“I’m Expected To Start”

May 22nd, 2013

Greg Schiano said rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence is “tailor-made” for the Bucs’ tilted nose tackle position.

Rockstar general manager Mark Dominik also commented on how Spence could be a “Day 1” starter.

But now, in Joe’s mind, the high hopes for Spence have hit a new level. Spence himself said Monday that he’s “expected to start.”

JoeBucsFan.com: Can you talk about the little things on coaching that you’ve picked up since you’ve been here that maybe opened your eyes a little bit?

Akeem Spence: I mean it’s real mental, because once coach says it to you once, I mean that’s all he’s going to tell you. And then you get in a meeting room and you’ve just got to bring it straight to walk-throughs and, you know, you can’t mess up. Like me, like I’m a guy I’m expected to start, so I’ve got to have it so I can be able to run with the [first team.] Because I know Gerald McCoy ain’t going to mess up. Bowers ain’t going to mess up. So I can’t mess up. So I got to be on top of my game. That’s the biggest thing, man.

Now Joe appreciates the Bucs laying high expectations on the fourth-round pick out of Illinois and seeing how he responds to the pressure and demands.

But Joe’s always nervous about the possibility of young players being gifted starting jobs. Kyle Moore, Sabby Piscitelli, and other ghosts of Bucs past come to mind.

Spence has veterans Derek Landri and Gary Gibson to fight with for playing time. Joe hopes the best player wins, and whoever does start at nose tackle better be ready to fill the shoes of Roy Miller. No, Miller was no Pro Bowler or pass rusher, but he was an anchor on the No. 1 run defense in the NFL and could have been re-signed inexpensively.

16 Responses to ““I’m Expected To Start””

  1. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    AGREED, the last thing I want to see is ANY player “gifted” a starting job. Not only is it unfair to the veterans that came here to compete but it may cause some players to lose trust in the coach. I will simply take it as, he doesn’t have the starting job BUT he is “expected” to take it at some point. Which sounds a lot better than being gifted a job.

  2. biff barker Says:

    Seasoned vets may take offense to rookie Spences’s comments. He hasn’t played a snap in the NFL.
    The swag needs to be tempered by a dose of humility.

  3. BucsfaninChina Says:

    This mofo needs to cool it down. With the fight and now this, Schiano needs to bring homeboy back to reality. We havent even finished a full friggin week of OTAs yet!

  4. Vic Says:

    Give the guy a break. As Joe pointed out his bosses said he’s targeted as a starter.

  5. Mitch Says:

    Like his confidence , but i agree he shouldn’t have said he’s expected to start and needs to show a little humility. Would have rather him say he’s expected to come in and compete.

  6. GenocideD Says:

    I admire his swagger. If the vets think they can step up and be that starter at NT then let them show their vet-ness and put him in his place on the field. If they can’t do it then it’s their problem. Let’s go, Spence! That’s just what we’re missing is swagger and confidence on the Dline. Mix it up and throw down!

  7. Illuminati Says:

    Man, people love to make something out of every little comment.

    He wasn’t “gifted” the starting job; he’s simply been informed by the coaches that it’s a job they expect him to win.

    Also, just because he repeats those expressed expectations to the media doesn’t mean he lacks humility. He didn’t say “I expect to start.” He said “I’m expected to start.” It’s not “swagger,” it’s the plain truth.

  8. Clintro Says:

    Sounds confident to me… like he expects to win the job. Doesn’t sound like he is taking it for granted.

  9. Couch Fan Says:

    Agreed Illuminate. I see nothing wrong with his comments. He didnt say anything we all didnt already know. He IS expected to start. We didnt draft him to sit on the bench and watch for a few years. Replacing Roy Miller wont be that difficult. I think any of the 3 could do it. Spence clearly is at the front of the line.

  10. Max Says:

    Weight Room warriors rarely work out but I think he will be just fine for us. He’s never going to get much penetration but he should always be solid vs the run.

  11. mcBuc Says:

    Max. Really? Like who?

  12. john Says:


  13. 76buc76 Says:

    By trading up to get a guy most felt was a 5th rounder. At the top of the 4th. The Buc’s brass don’t want to look dumb. So Spence will get an edge over the other 2.

  14. Dreambig Says:

    The only emotion Spence expressed was a bit of stress that he has to be on his A game to keep up. I don’t think he was being cocky or dissing his co potion at all.

    @76buc., that’s two extremely negative comments in a row. Are you a troll or do you just have the IQ of one? You are clearly not a bucs fan. Who exactly thought Spence was a 5th rounder?

  15. Fritz50 Says:

    “Weight Room warriors rarely work out”

    “Max. Really? Like who?”

    Tony Mandarich springs to mind

  16. scubog Says:

    “Most felt was a 5th rounder” People like Mel Kiper aren’t the gospel. All one need to do is check out their track record. I see nothing wrong with motivating a young player with encouraging words that the player is “expected to start” (ahead of two journeyman types). What should he hear? “No matter what you do there; what’s your name??????Akeem. You have no chance. After all, you were lucky to even be drafted. But Joel needed the Glazer treasure chest moved and needed a strong guy. Two Guys and a Truck were too expensive.”