Draft Advice For Jason Licht

January 15th, 2018

BY IRA KAUFMAN

It’s one of the great sound bites in NFL history and Herm Edwards is still asked about it more than 15 years later.

“You play to win the game,” Edwards bellowed that day as head coach of the New York Jets, reminding the media of Job 1.

Here’s my contribution, and I’m sure Herm would be proud:

“You draft to win your division.”

Simple. Direct. Profound.

So how about it, Mr. Licht?

When that incredible Vikings-Saints game ended in dramatic fashion Sunday evening, I kept thinking about Drew Brees.

He walked off the field on the losing side, but he deserved so much better. He had just shredded the NFL’s premier defense in the second half while New Orleans rallied from a 17-0 deficit on the road.

He deserved a date next week in Philadelphia with a Super Bowl berth on the line because he’s that good. And by the way, he’s not going anywhere.

After the game, Brees sent a message to New Orleans fans on Twitter.

“I love you Who Dat Nation,” Brees said. “And I love our team. We are destined for great things.”

Clear Picture

Brees will return this fall to challenge a Bucs defense that just allowed the most yards in the league. He will be seeking to pad his 16-9 career record against Tampa Bay, which includes 48 touchdown throws and a 95.8 passer rating.

Brees has never won the league MVP award, which is surprising because he’s been so great for so long. Once in awhile, the Bucs can make him look rather ordinary, but don’t bet on it. Far more often, he scares the heck out of anyone in pewter. The Bucs have sacked him only 33 times in those 25 games and if you don’t move Brees off his spot, he’s going to carve you up.

That’s what happened Sunday when the Saints committed more resources toward blocking Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffin, who had been hounding Brees.

Brees isn’t the only Buc-killer in the NFC South.

Matt Ryan and Cam Newton just happen to reign as the past two league MVPs while representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Ryan is 13-7 against the Bucs, with 30 TD passes and a 95.5 QB rating.

He has been sacked only 29 times in those 20 starts.

Newton is 8-3 vs. Tampa Bay, with 16 TD throws and a 93.3 rating.

You get the picture, and it’s high time the decision makers at One Buc Place understand this dynamic.

Quadruple Dipping

You draft to win your division.

Free agency can help, at times, but when it comes to impact pass rushers, this year’s crop of available linemen is thin gruel.

Tampa Bay’s defensive line hasn’t been nearly good enough to compete against the quarterbacks in this division. It’s not nearly good enough in comparison to the fronts of Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Minnesota.

The other team left standing, New England, has Tom Brady, who makes up for a lot of weaknesses.

The Bucs don’t have Tom Brady.

They have Jameis Winston, who is still learning what it takes to be a franchise quarterback. Brees is coming back, Newton is in his prime and Ryan remains hungry and dangerous.

For the 5-11 Bucs, hunting season has already begun. They need to find a pass-rushing stud.

Then they need to find a few more.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira every Wednesday on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio at 5 p.m., and see him Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360.

35 Responses to “Draft Advice For Jason Licht”

  1. Ben the GA Buc Says:

    Mic drop.

  2. Seminole Bill Says:

    These playoff teams should be an eye-opener for Messrs. Licht and Koetter. A team with a weak QB but a dominant defense (Jax) is in the AFC Championship. Another team with a relatively unknown QB and a dominant defense (Vikings) is in the NFC Championship. More than a few years ago a team with a QB considered average but with a dominant defense (the Bucs) made the playoffs year after year, and then won the Super Bowl. Suggests the formula to follow.

  3. Maze Says:

    Drew Brees deserves nothing

  4. Dom is gone Says:

    All 4 of the remaining teams top 5 in defense! How bout addressing defense this off season of MORE weapons for Winston

  5. Lord Cornelius Says:

    lol @ the idea that the Pats are just some sh1tty team with Tom Brady and no defense and no investment in their lines.

    The Pats had a top 5 scoring defense last year – giving up just 18.5 PPG. That’s even better when you consider their early learning curve. They’ve given up just 14.6 PPG the last 8 games of the regular season and held the Titans to 14 in the playoffs.

    The Pats also have had top 5-10 defenses every year they won the SB. They had the #1 scoring defense last year. Last I checked Tom Brady isn’t playing on the D-line there.

    They use most their draft picks on lineman. Hell in the 3 drafts between 2015 to 2017 using their top 4 rounds they have drafted:
    8 defensive players vs 7 offensive players; with those picks going to 6 defensive lineman and 4 offensive lineman or 10 lineman out of their 14 picks.

    By comparison – the Bucs spent 12 picks in that time with just 3 total lineman; because we’ve ignored all basic common sense about building a team from the lines out.

    Just Charles Sims & Roberto could have been a bad4ss OG and 2 solid D-line prospects. That’s how big those type of blunders can ripple out and hurt us in future years. And that isn’t revisionist history – most all Bucs fans hated those picks and wanted lineman. Yet Licth wants to insult the fan base. Go F8ck yourself Licht.

  6. Pa Privateer Says:

    Another thing to remember is that the 2018 draft crop of 43 DEs is smaller than other years. There are a lot of 34 OLB but not 43 DEs in rounds 1-3.

    I believe DE Chubb will be there at #7 and DT Vita Vea is a must have if he falls to the 2nd Round

    43 DEs after the 2nd Round (260+ lbs) :

    DE Rasheen Green (prob climbs into the late 1st round)
    DE Duke Ejiofor
    DE Chad Thomas
    DE Tyqwan Lewis
    DE Sam Hubbard

  7. LakeLand Says:

    The Tampa Bay Bucs pass rush is worse than the 0-16 Cleveland Browns. They are ranked 32nd in Adjusted Sack Rate, with a rate of 4.3% and 22 sacks. The Pittsburgh was ranked 1st with an Adjusted Sack Rate of 9.8% and 56 sacks.

  8. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Lol Maze!

  9. gambelero Says:

    It’s also worth pointing out that BJR and AJR are two different things. Okay, so he did pretty well while Jon Robinson was here, but how’s he done post Jon Robinson, beginning with the 2016 draft where we got Hargreaves and Aguayo in the first two rounds?

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Lord C … Great points. Joe won’t acknowledge it, but Pats were #29 in Yardage Allowed but #5 in Points Allowed like you said. March up & down the field on them if you want, but they know how to close the door in the Red Zone to keep teams from scoring. Bucs weren’t nearly as good at that obviously, but being #22 in Points Allowed vs #32 in Yardage Allowed actually should give folks a glimmer of hope. Provide them with a better DLine to pressure the QBs and an improved Secondary to minimize explosive plays especially and our defense could improve significantly next year.

  11. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Been no sound plan for this organization during the licht years nor dominik w him giving away a #1 for revis, as bad as drafting a K in round 2 so that gets you to 5-11 and not close to competing for playoffs

  12. LakeLand Says:

    Defense Rules

    The Denver Broncos are ranked 3rd in Total Defense. But they are ranked 24th in points allowed, below the Bucs.

  13. Buccfan37 Says:

    Brees says he wants to play until he is 45 like Brady. I sure loved that late loss to the Vikings last night mostly for Payton.

  14. Blackmagic00 Says:

    @dusthty or the bruce years. Licht has atleast added multiple talents to the roster. We understand where you’re going with this, but Licht has been the best of the last decade and a half.

  15. Blackmagic00 Says:

    Hindsight 20/20, how many of us wish we could go back on this very website and not wish for Gruden to be axed? Still remember the night I was laying in bed and refreshing the page every 5 minutes to see the great news of him being ousted. Had way too much faith in this organization back then. DEFINITELY Not saying he didn’t need to go. Just had way too much faith in this organization to think they’d have a new answer. I TRULY hope dk and company are the real deal and this season was just a fluke piece to the ongoing puzzle of this organization.

  16. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    DE if Barkley is not there at 7….

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I agree with Ira, but it is kind of stating the obvious at this point.

  18. BucEmUp Says:

    I am confident that Jason Licht will do what it takes to get the best pass rush in the draft.

    I.am even more confident that Mike Smith will refuse to stop playing soft zone and the defense will be.an embarrassment yet AGAIN. Then everyone who thinks.Smith is not the problem will call for Jay Hayes to be fired unless they already are.

    Then it will be lack of talent in the secondary. Then it will be.something else.

    You.cant sack the qb when the corners are ALL 12 yards back. So long Brent, sorry we don’t have a real coach running the defense here.in Tampa.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lakeland … “The Denver Broncos are ranked 3rd in Total Defense. But they are ranked 24th in points allowed, below the Bucs.” Now you’ve got me confused. Denver Broncos ranked 3rd in Yards Allowed, but 22nd in Points Allowed (tied with us at 382 pts). I recognize that the NFL uses Yards Allowed to rank teams defensively, but to me it makes a lot more sense to use Points Allowed. Look at the Pats … 29th Total Defense if you use Yards Allowed, but 5th if you use Total Points Allowed.

    And Ira, I like Herm’s quote: “You draft to win your division.” Unfortunately, Bucs have a LONG ways to go to accomplish that goal. I do believe however that the Bucs could get to 9-7 or thereabouts if they have a GRRREAT offseason in terms of drafting, trading and free agency. Licht will have to pull out all the stops or we’re dead meat in the NFC South. We’ve spotted 3 teams a huge lead in terms of talent.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    Look at this, Jameis Winston versus the Falcons…

    3-2 record, 66.8 completion %, 1245 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs, 110.0 passer rating

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    oh and for Winston his rushing stats versus the Falcons, 71 yards, 2 TDs

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    BucEmUp, Mike Smith was obviously trying everything in the book to make this defense work. I never once heard him make excuses. Do you really think that a highly experienced defensive coach would continually tell his CBs to play 15 yards off? Sorry, I just can’t buy into that. Grimes played his game, like he always does (he has played for Smitty in this defense before, remember?). VHIII just didn’t have it together this year. He’s too short and he’s not fast enough nor quick enough to make up for it. Once other teams got his number after 2016, he was gonna be in trouble. Playing off I’d almost bet was HIS decision, not Smitty’s. Ryan Smith is coming on, but he had a HUGE mountain to climb after being tagged as a safety in 2016. He’s tall enough, fast enough & quick enough though to turn into an excellent outside corner … in time. One thing that I really like about him is that he plays like he’s absolutely fearless.

  23. Stu Says:

    In Irv we trust!

  24. Ndog Says:

    I’ve already been doing mock drafts, sad I know, and what I have seen is there are very few good o lineman in this draft. So as much as we all covet d lineman if we are going to go o line it will need to be in the first 3 rounds if not the first 2. That is the problem by drafting Beckwith last year and Augayo two years ago Licht passed on two positions of REAL NEED in DE, RB, or guard. So now we need all of them and cant fill them all at once unless we hit in free agency, which has been proven time and time again Licht really sucks at.

  25. Duke Says:

    Defenserules,

    I don’t know about the 15yds but MS’s defenses have always played soft coverage at the corners. There is a number of posters who are calling for press or believe that it’s coming next year and it may, but that’s not the safest bet.

    In the past, when MS defenses have played team’s that haven’t played well against press He didn’t adjust his style of play. I’m talking playoff games, with everything on the line, and it didn’t prompt a change. So I don’t know why anyone would believe that a philosophical shift in the way MS approaches the game is forthcoming.

    Soft coverage that keeps the ball in front of the corners hopefully preventing big plays is who MS is as a d coord. The solution is a pass rush. If you can’t rush the passer the only you can’t do is play press. The calls for it are so frequent and so
    utterly ridiculous that I have to think it’s a joke. However, something tells me I’m
    wrong.

  26. Saskbuco Says:

    Trying to stay positive and not be a fair weather/turn coat fan. But this offseason has not quite been what I thought it would, yet I’m trying so hard to remain positive. If it’s playoffs or bust for this regime then it’s will take a small miracle for these guys to keep their jobs next year, the Glazers have gone all in as this off-season has seen so many quality coordinators finally taking HC positions (NE Pats), coach Gruden coming back and we choose to hold serve. Now the Titans are interested in the Rams OC, a very bright young offensive mind, my point being I don’t understand the logic in not even trying to get the coaching staff better or accountable. The quality of position coaches seems to be very high this off-season due to teams not accepting mediocrity and realizing if the staff isn’t one take you to the ultimate goal, then cut bait and try again, an OL coach like Russ Grimm might be out of work and all of our coaches get there option picked up? Why not try and bring in some new coaching we clearly need some, perhaps no one would
    Come to a one year “must win” situation but I get the sense we haven’t even tried to improve and that’s very disheartening for me.

    I accept ownerships choice to keep the status quo and will remain a loyal die hard fan no matter what, I will always stand by and support our team just some of these decisions have been extremely hard to accept. I hope more than anything I’m eating crow next year for having doubts in the direction of the Bucs but time will tell and I hope more than anything I’m wrong.

    Thoughts Bucs nation? As always bleed Pewter and fire the cannons!!!

  27. teacherman777 Says:

    Brees was a stud at Purdue. I remember watching Sportscenter then. He was amazing!

    He is a 6 ft. tall QB in the NFL.

    He is one of the best QB’s in NFL history. If not top 5, then at least top 10.

    Maybe even #1 over Manning and Brady.

    However, Sean Payton is a nasty human being.

    When we broke his leg, it was karma for the “bounty” system that he and Greg Williams used to employ.

    Also, I speculate that Drew Brees is on something. Probably aderall or riddlin. He has the same eyes as the fighter pilots in the air force. They are hopped up on PE drugs also.

    I repeat again. I think Drew Brees is on a BED. Brain Enhancing Drug.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    @teacherman777 … “Also, I speculate that Drew Brees is on something. Probably aderall or riddlin. He has the same eyes as the fighter pilots in the air force. They are hopped up on PE drugs also.” Hey idiot, you have absolutely ZERO idea what you’re talking about. Spent my career as one of those ‘fighter pilots in the Air Force’ and have worked with & flown with thousands of them. Guess what … we weren’t even allowed to fly if we took cold medicine, much less any type of drug. Nor did you want to because everyone’s life in the formation depended upon how everyone else performed, and there’s no way you’d ever put your brothers’ lives at risk that way. So before you go spewing that kind of crap about various professions … or about Drew Brees being on a ‘Brain Enhancing Drug’ … think twice next time. Your opinions just became absolutely worthless far as I’m concerned.

  29. Capt.Tim Says:

    For the 1000th time, since this time last year( and the year before)

    “You cant win in today’s NFL, if you cant rush the passer!”

    The incredulious part of this, and the reason they should be fired immediately,
    Is that Licht/Koetter/Smith have made absolutely no effort to build a pass rush!!
    Unless you count Drafting LB Noah Spence, and calling him a DE.
    To not understand this requirement in todays game- they should all be unemployed!!!

  30. Locked In Says:

    Can’t wait to do the choke sign to Peyton next season. He’s a jerk.

  31. unbelievable Says:

    [email protected] Drew Brees and Sean Payton.

    Nothing made me happier this weekend than watching them lose, especially in dramatic fashion like that.

    I love New Orleans the city, but hate the Saints more than anyone.

  32. Mike Johnson Says:

    Who are we..to to be critical of any team in our division? We are the perenial celler Dwellers! And I see everybody in our Division tweeking and staying right where they are. I don’t see this Buc team going anywheres but back to the celler next season. Not under this current caoching staff. I do see a possible 8-8. Why the Glazers hired these 2 ATL retreads beats me. Win a division, get to the 1st rd playoffs Bucs..then we can start sayin we are building. Until then, we are the laughing stock of the NFL with our famous Jameis and soft Defense.

  33. darin Says:

    Correct Maze, brees deserves nothing. He is the one who had to be the highest paid and take up a huge portion of their cap every year. He had a few chances to take less, like brady has, and improve their chances to be a better team, he opted for the money. The only way they have a chance with him around is this year and probably next, when they find low paid rookies who excel. Lost all respect for brees when he compared his bountygate situation to that of the men and women who were fighting in the war. Complete arrogant, selfish effer. He deserved what he got. Now watch him go for the money again and handicap the rest of the squad. Not many things I like more than watching the saints lose.

  34. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Do you guys remember when the poor Vikings had a good team 2-3 years ago and came from behind in a playoff game and set up their FG kicker with a chip shot to win it. Then he chokes and the entire town went into deep depression.
    It was a game the Vikes should have won.

    So fast forward to this year and the Vikes end up winning a game they should have lost. It’s football.

    I’m continually amazed by the black and white observations here. Not a lot of nuance from some. We’re not good…we don’t suck…we’re somewhere in the middle…with about two dozen other teams.

  35. orlbucfan Says:

    I recall Brees back when the Chargers drafted and coached him. He was coming into his prime when they let him go in favor of Philip Rivers. i like the Chargers tho I swear they have to be one of the biggest underachieving teams in the NFL. Brees is a classy human being; Sean Payton is anything BUT! I’m glad Bucs and Vikes beat him! Bucs should have beat the almighty Pats. Another year of Buc Luck. Licht has done very well in both the draft and the UDFA and walk-on areas. He now focuses on the defense. This will be definitely worth watching. 🙂