Defensive Line Depth

June 5th, 2016
In a contract year, can Will Gholston take advantage and blow up?

In a contract year, can Will Gholston take advantage and blow up?

Did the Bucs upgrade their defensive line this offseason? With two additions at end, Robert Ayers and Noah Spence, the answer is an unquestioned yes.

After a recent question to multimedia maven Scott Smith of, he looked at the depth on the defensive line.

[Noah] Spence and William Gholston, who was a starter for much of last year, are the second line of ends and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Gholston still get some starts. George Johnson, Howard Jones and Kourtnei Brown would figure heavily in the mix at end, and several of those guys will be asked to take some snaps inside, too. Akeem Spence is the primary backup behind McCoy and McDonald.

Gholston is a wild card here in a contract year. If he can get to, say, seven sacks (he had three last year), he is looking at a payday. If Gholston can get seven sacks, then this will be his last season with Tampa Bay. His contract expires after this season and if he can register seven sacks, he is looking at a sack-needy team waving at least $7 million per year under his nose in free agency.

However, the only reasons Gholston started 11 games last year was due to injuries along the line and sackless Houseplant Johnson being too weak to start, per Leslie Frazier. Seven sacks may be a stretch as a result. The depth is stronger now. But with a new coaching staff, who knows?

Joe would be very surprised if Houseplant Johnson sticks with the final-53, barring a rash of injuries.

24 Responses to “Defensive Line Depth”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    The D-line does have depth this year, But it is GMC93 and a bunch of depth!!! The question is do we have any “Starters” and not just a bunch of backups!!!!!

  2. scott Says:

    Gholtson working behind Ayers will be nice! Both are Outside/Inside rushers. Hopefully Gholston makes that next step

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    Dline has little depth. Too many guys with recent significant injury histories and of cource GMC will be hurt at some point this upcoming season but fear not he will be fine to play in the meaningless pro bowl. 93 wouldn’t want to miss any TV time. Akeem Spence, GMC, McDonald, Jac Smith all coming off injuries

  4. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Could William Gholston be this years Malik Jackson?

  5. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    I think that’s a unfair assessment for Gholston to have 7 sacks or he’s gone. I highly doubt that’s what the bucs are thinking. His main role on this team is to stop the run, Wich he does very well. And while I agree he needs to improve on his pass rushing game, I think 7 sacks is a good goal but I would say 5 sacks is more realistic. Because he isn’t gonna get alot of playing time on passing downs with J.Smith and N.Spence playing on the edge and Ayers on the inside with GMC. So are u gonna take out one of those guys for Gholston?? Not very often, if at all. But there’s always injurys so more Than likely he will get his shot as rushing the passer and hopefully he capitalizes on it because he could be pretty scary if he develops a pass rush, and with the addition of coach Hayes I don’t see why he couldnt. My goal for Gholston is 5 sacks. And I would certainly resign him because he’s a huge boost in the run game. And if He doesn’t provide a ton of sacks then he won’t command alot of money either, so either way I’m resigning him if im Licht, we can’t afford to let a guy like that walk at this point.

  6. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    3-4 Look
    LOLB) Noah Spence | Kourtnei Brown
    ————–(LILB) Kwon Alexander | Daryl Smith
    (LDE) Gerald McCoy | George Johnson
    (NT) Akeem Spence | Clinton McDonald
    (RDE) Robert Ayers | William Gholston
    ————— (RILB) Lavonte David | Jeremiah George | Josh Keyes
    (ROLB) Jacquies Smith | Howard Jones

  7. Fsuking Says:

    Hahahahaha. Gholston making 7 million dollars a year? Why don’t I just go ask my boss for a 6 million dollar raise because I was great on my quarterly report. Idk where you concocted this fallacy but there is nothing Gholston could do to make more than 3.5 million next year outside of a miracle. If he got 12 sacks, some super, super needy team might give him a 2 year deal worth 7 on the back end, maybe.

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Malik Jackson
    Position: DE/DT
    Height: 6-4 Weight: 284 lbs.
    Drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round (137th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.

    Career Stats
    TKLS: 108
    SACKS: 14.5


    William Gholston
    Position: DE/DT
    Height: 6-6 Weight: 281 lbs.
    Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 4th round (126th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.

    Career Stats
    TKLS: 88
    SACKS: 7.0

    Side Bar: Gholston has the strength and discipline to consistently set the edge – in run support. He versatile as exterior & interior pass rusher. He needs to improve his hand strength, speed, and placement. If he does look for a big year.

  9. Kevin Says:

    As much as I like the ayers signing to be a quality addition, and as much as I absolutley LOVE the Spence pick, I 100% say the best thing that happened to this line is the combination of getting Hayes here. Not sure how they did it, getting him to come here for the same position he held in Cinci for 13 seasons but its a god send. Pretty sure koetter knows he is doing Mime Smith a solid and smith is using this as a stepping stone to get back into a HC GIG. HAYES will be our future DC

  10. Kevin Says:

    Combination of getting hayes and getting rid of Lovie

  11. Buccfan37 Says:

    Finally a budding defense ready to blossom into a unit that actually stops the piling on of points by opponents. That’s to be expected. An end to being on the wrong side of blowouts.

  12. McBuc Says:

    @dem. Retread the article, if he gets seven sacks other teams will offer him the moon, his contract it up. It’s not an either or point Joe is making.

  13. Joe Says:


    No, no, no. Did not write Gholston is gone unless he has seven dacks. Wrote IF he gets seven sacks, someone other than Bucs is going to pay him a boatload of cash.

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

    To your point Realist!!!,and trust me I’m not comparing the two. But outside of the great Reggie White I can not think of the name of another D linemen on that superbowl winning Packers team.

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

    But what did they have. Elite QB play,a running game and Reggie was the catalyst of that defense. As far we’re concerned I say✔,✔and✔.

  16. The Buc Realist Says:


    Maybe because they ran a traditional 3-4 defense where there LB were outstanding, in 2003 they racked up over 20 sacks from the LB’s!!!!!!! Tony Bennett was the real deal back then!!!!!

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

    You sure about that 3/4 thing bro??? I’m not..

  18. salish_seamonster Says:

    The Houseplant has no chance outside of injuries to guys ahead of him. If Gholston and Spence are behind Ayers and Jacq Smith, then Howard Jones figures in next – he actually had some sack production, and then Kourtnei Brown who the coaching staff seems to think can play. I’ve heard nothing about The Houseplant. He’s no better than the 7th DE on the roster right now.

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

    You know salish no one seems to be mentioning Jaq Smith outside of Pete. I’m really interested in seeing how much Hayes can elevate his game. Between he Spawn on the edges we could really be nasty on obvious passing downs.

  20. Brent bull/buc Says:

    We need another dt. I’ve never seen kortnei brown do anything and George Johnson sucked maybe should be cut. I think we need to sign another dt soon. That said, I do think we’re better if we can get our main guys thru training camp. Problem is nfc is tough and our schedule got harder. Plus we have no speed at wr. Hey! We got a good place kicker!!

  21. BuccoDav Says:

    Is reading comprehension stressed at all in school anymore?

  22. salish_seamonster Says:

    Who needs reading comprehension when the world runs on 140 characters and emojis? Hahahaha 🙂

  23. bucfaninphoenix Says:

    Contract year, contract year, contract year! So tired of these players that are expected to play better or have higher expectations from them because it is a contract year. For the money these guys are making they should play balls out every season contract year or NO contract year. They should be held accountable every season to give max effort or shown the door.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    Brent bull/buc Says:

    We need another dt. I’ve never seen kortnei brown do anything and George Johnson sucked maybe should be cut. I think we need to sign another dt soon.

    Besides McCoy, Spence and McDonald, they just signed massive A.J. Francis, 6’5″, 330, a prototype 3/4 DT with experience.

    Neither Brown nor Johnson are DT’s.