Bucs Have The Popular Priority

January 26th, 2016
GM Jason Licht has lots of company

GM Jason Licht has lots of company

It’s ironic that the guy who pulled Dwight Freeney off the street in October, a potential Hall of Fame defensive end who recorded eight sacks in 11 games this season, is aching publicly for a pass rush.

Joe’s talking about Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, one of the masters of his craft and a former mentor of Bucs general manager Jason Licht. ProFootballTalk.com wrote a piece yesterday quoting Keim on an Arizona sports radio station stating his top offseason priority was to “create a pass rush.”

Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Tampa Bay has been belting out that tune for 10 years.

You’ll hear the same song in Atlanta this offseason, and with the Giants, among others. Even Ron Rivera openly talked about his troubles at defensive end earlier this year.

It’s what happens when your drafted defensive ends are flawed, and your offseason Johnson is sackless and flaccid. (See Michael and George.) Expecting miracles from a good player like Jacquies Smith isn’t fair, and it isn’t going to work.

Joe knows loads of Bucs fans are pining for Tampa Bay to draft at least a pair of defensive ends in April. That’s very nice, but you still have to pick the right guy, and he has to be available. That ain’t easy.

Remember Joe’s chat this month with Packers yoda and legendary draft genie Ted Thompson.

Hell, even Thompson, who shuns free agency like no other general manager, broke his own rule and signed Julius Peppers on the open market in 2014.

Joe just hopes the Bucs don’t reach for a defensive end. Joe would rather have more offensive power or a can’t-miss safety prospect than swinging at a bad pitch. That’s no way to hit another grand slam.

21 Responses to “Bucs Have The Popular Priority”

  1. CalBucsFan Says:

    Now worries Joe, when it comes to the draft, in Licht I trust.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree 100% Joe. Bucs still have so many bonafide needs that they don’t need to be ‘reaching for a defensive end’ in the 1st (or even 2nd) round if one’s not there. But hopefully one is because that’s still our #1 need from what I saw this season. But our need for an elite CB is certainly a very close 2nd, and a starting safety would be right in that mix.

    It’s great that the Bucs have buckets of money to spend in FA, but I’m seeing very few elite players coming available, and there’ll be 31 other teams after them. Does look like some good possibilities in FA though to bolster our OLine plus pick up some quality depth at various positions.

  3. CalBucsFan Says:

    I meant no worries Joe…

  4. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Expecting miracles from a good player like Jacquies Smith isn’t fair, and it isn’t going to work.

    It may not work but it’s certainly fair!!! I’m most concerned about his health…his ability to stay on the field. But his production has been as good as Greg Hardy’s first two years..in fact Hardy had 7 sacks his first two years before blowing up in his 3rd with 11…Smith had 7 just this year alone and has 11 for his first two.

    Injuries are the biggest question in my mind for Smith. If he had played two full seasons instead of 12 this year his numbers would be even better.

    Sometimes it takes awhile for guys to figure out the league. And in fact if you take the number of games started for Smith…11 this year..and project his 7 sacks out to a complete season…if he had just stayed healthy and held his normal production Smith would have had 10.2.

    Am I saying Smith is the answer? Perhaps not but he’s somebody we should expect to give us ten sacks next year. Add Mario Williams and this DL could become very, very good!!! Mix in some blitzes from Kwon and LVD for another 10-15 sacks and all of the sudden opposing QB’s have a LOT to consider!

  5. pick6 Says:

    one of the few things schiano got right is you can’t just stand around and pray for the right DE to walk through the door (the fact that he did and walked right back out is another post for another time), especialy when the league has started to value good CBs less. we have 2 dangerous pass rushers that Lovie was often afraid to use – lavonte and kwon – because his philosophy prevented him from putting that sort of trust on his corners. we may be better off, at least until we have a proven stud at DE, attacking the less overheated market at CB and planning to do a little more blitzing to help your interior DL out.

  6. Rrsrq Says:

    Draft a DE, go after Olivier Vernon (Dolphins can’t keep him, that got too much invested in that line already), you still got Jack, and in certain formations, GMC and the personal foul guy (Gholston). I like Super Mario but I like the idea of building that side with some young guns.

  7. deemag Says:

    Emmanuel Ogbah!!!! draft him Simon Rice clone.

  8. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Licht has a history of doing a lot of research on guys he likes. If there are a couple DEs that licht likes you better bet he will do some digging. And come draft day he will do whatever it takes to select them. He has traded up more than any other GM during his tenure. And he has been successful doing it.

    The problem with selecting “best player available”, is that means you didnt do extensive research of your pick. He was just the next name on a piece of paper. Whereas if you fall in love with a player, then you should do whatever you can to select them.

    Im a big fan of trading up early in the draft. Sacrifice the later rounds to get more top end talent.

  9. Rob Says:

    Please draft Laquon Treadwell

  10. buckkid Says:

    Is it possible that we never draft defense bc Licht knew Lovies scheme was garbage?

  11. jvato24 Says:

    Ohbah is far from a Simeon Rice clone, Power is a big element of his game, Simeon was the praying mantis

  12. deemag Says:

    @jvato Go look at the tape you will see.

  13. DB55 Says:

    Laquon Treadwell, thank you n good night.

  14. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “Joe just hopes the Bucs don’t reach for a defensive end.”

    You thought Ali Marpet was a reach when they took him…so maybe “reaching” is a myth.

  15. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    No way they don’t give Mike Smith the tools to succeed…and it won’t be through free agency. The first pick and probably the second pick will both be defense.

    They might go after WR in free agency though.

  16. LargoBuc Says:


  17. biff barker Says:

    Pick6, spot on observation.

    Using our missiles, (eeh gad, players strengths?) is exactly why I want Mike Smith to mix up our looks. Even if you aren’t blitzing, you can still force the QB to think twice and maybe audible out of an effective play.

    Throw in some man press and jamming at the LOS too. I think our D roster is better than most believe.

  18. Mike Johnson Says:

    I say if a potentially good DE that we want is not available at 9? Trade down if possible and maybe getting 2 for 1. Heaven knows I’ve been preaching for our Bucs to get a Defense. Hell, if we even came close to our superbowl Defense, I would be satisfied. New Defensive coach or not, Smith had better convinced Koetter to go big on D. If you can’t stop anybody at crucial points during the game, In this league you’re gonna lose. Its that simple. I don’t care how many Jameis’s you have. You’d better have a good Defense.

  19. ChessMaster Says:

    I said after 2015 draft we were still 2-3 drafts away, but 3 from each draft become starters.

  20. godzilla13 Says:

    DE is just one of four positions which need to be filled. The only DE worthy of the ninth pick is Joey Bosa and that is not going to happen. Jason Licht has a ton of greenbacks and needs to lure the talented FA’s with cash. We need four (*five if possible) high end FA to turn this team around.

    2016 NFL Free Agents

    1) DE Olivier Vernon (25) Dolphins
    2) CB Patrick Robinson (28) Chargers
    3) FS Rodney McLeod (26) Rams
    4) WR Rishard Matthews (26) Dolphins
    5) TE Dwayne Allen (26) Colts

    2016 NFL Draft

    1) DE Andrew Billings Baylor
    2) DE Kevin Dodd Clemson
    3) SS Vonn Bell Ohio St (trade up)
    4) CB Rashard Robinson LSU
    5) K Roberto Aguayo Florida State

  21. Danati74 Says:

    Also should we get a comp pick this year for Adrian Slowborne?