FAB 2. Bucs Should Copy Coughlin When Constructing The D-Line

There is no doubt that Tampa Bay’s defensive line will be revamped this offseason, and if I’m Bucs general manager Jason Licht I’m leaving all options on the table – including listening to offers about possibly trading defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. The six-time Pro Bowler will turn 30 this year and has battled injuries each year over the last few seasons. This might be the only time to move McCoy while his value is still high – but only if the right offer comes along.

The other option to consider is blowing up the defensive line and starting over. Tampa Bay’s defensive line accounted for 20 of the team’s 22 sacks, which ranked dead last in the NFL last year. The Bucs had 38 sacks in 2016 with the defensive line accounting for 28 of them.

There used to be a time when the Buccaneers had a sack in 69 straight games over several years when Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp anchored Tampa Bay’s defensive line.

Those days are gone – long gone.

Bucs DE Will Clarke and DL coach Jay Hayes - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DE Will Clarke and DL coach Jay Hayes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs’ 22 sacks last year were the third-worst finish in franchise history. Tampa Bay was sackless in five games last year against the Minnesota Vikings (33 pass attempts), New York Giants (49 pass attempts), Carolina Panthers (32 pass attempts), Atlanta Falcons (36 pass attempts) and Detroit Lions (44 pass attempts), and only notched one sack in few other games.

Without a legitimate pass rush all season, the Bucs went from first in third down defense last year to last in third down defense this year as the team’s sack total fell. Tampa Bay’s total defense and pass defense also ranked last in the league because there was no pressure up front.

“We can’t get pressure with a four-man rush,” beleaguered Bucs head coach Koetter admitted at the end of the 2017 campaign. “I’m not telling anybody any big secrets here.”

No, he’s not.

Licht has done a good team of finding a capable quarterback, stocking the team’s passing game with weapons and building a stud linebacker corps, but the defensive line came into the 2017 season ill-equipped to get to the quarterback. Licht and Koetter relied too much on five aspects as it pertained to the defensive line.

First, the Bucs were counting on speed rushers Noah Spence and Jacquies Smith to return from offseason surgeries to provide most of the pass rush from the edge. Spence had one sack-fumble in Tampa Bay’s season opener before going on injured reserve due to him needing a second shoulder surgery. Smith never fully recovered from a torn ACL injury he suffered in Week 1 in 2015 and was released a few weeks into the season.

Second, Licht was hoping to squeeze one more year of productivity out of Robert Ayers, Jr., who had six sacks, a forced fumble and a safety in his first year in Tampa Bay as a free agent signing in 2016. That didn’t happen as Ayers was a shell of his former self in 2017, notching just two sacks, which is quite a fall for a player that posted 9.5 in New York as a Giant just two years prior.

Third, Licht re-signed defensive end Will Gholston to a five-year, $27.5 million contract extension in the offseason. Gholston is not known to be much of a pass rush threat, but he did record three sacks in each of the two previous seasons. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Gholston failed to record a sack for the first time in his NFL career. Instead of pursuing Calais Campbell, who had a career-high 14.5 sacks in Jacksonville last year, the Bucs sunk $7 million into Gholston in 2017. The 30-year old Campbell was paid $10.5 million last year by the Jaguars.

Bucs GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Fourth, free agent defensive tackle Chris Baker was expected to provide some interior pass rush to justify the $6 million Tampa Bay paid him in 2017. Instead, Baker disappointed and finished with half a sack, while splitting time Clinton McDonald, who was second on the team with five sacks.

And fifth, the Bucs counted on continued greatness McCoy. Yes, McCoy made his sixth straight Pro Bowl and led the team in sacks with six, but that is the fewest number of sacks McCoy has had since the 2012 season. It’s worth noting that McCoy had six sacks last year, and his sack numbers have been declining every year since 2015 when he notched 8.5 sacks, which matched his sack total from the 2014 season.

McCoy was one of one of five returning Bucs defensive linemen to have fewer sacks in 2017 than they did in 2016 under defensive line coach Jay Hayes’ watch.

Now Licht has one year to fix the pass rush.

I say one year because the Glazers picked up Licht’s option year last summer, and then granted Koetter and his coaching staff one year to turn the Bucs around. Koetter is 14-18 over the last two years after finishing with a very disappointing 5-11 record last year, but Licht, is just 22-42 since taking over as general manager in Tampa Bay in 2014. Both enter 2018 on the hot seat.

The advice I would give Licht would be from this moment on, follow Tom Coughlin’s approach when it comes to building a defensive line. The long-time New York Giants head coach kept adding pass rusher after pass rusher through draft after draft, and that approach helped the G-Men win two Super Bowls. His mantra was that an NFL team can never enough quality pass rushers.

Why do the New England Patriots only have five Super Bowl rings instead of seven? Because they were beaten by the Giants and their menacing pass rush in two Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011.

When Coughlin arrived in New York in 2004 he inherited a talented defensive line that featured future Hall of Famer defensive end Michael Strahan, a first-round pick in 1993, playing opposite Osi Umenyiora, the team’s second-round pick from the previous season. In Coughlin’s first draft in New York, which was without a first-round pick due to the trade for quarterback Eli Manning, he spent a third-round pick on defensive end Justin Tuck, who went on to have 66.5 career sacks, and the Giants’ sixth-round pick on defensive end Eric Moore, who flamed out after four sacks in the league.

Former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora and coach Tom Coughlin - Photo by: Getty Images
Former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora and coach Tom Coughlin – Photo by: Getty Images

With three pass rushers like Strahan, Unmenyiora and Tuck, who was moved inside to defensive tackle, Coughlin’s defensive line was set for years to come, right? Wrong.

Coughlin spent the first-round pick in 2006 on defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who had 38.5 career sacks, and selected two defensive tackles in Barry Cofield and Guy Whimper in the fourth round in the same draft. Cofield, who had 19.5 sacks, was a five-year starter for the Giants before signing with Washington in free agency, while Whimper was a reserve defensive tackle.

When Strahan retired after winning the Super Bowl in 2007, New York still had plenty of pass rushers with Umenyiora and Kiwanuka outside and Tuck and Cofield inside. But two years later, Coughlin fortified the defensive line even more by drafting defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round in 2010 and defensive tackle Linval Joseph in the second round. Defensive end Adrian Tracy was also drafted in the sixth round, but didn’t last long in the NFL. Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul has notched 58 career sacks, while Linval had nine sacks in four years before moving on to Minnesota in 2014.

Coughlin would go on to draft five defensive linemen in his final three drafts. The Giants added defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins in the second round and defensive end Damontre Moore in the third round in 2013. The next year he drafted defensive tackle Jay Bromley in the third round and spent a fifth-round pick on defensive end Devon Kennard. Coughlin drafted defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa in the third round in 2015 before stepping down.

Coughlin carried that same approach to Jacksonville this season where he serves as the team’s executive vice president of personnel. The Jaguars already had some talent up front with defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue, who was coming off an eight-sack rookie campaign, and Dante Fowler, Jr., a former first-round pick who missed the 2015 season and wound up with four sacks a year ago. In 2016, the Jaguars also signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who was fresh off a Super Bowl win in Denver and recorded 6.5 sacks in his first year in Jacksonville.

Yet Coughlin wasn’t satisfied. He signed free agent Calais Campbell to a four-year, $60 million deal before drafting another defensive end – Dawuane Smoot – in the third round. Then in October, Coughlin traded for Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

Jaguars VP Tom Coughlin - Photo by: Getty Images
Jaguars VP Tom Coughlin – Photo by: Getty Images

What was the end result? A whopping 55 sacks, which is second in the NFL, led by a career-high 14.5 from Campbell and 12 from Ngakoue, which is a personal best, while Jackson and Fowler each posted a career-high eight sacks. By the way, the Jaguars are in the playoffs and will face Pittsburgh after beating Buffalo in last week’s Wild Card game.

Meanwhile, Licht has drafted just one defensive end – Noah Spence in the second round in 2016 – and one defensive tackle – Stevie Tu’ikolovatu in the seventh round last year. That has to change, and I don’t mean loading up on pass rushers in this year’s draft. I mean Licht needs to add a defensive end or defensive tackle – or both – in every draft from now on to add competition, safeguard against injury and to fortify the Bucs’ defensive line.

Licht was one of many general managers that balked at giving the 30-year old Campbell that kind of money. Meanwhile, 35-year old Cameron Wake still put up 10.5 sacks in Miami this year, while 35-year old Terrell Suggs notched 11 in Baltimore and 37-year old Julius Peppers also posted 11 for Carolina. Some players like Campbell, Wake, Suggs and Peppers can play well into their 30s, some like Ayers in Tampa Bay, simply can’t.

The Bucs might have a similar feeling about Detroit’s free agent defensive end Ziggy Ansah, a former first-round pick that has battled injuries, but managed to record 44 sacks in five years, including 12 this season. Ansah is not a sure-fire free agent hit, but in a free agent class that lacks proven pass rushers, he could be the best available as Dallas is expected to place the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who finished with a career-high 14.5 sacks. So why not make a run at Ansah, but don’t stop there.

UTSA DE Marcus Davenport - Photo courtesy of UTSA Athletics
UTSA DE Marcus Davenport – Photo courtesy of UTSA Athletics

Make a run at Dion Jordan, a former first-round bust in Miami, who finished half a season with Seattle with four sacks and may finally be living up to his athletic potential. Then make a run at Seattle defensive end and former Buccaneer Michael Bennett. Then draft a pass rusher, perhaps even in the first round with North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb or UTEP’s Marcus Davenport.

Wouldn’t you feel better if Tampa Bay’s defensive end position consisted of Ansah, Bennett, Chubb/Davenport, Jordan and Spence on the depth chart this year? The Bucs currently have the fifth-most salary cap room in the NFL with just over $61 million to spend, according to OverTheCap.com, and possibly even more (see Fab 3). With the hit rate less than 50 percent in NFL free agency, it’s important to add quantity as well as quality to ensure that some pan out – just like the Bucs did in 2002.

So just because the Bucs might sign Ansah or another defensive end in free agency doesn’t mean that the position has been addressed and the team will address other needs in the draft. Or at least it shouldn’t.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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MudManVA

Scott- I hope Licht isn’t on the hot seat. I think he is a good GM, and will get the talent where it needs to be. Anyone who didn’t think the Bucs were draft classes away last year was crazy. The problem with your article is that without a miracle or luck Licht is a goner. It will take drafts not a draft & FA to get the lines were they need to be. Coughlin had/has years your article gives him a year. I do believe this team is a 8 win team and not a 4 win team. It… Read more »

e

Well said, MudMan!

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Devasher

Jason Licht is going into his 5th year as the GM of this team. Even with a first overall pick earned by creating the worst roster in football in 2014 (2-14) which allowed him to draft a franchise QB, you openly admit this team still is not playoff ready into said QB’s 4th year. So if a GM has 5 years, “earns” himself the top pick in the draft and never makes the playoffs, what praytell is so great about this GM? The roster, as noted in this article is filled with holes. The GM, as noted, is filled with… Read more »

4girls

Not quite true. Jax and Coughlin have done a great job this year. Some of their studs on D were drafted the last few years, not under Coughlin’s watch. He’s done an amazing job for sure. But, it wasn’t all this year’s work.

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Devasher

The Jaguars were 3-13 last year and 10-6 this year with a playoff victory to boot. Not only had the Jags not been to the playoffs since 2007, they had won more than 5 games in a season only TWICE in that span (7 games in 09, 8 games in 10). Coughlin certainly didn’t build the entire roster, but that’s a pretty stark contract from one year to the next and the man who has coached two super bowl victories deserves a lot of credit for the one year turnaround, given it coincided with him taking a senior VP role… Read more »

SO CAL BUC FAN

Well, to be honest. He did well by signing of Michael Johnson as the DE in 2013 he is/was at the time very talented. However, we over-paid the guy to be THE MAN when he had never been one before..He was coming from a STUD Dline in Cincy it was a very talented DLine! So, when you still only have McCoy and a single guy from the outside in Johnson at the DE position and not much else then you are back to a Tackle & A TE helping out on the DE and a double team in the interior… Read more »

Naplesfan

Yup, devasher … if people are still after 5 seasons saying that Licht still needs many more seasons to get right what he should have gotten right within the first four or five seasons, then there litearlly is no way Licht can ever be held accountable or fired for incompetence, because it’s always going to be “several more seasons”. There is literally no limiting principle to this kind of thinking – just permanent excuses in a league where numerous teams go from worst to first in a single season, or two. The Glazers are going to regret not firing Licht… Read more »

Naplesfan

It’s now Monday, and I just read the synopsis in the Tampa Bay Times of Licht’s post-2017 media conference… it was a crock of shit, full of excuses and whining and complaining that people had “unreal expectations for the Bucs offense”, gave an example that everyone expected 50 points a game (???????), and that the Bucs themselves didn’t have very high expectations, it was all imposed by outsiders (yeah, you damned fans, who the hell are YOU to set the bar at making the playoffs for the first time in a decade?”). The Bucs plans to get better? Nothing specific,… Read more »

cgmaster27

I don’t see any reason for Licht not to go all out this off season. I’m not talking spending crazy money as you have to pay big Mike, Kwon , Jameis and other soon. But this defensive line cannot be fixed just through the draft. That and the fact that LIcht and Kotter are basicaly on one year deals, why the hell not go for it! The problem is that LIcht and Koetter have been too loyal to some guys, Doug Martin comes to mind, and counted too much on unknown commodities, like Spence. I personally think we do get… Read more »

Naplesfan

cg – we may well get Chubb, or Key (who is also quite capable). But I am not confident in Licht’s ability to rebuild and entire defensive line, or to rebuild an entire offensive line – both of which are crying out for total rebuilds, as they are the most incompetent elements of the Bucs these days. And I am not confident that Mike Smith will ever give up on his pointless and silly d-line stunting. It frustrates the players, and it produces ugly results. If we don’t change any of the coaching or design of the two lines, we… Read more »

e

Meathead is doing his job. Continuity is what will bring winning to Tampa. Cutting a bunch of players and bringing in a bunch of new players is not going to work in the short term… and then off with Koetter’s head. The Jags have been accruing highly talented defensive players over the last few years because they have been drafting near the top of the pile in those years. Licht started with the offense in his first two drafts. I hope that he drafts DL & OL early and often this year. I also don’t think that it’s necessarily a… Read more »

Devasher

The only Super Bowl this team has ever had was filled with free agents, coaching and player turnover. The offense that helped the Bucs get over the hump was essentially reconstructed by Gruden. The very same team in 2003, with far less turnover missed both expectations and the playoffs. There is a degree of turnover and change that can give a team a new direction and players with “something to prove”, stagnation is the enemy of good. Stagnation of a bad 5-11 team is not likely to bring about positive change. Imagine you have a poorly performing restaurant, you keep… Read more »

Bucsfan1983

I’m keeping McCoy, Sweezy and Quizz. Everyone else on this list, cut. Add the numbers of those I would cut to the $61, 476, 282 = 85,601,282 Sign LT Nate Solder and Center Ryan Jensen. New O Line – Solder/Sweezy/Jensen/Marpet/Smith Sign DE Ansah and Michael Bennett. Bennett/McCoy/McDonald/Ansah, back up D line – Chubb/Clarke/Nnadi(draft pick)/N Spence Secondary: Sign CB Kyle Fuller, S Mike Mitchell, draft Tarvarus McFadden. Start Fuller and McFadden, Evans and Mitchell, VGII Nickel/Slot Resign Fitz Draft: Rd1) DE Bradley Chubb Rd2) RB Sony Michel Rd3) CB Tarvarus McFadden Rd 4) DT Derek Nnadi Rd 5) RB Kyle Hicks… Read more »

RootsCrew

No too shabby. Not a fan of your draft, but the FA pickups on DL would work. I gotta disagree with keeping Sweezy. He’s shown nothing that warrants the Bucs paying him any more money. Need to replace Quizz too. All our backs, besides Barber, will be 28+ next season. Get younger, better players and build for the future. And why are you moving our best OL in 2017, Dot, out of the starting rotation? D Smith can’t play RT. Also, Reedy was cut and signed with the Patriots.

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Bucsfan1983

Oh damn, my bad I thought he was a FA. Forgot he got a 3 yr extension in 2016. Ok so cut Sweezy. Solder/Smith/Jensen/Marpet/Dotson I like my draft. Bucs get the top pash rusher. They get one of the best RBs in the draft. They get good value in round 3 with McFadden, while also getting longer at that position with him and Fuller in FA. Hargraves hasn’t lived up to a #11 pick going into his third year. He should be the Nickel CB. Bucs need to add to DT depth, someone who can challenge for a starting spot.… Read more »

Horse

Demar Dotson missing.

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SO CAL BUC FAN

Dotson is a FA….

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ryan24

Alan Cross would be your FB. Stocker was released because he wasn’t effective out of the backfield and Cross was.

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Freeman Strickland

Yours is the sort of well reasoned approach I hope the Bucs take this year. Alan Cross and Demar Dotson have been mentioned. I do not agree with walking away from Grimes. First, I enjoy watching him play. Second, we need depth. And, third, plugging in a free agent and a rookie does not guarantee success. For your draft, I am hoping for Chubb to be their. If not, Scott may be right about taking G Quenton Nelson from ND. Solder/Smith, Nelson/Pamphile, Jensen/Hawley, Marpet/Smith, Dotson/Jones. From the prospect rankings at CBS Sports, your third and fourth round picks should be… Read more »

RootsCrew

I absolutely cannot agree more with the Fab 1. I’ve felt Licht overvalued the talent on the team the last 2 years. We’re not one or two players away from contending. There is a lot of work to be done and cutting dead weight and gaining cap equity for signing guys this FA will make or break his tenure as GM. His 2016 draft is a major anchor on the team right now. Our outlook on FA & the draft needs would look vastly different if he’d have gone DT, DE, DE or DT, DE, S or S, DT, DE… Read more »

Devasher

One of the key problems have been the failures in free agency. Had the Bucs paid for Calais Campbell instead of William Gholston and Chris Baker, I think you see a notable difference in some of those close games. It’s good to be able to see promising rookies at safety and strongside linebacker but you have to be able to supplement it with NFL talent from around the league who can contribute. You can’t have the epic failures Licht has had over his tenure and expect to compete in a division like this with people who know what they are… Read more »

RootsCrew

There have been some misses in FA at key areas. No doubt. Calais would have been nice, but his production wasn’t a guarantee. He was turning 31, had only averaged 7 sacks a season in Arizona and was commanding a huge contract. His cap hit this coming season is $17.5M! That is a ton of cap space for a soon to be 32 year old DE to eat up. He had a monster year, but he also played next to studs to help him get his numbers. Bucs don’t have anything on the DL like his situation in Jacksonville. We… Read more »

Naplesfan

roots – you hit on it. With our coaching, don’t see big improvements no matter we have. When Smith and Hays call for all the stupid line stunts that the players hate and which we know kills the pass rush, but they’re too stubborn to live and learn, then we will just produce the same results with different bodies.

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cheveliar

Not bad Scottie. Some good advice for Jason.

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Horse

Cheveliar; agree with you.

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cheveliar

Although I will say seeing the “Trade McCoy” thing bout made me puke a lil. I get the premise, just couldn’t personally pull that trigger. I don’t think you get as much back as you lose with Gerald being Gerald in that locker room.

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Buc 1976

cheveliar this is one of the best articles I have read in some time. About a RB to draft this year maybe I am missing something. The kid out on the west coast Penny has not been talked about IMO he looks good.

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cheveliar

No he mentioned him in another article. I’m on the Sony Michel campaign. Love for us to grab him with the early 2nd

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Buc 1976

I don’t see him lasting until 2nd rd.

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Horse

Scott; Fab 1,2 really good. Not turned on in signing Free Agents from 3-4 Defenses. Also I’m totally against signing Talib or Bennett as they will cause locker room issues. Rounds 1 & 2 should be DE’s. Maybe they might be a reach or not; the point is Koetter, Smith, Licht, know they have to improve the Pass Rush including signing a DE via Free Agency. This is the highest priority and fastest way to obtain additional wins; just my opinion.

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surferdudes

Let’s see what the Meathead does. Let’s see what Koetter does. Some things have to change, right? This will be the first full training camp with an indoor facility. Will this allow Dirk to practice harder now that oppressive heat isn’t a factor? I think Dirk was a bit paranoid about the physical effects going to hard in the heat had on the players. Soon as it gets hot I’d hold all practices indoors except for one outdoor practice a week, just to stay used to the heat as you will need to come preseason on. No matter how they… Read more »

thewbacca

Outstanding Fab 5 SR, one of your best. I will add a bit of logic here:

Licht is wearing a Roy Williams jacket.
Roy is governed by planning for the worst.
Therefore, Licht will heed your advice.

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Ron Potter

Draft Chubb with first pick. Draft C Billy Short with 2nd rounder. Sign Ansah and Lotuleli in Free Agency. Bring back Grimes and McDonald too. Ansah, Chubb, Gholston and Spence would be great on the edges! Lotuleli would be perfect next to McCoy and it would weaken a divisional rival at the same time! This would be a very good start at addressing the trenches and I don’t mind seeing the team pay GOOD money for Ansah and Lotuleli. Maybe go for Malcolm Butler if we miss on Grimes. And I’m ok with listening to offers for McCoy if it… Read more »

ahenneke

It is fun to talk about the draft and free agency, but none of it matters much unless Winston develops into a franchise QB. Consistent play-off contenders have franchise QB’s, other teams do not. You can have a good season with a journeyman QB, but it never lasts, and you are always chasing that QB of the future. My heart really wants Winston to become the leader and offensive weapon that we all hope for, and my brain says there’s a 50/50 chance, but my gut says that it is not going to work out. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

matador

The Coughlin stuff was excellent SR. Licht is the anti-Coughlin. He should have been/should be the first to go. Devasher is all over it. The continuity we seek will come from not drafting busts or bringing in FA busts. Licht has had a slew of both. If the new players we bring in are worth keeping around it’ll go a lob way toward consistency. I don’t see how the Glazers sign off on bringing another batch of expressive 30+ year olds in just because the coach and GM have walked themselves onto the plank. We’re not playing for just this… Read more »

FilmBuc

I’ve been saying the same thing countless times on numerous sites – great article! In my opinion, the Bucs need to go ALL IN on fixing both lines this offseason, bringing in 8 new faces to compete with the incumbents, improve the starters, and bolster the depth.

Fix the trenches, fix the Bucs!!

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surferdudes

The Glazers should hire their own Tom Coughlin. Pay someone from outside the organization who might help Jason Licht fix things. If you’re not going to subtract anyone for our past failures, at least add someone to help make better personal decisions moving forward. I wouldn’t put the full trust on Licht alone to get it done.

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owlykat

As I have said all along Licht was the culprit to our failed year. I hope he heeds your advice Scott. You have done a great job with this article. However my hope is that our DC suddenly realizes you were right when you proposed we need to switch to the 3-4 because the real strength of our defense is our Linebackers. Get an experienced huge Nose Tackle, keeping McCoy as our 3 technique end and get a 5 technique other end in Free Agency, put our two LSU LBs as our inside backers, with our other starting LB outside… Read more »

rob roy

This article speaks point black to the many issues of why Licht and Koetter have to think the worst to make the Buccaneers better this off-season. It is obvious the defense has the most work to be done. The Bucs need to find two more Cornerbacks in free agency capable of starting – in addition to Grimes, which may be difficult with cap space available. The Bucs have 23 Free Agents this year with their former contracts worth around $32,000,000 with $61,478,000 available. Cameron Brate, Charles Sims, Adam Humphries and Kevin Pamphile will be looking for a larger payday. With… Read more »

Naplesfan

Every single player on the roster should be under consideration for cutting or trading, top to bottom, skill players and linemen, offense and defense. That does not mean 100% turnover, but nobody associated with Bucs management should approach this season with a sense of just a tweak here or there will get it done and produce a playoff team. Ditto with the coaching and GM. It’s still not too late for the baby Glazers to change their minds and fire Licht and the coaching staff. After all, they fired Dungy on January 14. But it also seems unlikely too. In… Read more »

Ron Potter

Great post. Winston’s the only untouchable IMO. For now. He’s just too young. Too much talent that we’ve already invested in him. We just gotta be real careful giving up on 1st round #1 picks until we’re much more sure that it’s time to move on.

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Naplesfan

I’m not advocating getting rid of Jameis Winston. I AM in favor of putting him on a hot seat this coming season, along with every one of his teammates. We should also think hard about drafting a developmental quarterback in the mid rounds, because Fitz is probably only going to play another season, and I am not confident that our third stringer is NFL material, certainly not starting caliber. If Jameis is backed up only by an old guy on his last legs and a young guy who could never be starter, he’ll feel entitled. Nobody on this team should… Read more »

fl0nase

I think one thing that deserves highlighting a bit more concerning the likes of Calais Campbell and Julius Peppers still doing it in their 30’s is they have tons of help and can rotate in situationally. Ayers being an every down DE is too much for an older player. But this absolutely supports SR’s point: We can’t be satisfied with what we think are 2-3 foundation players on D-line as we’ve done way too many times in the past. We need another couple of draft years like 2010-11 where we drafted McCoy & Price in a row, then Clayborn &… Read more »

BucFan circa76

Raise your hand if you’re at (or long past) the nausea caused by all this Coughlin chatter (BOTH hands raised here). He is not a genius and if I could choose someone in Jacksonville’s front office to steal for our own it would (hands down) be GM David Caldwell. He beat Coughlin to this Jaguars rebuild by 4 seasons – yet its amusing Coughlin is largely the media & fan focus of the team’s amazing turnaround. Caldwell has been associated with the Panthers, the Colts (during their championships seasons), and spent five seasons as the Falcons director of player personnel… Read more »