Where’s Our “Ike Hilliard?”

March 17th, 2016
A little Chucky flows through Dirk Koetter

A little Chucky flows through Dirk Koetter

There’s a little Chucky in new Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter.

That became obvious after the Bucs signed defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Brent Grimes to big contracts last week. Those two will have a combined age of 64 this season, and Koetter made a point of saying he’s just fine with older players.

There’s no such thing as a youth movement with Koetter. Joe has referenced this previously, but that type of thinking is very Chucky-like.

Chucky loved veterans, signed veterans and had little use for rookies unless they were extremely exceptional rookies.

The Custodian of Canton, eye-RAH Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune, noted this development, too, during an appearance on WHBO-AM 1040 this week.

Kaufman talked about how maybe Koetter’s Bucs will be successful finding older vets like Chucky did later in his Bucs career. Kaufman referenced Kevin Carter (2007 & 2008) and Ike Hilliard (2005-2008), the beloved slot receiver dubbed “Third-and-Ike,” one of the greatest nicknames in Bucs history.

Man, Joe would give up beer for a month if the Bucs found a guy like Hilliard.

Choke on this stat: Over his last two Bucs seasons, Hilliard caught 109 out of 144 balls thrown his way. That’s better than 75 percent. Dude was money.

With each passing day, Joe is getting more nervous about the Bucs’ depth at receiver. Soon, Joe will commission a faith healer for Louis Murphy.

38 Responses to “Where’s Our “Ike Hilliard?””

  1. Miko Says:

    3rd and Boldin…as in Anquan Boldin…

  2. biff barker Says:

    Ike Hilliard was a great Buccaneer, easily one of my all time favorites.

    That cat NEVER cut his pattern short of the down marker. A chain moving machine.

    Agree Joe. My gripe is if ASJ showed up and drew coverage like he should be doing, a guy like Humphries could possibly develop into a solid player in the slot.

  3. Patrickbucs Says:

    I really think we might draft a WR with the 9th overall pick. Maybe Treadwill will be available if some of the DE’s we cover are gone.

  4. Getaclue Says:

    We didn’t resign lansanah or carter. We have no sam so don’t be supersede if we take mays from ucla if he is on the board

  5. Getaclue Says:


  6. DallasBuc Says:

    Could do worse than Anquan Boldin. In fact, we have done worse consistently with our “special” first round WR talent that can’t catch.
    With the astute signing of Doug Martin I have a renewed sense of optimism in our former lapdog GM Jason Licht.
    Get some consistent receiver threat paired with Winston and an effective running game there is no telling how good this team can be.

  7. Louis Friend Says:

    I’m not sold on Humphries being the new Ike, I think they need to keep looking for that guy in the draft or snag him on the waiver wire if a crafty vet receiver is available. I like Humphries a lot, but I’m not sure the Bucs envision using him as a go-to guy.

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    3rd & Ike

    One Gruden’s best acquisitions. Fast forward to 2016, Anquan Boldin would be a solid signing.

  9. BucTrooper Says:

    I never understood why the Bucs never made a play for Boldin at ANY stage in his career. He’s an FSU guy. He was the Florida’s first “Mr. Basketball” and “Mr. Baseball” in the same year. He’s from BRADENTON! You would think the guy might have some interest in coming home.

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    Gruden ran McKay out of town – which was the turning point of the franchise – after McKay told him he wouldn’t sign a really really old and slow Andre Rison. Don’t forget too that Chucky ran Sapp and Lynch out of town so he could sign a bunch of 35+ year old linemen and an injured 30+ year old Charlie Garner. Also don’t forget even a nearly 40 year old Tim Brown played on the team. Gruden signed so many old and over the hill players once he ran McKay out of town he was sure to hit on one or two.

    In other words, Gruden and his stooge Allen were terrible when it came to personnel decisions, so saying anyone has a little bit of Gruden in them in this regard is not a positive.

  11. AC Says:

    @Getaclue i think you mean MYLES JACK not MAYS.. but i agree what a tandem of LBS we would have for years to come.. on top of that Jack is so athletic he can play multiple positions on Defense for us. I would welcome that pick with open arms

  12. The Buc Realist Says:

    Why is Joe trying to turn the “dunkaneers” into the “slowaneers”!!! How about some speed at the WR postion!!!! Even when you do not throw to a speedster it will open up underneath!!!

    Ike Hillard last 2 years combined -109 catches, 1146 yards, 0 touchdowns…….

  13. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    “Kaufman talked about how maybe Koetter’s Bucs will be successful finding older vets like Chucky did later in his Bucs career”

    Screw the vets Coach Gru signed later in the game – Just reflect on the vets he signed the 1st year alone.

    2002 – (RB) Michael Pittman

    2002 – (WR) Keenan McCardell
    2002 – (WR) Joe Jurevicius
    2002 – (TE) Ken Dilger
    2002 – (TE) Rickey Dudley

    Offensive Lineman
    2002 – (OT) Roman Oben
    2002 – (OG) Jason Whittle
    2002 – (C) John Wade
    2002 – (OG) Kerry Jenkins

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    “Screw the vets Coach Gru signed later in the game – Just reflect on the vets he signed the 1st year alone.”

    That was when Rich McKay was still running the front office. Skip to 2004 for the full offseason of Gruden being in charge, it’s a disaster.

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Rod Munch

    Coach Gruden, Muir & Mann recruited those vets.
    They needed VETS that could fit his system.

    McKay’s bad contracts put the organization in Cap purgatory – not Gruden.
    That’s why Gruden pushed for GM Dennis Allen aka the capologist” to come aboard. Dennis Allen did a remarkable job – in Oakland. After almost a decade of terrible, bloated contracts. Dennis Allen & Gruden turn Oakland into a contender.

  16. AC Says:

    @Realist i get your point about Ike and how he didn’t score but the guys main job was to move the chains not a red zone threat or anything like that. He was effective in his role if you ask me

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    LUVMYBUCS – Humm… I sort of remember this thing called winning when McKay was around… maybe that was just me.

    Anywho, McKay actually signed off on those contracts and didn’t let Gruden go full r-word like he would later do. The generic “cap mess” excuse for Gruden holds no water since he after he let Sapp walk and cut Lynch he used that money for what purpose? He signed Charlie Garner, a 32 year old injured RB and gave him what, $5-million (off the top of my head so perhaps I’m wrong). Then he signed a bunch of old washed up offensive linemen as well. The team got out of cap hell once it didn’t have any good players anymore that it didn’t need to resign. When you have HOFers at every level in the defense, plus Keyshawn, Alstott and others on offense, that’s a team that is going to have a hard time with the cap. However the way you don’t deal with the cap is have 2 of your best players walk and replace them with even older players who are on their last legs. That’s what Gruden did and that’s how he ran the team into the ground, him and his man-servant Bruce did just that. The success they did have came from Monte and what was left of the defense still being outstanding, but the supposive offensive genius Gruden did nothing in his entire time in Tampa other than ride Dungy’s coattails to the super bowl.

  18. Mike Johnson Says:

    Just hold on to what you got at Receiver Bucs!! Unless we find a speedster with some youth, I say to hell with these old receivers. Most of’em are just lookin for an..end of career sweet payday. If we can keep Bell and Humpries injury free for a while, I think they will develop into fine receivers.

  19. Calibucfan Says:

    Third and quan has a ring to it.

  20. AC Says:

    any WR still on the open market is NOT going to get a “sweet payday” they know they have to take what is being offered if they want to continue their career

  21. Pick6 Says:

    2 major differences:
    1) gruden made those old guys the centerpiece of his teams in TB and OAK. this offseason, the vets are stopgaps that give us flexibility in the draft. if we finally build a talented core, our veteran pickups will be pats-type complementary players who will put the team first

    2) koetter runs a system that even rookies could contribute in, while you had to have an NFL master’s degree to understand a playcall in Gruden’s offense. Gruden still my favorite head coach ever, but koetter’s track record of developing young players and getting big production out of them tops JG’s very weak record on that front.

  22. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Rod Munch

    Opinions & Facts two different things bruddah.

  23. Getaclue Says:

    Yes Myles Jack is what I ment , phone wanted to change it for me

  24. lowlife Says:

    Sterling Shepherd would fill that role rather nicely.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Luv – The facts are things you can actually look up, like the 2004 offseason.

    In 2004 Gruden/Allen let Sapp walk and cut Lynch, here’s what they did with that money. Big contracts for RB Charlie Garner, OL Todd Steussie, OL Derrick Deese. The 32-year-old Charlie Garner signed a reported $20-million contract with a $4-million signing bonus but only played 3 games before going on IR, he would never play again. Todd Steussie was often injured while Derrick Deese only played for the team for one year before retiring. They also signed Tim Brown that year.

    Getting out of salary cap hell because you don’t have any good players left to pay is hardly accomplishing anything. I mean what players did the Bucs lose under Gruden/Allen that they really wanted to keep but couldn’t because of the cap? The answer: None.

    Gruden threw around a lot of money signing washed up QBs, RBs, OL and WRs so he could finally prove he could win without Dungy’s team…. we’re still waiting.

  26. salish_seamonster Says:

    I think 3rd and Roddy doesn’t have the same ring, but could be similarly effective. We already have a 3rd and Adam on the roster.

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Rod- An oft forgotten part of the Gruden deal was that the Bucs gave up TWO 1st round picks AND TWO 2nd round picks. Now, go ahead and build a franchise without 2 years of 1st and 2nd rounders.
    Incidentally, how did Sapp do with Oakland?
    I agree about Lynch.
    Was Gruden perfect? No. Dungy? No.
    Just stop with the “Dungy’s team” mantra. Why can’t we give credit where credit is due?! Gruden won a Superbowl with the Bucs….PERIOD!!!

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    @Bucsfanman… huh? Sapp playing out of position in a 3-4 defense still went on to have a double digit sack year. You seriously think the best 4-3 NT in football, a HOFer that defined the position wasn’t very good? Wow. Don’t tell me, you think McCoy stinks as well.

    Anywho had not Gruden set out to dismantle Dungy’s team I don’t think he would compare so poorly. When Gruden came in he wasn’t allowed by the Glazers or McKay to touch the defensive side of the ball – it was basically the exact same defense which is one of the best defenses in the history of football. On Gruden’s side of the ball what did he do? He tried his hardest to bench Brad Johnson so he could play Rob Johnson, he basically took the ball out of the hands of Alstott so he could have Pittman run into the back of his blockers on every play, he constantly got into sideline feuds with Keyshawn and the offense dropped from 15th in the league to 18th in the league.

    Gruden, the so called offensive mastermind, dismantled the defense to build his offense so he could win with his guys. He ran off McKay after Rich wouldn’t sign every wash-up player that showed up at OneBucPlace and replaced him with his hand picked GM.

    So yes, Dungy’s team – Dungy’s defense is what won the Super Bowl. It was just their year, I don’t care if it was Gruden or Spurrier that year, so long as the defense was left to Monte they were winning the SB.

    As for the draft they lost what should have been two late 1st rounders and two late 2nd rounders over 3 years (not 2 years, no biggie) – and yes SB Championship teams can overcome that and still be competitive, look at the Pats. Of course the Pats are remarkable in the front office, but still do you think not having a 1st round pick for 2 years in a row would make them or many other dominant SB teams coming off a long run bottom feeders? Also Gruden and Allen’s drafting history is somehow even worse than their FA history. They got some bad luck, such as Caddy, but mostly they wasted their picks year in and year out.

    There is very much something to Dungy’s team vs Gruden’s team. I’ve been a fan since I was old enough to watch and understand the game in the mid-80s and I really appreciate what Dungy did, what he built. The turnaround the team, the community had under him, there is a reason he’s so beloved. However I also despise, and despised it at the time, the way Gruden just used it and then wasted it all away.

  29. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Ike Hilliard is the reason I want them to sign Roddy White. Put him in the slot.

  30. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    I believe Sapp had a 13 sack year in Oakland.

  31. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    @Rod Munch

    Actually, according to Warren Sapp, Monte was the reason he was cut.

  32. Kevin Says:

    Humphries ia clutch. Until I see him play a game and NOT get open and make catches I say start his lil azz in the slot. Even line him up in the backfield. Until.someone has a valud arguement that explains why humphries cant get open or doeant have good hands he better be in the roster this season. Dude is all heart!!!

  33. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @rod munch
    your memory is accurate and it is the reason the talent level is still down.Capologists are not GM’s.Who was the O lineman we got from the giants that came here with a bad back.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    Bonz – Unless there is more to the story all I ever heard Sapp say that was negative about Monte is that he blitzed too much. I never heard anything about him not wanting Sapp back. My memory of that time is the Bucs never even negotiated with Sapp since Gruden wanted cap space to sign a bunch of washed up offensive players. I think that memory is correct seeing as that’s what they did. They cut Lynch a week or two into free agency if memory serves, again to have cap space for players like Charlie Garner for $5mil and 35-year old offensive linemen that got $2-3mil a pop. Remember the salary cap isn’t what it is now. When you combine all the bad signings they vould have kept that defense together for another couple of years at least. That’s what you do when you’re on a roll. But Gruden needed to show mommy and daddy and everyone else he could win on offense. He couldn’t. The Bucs couldn’t. They made a ton of bad pickups, drafted even worse and now we are 13 years without a playoff win. Seriously go back to that SB team and tell them that was it, tell the fans that was it, I don’t think many would have thought so. The team was a veteran team but not old, they had salary cap issues but a loaded defense. You can’t do everything all the time and priority should have been to keep the D together no matter what.

  35. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m looking up stories to try to get the numbers on those 2004 signings and this says it all about Gruden as GM….

    “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday began the rebuilding of one of the NFL’s poorest offensive line units by signing versatile 12-year veteran Derrick Deese to a six-year contract.”

    They signed a 12-year player to a 6-year contract. $2.5mil signing bonus, $2.5/mil year avg. They also gave Todd Steussie a 6-year contract at the age of 31. $4-mil signing bonus. $3.2/mil year. Garner got the same deal, $4mil up front on a 6-year deal with around a $3.2-mil avg.

    It would be one thing if this was all hind site – but it wasn’t. Outside of your people that just hates Sapp, everyone else was pretty upset the team made no efforts to resign him. At Lynch getting cut there a public outcry.

    That is why the Gruden bashers exist – it’s well deserved on Jon’s behalf for tearing that defense apart so he could create an offense in the image of himself.

  36. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    @Rod Munch

    There is more to the story. For years, Sapp publicly hated Monte…loved Gruden, but hated Monte…to the point of avoiding him at functions.

    In an interview he said this:

    So who was responsible for you having to leave the Bucs?

    “It was all of them, but Monte (Kiffin) led the charge. He said, “We can do it without him.” Me and Monte had the rockiest relationship”

  37. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Rod- ” You seriously think the best 4-3 NT in football, a HOFer that defined the position wasn’t very good? Wow. Don’t tell me, you think McCoy stinks as well.”

    I didn’t say that. Put down the caffeine for a moment. Sapp had A (one) good year with Oakland. It doesn’t detract from his accomplishments, it’s just a fact.
    You clearly do not like Gruden and that’s your right. However, you cannot take away the fact that Coach Jon Gruden hoisted the Lombardi trophy for the Bucs.
    Get over it. It’s like 20 years later dude!

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    Bucsfanman – You’re incorrect on Gruden, it’s not that I don’t like him, I hated the guy and it was a well deserved hate based off the poor job he did once he had control of the team. Perhaps you don’t really clearly remember the 2002-2004 era, but Gruden dismantled what should have been a team with multiple rings because he wanted to win on offense. Again with one of the very top defenses in NFL history his ego got in the way and he dismantled it a piece at a time. When you do that and you fail to win you should be disliked. The guys ego drove it all – it’s the same reason he’ll never coach again and stay in that MNF booth until they kick him out, he needs to have the attention on him and if he can be on national TV every week instead of just regional broadcasts, rest assured he’ll be on national TV every week.

    Had he dismantled the defense and then built a championship offense then he’d have won with his team and he’d be awesome, but he didn’t. Dungy didn’t get into the HOF because of one ring in Indy – everyone knows it was his team that won a ring in Tampa as well. If getting a single ring gets you into the HOF when will Gruden go in? Hint: He obviously won’t ever even be brought up and if he was whoever brought him up would be laughed out of the room.

    Anywho I don’t get the Gruden worship, I honestly think it’s just casual fans that bought Chucky dolls on the discount rack or they’re just too young to understand what Dungy did and how Gruden ruined it.

    As for Sapp he played in Oakland with a large contract until he didn’t want to play anymore and retired, he wasn’t cut, he wasn’t chased off, nothing. If a team is carrying you on a large contract and you’re no good then they cut you – that didn’t happen. With that said I never understood why the Raiders signed him when they were just going to play him out of position, it was incredibly stupid on their behalf – and even with that Sapp still late in his career had a double digit sack year, that was in 2007. The Bucs last had a double digit sack guy in Rice, which was in 2005. Yes the Bucs made a huge mistake in letting him go, in cutting Lynch, in letting Gruden run off McKay, in not forcing Gruden to hire an OC, in letting Gruden whine about never having a QB then when he had the chance to take Rodgers he picked a RB. I actually don’t diss him too much on Rodgers – but can’t stand when he’s on MNF talking about “if” he had a QB in Tampa and the team never drafted one in the first round. YOU ran the team Gruden, stop blaming others.