Reading Into Casillas Re-Signing

March 8th, 2014
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What does the re-signing of OLB Jonathan Casillas mean for the rest of the Bucs’ offseason moves?

Last night when the Bucs re-signed outside linebacker Jonathan Casillas, it was a smart move. Casillas came in last year off a knee injury and he was not promised playing time. Instead, Casillas worked and fought his way to a starting gig by midseason and was one of the more productive players on the defense until he was hurt.

Now Joe isn’t about to suggest Casillas is the next Jack Ham. But he was pretty solid. So what does his signing mean? Joe can look at this all sorts of ways.

Was Casillas just signed to play special teams and be a backup linebacker? If so, there is only so much room for that on a roster and it tells Joe that Adam Hayward, pretty much a special teams-only kind of player, is expendable.

Then there is another almost free agent, Dekoda Watson. All around good guy Watson, even when an opening was placed before him on a silver platter, was unable to secure the job that he often split with Casillas. Watson, another strong special teams guy, could also replace Hayward on the roster if indeed Bucs coach Lovie Smith sees Watson as a special teams-only guy.

Then there are the draft ramifications. Many draftniks had the Bucs going after Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr, two guys that can play both linebacker and, on passing downs, put their hands in the dirt.

Do the Bucs foresee Mack or Barr to be a full-time defensive end? Or will the Bucs chase a defensive end(s) in free agency and concentrate on offense in the draft?

A lot depends on whether Lovie sees Casillas as a starter in his system.

13 Responses to “Reading Into Casillas Re-Signing”

  1. BirdDoggers Says:

    The Sam backer is usually the least valued linebacker position in the Tampa 2 style defense. I don’t see the Bucs drafting a linebacker high in the first round to play the strongside. If a defensive player is taken in the first round, I would expect it to be more of a pure pass rusher. Although the lack of roster movement since Lovie was hired makes it hard to figure out what they’re going to do.

  2. The 300's Says:

    I think they see Casillas as a starter, which means Watson is gone. I still believe Hayward is the most under appreciated leader on that team and it would be a shame to see him go. Plus he plays ALL linebacker positions soundly as a backup. Watson is good at blocking punts but it seems that was a Schiano philosophy.

  3. rayray1 Says:

    I see them re signing A Hayward letting D Watson move on. This solidifies the SAM backer position which is the lesser important of the three. With that they probably don’t draft K Mac @ 7 unless they see him as a pure DE in the pros. So we move on to QB or WR @ 7.

  4. Phaneuf Says:

    Joe, I dont understand why on the standings we finish last of the NFC South but the Falcons are drafting before us ????

  5. T in Orlando Says:

    I think I heard lovie and Jason say they wanted to address all needs in FA, and while Casillas no star, his resigning doesn’t open another hole, so the Bucs won’t be forced to Draft an LB in May.

    Smart, if not exciting signing.

  6. terraj35 Says:

    It was a one year deal. They can’t have THAT much confidence in him. I don’t think this will have any effect on the draft

  7. Barry Says:

    People used to hate on B.Ruud, to me M.Foster the same. Can this guy stop the run? No. IMO, i’d cut him loose.

  8. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think it is all about depth. He can play LB and ST. It’s solid depth.

    I doubt it will affect the draft at all. That said, I doubt we take a LB in round 1.

  9. ManzielMadness Says:


    Pretty sure its because the falcons have a better conference record than us which puts them ahead in the standings but a weaker schedule than us which puts them ahead in the draft.

  10. Big Marlon B Says:

    I think everyone gets too caught up in pigeon holing players…..MLB, SLB, etc. Lovie has typically preferred slightly undersized linebackers, and Casillas fits the bill. Casillas is also very fast for a LB, which Lovie prefers.

    Maybe Casillas will be given a shot to be on the field next to Lavonte David in nickel situations. So instead of focusing on the middle or the strong side or whatever, why not consider the possibility of Lovie using different guys in different situations. I admit, I haven’t seen Casillas in a ton of pass coverage. But one would assume that with his speed and movements skills, along with proper coaching, he could be an asset in coverage.

    Look at someone like Belichick or even Pete Carroll. They have found ways to play to their players’ strengths by using the right guys in the right formations and situations. Just a thought.

  11. BucsFan007 Says:

    What’s wrong with having good players in back-up roles too …..
    Kinda what we need, eh ?

  12. Phaneuf Says:

    Thank you you just teach me something I had no idea about that

  13. Lewis Says:

    This guy’s coming off another injury. What happened to healthy choices, Joe?