Bucs Now Have A Rare Trio

March 18th, 2016
Jason Licht has what other GMs want

Jason Licht has what other GMs want

Go ask Sean Payton, or nearly every NFL general manager, about hard-to-find cogs on defense.

Very high on their list is finding a three-down linebacker. Multiple GMs talked about it at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.

Now the Bucs have three of those three-down linebackers, guys adept and covering and run-stuffing, following the signing of veteran Daryl Smith as a free agent last night. It’s a rare development.

Smith, though 34, is not some washed up scrub. Consider the following penned by Jamison Hensley of ESPN in November.

Signed by the Ravens in 2013, Smith had the inevitable job of replacing Lewis and his reserved demeanor couldn’t be much more different than that of the verbose 13-time Pro Bowl player. But you never hear about the Ravens missing the play of Lewis because Smith has filled in so admirably.

“Daryl Smith is the most underrated linebacker in football, without question,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I’ll stand on that all day long.”

On Sunday, Smith returns to Jacksonville, where he played nine seasons (2004-12). He remains the Jacksonville Jaguars’ all-time leading tackler, but Smith’s play is appreciated by more than just the Jaguars and Ravens.

“I think he’s one of those players where he should get way more attention, for sure,” linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. “But [opponents] do try to scheme him, so I think coaches and players know about him.”

Smith has had his struggles at different points in the season. He leads the Ravens with 10 missed tackles, and he isn’t as disruptive in the passing game (like dropping a Peyton Manning pass for what could’ve been a touchdown).

But it’s remarkable that Smith remains an every-down linebacker in his 12th NFL season. In that regard, he is very much like Lewis.

Joe thinks, as of right now, that Smith will see fewer snaps with the Bucs, with Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander being the preferred linebackers in nickel coverage. That could make Smith more effective overall.

20 Responses to “Bucs Now Have A Rare Trio”

  1. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    Is it April 28th yet??

  2. DallasBuc Says:

    I like it.

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    Now draft some DTs and DEs and go kick some NFC South A$$!!!!!!!!

  4. mike Says:

    If the old vet can stay healthy he may be the perfect fit to pair with kwon and David.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    I for one love what Jason Licht has done this year in free agency. Doug Martin re-signing was big. Grabbing JR Sweezy to replace Mankins was also a solid move.

    Licht’s additions on defense may be ‘old’ by some standards, but each one of our new FAs look to have a lot left in the tank. Ayers adds some excellent experience to our DLine and he can hopefully contribute 5-10 sacks and help mentor 1-2 new DEs we’ll pick up in the draft. Daryl Smith same thing when it comes to our relatively young LBs (and hopefully we draft another one). Brent Grimes same thing with our CBs. I’m glad that we signed Chris Conte and Josh Robinson, but not necessarily as a starters; more as quality depth.

    Overall, I think Licht has positioned us very well for this year’s draft. We now seem to have more latitude to focus on best player available (at least at a number of positions) as opposed to having to focus strictly on #1 need, #2 need, etc. Should be an interesting draft for the Bucs.

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

    This pirate ship is gradually gaining momentum.

  7. JTHV Says:


    There isn’t a need for a SAM LB to be much more than a run stuffer and occasionally cover the flats. When it comes to passing situations, he’s mostly on the sideline. So there’s basically no need to break the bank for one or draft a SAM anywhere near the top 3 rounds.

    Why invest heavily into a guy who plays less than 2 other LB’s?

  8. BigHogHaynes Says:

    A Trio of old-men, hope they make it thru training camp…….Zzzzzz

  9. Bucsfanman Says:

    I like this signing. Solid, very solid. Our LB corps should be pretty darn good.

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    In a hybrid scheme – If you can find a Strong side backer.

    That can..

    Seal the edge on running plays

    Give you some outside pass rush

    Cover the slot in nickel

    You’ve got one flexible defense (see the Mark Barron -Rams)

    That’s why I keep harping on drafting Su’a Craven in the 2nd round

    WLB Lavonte David | Jeremiah George
    MLB Kwon Alexander | Daryl Smith
    SLB Su’a Cravens | Josh Keyes

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    all of the signings are band aids except for sweezy…they all might not be with the team next year…GO BUCS!!!

  12. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    USC Safety/Linebacker Su’a Cravens Career Highlights ᴴᴰ

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    BigHogHaynes Says:
    March 18th, 2016 at 9:52 am
    A Trio of old-men, hope they make it thru training camp…….Zzzzzz

    Well obviously Trolls like you don’t have very good reading comprehension – or just glance at the headline and then spew some negative BS in the comments. I’m surprised you didn’t find a way to throw BACK-STABBER in there somehow – SMH.

    BTW – the “trio” in question consists of LD54, Kwon and Daryl Smith – only 1 of which could be considered “old”.

  14. CrustyCrab Says:

    Really Smith filled Ray Lewis shoes but he is signing with the Bucs this gets funnier every day. We got 2 corners talking crap about the ex head coach while the GM and new coach just signed 2 new corners and could be a 3rd if they sign Hargraves

  15. The bucfan 88 Says:

    Defense Rules I have been saying the same thing sense we signed ayers Jason is going after need in free agency and best player available in the draft that’s the exact same thing that billcheat dose

  16. Mike Johnson Says:

    These signings are quite a rare trio. They are all..very long in the tooth! And we all know, aging vets are the most susceptible to injuries. Hope we can get one good year out of each of them.

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    3-5 sacks. MAX.

  18. ClassyFreddyBlassy Says:

    I was very disappointed to hear my Ravens let Smith go. Great pick-up for this Bucs team. He’s a tackling machine and will be a great mentor for young guys like David and Alexander.

  19. OneBuc55 Says:

    The BuCs are the sleeping giants of the NFC South…

    This team has a lot of young talent; I love all of the moves we’ve made so far this off-season…we didn’t land any of the “big names” but imo we added solid/hard-working guys; not to mention, good locker room fits as well…It’s always good for a team to have a mixture of young guns & savvy vets…also, this has to be the best coaching staff assembled in Tampa in a long time, maybe ever…

    I expect Koetter/Jameis & Co. will have something to prove this season; If everyone just plays to their potential I believe we have enough talent on this team to (dare i say) dethrone those pesky Panthers…

  20. Bear the Bucs Says:

    Not so fast. Check the upcoming schedule. We are not playing the “Little sisters of the poor anymore.