The Henry Melton X-File

August 11th, 2015
What are the Bucs up to with Henry Melton?

What are the Bucs up to with Henry Melton?

Now we can add two more factors to the growing Henry Melton mystery.

Damn, Joe’s waiting for Gillian Anderson to emerge on the training camp sidelines.

Allow Joe to set the table:

1) While talking about the return of Da’Quan Bowers, Lovie Smith tells media that defensive tackles will work inside and defensive ends will stay outside in training camp.

2) Leslie Frazier tells ESPN that Henry Melton is the X-factor of the defense because he looks like his “fast twitch” and “burst” are back from when he was a Pro Bowl defensive tackle under Lovie with the Bears in 2012.

3) Gerald McCoy tells Joe and other media that Melton is getting work at defensive end and hybrid players, inside and outside rushers, are a huge component under Lovie Smith.

4) Joe asks Lovie about that, and Lovie says Melton was probably got snaps at DE because other guys needed “a blow.” And Lovie directs Joe to not look to much into it, and Melton “is an inside player for us.”

5) Joe asks Melton about lining up at defensive end (this is the first Joe is reporting), and Melton says coaches were “trying some things out and giving me a look out there. I’m just getting in where I fit in. I’ve done it before and I’m familiar with it.” … That sure doesn’t sound like a guy who was just giving other DEs “a blow.”

6) Yesterday, the Bucs signed Seahawks starting defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, a salary cap casualty early this month, to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

So what’s going on here with the McDaniel signing?

At defensive end, the Bucs already have McCoy, Melton, returning solid starter Clinton McDonald (five sacks in 2014) and well-liked Akeem Spence is expected back from injury in October. There’s also Will Gholston, who has the size to rush inside, and then there’s Bowers, who was signed to compete at defensive tackle, where he made two starts to Lovie’s satisfaction last year.

Joe suspects Lovie is thinking long and hard about giving Melton a shot at being a situational defensive end, if only to get all his best pass rushers on the field at once.

General manager Jason Licht, speaking to Joe on Saturday on WDAE-AM 620, made it clear that DE Jacquies Smith is quicker, mentally sharper, and thriving in his first full offseason with Tampa Bay.

Joe sure could see Melton, McDonald, McCoy and Smith coming after quarterbacks on passing downs. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.

11 Responses to “The Henry Melton X-File”

  1. Ray Rice Says:

    The Giants employed the same strategy during both their SB runs. They would have 4 DE’s in at times. It doesn’t hurt to try it out.

  2. JUNY Says:

    We are deep at DT for now which is good. It doesn’t hurt to have all 4 DTs at once. I think it was last year, the Cardinals had all 4 DTs lined up vs. the running game of Dallas. They did really good. It wont hurt to do it vs. Mariotta neither. With that all being said, How many Dline do we keep on the active roster?

  3. Nick Says:

    It would not shock me to see McCoy lining up wide on some 3rd downs either.

  4. Eric Says:

    Joe you should have served on the Warren Commission.

  5. Paul Says:

    Steve & Lee,

    Any word on George Johnson at DE, I have not heard his name mentioned once in reports, he had two days off for general soreness??? They seemed excited about the signing, but is he another ghost with the last name Johnson?

  6. Lord Cornelius Says:

    All good news to me imo. Depth/versatility typically a great thing. Could also game plan the d-line based upon the opponents O-line/blocking schemes/etc

  7. Supersam Says:

    Final front line will be McCoy, McDonald, Smith, Johnson, Melton, McDaniel, Gholston, Spence on IR. am I forgetting anyone?

  8. LakelandBuc Says:

    Will Gholston might not make the team, he haven’t show anything in camp. He gotta perform in preseason games, he’s a bubble player.

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    Having so much depth at DT is a nice “problem” to have considering that all of our DEs are largely unproven. It makes total sense to have Melton and perhaps even McCoy take some reps on the outside during camp and pre-season just in case Smith and/or Johnson are not able to get the edge pressure on the QB that is needed to make this defense work properly.
    Nothing wrong with options or contingency planning which is what Lovie is doing in this case. Lovie downplaying the situation to the media is likely because he hopes he doesn’t need to go to “plan B” in order to get the pressure needed.

  10. Louis Friend Says:

    Melton getting snaps at DE just means they’re still really unhappy with what DE’s they’ve got. After Johnson & Smith they’ve got nothing.

    It’s not a credit to Melton if they give him an extended look at DE. If anything, it’s a sign of how poor the depth is, and how little they think of the kids playing behind the starters.

  11. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    At camp on Friday, the DE and DT were doing stunts where the outside guy goes inside and the inside guy goes through the hole vacated by the DE. I hope to see some of those in games this year.