About the author

Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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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  1. 1


    We need pass rushers before we can discuss Safety or another Corner. I’m not sure Licht understands the importance of trading down not up with acquired additional draft picks.
    Our drafting has hurt us for many years, but I will say it has gotten better these last two years; the problem has been we haven’t had enough draft picks we have hit on yet.

    1. 1.1


      We need to anchor the lines. Another stud DT beside McCoy and a C. I was screaming for us to take Rankins at #11. Two guys that can collapse the pocket and force the QB into the DE’s. Having Smith back next season, and another year of development for Spence should be good for our pass rush. Until we boost our talent in the trenches, we don’t consistently win. You’d think a “meat head” like Licht would understand that fact.

      1. 1.1.1


        Licht understands that notion, Roots. He went out and got us a very productive veteran DE and a highly regarded, bargain priced second round DE this year. But you can only do so much in a single offseason, and with Clinton McDonald being injured for most of this first half of the season, and Gerald McCoy being injured a couple of games too, that was just too much this year.

        I would be shocked if DT weren’t high on Licht’s wish list in the coming offseason. A draft pick will likely address that long term, and I wouldn’t be too shocked also if Licht makes a big-time signing in free agency for either or both of DT and safety, another area of big need. Even then, it’ll take more than one more draft to replenish the cabinet, since we also will need to replace an aging Brent Grimes and also address important needs on the offense, particularly a no. 2 WR, another quality running back (since they go down so frequently) and a TE.



          My last statement was sarcasm. I’m sure he does understand it, which makes last offseason so head scratching. It’s why I wanted a DT added in the draft, since McCoy is often injured. Losing Smith in game one really sucked. Ayers is a one, maybe two year guy. So, we’ll need another DE this cycle for depth & replacement.

          I agree with your entire second paragraph. Also why I feel last draft put us behind the 8 ball a bit. Drafting a DT, S, WR, DE, with the two picks used on Aguayo, would be less holes to fill (in theory) this draft & FA. We have a ton of cap room, but premium players really cost. For me, it’ll take 2 more years until we have a strong team with minimum holes. This offseason is probably Licht’s most important.

  2. 2


    I agree with Horse depending upon where we end up drafting and what players are available. Drafting Aquayo instead of two other players is still a damning testament to our draft thinking. While I understand why Jason did what he did, the fact of the matter was that it was a pick that shouldn’t have been made because of the needs elsewhere. While I admit we don’t know if those players could have made a difference this season or not, it’s pretty apparent, at least to me, even if Aquayo was perfect this season his impact on any of the games has not been significant where another defensive lineman, cornerback, safety or wide receiver would be pretty handy to have right now.

    Scott, you constantly talk about how every offensive drive in a game is precious and you should try to get points whenever you can, I see the draft as the same, from pick 1 to pick 7. To hell with wasting picks on possible development players, every pick needs to be at a place where there is a real need and has to be the best pick we can make. That doesn’t mean you have to draft for need, but you shouldn’t stretch for players that can be considered luxury picks to a team that dwells in the basement.

  3. 3


    Absolutely agree we need to address both lines before a safety or corner. We can replace either/both in free agency. I want us to go after Cook from FSU. After that, lineman, lineman and lineman.

    1. 3.1


      Have to do both. We can add a handful of players in the draft, and then there’s free agency too.

      Teams that focus on only beefing up one position in a given year are, well, non-existent. Everybody drafts and signs multiple positions every year. The issue is the quality of those acquisitions. Teams that do well in the long run are those that add a couple of new starters on each side of the ball virtually every season, to account for injuries and retirements.

  4. 4


    Yep it has and always will start up front period. Fix the lines and average players elsewhere look great. Don’t understand why they can’t get this?

    1. 4.1


      You mean like John Lynch was only average? And Derrick Brooks was only average? And that Ronde Barber was only average? And Donnie Abraham was only average?

      You coulda fooled me.

      I agree that great defenses absolutely have to have great linemen, but they also have to have great linebackers, great safeties and great corners too.

      Average defenses can have a great line but only mediocre linebackers, safeties, and corners. They frequently are exactly that.

      It’s silly to focus on just a single position group and expect to produce more than average results. Our goal isn’t to be average – our goal is to be great. Once a city has experienced our HOF and Ring of Honor-led defenses of the late 90s and early 00s, nothing less can satisfy.

  5. 5


    One thing that may prove beneficial. Other teams will be reluctant to come calling for Mike Smith to interview for head coaching opportunities.

    I know we all see the need for a pass rush. I wonder though if the pass rush would be adequate if the rostered players could just get on the field together. They’re either on IR, in the infirmary or still developing. Perhaps we’re not so weak there as it looks. Greater evaluation needed here in the off-season.

    The secondary is an entirely different story. The rostered players do not look adequate at all. We have an oldster whose play will only decline (Grimes), undrafted college free agents (Jude and McDougald), just a guy (Conte) and a rookie still learning (Hargreaves) who see the field. The others are apparently so bad they remain on the sidelines when buzzards are circling the heads of their gassed teammates. This seems a higher priority to me. If we have receivers covered, the QB becomes more hesitant to throw and sacks become more likely.

  6. 6


    Forget the draft, it’s hard for a rookie to come in and make an impact. Licht needs to get it right in free agency. Think of the cap space we’ll have when players like V Jax, and Verner are off the books. We also might want to move on from certain players who’ve been here long enough to make a difference but haven’t by trading them while they still have value. This team isn’t a draft, or two away, we’ve been sold that crap for the last ten years! If we’re to improve enough for a play off run, we’re gonna need to get it right for a change with some big impact F.A., the draft is fools gold.

    1. 6.1


      It’s never, ever “forget the draft” … teams that do so are spectacular failures, both in the short run and the long run. All great teams are built in the draft, and only supplemented here and there with quality free agent signings.

      Our great teams in the late 90s and early 00s were built in the draft. We had only an occasional FA signing that was successful in filling in a gap here or there. Brooks, Sapp, Lynch, Barber, Abraham – all those guys were drafted and developed right here in Tampa. Simeon Rice was the standout free agent acquisition who finally brought a great shutdown edge rusher to supplement the guys in the middle, the backers, and the backfield.

  7. 7


    Lack of talent is an issue, sure. But that cannot be the sole reason, but one of several that are affecting us concurrently.

    Every team that is good lacks talent at every position. Even the greatest Bucs defenses of the late 90s/early 00s did not have a Hall of Famer or Ring of Honor guy at every position. Excessive injuries, particularly on the D-line, have been a huge factor on the Bucs this season. We all know that. Is that a matter of luck, or is there something we can go better in terms of coaching and conditioning to lessen the injuries? Perhaps – we’d better get our hands on the best sports medicine docs and conditioning experts in the country to address that with our team. We simply cannot keep being decimated by injury and expect to get anywhere.

    There may be some issues with coaching too. Many of us are having a hard time understanding why we’re playing our best guys 100% of the snaps, which is obviously gassing them in the second half. We’ve got some decent guys in the backfield who could give our starters a breather now and then, perhaps in less critical situations. That’s also an issue on injuries too, because very tired guys are more likely to get injured. We definitely need more quality depth than we have, but that can only be addressed in the offseason.

  8. 8


    I agree with several of the above comments. There is a lot to be said for “It all starts up front.” The OL and DL are critical for a run game oriented team, and constant pressure on opposing QB’S. Obviously both free agency and the draft are important. IMO free agency is where you try to fill immediate needs, the draft with few exceptions is future driven. Occasionally you get a Jameis Winston, Zeke Elliott type but for the most part like Hargreaves and Spence they have learning curves that take time. The old axiom that you never know how good your draft is until after 3 yrs. is pretty much in stone. My biggest concern however is not the injuries which every team has, nore FA quality, nore Draft development and selection, it is a winning attitude. Honestly It has been years since the coaches and Buc players have replicated the confidence and desire that all those great players from the Dungy and early Gruden era displayed.Many were great because as a team they believed that if the offense could put up 17 points the defense would do the rest. I don’t feel that today in the coaches, players, ownership or the fans. The magic sauce is winning, some teams have it and are perennial winners other teams like the Buc’s can go for a decade or more before they figure it out.

  9. 9


    Thanks for the response Scott! Love the work you guys do. You all are the best in the business

  10. 10


    Not sure why we need another RB when Doug, Jacquizz and Sims seem to be more than capable of handling the load. I dont buy the whole “one of two drafts away” mantra either bc we simply dont consistently draft well. When have a chance to take Rankins, Spence and Bell on a defense that sorely needs help but you end with a nickel back, Spence and a kicker its hard to get behind that. We have plenty of cap room but his last batch of FA were Doug Martin, JR Sweezey, Grimes, Conte, Ayers and Robinson…..not exactly the group to strike fear in anybody. Jason fails us on every level so if regular teams are one to two drafts away we are closer to 3 or 4 with his hit, miss, miss, miss approach to the offseason. I predict waaaay more busts than booms this offseason bc thats what Jason’s history has shown.

    1. 10.1


      Nobody consistently drafts well. Some draft better than others, but it is a myth that there are teams that always draft well.

      I analyzed the results of the best roster-management team in history – Bill Belichick, as both head coach and general manager for the last 17 years in which he produced consistent winners, took his team to the playoffs in nearly all of those years, and won four Super Bowls. Even the great wizard Belichick only managed to produce successful players – i.e., as defined as being still on the roster after their rookie contracts expired, or traded to another team in return for another player or draft picks – 35% of his picks. And Belichick got more draft picks than anybody in the league – an average of 9.2 draft picks per draft – primarily because of his skill at trading picks, and through compensatory picks. And that’s even allowing for the fact that most of his 2016 picks are still on the roster, but several of which are likely to not make it past their second or third seasons.

      35%. Licht is doing better than that so far, though he has only been on the job for three off-seasons, so it’s likely that at least some of his draft picks now on the roster won’t be in a season or two.

  11. 11


    The problem with your assessment is that it doesn’t factor in the awful free agency that goes with our suspect draft picks. Also there’s a difference in missing on a draft pick at an area of need versus missing on a draft pick that was a luxury pick. Bill Belicheck doesnt trade up into the draft and select Roberto Aguayo when the defense has more holes that swiss cheese. Bill Belicheck wouldnt have a team building around a young QB and waste late round draft picks on kick returner and fullback when a OL with a 1st round grade is still on the board bc of unsubstantiated reports. We sign Brent Grimes, Bill signs the CB we “couldn’t afford” and then wins a SB with him. I see your point to a small degree but Licht should be on the hot seat bc his offseasons as a whole have been terrible not just his draft. Every week we talk about how suspect our OL is but imagine an OL with Penn at LT, Pamphile at LG, Zuttah at C, Marpet at RG and Smith at RT. This could very easily be our OL if we had simply kept the talent that was already on the team. Instead we cut/traded our 2 best OL and started over, and for what? We cut Revis and signed a host of free agents that arent even still on the roster. We kept Vincent Jackson a year too long after I said all offseason that he was done but we keep him. The last thing you want to do is compare Bill to Jason bc Bill is proactive and makes moves before players decline while we hold on to players like Alterraun Verner and hope that 3 years later we can validate a mistake we made years ago.

  12. 12


    I’m not too familiar with this upcoming draft class so I can’t speculate on where the best targets would be. I do know that through the draft and FA we need to address S, WR2, OL, DL, and CB. I feel like we’re good at RB with Martin, Rodgers, and Barber. Maybe swing a trade for Sims or keep him as a change of pace/ receiving back.

    We DEFINITELY need better safeties and another receiving threat to pair with Evans. Not sure what the plan is with Josh Huff, but he should provide a speedy threat to complement. We have a few aging CBs that we need to find eventual replacements for, and of course it’s never a bad idea to shore up the trenches on both sides of the ball.

    Maybe move Smith to RT and draft a LT or once Sweezy sees the field maybe roll Pamphile out to LT? We’ll have to see our options at the time.

    But we definitely need to stop swinging and missing in FA and the draft. Since Licht has come on, he’s found some star players, but also missed on quite a few picks. Seems we haven’t hit on any picks past the 2nd round save for Kwon.

  13. 13


    Naples I wasn’t talking about the Bucs defense when Dungy was here so why are you throwing that in my face like I was? Yes they had great players in the secondary. We have two great LB’s now and need help at safety the most and CB after that. Nobody is arguing we don’t.

    All I’m saying is you can have the best secondary and no pass rush and your dead. You can have best D line and average secondary and be top 10 defense.

    All positions are important but none more so than both lines. I also agree on drafting best player not by need, but if two are graded same fix the lines first. I would also look at line help in free agency before secondary. Reevis really helped our defense with no pass rush didn’t he?

    Building from secondary forward doesn’t work period.

  14. 14


    I couldn’t agree more with this article. This was always about the talent, or lack of. We have a nucleus of players that are very good, but we have way too many who wouldn’t start on most other teams. And we are at least two drafts away from being competitive. Rehashing the drafts that have delivered nothing or very little would be pointless, but clearly we need to stop reaching for players. And we have to stop giving up multiple picks for players who spend most of their time on injured reserve or who are cut within two yrs.
    Beyond McCoy, it is hard to point to anyone on the DL that really can be depended upon week and week out to put pressure on the opposing QB. Spence seems to be coming on a little, but his tackles are so low that he seems to be a one dimensional player. Among the LB’ers Alexander is special, but we need a lot more from him. David seems to have slipped or the system has failed him. This article was written before the Bears game, and it would appear that our safety play improved in that game. At corner, Hargraves has tons of tackles, but no picks.
    You know things are bad when the list of priority needs exceeds the draft picks you have. We, need another DT, another DE, At least one safety, one cornerback, one TE, two to three OL, one or two running backs, and at least two receivers. I said we would do 8 and 8 this year, we may not make that, but better scouting, better drafting and a bit more patience in the draft would make a huge difference.

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