Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 — No. 5

July 12th, 2016
(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

The Bucs have a pile of key question marks entering the 2016 season. Most teams do.

For this countdown series, Joe looks at this year’s top X-factors, guys with question marks who could be great difference-makers, positive or negative, based on changes in their performances.

Jacquies Smith – No. 5

Joe will keep this very simple: Smith has 13 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles in 27 games as a Buccaneers defensive end, after Jason Licht plucked him off the street in 2014.

That’s a playmaker. And that kind of production is no accident.

Smith, 26, has made 18 starts and shined often, but he has battled various injuries and had offseason shoulder surgery this year.

What an X-factor Smith is. If he stays healthy, Smith surely could be the Bucs’ first 10-sack guy since Simeon Rice in 2005. He’s proven the ability is there. Smith practically single-handedly beat the Saints in New Orleans last year.

However, nobody would be surprised if undrafted Smith faded away into the Bucs history books. The organization has a lot invested in rookie Noah Spence and free agent defensive end Robert Ayers, and Smith might struggle to see the field and find a rhythm. Also, Mike Smith might like the dimension manbeast Will Gholston brings at defensive end.

Joe’s not about to wager against Jacquies Smith. Again, the consistent production is legitimate and cannot be ignored.

Brent Grimes – No. 6

Jameis Winston – No. 7

Charles Sims – No. 8

J.R. Sweezy – No. 9

Gerald McCoy — No. 10


31 Responses to “Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 — No. 5”

  1. tmaxcon Says:

    I actually think Howard Jones is going to have a great year. I like Jac Smith just don’t believe he can be an every down guy. Great rotational guy but don’t believe he can hold up full time especially against the run.

  2. Bucsfaninchina Says:

    My #1 x-factor. Sure, the Bucs added two pass rushing talents to the position this off-season, but Jacquies has more than proven that he can play with the big boys. That week 2 game vs the Saints, holy sh*t. The Bucs need him to produce this year, and I am on board with you Joe that should he stick with the Bucs he will be oureleased double digit sacker.

    To the JBF community – Next year Smith will be a restricted free agent, while Will Ghoston will be a UFA. If it came down to Licht picking one of the two to stick around, who would you go with?

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think it will depend on what they do this year and how Mike Smith feels about them as a result.

    The price of getting in better talent is that the current roster has to go.

  4. tmaxcon Says:


    That’s easy choice you go with Will Ghoston he’s reliable Jac Smith has shown promise but he misses more games than he plays in. That’s unreliable. you take Will Ghoston everyday and twice on Sunday. Although he’s not a glamorous pass rusher he’s a top run stuffer who plays hard and is available week in and week out. Bucs are full of fragile players that always have the “IF HEALTHY ” label. GMC, Doug Martin, asj, Jac Smith, akeem Spence, Vincent Jackson the entire roster can’t be made up of what if’s

  5. CL Bucs Says:

    Hallelujah!! Joe finally heaped praise at J Smith! When this guy is healthy he is a playmaker!!

  6. K2 Says:

    I’m totally with you on this one Joe!

  7. unbelievable Says:

    Run stuffers are a dime a dozen. We need pass rushers.

    Look for Jac smith to have a break out year this season.

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    Jac Smith has been the best and most consistent pass rusher on the team since he started getting real playing time. Even when he was not getting a sack, he was usually getting some degree of pressure and pushing the play towards another Dlineman to make. Our entire line played better when Jacquies was on his game.

    If healthy, I would be surprised if Jac Smith does not win and retain the starting LDE position this year.

  9. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Let’s just hope if Jack Smith outplays Spence he doesn’t get “Bennetted”.

  10. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Great teams are forged with competition in training camp and during practice.

    I love the way things are lining up at most positions. ASJ may be talented but he clearly has Brate breathing down his neck. The OL is in flux but perhaps nowhere more than the DL will the competition be as fierce although the DB’s are not far behind.

    It’s great when a player with ASJ’s talent or Jac Smith’s talent has to work just to get on the field. Nothing is certain. That’s what makes teams really good. Lots of competition at lots of spots.

  11. feelthepewterpower Says:

    tmax beat me to the punch above in the first comment…I think Howard Jones may usurp Smith…..but that’s a good problem to have.

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Anyone see the story about Greg Schiano knowing about what was going on at Penn State? Pathetic all around for anyone who saw any of that and let it happen.

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    Last year we were lamenting no pass rush.

    This year we’re lamenting too many.

    Times have changed.

    I didn’t think the pass rush was that bad. I DID think the defense overall was that bad. It was frustrating to get a sack or pressure or QB knock-down, only to have the QB complete a long first down on the next play.

  14. Buccaneers Says:

    Jack Smith has been too much feast or famine. He has the talent to make splash plays and can be a game changer…..he loves to pry the ball out which is evolving into a skill.

    Problem is he disappears way too much. Great pass rushers get near the QB and affect his decision making for most of the game. Smith hasn’t shown to be at that level yet. I blame stamina and strength.

  15. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Health is going to be the key. Our D-line was beat up bad last year and is top heavy without great depth at DT.

    If someone told me that McCoy / McDonald / Smith were going to be healthy for 16 games this year I’d feel extremely optimistic about what the team would do.

    I’m really excited to see an attacking secondary though that jams WRs and backpedals and does normal NFL things.

  16. Bucsfanman Says:

    Imagine the possibilities! Smith has got the talent, that’s clear. He just simply cannot be an every-down DE. Make him a situational pass-rusher and rotate him.
    Adding talent to the secondary and LB corps will aid this group tremendously.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Speaking for Pablo

    “Pablo is glad to see the Hoes have picked Haquis Smith at numero cinco…..Pablo thinks that Hay Hayes will do a great hob with Haquis & Howard Hones”

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    give me big will….GO BUCS!!!!

  19. DefenseRules Says:

    Having some DEs who can pressure the QB … Nice problem to have for a change. Jack Smith is a nice complement to the others, but personally don’t see him as a starting DE. Would gladly change my mind if he could stay healthy for 16 games though.

  20. Ndog Says:

    If N Spence pans out can you imagine on 3rd and long Spence, Ayers, McCoy and Smith all coming after the qb! Then throw in some blitz action with those 4 plus Kwon, man that could be sweet!

  21. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    A playmaker that averages 1 sack every to games…?

  22. No_Bucs_Given Says:


  23. Cobraboy Says:

    I suspect Smith will be a 3rd down specialist, and Gholston gets most of the snaps. Ayers at RE, possibly moved to DT with Spence coming in at RDE in passing situations.

  24. Fred McNeil Says:

    To me, I cannot stand a porous run defence whatsoever.
    I hate bad pass defence too, but NOTHING sucks worse than ineptitude in the run defence.

  25. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’m ok with lotsa 7-6 games long as the defences are brutal.

  26. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    It all depends on who has the breakout year were looking for. If ILL Will can develop a pass rush under our new coaching staff the I’ll take him all day, he’s got the ability to be a str8 up beast in this league if he learns to get to the QB consistently. On the other hand I would hate to get rid of Smith as well. He’s been our best pass rusher the last couple seasons. Dont know that Licht will hand out big money for a situational pass rusher tho.

  27. Cobraboy Says:

    @Fred McNeil: agree 100%. There is no worse sick feeling that watching a team run the ball down your throat, knowing the defense cannot stop them.

    The ground game dictates everything else in football. Teams that can’t run, and teams that can’t stop the run consistently lose football games. Period. The rest is window dressing.

    Think Kitties the last few years.

  28. » Blog Archive » Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 – No. 4 - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] Kwon Alexander – No. 4 […]

  29. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    GMC is the best pass rusher on this team (barring this year’s picks). Name any other on the team with 9 sacks per year?

  30. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Cobraboy Says
    “There is no worse sick feeling that watching a team run the ball down your throat, knowing the defense cannot stop them.

    The ground game dictates everything else in football.”

    Once I would have agreed with that, but no longer. The NFL has changed too much. No, I think it is the pass that dictates everything else, including the run game.

  31. » Blog Archive » Top 10 Bucs X-Factors For 2016 – No. 2 - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] Jacquies Smith – No. 5 […]