Bucs Still Paying For Michael Bennett VoidOctober 28th, 2013
There was an old TV commercial about either changing the oil in your car, or changing the oil filter in your car on a regular basis, Joe can’t remember exactly. The closing line in the ad was such a hit it is still used today in pop culture.
“You can pay me now (camera shows mechanic with oil filter in his hand) or you can pay me later (camera pans to a car up on a lift being worked on).”
The point was that it’s cheaper in the long run to regularly perform maintenance on your car rather than being lazy and having a major breakdown and, later, an ugly four-figure bill.
That is essentially what is happening to the Bucs. The Bucs swear they let Bennett go because he was damaged goods. This is correct. He was. But it didn’t stop another team, mainly the first-place Seahawks, from taking a cheap gamble and now they have hit a jackpot.
Ben Stockwell of ProFootballFocus.com details just how badly the Bucs miss Bennett.
I’ll try not to flog a dead horse here but this performance reinforced the glaringly obvious point of what a poor personnel decision the Buccaneers made in choosing not to retain Michael Bennett this offseason. While Bennett has recorded 33 total pressures and is second among 4-3 defensive ends league wide in terms of Pass Rushing Productivity, the Buccaneers can generate virtually none. While their 17 total pressures ties their third-highest output of the season, only six of those came as a result of beating a blocker, 11 of the 17 came by way of an unblocked pass rusher either by offensive design or defensive overload. Only three players registered multiple pressures and two of those were corners (Leonard Johnson and Michael Adams). For the season, the Buccaneers still have only one defensive lineman with a positive pass rushing grade, Gerald McCoy who was held to only one hurry by the Panthers this week, resulting in his first negative pass rush grade of the season.
Here is why Joe doesn’t wholly buy that the Bucs let Bennett walk because he was damaged goods: If Bennett was unable to make a go of it in preseason, then the Bucs could have reached a financial medical settlement with Bennett and cut him, or if he was healthy, just outright released him if he wasn’t cutting it.
The move smells of Schiano and his “Buccaneer Man” mantra because Bennett was slightly a loose cannon, who didn’t always hold back his opinions when something needed to be said. At times, he was brutally honest. Always, he was refreshingly honest and glib.
Why does Joe get the feeling that Schiano would rather have players who he simply likes personally playing for him as opposed to guys who he may not invite over for Thanksgiving dinner, but who are better players?
As Raheem Morris famously said, “I will tolerate you until I can replace you.” The Bucs, clearly, have not been able to replace their former sack leader.