Tough Talk On D-Line’s Future

February 26th, 2014

During his WDAE-AM 620 morning show, Tampa Bay Times Bucs beat writer Rick Stroud has spent a chunk of time this week letting listeners know how he peered deeply into the eyes and expressions of Jason Licht and Lovie Smith during extended chats about all things Bucs at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Stroud’s primary point of emphasis was just how seriously the Bucs’ leaders are taking the misdeeds of receiver Mike Williams.

Essentially, Stroud wants anyone saying his recent story claiming Williams was a rowdy neighbor in a quiet Lutz subdivision is nothing but overblown gossip to wake up.

Stroud, per Stroud, knows better because he could see the exasperation and hear the intensity of Lovie and Licht on the subject. In simpler, more general terms, Stroud’s message is, ‘I talked to the coach and GM and you didn’t. So shutup and trust me.’

Joe gets what Stroud is saying, even if Joe disagrees with how seriously the Bucs are taking Williams’ off-field behavior. During an interview, there’s plenty that can’t translate into printed words. (Joe surely got a read on things in Indianapolis from Lovie and Licht that would be tough to clarify on these pages.)

But on that note, Stroud, who vows, per his newspaper’s ethics policy, to stay objective in his covering of the Bucs, also delivered another strong message today. It cast a dark shadow on how the new regime has evaluated the Buccaneers’ defensive line.

“You don’t have anybody in the front four that can help Gerald McCoy right now,” Stroud said during a discussion of the Bucs pass rush.

Joe heard that and wondered whether that was Stroud slipping from his objective reporting efforts, or was that an impression from Lovie and Licht that Stroud was parroting?

When one considers how much Lovie has talked about how he doesn’t have his sackmaster on the roster, among other statements, it’s very likely the new regime’s film study of Adrian Clayborn, DaQuan Bowers and others has come up empty. Also, unless Joe’s missed something, Joe hasn’t heard any kind of love for Akeem Spence coming out of One Buc Palace.

Joe thinks it’s important to remember that Lovie’s mentor, Father Dungy, made headlines last season when he talked about how the Greg Schiano approach of building a defense from the back, with additions of Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron and Johnthan Banks, ran counter to Dungy’s philosophy of starting up front.

There’s no question that Lovie also believes a ferocious front-7 comes first. That doesn’t mean Joe thinks a Revis trade is realistic — only that the free agency and draft priorities will start with overhauling the trenches.

22 Responses to “Tough Talk On D-Line’s Future”

  1. Harry Says:

    Clowney? Mack? Allen? A combination? It is going to be an interesting 3 months.

  2. Sammy Watkins Mob Says:

    This is going to be one of the most exciting offseasons in a long time


  3. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Man, I hope this stuff from Licht and Smith are true. If they really revamp both lines, I will be doing cartwheels.

    And it will solidify how clueless Dominick was.

  4. SAMCRO Says:

    Stroud is one of those reporters that will take a mosquito bite and turn into an oozing infected sore. He will continually pick at the scab just to watch it bleed. He creates more controversial stories not always on facts but on his personnel opinions and then tries to pass it off as facts. He’s sneaky and always desires the spotlight. Finally it sounds like Joe is a little perturbed about Stroud’s journalistic integrity too. Then guy starts this crap every year.

  5. Orca Says:

    One draft scenario that wouldn’t surprise me all that much, but hasn’t been mentioned much would be drafting Aaron Donald. If Clowney and Mack are gone at 7, could the Bucs trade back a bit and draft Donald? Yes, he’s a DT, but if what I’m reading about him is correct, lining him up next to McCoy would be pretty scary. Yeah, it would be better to get the edge rusher, but if they want to improve the DL in round one and there are no DEs worthy of the draft position, who knows what happens?

  6. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I am glad that this talk is coming out. This will help when this team gets gutted. I still know that there is a small group of people who thought that the bucs roster was so talented. The More talk of all the positions that need to be upgraded the easier of a transition will be.

  7. Dano Says:

    Both lines were pathetic last year. I hope fixing them is the #1 priority.

  8. Architek Says:

    The Williams garbage is old already. I respect Stroud for his reporting. Steve D**mig made himself look like an idiot last week.
    Joe you are the only reason I would listen to that show on any given day.

    Now back to the thread, I can see the Bucs signing a plethora of mid-level FAs to supplement as they turnover the roster and draft.

    I don’t see them trading Revis and to think he is returning to drive his stock up even more.

  9. theDON Says:

    I would be happy with the bucs getting Donald. Dude is a baller, never gets hurt, and would look good next to McCoy for the foreseeable future. Get some D-ends, and they could b sick.

  10. BamBamBuc Says:

    Is it possible that Lovie and Licht are saying things to reporters with a certain expression or intonation knowing that reporter will take their tone a certain way and exaggerate and extrapolate it into stories that their players will read and maybe light a fire under them to work this offseason and come in prepared for OTAs, “knowing” (because the reporter said so) that the coaches are “no nonsense” and willing to make moves even though the coaches never actually said anything specifically regarding any of them? Sounds like this staff may be just as good at the “politics” of things as they are with running a football team. Make a comment and let the press go do the dirty work. So long as you get the results you want or have perfect deniability if you don’t.

  11. biff barker Says:

    SAMCRO, I disagree.
    Stroud is talking about a shambles of a team here. Some may see grounds for embellishment and that’s their opinion. I don’t. Some on this current roster still carry the Freeman virus called entitlement.
    This team has been unable to gel even after the great Schiano purge. Lovie and Licht need to cut deeper.

  12. [email protected] Roof Cleaning Says:

    Tony Dungy is absoluterly correct, of course.
    It all starts up front, and w/o a good pass rush, even the best corners will get exposed by NFL Receivers.

  13. 24b23u93c54s Says:

    I had a dream last night someone wearing #92 for the Bucs set the rookie record for strip sacks. Let’s hope this was a glimpse into 2014!

  14. Shane Marco Says:

    Joe, any thoughts on Easley. Side was a beast for Florida, and it sounds like he may be around in the second or third. Mack would be nice in the first, along with Allen through FA.

  15. Shane Marco Says:

    Dude was a beast that is….stupid auto correct.

  16. Eric Says:

    Shocked to discover that our D-line stinks (aside from Gerald).

    Didn’t the guy who invented the NFL draft put it together?

  17. Bill Says:

    Trade back and get a Donald or Jernigan. Sign Allen, and pickup a WR in the 2nd-4th (great WR value this year). That would be my ideal plan.

  18. BamBamBuc Says:

    Our D had the 8th fewest sacks in the league. Our O was dead last. As much as I’d like improvement to the D-line, the offense MUST be addressed. We have “elite” at every level on D and definitely need to add pieces around them. But we have NOWHERE near elite at most every position on offense. Start with QB and O-line.

  19. Jeremy Says:

    Joe please stop trying to protect Mike Williams. We all know he is one of your inside men. Regardless, he is a young kid and his lifestyle, per twitter, does not seem to match what management has in mind for one of the faces of the franchise. He needs to tone it down some, and maybe getting blasted by Stroud is the wake up call he needs.

  20. Brandon Says:

    Dungy said that last year? I wish I had known because I’ve been screaming for the past few years. How fricking stupid was it to give $1.5 mill a game to Revis and Goldson when games are won by the front 4. How many games did Revis and Goldson win? LUNACY!!!! We could have had two excellent DEs for what we paid for the Undynamic Duo.

  21. Bucfan66 Says:


    While I agree with you that the offense probably needs alot more attention than our D, nothing will happen until they figure out who our QB will be. If Glennon does well this year then you can bet that our next offseason will focus alot on putting some pieces around him

    This offseason though, will be all about defense, IMO. Lovie himself said that you can win 10 games with defense alone and that the offense doesn’t really matter. That should tell you what his mindset is. The Buc’s identity is all about the D going forward.

  22. Capt. Tim Says:

    Seattle might disagree on how to build a Defense. They built from the back. Their Secondary helps the D-line immensely.

    But no doubt we need to improve the O-Line and D-line.
    If you lose the battles there, you’ll lose the War

    But we need upgrades in sooo many places.its really a major Rebuild