Get A Pass Rush!March 1st, 2014
It gets Joe just angry to think about. How many years did Bucs former rock star general manager Mark Dominik try in vain to land a strong defensive end? Draft picks galore, money spent, and nothing. Poor Gerald McCoy is getting abused he has so many offensive linemen ganged up on him and not one Bucs defensive end can take advantage.
It is sinful.
Of course, it’s hard to rush the passer from the edge when you have arguably your best defensive end covering the likes of New Orleans running back Darren Sproles in the flat. There simply isn’t enough alcohol for Joe to down to someone accept the notion that Clayborn guarding one of the quickest guys to ever snap on a chin strap is sound strategy.
Even the stat geeks over at Pro Football Focus can see through their spreadsheets and determine the Bucs need a pass rush, as they listed a defensive end No. 1 in Bucs needs. And not just a warm body like sackless Kyle Moore, but someone who will make a quarterback eat dirt.
The Buccaneers won’t miss free agent Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, who earned the worst grade of any 4-3 defensive end in 2013. Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers were once highly-touted draft picks, but have yet to live up to the hype. Clayborn earned the fourth-worst pass rush grade of any 4-3 defensive end in 2013, and Bowers can’t manage to stay healthy. William Gholston showed some promise toward the end of his rookie season, but still had some games where he appeared virtually invisible. It’s unacceptable for Tampa Bay to enter next season without seriously upgrading this group.
Free agent fix: I’m sure the Buccaneers are kicking themselves for letting the underappreciated Michael Bennett leave last offseason. A reunion is unlikely, and Tampa Bay should take a page from his new team by going for volume over home run at defensive end. Two good value options with upside are Willie Young and Everson Griffen. Both have played their entire careers in a 4-3 system, and Smith will be familiar with them given his time in the NFC North. Both players have shown flashes of brilliance in backup roles, and were among the Top 25 at their position in Pass Rushing Productivity this season. The Buccaneers are more than one player away from fixing this position, and adding either Young or Griffen would give them a promising young end in his prime, while still allowing them to spend money to add more depth to the position.s
Your damned right the Bucs ought to be kicking themselves for letting Bennett go. Joe wanted to dropkick his neighbor’s cat he was so hacked off about Bennett being allowed to bolt for no good reason. Now Joe is a kind, sympathetic soul (so long as he is not served warm beer) so Joe is willing to give Clayborn a slight pass because he was misused and it is likely Clayborn wasn’t 100 percent coming off his knee surgery. He seemed to play better in December, which may reinforce that point.
The Bucs can forget about Greg Hardy who got tagged by the Stinking Panthers yesterday. Free agency is a mere 10 days away. What the Bucs do in free agency will directly tell what the Bucs do in the draft. Joe is of the mind to go get Jared Allen (only sign him to a two-year deal) and pray that red flag defensive end Jadeveon Clowney falls to the Bucs.
That way, if Clowney starts clowning around and taking off games, Allen, being the team-first solid guy that he is, will threaten to put a helmet up Clowney’s backside, sideways, if he doesn’t put out each and every play.
Then, hopefully, Clowney will learn to be a professional and the Bucs will actually be able to breathe on a quarterback once in a while.