Jack Del Rio: Robert Ayers Had Poor Work Ethic

March 24th, 2016
The former coach of new Bucs' DE Robert Ayers weighs in

The former coach of new Bucs’ DE Robert Ayers weighs in

Joe stays very busy at the NFL Owners Meetings, soaking up all sorts of knowledge related to the Bucs and the NFL.

Once upon a time, the Bucs’ new free agent defensive end, Robert Ayers, was a struggling talent in Denver.

When Ayers was signed by Tampa Bay two weeks ago, after a 9 1/2-sack season with the Giants last year, Ayers talked about how it was former Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio who revived his career.

Ayers said he was sort of lost after dealing with three defensive coordinators in three years before Del Rio arrived. Ayers’ stats were insignificant, and he was a floundering player who, per Ayers, was lacking maturity.

So on Tuesday, Joe talked to Del Rio, now the Raiders head coach, about how Ayers was grateful for his help.

Del Rio explained that Ayers was one of his prized pupils, in part, because he needed so much work.

“His work ethic needed to improve and I challenged him on it,” Del Rio said of Ayers. “He’s a bright guy and he’s got some God-given ability. And my challenge, at the time was, ‘You’re not working hard enough at your trade to be the kind of player we need you to be.’ And so he got better as the year went on. And then we talked about his role should be and where he was most natural, kind of identified that and talked to him about that and he embraced that fully. I full good about helping him along. … Part of what I take pride in as a coach is helping players that I touch, helping them play at a higher level and bringing out the best in them. So I wish him the very best.”

Ayers and Del Rio met in 2012. In 2013, Ayers had his best season to date, with 5.5 sacks. That got him a two-year, free-agent deal with the Giants, where he missed eight games over the past two years but notched 14.5 sacks in the 24 games he did play.

And now the Bucs have made 30-year-old Ayers a lottery winner for 2016.

Maybe Del Rio really turned Ayers around and his career is simply a late-blooming on. That’s what the Bucs are betting on.

14 Responses to “Jack Del Rio: Robert Ayers Had Poor Work Ethic”

  1. Joehelldeloxley Says:

    It happens, sometime you need a bit of help to put your life on the good path.

    I hope he will have a succesful time in Tampa.

  2. Dick Butkiss Says:

    JW makes everyone better. His work ethic will bleed through the rest of the team, including Ayers.

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

    I’ve always respected Jack Del rio from a distance. I’m telling folks right now my in the distance prediction is the Buccs are on collision course for Superbowl re-match with the Raiders. They are a AFC team I’m keeping an eye on. Behind Del rio and a tripplet core of Carr,Cooper and Mack my belief is they are going to have to be reckoned wit just like the Buccs here shortly.

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

    It’s a changing of the guard getting ready to occur in this league man. And I’m telling the Buccs and Raiders are two teams that will be at the forefront of it.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Great story Joe. I’m sure that lots of us have been in similar situations in our various professions where one person kinda takes us under their wing and shows us how to be a true professional, and in the process challenges us to become the best we can possibly be. In Robert Ayers case, not only did he benefit from Jack Del Rio’s mentoring, but now Ayers is in a position to ‘pass it on’ to some of the young DEs on the Bucs. A win-win situation for all. Good things ahead.

  6. William Walls Says:

    My biggest takeaway from this story is just how much damage can be done to a player’s development when they have poor continuity during their foundational years in the league.

  7. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Jack Del Rio is very good coach.and we have Koetter,Smith and Montgen from his coaching tree.Win,Win in my book

  8. 813bucboi Says:

    even though he’s 30 I hope he can avoid injury and continue to improve his play…GO BUCS!!!

  9. godzilla13 Says:

    Some Giant fans were saying about Ayers is that you could tell he was one of the ones that was playing really hard in the last several games, especially the last game when the Giants were out of it. Sounds like his poor work ethic is behind him? Ayers did miss eight games over the past two years but played at least 15 games in four of his first five seasons before coming to the Giants. Ayers missed essentially 6 weeks last year, thus almost all of his sacks coming in the final 8 games. That is a lot of sacks in a short period. His 94 pressures (15 sacks, 25 hits, and 54 hurries) on 602 pass rushes—is one of the most productive 4-3 defensive ends on a per snap basis over the past two years. My main concern is if you look at the number of defensive plays he was in over the past three years, he is a rotational player. We all know what has happened in the past when we sign rotational players in FA and make them full time starters. Lucky for us we have William Gholston, Howard Jones and George Johnson to split time with him.

    2013 Denver 44.8%, 505 of 1127 defensive plays

    2014 Giants 35.9%, 378 of 1052

    2015 Giants 49.3%, 570 of 1157

  10. Tom S. Says:

    If you watched the senior bowl coverage when Ayers played you saw a player who dominated the o-lineman which resulted in Mike Mayock saying during the draft that Ayers was his favorite defensive player and he thought in three years he would be the best defensive player drafted.

    That was before everyone realized Mayock wasn’t nearly as good as his reputation indicated but still telling. Ayers had the talent but not the work ethic as a young player, the lack of success motivated him and he became a pro. Here’s hoping the contract doesn’t distract him from the progress he made in NY.

  11. unbelievable Says:

    Let’s just hope he keeps that work ethic. Not like the slouch Johnsons

  12. cmurda Says:

    I hope so NOSBOS. I hope so my friend. I’ve been trying to remain confident that the Bucs are turning it around but I also find myself approaching Doubting Thomas status. I’ve been hoping for this to happen for about 10 years.

  13. Dave Says:

    I think it is a good signing, the more I read about it and read about him. The coaches they have now are just the type to get the most out of him and he seems to have matured. And leaders like Kwon and JW bring out the best in players too

  14. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    And Ayers responds to his fans tweets..just a nice guy..i even loved him with the giants ( who I do pull for at times)..