What Happened To Competition?March 8th, 2010
When Raheem The Dream and Mark Dominik set out to remake the Bucs last year, they were fired up about having competition at most positions.
They were feeling good about guys coming into camp battling for jobs, getting all “violent” and pushing each other for playing time.
Yet despite coming off a 3-13 record, it now seems that fierce competition for positions won’t be commonplace in 2010.
Clearly, the Bucs’ first three draft choices are going to have to see the field quickly. (Unless they’re Dexter Jacksonesque, how could they not on this team?) And given the avoidance of free agency, there’s not going to be much new blood — or quality new blood– to push last year’s starters.
Look at linebacker, for example. The Bucs return Geno Hayes, Barrett Ruud and Quincy Black. These guys aren’t world-beaters, but it sure seems like they’re walking into safe, secure jobs.
In the secondary, with alleged wife beater Jermaine Phillips likely gone and Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib, Tanard Jackson and Sabby the Goat returning, only Sabby the Goat has to worry about what happens in the draft.
On the D-line, there will be healthy competition, especially if the Bucs nab manbeast Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy.
But on the offensive side of the ball, it appears that even if the Bucs draft a couple of receivers in the second round those players will have to get plenty of action. Surely, blocking icon Michael Clayton can’t be given much of an opportunity to resurrect himself while fresh, hungry meat sits on the bench.
And if Earnest Graham is the starting fullback, which seems likely, there will be plenty of carries, for Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams, assuming Greg Olson has figured out that he must run the ball (even more important without a legitimate No. 1 receiver).
Joe’s just not embracing the thought of all that comfort level outside of the veteran offensive line and Josh Freeman.
Raheem The Dream’s coaching and motivational ability will truly take center stage this year more than last. It’s going to be much harder to keep guys hungry in training camp and OTAs.
This is one of many reasons Joe hoped the Bucs would make some moves in free agency, just to keep a lot of young guys looking over their shoulders. Sometimes, that’s worth the investment.