Working In Spence

July 23rd, 2016
How to get him on the field.

How to get him on the field.

Generally, second-round picks are not meant to ride the pine.

This is particularly true when said player plays a position that is one of the biggest holes on the team. So it is no surprise that Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith has burned the midnight oil finding ways to get pass rusher Noah Spence not just on the field, but rushing the quarterback.

Woody Cummings of tackled the subject.

… [T]he answer here may depend greatly on how other players work out, specifically defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. McDonald is slated to start at the nose again after missing the second half of last season with a torn pectoral muscle. If McDonald returns to form the Bucs will likely keep Robert Ayers at defensive end and use Spence as a situational specialist. If not, Ayers could quickly be moved inside to work alongside Gerald McCoy. That would create an opportunity for Spence to take over as the every-down starter at right end, but its unlikely Spence will be used solely at the end spot. Though Bucs GM Jason Licht has said he has no intentions of using Spence as an outside rush linebacker, defensive coordinator Mike Smith seems to have different plans. He often did during offseason workouts anyway, so he probably will once the games start to matter, too.

This is where it gets fun. Like Cummings, Joe noticed Spence lined up at outside linebacker in a 34 front. Even linebackers coach Mark Duffner wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Spence playing outside linebacker.

Some suggest Ayers is a better pass rusher inside. Might Ayers line up as a tackle on passing downs with Spence as the right defensive end? Or will it be a 34 front with Ayers playing end, basically an inside position, and Spence lining up at linebacker?

This is all very cool food for thought.

Feel free to break out the chessboards.

20 Responses to “Working In Spence”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    I do expect to see Ayers at DT!!! CM98 has been injured every year he has been with the Bucs, In fact he has never played a 16 game season!!!! How some say that DT is a strength while we all talk about DE’s filling in at DT makes no sense!!!!

    Maybe Safeties can be a strength too if we start moving starting CB’s over to that position!!!

  2. Kevin Says:

    I am so happy they took spence in the second. This guy is going to eventually be known as the steal of the draft. First round talent! Football is almost here!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  3. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Most of us (I think) view Licht as an above average GM, but he hired Mike Smith to coach and should let him decide where N.Spence is best suited to play. He can have his opinion, but a stubborn GM (not the only reason) is a reason why M.Bennet isn’t a Buc. Let the coach, coach.

  4. BigHogHsynes Says:

    Oh no the safeties are good, the corner backs are good, it’s the scheme, it’s the scheme! That has changed now win nine (9) games, no excuses, just do it!

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    DT might be weakest unit on team. Besides being extremely overrated mcoy like his fellow DT McDonald and akeem spence are all fragile. Hopefully young spence and ayers can make things happen.


    Once again you are simply clueless. the incompetent coaching and the outdated unimaginative scheme is why the incompetent one failed and will go down in history as the worst coach in bucs history.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    @Realist … “In fact he (McDonald) has never played a 16 game season!!!!” Sounds like you’re down on McDonald … for unfair reasons. I don’t know what the odds are of a starting DT playing all 16 games in a season, but I’d guess it’s probably not spectacular. Going against 300-350 OLinemen play-after-play-after-play … whose whole job is to beat the daylights out of you to keep you from impacting the play … probably isn’t conducive to making it through a 16-game season unscathed.

    Forgeting his first year (2010) with Cincy (minimal play), he’s had a solid career. For his 3 yrs with Seattle he averaged 15 games per season, but a key is that he only started twice in those 3 yrs. With our Bucs in 2014 he became a full-time starter for the first time, and had a very good year I thought (13 games, all starts, with 35 tackles and 11 assists plus 5 sacks … not bad for a NT). Not much he could do in 2015 once he tore his pectoral muscle.

    Clinton McDonald has been an outstanding complement to GMC. When he went down with an injury last season the Bucs defense didn’t look the same after that far as I’m concerned.

  7. The Buc Realist Says:

    @defense rules
    I do not know what the percentage is??? But I do know the past numbers.
    CM98 is 0 out of 6 years
    Akeem Spench 2 out of 3 years
    GMC93 is 2 out of 6 years

    GMC93 who was labeled as injury prone has even done it twice!!!! Or maybe you think that CM98 is Due for a good and healthy year!!!! I for one would start giving Ayers lost of time at DT for training camp!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    Noah Spence is a huge mistake. A part time 3rd down easily block able player that will be exposed by the run.

    Offensive coord will continuously playcall delay run to over committed Spence side for huge 3rd down conversions

    Noah spence was drafted from the Von Miller hype koolaid. Why dont we just draft a a von miller type on our team. LOL


    There is only Von Miller and Khalil Mack. You guys think these guys grow on trees? There are more franchise qbs then there are elite ends/lbs like Miller/Mack

    Do you guys know the extreme skillset to get around a behemoth quality offensive tackle? 260lb of explosive quick twitch muscle with 4.4 speed

    Noah Spence was drafted solely on Vonn Millers success. Spence doesnt even have the same skillset as dante fowler, shaun ray or clownly

    Dont cry too hard when you see slow mo 4.9 forty Spence easily blocked by a mediocre lineman…just sayin

    Our should have been 2016 Draft

    Sheldon Rankins = arron donald lite
    Sterling Shepard = OBJ
    Vonn bell
    roberto aguayo – 4th round

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Realist, you’re just playing with statistics. CM98’s first year (Cincy) was a non-counter … spent part of the year on the practice squad. Then in 2011-2014 played in 15, 14, 15 & 13 games respectively … not bad for a NT (average about 14 games per season). Last year tore his pectoral muscle after 6 games … bummer. But I’d hardly call CM98 injury-prone.

    GMC by the way has similar stats. Take out 2011 when he went on IR after 6 games (bummer again) and he’s averaged 14.5 games per season. Personally I think that’s pretty durable for a starting DT.

  10. Buccaneers Says:

    Well, I aint know how you say Spemce is a mistake. I think how hard he works has a lot to do with that. He can prove his worth here and if he was a mistake hell proove that too.

    The scarry thing with limeman is the unknown. Theres no way to tell how a rookie will handle the strength of NFL players. It doesnt !atter how good he was in college and how many plays he made. Just gotta hope this kid is strong enough.

  11. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Very Difficult for D tackle to remain uninjured even the most durable one in our history, Sapp was
    unceremoniously let go when he injured his his shoulder.

  12. The Buc Realist Says:

    Difficult as a position it is, CM98 is on the bottom of the list when it comes to reliability!!! If he plays 16 games this year it will be his first!!!! in 7 seasons!!!!!

    And for the record bob in valrico, Sapp was unceremoniously let go when they handed all the money to booger because Sapp and Kiffen did not get along!!!!

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    actually Robert Ayers has only started 39 games in 7 protect him
    he can be effective pass rusher from the inside on passing downs.And he has also suffered through injuries in his career.Most recently a torn pec muscle with the giants and a chest injury with Denver.Common thread here is D lineman suffer injuries.Now Gholston has been pretty stout,lets hope he can stay healthy and move inside if he has to.

  14. Bob in Valrico Says:

    there may some truth to that since Kiffin broke his own defensive rules and called a blitz when his rule was revert to cover 2 and rams scored a Td on that blitz.Truth is it didn’t work out so well for us either.12-20 the next two years.
    If that was actually the case ,it is still up to the coach out of his player.

  15. Bob in Valrico Says:

    meant get the most out his player.

  16. Kevin Says:

    Dts weakest unit on the team
    What are you smoking. They have playing great with pressures and stopping the run for 3 solid years. Edge is the weakest this far

  17. The Incredible Hulk Says:

    Hulk take 20 minutes to send message because hulk have big hands. Puny iphone4! Why hulk have iphone4? Hulk should have biggest phone! Hulk can’t even play Pokemon on puny phone!

    Spence will smash puny quarterbacks! Fast! Angry! Just like hulk!

  18. Buccaneers Says:

    Somebody give Hulk a roast beef hoagie.

  19. godzilla13 Says:

    Both Robert Ayers and William Gholston will get time playing at DT with McCoy, McDonald Spence and Francis inside. Noah Spence a mistake? Noah Spence is Von Miller. If not for the problem he had he would have been a top 15 pick, possibly top 5. His 40 time is irrelevant. Its his 10 yard dash time that matters. His was 1.62. That and his teknique. He was better than Bosa when he played at OSU. He dominated at the Senior Bowl. It does matter how good he was in college. To say that does not matter is lunacy. I am tired of hearing Spence can’t play the run. Watch his tape in college. He plays the run well and he should play DE not linebacker. Mike Smith should rotate him and Jacquies Smith and if Spence shines, start him full time. Robert Ayers can play on the outside just as well on the inside. Seven of his 9.5 sacks were from the outside last year.

  20. kslab Says:

    Seem to remember another Bucs pass rusher who was always (unfairly) criticized for being “too weak against the run”…named Simeon Rice.

    He worked out pretty good, I think.