A Panthers Problem, Too.

February 8th, 2016
Competition is fierce for the Bucs has they look to move on from sackless George Johnson. Their second impotent Johnson in two season.

Competition is fierce for the Bucs has they look to move on from sackless George Johnson. Their second impotent Johnson in two season.

As the Bucs move on from their second impotent Johnson and turn their full attention to the crop of likely free agent defensive ends, they’ll discover the NFC champions have the same problem.

Pass rushing defensive ends are hard to find.

Yes, Joe watched the Super Bowl and saw 24-year-old, second-year Panthers’ DE Kony Ealy have the game of his life last night.

But consider ESPN Panthers beat writer David Newton’s instant look ahead after Carolina became NFL runner-up for the second time.

Where will the next pass-rushing end come from? Is it time to move on from Charles Johnson? The defensive end had only one sack during the regular season and missed seven games with a hamstring injury. He’ll be 30 in July and has a 2016 salary-cap figure of $15.020 million. The Panthers need to upgrade at end, where they haven’t had an elite pass-rusher since Greg Hardy in 2013. Jared Allen, 33, the NFL’s active sacks leader, isn’t the answer. He has a year left on his contract, but he’s only a situational player now. Kony Ealy has shown flashes but not the consistency Carolina needs. This will be a position that has to be addressed in free agency or the draft. Restructuring Johnson’s contract or letting him go might be the only way Carolina can keep Norman.

This defensive end problem is widespread. Tom Coughlin was on CNBC this morning talking about how he won two Super Bowls on the backs of a ferocious pass rush, arguably the game’s great commodity after a quarterback.

And guess what? The Falcons’ pass rush dreams were deflated last year when rookie Vic Beasley was invisible, and Adrian Clayborn was subpar. Cameron Jordan is alive and thriving for the Saints, but they have no other real threatening rusher.

Joe expects Jacquies Smith to return. Hell, the guy has been among the division’s best edge rushers over the past two seasons. William Gholston, 24, is another guy with a load of potential and he has flashed a little greatness. He’s a monster against the run and is improving (slowly) against the pass. Surely, the Bucs are hoping the new defensive line coach they fought for, Jay Hayes, can work magic with those young guys.

But just like nearly everyone else in the NFL, the Bucs need a beastly defensive end and/or at least another average starting defensive end.

Joe hopes Tampa Bay buys one in March and drafts one in April. That’s got to drive up the odds of finally filling the senseless hole created by letting Michael Bennett walk out the door for no good reason.

27 Responses to “A Panthers Problem, Too.”

  1. buccfan305 Says:

     letting Michael Bennett walk out the door for no good reason.

    The wound that wont heel……at least until we find a player who is at least in the same ball park as MB. I’m still sick…..

  2. Ray Rice Says:

    As I’ve been saying for the last couple months. VON MILLER PLEASE! At all costs. Give Elway an offer he can’t refuse.

  3. Joe Says:

    As I’ve been saying for the last couple months. VON MILLER PLEASE!

    Broncos already said he’s not going anywhere. If they can’t sign him, he will be franchise.

  4. HotRod Says:

    I would love to see them go after Mario Williams and JPP – Hopefully land one then draft (1st or 2nd round) another DE, gather them up and let it all shake out in the season. Its not like they have cap issues.

  5. Howard Cosell Says:

    A sackless Johnson can be castrating to a teams chances to win.

  6. Howard Cosell Says:

    That said George > Michael as far as effort with the Bucs.
    I think George wanted a sack but Michael really could have cared less if he ever got a sack when he was with the Bucs. Sackless Michael should really be indicted for fraud.

  7. Rrsrq Says:

    There will be a lot of competition for the few DE’s that are worth going after, Mr. Licht, Koetter, Smith, Hayes, GMC and Jameis, go get the job done, Glazers will pay cause they got the money and they upped tix prices, they are tired of this shameless defense, especially when you have seen what a real defense looks like up close.

  8. Lord Says:

    Mario Williams is our best chance just gotta hope we can sell him on playing here.

    My dream would be to sign Williams, Olivia Vernon, and trade back into teens and draft Noah Spence to develop behind them; with Vernon/Spence/Gholston/J Smith being the future

    Then draft or sign a speed shifty WR like Tyler Locket; a CB or 2, S or 2, OG, OT, and DT.

    Let the superbowls begin

  9. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    In total agreement with Lord..

    Still would love to see J Norman here though..though it might be impossible..

  10. tmaxcon Says:

    I would bet Mario goes to Philly with Schwartz it makes the most sense. Von Miller is not going anywhere just heard again on the radio broncos will franchise him if he does not sign. Given the bucs horrible history in drafting DE’s I sure hope Licht can break the curse and pick the right guy. I want spence. I do not want Oakman or Buckner they remind me of other failed projects that have been brought it. I guess the odds are the bucs will hit on a DE at least 1 every other decade or two in the draft. I don’t think any team has drafted a single position worse than the bucs have with DE…

  11. biff barker Says:

    Agree. Williams is the best hope. Not sure Smith would go for him if we’re going to play some 3-4 though.

  12. OneLove Says:

    From what I have heard so far, the DL is pretty stacked in this year’s draft. I don’t know if we have to necessarily go DE at #9. I still think we draft BPA and try to focus on bringing in talent and let our coaches COACH these guys up!!

  13. Mr. D Says:

    “Impotenet Johnson.” You make it sound like our defense just needs a pill. If our defense is solid for more than four hours we need to get the doc.

  14. tnew Says:

    One Love, the interior line is stacked. Outside pass rushers, not so much. Even a better reason to go BPA in the draft. Edge rushers are nearly as valuable as QB’s. Von Miller will be franchised, Wolfe has already been re upped, so why not Malik Jackson or Nick Fairley in the middle to help out. Then occasionally sneak McCoy out to the end with Gholston on the nose in a 3-4 look. Stand Smith up and drop LVD to the other Edge. Not saying every play but for an occasional wrinkle on 3rd downs.

  15. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I’ve seen a lot of posters bringing up the name of Noah Spence. And he is perhaps the most intriguing prospect in the draft. First of all Eastern Ky. is not exactly a powerhouse…but then Marpet came from Div III and most people believe Spence is the real deal.

    Walter Football has him going at 26th to the Seahawks. But they feel he has top ten talent..their take..

    Noah Spence would be a top-10 prospect if he had no character concerns. Spence didn’t help himself by bombing the Senior Bowl interviews, but some team may ultimately decide to pull the trigger on him late in the first round.

    And so do we take a flyer on a top ten prospect who is dropping. It’s the same question we have to ask about Robert Nkemdiche, who is also a major talent with some character concerns.

    I have not done the research into Spence’s issues…but if it’s something like weed I’m not concerned.

    Bottom line is there is talent out there to be had…Licht will do the due diligence and who knows who we’ll sign.

  16. MadMax Says:

    Spence is a very risky prospect. If he’s there in the bottom of the 2nd, maybe we move up for him? I dont know. If only he didnt have that sketchy history of drugs. But if he’s really kicked that addiction, he could be a diamond in the rough.

    Im still saying Ramsey (who wont be there at #9) or Billings. Especially if Smith tries to install a 3-4 D. Billings would be our Sylvester Williams/Vince Wilfork. Rotate him and Akeem Spence, sign Mario and Hardy, draft DE in the 2nd and we’re on our way.

  17. tmaxcon Says:


    I am confused you are willing to sign Hardy but Spence is too risky… interesting take….

  18. Capt. Tim Says:

    Every time you mention Michael Bennett or Darrelle Revis, Joe, Its like blindsiding me upside the head with a Sledge Hammer.

    Without making those two brain dead moves- we sure would be having different conversations about this team

    Dominant DE,DT, 2LBers, And top Cornerback in the League?
    Thats a playoff defense, just tweaking a few pieces.

    Instead of the desperate panic we are always in at Draft time, trying to Plug 10 holes with 7 rookies!!
    Gonna go throw up now . . .

  19. DB55 Says:


    He played for Ohio St but got caught taking extascy and got cut from the team. Then he went to eastern Kentucky.

    He must be a serious bad a$$ if Ohio St kicked him out.

  20. richbucsfan Says:

    The athletes of today have character issues. Pick your poison.

  21. tmaxcon Says:


    you can take it a step further… society has a character issue but now I sound like an old guy…

    In today’s nfl if you can not manager multiple personalities and character flaws you will never win. A team full of choirboys will finish last in every division every year bucs have proven that. It’s about putting systems in place to manager character not running off talented players because you are afraid of what might or might not happen. Teams with the best support system and strong leadership in the locker can handle a few sketchy guys see new england and seattle. bucs have been far to quick to pull the trigger on supposed bad character guys in my opinion. society is not perfect neither will your favorite team be perfect.

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Yet another Jason Licht Free Agent signing that he’ll get away with.

  23. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Thanks for that info…that explains a lot! He was good enough to play for OSU…but bad enough to end up in freaking Richmond Ky. I grew up in Northern Ky right across from Cinti. Eastern Ky was not a school many of us wished to attend.

    Drugs are hard to read. To me…hitting women is a “character” issue..smacking cabbies…brandishing heat in a nightclub argument..or shooting yourself in the leg..or being an accessory to murder…those are character issues.

    Drugs are an illness. So the question is has Spence gotten healed.

  24. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Von Miller would pretty much be the best thing to ever happen to the Bucs, but it’s pointless even having that conversation. He’s a Texas and Colorado guy. He’s a Bronco and John Elway is gnna pay him about a billion dollars.

  25. Bob in Valrico Says:

    So why not look for the next Von Miller type ie linebacker/de.There are problems no amount of support can correct,lookat Manziel. Being treated for
    ecstasy addiction is not the same as smoking pot but both can wreck a career or
    team.A ton of due diligence will be needed for this one.

  26. godzilla13 Says:

    “His ability to rush the passer, first-step quickness, dip and rip, the bend and balance that you see him turn the corner with, to me reminded me of the same thing I saw from Von Miller when he was at the Senior Bowl years ago,” Bucky Brooks NFL.com said. Former Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas also said “Noah Spence the next Von Miller. Literally they are very similar and I know both of them personally…

    He should be there at nine and there is no way Licht is going to pass on him. Follow Spence with a stud DT in the second round. I know there are a lot of people who like Clinton McDonald but ask yourself has McDonald ever taken a double team off of McCoy? I do not think we will be signing Mario Williams, Josh Norman or even Oliver Vernon for that matter. Licht is just not going to go after the big contracts in FA.

  27. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @ Godzilla Macdonalds primary job in Lovies defense was to be the run stopper
    but I have seen him produce quality sacks at critical times