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    • michael89156

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      Bucs need defensive linemen to be disruptive forcedline_zps2fe68c10.pngThe Bucs had only 35 sacks last season, and with a new system being installed, the team is counting on its defensive linemen, including William Gholston, Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence, Michael Johnson and Everett Dawkins, to put more pressure on QBs. By Ira Kaufman | Tribune Staff Published: April 23, 2014TAMPA — They don’t have to be the Fantastic Four, but they’ve got to be darned close.For the Buccaneers to resurrect an elite defense that fueled their championship run more than a decade ago, a talented and deeper defensive line must key a turnaround under new head coach Lovie Smith and first-year defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.“That’s the way it should be,’’ defensive end Da’Quan Bowers said. “We shouldn’t have to rely on five-man and six-man blitzes to get pressure on the quarterback. Coach Lovie has put it upon ourselves as D-linemen to get it done, so we’re going to take the challenge.’’The Bucs haven’t boasted a double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice was coming off the right edge with a vengeance nine years ago.In the offseason, Tampa Bay signed defensive end Michael Johnson and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald as free agents, hoping to bolster a pass rush that generated 35 sacks last season — tied for 23rd in the league.None of the eight clubs with fewer sacks than Tampa Bay qualified for the playoffs.“I think this scheme fits all the defensive linemen’s skill sets here,’’ said McDonald, who will compete against second-year pro Akeem Spence for the starting nose tackle spot next to two-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy.“They want us to get upfield, cause disruptions and make plays. We’re going to have freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility — we have to keep the integrity of the defense.’’Employing a hybrid scheme, the Bucs blitzed often during the past two seasons in an effort to disrupt the timing of opposing quarterbacks. Smith’s return to core Tampa 2 principles will place more of a burden on the front four to hound passers into mistakes.“Our scheme is pretty basic,’’ said defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who shifts to the left side this fall to accommodate Johnson’s arrival. “Everyone knows what the Tampa 2 is all about. It’s on our defensive line to get off the ball and cause disruption. Everyone I see around here is really embracing this scheme. It’s a lot less thinking. Guys can just go out and play football.’’When the Bucs were perennial playoff contenders, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp led the way up front. Tampa Bay routinely dropped seven defenders into coverage and quarterbacks had little time to proceed through their progressions.During Smith’s nine years as coach of the Bears, Chicago featured three different defensive linemen who posted at least 10 sacks in a season: Julius Peppers, Mark Anderson, Adewale Ogunleye.The Bears averaged 36 sacks despite blitzing infrequently and led the NFL with 310 takeaways in those nine seasons under Smith.“I feel like for our whole defensive front, it should be a career year for all of us,’’ said second-year defensive end William Gholston. “As a defensive line, we can’t wait to embrace the challenge before us. It’s not even a challenge ... it’s a luxury for us. We’re the rush men, and all of us are putting it on our shoulders to get it done.’’With Johnson poised to attract multiple blockers off his right shoulder, McCoy is eager to improve on his nine-sack effort last year.“You come in knowing that we have possibly the best interior lineman on our football team,’’ Smith said of McCoy, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft.McCoy’s exploits didn’t go unnoticed in the Pacific Northwest.“Oh man, it’s going to an eye opener for me playing with Gerald,’’ said McDonald, who had 5.5 sacks in limited playing time with the Seahawks last year. “He’s going to help me get better as a player. He’s a good guy and he’s a monster on that field. Last year in Seattle, all of our defensive linemen would watch him on film.’’In his first three NFL seasons before joining the Bucs in 2013, tight end Tom Crabtree faced Chicago’s defense regularly as a member of the Packers. He knows what Tampa Bay opponents will be up against in 2014.“It’s definitely the front four in Chicago that stands out in my mind,’’ Crabtree said. “They were big and physical guys, much like the players we have right here in this room.’’ ikaufman@tampatrib.com(813) 259-7833Twitter: @IKaufmanTBO

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    • Anonymous

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      Let’s hope they turn into the engine that drives our defense. Hard to believe we haven’t had a double digit guy since Sim.. wow..

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    • Anonymous

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      Let's hope they turn into the engine that drives our defense. Hard to believe we haven't had a double digit guy since Sim.. wow..

      I dunno...watching the team these last few years its not that hard to believe. 

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    • Anonymous

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      Wonder how Johnson feels when Spence is lifting next to him…

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    • Anonymous

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      Wonder how Johnson feels when Spence is lifting next to him...

      Probably not as bad when they compare bank accounts.

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    • Anonymous

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      True.  But that isn’t being at the rack.  Spence is huge.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He’s not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

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    • Anonymous

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      True.  But that isn't being at the rack.  Spence is huge.

      No doubt...but I bet Spence would trade some of that strength for the extra comma in his bank statement in a heartbeat.  I like Spence a lot, Im sure he makes a lot of guys look bad in the weight room.  I imagine the kickers dont want to walk near him during feeding time just to avoid being a possible appetizer.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He's not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

      True.  But the return on this guy will be the things Jimmie Johnson flushes daily.  Might as well keep the big lug at that point.  Cheap, and isn't a garbage can.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He's not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

      True.  But the return on this guy will be the things Jimmie Johnson flushes daily.  Might as well keep the big lug at that point.  Cheap, and isn't a garbage can.

      Something is better than nothing and nothing might be what he contributes this season if he stays here. I agree we aren't gonna get a big time pick for him likely a 6 or 7 but as we have seen if you do not fit the scheme, you aren't gonna stay here.

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    • Anonymous

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      Wonder how Johnson feels when Spence is lifting next to him...

      Probably not quite as short as Spence feels standing next to Johnson . I like Spence's potential though. Dude is built like a Tank.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He's not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

      True.  But the return on this guy will be the things Jimmie Johnson flushes daily.  Might as well keep the big lug at that point.  Cheap, and isn't a garbage can.

      Something is better than nothing and nothing might be what he contributes this season if he stays here. I agree we aren't gonna get a big time pick for him likely a 6 or 7 but as we have seen if you do not fit the scheme, you aren't gonna stay here.

      If he can make some strides this year, he will be a perfect 1st/2nd down guy at the tilted nose.  He was really good last year until he started playing tall and got pushed around a little bit by the double teams.  Its never a bad thing to have a guy occupy blocks for $300k.  I wouldnt be shocked if he were traded, but at some point we have to stop getting less for our investment than we put into it.

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    • Anonymous

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      Wonder how Johnson feels when Spence is lifting next to him...

      Probably not quite as short as Spence feels standing next to Johnson . I like Spence's potential though. Dude is built like a Tank.

      Johnson has Merton Hanks syndrome.That long azz neck.Brad JOhnson had a long azz neck as well.

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    • Anonymous

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      As did Simeon Rice.

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    • Anonymous

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      Damn,  Gholston is a large human.

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    • Anonymous

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      Damn,  Gholston is a large human.

      It's what is referred to as : War Daddy

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    • Anonymous

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      I actually feel a little better about the current state of the line.Clayborne/Bowers/Gholston/Johnson plus a rotation of McCoy/McDonald/Spence looks decent on paper.We really need Johnson to be the elite guy that we paid all that money for him to be.

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    • Anonymous

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      That wide grin on Spence is very Sapp like. I do love the kids attitude. He has that crazy “I’m gonna be smiling and laughing while I break your legs” look.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He's not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

      Honestly, why would we ship him off? What sense would that make. He played well, for a rookie, has incredible strength, produces a ton of tackles in his first year, and in college, was very durable and is very cheap. The guy can improve. What's with all this BS lately about judging a guy after one year of play. Remember when all you egg heads wanted McCoy gone? Smart up and be a little patient. Although, it would be out of the realm of Lovie Smith.Depth, especially cheap depth is a great thing, quit trying to get rid of it.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He's not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

      Honestly, why would we ship him off? What sense would that make. He played well, for a rookie, has incredible strength, produces a ton of tackles in his first year, and in college, was very durable and is very cheap. The guy can improve. What's with all this BS lately about judging a guy after one year of play. Remember when all you egg heads wanted McCoy gone? Smart up and be a little patient. Although, it would be out of the realm of Lovie Smith.Depth, especially cheap depth is a great thing, quit trying to get rid of it.

      I don't necessarily think they will trade him, but the point is scheme fit. There's a reason they brought in McDonald, and I think it's less about Spence's ability to improve, and more about his skill set matching what the HC wants to do defensively.

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    • Anonymous

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      Why is the first quote in this article from Da’Quan Bowers? He shouldn’t even be allowed to speak.

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence is a guy who I can see us trading off. Send him to a 34 or a 2 gap team and he would have some value. He's not offering anything in terms of being quick into a gap here.

      Honestly, why would we ship him off? What sense would that make. He played well, for a rookie, has incredible strength, produces a ton of tackles in his first year, and in college, was very durable and is very cheap. The guy can improve. What's with all this BS lately about judging a guy after one year of play. Remember when all you egg heads wanted McCoy gone? Smart up and be a little patient. Although, it would be out of the realm of Lovie Smith.Depth, especially cheap depth is a great thing, quit trying to get rid of it.

      I don't necessarily think they will trade him, but the point is scheme fit. There's a reason they brought in McDonald, and I think it's less about Spence's ability to improve, and more about his skill set matching what the HC wants to do defensively.

      Exactly, I like Spence for what he does but his skill set doesn't match what we want anyone along our line to do. The fact that he can't even sniff the QB on pass rush isn't a good thing in this system.  It doesn't matter how strong he is, if he doesn't get into the gap he is assign to reach then he is functionally worthless to us.

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    • Anonymous

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      I read somewhere (sorry, can’t remember the source, but it was all-22 based) that most of Spence’s penetration plays where on zone runs.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think his skill set is just fine for nosetackle.Eat the double to free up McCoy and hold firm and don't get washed out of your gap .He can do that.

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    • Anonymous

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      Why is the first quote in this article from Da’Quan Bowers? He shouldn't even be allowed to speak.

      +1I'm excited to see if Michael Johnson can be great here. I'm excited to see Clinton McDonald and feel like he might have the steal of our FA period. I'm excited to see Clayborn as I think he's gonna to step up to the challenge and have a great year. I'm even excited to see if Mr. Hype machine himself, William Gholston can live up to all this attention he is getting. And of course I wanna see McCoy stay healthy and follow up last year with another Pro Bowl season. The only guy I don't give two sh!ts about is the gun carrying sloth that is Bowers. That dude can go kick rocks.

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    • Anonymous

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      Why is the first quote in this article from Da’Quan Bowers? He shouldn't even be allowed to speak.

      I thought the samething. Wonder if he came into this camp in the same shape he did last year, havn't heard anything about that.

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    • Anonymous

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      Also, Spence was one of the few guys I liked from last year’s draft. I thought he would fit what Schiano was doing very well and he did for the most part. However, Gap Tooth is gone and so is his sh!itty scheme. Lovie likes to get a pass rush from his NT and I don’t think Spence has much value in this defense. I’m sure glad we signed McDonald.

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    • Anonymous

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      Why is the first quote in this article from Da’Quan Bowers? He shouldn't even be allowed to speak.

      I thought the samething. Wonder if he came into this camp in the same shape he did last year, havn't heard anything about that.

      Unrelated but funny. Last night Bowers tweeted that he was "packing for this flight" and I replied "Make sure you leave your gat at home" Blocked. lol

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    • Anonymous

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      Spence isn’t as bad as people think. He’s got decent speed for a player his size and doesn’t even get on the field for most passing plays. He’s a non-issue.

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    • Anonymous

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      Why is the first quote in this article from Da’Quan Bowers? He shouldn't even be allowed to speak.

      I thought the samething. Wonder if he came into this camp in the same shape he did last year, havn't heard anything about that.

      Unrelated but funny. Last night Bowers tweeted that he was "packing for this flight" and I replied "Make sure you leave your gat at home" Blocked. lol

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLO!

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    • Anonymous

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      I think his skill set is just fine for nosetackle.Eat the double to free up McCoy and hold firm and don't get washed out of your gap .He can do that.

      Not if he doesn't get into the gap to control the double team. If he is slow, and he is, then he can get single blocked. That is a big problem.

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    • Anonymous

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      If your nose tackle is getting handled by the center alone, the QB can angle his drop so that the guard can swing over and help block your UT, or the guard can just turn and help with the RDE. The guard is also free to pick up blitzers if your NT isn’t occupying him.  You really need your NT to cause that disruption and demand the double. Otherwise it can hamper your other defensive lineman’s ability to get pressure. Spence is super strong and can handle the double when the offense runs, but he gets little to no penetration because he is slow. I think McDonald is gonna be huge for this D-line. I think Aaron Donald would take it to a whole nother level....but McDonald will be very good for us. Spence likely becomes trade bait at some point.

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    • Anonymous

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      I agree that McDonald will really be a nice addition, but I thought Spence was decent last year honestly. Lol at JDub's tweet at Bowers. God I love trolling Shaun King on twitter. Dude was ragging on Tebow and made a comment about his QB rating.... well, he blocked me when I reminded him that Tebow's career QB rating was higher than his LOL.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think his skill set is just fine for nosetackle.Eat the double to free up McCoy and hold firm and don't get washed out of your gap .He can do that.

      Not if he doesn't get into the gap to control the double team. If he is slow, and he is, then he can get single blocked. That is a big problem.

      He is already in his gap at the start of the play. . He just needs to hold his ground in there. You don't want your nose tackle penetrating way up the field all the time anyways or you are going to get gashed in the run game.grant_diag3_sy_576.jpg

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