Bucs Still Paying For Michael Bennett Void

October 28th, 2013

Bucs 2012 sack leader Michael Bennett wasn’t good enough to be retained by the sack-starved Bucs, but he was good enough for the first-place Seahawks.

There was an old TV commercial about either changing the oil in your car, or changing the oil filter in your car on a regular basis, Joe can’t remember exactly. The closing line in the ad was such a hit it is still used today in pop culture.

“You can pay me now (camera shows mechanic with oil filter in his hand) or you can pay me later (camera pans to a car up on a lift being worked on).”

The point was that it’s cheaper in the long run to regularly perform maintenance on your car rather than being lazy and having a major breakdown and, later, an ugly four-figure bill.

That is essentially what is happening to the Bucs. The Bucs swear they let Bennett go because he was damaged goods. This is correct. He was. But it didn’t stop another team, mainly the first-place Seahawks, from taking a cheap gamble and now they have hit a jackpot.

Ben Stockwell of ProFootballFocus.com details just how badly the Bucs miss Bennett.

I’ll try not to flog a dead horse here but this performance reinforced the glaringly obvious point of what a poor personnel decision the Buccaneers made in choosing not to retain Michael Bennett this offseason. While Bennett has recorded 33 total pressures and is second among 4-3 defensive ends league wide in terms of Pass Rushing Productivity, the Buccaneers can generate virtually none. While their 17 total pressures ties their third-highest output of the season, only six of those came as a result of beating a blocker, 11 of the 17 came by way of an unblocked pass rusher either by offensive design or defensive overload. Only three players registered multiple pressures and two of those were corners (Leonard Johnson and Michael Adams). For the season, the Buccaneers still have only one defensive lineman with a positive pass rushing grade, Gerald McCoy who was held to only one hurry by the Panthers this week, resulting in his first negative pass rush grade of the season.

Here is why Joe doesn’t wholly buy that the Bucs let Bennett walk because he was damaged goods: If Bennett was unable to make a go of it in preseason, then the Bucs could have reached a financial medical settlement with Bennett and cut him, or if he was healthy, just outright released him if he wasn’t cutting it.

The move smells of Schiano and his “Buccaneer Man” mantra because Bennett was slightly a loose cannon, who didn’t always hold back his opinions when something needed to be said. At times, he was brutally honest. Always, he was refreshingly honest and glib.

Why does Joe get the feeling that Schiano would rather have players who he simply likes personally playing for him as opposed to guys who he may not invite over for Thanksgiving dinner, but who are better players?

As Raheem Morris famously said, “I will tolerate you until I can replace you.” The Bucs, clearly, have not been able to replace their former sack leader.

46 Responses to “Bucs Still Paying For Michael Bennett Void”

  1. Tim Says:

    The Bust Stark Mark Dominick needs to be replaced.

  2. Curmudgeon Says:

    Things are really stacking up against Dominik. Very few of his personnel decisions are looking like good ones.

    I think this was probably a Dom call rather than a Schiano call. Dominik was committed to the idea that Bowers was a stud in waiting, which would make him look smart. FAIL.

  3. WalkdaPlank Says:

    The Bucs overestimated DaQuan Bowers. Sure the guy was a beast at Clemson and he was projected to be a top 5 draft pick……….but that was before his ACL injury. That’s the only reason he fell to us in the second-round. And it’s obvious he hasn’t been the same player. It’s plain and simple, Bowers was a gamble that never payed off.

  4. Just A Juggalo Says:

    When Jadaveon Clowney (JCP) is wearing Pewter, Bennett will be a distant memory like Wally Chambers or Wally Cox.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We can continue to dwell on players leaving and doing well elsewhere….but the bottom line is really how the players who replaced them are doing.
    Not well…that’s why we dwell.
    We have a number of players that fans think are doing well elsewhere….I recall Jones for the Pats committing the penalty who cost them the game…..Hillis is doing a lot of running but his average per carry is low. Look at Freeman’s first performance…Talib…oh the great loss….isn’t he injured AGAIN!…..Blount is OK but not setting the world on fire. How about Wright?
    So yes, Bennett turned out pretty good, but that’s for one of the best teams in the NFL.
    My problem is with Bowers & TEO….somewhat with AC.

  6. CP Says:

    “Why does Joe get the feeling that Schiano would rather have players who he simply likes personally playing for him as opposed to guys who he may not invite over for Thanksgiving dinner, but who are better players?”

    I would have had suckups…like almost all of coaching staff.

    Brian Cox is not in that group unless he is now on meds.. I’d vote him to be the first to punch Schiano.

  7. Adam L Says:


    What else is there to dwell on. When you’re this bad, you need to figure out why you’re so bad and this move stinks like whorehouse a low-tide.


  8. SKelly Says:

    Oh Joe….An article about Bennett…2nd among QB pressures for a 4-3. Arguably the biggest player blunder post Gruden. And Rockstar’s name is not in the article? Its one thing to say it was schiano’s fault but another completely omit him. As if he is not the GM. How can you give him credit for the good and when something this bad happens, you act like he doesnt exist. Instead its “the Bucs” let Bennett go. Come on man……

    Joe’s written numerous times about the role of Dominik and Bennett. The archives are your friend. If you scroll down the page in the post about Gerald McCoy, Joe, just today, was critical of Dominik’s role on the defensive line choices. –Joe

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I agree….Dom is flying under the radar through all of this….Schiano is taking all of the heat……Sully is sliding too….you can point to a great deal of personnel moves and either Schiano is getting his way and Dominick is stepping aside or Dominick is a willing participant and should share equal blame.
    I think almost all of the players that were cut/traded had some attitude difficulties with Schiano….like I said, its the replacements that make the decisions look bad.

  10. paul Says:

    We had a chance at him and Martellus for TE upgrade.

  11. The Dom must go Says:

    Come on JOE… Dom is at least 1/2 to blame for this crap every week if not 100%…. New coach same old crap????

    Joe’s written numerous times about the role of Dominik and Bennett. The archives are your friend. If you scroll down the page in the post about Gerald McCoy, Joe, just today, was critical of Dominik’s role on the defensive line choices. –Joe

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    OK…here is a gameplan tip…..Under no circumstances should we let Bennett get a sack….whatever it takes….triple team, MRSA…bounty….payoff……don’t let it happen!!!

  13. BirdDoggers Says:

    If Schiano can’t handle a locker room full of different personalities he has no business in the NFL. Successful teams routinely deal with the extra baggage of a player as long as they get the job done on the field. I can understand the reasoning of getting rid of a player based on criminal behavior or doing things to tarnish the image of the organization, but Bennett didn’t do anything like that to my knowledge.

    The other spin on letting Bennett walk is Dominik and Schiano were convinced they had a 10 sack per season player in Bowers. That didn’t pan out.

  14. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    The Teflon Dom strikes again!

  15. Biff Barker Says:

    The horse is dead and it is at Dom’s feet. Bennett was let go in favor of one of Dom’s Rockstar picks.
    Boom! No wait, bust!
    We went with Revis and Goldson but could have brought in two top filght corners, a safety,TE AND signed Bennett. Maybe a solid G since Nicks and Joseph were both hurt?
    Dom went for the elite, spent $27M on two players but left gaping holes on the depth chart.
    Massive fail, simply massive.

  16. crayhopper Says:

    Dominik wanted Revis and he knew to sign Revis and Goldson and he couldn’t afford very many $5.0 million players so he made up the rationale that having Bennett was holding back the development of his two high draft picks. Nothing to do with Schiano men. Dominik just thinks he’s in the NBA where two or three star players can net a championship.

  17. Macabee Says:

    This is an issue that I have given a lot of thought to and I keep coming back to the same place – it’s Schiano’s Grand Scheme!

    After hearing Bennett’s words regarding Schiano, I thought he didn’t like Schiano and Schiano got rid of him because he wasn’t a so-called Buccaneer man. But if that were the case, he would have simply gotten another rush DE like Osiumenyiora or Freeney when they were available. And it was never about the money!

    Schiano has this idea that he brought with him from Rutgers of a defense that attacks from the LB and Secondary positions. His defense is designed for the sacks and QB pressures to come from the secondary, hence his investment in Barron and Goldson. You can also see the stunts run by the defensive line that is supposed to open the door for the secondary. The D-Line is designed to stop the run, not rush the passer. That is why so many good pass rushers like Selvie, Gilberry, and Bennett were passed over.

    This is as detrimental to Gerald McCoy and the DEs as playing zone is to Darelle Revis. This works if OCs in the NFL have no brain and can’t watch tape. This worked early on against Drew Brees as it did last year against Cam newton. But once OCs figured out what Schiano was doing and made adjustments, Schiano does not have scheme adaptability to vary the scheme in-game or between games. Go back and watch the tape!

  18. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    ^Spot on

  19. Skelly Says:

    We know you’ve written about it. Doesn’t change the fact that you omitted assigning any responsibility in this article. in fact, you opined that it was Schiano who chased him off (totally plausible considering Bennett’s recent comment.) When half your article is about whose fault it is, and Dom is not mentioned, we are to believe that its not intentional. Its cool, you could totally be right that Dom fought for him but the coach made a stronger case and ran him out.

    But I have a serious question. If you are suggesting that Schiano has this much Juice to run off our best pass rusher because he wasn’t a Schiano guy, then how do you credit our Rockstar for the last two drafts (his recent improvement.) I mean 2009 was a disaster, 2010 we blew the entire middle of the draft (deepest draft in a decade.), 2011 Clayborn and Foster but not much else.
    2012 was a homerun…Schiano’s fist year and last year the jury is out but looks solid.

    Can’t have it both ways, either Dom is the guy or he’s not.

  20. Skelly Says:

    Btw Oil Derrick. You have totally one me over. Teflon Dom is hilarious…

  21. Patrick in VA Says:

    Gotta say Joe, at this point i’m just coming back to the site everyday to get the news that schiano is gone. Once they’ve done that i’m ready to check out on the season and spare myself the stress

  22. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    @skelly. Thanks.

    And that’s a great point you made.

  23. d-money Says:

    I’m not going to get all bent out of shape because Bennett is exceling on one of the best defenses in the league.

    The Bucs pass defense sucked last year with Bennett on it and now they suck without him.

    The Seahawks defense was great without him and now they’re great with him.

    When the Bucs were in their hayday they made a lot of average players look like pro-bowlers. This is exactly what is happening with Bennett in Seattle

  24. buc4lyfe Says:

    these rosters moves were ego driven by this head coach. there has been nothing to suggest bowers could outplay bennett and this coaches ego let him get rid of players that had attitude problems but players we didnt have personnel to replace. adonije should be here, bennett should be here and we actually worked out skelton from the cardinals which is pathetic so freeman should be here unless were ok with orlovsky going in there….if glennon gets hurt this game against seattle that it could happen, thats the wrong environment to have a rookie qb. schiano ruined this team that was built for him like it was built for gruden

  25. Ruggyup Says:

    Bennett damaged goods? Yeah, I’ll buy that. BUT! There is damaged and there damaged as in unrepairable. And who makes the big decision to dump or retain? The Bucs buck stops at Dominik!

  26. Oahubuc Says:

    Fire Schiano. That is all.

  27. Patrick in VA Says:

    We bought Bowers as damaged goods

  28. Skelly Says:

    built for him like Gruden…Hold your horses there…

    Schiano sucks but this team is nothing like that team.

  29. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Macabee

    I agree with you. Ive noticed we tend to play a lot of games with the safeties: bringing them down, bringing them back, blitzing them, and rotating their responsibilities. seems like a good idea at first, but in the end it only serves to get our defensive players out of position, and makes us more susceptible to the deep ball. I think you might be right, OC’s or catching on to this little game we like to play with are safeties, so they just attack us with the deep ball. so far it doesnt look like Schiano is adjusting at all.

  30. Architek Says:

    College scheme – that’s what happens when GM is not a football person.

  31. zam Says:

    If so then I’m with Schiano on this one. We had enough turds under the Raheem and Gruden eras to last a lifetime.

    The problem isn’t a decision not to keep bad people around (if that’s even the case here). The problem is that the coaches don’t have the smarts to coach x’s and o’s at a professional level. Don’t get the two confused.

  32. aj Says:

    The only real evidence we have hear is the intercepted call between Dominik and Buddy Nix. In it, Dominik specifically stated that none of his free agents wanted to come back and they were unlikely to re-sign any of them.

    And none of them re-signed.

    The only player that has spoken out since then has been Bennett, who made it quite clear he did not want to play for Schiano.

  33. k1ngadroc Says:

    Nah, to be successful we have to build on the good players that are identified by the organization and add missing pieces/depth. Changing to this leadership has created holes due to its narrow mindedness. I read somewhere in the comments that a good coach should be able to work with most any player, not just the ones that fit a certain mold. IMO That is absolutely correct.

  34. mac Says:

    Hey Joe I just love how you try to blame Coach Schiano for another personnel mistake made by Mr. “Rock Star” Mark Dominik… Please pull your head out of Mark Dominik’s butt and place the blame where it belongs… Mark Dominik is the WORST GM in the entire NFL…

  35. chickster Says:

    Payton hillis should be on this team now but he went with the Rutgers kid and he brings nothing to this team

  36. chickster Says:

    I agree mac I don’t know why he is on his jock

  37. chickster Says:

    Dom is scared of this coach he thinks coach will whip that funky little assss of his

  38. []_[]Buc Says:

    Agreed Skelly

    This is another failed move solely on Dom’s shoulders

  39. SeattleBuc Says:

    Shiano take notes from Pete Caroll. Oh nvm, Caroll was acually a good college coach. Penn, and or Dotson, good luck blocking Bennett. Oh and btw thanks for the free Coke Sheridan. Go Bucs!

  40. Adam L. Says:

    “Teflon Dom.”

    I love it.

    So much better and accurate than “rock star.”

  41. blackmagic00 Says:

    I was thinking……Glennon hasn’t thrown a pick in two games. Free was a pick machine. Its kind of nice.

  42. Doc Says:

    0-7 nothing else to say.

  43. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    “Shiano take notes from Pete Caroll. Oh nvm, Caroll was acually a good college coach.”

    And the irony being that Carroll had to get canned twice as an NFL head coach before he sniffed being a good college one.

  44. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Right on Brother. That’s why the DL has bad sack numbers. You can’t make a sack when you are running a curl or dropping into pass coverage. We need to cut the DL some slack

  45. Mr. Patrick Says:

    What is puzzling about that though was the Bucs taking the 2 DE’s in the draft.

  46. sho-nuff Says:

    wow…even this decision is schianos fault?…..laughable stuff