Adding By Subtracting Adam Hayward

May 31st, 2013

adam hayward

Joe was a guest last week on Joe’s good friend Derek “Old School” Fournier’s Internet radio show, you know, of WhatTheBuc.net fame.

Without trying, Joe rankled the host during this show.

“Old School” asked Joe about the linebackers and Joe stated, as he has written before on this very corner of the interwebs, that the only thing Joe can remember linebacker Adam Hayward contributing to the Bucs is going all-MMA on his position coach Bryan Cox on the sidelines.

“Old School” got angry with Joe and started to chew him out, to which Joe responded, “Name a play that Adam Hayward has made as a linebacker?”

So Joe asks his readers the same: Name a play Adam Hayward has made as a linebacker? At least Quincy Black, even when he was struggling terribly at strongside linebacker before he got coached up by Cox, would have an interception now and then.

When weakside linebacker Geno Hayes stunk (when not playing with scissors or playing tough guy with security guards at a nightclub); when Black was terrible, when middle linebacker Mason Foster was overwhelmed as a rookie, Hayward still couldn’t break the starting lineup. What does that tell you?

A weak link on the Bucs defense is strongside linebacker, a position where many fans assume Hayward is listed atop the depth chart.

This is not lost on the co-hosts of “Movin’ the Chains,” Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio. In breaking down the Bucs Thursday, per the request of a former Bucs season ticker holder, Kirwan and Ryan suggested the Bucs’ defense would be better off if someone beat out Hayward for the starting job at strongside linebacker.

Pat Kirwan: Who is the starter who I would like to see lose a job to make the team belter? On the defense… this is not being down on a guy. This is about your team gets better when there is competition and when there is a guy penciled in as a starter loses his job because someone emerges as better.

Let me ask you one more while we are on [the defense]. Is there anyone that can handle Adam Hayward? Or is Adam Hayward just good enough to stay there? I love Lavonte David, and Mason Foster has weathered the storms. After the first year they were wanting to get him out of the middle.

Tim Ryan: I think Adam Hayward is a special teams player. I think Jonathan Casillas, the guy they got from New Orleans can certainly get in there and battle with him and certainly Dekoda Watson is a wild card. I think both of those guys have as good of an opportunity as does Adam Hayward to man that third linebacker spot.

Kirwan: I agree with you.

Look, this is not a knock on Hayward. He’s been with the Bucs since 2007. But honestly, if a Bucs fan has to struggle to remember Hayward making any impact plays at linebacker in six seasons, five games starting at strongside linebacker last year, Joe believes it is fair to suggest the position is ripe to be upgraded

And, hey, if Casillas and Watson — part of Bucs coach Greg Schiano’s coveted competition at strongside linebacker — push and motivate Hayward to play better and earn the starting spot, it’s a win-win.

38 Responses to “Adding By Subtracting Adam Hayward”

  1. The 300s Says:

    Tell me a standout play Jeff Gooch, Al Singleton, Don Davis, or any other strong side linebacker the Bucs had during the good days. SLB is not a major position in the Bucs defense. Never has been even when we were dominant.

    Adam Hayward is a team player (you need to get over the Brian Cox issue as nobody else seems to think it is a big deal, especially the hot headed Cox). He is very involved in the community. And he has not complained when asked to play and learn multiple linebacker positions.

    Plus he is the captain of special teams!

    Give me a break!

  2. Brain Says:

    Strongside LB is not a high-impact position. Very few LBs stand out at that position.

    These little critiques are nice but Joe might want to learn the game first.

  3. Justin Says:

    Hayward is a solid special teams player. A below average LB. A decent fill in guy. I think Dekoda Watson will make a strong play for SLB job this training camp.

    But hey, its SLB. We won a Super Bowl with Al Singleton playing the position. Maybe the least important position in our defense.

  4. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I remember when Brooks was cut. Everyone here felt or hoped Hayes would be his heir. This is a perfect example of being careful what you wish for. I think releasing Brooks was the right move. Play by play guys were laughing at him during game broadcasts because of how slow he’d become.

    But I never understood what people saw in Hayes. I’m sure Realist will blame him on Dominick…and maybe be part right. Dominick did not draft Hayes…but he took forever to find a suitable replacement at the position. Still has not done so.

    I think after a couple years of getting experience, Mark Dominick has started to become an excellent GM. And there is only so much that can be done each season. Though this draft confused me and disappointed me, I’m hopeful the trend of the last few years holds solid.

  5. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Brain Says: May 31st, 2013 at 8:05 am

    “Strongside LB is not a high-impact position.”

    I disagree. I believe SLB will play a much larger role in this defense than people suspect now that Schiano does not have to scheme around a bad secondary.

  6. the_buc_realist Says:

    Who cares if they are all special-team / Backup caliber players. I am sure that the pop-star will find out who was a team captain on there collegiate team, and hand them the job. Business as usually huh Pop-star.

  7. Terraj Says:

    I still think the Bucs screwed up in not drafting luke kuechly last year. You put him in the middle and move foster to the outside (where he has years of experience) and all of a sudden the bucs have a scary looking linebacker group. Dont get me wrong, I love barron but kuechly is a team leader who’s gonna be a stud for years.

  8. Justin Says:

    Whats with all the Kuechly love? Bucs picked on him in both games last year. Kuechly gets the stats and the ROY. Hence, why ESPN loves him. I’m fine with Barron over him.

  9. Biff Barker Says:

    SLB, much like the TE argument not being a position of importance, is a foolish notion.
    Don’t know much about Castillas, but Watson and Hayward are one dimensional.
    The Bucs seem unwilling to upgrade here, but I’d pull the trigger and blow some cap money for the right FA.

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Terraj Says:
    “Dont get me wrong, I love barron but kuechly is a team leader who’s gonna be a stud for years.”

    I think Barron will also be a stud and team leader for years. I would not have been heartbroken if we got Kuechly, but I’m pretty satisfied with Baron. Although I do think he needs to be more aware of his position on the field at times. It was his rookie year…always room for improvement. But Baron is a guy that I think will be great for years to come.

    Last year was the best draft for the Bucs I’ve seen in years. Others have ranged from blah to good, but last year was ground breaking good.

    According to some, Muscle Hamster might be as good as Peterson in years to come. Baron was great. David is pretty darn good.

  11. Vern4499 Says:


    Al Singleton started on one of the greatest defenses of all time. To act like he was a nothing player is ridiculous.

    My hope is that Watson or Cassilas is the answer. Because as Joe stated after 6 seasons on pretty lousy defenses Hayward has not only not stood out but has been very very underwhelming. I know you can’t have 11 all pros on defense but you need serviceable and capable players.

  12. Bucnjim Says:

    I think they’ve probably got their eye on a player or two who could be cap casualties during preseason.

  13. Geno Says:

    I wish Joe would get over the whole “Hayward going MMA on Cox” thing. Hayward was very clearly restraining Cox from going nuts and getting the Bucs an unsportsmanlike penalty. That was not an altercation between the two. That’s why Schiano was never mad at Hayward.

  14. buccanay Says:

    Stick to fat schtick, Belicheat, Sabby the Goat, Josh Bust-in-waiting, and Shaun King. Real football is not your strong suit.

  15. Mike J Says:

    Bucnjim, I agree. I doubt the roster is set in stone at presen…..I still wonder about Daryl Smith; the med reports must be bad.

  16. TimBukTwo@OneBucPalace Says:

    I don’t think in Schiano’s system that the depth chart is set in stone this early before the season. Hayward is #1 now because of how they finished last year but unless he can hold off the competition he maybe relegated back to a backup role and special teams again. Hell!, he may eventually be cut.

  17. Dooleymite Says:

    We’ve got Heyward, Watson, & Casillas lined up to compete for a role at SLB, and being that Heyward is still on the roster it seems certain the dust-up between he & coach Cox is well behind them, I suggest Joe leaves that in the past as well. Our D included the SLB in only 40% of total snaps played last season and that role was most significant defending the run, as teams didn’t shy away going 2/3/4 wide against us to abuse our lack of secondary help and avoiding our run D. I think Steven Means “Bidness” is also another candidate to possibly fit into a role at SLB, being a converted LB playin at DE I won’t discount seeing him stand up somewhere down the road.

  18. Justin Says:

    Yo Vern4499,

    Al Singleton wasnt even on the Bucs roster the year after the Super Bowl win. He was not a key cog. SLB is not a high priority position.

  19. Architek Says:

    I will say this – there are still opportunities to improve the position because cuts are coming very soon.

  20. Tiny tim Says:

    I wrote this a couple of days ago on this very site. Gooch, Singleton, Quarles, Neece, Rufus Porter and Don Davis all started for the bucs one time or another for a full season in a 10 year span. THat is 6 different SLB in 10 years. That means do not get all worked up over a role player position. Its not like the SLB is the QB.


    Al Singleton started on one of the greatest defenses of all time. To act like he was a nothing player is ridiculous.

    My hope is that Watson or Cassilas is the answer. Because as Joe stated after 6 seasons on pretty lousy defenses Hayward has not only not stood out but has been very very underwhelming. I know you can’t have 11 all pros on defense but you need serviceable and capable players.

    I believe Hayward, Watson and Casillas classifies as serviceable. I am sure that Singleton on a below average defense would not have stood out either. That’s were the word serviceable comes into play.

  21. Big Rob Says:

    Even when Black was healthy last year it was a committee approac to that position. Go back and check the snap counts. Watson got almost as many snaps as Black.

  22. Andrew 1 Says:

    stop ripping on Hayward. the fact that hes been here this long obviously means he is useful, otherwise he would have been gone a long time ago. he probably didnt have any “standout” plays last season, but he played ok given the circumstances. and stop over dramatizing the shove, your making more out of it than what it is.

  23. The 300's Says:

    One additional comment about Adam Hayward. The SLB position in this defense is used soley when the defense is in base or against the run. The position is replaced with another DB during known passing situations. The Bucs were number 1 in defense against the run. The SLB is supposed force the running back into the arms of the MLB or usually the WLB. This defense is set up for the WLB (LaVonte David) to make plays and that he does. I ask anyone to show me a play where Hayward was out of position or didn’t do his job.

    Just like Ronde Barber is being judged because he was a scheme based corner, seems like we are doing the same for Hayward. Dude just does his job and is still a leader on special teams.

  24. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    I’m sorry but I am in the camp of people that is not concerned about the SLB position. It has ALWAYS been a position filled with an “unspectacular” starter. I don’t think a great OR terrible player at SLB would have much of an effect on the defense.

  25. JonBuc Says:


    I heard the segment on Sirius ( great channel-especially Kirwan & Ryan ) and they closed it out with Kirwan thinking [Joe has more coming from that segment — Joe]

  26. Joe Says:

    Strongside LB is not a high-impact position. Very few LBs stand out at that position.

    These little critiques are nice but Joe might want to learn the game first.

    So Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan don’t know football either? Strange.

  27. Joe Says:

    So for the people who are like, “Eh, strongside isn’t important, next… ” you are OK with any warm body playing the position?

    Don’t be naive.

    Don’t recall anyone saying the same thing when Quincy Black was stinking the joint up before he got coached up.

  28. BucNasty Says:

    I mean, Hayward won’t make many plays because he won’t be on the field that often. I think he’s a step down from Black because he made better use of his opportunities, but considering how often the SLB comes out for nickel packages especially in today’s pass happy NFL, it’s not THAT big of a deal that the Bucs didn’t go to great lengths to find a new SLB. Besides, there is still two more rounds of big cuts yet to come. Remember how the Bucs landed Dallas Clark last year? Let’s see what happens over the weekend…

  29. WestCoastBucsFan Says:


    Did Al Singleton make that great defense of 2002-2003? If you had to list those defensive [starting] players from the Super Bowl from greatest to least, where does Al fall? Dead last, right? Was there anybody who seemed to have less of an effect as a starter? (Not saying he was terrible, just did his job and that was all that was needed. Nobody cried when he left for Dallas the following season.) I’m not saying it doesn’t matter at all, just that it really takes a backseat to literally every other position on defense and possibly even offense. I would rather have decent MLB depth before I worried about the starting SAM. That’s just me though.

  30. Justin Says:

    @ Joe-

    We are saying of all 11 positions on defense, the SAM is the one to be least concerned about. God, you know its May/June of the offseason when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers SAM linebacker job is a topic on Sirius radio.

  31. The 300's Says:

    Joe you hit the nail on the head. Black was coached up. Again, you don’t have the #1 run defense in the league with the SLB playing out of position! That is the difference between Sam Wyche and Tony Dungy. And it is the difference between Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano. That is a role filler position in this defense that needs to be fundamentally sound, just like the NT. Nothing more nothing less.

    And spending valuable cap money on this part time position does not make sense. Save the cap money for Gerald McCoy, LaVonte David, and Mike Williams contracts. Or to pay the All Pro we sign next year.

  32. The 300's Says:

    Adam Hayward averaged a little over 3 tackles per game in the last three games last year.

    Al Singleton (who was later overpaid by the draft guru Cowboys owner) averaged a little under 4 tackles per game in the 2002 Super Bowl year.

    Next subject please.

  33. Pete 422 Says:

    Dakota Watson has made plays when is has been out there. Dakota all the way.

  34. James in Memphis Says:

    I think you’re wrong Joe. We have seen Hayward in action. I think Hayward could excel at the Mike spot. Putting him at the outside spot would not play to his down hill agressive style. Remember when he had to step in for Foster in the 3rd preseason game vs the Patriots last year? He made a lot of plays and a lot of good checks confusing Tom Brady. Maybe if the move Foster outside they could get the best 3 on the field.

  35. Joe Says:

    Remember when he had to step in for Foster in the 3rd preseason game vs the Patriots last year? He made a lot of plays and a lot of good checks confusing Tom Brady.

    A preseason game??? :(

  36. scubog Says:

    As usual, an article about any subject or any player boils up a comment about Mark Dominik comes straight from the bowels of our new “Pouting Thomas”

  37. 91b94u54c50s59 Says:

    Let’s be real, we will be in Man/Press coverage, rushing 6 70 percent of the time. As long as our SAM can move guards and move off guards so Claiborn gets a 1 on 1 with the LT we are good. Schiano usually rushed 58 and 59 last year leavin 54 to clean up all the mess. :)

  38. Tiny Tim Says:

    @ Joe:

    Joe you said “Don’t recall anyone saying the same thing when Quincy Black was stinking the joint up before he got coached up.”

    That’s the point. Hayward did not stink up the joint last year and he cost considerably less than Black paving the way to sign Goldson and Revis all while leaving much more money for when its time to sign Williams, McCoy etc. Lets not act like Black’s production last year was so amazing. The production Black after being coached up is the same production any player on the depth chart can give in my belief.

    I don’t recall any one calling for Hayward’s head last year. If he can’t hack it, then the bucs will make a move by either starting Casillas or signing someone who may become available. You better believe he won’t cost that much either. Its the SAM!!

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