Fresh Eyes Versus Failed Eyes

February 13th, 2016
Former starting defensive end George Johnson

Former starting defensive end George Johnson

Bucs overlord of football operations Jason Licht has a reputation for deeply involving coaches in scouting.

Dirk Koetter noted this on the day he was introduced as head coach. In a chat away from the cameras, Koetter shared with media how much he appreciated, as offensive coordinator, that Licht was so inclusive of him in the draft and personnel process.

That doesn’t mean Licht lets coaches call the shots, just that he’s eagerly open to feedback drawn from his coaches’ decades of experience.

But Joe believes that two-way street can come with potholes — for coaches.

Take the case of sackless Bucs defensive end George Johnson.

The story behind Johnson’s signing was that former defensive line coach Joe Cullen fell in love with him while studying film of offensive lines that would eventually face the Bucs. Cullen said he kept seeing Johnson jump off the screen

The Bucs tried to sign Johnson as a restricted free agent from the Lions last year. The paperwork (for some reason) was contested, and Tampa Bay had to cough up a late-round draft pick to bring in Johnson for about a $3 million salary in 2015.

Johnson was inserted in the Bucs’ starting lineup, and by October 2015, Johnson was benched and Leslie Frazier publicly questioned his conditioning.

Did Cullen, who has a strong reputation, get fired because he whiffed so badly on Johnson? No, but it is something to consider.

With new defensive line coach Jay Hayes, a guy with a loftier reputation and resumé, the Bucs have a fresh set of eyes that can also help them win in March and April, not just in the fall.

24 Responses to “Fresh Eyes Versus Failed Eyes”

  1. DallasBuc Says:

    Yet another FA disaster in the Lovie Smith era. Better hope that signing was an order by incompetent Lovie Smith and not a product lapdog Licht’s stellar talent evaluation.

  2. SteveK Says:

    The Tampa 2 mafia needs to open their eyes. Much like the Freemanites, the Tampa 2 Mafia refuses to accept that Lovie’s defense was toast. Adding insult to injury, is the amount of Lovie guys that were signed to the roster.

    I am looking forward to the 2016 season. I agree with The Buc Realist, that there are a lot of Tampa 2 mafia members that are already half cocked, and waiting to spew their hatred on the Bucs.

    I ask any card carrying Tampa Two mafia member how they can defend Lovie getting a 3rd year when the Tampa Bay Defense was its worst in the past 20 years under him. Our ex-HC got allowed 70%+ completion for opposing QBs.

    Anyone in the Tampa 2 Mafia clearly did not watch the games under Lovie’s watch.

  3. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Lovie’s final season was a bookend of embarrassments!

    That first game against Tennessee was simply amazing. I can’t remember seeing a team as poorly prepared as the Bucs. They let a kid with a spread offense background playing his first game in an NFL offense just b slap us at will. Unlike some here I have respect for MM but not that much respect.

    It might have been different if MM whipped us with athletic ability..scrambling and weaving through our defense with his running talent…but he never needed to do that. Just bombs away!

    Then the final four game collapse was almost as bad…the final game was humiliating as well, the only solace we could take is instead of a horrid team like the Titans at least we were whipped by a SB participant.

    So we started our season and ended it the same way…first against a truly horrible team and at the end a team that will surely be our major division rival for the next few years at least.

    It’s not just that we lost…we were never in those games…it was humilation not simple defeat.

  4. pick6 Says:

    for all the talk of what a great coach cullen is, i’m not sure he’s ever coached a winner…millen era lions, then the jags 2010-2012, followed by 2 train wreck seasons for the bucs. obviously alot of other things go into wins and losses beyond d line coaching, but it certainly can’t help his players that he hasn’t seen the right side of .500 in over a decade

  5. godzilla13 Says:

    I doubt Joe Cullen was let go due to George Johnsons lack of production. It was more about the availability of Jay Hayes more than anything else. I can’t wait to see what Mike Smith and Hayes have planned for this year? One of the areas to look for major improvement is with players conditioning. Hayes is known to get the most out of guys, forcing the players to play hard, every snap, like each and every play could be the most important play of the game. Hayes employs a strategy that, when at full strength, rotates seven to eight linemen in a game. He wants to get after people and not let them find room to breathe. I still am concerned with our secondary. I keep hearing the problems were based mostly with the coaches and scheme. The 70%+ completion rate for opposing QBs has got to have something to do with the players? We need more talent in the secondary, not just new coaches.

  6. Maccam Says:

    I think Licht seems to be good at processing info from all angles.Hopefully now that he is the one in charge the new talent brought in will actually be, you know, talented.

  7. Aristotle Says:

    I don’t trust our GM with free agents, Both Johnsons were clearly hated by most fans, most of his picks were bad, with the exception of Clinton McDonald, no more dumb pick ups!!! Let’s get proven talent not one hit wonders.

  8. Supersam Says:

    At what point do you stop and say, ok it’s not all these players were bringing in that keep failing, it’s the damn coaching!

  9. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I’m glad Jason Licht now has complete freedom leading the 53 man roster and scouting. Lovie was in the way because he had way to much control in football operations. It never seemed that Licht was fully on board with the signings of Mike Jenkins, conte, Major wright and George Johnson. Those are Lovie players not Jason Licht players.

  10. Dave Says:

    Rock of you near sighted idiots that think the Tampa 2 is not viable.
    It is about
    1: talent
    2: execution
    3: game plan
    : scheme

    The Tampa 2 is used A LOT around the league. No one is saying it needs to be used exclusively or even 40% of the time.
    Any good coach will use a lot of different schemes – see Wade Phillips and NE among others.

    This is not defending Lovie. I’m defending the Tampa 2. It works ehen used right (see Panthers and Seahawks).

    Hell, blitzing an LB or CB is great but do it every down and you’ll get burned.

  11. JonBuc Says:

    Licht has been given a mulligan and been pretty teflon these last two years…with Limp Lovie taking the fall ( deserved and thank God ). This year will be interesting to see how he does with both free agency and the draft.

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    DallasBuc …did you even read the article?

    “The story behind Johnson’s signing was that former defensive line coach Joe Cullen fell in love with him while studying film of offensive lines that would eventually face the Bucs. Cullen said he kept seeing Johnson jump off the screen.”

  13. biff barker Says:

    Dave is spot on.

    The Cover2 morphed into the Tampa2, T2.0 Rah, stc.

    Now it’s just another back 7 formation in the playbook for some teams.

    Some great D’s can run it as a base. Carolina, Seattle, a little bit in Dallas too. No expert on whom else is so feel free to call me out on this.

  14. biff barker Says:

    Ah, Dave, to your point, some guys can make the T2 work and some guys cant.

  15. Brett Says:

    I am so glad Lovie is gone and Licht is still here, but you have to blame the giving up a late round pick to sign him on Licht. that was clearly a move to be cheap (maybe in the name of Glazer,) but it backfired.

    Who wanted him is another story. Cullen and Lovie wanting him is plausible.

    But wow, I never heard of anyone with the salary cap room the Bucs have making such a lowball offer it allowed the deal to be challenged and then thinking he was so important they gave up a draft pick.

  16. Duke Says:

    @ Biff

    For some reason there’s a claim that the Seahawks play from a Tampa 2 base.
    They don’t! They didn’t last year or the previous 2 years. FYI, Seattle plays in a base secondary cover 3 scheme. They don’t conceal it or vary away from it often. It’s not that the scheme it’s how and who.

    Biff you’re right with the other teams and all teams have a cover 2 scheme. But it’s not that simple. There’s many variations in a single cover call. Lots of moving parts. Point is, cover 2 is used in the league by all teams. When, where and how is the variable.

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Did anyone here NOT see Johnson coming in as a bad signing when it happened?

  18. DallasBuc Says:

    87-yes, obviously. Did you read my comment?

  19. DallasBuc Says:

    Bonzai- once again, I was the lone howl in the night
    You’re welcome.

  20. BigHogHaynes Says:

    What are you people talking about, you dump all over LOVIE but the GM gets a pass, a mulligan, he been teflon, his job title the last two years have been GM OF THE BUCS, but he’s still here!! THE BACK-STABBER CONSPIRACY RUNS DEEP!!

  21. 1sparkybuc Says:

    It’s really pretty simple….. When a HC sucks at being the team’s DC, he can’t keep his job as either. The offense held up their end of the bargain, at least enough to have a winning season. The D did not I applaud the Glazers and our GM for eliminating the obvious problem and not allowing it to drag out for years to come. When a mediocre defense would be a huge upgrade, there has to be a drastic change. I am excited to see that change.

  22. Dean Says:

    The thing that scares the crap out of me is….remember the giant disaster with the first Johnson, out of where else? Cincinnati. Not only did we steal him from Jay Hayes, but after our multi-million dollar disaster and cutting Johnson, Hayes immediately signed him right back to the Bungles.
    Kinda scary, isn’t it?

  23. LargoBuc Says:

    Dallas Buc, it dosent count, because you have called every move a “bad” move. Keep patting yourself on the back tho, cause no one else will.

  24. Howard Cosell Says:

    Don’t know it’s been pointed out yet, but Hayed worked miracles with an even more impotent Johnson in Cincinnati. Howard wouldn’t be surprised to see George grow his sack numbers under Hayes.