Nickerson Says Bucs Need A “Game-changer”

October 27th, 2011

Seven years patrolling the middle of the Bucs’ defense, five of them Pro Bowl seasons, former Tampa Bay middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson knows a thing or two about leadership and defense.

And to Joe’s surprise, Nickerson, who lives in California and coaches high school ball there, said today that he watches every Bucs game and he and his son are “huge Bucs fans.”

Speaking on the Ron and Ian Show on WDAE-AM 620, co-host and former Bucs guard Ian Beckles asked Nickerson what he thought of Barrett Ruud being characterized as a “finesse middle linebacker.”

“I don’t think you can get too far with a finesse middle linebacker. A middle linebacker’s got to be a tough guy. You gotta be a tough guy,” Nickerson said. “You gotta be the guy that’s going to step up. You know, the old saying goes, ‘You gotta step up and hit a guy in the mouth.’ A middle linebacker’s got to be that guy.”

When asked what Buccaneer on the defensive front seven has a chance to be a superstar? Nickerson chose Mason Foster.

“I think Foster has a chance. You know, he’s just a young kid. As he gets better, I think he’ll find his niche,  find his playing style and define himself as he goes along here,” Nickerson said. “I think he has a chance.”

On the Bucs’ defense in general, Nickerson said he’s very excited by what the way the Bucs are growing and he thinks what’s seriously lacking and needed is a true leader and “a game-changer” on the defensive front seven. Nickerson said he expects that player will evolve from the current group.

Nickerson wasn’t asked during the interview, but Joe’s wondering when No. 56 will get his Ring of Honor day? Five Pro Bowls under two very different Bucs defenses and the on-filed mentor for so many of the greats of the glory years. There shouldn’t be any doubt.

16 Responses to “Nickerson Says Bucs Need A “Game-changer””

  1. Meh Says:

    Foster’s looking like he was a great pick, especially for the 3rd round. It will be interesting to see how he develops.

  2. SteveK Says:

    Better than Ruud, for sure.

    Can we get a “playmaker” at WR this offseason, please? Freeman needs some help!

  3. Dean Says:

    There’s no doubt that Hardy Nickerson deserves to be in the “Ring of Honor!!!” Dereck Brooks, who is a future HOF member, and one the greatest BUCS, learned under the tutelage and guidance of Nickerson!!!!! I had the privlege of watching him play in orange and pewter, and he played with the intensity and passion of a true leader of MEN!!!!! Nickerson NEVER took a play off!!!!! I’m happy to know that Hardy is a BUC’S fan and follows the team closely!!!!!!! This BUC’S defense is going to be AWSOME!!!!! Raheem accentuates the YOUTH of this team, but we have to allow the development process to take place!!!!! We see that happening week to week!!!! LOVE YA BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Eric Says:

    From “fools gold” to ring of honor?

    And, he may not recognize that the current group is the most physical in bucs history.

  5. SteveK Says:

    Hardy was awesome, and a true leader.

  6. SteveK Says:

    Comparable to London Fletcher, but bigger.

  7. Leighroy Says:

    I agree that the game changer needed could and should evolve from the current group of the front 7. But those odds aren’t great considering that our OLB’s leave a lot to be desired, and would improve by simply playing consistently mediocre on a game to game basis….

  8. Oahubuc Says:

    The only motivational poster I have in my office is a Hardy Nickerson jersey with “WWHD?” under it on a placard.

  9. Capt.Tim Says:

    LeighRoy- ” and would improve by playing consistently mediocre” .
    Yup! That about sums them up. Another highly respected site stated that those two are so bad, that any Rookie drafted in the fourth round or higher, would walk in off the street and be an instant upgrade! Haywood and Watson are both playing so much better, ya gotta wonder why they are starting. Neither would start for any team in the league.

    Those two, along with Talib, are only on this team because of their friendship with The Coach. I really like Raheem, and think he has a great chance to be an excellent coach. But the one Warning sign I see, is letting the Buddy system get the best of him. Those three have long worn out their chances on the team.

    It’s like Dominick’s fear of Free agents. As great as he seems to be at drafting, his aversion to signing Vets has really hurt this team this year.
    No talent at OLB. Talib and Biggers struggling at CB, with no depth, and the dangerous lack of RBs on the roster, all problems we could have effectively resolved in the off season. While I campaigned for a high profile FA at CB, I would have been happy to see some skilled guys come aboard.

    Instead we did nothing, at it’s hurting the team.

  10. SteveK Says:

    ARGGHHH! Right on Capt. Tim!

    Bucs 2011 offseason FA’s signed:

    P Michael Koenan- Awesome

    T- Trueblood- an ok backup

    G Davin- pretty good player

    2011 Bucs FA’s added (wishlist):

    CB- Jonathan Jospeh- cut Talib

    RT- Doug Free- good player and can actually block in the passing game

    RB- Sproles- no brainer

    This offseason additions:

    WR- Desean Jackson

    Draft: 2 CB’s, an RT, and some RB’s

  11. Captain Stagger Says:

    Current player most likely to emerge is Clayborn in my eyes. But if the defense wants a physical hit you in the mouth game changer in the front 7, go grab Burfict next year. Hell, grab Te’o too while you’re at it and I’d be a very happy bucs fan.

  12. macabee Says:

    SteveK, no problem with your list, but help me with the DeSean Jackson addition. If you were DeSean and you had your choice of the top teams in the NFL, and he will, tell me why you would come to the Bucs. Albert Haynesworth turned us down for crying out loud. I admire your willingnes to reach for the best though!

  13. FreemanBomb5 Says:

    I would love to get Burfict but I doubt we’l pick high enough. I’m assuming we can draft a stud corner though.

  14. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    Captain Tim, I have to disagree. We saw when Quincy Black was out how bad Dekoda Watson is is pass coverage. He is more physical than Black is, but then vs New Orleans you saw Black play much better. And I LIKE Dekoda Watson, but as Im sure you know, they start the better players, period. Friendship has nothing to do with it, or Barrett Ruud and Cadillac Williams and Derrick Brooks would still be on this team.

    Also, Im a huge Haywood fan, but he plays LIGHTS OUT with his amplifier on No.11! But thats still just a tad big better than Geno Hayes plays. Problem is Hayes is inconsistent.

    Were just so spoiled with a history of good linebackers here….Cecil Johnson, Richard Wood, David Lewis, Scott Brantly, Jeff Davis, Ervin Randle, Winston Moss, Eugene Marve, Broderick Thomas, Derrick Brooks, Shelton Quarles…

  15. 941-Bucs Says:

    That’s because the linebackers have been able to pass down knowledge from generation to generation… To just Cut Brooks like the did with out having someone tutored under him (besides Ruud) was a huge mistake and has sort of crippled the future LB corp.

    There is a very good reason people keep seasoned veterans on teams, because coaches can get out on the field and play with the team. So the need their Vet’s aka coaches on the field to teach em… Rhonde can’t teach ever position from his CB spot, Should have kept Cato June or D. Brooks at least 1 extra year to assist and developing the next wave of LB’s.

    Only thing i can pray for now. Is either Hardy or Brooks to be coaxed into coming in and being a LB coach for this team!

  16. 941-Bucs Says:

    coaches can’t*