Michael Johnson Channels Simeon RiceApril 15th, 2014
Doctors throughout the Tampa Bay area were flooded with calls on Mondays last fall from patients who needed to re-up their blood pressure meds because the Bucs were so impotent at getting to opposing quarterbacks.
It was appalling for Joe as well, as he had to numb himself on Sunday nights with copious amounts of adult beverages to wash away the memories.
Well, Bucs coach Lovie Smith is here to build new memories, and those memories will dampen pharmaceutical sales. Lovie is bound and determined to soil opposing quarterbacks’ jerseys. One way was to ink defensive end Michael Johnson.
The Bucs really have not had a consistent pass rush from the edge since the halcyon days of Simeon Rice, who last suited up in Tampa nearly eight years ago, hollering about how Chucky was a “scumbag” on his way out the door.
Johnson, who spent a few minutes this afternoon with the Tampa Bay pen and mic club, knows all about Rice. In fact, Johnson spent much of this morning studying Rice’s Bucs tape.
“Just got finished watching a lot of [Rice],” Johnson said. “Long guy, very athletic and constantly gets to the quarterback. He didn’t do a whole bunch of different things but what he did he was good at. You will definitely see some of that in me this year.
“We are definitely a lot more free in this defense. Playing more vertical, more aggressive attacking. That’s going to be one of the fun things, getting finally to do that and I am looking forward to do that and see what we can do with it.”
How pathetic is it that the Bucs have gone damned near a decade trying to replace Rice? How many draft picks and wasted cash on free agents have the Bucs run through looking for the next Rice? Why was Michael Bennett allowed to leave?
Maybe the closest the Bucs came to filling Rice’s void was with Kevin Carter in the final years of the Chucky regime, and even then, Carter was a shell of his former self in the twilight of his NFL career.
Perhaps, with a return to the defense that made Tampa famous, Johnson will be bring back fond memories of quarterbacks being buried into the turf at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway.