Need For Linebacker(s) Just Got Stronger

March 20th, 2012

Mason Foster simply needs help at linebacker or this scene will be repeated far too often this season.

When the Carolina Panthers, rich and deep in running back depth, signed versatile running back Mike Tolbert Monday, it sent a clear message to the Bucs that if something isn’t done at running back this offseason, it could get very ugly in two games against the Panthers.

This was not lost on former Bucs defensive lineman Steve White, who aired his concerns on Twitter.

@sgw94: Cam, DeAngelo and Tolbert… *cranes neck at Bucs* Yall aint got to get Lofton but yall better bring SOMEBODY in at LB that can tackle

Now Joe knows that linebackers, especially inside linebackers, may very well be devalued much like running backs are in this pass-happy league. Otherwise, why would so many decent linebackers still be floating out there unsigned over a week after the gun sounded opening free agency?

Shoot, the Saints had Curtis Lofton for a full weekend of wining and dining in one of the greatest eating and swilling districts in the world, the French Quarter, and even after all of that, Lofton is still unsigned. You get Joe grubbed up and liquored up at The Gumbo Shop on Rue St. Peter, and the Bourbon Street Blues Company, respectively, just two blocks apart, and Joe would perform all sorts of acts at a discount rate.

One reason for the devaluation of linebackers is, of course, how the NFL has gone pass-happy. Another, per Seattle coach Pete Carroll, by way of Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio and, is that the draft is loaded with linebackers.

@PatKirwanCBS: Pete Carroll has a take on slow signing of linebackers. ‘There are close to 12 draftables with good grades which hurts vets looking for deals’

So basically, if Carroll is to be believed, the quest for an inside linebacker by Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik has turned into a glorified game of chicken between Dominik and a couple of agents.

In short, Dominik has told the linebackers’ agents, “Here is what I am paying and nothing more. Try to find someone else who will pay this and fine. I’ll draft a linebacker for far less cost and about the same talent level.”

Joe just hopes Dominik can win this stare-down. For if the Bucs open the season with a linebacker corps consisting of Quincy Black, Mason Foster and Geno Hayes, let’s just say a good investment to make will be in Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), after all the beers Joe will need to consume both during the game, and for days afterwards each week.

26 Responses to “Need For Linebacker(s) Just Got Stronger”

  1. Paul W. Says:

    Anyone open to the idea of trading down and doubling up on line backers in the draft?

  2. bucfanjeff Says:

    They could trade down if they have LB on their draft minds, but you have to have a partner to do that. With Rivera and the Panthers at #9…I think they take Kuechly. That means we would have to drop down to 7 or 8 with Jax or Miami. I don’t think either happens. Though we could drop further down if it was a steal.
    That said, we need elite talent and if Claiborn or TRich is there, I don’t think we pass either of them up.

  3. sunrisejeff Says:

    Why in the hell would the Panthers take Kuechly to back up Beason in the top 10? Kitties will be looking at CB, WR, or DT imo.

  4. Jessup Says:

    Geno Hayes isn’t even on our roster.

  5. Dave Says:

    I REALLY hope Lofton or Tulloch blinks because maybe they could get a LB in the draft just as good talent wise, but we all know ALOT of the MLB position is experieince and mental.
    The more I look at it I do NOT like the idea of Kuechly because he seems alot like Ruud: good, smart, tackling machine… but too much trailing the play and tackles downfield.
    I don’t know if he stays that way or becomes awesome, but the point is the Bucs need a vet at that position that can stuff the run.

    SIGN LOFTON or TULLOCH!! and then draft CB Claiborne!

  6. Dave Says:

    From PFT “Vikings hint they prefer Morris Claiborne to Matt Kalil”

    I hope this is just a smokescreen and the Bucs do not bite. Can’t imagine they would because even if Claiborne is chosen, there is plenty of excellent players to be had.

  7. Brain Says:

    Kuechly and Spence please.

  8. Chris FWC Says:

    MMMmmmmm beer.

  9. Brain Says:

    But the major thig to take from the Tolbert signing is whether Jonathan Stewart is up for trade or not. I’d give up a 2nd rounder for him. Much better value than Trent in the 1st or any other back later in the draft.

  10. ClayBURN94 Says:

    So the main point of this article is… we need Linebackers.

  11. BucFan20 Says:

    Here we go with the draft crap shoot talk again. Look at what we have drafted so far. 1 starter that has worked ou as a real should be starter. Do you really think we are going to draft a day 1 starting LBer to stop the run? I think it’s about like what the odds makers have us going to the SuperBowl this year. What is that 75 to 1?

  12. BucFan20 Says:


  13. stevek Says:


    You’ve got to be kidding me! Jonathan Stewart is NO WHERE CLOSE to Trent Richardson.

    What can we do to help # 5? Take the # 5 pick and put it on a STUD.

    No more softies on this team with their brittle injuries.

    I want the guy who is going to put us on his back and “CARRY” us to Victory.

  14. bucbelevr Says:

    Pete Carroll can think that there are 12 draftable LB’s, but maybe 1 who would we qualified to start from day one for us, and like @Dave said, Kuechly does also remind me of Ruud after watching highlights, tackling machine, tackles downfield, not thick run stuffer nearer to line.

    If reports out of Detroit are true, and Lions sign Tulloch soon (whom I prefer), that will set the market for agents (LB), then rest will sign quickly, sooo Dom and coaches BETTER be right with this game of chicken, considering our cap space STILL, more cuts to come–freeing up cap space, and our glaring need for MLB, and one OLB (Erin Henderson).

  15. jvato24 Says:

    I dont buy this media hype that LBers arent valuable anymore .. I call BS !! Someone please tell the SF 49ers that LB is undervalued now or the Ravens.

    Or better yet someone please try and convince me that LB is undervalued when the Bucs have had the worst Run Defense in the league for 4 seasons straight.


    So….who will be calling the defense? the second year guy, who struggled last time, or another rookie?

    Don’t even say Quincy Black.

  17. mjmoody Says:

    The point that a rookie MLB is a huge risk was driven home last year. Dom said Foster may keep the green dot, so maybe we’re looking for Strong and Weakside ‘backers. But, from my couch D’onta Hightower looks like the second coming of Brandon Spikes with major pass rush ability and is confident in the 34 or 43 system. Plus he’s an alpha dog, which the Bucs’ have in Clayborne only. He’s also going to be much further down in the 1st round than Kuechly, and is just as bright but not as fast.

  18. Bobby Says:

    I’m not worried. A lot of what happened in the past few years is due to poor coaching and game planning. I think this staff will get a lot more out of these guys than what we’ve seen in the past. I know they’re looking at the LB’s still unsigned in FA and my bet is that we end up signing Lofton or he goes back to Atlanta. I can’t imagine New Orleans offering more money than we did. He may feel like he has a better chance of getting a ring with Atlanta and unless the money is significantly better here that may keep him out of Tampa. Either way, I’m sure they’ll address the LB issue and get it solved.

  19. ElioT Says:

    Once again another solid running back from San Diegp comes to the NFC South to beat up on the Bucs! It would have been great of the Bucs could have gotten Tolbert. I think he’s the was the #1 RB in free agency this year.

  20. Snook Says:

    Sorry, I’m not drinking the Cam Newton kool-aid. Yeah yeah he had a great year last year. But he still threw a lot of INTs. And now with 16 games of film and an entire off-season to study him, DCs are going to be a lot more ready for his crap. He takes a step back this season. All QBs do in their second year.

    The Panthers are the least of my worries.

  21. bucooooobruce Says:

    We need to draft t-rich I was not a fan of this until I really looked at what we can get in the second round we can get a db in the 2nd round almost as good as claiborn but there is no rb that will even come close to t-rich.This is a once in a decade type of guy.

  22. RustyRhino Says:

    Two words for our OLB need Rennie Curran He is not afraid to tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage. He will make plays from sideline to sideline. We have a few unknown LBs like Curran we have picked up since the end of last season. I will trust the coaches& front office to bring in players who can and will play within our new system.

    I still say we take Kuechly @ #5 if Claiborn is gone, yeah even if some think that is to high for a MLB that is something we need and if we don’t get anyone who wants to trade with us. We take the best player we have a need for, which is LB, CB, S. IMO.

  23. bucooooobruce Says:

    I agree I will never buy in to cam.When our d gets up to par we will shut him down like we shut down mike vick back when he was with the falcons.

  24. KWBUCFAN Says:

    It’s funny to me everyone in Tampa wanted Ruud gone. Now everyone wants to draft Barrett Ruud Jr. AKA Luke Kuechly. I think we shouldn’t draft Claiborne. Richardson or trade down and take Hightower.

  25. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I don’t think we’ll have Geno Hayes, Joe. I read somewhere that teams are calling him in for visits.

    And Mark Dominick is not the only GM low-balling the LBs.

  26. Kujolw Says:

    What about trading down to the mid round 15-20 gain some good picks and pick up Luke Kuechly to play the middle. We could get good picks especially if we trade down twice could pick up good CB and RB in the second round mabey evan a WR.