Linebackers Combined For 10 Tackles

December 27th, 2011

If there’s one reason — and there’s more — why the Bucs absolutely have to be active in free agency when the cash bell rings in March, it’s because of the shoddy play of the Bucs linebackers.

Collectively, the current crop of linebackers misses tackles, doesn’t shed blocks, lands in the wrong gaps, and isn’t physical. Amazingly, they combined for just 10 tackles in 49 offensive snaps for Carolina on Saturday. That’s a dubious feat, consdering Cam Newton only threw four incompletions and the Panthers ran the ball 30+ times.

Simply stated, Geno Hayes and Quincy Black have had dreadful seasons. Neither deserve to be more than the answers to Bucs trivia questions in 2012. Each has had three full seasons to prove himself since grabbing top-dog status on the linebacker depth chart from Angelo Crowell and Jermaine Phillips (yes, those names were painful for Joe to type) early in the 2009 campaign.

Obviously, the Bucs had high hopes for Black after paying him a king’s ransom this offseason. He turns 28 in February entering his sixth season. What question hasn’t been answered about him? Surely, he’s put enough on tape to get a pink slip. And Raheem Morris himself said he expected “absolute dominance” from Hayes. Neither delivered.

In Carolina, Mason Foster sure didn’t look like the guy Raheem was gushing over last week, but as a 22-year-old late third-round pick, Foster pretty much had the season expected of him, especially considering the corps around him.

If the Bucs decide to draft a linebacker with a premium pick in 2012, surely they’ll need and want a stud free agent LB to work alongside the rookie and Foster. If they don’t use a top pick on an LB, then they’ll surely need a veteran beast at linebacker to change the culture of the unit and the defense.

Dakoda Watson has shown a lot of good things, but the Bucs can’t keep plugging in seventh rounders as starters and hoping for elite play.

Joe expects to be very busy writing about the excitement of massive coaching changes in the coming weeks, but right now Joe finds it therapeutic to think about filling the Bucs’ many holes, the biggest of which are in the center of the defense.

21 Responses to “Linebackers Combined For 10 Tackles”

  1. justin Says:

    my guess is we spend no money at all this offseason then right before we have to spend money in 2013 the glazers sell the team

  2. Garv Says:

    There is no DOUBT we need help at LB. Through the draft AND FA.
    Most of us know how important picking up Hardy Nickerson in FA was to this team in 1993. A young enough veteran with desire and leadership qualities is paramount IMO. I don’t know who will be available but the Royal’s MUST help out this team this winter.

    We need so much on D, LB’s, DB’s, everywhere. But IMO it’s starts with LB who WANT TO TACKLE! Who want to follow in the system they’re in and make the plays when they’re there to be made.

    Happy New Year!!!

  3. Meh Says:

    I haven’t spent a ton of time looking at FA lists yet, but is the linebacker FA crop this year any good? I don’t think it was. More chance of some good corners in FA I think.

  4. Meh Says:

    Oh and Luke Kuechly would be great in the middle and we can slide Foster to sam.

  5. Amar Says:

    Hmm…. :/

  6. Snook Says:

    Here we go with “free agency”… Is there anyone even available? I love the people that jump up and down and yell, “SIGN FREE AGENTS! SIGN FREE AGENTS!” but then can’t suggest who to sign.

    Teams don’t let their good players get away anymore. Besides Sproles this past off-season, who has signed with another team and been a huge game changer?

    This team just needs a good head coach. And some middle of the road free agents to help them along.

  7. Meh Says:

    Snook, who else? Jonathan Joseph.

  8. Garv Says:

    Snook, we need help on defense. More help than one draft can provide.
    I admit I don’t know what FA LB’s might be available but it sure as hell couldn’t hurt to upgrade there.

    We’ll have new coaching, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

    Happy New Year!!!

  9. Macabee Says:

  10. Paul Says:

    Don’t forget to mention Joe Baker. He’s garbage. Mason Foster looks lost every play.

  11. Hillbilly Heaven Says:

    I woke up this morning with only one thought in my head — it’s the Glazer plan.

    Raheem stays, no FA are signed and the team is sold during 2012 – before the date when the CBA requires the Bucs to spend alot money.

    By doing nothing, the Glazers will max-out their profitability and then run off into the night.

    Makes perfect business sense.

  12. Bobby Says:

    I think LB is our biggest problem. RB’s get past the initial DL all the time but the LB’s are there to limit the damage. Against us when the RB’s reach the second level it’s ‘buh bye’. We just get gouged because our LB’s either can’t get off of a block or they get off of the block and miss the tackle or take the wrong angle. I like Foster but I think he should be a OLB. Kuechly would be a good draft pick but I’d rather see us get Trent Richardson or Claiborne and get a MLB in FA that is a vet.

  13. Bobby Says:

    @Hillbilly Heaven….Obviously you are not a businessman. You don’t sell a business on a low just like you don’t sell a stock at it’s low point. The value isn’t there. If they are going to sell they will sell when the team is winning. I believe they will spend money when the value is there for the money spent. When FA’s become available that will benefit the team and push us to the next level then they’ll spend the money. We know they have to spend money in 2013 and they know that too. I don’t think they are going to wait just to kill time. If the right players come on the market I expect us to be active.

  14. adam ant Says:

    Free agents to consider: RB – Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Ryan Grant. WR – DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston. LB – Curtis Lofton, Anthony Spencer, Stephen Tulloch. DB – Carlos Rogers, Brent Grimes
    Back-up QB – Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Donovan McNabb, Josh Johnson.

  15. eric Says:

    Allowing 270 yards rushing in one game is bad?

  16. Hillbilly Heaven Says:

    Bobby – I actually own/run a million dollar (gross) business.

    Your point is true for a “regular” business, but an NFL franchise does but follow the same rules. There is a very limited supply (32) and an overwhelming demand. That alone guarantees a premium price, regardless of condition.

    In fact, a buyer would be happier if they were not locked into contracts running past the purchase date.

    Glazers can maximize income from all sources (except tickets) and sell out to the highest bidder.


  17. thibs5599 Says:

    @ JOE

    As far as free agent Linebackers, who do you see making it to free agency that would could possibly pick up. I know of a few who i have looked at but just curious if you have any opinions.

    one i would like to see us go after is Ahmad Brooks from the Niners. Im pretty sure he is a free agent, if he makes it to the market would love to sign him. Has never put up a lot of tackles but he can rush the passer and play the run well, at 6 foot 3 and 260 pounds would be a big difference from what we normally have at linebacker

  18. Bobby Says:

    I too run a business and I know enough to know that a winning franchise is worth more than a losing franchise. It doesn’t take a lot of deep thought to realize that.

  19. AtlBucsFan Says:

    I am not in favor of free agents for lots of reasons but the major reason is that when they get their check, they cash in. (see Michael Clayton, Ward, etc.) It all over the NFL. Players have great years because they are coming to the end of their contract and they need to impress current or future employers. That tells me they could play that well all the time, they just didn’t for whatever reason. In other words you have to look at the whole body of work, not just their last year of play. More than likely you will get their average level of effort.

    I like the idea of building a team and rewarding those that consistently play well. Add to that mix over time and you will do well in the long run. Abandon players when they are past their prime or show disinterest in the organizations goals. Results will be consistent across the set of skills a team needs to win regularly. My 2 cents

  20. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Coaching changes are definitely needed but anyone who doesnt realize that Black and Hayes are the two biggest things holding this defense back is insane. No D-coordinator in NFL history could field a successful defense with these two at outside linebacker. These guys are historically bad and its just mind boggling to me that it took the org this long to admit it. Wait they didnt admit it yet did they? These clowns are still starters at least until the end of the season aren’t they? Please just promise me one thing Bucs— no more 225 lb linebackers ok?????!!! PLease????!!! Seriously Geno Hayes is 225 lbs. He never had any business as a starting NFL backer. And Black? Black should switch to being a competitive bodybuilder . There is no doubt the dude is shredded but with his body beautiful and super elite 40 time there is no doubt he is the very definition of looks like Tarzan plays like Jane.

  21. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Macabee- Yeah I’ve looked that over. Thats the problem. The bumper crop of elite free agent linebackers was LAST YEAR!!!!!!!! Joe and others can crow all they want about bringing a big time veteran free agent linebacker but the Chad Greenways and Paul Posluznys of the world aren’t on the market this year. If we could somehow steal Stephen Tulloch away from the Lions after he has VASTLY outperformed his one year contract with them then that would be the best case scenario we could hope for. Unfortunately I highly doubt he would leave a defense on the cusp of being truly elite like that to join this one unless the Glazers were willing to seriously overpay for him. But hey they sure overpayed for Quincy freaking Black so maybe there’s a shot they will be willing to do it for a linebacker who has PROVEN HE CAN TACKLE!!!!!