July 22nd, 2016


So yesterday, Joe brought word that prickly Pete Prisco of CBS Sports thought Austin Seferian-Jenkins was the most overrated player on the Bucs.

Today, Prisco looks at the most underrated.

And this came as a shocker to Joe. It happens to be a guy who wasn’t even on the roster of the Bucs last year: defensive end Robert Ayers.

They signed him as a free agent from the Giants to help amp up their pass rush. Ayers doesn’t have the speed to be a blow-by-the-tackle pass rusher, but he can pressure the quarterback. He does a better job rushing inside in the nickel than he does on the outside. He’s a nice veteran addition to their roster.

Joe isn’t sure Ayers is the most underrated, but two things here:

First, Prisco has Joe’s mind whirling. Joe has greatly detailed that Ayers can rush better from the inside. And it has been no secret that the Bucs have been working out rookie pass rusher Noah Spence as an outside linebacker in a 34 defense (in addition to a defensive end in a 43 front).

Could it be that perhaps in a nickel package, Spence may just be used as an outside linebacker? We all know defensive coordinator Mike Smith is not wed to a specific defensive front. Spence could be working as an edge rusher from an outside linebacker position with Ayers veering inside in a 34 front on passing downs? This is very intriguing to Joe.

Second, Prisco never mentioned this, but Joe has heard raves about Ayers’ locker room presence, that he has all but taken over the “room,” as in the meeting room for defensive linemen and has gone above and beyond the call of duty working with young linemen.

It also sure seems Clinton McDonald has taken up more of a vocal presence, based on watching underwear football this spring; not much but some. Along with what Joe has heard about Ayers, it’s good that a couple of guys who have played in a Super Bowl are throwing their weight around.

11 Responses to ““Underrated””

  1. Pickgrin Says:

    Hopefully this “late bloomer” will have the best years of his career here in Tampa Bay. The talk of his strong and positive presence in the locker room is an encouraging start.

  2. Wombat Says:

    the fact that the defense could be intriguing is a huge upgrade!! I just want to see a defense where the TE just wanders across the middle and has someone on him. That has always been the achiles heel of this “tampa 2” style defense. Oh and maybe stop the slant pass….

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Any receiver over the middle is open….not just TE….the hole over the LB….it’s infuriating to see 5 defenders in the area with the receiver wide open.

    Let’s hope Ayers is underrated…..

  4. RachelWatson'sthong Says:

    Hope Geraldini can handle sharing the leadership role for the D line.
    I look forward to seeing the cohesiveness and success of an aggressive, well coached, well led defense! Sure haven’t seen that in a long time.

  5. K2 Says:

    It sounds like the Bucs D-Line is coming together. If they make the kind of improvement that the O-line made last year…that would be EXCITING!

  6. Buccfan37 Says:

    Go Bucs! Hope and Change! Where have I heard that before?

  7. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Let me tell you guys and the very few gals..

    If you’re not following Robert on Twitter, you should..he interacts with his fans, posts funny things and is just a super nice guy..

    I think he feels good coming to the Bucs, he’s taken Noah under his wing..loved watching him when he was with the Giants and Broncos..what a tough guy..

    Pure class..what a great signing..

  8. shouldhavedraftedefiert Says:

    Tiji Armstrong 2.0 but Tiji was much better.

  9. salish_seamonster Says:

    shouldhavedraftedefiert Says:
    July 22nd, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Tiji Armstrong 2.0 but Tiji was much better.


    I don’t know what you’re talking about, but the closest thing was the Bucs TE from 92-95 who never really did anything. I don’t know how that applies to this conversation. I remember Tyji Armstrong. People made a deal out of his name, for some reason. He didn’t do squat.


    Also, if your handle is shouldhavedraftedefiert, you should probably know that Eifert is spelled Eifert, not Efiert.

  10. Teacherman777 Says:

    Now just pull off a trade for Michael Bennett and we will have the sickest deepest D-line in the NFL. With many versatile inside/outside pass rushers.

    Pay Michael Bennet 15M a year for the next 3 years. The last years of his prime and Gerald’s.

    We gotta take advantage of Gerald’s prime before its too late!!

  11. salish_seamonster Says:

    That’s not gonna happen.