Youth Up Front ExposedOctober 17th, 2010
Today, it may have been worse.
When the Bucs jettisoned Jimmy Wilkerson and Chris Hovan in the offseason — not terrible moves — it left the Bucs vulnerable up front. They were more than vulnerable today; they were a sieve.
With rookies Gerald McCoy and Brian Price in the middle, sometimes punctuated with second-year tackle Roy Miller, it was a risk Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was going to take. Without veterans up front, young players, specifically rookies, were going to get exposed while at the same time gain valuable experience. Historically, rookie defensive tackles do not shine, not even Warren Sapp was a stud as a rookie.
The defensive front was jostled, mocked and robbed today. Saints tackle Jon Stinchcomb literally would take out two players at a time on some running plays.
With youth up front, the Bucs need or needed a monster middle linebacker. Sadly, there are few middle linebackers that fit that mold. Barrett Ruud certainly isn’t that type of a linebacker.
And no, there are no linebackers like that walking the streets currently.
The NFL is a copycat league. Other teams will watch this tape and one can be sure future opponents of the Bucs will try to replicate what the Saints’ running game did today.
Lost by some in last week’s win was that Cedric Benson was gouging the Bucs rush attack time after time. Then, for some unknown reason, angry Marvin Lewis decided to throw the ball.
McCoy, Price, and yes, Miller have a lot of growing up to do in just a few days. If Benson can hammer the Bucs defense, if the immortal Chris Ivory can run for 158 yards on 15 carries, imagine what Steven Jackson might do?