

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