Andy Benoit Talks To Joe

February 8th, 2013

Among the treats Joe had at Media Day during the Super Bowl was to meet Andy Benoit, who among other publications, writes for the excellent “Fifth Down Blog” of the New York Times.

Benoit is sort of the new breed of football writers. Rather than being a wordsmith, Benoit relies on watching hours of film and sifting through analytical data to bring that out in informative, concise stories without sounding like a drunk algebra teacher, or worse, someone who has diarrhea of the mouth with statistical gibberish.

Benoit also works for, the precursor to

JoeBucsFan: What was your impression of Greg Schiano’s first year? Surprised, disappointed or is the book still open?

Andy Benoit: Book is still open. I was surprised at how well the defense played, especially against the run. They did a good job schematically with that, because they had a lot of the same personnel [from 2011]. Obviously, Lavonte David had a lot to do with that and it was a trickle-down effect with the rest of their front seven. Offensively, I like the Vincent Jackson signing; I think they got their money’s worth from him. Mike Williams has been better than I guessed he would be. And obviously Doug Martin is there so it’s a Josh Freeman question at this point. But the Bucs are in a pretty good spot overall. That’s a solid young roster they have laid a foundation for.

Joe: OK, so you set me up for a Freeman question. Is he ever going to get over the hump or is he going to be who he has been of late: One day he will look like John Elway and the next week he will look like Bobby Douglass.

Benoit: He has the talent to get over the hump. I don’t want to say it is a mindset thing but it is what is he looking at and what is he seeing? There are inconsistencies in the decision-making and there are inconsistencies in the mechanics. That’s what alarms the Bucs. Talent wise, I thought he was a new version of [Ben] Roethlisberger. It is very telling that [the Bucs] are not rushing to lock him up. Instead, they are taking a wait-and-see approach on him.

Joe: How much do you think it has messed with his mind that every year he has had so many different coordinators and position coaches? Though Joe was told by someone with high authority in the Bucs front office that offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan both was, and is a quarterbacks coach, so that in some respects, he is wearing two hats.

Benoit: It’s is hard to say because now we are talking about guessing about a guy’s mindset.

Joe: Shaun King said not long ago and not totally in a joking manner that Freeman needed a shrink.

Benoit: … (laughs) Well, Shaun is really aggressive with some of the things he says publicly about quarterbacks which is why he has done well in the media. People talk about Jason Campbell and the same thing and Alex Smith and the same thing. The guys that are really good quarterbacks don’t get different coaches every year or not for the same reason. That could be a Freeman issue as well. Eli Manning hasn’t been in a bunch of different systems and it is not just because he got lucky. Certain guys, you build the system around them. It is hard to guess how Freeman is thinking around it.

Joe: Lavonte David, he looked like he was a third round pick and, obviously, Mark Dominik traded up to get him late in the second round. I don’t think anyone imagined – shoot, I saw him play at Nebraska and realized he was a sideline-to-sideline guy – I don’t think anybody expected what this guy turned out to be. He was just unbelievable.

Benoit: He got consistently better as the season went on. All Pro might be a bit much but certainly Pro Bowl [was] in the discussion. Bobby Wagner got a lot of attention and [Luke] Kuechly was the best of them all. Kuechly is in his own class. He will be the next [Brian] Urlacher. But David, there is a lot to like about him. Very fluid athlete and good in traffic and good in space.

29 Responses to “Andy Benoit Talks To Joe”

  1. MadMax Says:

    I’ll say it again, Lavonte got snubbed and Luke, while very good, is overrated. But value for pick? Hands down Lavonte!

    Panthers spent a 1st and we ran through him both games last season.

  2. KD Says:

    “Well, Shaun is really aggressive with some of the things he says publicly about quarterbacks which is why he has done well in the media.”

    LMAO I love that Benoit just calls King out for the hack that he is. If he wasn’t so extreme about EVERYTHING he comments on nobody would give a damn what he had to say. That’s how he gets people riled up and that’s how he stays relevant.

    “I don’t like anything we’ve done so far.” – King.

    His hatred for Dominik has prevented any unbiased opinion he could possibly have on this franchise. I think it has something to do with the fact that Dominik cut his boy Doug Williams from the team. The guy can’t do anything but hate on the Bucs. I can’t remember one instance where he’s ever said anything supportive of the franchise.


  3. MadMax Says:

    King is a joke. His attention seeking antics fueled with bitterness makes him irrelevant to me. I know Joe likes him, but I skip past most of the posts with anything king related. Everything else though, Joe rocks it, especially those morning cups 🙂

  4. PRBucFan Says:

    “Kuechly is in his own class. He will be the next [Brian] Urlacher.”

    SMH lol

  5. Collin Says:

    People see a ton of tackles in a players stats and assume it means they’re great. Keuchly is and will be an average nfl linebacker. Ray Lewis, due to his old age is a liability on the field, and guess who had the most tackles of the post season? Least valuable player ray Lewis had the most tackles by far. I remember when Barrett Ruud would rack up tackles like crazy for us but that stat didn’t mean he was a great player.sure the panthers can be happy about their tackling machine but I like lavontes upside a lot better.

  6. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    @ 4:25am (at The Waffle House)…that guy sounds like a genius….except for the Luke Kuechly part <—– screw that guy. Lavonte David is better. Everyone automatically sucks up to Kuechly and I'm tired of it. …….*eats hash browns: smothered, covered, diced & capped**

  7. JonBuc Says:

    Kuechly….the great white hype…the next Urlacher because he’s white?

  8. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    Kuechly is good, but to say he is in a class of his own is a stretch. LD is right them with him as a rookie. Next year, LD only gets better.

    Has Kings ever said anything positive about anything the Bucs have done. The bashing gets very tiring. I guess bad news get more attention than good news.

  9. BigMacAttack Says:

    Joe, you get total props for David. I believe you were the first on his ship during his senior year. I don’t care about the Kuechly comparison. We got David and that’s all that matters to this Buc Fan.

  10. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    @LilMacAttack….several websites had the Bucs taking Lavonte David. He is a perfect fit for a Weak Side LB in a 4-3 defense

  11. Stevek Says:

    I’d rather have the next “Derrick Brooks”, than the next “Brian Urlacher”. Which one of those LBs has a Super Bowl again?

  12. BigMacAttack Says:

    Sorry JP, but Joe was touting David during the College season way before Mock Drafts even started. Check your archives, dates and facts, then get back to me son.

  13. BigMacAttack Says:

    Not saying Joe predicted Bucs would draft David, but said he would be a stud for them if they did. The guy watches Big 12 like many of us watch SEC, like clockwork. Just saying

  14. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    @LittleMac <—— i was pushing Lavonte David in September 2011…..WalterFootball was pushing him before that. You need to explore and gain knowledge

  15. chris Says:

    I think many people are blowing up the fact with Josh Freeman and his “many different OCs”. He had Greg Olsen’s playbook years 1-3 and Mike Sullivan last year. Jeff Jagzinksi was here for 3 months. Same offense, different guy.

    I like Josh Freeman and was a fan of his coming out. But after 4 years, he’s still consistently inconsistent. He needs to put it together.

  16. chris Says:

    I think many people are blowing up the fact with Josh Freeman and his “many different OCs”. He had Greg Olsen’s playbook years 1-3 and Mike Sullivan last year. Jeff Jagzinksi was here for 3 months. Same offense, different guy.

    I like Josh Freeman and was a fan of his coming out. But after 4 years, he’s still consistently inconsistent. He needs to put it together.

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    Junior, Walter Football is not a local Buc Site and neither are you. Crawl back under your rock with your new screen name. Joe knows when he posted it. I’d give you about as much credit for LD as Shaun King for Weight Watchers. Who asked you in the first place?

  18. Joe Says:


    Feel free to provide a link of anyone suggesting the Bucs were going to draft Lavonte David.

  19. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Joe

    Im not trying to get involved in this argument, but you did say feel free to provide a link of anyone suggesting the bucs were going to draft Lavonte David. Well… I have such a link.

    Now, granted they may not have been correct about the round they had us selecting him in, but they did have us eventually drafting Lavonte David.

  20. Andrew 1 Says:

    However, both your knowledge of LD along with other draft sights got me inspired to see if the kid could really play by re watching some of his old games before the draft. both of you where correct, so In my book both of you get credit.

  21. BigMacAttack Says:

    Andrew I can’t be exact, but mock drafts don’t start coming out until NFL games are almost over. We’re saying Jan 2012. Justin is saying he saw it in Sept 2011 around the start of NCAAF season. Few sites in Sept of 2011 were thinking about the 2012 Draft. I know Joe watched the Cornhuskers play that season. He posted it often and after seeing LaVonte David play a couple times, Joe said this kid can play and also the Bucs need to look at him. Well obviously the Bucs did just that. Joe often engages us in conversation and he may have first talked of David on a thread. The oldest posted blog I could find was Dec 11 by Joe which is a month before any mock drafts. I remember Joe talking about David before that.

    Whatever the beef Junior has on this, I have no idea. I am not wrong on this topic, and I showed Joe appreciation for opening MY EYES to Lavonte David. Now he’s a Buc. Hell Yeah!

  22. 4everBucsFan Says:


    You sir have a tiny memory or you just simply ignore the facts.

    In Josh’s first full year, 2010, In a stunning move 10 days before the start of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dismissed offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski. That means what Josh had learned at the end of 2009 and 2010’s training camp was history and he then had to learn a whole new system during that season as he played. After that season of learning on the job the NFL locked out players from their coaches and Camp in the beginning of 2011 and basically Josh spent the second year continually learning and trying to master the schemes during regular season play. Move forward 2012 new Head Coach new offensive system.

    I sir, see why there was no stability and continuity for a 23 year old QB because I don’t refuse to include some of the facts as they are laid out, unlike you in your one man crusade to discredit Josh completely.

  23. Vic Says:

    @4everBucsFan – Hate to break it to you, since you know everything, but Jagodzinski was fired in 2009, not 2010, and Olson stepped in to call plays for Byron Leftwich. So pretty much everything you just wrote is wrong.

  24. PRBucFan Says:

    Life tough, get a helmet.

    Josh deals or he’s out after this season. That simple.

  25. Architek Says:

    Kuechly in a class of his own? Try telling that to Doug Martin who tested that theory in Carolina!

  26. Joe Says:


    That link is a recap of the draft.

  27. Joc Says:

    Bama Grad here- barons open field tackaling is a issue. He is average at best. We blew it not drafting Luke. If we had him a David wow. Dom is a administrater not talent evaluated.

  28. Dave Says:

    WOW. Why all the hate on each other?

    Basically we are all saying Lavonte David is great. Many of you are saying Keuchly is overrated… whatever. He lookes like a stud MLB in the makling t me. Go look at more than just when the Bucs played them.

    Not sure why people are trying to get credit for talking up David. Who cares? He is a Buc and everyone seems happy about it.

    As for Josh:
    2009 – He sat out as the 3rd stringer with no reps in year one offseason when Olsen started and Jagz was cut 1 week before the season
    2010 – First year really learning the offense in the offseason with the Bucs committed to him as starter.
    2011 – Olsen still but no offseason – lockout
    2012 – Sullivan

    So yes, CHRIS, you are correct, but there has been no flow and no consistency. 2 of the 4 years he basically had no offseason at all. The other 2 offseasons were with 2 different OCs.

    This is really the first time he is going to have back to back offseasons with the same offense and OC.

    Look at ALL the great consistent QBs – they ALL had consistency in the offenses they ran, from the GM on down to the OCs.

    It makes a MASSIVE difference.

  29. PRBucFan Says:

    Keuchly is not in a class of his own, that’s my only prob