Casillas Starting Over WatsonNovember 14th, 2013
Prior to the season, Bucs coaches all but gave Dekoda Watson the starting gig at strongside linebacker when Quincy Black retired (?) due to nerve damage in his neck. It was time for Watson to sink or swim on his own, so the Bucs coaches thought.
Almost as an afterthought, the Bucs signed free agent Jonathan Casillas from New Orleans, considered to add depth or maybe push Watson.
Push, Casillas did indeed. So much so that Casillas has quietly supplanted Watson as the starting strongside linebacker, Bucs commander Greg Schiano all but confirmed today at his daily presser from One Buc Palace.
“I think a lot of it was the opportunity that Casillas got when Watson wasn’t 100 percent,” Schiano said. “He got the opportunity and took advantage of it. That is competitive sport. He did a good job when he got the chance so he got more (playing time). We talk all the time, you earn your piece of the pie around here. He deserved more.
“We are looking at ways we can use Dekoda as well. I mean, we are trying to use our best athletic guys in different ways so whether it is at linebacker or special teams where we are trying to get as much out of him as we can.
“I think Jonathan played well Monday night. Out in Seattle he played well. Very physical player, Jonathan.”
Here’s the interesting thing about Casillas and Watson: Both are unrestricted free agents after the season. The way Casillas has played, he’s going to hit a nice little Lotto ticket from some team next spring or summer. Watson very well may want to try his luck with another team. Now in his fourth-year in the NFL, all with the Bucs, Watson, aside from this season, has been nothing but a special teams kind of a guy and may want to see if he is a better fit elsewhere.
More suited as a pass rusher, Watson could want to explore playing as a defensive end/linebacker in a 34 defense.
So unless Team Glazer decides to pull out the checkbook (again), it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Bucs could be looking for another starting strongside linebacker for 2014.