10-sack season elusive for Bucs since Simeon Rice eraFormer Buccanners defensive end Simeon Rice sacks Saints QB Aaron Brooks in 2005. TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO By Martin Fennelly | Tribune Staff Published: August 19, 2015 Simeon Rice, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers sack star and cosmic force, is a movie director these days. Leave it to Sim. Rice’s latest effort, “Unsullied,” premieres this weekend. In it, a woman fights for her life after being kidnapped by a pair of sociopaths. Rice, 41, who never lacked for confidence, describes it this way:“It’s a flawless story. We evoke every emotion you want in a thriller/action/suspense movie with the backdrop of a drama. The back story really puts a bow on it. It’s really a brilliant film.”You want brilliant film? Watch Sim footage from when his ferocious edge presence with the Bucs produced five seasons of double-digit sacks and the blockbuster that was the 2002 Super Bowl champions.Fade out.And how.Rice had 14 sacks in 2005. The Bucs haven’t had someone reach 10 sacks since.Amazing.“Of course I knew it,” Rice said. “Of course I knew. Somebody has to step up. Somebody has to take responsibility.”Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy came close in 2013 with 9.5 sacks.Close isn’t 10. And 10 is the number. Lovie Smith talks about it. McCoy and his linemates, ever-changing, talk about it.“It’s time we got over that hump,” said new Bucs defensive lineman George Johnson, not to be confused with old Bucs defensive lineman Michael Johnson, who didn’t get it done last season. It’s George’s turn.Repeating: not since 2005.Let’s put it in perspective, kids.There have been 75 different players in the NFL to record 10 or more sacks in a season since 2005. There were 19 10-sack seasons in 2014. There have been 160 10-sack seasons since 2005. Every other NFL team has at least one 10-sack player since 2005.Not one Buc.More perspective: The Bucs have been to the playoffs once since 2005.What are we looking for here, the Ark of the Covenant?Ten measly sacks is all.Since 2005, 18 different NFL teams have had seasons where at least two of their players had 10 sacks or more. Last season, the Buffalo Bills had three guys get at least 10 sacks. DeMarcus Ware has had eight 10-sack seasons since 2005. Jared Allen has had seven.Not one Buc.“That’s totally unacceptable,” Smith said. “We talk about getting pressure with our four-man front. Part of that says one of our outside guys has to have 10-plus. That’s standard for a pass rusher, 10-plus sacks.”“I mean, you kind of want to stop hearing about it, so somebody has to do something about it, otherwise you’re just going to keep hearing about it,” McCoy said. “They always say that to be in that elite group, a 10-sack season is it.”Think about it: Even when the Bucs had a defensive backfield that included Ronde Barber, John Lynch and Brian Kelly, even when they had a future Hall of Famer at linebacker in Derrick Brooks, the Tampa 2 still began with the pass rush, with Rice and Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. Maybe Sim will get that HOF love one day.Here are some of the Bucs edge rushers who have tried to answer the 10-sack call during the past nine seasons: Greg Spires, Dewayne White, Kevin Carter, Gaines Adams, Jimmy Wilkerson, Stylez G. White, Michael Bennett, Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Michael Johnson, Jacquies Smith.Not one Buc.“We always talk about it in the room,” said Bucs defensive lineman Henry Melton, another new contestant.“I talk about it,” Lovie Smith said. “To me, some things you can put numbers on. Not everything. For defensive lineman … how many years has it been?”Nine years. Going on ... 10.Once upon a time, we wondered if the Bucs would ever find the next Sapp. McCoy has laid down tracks, but call me when he plays his first postseason game or maybe wins defensive player of the year.Now we’re on to who is the next Sim?Maybe he broke the mold.“There was no mold,” Rice said. “There was me.”He added, “There was no one in this league who could block me off the edge. No one. I got line slides, triple teams, double teams. It didn’t stop me. Even if they doubted me, it didn’t matter. There was no antidote for Simeon Rice. You don’t feel human. You have a heightened sense. I used to tell rookies that outside of talent, there’s confidence, and it’s confidence that takes you to heavenly heights.”Man, I miss Sim. And I was sorry to hear that his mom just passed from cancer, way too young. Evelyn Rice, the woman behind her wondrously talented son.“She always told me to have faith to the point of blind faith,” Rice said. “Keep God first. She told me ‘Do what you love, Simeon. Do what you love.’ ”Today, for Rice, it’s directing movies.Once upon a time, it was rushing the quarterback.He misses it sometimes.The Bucs miss it, too.“I believe we have a couple of guys capable of doing it on our front,” McCoy said. “It’s going to take us working together. Not one guy on our front can do it by himself. We’re just going to have to come together as a unit. Somebody will get there.”Plant a flag if you think of it.
Responsibility and confidence are great, that position also takes a lot of talent. Talent that’s hard to get your hands on. Really wouldn’t be surprised if we take a flyer on Aldo Smith next year after his punishment gets sorted.
Responsibility and confidence are great, that position also takes a lot of talent. Talent that's hard to get your hands on. Really wouldn't be surprised if we take a flyer on Aldo Smith next year after his punishment gets sorted.
Yup. Heart. Grit. Those are intangibles, but being a physical specimen is what sets them apart. We haven’t had that, well Mike Johnson is a beast, but unfortunately lacks the intangibles, so yeah…Still waiting for that freight train to come along. Been a while. Mighty late.