Has Bucs Talent Dropped Off From 2013?

May 17th, 2014

GlennonPennTampa Tribune beat writer Roy Cummings isn’t sold that the radical overhaul by the Lovie Smith regime represents a talent upgrade from 2013.

It’s a somewhat scary concept, depending on how you evaluated the talent level last season.

Joe realizes many fans think the Bucs and former rockstar general manager Mark Dominik assembled a garbage roster last season, but Cummings was in the camp of analysts and fans that believed there was a pile of Bucs talent in place for opening day 2013.

“Let’s see how some of these players they brought in work out. You know, if Michael Johnson is the Michael Johnson of 2012, as opposed to 2013, they got a shot. If Anthony Collins can play for 16 games the way he played for seven last year as a starter, that’ll work. If they can find a right guard, it’ll happen. If Carl Nicks can come back, yeah. If Doug Martin can stay healthy, they got a shot at winning 10 games. Sure they do,” Cummings said on WHFS-FM, 98.7 today.

“This time last year we were looking at this team and saying this team should contend for a division title. There was that much talent on the team. I don’t think the talent level has slipped much. I think it has slipped a little bit. Maybe a little. And I mean that particularly up front of the offensive line. I’m still not convinced that Donald Penn is not a better player than Anthony Collins and that Davin Joseph isn’t better than whoever they’re going to put out there at right guard. But we’ll have to wait and see.

“I think they’re better at a couple of other positions obviously. I think they’re better at tight end. I think they’re better at wide receiver now. Even with Mike Williams. I like [Mike] Evans a lot, what he brings. But we have to see how it happens. We’re not sure we’re better at quarterback than we were a year ago.”

Cummings went on to repeat that the Bucs could get to the 10-win, 11-win level he believes Lovie Smith and Jason Licht are targeting, if everything breaks just right.

But Cummings did advise fans to “lower your expectations.” He said the Bucs doubling their win total from 2013 would represent a feel-good season and six, seven or eight wins is a realistic projection for this time of year.

Are the Bucs more talented this season? It’s a good question when you’re just considering raw talent — opening day 2013 versus the one that’s about 100 days away. It’s a difficult answer this time of year. Joe’s shared his deep concerns about the Bucs offensive line many times, and loyal readers here know Joe’s take on Donald Penn versus Anthony Collins.

For Joe, it’s just too early to go there.

60 Responses to “Has Bucs Talent Dropped Off From 2013?”

  1. Buc1987 Says:

    Thee End. So now we sit and wait.

  2. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Wrong on both Penn and Joseph. Penn had one single team in the league offer him a contract at left tackle (Oakland). Everyone else wanted him to move to right tackle and be a back up. As for Joseph, he has yet to be signed by anyone. With offensive linemen at a premium it’s a damning statement to have been tried out by various teams yet no one offers him a job. Reminds me of Derrick Brooks going through tryouts when the Bucs cut him yet never receiving an offer. It’s sad, but when you’re done you’re done.

  3. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Penn gave up the second most sacks of ALL starting Tackles….nuff said. The O-line looked so good on paper, than they had to play the games. Zuttah was supposed to be a starting center the last 2 years but played more at guard?????

    This team was easily the 4th best roster in the division last year ( more like the last 5 years) even Chris Laundry said on the little puppy show that which the host disagreed and banned that subject.

  4. BFFL Says:

    I think Cummings doesn’t understand the difference between overrated and talented.

  5. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Lots of talent….”FOR A FRIGGIN’ 4-12 TEAM”…lol. I think Lovie (Howell), Frazier and Licht know what they are doing. Tedford is the only question mark. They should have won more games with just their (alleged) talent alone (minus coaching).

  6. Gusjackson Says:

    Drop off in talent…..this was a 4-12 team last year….

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Buc Fans drank the “talent kool-ade” last season. It was clear the team was badly overrated.

  8. Fishfries Says:

    This Cummings is something. He’s basically saying that we might be better or we might be worse. Same could be said for every other team.

  9. Jerry Says:

    The key is coaching. Lovie’s group is going to be far more effective, IMO, than Schiano. Schiano does not have the mindset for the NFL He doesn’t understand it. Players lackluster under Schiano, may well be much better under Lovie. We shall see. IMO rock star’s downfall because Schiano proved to be so incompetent.

  10. Mumbles Says:

    Cummings misses his life partner Schiano!

  11. PRBucFan Says:

    Didn’t even bother reading such an idiotic piece.

    Joe doesn’t believe you. –Joe

  12. BamBamBuc Says:

    I would have to agree… be optimistic with caution. Are we really better? Is a rookie Evans better than a veteran Mike Williams? Probably in the long run, we’ll have to see how his route running improves as that is the biggest knock on him considering his only 3 years playing organized football. Free agents aquired vs. players released? Hard to say, again there is more youth and therefore more potential, but that doesn’t mean instantly better.

    It seems most (I repeat most) every year, fans are all hyped up about the draft picks and undrafted free agents and how this guy or that will be a “sleeper” or a “stud” or whatever. Last year was difficult since we had no 1st round pick to get hyped about (thanks Dom/Schiano/Revis) and also too early to tell. But look back a couple years in the archives and it’s really quite funny. Even my own comments back then, some were right on, some were way off base. I just looked at the 2011 draft with Clayborn. I wanted us to draft Cam Jordan. So far, that probably would have been the better pick. But there were a lot of fans that were stoked about getting Bowers in the 2nd… what GREAT value, what a steal! Mason Foster, all the way to Anthony Gaitor, supposedly future super stars. Luke Stocker was going to fix our TE issues. 2012 saw fans claiming Najee Goode was going to overtake Foster and push him to SLB.

    So, as much as I love our first two picks, and like Sims and Herron. As much as I hope the new OL draftees pan out at some point and Brett Smith develops on the practice squad… Let’s all be real here. We can’t foresee injuries that will happen to players (or even the recovery of ASJ to a fairly minor stress fracture that typically is an easy recovery) and we just don’t know which of these guys (if any) will push this team upwards towards greater things.

    P.S. Joe: looking back, the Optimist and Pessimist haven’t been around in quite some time. The Pessimist was pretty much dead on about Bowers in that draft. And there has been plenty since to be Pessimistic about. Did you lose a guest writer? or just decide it wasn’t good to have other writers anymore?

    Those guys might be back.–Joe

  13. BarberBucFan Says:

    2013 team was doomed from the start. As soon as Freeman gave up early in the pre season , the offense packed it in.

  14. SteveK Says:

    Dude sees the glass half empty.

    Good for you, Roy!

    Tomorrow morning try holding the piss from your Cheerios.

  15. BamBamBuc Says:

    Oh, and even more hilarious is all the Dom love after the 2011 draft (and of course the Freeman love too). At that point, Dom was a genius and Free was the franchise, all we needed were two more DL to go with Price and a recovering GMC, new LB Foster, and we were all set… Dom was KING!!!

    And an article that really caught my attention was the one about being loaded at Safety with the likes of Sean Jones, Tanard Jackson, Cody Grimm, Ahmad Black, Larry Asante, Corey Lynch, Dominique Harris and a practice squad guy…. Wow, it’s funny too look back at that and then remember how horrid that defense was in 2011, how those Safeties were exposed so badly, and how they are talked about now. It’s quite fun looking back through the archives…

  16. Kevin Says:

    Whatever 4-12 need I remind everyone?

  17. Bigg Tastee Says:

    I am a fan of the defending NFC South champs, the Carolina Panthers. I want to say of all the teams in our division it is this Bucs team that scares me the most. The offense is good at the skill positions, but qb is still a huge uncertainty. Even with McCown coming in I’m not sold on his 1 good season in Chitown.
    The thing that concerns me about the Bucs is that uber talented defense. Last year there was so much uncertainty in the locker room, but this season Lovie Smith is in control. He has a knack for getting maximum effort out of all his players. That’s a talented group and if he can get their best every week, it’ll be a very interesting race for the division title.
    On that note, good luck and #keeppounding. Go Panthers.

  18. DallasBuc Says:

    I can’t believe I am saying this but I completely agree with Mr C…Roy here. I have been saying the same thing since free agency that Collins is not necessarily better than Penn, no right guard is not better than Joseph, Zuttah is a reliable swing center/guard that sure beats a whatever our solution is at either or back up center position. There is no good reason that I have heard yet to justify trading Mike Williams for a pack of Doral 100s. I really would have liked to see Jackson, Evans and Williams on the field. Michael Johnson is no slam dunk or Simeon Rice like we have all seen so cavalierly thrown around. They moved some deck chairs and maybe threw a few overboard. I hope I’m wrong.

  19. BamBamBuc Says:

    Before it starts… yes, I had some pretty “off” comments back then too. I almost always look to temper my comments about anyone outside the 2nd round. Potential? sure. Sleeper? maybe. I like Sims, Herron, even Brett Smith as potential sleepers that may contribute. But I will say it right now, I’m expecting production from Evans and ASJ, I’m hoping for Sims and MAYBE Herron to contribute. But I won’t get my hopes up beyond the first two.

    That said, I’m looking for Clayborn (or Bowers) to break out this year or move on, it’s time. Barron has been solid, but it would be nice if he becomes elite this year (Martin and David have both shown they can play in this league, so I’m good with them). And we need significant improvement from Banks. That’s our 1st and 2nd round guys from the past few years and the ones that we HAVE to get production out of.

  20. Nybucsfan Says:

    We need a real long term QB and the team will be ok. A QB that can make plays not check the ball down and go three and out.

  21. Dougy balls Says:

    Joseph who? The guard that has no job . Over weight penn who went to oaklAnd to ride out into the sun set Younger more healthy team with Same core group ( Joseph , david , etc. ) deffinetly better

  22. Destinjohnny Says:

    Makes my point- the least knowledgeable writers among nfl cities are located in tampa town. Anyone who thought Dom was doing a good job has zero cred with any fan with a i.q above room temp. Sorry Roy I will never read a Column u ever write again.

  23. JBuc Says:

    And I should trust his evaluation of this team because why?

  24. Louis Friend Says:

    Talent isn’t measurable in team performance, but execution is. We didn’t hire Smith to bring in lots of talent, but to get the most execution from the talent he’s given. Cummings spent much of last season being unrealistically positive about Schiano, so this isn’t surprising from him. Between Tom Jones, Shelton and Cummings it’s a tough call who the most annoying one is.

  25. bigsombrero Says:

    He’s not wrong really. The big difference is how that talent will fit with the new scheme and coaching. The talent level isn’t that much different but I think it’ll be much better coached and fit much better with what the coaches want to do.

    He pretty much nailed the o line issue though. A half a season isn’t enough to know Collins will be good. To my knowledge we have one decent starting guard in Meredith. Barring some hidden gems, I’m worried on the o line front.

  26. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I think it’s pretty funny how Cummings points to “ifs” and “buts”, as if those didn’t exist last year. In fact, there were many more “ifs” last year, because we had absolutely zero depth at almost every position. We are twice as deep this year as we were last. We never had Rainey and Martin at the same time last year. We barely had one TE last year, whereas this year we have 3. Donald Penn and Davin Joseph are two of my favorite all time Bucs, but they were at absolute best below average last year. If I didn’t like them so much, I’d probably label their performance as terrible. Yes we are a little thin on the OL, but the season hasn’t started yet, and I’d be willing to lay money that we beef up that OL before we host the Panthers. Defensively, we are deeper at DE, LB, and CB. As for QB, even if we start Glennon, one would believe he would be better than last year (I don’t think he can lead us to worse than 32nd in offense). So in no way, shape, or form do I agree with any of this nonsense that Cummings is writing.

  27. PRBucFan Says:

    “Joe doesn’t believe you. –Joe”

    “PRBucFan doesn’t care. -PRBucFan”

  28. Architek Says:

    Talent drop off? Did I miss the memo or was this supposedly talented team last year 4-12?


    I don’t think this article deserves deep analysis. Something is disconnected with Cummings!

  29. sam Says:

    you’ve got too be kidding me. I know this is a boring time of year for reporters and there isn’t much too talk about, but geez. For him too sit here and try and say that the worst offense in the league last year has only gotten worse with the loss of an old left tackle in penn and arguably the worst guard in football last year in joseph, not too mention a starting receiver in underwood and perhaps the worst playcalling offensive coordinator in the nfl!! cmon Cummings. Ive seen enough. Goodnight joe lol

  30. PRBucFan Says:

    “I don’t think this article deserves deep analysis. Something is disconnected with Cummings!”

    Exactly why I stopped after I read the title lol.

  31. sam Says:

    Im so bugged I cant even sleep…. does he actually think Daniel teo’neshiem is a better defensive end than Michael Johnson? Roy please tell me your off of your meds or have been drinking. This can not be rational thinking from a sober mind.

  32. Tristan Berry Says:

    If there’s a Roy Cummings bandwagon, I’m not on it.

  33. Andrew 1 Says:

    Well in his defense, he did say that there was probably only a little bit of a drop off in talent. Still… I dont buy it. Cummings also needs to remember that this roster is still not even completed yet. One area I think we really got a talent boost is at the coaching position though lol. Also something we can all expect is that this team will be unrecognizable, and bearing in mind these past futile years , I thinks thats a good thing.

    Are we better? maybe, maybe not.

    Are we different? you betcha.

  34. PRBucFan Says:

    lol Couldn’t possibly be worse.


  35. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ PR

    lol could you imagine. There would only be you, me and a handful of others left that could be called bucs fans lol. You’re right, we are not likely to be worse, but I would be thrilled with a winning season.

  36. CocoaBchBuc Says:

    No way we are worse..imho, it looks like Lovie learned his lesson.

  37. nate Says:

    No 1 is as bad as freeman was last year…. that fact alone will be better…we also had the worse coach will be fine this year….

  38. Drew Says:

    Cummings is the worst Bucs writer in Tampa. All he does is put the Buccaneer organization down in his articles. I don’t think he has liked this team since 2002. DEAR ROY, PLEASE GO BITCH AND PREACH IN ANOTHER CITY. IT’S WHY I DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR PAPER. Every writer in this town could learn from the legend Mr. Ira Kauffman.

  39. Drew Says:

    And Bowers will be a star in this league when Givin his chance

  40. stratobuc Says:

    ….another slow week……….

  41. gtampa Says:

    I like many of you live in the bay area and have for many years. That said I may agree or disagree with Joe’s take on things but he is no Roy Cummings. In other words not an idiot. How does this guy maintain a job. This genius needs to abandon post and take one of the many personnel / GM positions he’s best suited for. Ps love the camp posts keep em coming Joe

    A little harsh, fellas, c’mon. Not that Joe isn’t called an idiot daily. But Cummmings isn’t exactly approaching anything too controversial here.–Joe

  42. Bawlmerbucfan Says:

    I would argue that Lovie could take the exact same roster from last year and easily win 9 games. We lost at least 5 games last year that we could/should have won….Schiano and Sheridan’s incompetence is what made those 5 games losses, NOT the talent. Whatever talent we do or don’t have isn’t as important as the person in charge of putting those pieces in the correct position to maximize their skills. Regardless of how talented/untalented our 2014 roster is, I guarantee we’ll be better…..also, take California Chrome to win at the Belmont HARD!!!!

  43. The_Buc_Realist Says:


    If that is so, why has L&L sent almost all the talent packing for other towns and jobs, Why did he demand that the Rockstar get fired before he took the job.

  44. knucknbuc Says:

    Were at least 3- 4 games better then last year because we switched from Rutgers to lovie. No other argument needed.

  45. Harry Says:

    “…Joe realizes many fans think the Bucs and former rockstar general manager Mark Dominik assembled a garbage roster last season…”

    I disagree with this statement, or my alzheimer’s must be kicking in. I remember in the beginning of last season that everyone was stoked that we should be playoff bound with the talent we had on the team. Sure, after the season got underway, everyone says we had no talent, but not in the beginning. And of course NOW everyone claims they said this before the ’13 season started, but that is bs.

  46. Eric Says:

    I said it before and never came close to being stoked about rock or Schiano or the alleged talent.

    But I am now.

    Masterful job by lovie.

  47. Jim Walker Says:

    This team wont win 7 games. They need another off season and draft.

  48. Eric Says:

    My only real concern is were one play away from putting our season in the hands of the cannon.

  49. drdneast Says:

    Roy Cummiing’s had man crushes on all those players released and also Josh Freeman.
    Penn got pushed around last year and Davin Joseph might as well have been a saloon door as far as pass blocking. His run blocking wasn’t much better.
    So Penn went to Oakland, where players now go to die and no one has even signed Joseph. Williams was a continuing headache like Aquib Talib.
    Anyone who thinks Zuttah is a better center than his replacement needs to get out of the sun.
    Our last five drafts have been disasters all of which were under the direct control of “rock star” Mark Dominick who can’t get a job in the NFL so he has become an “analist” for ESPN.
    What upsets me the most is many people in the community knew what Freeman’s problems were but he and others never reported on them and still won’t.
    Instead they chose to put their sights on Schiano who may have been out of his league, but he sure didn’t have anything to do with Freeman’s failure. In fact, he hired an offensive coordinator who tried to build an offensive strategy to Freeman’s strength. The deep ball.

  50. Miguel Grande Says:

    I think Cummings may be right, Lovie has simply rearranged the deck chairs. My main concern is that he has an ego problem like Chucky.

    Many people have credited Dungy with being a football genius but all his success was due to the Glazers opening up their checkbook.

    Now the Glazers have been dragged kicking and screaming to the new NFL where owners have to actually let go of some exorbitant profits.

    I’m sure Lovie insisted on them stepping up before he signed on. His success will be predicated on this. At least, it will be a level playing field.

  51. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Cummings is 100% right.

    As I’ve been saying, the only actual upgrade brought in for free agency was Johnson, and he is just a maybe. He doesn’t have continuity to speak for him.

    No one can convince me CB was upgraded. We had the best here. Now, you can only go one direction from the best, and the talent level brought in might not be a massive drop, but it is still a drop.

    The draft upgraded only two positions and the rest is depth. TE and WR were upgraded.

    QB was certainly not upgraded.

    So comings is absolutely correct. Some positions were lateral moves, but there really were very few upgrades.

    And I think Lovie knows that. He knows he can’t change everything for the better in one year. He had to get rid of the guys he absolutely did not want. He filled the holes left behind.

    And he’ll use next year to upgrade more positions.

    So, again, Cummings is 100% right.

  52. Eric Says:

    Sure hope he is as good as either Dungy or Chucky.

  53. buc4lyfe Says:

    Idiot……just had to be different huh? Absolutely no pass rush and running some joke of a college offense and defense. It was a 4 win team, how hard is it to upgrade from that? We’re running a defense proven to be successful, one that landed 2 hall of famers And two that will eventually get in. How hard is it to upgrade from worst offense in the league? A weapon is a weapon, why wouldn’t chris sims be a upgrade over jeff demps because last i checked he’s done absolutely nothing in this league…..can we ban Roy Cummings

  54. stanglassman Says:

    Deneast- Would you care to share what the writers were keeping from all of us about Freeman all the years. I’m especially interested in hearing about the time before he was shopped around the league by Schaino in the summer of his contract year 2013.

  55. PRBucFan Says:

    He has an ego problem?


    What a joke, since when is humility confused with ego?

  56. Heath Says:

    Just wondering when a team competed for the playoffs depending on two rookie WR’s, rookie TE, rookie RB/Slot and a backup QB? I like the hire of Lovie but don’t see much happening this season.

  57. PRBucFan Says:

    McCown is not a backup 😉

    And the Bucs are depending on the team as a whole not just rookies.

  58. Matt B Says:

    I really hope I’m wrong about this but I see this team as a 6-10 team. Like Cummings points out, there are just too many “IFs”. My biggest concerns are the pass rush from the defensive ends, the offensive line, and especially the lack of depth at virtually every position. Injuries are part of the game folks and that fact has to be taken into account.

  59. phil Says:

    I also thought Revis is better than whoever is taking his place. It amazing to me that Lovie wasn’t able to figure out how to adjust is defense to fit the best cornerback in football. Plus the fact that we still need a quarterback. I don’t think anyone is expecting McCown to take us to the Super Bowl. I’m hopeful that Glennon can make a big leap this year but he needs the offensive line to keep him upright and I to think that Penn & Joseph are better than what we have now.

  60. BoJim Says:

    BamBamBuc Said:

    “We can’t foresee injuries that will happen to players (or even the recovery of ASJ to a fairly minor stress fracture that typically is an easy recovery)”

    Large men with injured feet=not cool. I’m concerned but I hope he heals before spring training.