Gauging The Free Agents

August 20th, 2014


Yes, Joe knows it is preseason and the real bullets don’t begin flying until Sept. 7, when the Stinking Panthers come to Tampa to start the NFL regular season. Still, Joe senses a bubbling murmur under the surface.

That vibration isn’t a faraway earthquake or a nighttime freight train rolling through. No, it is Bucs fans’ sense of frustration about their 2014 free agent class.

Thus far, there isn’t much to see. It’s eyebrow-raising enough that the spreadsheeters over at Pro Football Focus took a few moments to tap on their keyboards about, as Michael Renner did.

Free Agent Check-In

The huge influx of free agent talent was the No. 1 reason I thought the Bucs will improve on their performance from last year, but their collective impact this preseason has been negligible. Against the Dolphins Evan Dietrich-Smith and Michael Johnson graded slightly negatively while Anthony Collins and Clinton McDonald were slightly positive. The only goal for each, though, should be staying healthy and in most of their cases just performing around average would be a step up from last year.

And that’s not counting cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and/or Mike Jenkins, who have been sidelined most of training camp. Neither has yet played a snap in the preseason.

Joe isn’t ready to throw in the towel on the free agent class. Verner worries Joe only because he likley be hampered by that hamstring all year. Plus, he has never played in Lovie’s type of defense. So how much can be expected from him since he has missed just about all of training camp?

Johnson is another question mark. It would be nice to see him once in a while scare a quarterback. Collins had a much better second preseason game and McDonald is just fine. EDS will be very good as well, no concerns there.

Just because a team wins the free agency season doesn’t mean it wins the regular season. Just ask Danny Snyder and Jerry Jones. Year after year after year.

29 Responses to “Gauging The Free Agents”

  1. Chef Paul Says:

    Since the Realist and Love and warrick dunn have taken their vows, let me fill in for them.

    You left out the Rock star at the end, Joe.

  2. Tom Edrington Says:

    “…just performing around average…..”

    Seriously? Is that any way to set the bar? Haven’t we seen GMC attempting to set the standard?

    Playing on any level should be all about striving for excellence….

    “….just performing around average….” Pitiful!

  3. Gus Says:

    Well that picture woke me up!

  4. MTM Says:

    It seems that every one of the high priced free agent brought in becomes injury prone almost immediately. The Bucs have to have one of the highest priced injury report in the last few years.

  5. DallasBuc Says:

    You left out the free agent that handles the ball on every play on offense. Where is his PFF grade? This guy set the bar this Saturday night all the way up at having “one long drive” without necessarily scoring in over 2 full quarters of football with and against 1st teamers. What a leader!

  6. flmike Says:

    I liked the EDS, Verner and McDonald signings, but mark my words the McCown, Johnson and Collins signings will all go down as three of the worst in Buc history, Johnson had ONE, ONE good season, Collins is just bad and has never played in 16 games in a season let alone started them, and McCown, is what he is, a career backup who is better suite to coaching HS QBs then playing one in the NFL. By Jan of 2016 we’ll be looking for our next HC.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Maybe we should model our FA contracts after Revis……he stayed healthy & productive because he was on a year-to-year basis.
    I’m not accusing our high-prices FAs of faking injury but we sure have some bad luck with them…..include Goldson & Nicks to that group….

  8. snook Says:

    Just another reason we have to draft well. Free agents are a complete toss up. And often too expensive to miss on.

  9. Brandon Says:

    I’d much rather have Michael Johnson feign and fake his way through preseason and be healthy when the games count than for him to go off like the second coming of George Johnson (3 sacks in one game) and get hurt.

    These games don’t count, fellas. These are proven players, they just need to stay healthy to be great additions.

    I have no issues with Verner learning the defense, it is among the easiest defenses to master in football…especially for CBs…I mean seriously, Joe. How many total coverages are there in football? all press man under a single FS, all off man with a single FS, all press man with no safety, all off man with no safety, press man with a cover 2, off man with a cover 2, then there’s the cover 2, tampa 2, cover 3, and cover 4. How many coverages is that? 10. I think a seasoned pro like Verner can learn the basics well enough to be an asset to our defense.

  10. robert9 Says:

    I have nightmares of leanard johnson chasing a crossing route for a 1st down.

    is it just me or have we seen this before?

  11. Buddhaboy Says:

    Good God picture Goddess. Wakeup

  12. PRBucFan Says:

    How could it be even logical to “throw in the towel” after literally only a few drives worth of snaps in preseason?

    Lol nonsense

  13. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Maybe they just need “Real Coaches” that is the usual response around here.

  14. BucfaninMO Says:

    Just had a crazy thought. Can it be that the new CBA signed a few years ago might be a factor? With the new CBA agreement players are limited in the off season with meeting with coaches which might hinder there progress in learning a new offense and/or defense if a team makes changes in their coatching staff as the Bucs did this year.
    Also the new CBA agreements limit the time players practice in training camp. No more “Two-a-Days” and IIRC limits time in full pads and hitting. Which might lead to some of these players not being in top “Football Shape” and more prone to injury. IMO.

  15. Theodore Says:

    Joe – You need to write a Gauging Free Agents post every day. JMHO (guess what the H stands for)

  16. Buccfan37 Says:

    Everything will be fine. Unless it aint. They’re just not in sync. For the walking wounded, Verner’s injury is quite troubling.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I would much rather them sit out now than later!!!

  18. BirdDoggers Says:

    The massive roster turnover was thought to be a positive. It’s too early to tell if it was a good thing due to the injuries and slow start by the O-line. It will take the O-line a while to gel, assuming the talent is there. Maybe the roster had too much turnover and all the team really needed was a new leader to point them in the right direction.

  19. Architek Says:

    One Word –


    Another Word –


  20. AF_Buc Says:

    I didn’t even read the article… That picture though…

  21. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    DallasBuc Says
    “You left out the free agent that handles the ball on every play on offense. Where is his PFF grade? This guy set the bar this Saturday night all the way up at having “one long drive” without necessarily scoring in over 2 full quarters of football with and against 1st teamers. What a leader!”

    Maybe I’m missing your point, but he DID score. How many drives did he play? How many did Mike Glennon play?

    Honestly, I wanted to draft a QB (not Johnny), but since we didn’t, we are stuck with who we have this year. Of the two, McCown is the best. That cannot be honestly denied except by the simple-minded.

    And to be honest again, Mike Glennon hasn’t impressed me either. He barely looks better than Kafka thus far. Better, yes, but not by much. As down on him as I have been, I do think there is potential there. I just want him to prove it before I give him credit. That’s not too much to ask.

    I think I can see what Tedford wishes to do in his offense and it is growing on me. I didn’t think it would originally, but it is. Up tempo is the way to describe it.

    That said, I expect to see a lot of running plays throughout the next two games. Lovie said in one of his press conferences that he wants to see a lot more out of his oline and running backs. It makes sense if they want to hide the real offense from the Panthers (game one?).

    Josh McCown (so far) seems well suited to the Tedford offense. Being fast paced, I think that once the season starts we will see a lot of Gruden-like short passes to keep things moving quickly, at least until the oline gets better. It’s smart play. Once the oline gels, we’ll see longer passes, which means the offense will be evolving well into the season.

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Lovie also said that he wants to get as many players opportunities as he can, which leads me to believe the starters will not be playing as much as we think this next game. They’ll probably start rotating them in the second quarter, in and out.

    Still, we should get a good glimpse of McCown and Martin.

  23. jo_mama Says:

    Do you really need hoes to get page clicks?

    Come on man, your better than that.

  24. phil Says:

    I hope this is the girl we are sending out to recruit free agents. Other than Michael Sam everyone will say yes. And yes I know Sam is not a free agent Yet.

  25. Aaron Says:

    I’ve got nothing – can’t get passed the pic

  26. DallasBuc Says:

    Bonzai- you completely missed my point! Joe brought to us yesterday a quote from our unquestioned leader McCown that he wants “one long drive”, not scoring drive and not more than one…talking about this upcoming game against Buffalo. No one is talking about the dolphin game because this offense had to only go 25 yards off a turnover to score and they only managed to score once. This loser McCown and the decision to acquire and start him is so clearly a bad decision. Looking forward to “one long drive” this Saturday! Ugh…

  27. PRBucFan Says:

    Lol your a genius Dallas…

  28. Firethecannons Says:

    Joe, you need to incorporate more pictures of this calibre. Thank you, sir.

  29. Dr.D Says:

    All that cash an still sleeps on the floor?