“It Starts Up Front”

September 11th, 2014
It is really a salute to Gerald McCoy that he can play so well and get zero help from edge, game after game after frustrating game. Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.

It is really a salute to Gerald McCoy that he can play so well and get zero help from the edge, game after game after frustrating game. Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.

Man, Joe just does not know what the Bucs are going to do about a pass rush. Oh, Gerald McCoy is beastly. He is tied for second among defensive tackles for most sacks (15.5) since the 2012 season. GMC is hardly the problem.

It is everybody else, with the possible exception of Clinton McDonald. The Bucs are simply getting nothing from the defensive ends. Nothing.

As Joe told his good friend, “The Big Dog,” Steve Duemig of WDAE-AM 620, prior to the debacle against the Stinking Panthers, Joe planned to write about Michael Johnson, good game or bad game, because there is great interest in his performance.

Well, Johnson had an invisible game Sunday.

Bucs coach Lovie Smith stated Johnson twisted up his ankle on the first series of the game. Funny, there was no injury report during the game about Johnson; Joe never noticed Johnson at the trainer’s table, and Johnson played most of the game. Yes, Johnson was tagged wearing the dreaded floppy hat yesterday, but just how bad could that ankle have been since he played most of the game?

At any rate, Joe just cannot remember a team struggling so badly to find a decent defensive end. After several draft picks in recent years haven’t done the trick, Team Glazer drops a Brinks truck on a guy and that also seems to have been for naught. Granted, it is still very early.

Lovie touched upon the pass rush yesterday, all but blaming a lack of pass rush for Stinking Panthers tight end Greg Olsen roasting the Bucs.

“We can’t let a tight end continue to catch balls like that,” Lovie said. “Tight ends, wide-outs, running backs, all of the above. Of course, it starts up front. We need to get better pressure. But when we play and put our guys in man situations, we need to be able to win. It comes down to a one-on-one game, whether we’re playing man, zone, or whatever. We didn’t perform as well as we needed to.

“We did have injuries early in the game, but we’re not saying that’s the reason why we didn’t play well. We didn’t play well alright, for whatever reason. I think as you look at every game, there are swings of momentum and it’s hard for me to explain what it is, how it happened, but you have to hang in there. Sometimes you’re not playing your best ball and you have to hang in there and give yourself a chance to finish the game, which we did. Most of the time I would like to think that it’s our condition, it’s working out down here. You asked about eight weeks ago, 10, 20 weeks ago you ask about ‘Is it hurting us, is it draining us so much working out down here in this heat?’ No, I think in the fourth quarter our work came out in the end where we had juice at the end to give ourselves a chance, that’s how we’re spinning it.”

Joe hates to single out Johnson, but darn it, you give a guy $24 million guaranteed, and it’s not outrageous to expect him to pressure the quarterback. Johnson did not last week.

Adrian Clayborn didn’t get much more done, either. So it wasn’t all Johnson’s fault, ankle injury or not.

How desperate (frustrated?) are the Bucs to get heat from the edge? They waved goodbye to Steven Means and Scott Solomon, who played quite a few plays Sunday but got the same results as Johnson and Clayborn, which would be none. So the Bucs brought back Larry English, who Lovie believes can actually breathe on a quarterback from time to time.

19 Responses to ““It Starts Up Front””

  1. RastaMon Says:

    I watched MJ raise his hand over his head signaling to the sideline he was coming off….and watched him limp up and down the Bucs bench……

  2. Jon Says:

    It blows me away, last year we had ther most sacks in like 8-9 years and then the non-talented evaluators go out and blow a boatload of cash on a one time producer? Again, Zimmer didn’t want him, Lewis said good luck, and Gruden Said no thanks. Yet we made him a fortune…again I ask, we with trades, draft picks and money spent lovie may be a fine coach but as for L&L I question if they know talent

  3. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs are conditioned for the heat. Perhaps that will bring us a win Sunday. Spin away Lovie

  4. BucDan Says:

    I’m with Rasta on this one. Been watching the Rewind and they finally have the Coach’s Film up. Johnson gets rolled up on and takes a while to get up. He goes out for a few plays and tries to come back, but is pretty much replaced by Solomon (who I was sad to see cut, as he played pretty damn well IMO filling in for #90).

    Still no excuse for not getting any pressure. Lots of chips from backs and tight ends. Also, on the plays Johnson was in, he tends to wash himself out with his wide-9 stance. He crashes hard and play goes outside. Stays wide and play goes under.

    They have work to do, but I did truly see a game of inches on the replay. Plenty of plays that just fell Carolina’s way by split seconds.

    Need to start hot this Sunday to keep momentum rolling. Hopefully Tedford is back and calling a hell of a game on offense.

  5. MadMax ™ Says:

    The only swing of momentum was the kitties comfortable with the goose egg that our Bucs were laying….and they backed off a little, just enough for us to squeeze something other than pure garbage juice out of the last quarter!

    And if McCown is so tunnelvision colorblind, please send in MG8!!!!

  6. LutzBuczFan Says:

    “…but you have to hang in there.”

    Hanging in there is what we do (sigh).

  7. ManzielMadness Says:

    It’ll be good to have gholston back this week

  8. Deacon Blues Says:

    Football and Defensive Football is about Points not yards. How many points does the defense surrender without the 2 picks from McCown? 10-14? Points against is what makes a D. I want to see 3.0 ypc or less and 14 pts or less. Every defensive strategy is the same every week. Stop the run keep them from scoring.

  9. andres Says:

    Note to Fraizer, STOP with the fake LBs blitzs, THEY KNOW YOUR NOT SENDING THEM!!! All you do is give those TEs a 5 yard head start and open of the middle of the field that much more. Foster is fast but not that fast to make up 5 extra yards. Keep those LBs clogging the middle, create traffic not lanes.

    Yours truly,
    Best Couch Coach in West Tampa

  10. nate_tweetz Says:

    How about we just line up with McDonald and Spence on the inside and put McCoy over to DE. Unfortunately, our DT is faster than slow-poke Clayborn and stronger than toilet paper tough MJ. SMDH

  11. Tom Edrington Says:

    He has no help because a couple of guys named Price and Bowers were major busts!

  12. robert9 Says:

    tired of talk. yall do somethin for a change.

    maybe stop the canned BS and say, yeah, “we sucked”

    the 1st step to fixing something is admitting it. and no, canned BS is not admitting how bad they sucked.

    mainly the QB, but they should all be in that mindset, otherwise we will continue to lose.

  13. Soggy Says:


  14. DB55 Says:

    Yesterday’s press conference was the best one yet. Humility, imagine that. Lovie came across very humble, like he saw how bad the team played n realizes he needs to fix it quick.

  15. DB55 Says:


    Where do you find coaches film? What’s rewind?

  16. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    Every single week we play and the Seahawks play, we are reminded of how much we miss Bennett. Bennett manhandled Panthers OT Byron Bell who was playing RT in 2012. Ever since, Bell has been getting the better of our DEs. There is no point in dwelling in the past, I know. Its just depressing when you think of what could have been, with McCoy and Bennett combo.

  17. Bear the Bucs Says:

    DE Johnson was not only invisible in the game, he was invisible thru out the whole preseason. This is starting to smell. It’s one thing to miss on a draft pick, it’s quite another to miss on a 24 million dollar free agent defensive end !

  18. Teacherman777 Says:


    Go rewatch the game bro.

    But without being drunk.

    Johnson was limping up and down the field all game!

    He tried to play on twisted ankle. He fought through it.

    I am a bball player. Ankle problems are hard to play through man

    Go rewatch the game.

  19. Harry Says:

    Wow, where is Realist’s input here. I was going to say I think I am ready to join his Slowborn bandwagon…