Going After A Defensive Linemen?April 15th, 2014
Joe wonders how many Bucs fans were thrown out of bars across the Tampa Bay area when they hurled beer at TVs after watching opposing quarterbacks have so much time in the pocket to throw. These QBs could have clipped their toenails and not been sacked.
Poor Gerald McCoy. He may be the best defensive tackle in the game and he got absolutely scant help trying to breathe on a quarterback. So when Bucs coach Lovie Smith took over, he wasted scant minutes (seconds?) in beefing up the defensive line. As a result, Joe thinks the defensive line is just fine.
But in breaking down what the Bucs’ needs in the draft next month, Evan Silva doesn’t seem overly moved by Lovie’s moves on the defensive front. The Rotoworld.com NFL analyst believes the No. 3 need of the Bucs, behind wide receiver and guard, is still defensive line.
The Bucs’ defensive line improved in free agency, adding Michael Johnson to book end Adrian Clayborn, and ex-Seahawk Clinton McDonald to replace NT Akeem Spence next to Gerald McCoy in sub-packages. This team still needs one-gap penetrators and rotational edge rushers. Lovie’s pressure-oriented defenses have always been at their best with up-front depth at end and tackle.
Joe likes Silva’s work but he believes Silva may be overlooking one person, and that is Will Gholston. Not only is Gholston versatile in that he can play tackle or end, the few times Gholston was turned loose last year instead of playing “Ring Around the Rosie” with all the silly Billy Sheridan stunts, Gholston did well getting quarterbacks on the ground.
In addition, Gholston really improved, maybe more than any player on the Bucs roster from September to December. He started off inactive in early games, and before the end of the season, Gholston was playing regularly and starting.
Imagine how much more Gholston can improve with a coach like Lovie this season?
No, Joe thinks the defensive line will be fine. And don’t be surprised if Gholston plays a key role in the improvement of the pass rush.