NFL players in contract years have had good runs of success recently, including even some for the Buccaneers.

Last year running back Doug Martin parlayed an excellent 2015 season into a multi-million dollar payday, and while deep down Bucs nose tackle Akeem Spence – who is entering the final year of his initial rookie deal –  would like to do the same, but he isn’t stressing out about it.

“Pretty much I just want to come into training camp healthy, have a great camp and from there just build on it from there,” Spence said. “I can’t just look at it as a contract year – yes I want to be great – but I want to just stay within myself and if I have a great year like I am planning things will take care of itself.”

Part of Spence’s confidence heading into 2016 is the new style of defense. Recently Spence spoke to PewterReport.com about his excitement level with the new scheme.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston speaking to DT Akeem Spence after a costly penalty Sunday.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston & NT Akeem Spence

“It is through the roof,” Spence said. “I can tell you all of us up front especially are excited. The young guys like Noah Spence coming in and then just this defense. Lots of different pieces, a lot of different looks we are showing people. Guys are really excited about it and we are out here (during mini-camp) giving our offense fits with the different looks.

Spence continued on.

“That is me tipping my hat to coach (Mike) Smith and the staff. We have been able to learn this defense twice from OTAs to mini-camp. Guys are picking it up well. Learning the rules and now we are just rolling. Now we are playing ball. Now we can fine tune it. We have six weeks off, then we come back for training camp, fine tune it and start playing ball games.”

It isn’t just the fans who have high expectations for the Bucs in 2016, the players themselves are also believing they can make a run this season. And Spence wants to be a part of things for years to come.

“I would love to stay in Tampa, I have been here helping to build this thing and definitely want to see this thing through all the way.”

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

10 COMMENTS

  1. He is an average Nose tackle but hopefully he can get better, seems happy to be in Tampa so that’s nice

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  2. I would LOVE to see both Spence and Gholston Ball OUT and force us to re-sign them before their contracts are up.
    If that be the case, we could end up with one of the better front Seven’s in the league!

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  3. Spence has worked himself into a solid backup and much could be said of Gholston as well, even though he started at times last year.
    Whether or not these to can work themselves into being fulltime starters remains to be seen.
    At least they were two mid round draft picks that have supplied some depth to the team unlike many of the other picks orchestrated by Dummynick.
    Would really be interested in knowing who was the person responsible for these two picks, Dummynick or Schiano.

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  4. Oh, when I first saw the headline, I thought, “Where is Noah going?”… The stability of resigning our own players will be vital in the long term success of the team.

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  5. Everybody loves MIKE Smith’s new defense.
    Last Lousy Lovie’s. Hmmmmm

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  6. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we hear the same song every year? Morris was the young up, and coming defensive coach, who the players loved, and raved about his defense. Shiano comes in, and he knows defense, players love his aggressive style. We’re bringing the band back together, Lovie’s 2.0 Tampa 2 will make our defense great again. This is the scheme of our glory days, and David, McCoy, Verner are perfect fits. Now Mark you’ve been through it all, is this time the charm? I want to believe, I really do. What I do know is defense’s are handicapped more, and more by rule changes. Bottom line, you better have a top flight offense to win games, think we will. That makes any defense better, an offense that can convert 3rd downs, and score T.D.’s. The best defense is one that’s on the sideline. That being said, odd’s are we’re due for a D.C., and staff that can get it done. We don’t lack talent, hope this time Mike Smith, and his boy’s can get us back to the top.

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    • Well said. My feelings also.

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    • Agreed surferdudes. I’ll just quote our head coach “everybody is running the same plays in the NFL”…he was specifically talking about offense, but the same is true for defense. The differences come in how often, in what order, and with which personnel the team plays those plays…let’s hope we’ve changed enough of those three things in 2016.

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  7. So true surferdudes but the main connection between all three coaches and defenses was they lacked a serious and consistent pass rush that would intimidate the oppositions QB.
    Although we ranked 14th in sacks last year, you had better have more than 38 to continue to run the predictable defense Lovie ran.
    Probleem with Schiano’s defense was many of the players didn’t know what coverage they were in and also lacked a serious pass rush.
    Due to rule changes and smarter QBs, you better have a more flexible defense and a pass rush or most QBs are going to pick you apart as has been the case here the last fe years.
    Hopefully with the addition of Smith, that will be the case.
    Although he didn’t have a great record as a head coach, that happens often, just look at Wade Phillips.
    Problem with Smith’s defense in Atlanta was he lost his top DE Robert Abraham and could never could find anyone to replace him.

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  8. I see Spence as a back up; a good back up who can make a difference at times. Go Bucs!

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