Still A Chance For Steven MeansMay 22nd, 2014
Last year, the Bucs had hopes they found pass rush gems late in the draft with rookie defensive ends Steven Means and Will Gholston.
Means didn’t light the world on fire, but he didn’t really stink, either. But as the season wore on, it was Gholston who took the proverbial bull by the horns and rallied from a bubble player mired on the inactive list to a starter who actually could breathe on opposing quarterbacks sometimes.
While Gholston rose in prominence, Means became an inactive afterthought. When the Bucs signed defensive end Michael Johnson as a free agent acquisition, it didn’t look good for Means.
Not so fast, said Bucs coach Lovie Smith.
“If you just look at size, speed, long arms, you notice [Means] on the hoof a little bit,” Lovie said. “He’s that prototype guy that we’re playing with, with that speed. He’s not the biggest guy around. We don’t care about really, so much size, but want to have a lot of fast guys that can come off the edge and rush the passer.
“He’s been here working extremely hard, but again like I said, we were talking early about some of offensive lineman; we’re just getting the guys all in position right now. We have excellent defensive line coaches in Joe Cullen and Mike Phair working with the guys, but I can’t wait, of course, to see those guys go against them. Our one-on-one battles, offensive versus defensive lines, should be something to see.”
Lovie is fond of speed. He always talks about getting athletes and using speed. Joe is confident that is why Lovie has verbally waved off Jeff Demps’ buttery fingers. A coach can teach a guy to hold onto the ball better. You cannot teach speed. Either you have it or you don’t.
Same with Means. Lovie wants speed off the edges. Means has that. Now it’s time to coach the guy up to shed blocks.