Vegas Days Are Over At Defensive End

May 27th, 2015

Jacquies smith 1119Joe’s perspective regularly differs from his Bucs media peers.

Sometimes, the contrast is so drastic that it drives Joe to repeatedly bang his head against a wall.

Yesterday wasn’t one of those days, but it came close. Pat Yasinskas, the official Bucs blogger of, cranked out a story all about how Tampa Bay is gambling at the defensive end position.

Joe would counter that the Bucs, in fact, have stopped gambling at DE.

A gamble came last year, when the Bucs paid a fortune for ghostly and ghastly Michael Johnson, who was coming off a 3 1/2-sack season and didn’t want to leave his beloved Bengals brothers.

Another gamble came when the Bucs repeatedly played Johnson even though he was dreadful.

In 2013, the Bucs gambled that Adrian Clayborn, less than a year from major knee surgery, could perform at DE. They also gambled that Daniel Te’o Nesheim, who actually started 12 games that year, belonged in an NFL uniform. He was soon out of football at 26 years old.

In 2012, Tampa Bay ditched a stout defensive end named Michael Bennett, who has led the Seahawks in sacks the past two years. They gambled that Da’Quan Bowers could come close to replacing him. The results were dreadful.

No, the gambling is over.

Jacquies Smith (6 1/2 sacks) emerged last season at left defensive end. He broke through in the second half of the season and had William Gholston capably backing him up. Both return, and both can play various positions.

The Bucs brought in George Johnson, six sacks in part-time duty last year with Detroit. The Bucs simply want to see him play like he did last year. That’s nothing like the heroics they expected from Michael Johnson and others before him.

They also bring back T.J. Fatinikun, Lawrence Sidbury and Larry English. That’s hardly a wrecking crew, but at least the Bucs have had a long look at these young guys and are confident they can contribute.

Maybe next year, the Bucs will invest at defensive end. For now, they’re going to roll with live young bodies and expect to improve. That should be pretty simple, and hardly a gamble.

22 Responses to “Vegas Days Are Over At Defensive End”

  1. drdneast Says:

    I agree with you Joe. The Bucs also added Henry Melton, who, if healthy should add at least another 6 sacks and comes in with knowledge of how the Tampa Two is played.
    Already there is talk of letting him play at RDE at times which I predicted you might see when they signed him.
    Replace Michael Johnson’s sack total from last years and add Melton and Johnson’s sack total from last and the Bucs have 9 more sacks and are in the 40s for the year.
    If Jacques Smith and Gerald McCoy can both register 10 sacks this year and the rest of the players average the same sacks as last year, all of a sudden you are looking at a damn good sack total for the defensive line.
    Not an unrealistic goal for this to happen.

  2. mike Says:

    I don’t know if any of the DEs on our roster would start for any other NFL team, but we are in better position than last year.

  3. cnvertbleweathr Says:

    I would argue that the lack of gambling at the position is what is alarming.

  4. Capt.Tim Says:

    I agree Joe- not only with you, but with Lovie and Licht’s approach to the position.
    Drdneast is also right. I said when they signed him- Melton will get Tim at DE- especially on passing downs- because McDonald can apply pressure also.
    This group will out perform last years” sign the check and quit playing” group.
    Then next draft can be mostly a defensive draft- with DE at the top of the list!!

    Finally- you see a plan coming together with this team. You can see areas being addressed, depth being added, skill being upgraded.

    This year is”Enjoy watching our Young Offense begin to jell”
    Next year, we’ll have enough talent to compete! And win!

  5. WS99 Says:

    did melton play both DE and DT in Chicago? NFL . com has him listed as DE. He never had more than 7 sacks in a year but at least he know Lovies system.

  6. Kevin Says:

    I think next year the bucs need to trade up AND trade back into the first round to get both a high pick DE and OL. IF there are guys that good at each position.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    As long as we can get some sacks from everyone…..DT, DE, LB, CB, S……we will be fine…..I like our depth.

  8. Tampa Tony Says:

    The defensive end draft busts from dominik continue to haunt this team. Yet he is deemed a good gm by his media buddies and the joes. It’s a Bucs Life

  9. bucsbedabest Says:

    Henry Melton played DT with the Bears. He played back-up DE in his junior year in college. George Johnson is very underrated DE. Johnson was ranked 9th by Pro Football Focus signature stats for pass rush productivity. Johnson recorded 6 sacks, 5 QB hits and 27 QB hurries. Not bad for a back up DE.

  10. Buc-A-New Says:

    WHY is everyone forgetting about the DE that we will be picking up in FA since there were so many Stud Pass Rushers Drafted in the First round??????
    You should know that teams will be letting go of guys better than we have

  11. The Buc Realist Says:

    @ buc-a-new

    it will happen, The Bucs have been garbage picking for years. Also look for a couple of games into the season the Bucs will rob off of other teams practice squad looking for DE that will be better than what they have now!!!

  12. Buc-A-New Says:

    Yes sir. That is Realism.

  13. Destinjohnny Says:

    We dont have a double digit sack guy on the roster.

  14. BuccaneEric Says:

    The waiver wire will be our friend. I don’t expect to see much until Mini- Camps are over and the Preseason starts. That’s when teams most likely know what they have.

  15. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Great point Buc,how refreshing to read the post of a forward thinker.

  16. The Buc Realist Says:


    We did last year!!!

    Josh McCown 11 games , 36 sacks!!!!!!

  17. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I’ve said it before I’ll say it again y’all keep those 10 glorified tackles for a lost. If the ball isn’t strip who cares. I much rather have Smith or Johnson give me 50 pressures. I bet the results will be different.

  18. LakelandBuc Says:

    Henry Melton was a running back during his freshman and sophmore years at Texas, and he actually ran for 16 touchdowns. His 40 low were 4.54, Lawerence Sidbury 40 low were 4.43, T.J 40 low was 4.53, Jacquies Smith 40 low were 4.49 this is why Lovie is so high on these players,he want players with speed in the Tampa 2.

  19. SeattleBuc Says:

    I know this is about DEs. It got me to thinking once again about sending 5 from time to time. Maybe the nickel corner or Lavonte or try Kwon Alexander lined up in different places. In year 2 we should know our assignments and hopefully no games like week 3 last year. Anyone have an Idea of how often Lovie calls blitzes to league avg.?

  20. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    I couldn’t disagree with Joe more on this subject. Just because they whiffed at it in FA last year doesn’t mean you should give up. You guys that think Smith and G Johnson are going to be good players will be in for a rude awakening. They have been backups for a reason. How did that career backup QB that we trotted out as our starting QB work out last year.

    I also do no think guys that become available on the waiver wire we be studs either. If they can’t make their current roster it’s because they’re not that great to begin with.

  21. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Also, that back up QB that I referred to above had four very good games in Chicago the year before. Four good games didn’t mean he could be a real starting QB in this league.

  22. drdneast Says:

    Your points are somewhat valid TouchdownTampaBay, but in the case of Jacques Smith, he was playing in Buffalo which has a pack of stud DL and is a very hard unit to crack.
    Although I am not sold on Larry English, he was converted from a 4-3 DE in college to a 3-4 OLB in the pros. Not always a easy transition.
    Still, the league is full of players who turned into All-Pros and good players who were undrafted or at one time or another hit the waiver wire.
    Sometimes it was because the scheme they were playing in didn’t fit their skill set or they needed time to mature, etc., etc.
    As far as McClown was concerned, there was reason to believe that he had finally seen the light and had quit making the stupid mistakes that marred his ability.
    Unfortunately it was only a flickering light.