“I Say I Developed A Lot, Man”

January 7th, 2015
D-line coach Joe Cullen made a difference with his youngest Bucs.

Bucs D-line coach Joe Cullen made a difference with his youngest Bucs.

Loads of Bucs fans are moaning in their beers in hopes Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli finds his way to Tampa next season.

Do the Bucs really need him?

That’s debatable, though perhaps he can figure out how to stop Derek Anderson connecting with a free-running Greg Olsen, a combination that stumped the minds of Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier.

But there is a piece of Marinelli already in town. That’s his protégé, Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen. The young Bucs defensive linemen not named “Johnson” had a strong season.

One guy under most people’s radar, though not Joe’s, was Akeem Spence. The second-year nose tackle quietly started five games, during absences of Clinton McDonald and Gerald McCoy.

Spence finished with three sacks, and his stats were way up from last season, when he was an every-game starter.

Joe talked to Spence last week.

“I say I developed a lot, man. I came from far away,” Spence said. “Especially with Coach Cullen and Coach Phair, they helped me a lot, just learning how to play the nose and be dominant at it, as opposed to last year I was just trying to figure it out, you know, being young.

“Also learning how to play under tackle this year and working on my pass rush a lot this year, getting to the quarterback a lot more, you know, wreak havoc in the backfield. I say I’ve grown a lot, man. This whole unit has, this whole defense has progressed since opening day. I feel great about where this defense is going and my development.”

Spence also told Joe he was eager to get direct feedback from Lovie Smith on his performance. He had expected that 1-on-1 time last week.

Spence turned 23 recently and represents valuable depth. The guy hasn’t missed a game in the trenches. He’s not soft. He survived Greg Schiano and didn’t turn into a mental patient, and he’s improving.

Unlike other areas of the Bucs, opponents know the defensive tackles are a force.

21 Responses to ““I Say I Developed A Lot, Man””

  1. Ray Rice Says:

    Can we let him coach the OL and develop them too?

  2. lion Says:

    I would love to see Marinelli come here. That would be a perfect fit, but the problem is we already have Frazier as DC. I do feel as though Marinelli is an upgrade over Frazier, but would we have to fire Frazier to bring him on or can that work something out to make him the assistant head coach or something? I’d be all for making him the assistant head coach/defensive assistant, and I do believe he truly does not want to coach for the Cowboys any longer and would do whatever it takes to re-unite with Lovie. Make this happen Lovie!

  3. lion Says:

    I think Jerry Jones really upset him last year when he wouldn’t let him leave for Tampa to be the defensive coordinator, and I hope to god that he says F-you to that blow hard after they lose their playoff game.

  4. Brandon Says:

    I don’t think Frazier would get fired but I do think they would bring Marinelli in as assistant head coach with an emphasis on the D. You can never have too many good coaches.

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    I don’t believe Dallas and Jerry Jones will let Marinelli leave. He is obviously a proven defensive mind that has been effective here and elsewhere in the league. He did lead the winless Lions season not long ago. Dallas D has improved under his coaching. He stays with Dallas.

  6. ruggyup Says:

    Joe asks, “Do we really need him?” A big(bigger?) question is can you get him? If you can get him the answer to Joe’s is clearly , DUH!

  7. Louis Friend Says:

    Dallas can’t stop him from leaving. If Lovie wants him he will be there for the taking.

  8. biff barker Says:

    Why would Marinelli want to jump from a sailing ship on to sinking one?

    BTW Joe, Schiano/Dom spend just a fourth rounder on a durable guy that continues to get better. That’s my idea of a value pick.

  9. Arealbucsfan Says:

    If we could Trestman and Marinelli we would have a pretty good staff

  10. DB55 Says:

    Did he really use the word dominant. I know he and geraldine are your buddies joe but come on. I’ll say he played better than expected but between he bowers n gholston all of who can play DT spence is the weakest player of the three. But at least he tries which is more than I can say for some of the starters. Smoke’m if you got’m. Lol

  11. nate_tweetz Says:

    We don’t want this bum (Akeem Spence) on this team. He got caught with weed last year! He’s going to be in and out of jail his whole career and we won’t be able to trust him. Oh, I’m sorry… That sort of thinking is exclusive to only Jameis Winston. Spence is safe. SMDH

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I’ve always liked Akeem Spence, and have made that clear numerous times here. 3 sacks in 5 games. If he had started all 16 games, he was on pace for 9 sacks. Think about that.

    So far as Rod Marinelli, if he comes, it will be as Assistant Head Coach, and he’ll oversee the defense. That way they keep Frazier too.

  13. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    DB55, your ignorance is reaching new heights. Congrats!

  14. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    @Biff Barker

    He’s already made up his mind. The only thing that could possibly stop him is a new HC offer. And that is certainly a possibility.

  15. Piratic Says:

    Arealbucsfan Says:
    “If we could (sic) Trestman and Marinelli we would have a pretty good staff.”

    –I like the idea of having these two, as well. Others have brought up what to do with Frazier if they hire Marinelli, but, imo, that’s not an impediment, while the hiring of Trestman will bring some much-needed effiency and unpredictability.

  16. pick6 Says:

    whatever hurt feelings rod marinelli might have from last offseason, it will be eased by great success with his unit this year, at least 2 playoff games, and a giant check from jerry jones. jerry wanted 1 more year to see if marinelli could turn the corner with kiffin out of the way. no salary cap on coaches, and jerry will probably do what we did to kiffin (pay him more than some HC’s make) to make sure he stays as long as jerry wants him

  17. DB55 Says:


    Which part did you not like? Him being the weakest of the 3, him “dominating” or the smoking part?

  18. ddneast Says:

    With Spence, McDonald and McCoy we have 3 solid DT’s. A long way from having to start Roy Gibson and Nick Price.
    Anyone for a side order of Aerirlios Benz and Myron Lewis.
    Seriously Biff Barker, other than being a troll out here, what do you do in life.

  19. TK1155 Says:

    Nate you sound as ignorant as anyone on here. Funny how you think you know these guys. Get the lumber out of your eye and know that Akeem plays with his heart every play. Quit writing in you don’t have anything that is worth reading

  20. Dooley Says:

    Spence is arguably one of the biggest human being associated with the franchise, looks like a circus bear in a Bucs uni

  21. nate_tweetz Says:

    @TK1155, ignorant? How the hell am I ignorant? When did I ever write that I knew these guys? How do you know what I write isn’t worth reading when you obviously lack basic reading comprehension? I never said that. Save the name calling for your play time with your buddies at recess. I have more education than your entire family TK! Hope you can read my comment this time and actually understand it.