The Outside Linebacker Question

May 6th, 2013

Is Jonathan Casillas truly the answer at outside linebacker for the Bucs?

In the past couple of months, Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik has done a wonderful job upgrading what was a historically rotten NFL secondary.

Adding guys like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson and drafting a rookie like Johnthan Banks makes the Bucs look like they’ve gone from the outhouse to the penthouse of defensive backfields.

Bucs fans were focused on upgrading the secondary, rightly so. But what about outside linebacker, where there is a hole left by the injury to Quincy Black? This subject came up in a recent BSPN NFL South chat.

STeve (DC)

WHy does everybody have Casillas signed in as our OLB opposite of Lavonte? Hayward and Watson have been big time contributors when they have had the chance…i see Hawyard starting on opening day

Pat Yasinskas

Could be. Casillas isn’t anything special.

Good grief, does this “STeve” character watch Bucs games, or does he just wear cheerleader skirts on Sunday afternoons?

For years Bucs fans wanted to run Black out of town for horrid play perhaps more than any other player. But last year, however, Joe will be the first to say Black was playing good football.

Imagine what happens when a player gets coached up?

So if, for three or four years Black was among the worst starters on the Bucs, doesn’t that say something about Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson that they couldn’t unseat Black?

Look, Joe thinks the world of Watson, but the man is a one-trick pony. He’s a fantastic special teams player.

As far as Hayward goes, the only thing Joe can think of where Hayward made a name for himself was for going MMA on his position coach on the sidelines last year.

Time will tell about Jonathan Casillas, though it does speak volumes that Casillas couldn’t start for the Saints, which had the NFL’s worst defense last season.

27 Responses to “The Outside Linebacker Question”

  1. T in Orlando Says:

    The 3rd LB on the team just need to be a solid, not spectacular, player. Whoever this ends up being, will see less time on defense than whoever becomes the 3rd CB. So anyone worried about the SAM LB, need not to.

    When the Bucs made there Super Bowl run, they had 2 LBs that were worth anything (granted one was a HOFer), and had ridiculous depth along the DL and among the DBs, which is what this team now looks to be trying to do as well; two good (and still developing) young LBs, and now there’s depth in the defensive backfield, and they’re developing depth along the DL (3 draft picks point to that).

    Granted the defensive scheme is different than back in ’02, however I think any team running the 4-3 in today’s NFL, doesn’t need dominant LBs to be a very good (top 10) defense.

  2. Biff Barker Says:

    Any one of these players can be replaced because none has ever cracked a starting lineup.
    Do we need 3 career special tramers?

  3. DC Says:

    I would be the “Steve” who wrote this. And Joe, correct me if im wrong, but werent you pledging to give Dekoda Watson a shot two years ago when Black simply couldnt make a play???? Check the archives. Who is wearing a skirt now?

  4. Biff Barker Says:

    @T in O
    Why settle for an average SLB?
    We need someone who can runstuff and cover, not career backups.
    Each one has a limitation. We’ll be looking to upgrade before the season starts.

  5. tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ T&O

    I agree that we will upgrade before the season starts. There will be several good LBs cut by teams squeezed by the cap. We also may pick up a TE. We still have cap space and are a long way from the start of the season.
    Money set aside for Ronde would be more than enough if Ronde doesn’t return.

  6. LJS IV Says:

    We still have the Draft pick from last year at OLB from West Virginia I think his name is Najee, sorry I can’t remember. We also need a starting Right Tackle. We could have picked up Clabo, but now he is with the Dolphins. That could be a bad spot on a solid O-line.

  7. Biff Barker Says:

    There’s reports that we”ll take $12m on cap space onto the season. Ronde will only be offered $2m or so. We can do both.

  8. Architek Says:

    Other veterans will available to plug in, no worries.

  9. CC Says:

    From the looks of the picture, Casillas should be on the kick block team. Lol.

  10. Biff Barker Says:

    @ LJS IV
    It’s Najee Goode from WVA. From the little I’ve seen, he reminds me of Heyward.

  11. T in Orlando Says:

    @ Biff Barker

    It’s not settling, it’s understanding where the team needs premium talent, and not over spending; when there’s a hard cap in place; on a position that will see less than 50% of the defensive snaps.

    I want to see the Bucs have the best possible player at every position, but it doesn’t make sense to pay a player top dollar, or even top half of the starters’ salaries in the NFL at the SAM LB in this defense.

    A position that does need upgraded, preferably with FA talent, is the RT. Not to hijack a post, but at this point, if there’s one starter spot that I don’t feel comfortable with any of the options on the current roster, it’s RT. Dotson, I feel, is still only a good back up. He should not be the opening day starter.

  12. @MikeInTampa2 Says:

    Strong Side OLB is only gonna be on the field 25% of plays. Not a valued position. Nickel Defense will be played the most

  13. @MikeInTampa2 Says:

    Strong Side OLB is only gonna be on the field 25% of plays. Not a valued position. Nickel Defense will be played the most

  14. Big Rob Says:

    I agree with Mike and T. Our SLB plays at most 30% of snaps. We just need a decent body in that position. The way NFL offenses are now (definitely in our division), the nickle defense is basically the base defense. In the nickle the SLB is off the field.

    Here is some good info on how much he actually played in one of the Panthers games last year. In that game he only had 12 snaps, and Dekoda Watson had 13. You guys really don’t think Dakoda Watson can’t play those 12 additional snaps? Or Adam Heyward? Or Casillas?

  15. Big Rob Says:

    Here is the link.

  16. 4everBucsFan Says:

    I agree with you Mike that the OLB is usually in on 1/4 of the defensive snaps but as of right now the OLB position is the weakest link to this defense. Is it imperative to have a superstar at the position? ….No …but if they truly are our achille’s heel, you can bet your last dollar our opponents will try to exploit it for everything it’s worth.

    So I say, if any of our OLB ‘s want to make a name for themselves with the potential of higher future earnings, then this should be their year to show it, because they are certainly going to get picked on.

  17. Biff Barker Says:

    I get the part about limited snaps for the SLB. It’s a point we’ll taken. But if we can only dress 47 on any Sunday, do we need all 3?
    Heyward is versatile and that has value, but what is the major difference between Watson and Castillas? Help me out here. I see the same player.

  18. Illuminati Says:

    I think the idea that we can just throw any warm body at SLB because the position isn’t critical in our defensive scheme is shortsighted. You upgrade your talent wherever you can if you want a competitive team.

    If we could sign Daryl Smith on the cheap to a one- or two-year deal, problem solved. A little older, but still one of the better 4-3 OLBs in this league and definitely an upgrade for us.

    Other than that, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to upgrade before the season starts, once other teams’ rosters start getting settled.

  19. Bill Says:

    Casillas was slated to be the Saints’ weakside starting linebacker in 2010. He wound up hurt before he had the chance. Otherwise he’s a spot starter at both outside spots. If he can stay healthy, he’s a bandage for one season. The Bucs can get by with him. I’m still more worried about either tackle going down.

  20. Celly Says:


    By your own accord, you state that it was amazing what a bit of coaching-up can do for a player like Black who, at times, showed some potential (before last season).

    Whats to say that Watson couldn’t be coached up to handle the SAM LB position? I believe that Schiano was a former LB coach, so I would trust his judgement on LB prospects. He must be comfortable with the ability of the possible SAM LBs on our team if he decided to to draft one to mold in his own way (unless he plans on using Means in that role).

  21. 4everBucsFan Says:

    That’s a good point you made about Means, ..Celly. Schiano may have drafted with that in mind. ….He’s in the size range.

  22. Macabee Says:

    MikeInT2, ForeverBuc, et al,

    I also agree about the snap count for the SLB if you assume that we will play the dime this year as much as we did last year. I have reason to believe we will not.

    Some believe that Schiano’s reliance on the dime and excessive blitzing cost us games that we could have won after NFL OCs figured out his defense after the 6 game win streak. I also offer as proof the final Atlanta game where we abandoned the constant dime and played some zone in which we won that game. Some contend that Schiano learned something from that game.

    If you research Jonathan Casilla’s background, you will find that he is a WILL LB not a SAM. In Schiano’s defense maybe that doesn’t matter, but I don’t think he’s the guy. While I’m opining, meaning I have no real facts to support my argument, I don’t think Steven Means is an NFL DE. He looks and plays like a typical 4-3 SLB. He could be that guy! It’s risky to second guess Schiano, but that’s my opinion and until I see different, I stand by it!

  23. @MikeInTampa2 Says:

    Havent been this pumped up in many years. Wooooohoooooooo……….

  24. Cbell96825 Says:

    Last year we went from last in rush defense to number one and I for one can say I didnt see that coming and neither did anyone else on this sight give schiano some credit even if we take a few steps back in the run game and we finish say in the top eight with our new secondary upgrades will be a top ten overall defense which id much rather then first in rush last in the pass. Also I mean what have we really lost this offseason that was so vital roy miller? M bennett? Black ? Im pretty sure those three guys arent going to make us go from first in rush d to last. Go bucs

  25. Couch Fan Says:

    This is the type of fan who (unrealistically) expects us to have pro bowlers are every position. It doesnt work like that. Some positions you just need role players, nothing special.

  26. PRBucFan Says:

    Between the three of them the position is covered.

    Not worried.

  27. Pete 422 Says:

    What’s wrong with Dakota Watson? He seems to makes plays whenever he is out there.