Not In A Rotation?

July 19th, 2014
Don't expect Bucs DT Gerald McCoy to be in a steady rotation on gamedays.

Don’t expect Bucs DT Gerald McCoy to be in a steady rotation on gamedays.

Part of the lexicon of the Bucs defense in recent years has been a rotation of sorts on the defensive line. The main reason for this, Joe learned, was in the brutal Florida heat in the first half seasons, rotating guys on the line is necessary to maintain fresh legs.

Now Bucs coach Lovie Smith is bound and determined to find ways to get quarterbacks on the ground. Opposing quarterbacks, that is.

Given Lovie’s track record, Joe is confident that will happen. One way to do that, suggests multimedia maven Scott Smith of, is to have a deep stable of linemen and rotate them.

Smith notes this is not an absolute for Lovie. Smith believes two defensive linemen, Michael Johnson and Gerald McCoy, may not be part of any rotation.

Like any defense with a Cover Two core philosophy (which doesn’t mean the team will be in a base Cover Two every snap, or even 50% of the time), it will work best if the front four can put a serious amount of pressure on the quarterback by themselves. That’s the way it was during the Warren Sapp/Simeon Rice glory days, which could be returning with the central pairing of McCoy and Johnson. As such, it would certainly help to be as deep in front-line pass-rushers as possible, so that frequent rotation can keep them all fresh.

That said, I would be a little bit surprised if either McCoy or Johnson are rotated out with great frequency. I used to be involved in gathering the playtime information after each game during those aforementioned glory years, and I can tell you that on many occasions Sapp played 90% or more of the game’s snaps. When you’re that good, coaches are loathe to have you off the field for long.

Yes, there’s that irritating comparison of Johnson to Simeon Rice again. Not only does Joe think that is a bit over the top, but it’s just unfair to Johnson. Let’s let Johnson get a couple of seasons of double-digit sacks before we begin invoking Rice, shall we?

Smith does make a salient point: If Johnson is to become the terror from the edge like the Bucs hope he becomes, and we all know that GMC is among the NFL elite, then why would you want them off the field for more than a handful of plays a game? Better to keep the studs on the field as often as possible.

13 Responses to “Not In A Rotation?”

  1. Orca Says:

    Smith didn’t actually compare Johnson to Simeon Rice. Joe’s the one who keeps making an issue of that, where there is no issue. Nowhere have I seen anyone say that Michael Johnson is Simeon RIce.

  2. OB Says:


    With this defense, they should not be on the field very long before the other team gives up the ball one way or another. Also with this offensive, hopefully they will not be three and out, they maybe three and score, but not very many three and outs like last year, so the defense will get some rest for a change.

    Six days

  3. Kevin Says:

    I cain’t wait to see what Goldston brings to the DE position in his second year learning from these guys all offseason. I can already here RAYJAY erupting when the opposing QB goes down or it’s picked on third down. WHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GO BUCS!!!!!!!!

  4. snook Says:

    No comparison to Rice. Just that he won’t be rotated out.

    Rice didn’t rotate out. Neither will Johnson. Not a comparison.


  5. lurch Says:


    If you dont wanna compare Johnson to Rice, then you should also not compare McCoy to Sapp. IMO Johnson is a lot closer to Rice than McCoy is to Sapp.

  6. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    McCoy has been trained by Sapp. There will always be comparisons.

    And Smith DID compare the McCoy/Johnson team to Sapp/Rice. So unless you think he meant Johnson was Sapp-like, he DID make the comparison.

    Three commenters wrong because they either did not read the full article or they failed to understand it.

  7. Jim Walker Says:

    Yeah, Simeon does not get his props the way he should. The myth was he could not stop the run. Nothing is further to the truth. He was a beast.

  8. biff barker Says:

    Fresh legs matter regardless of what number is on your jersey. Unless you are elite player like GMC, there shouldn’t be such a huge drop off between starters and rotation guys.

    BTW, the bend but don’t break T2 mentality we all witnessed in Tyears ago did leave our defense gassed at times.

  9. Tiny Tim Says:

    Nothing to see here. During the bucs glory years, they have always had a big rotation with the front four. That is why we know the names of Darby, Wyms, Steve White, Dwayne White, tyoka Jackson, booger when we still had culpepper etc. Are we surprised to see that Sapp and Rice played 90% of the time? We should not be. They were beast. No NFL team takes their beast/HOF off the field for too long unless they are injured in some way.

    And no, Johnson should not be compared to Rice in any way. Rice was a pro bowler with 3 double digit sack seasons before he came to Tampa. I am still skeptical about giving Johnson so much money with only one double digit sack season. I am crossing my fingers that L & L is right with this decision. Anything less will equate to a bad move.

  10. Patrick in VA Says:

    Suggestion for Joe:

    Perhaps you should start calling licht & lovie “LiLo”. Not so much for the P1 readers of your site, but to appeal to the viewers that fox is looking to bring in by replacing Pam Oliver with Erin Andrews. Maybe add a Bucs gear fashion feature as well.

    Sorry, I know that is off topic but I just read the article about Andrews coming in and I thought my eyes were going to roll out of my head

  11. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Joe is right. If you sub in Clayborn at DE. You are just giving the other team a free play. You mights as well just have 3 lineman and sub in a extra safety at that point.

  12. Louis Friend Says:


    You might be eating these ‘I hate Clayborn’ words in 2014.

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The_Buc_Realist Says
    “Joe is right. If you sub in Clayborn at DE.”

    Clayborn is the starter on the other side.