The Answer Is No

July 12th, 2014
Bucs DE Michael Johnson is a nice player, but he's not Simeon Rice.

Bucs DE Michael Johnson is a nice player, but he’s not Simeon Rice.

Joe has typed repeatedly, and as recently as yesterday, he has no issue with the Bucs defense as it is now, just 13 days from the start of 2014 training camp. Joe rests at night comfortably believing the defense, with Lovie Smith at the helm, is in good hands.

One reason Joe isn’t losing sleep is because of the new talent, for example, defensive end Michael Johnson.

Lovie is bound and determined to get opposing quarterbacks on the ground and Johnson is to be the edge rusher the Bucs have been missing for far too long.

The last Bucs dominant defensive end was the great Simeon Rice. Apparently, with that memory in mind, it moved the “Custodian of Canton,” eye-RAH! Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune, to take to Twitter to type about the Bucs defense.

The answer is, NO! In fact, hell no!

Let’s not get carried away. Johnson, in the past, has been a decent edge rusher, but he is no Simeon Rice. Joe thinks you could make a decent argument that Rice could be a Hall of Fame player, though it would take a while and maybe not until he is selected by the Seniors Committee decades from now.

Joe loves eye-RAH! to death. But unless Johnson totally blows up under Lovie, with all due respect, it’s outrageous to start comparing him to a guy who is a borderline Hall of Fame prospect and one of the greatest players in Bucs history.

Joe expects Johnson to be good. Rice in his prime? Let’s settle down.

30 Responses to “The Answer Is No”


    You got that right Joe…..HELLLL NOOOOOO!!!
    97 was a totally different cat in this league. Nutty as hell but could get to the QB better than most.
    Johnson has to show and prove before being in the same sentence as Sim!

  2. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I agree. But I’m also going to say something unexpected…

    …I think Adrian Clayborn will end up being a better defensive end than Johnson for the Bucs.

    I know people around here have given up on him, but even though he had a “bad” year last year, he still got decent sacks…decent enough to warrant not giving up on him…and under subpar coaching according to you guys.

    I suspect working with Lovie will be very good for him!

  3. Jon Says:

    Johnson averages around 5 sacks a year. Way, way overrated. Plus he doesn’t play the run well. I wonder why they didn’t just sign Bennett back. Lovie watches tape I’m sure. I keep saying Zimmer didn’t want him but we did. He’s my biggest fear of our off-season.

  4. DallasBuc Says:

    “Let’s not get carried away. Johnson, in the past, has been a decent edge rusher, but he is no Simeon Rice.” I expressed identical sentiments back when we signed Johnson and was roundly criticized. People need to calm down with the wild assumptions and predictions about the players, coaching staff and this team. It’s drinking cool aid with an exotic substance habit!

  5. DallasBuc Says:

    Bonzai- for a change I agree with you on Clayborn. He battled back from bad knee injury on a terrible defense that had him running figure eights and covering Sproles. He brings a nasty edge rush when let loose. I hope this coaching staff and GM don’t let their #1 FA pickup blind them to a reality that Clayborn is a better edge rusher.

  6. The_Buc_Realist Says:


    Lovie was so good to him that the first move in free-agency he replaced him! and is giving him a tryout on the otherside.

    The Bucs will not resign Clayborn after this season, so it is important that clayborn tries to put good film so he can catch on with another team next year.

  7. Burl Morgan Says:

    I agree he’s no Simeon at this point. He has all the tools and the with the right coaching he could blossom into a real terror. It would sure make for a nice story for a team that’s had some great defenses. With Lovie at the helm, I can see this team rise back to prominence to become a dominant force once again!!! 🙂

  8. Luther Says:

    Rice was a freak of nature on the field. I couldn’t stand to listen to him talk but the guy could play some football.

  9. Harry Says:

    I don’t know about Clayborn being better than Johnson, but I would not dismiss the possibility either. What I would point out is that as a group they could really get it done. In ’04 and ’05 (after Sapp was gone), Rice had 12 and 14 sacks, respectively. He did that with little help; in ’04 and ’05 the Bucs Dline had Greg Spires at LDE (8 sacks in ’04, 4 sacks in ’05), and Chris Hovan/C Darby (0 sacks for both for both years) and Booger Mcfarland (3/2 sks) in the middle. For the D as a whole, the Bucs had 45 sacks in ’04 and ’35 in ’05.

    Although Johnson may not be Simeon Rice, IMO, Clayborn/Gholston, McCoy, Clinton McDonald is better than Spires, Hovan and Mcfarland. So as a group they should get it done. Heck, I’d be VERY HAPPY with 40 to 45 sacks this year!

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    If you look at Simeon’s career stats you’ll see he had an inconsistent career at AZ and didn’t become the consistent player we all love until he came to the Bucs. He yoyoed from double digits to five back to double digits for a couple of years and then 7.5 the year before he joined us.

    After arriving with the Bucs Rice finally became the CONSISTENT outside rusher we all remember. Could the Bucs defensive scheme have anything to do with that? Could playing next to perhaps the best pass rushing DT in NFL history make him better? Could getting coaching from Rod Marinelli, Monte Kiffin and Tony Dungy have made a difference. Could being a part of one of the best defenses of all time made a difference?

    Of course all of that made a difference!!! I’m not saying Johnson is Rice. But I think everybody is totally premature in screaming NO

    We’ll hopefully get to find out. If GMAC stays healthy then Johnson will have his Sapp. If Levonte, Barron and the rest turn out to be a great defense then Johnson will have the rest of the distractions.

    Time will tell.

  11. OB Says:


    Let me throw this in, since few players, by themselves on a line, really shine, and then they double or triple team them if they have no help, what happens to Johnson playing next to GMC and the reverse? Didn’t Rice and Sapp make each other better this way?

    I am not saying this is going to happen, but I am saying we will see if it does very soon. It is still a team.

    I have to say you are getting us whipped up for the season with all of these comments, questions, and polls.

    If you ever come to Southshore area, I am buying.

  12. The_Buc_Realist Says:


    I agree with you, and just show how bad Clayborn has been, playing next to McCoy. No wonder Lovie replaced him his first chance he got.

  13. Cody Says:

    Simeon Rice has HOF numbers… It’s unfair to put that kinda pressure on Micheal Johnson…He doesn’t need to be Rice per say, we just need him to keep teams from double teaming GMC…I think when paired with stud DT Gerald McCoy they both should get 1 on 1’s all game …I that happens we could have 2 double digit DLmen…

  14. Cody Says:

    “If” that happens…

  15. Lovie_Me_Some_Bucs Says:

    Simeon was not so hot against the run. PFF actually has Michael Johnson graded quite highly against the run. Not comparing pass rush stats here but it looks like he will be equally effective on run and pass plays.

  16. Broy Says:

    Clayborn underrated. Johnson failing to get 10 sacks would be disappointing in a money standpoint. But Gholston is waiting his turn. He’s got size and natural talent to make it in this league. Loved the pick last year. Combine AJ Gholston and Johnson next to GMac and I think our d ends will be fine. I can promise it won’t look like the Schiano and Raheem days on the dline

  17. Mort Says:

    Rice was great, but lets at least see what MJ does in the same system before we crown him or write him off. This is way way premature if you have any other reaction that’s not “Well, let’s just see”.

  18. Lou. Says:

    The Bucs have had stronger d-tackle than d-guard play for two years now. One point we often forget is how unusual this is in the league — the Rams’ line revolves around their ends, so their pick this year was to shore up a weakness, not improve interior d-line strength.

    The Vikings under Dungy had a dominant interior push. Of course, the Steelers in the Mean Joe era had a crushing inside rush. The Tampa Two requires not just a good rush but a good interior rush. That makes the q-b hesitate to step up and lets the edge-setters free in one-to-one battles.

    I think Johnson will be fine. My greater concern is with the paired tackle. The beef on Spence coming out of college was that his short arms limited his rush potential. Gholston may play in the position, but he is built to be an end. More chips are on MacDonald than we recognize.

  19. Bobby Says:

    @St.PeteBucFan…. Exactly!! You can’t say No or YES to what someone is going to be until you see what they can do within that scheme. Johnson could become great or he could be a bust. Who knows? We have to see the guy play before making any judgments. Most thought McCoy could never be another Sapp but now we know he could be every bit as good and now that they are going to turn him loose we’ll see just how good he is.

  20. Hawk Says:

    I have to agree with Mort. There is no way anyone can determine the kind of year that Johnson will have when he is in a new system with new teammates. I seem to remember that, when he was brought here, the big knock on Rice was that he was poor against the run (stopping the run was very critical to the Tampa 2’s success). Rice came here and showed his ability to stop the run. Was it the system, the coaching, a new attitude? Who knows. That Rice improved is all that mattered.

  21. DallasBuc Says:

    You are all saying let’s wait and see which is fine but you have to recognize that at this point Johnson is no Simeon Rice. Could he be? Sure. Is he comparable now? No, not even close. I will be rooting for him on Sundays to be better than Rice and for McCown to prove that he is anything better than a backup NFL QB. Seeing is believing. Anything else is hope and prayer.

  22. Louis Friend Says:

    Any comparison of Johnson to Rice should take place several years from now. Even if Johnson sets the world on fire in 2014, he’s going to need to do it for a few years to begin matching what Rice did. I don’t think he will, but let’s hope he doesn’t have to and isn’t the only pass rusher besides McCoy who can pressure the QB – which we already know Johnson does extremely well.

  23. Buc the Haters Says:

    I actually agree with DallasBuc. Johnson does have the athleticism, size, & skillset to be Simeon-esque, but he’s not near as productive thus far in his career. Though, I’m personally expecting/hoping for double-digit sacks from Johnson & McCoy this year.

  24. Miguel Grande Says:

    Remember how great Dave Pear thought he was playing next to Lee
    Roy Selmon?

    When he left the Bucs, he disappeared.

    Rice was one of the best ever.

  25. don Says:

    Can anybody answer me one of the most confused issues i’ve had for years now? Why isn’t Simeon ever talked about for a possible hall of fame position. I still think he was the best edge rusher from at least 2000-2005 and he has the numbers. Its like after he got cut in 2007 his existence just vanished. Wasn’t he the second fastest player to reach 100 sacks after the great Reggie White?

  26. owlykat Says:

    Simeon Rice had great sac numbers but I was never a big fan of his because he was not great against the run and he never was a great team player so he should not be on our ring of honor or be a serious hall of fame candidate. I hope in time Johnson will be great in all three areas and not just one. I feel Gholston will be the starter at LDE but we need to keep Clayborne long term to work in rotation from both ends. If Bowers can be turned around by our great coaching to be the fourth DE in rotation I would be thrilled but I am not holding my breath.

  27. Brandon Says:

    Am i only the person to remember that Simeon Rice came to Tampa on a one year $1 mil a year contract that had years added to the end that everybody assumed Rice would never see? Simeon Rice was a great talent in Arizona, but he certainly wasn’t the in-prime Rice that we all knew. He hit his prime in Tampa, not before. Teams were NOT knocking down his doors to get him to play for them. The case could be easily made that Michael Johnson is a far better player at this stage of his career than Simeon Rice was in Arizona. No, he didn’t get the sack numbers Rice had (roughly half as many), but Johnson comes to Tampa with the reputation of being a staunch run defender while Rice came to Tampa with a reputation of NOT playing the run.

    As far as being athletes, they were both freaks Rice was more of a sprinter, while Johnson is quite a bit bigger (2 inches taller, 20 lbs heavier), not QUITE as explosive, but far stronger and just as explosive. Michael Johnson has every bit the potential to be a great RDE for the Bucs that Rice did. If he stays healthy, he will be a monster.

  28. Louis Friend Says:

    Brandon, you’ve got a really leaky memory – he signed a 5 year, $30 Million deal to with the Bucs in 2001. He’d have been stupid to do what you said he did, at any rate. And Simeon only sounded stupid when he spoke, but his agent wasn’t. Get your facts straight before you start proclaiming your superior ‘memory’.

  29. eric2706 Says:

    Hey joe. Why doesn’t Sim get any HOF votes? I mean his sack numbers were off the charts every year he was not injured. He played the run alot better than people give him credit for. He did a good job of holding the edge for the backers a d D-backs to close and make tackles. But talking numbers alone. Why wait for HOF talk.

    I believe our D got better with him here and Sapp wouldn’t have been the monster he was without Sim on the end. Sapp would be good and still a HOF player but with Sim on the end. Things were so much easier for him.

    Let’s not talk about style off the field as well. He should be in the HOF for his style alone. But on game day no one. And i mean no one (even sapp) got the fans going better than sim. Check the replys Sim would start bouncing around first then sapp got in on it. And once Sim got in a tackles head. The guy just ate lunch on his side of the table all day long.

    Isn’t That what the HOF is about. Making plays? He did it for 10 years straight. Against teams BEST linemen. Not like Strahan.

  30. Joe Says:

    Why doesn’t Sim get any HOF votes?

    Have to get X-amount of votes to first be able to be nominated before the Hall of Fame voters at the Super Bowl for “presentation.” Simeon has not received enough votes (yet). Joe can’t speak for the Hall of Fame voters.