Weight On Spence’s Shoulders

May 10th, 2016
Temper expectations from the rookie.

Temper expectations from the rookie.

If the Bucs had selected a second edge rusher in the draft — which Joe advocated for a variety of reasons — it might have helped out rookie defensive end Noah Spence.

As it stands, it seems there may be a whole lot of pressure on Spence, and that sure isn’t fair for a rookie, as rarely do rookie defensive ends rack up double-digit sacks.

However, Mike DiRocco of BSPN believes if somehow Spence can develop quickly enough, then he could be the final straw in guiding the defense from a sorry lot against the pass to fearsome.

Outside linebacker Noah Spence was arguably the best pass-rusher in the draft, and he slipped to the second round because of character concerns. The Bucs obviously felt confident enough in him to take him, and the gamble may pay off big time. Spence is a pure edge rusher, which the Bucs don’t have. They play six games per season against quarterbacks Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton, so getting pressure is vital if the defense is going to improve. If Spence is as good as many think he is, he’ll make a major impact.

Yes, this is too much pressure on a rookie who will begin the season not even as an every-down player.Oh, he will have pressure to make a major impact sooner or later. It is just unreasonable to expect a rookie to have 10 or more sacks.

If Spence does have 10 sacks, as DiRocco suggests, Joe agrees Spence would have a major impact. Given the quarterbacks the Bucs will face, just in the NFC South alone, making them eat dirt is vital. Just look what happened when Jacquies Smith hounded Drew Brees last year in New Orleans, which resulted in a Bucs win.

24 Responses to “Weight On Spence’s Shoulders”

  1. d-roca Says:

    Jacquies needs a few more games like that too. Poor boo drees couldnt toss a game of cornhole after those hits

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    The Bucs defense won’t live or die based on how well Noah Spence does this year. I can’t see where there’s any more pressure on Spence than there is on Robert Ayers or Will Gholston or Jack Smith or even George Johnson. Being a rookie (even as a 1st round pick), there’s probably less.

    In 2015, the ‘average’ NFL team ran about 1,000 plays in the regular season (Bucs were almost in the middle with 1,017). So even if Noah gets 10 sacks on the year, that’d be 1 for every 100 plays the opposing team runs … 1%. No question that sacks are important, but it’s what happens the other 99% of the time that I think is really critical to winning. Can the DEs contain the run? Can they disrupt plays? That to me is why guys like Will Gholston (and Michael Bennett) are so valuable.

  3. Kevin Says:

    We already have a double digit sack guy on the roster. Maybe two. Hayes has got this. I dont expect too much from spence in his first year

  4. The Buc Realist Says:

    Pressure???? only if you are comparing him to others in the league!!!! If you compare him to others on this Bucs roster then I am sure he will have no pressure and feel like the lead dog of the DE’s!!!!!!!!

  5. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:


    so your basically saying that stopping the run is basically just as, or more important than pressurized g the QB and getting sacks. Well the bucs have been one of the best teams in the league against the run and have arguably the best run stuffing DE in the Will Gholston. how far has that got us as being a good defense? Yes stopping the run is important but rushing the passers-by is far more important. This is a passion g league now, and If you can’t get any pressure on the QB u have no shot at winning, it’s as simple as that.

    No I do not think Spence will have a huge impact this year but is still a huge part of us being successful on defense. He and J.Smith will be relyed on heavily this year. We don’t necessarily need a bunch of sacks from Spence, we just need him to provide pressure on the QB. And introduce him to Cam Newton and Matt Ryan cause they will see plenty of him in the future. 😆

  6. Patrick in VA Says:

    If he can be part of a rotation with Ayers, Smith and Gholston this season while he’s learning the ropes then I’m sure he’ll develop just fine. Yes, it would be great if he’s a rookie phenom, but expecting him to be one just because we need him to be one is just silly. Which means that it’s exactly what Bucs fans will do.

  7. Dreambig Says:

    Spence is going to have to deliver and soon. I was going to post that the Bucs have plenty of talent on the d-line, but in looking at the current roster I am not so sure. I don’t know how much you can judge talent based on draft position of the players, but it has to be some sort of indicator. Out of 15 d-linemen on the team there are scarry few 1st or second day draft picks. Last year Gerald McCoy was the only d-lineman who was drafted before the 4th round. Based on draft position, it seems like you would have to be one hell of a coaching staff to get production out of this rag tag bunch.

    1st Round: 2 (McCoy, Ayers)
    2nd Round: 1 (Noah Spence)
    4th Round: 2 (Gholston, Akeem Spence)
    7th Round: 2 (C. McDonald, C.Matthews)
    Undrafted: 8 including Jaq. Smith and George Johnson

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

    Agree with all above poster’s Spawn will be handled properly no pressure to come in and immediately be the man. When he looks up and see faces of David,Kwon,Grimes,GMC aint really no rookie pressue.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:


    it has no bearing!!! Just look at the Bucs 2011 D-line!!!!!!!!

    1st Round: 2 (McCoy, Slowborn)
    2nd Round: 2 ( Price, Bowers)
    3rd Round: 1 (Roy Miller)

    Free agent Micheal Bennett, albert Haynsworth, George Johnson,Daniel Te’o-Nesheim

  10. Dreambig Says:

    To further illustrate my point above here is how the top 10 sack leaders broke out by draft position:
    # of 1st round picks in top 10: 6
    # of 2nd round picks in top 10: 2
    # of 3rd round picks in top 10: 0
    # of 4th round picks in top 10: 1
    # of UnDrafted FAs in top 10: 1

    Not brain surgery, but elite talent on the dline comes from day 1 or 2 draft picks. The rest are just average players, and that is what makes up most of our Dline.

  11. Dreambig Says:

    Realist – I think it does have bearing, being a early draft pick is not a guarantee, but looking at the top performers in the league, they are mostly made up of the top draft picks. That is not always the case but in general (Micheal Bennett was #10 in sacks last year and he is the UDFA listed above).

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    The pressure for him to perform comes from fan expectations. Year in and year out we hitch our wagon to the one guy that’s going to change the culture. As we know, it doesn’t work that way.
    For me, it’s less about the individual achievement and more about the defense as a whole. That’s where the pressure lies.
    If Spence can contribute, and the defense is improved, I’ll be happy.

  13. ATrain Says:

    The Pressure should be on the 100 million dollar man.. MCCOY..

    Is he going to be a Leader for this line.. Is he going to bring them together..

    I remember last year the O-Line was doing extra running for missed blocks together.. Mankins stepped up as a leader and they played much better.


  14. ChessMaster Says:

    The title scared me that he hurt his shoulder! wheeew….

  15. Patrick in VA Says:

    I think ATrain nailed it. There’s no reason for a second round rookie to feel the weight of the line’s success or failures. It should be the #3 overall pick who has been given a truck load of money since he’s been here. Spence just needs to figure out how he can do the best he can while learning how to play in this league.

  16. Rrsrq Says:

    Spence may not get ten, but maybe he helps GMC get to ten, I think the slime will improve under Hayes, more pressure and a platoon of guys with 5- 8 sacks
    Will Gholston,
    Jack Smith
    Howard Jones
    Robert Ayers
    Noah Spence
    Bringing constant pressure, sacks and (warming Lovie’s heart), causing turnovers

  17. The Buc Realist Says:

    The real question (and most improvement) is how many Sacks will LVD54, AK58, and VH328 will get!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    @bigdream and@atrain…i agree…we differently need to increase the talent level along the dline but the person that should feel the most pressure is gmc….we got him help with the signing of ayers and drafting vhg and spence….he has the help…now its time for him to produce…he’s also feeling the pressure because his time as the face of the franchise is over…that now belongs to Winston, evans, kwon, and vhg….these are the new faces and corner stone of the franchise and if he cant get it done this year or next, licht has a decision to make….GO BUCS!!!

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    Not to belabor the point, but, it’s not on one player. The D has to improve as a whole. There are 11 guys on defense, and if we’re going by last year, ALL of them need improvement.
    I think this will be fun to watch.

  20. CL Bucs Says:

    Am I the only one around here that takes note of how good J Smith is when he’s playing healthy??? If he can avoid injury he can be our 10 sack guy

  21. Spacebuc Says:

    Nope, me too CL.
    I am of the clan who believes that Lovies messed up schemes and lack of direction stopped Jacques and Will Ghoulston from reaching their full potential.
    Didn’t think DE was as pressing a need as hard nosed DBs.
    Lets see what Coach Mike can do with these boys this season!

  22. salish_seamonster Says:

    Prediction. If Spence doesn’t have a sack by week three, hordes of JBF commenters will already be calling him a bust. If for no other reason than to avoid that travesty, I hope Spence notches one in week 1 or 2.

  23. Kevin Says:

    Being we will be playing press coverage a lot more, our d line will have more time to get to the qb than they EVER have had playing for this team. They are not as bad as they have looked. Its been all bad coaching period.

  24. godzilla13 Says:

    I agree with a lot of what is being said. Dreambig Says has a valid point that we need to draft some more first or second round DT/NT/DE. What do you think the Panthers have been doing? GMC should tear it up on passing downs with Robert Ayers inside and Jacquies Smith/William Gholston and Noah Spence on the outside. Who had the second most QB hurries on the defensive line last year? This years breakout player William Gholston. Lovie and his staff did hold players back and you just wait and see what Mike Smith, Jay Hayes, Jon Hoke and Brett Maxie are going to do this year. The DL was not that bad last year with 38 sacks (14th) and 91 (22) QB hurries. No pressure on Noah Spence. He is our Von Miller. He is going to shine this year. The problems on our defense last year were injuries and the secondary. Our CB’s are going to kick a$$.