Defensive Line “Not There Yet”August 17th, 2014
Defensive end Michael Johnson signed a five-year deal worth $43.75 million, per Rotoworld.com. Some even suggested that paired with Gerald McCoy, Johnson would be the next Simeon Rice.
Frankly, unless Johnson flips the switch next month, the next person comparing him to Rice should be towel-snapped in the shower.
Joe was up in the press box last night and had enough Bucs fans ask him about Johnson that Joe decided to focus on Johnson for a few plays. The tall defensive end was hailed by the new Bucs administration as the coup of the free agent spending frenzy this spring.
From what Joe saw (granted, small sample size) Johnson has two moves: run around the tackle or bullrush him. Neither worked against veteran Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert. Once Albert made contact with Johnson, the play was over. Johnson could not shake him.
You know why Johnson was in position to scoop up a Ryan Tannehill fumble? Because he couldn’t get near him.
In a lot of ways, the defensive line looks a whole lot like last year’s, sans the stunts. The only guy getting pressure is Gerald McCoy, who is double- and triple-teamed, and sometimes chipped by a running back. The dude is getting mobbed and still finds a way to shake free.
Even GMC admitted after the game the defensive line, as a unit, has a ways to go.
“There’s a standard that has been set by a bunch of legends in this game,” GMC said referring to his mentor, Warren Sapp, along with Rice. “When Tampa first brought the Tampa-2 here, there were some growing pains. It’s tough to repeat what they did, but they set a standard and Coach [Lovie] Smith has set a standard. We’re getting closer but we’re not there yet.
“It’s coming. We’re not there yet. We can be so much better, but it is improving. Coach [Joe] Cullen and Coach [Leslie] Frazier, they’re doing an awesome job getting the guys ready and coaching us up. We got a long way to go.”
Joe thought GMC had an awesome response when someone asked when he would know the defense has reached its zenith: “When we bring a Super Bowl trophy home.”
To hear more of GMC, click the red button below. Audio courtesy of Joe’s friends at WDAE-AM 620.