Akeem Spence On The Rise

August 27th, 2013

akeem spence 0827

You know how the four-letter draft analysts come around in the weeks leading up to the draft — you know the kind, like the fraud that got a grand total of two first round picks correct last spring — and talk about how players are rising or falling, despite the fact teams have their draft boards pretty much set?

Well, if one was to use the same jargon with rookies a little more than a week out from their first NFL regular season game, Bucs defensive tackle Akeem Spence is on the rise. And this is not fabricated news forced by orders from suits.

No, Bucs fans and scribes who watch a lot of Bucs football can see the rookie from Illinois blossoming on the football field. Dapper Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger writes about how Spence is showing up with his play but still has work to do.

The thing is, he’s gotten better each game starting beside Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. Against Miami Saturday, Spence showed a burst and ability to penetrate. He was attacking and chasing and showing that the moment was not too big for him. While coach Greg Schiano has not named him a starter, it is no doubt who will start the regular season beside McCoy. “He’s definitely playing at a high level,” Schiano said. “I should say this — playing at a high level at times. he’s still an inconsistent rookie. The splash plays are what people see. Losing the A-gap is what you don’t see. That’s what I see. Getting cut on the backside and now all of a sudden one of those stretch runs (happen).”

Spence’s ability to do more than one thing is impressive. Sure, when Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik first let Roy Miller go, Joe was shocked because privately and publicly Bucs suits and coaches raved about Miller. So when the Bucs drafted Spence, Joe was dubious.

To see how Spence ran down a Dolphins ballcarrier in the flat — something you never saw Miller do — and as Brown pointed out, getting penetration, it appears Spence may be the steal of the Bucs’ 2013 draft.

20 Responses to “Akeem Spence On The Rise”

  1. Joe Strummer Says:

    The kid is a beast, he consistently beat Pouncy (one of the better centers in he league) thru the gap, he ate up double teams as well as on at least one occasion split the double team before the guard was even able to touch him and was in the backfield.

  2. Architek Says:

    That’s why you resign Roy Miller and then draft young Spence to develop. I remember watching Roy Miller and GMC learn gap integrity. It’s going to take around 3 seasons to develop consistency.

  3. Biff Barker Says:

    Miller was a space eater but Spence has flashed some ability to do more.
    Schiano’s comments are spot on. What I am encouraged by is that Spence has shown improvement each week, a sure sign of listening to his coaches.

  4. OB Says:

    Joe, what happens when you have to double team both GMC and Akeem Spence, who is left to block the DEs or has anyone thought of this? As they get better working together and the DEs come of age all of a sudden something is going on for the better.

    Yes they are learning now but it looks like it is getting better each game and when the DBs are all together finally on the field, what is the other team to do?

  5. trusomaroff Says:

    If spence keeps progressing and can learn to be more consistent this year then I think our pass rush may be ok. With gmc AC and now spence being able to generate pressure and Scott trying to make a name for himself, plus the extra coverage time on the back end I think we will be just fine

  6. tampabaybucfan Says:

    Spence will have the benefit of McCoy double-teams….he will be a factor. His strength conditioning is amazing making him the strongest man on the line.
    I can’t help but think there was an issue with Miller that we don’t know about. You never know what goes on behind the scenes. On the surface, letting him go made no sense. There is no way they were eyeing Spence when that decision was made. There is no way they knew for sure Spence would even last to the 4th round.
    Miller is gone and that’s that….glad we have Spence.
    If McCoy & Spence are difficult to handle, it may help our ends to penetrate.

  7. Sneedy16 Says:

    Teams is getting injured left and right. Read the Saints put 2 starters on IR. We are fairing well this offseason so far.

  8. Biff Barker Says:

    There were rumors of Miller having ongoing back problems.

  9. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Letting him go may have made plenty of sense (asking for starting pay contract, injuries, may have had issues with coaching, for example). We as fans dont know exactly what happened, but the fact is he was replaceable and it appears he has been replaced.

    I love this guys motor. The Fins broadcasters were constantly talking about “number 97” the entire game – a good sign. Hopefully we can count on this dude all year, seeing as to how we have zero depth on the line. Having to start rooks at essential positions is a dangerous business, but hey maybe we caught a break on this one.

  10. RBellBuc Says:

    A really good front four d-lineman can cause the other team to have to use maximum protection every play, keeping the TE’s in to block or delay them by forcing them to chip block before they go into a pass route. This can take away the effectiveness of the teams that have elite TE’s. Especially in our division with Graham and Gonzalez.

  11. Biff Barker Says:

    If Spence plays lights out, how much better can GMC be? We have to collapse the pocket more. Seems like Clayborn is always just a half step away.

  12. Couch Fan Says:

    No disagreement here. As long as Revis and Clayborn are healthy, I think our D-Line will be much improved and if we can get some production out of the LE position, this is a drastically improved D.

  13. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    no where to go but up for the d-line.

    Is spence the steal, or is the d-line that the pop-star built is so bad that a 4th rounder and a patroits castoff look like major upgrades.. you make the call?

  14. MadMax Says:

    I’d say Spence and Banks both were steals. Not too impressed with Trufant or Rhodes so far (1st rounders), and Spence is playing like a 2nd rounder…Kawaan Short is looking pretty good and I remember wanting him in the 2nd.

  15. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I don’t think Spence should be starter in game one. This kid has a goal to start and he is rapidly improving himself to achieve that goal. Wait a couple games to name him starter. Or do it for the Saints game. It would be more incentive to make an impact in that game, plus the Saints might have problems dealing with him without enough game tape.

    The kid is growing on me big time. To me he has alread earned the start, but a little reverse psychology wouldn’t be so bad. Keep in mind as well that he hasn’t faced a defense in real games…only preseason where he hasn’t faced their full range of fury.

  16. Andrew 1 Says:

    Not ready to label him a “steal” or anything for that matter. he needs prove it on the field during the regular season. yea, he had a couple of nice preseason games, but lets see how he plays during the regular season before we start labeling him anything.

  17. SacBucs Says:

    Untalented talent evaluators..lol

  18. Eric Says:

    Ah so preseason means nothing, unless your crediting Dominik with a “steal”.

  19. BucDan Says:

    From what I can tell watching the games: Opposing teams do not have a fear of our rush yet. Teams are consistently able to send RBs to the flats and on wheel routes without having to help the line with a chip block or even staying in to block.

    OM mentioned interior blockers focusing on GMC and Spence and how that could free up our edge rushers. I totally agree.

    We’ve seen first hand what happens to an offense when the interior line is consistently blown up. QB is under instant pressure on passing downs and RBs have to make split-second decisions in the back field.

    If Spence and Scott continue their rise (as well as Bowers), I see good things for this front seven. This can only lead to big things from the secondary.

  20. GRIF4FREESUX Says:

    Good eye^^^^^^^Eric on the unrealistic ones.