Scary Deep On DL?

August 17th, 2016
Getting noticed.

Getting noticed.

Yes, we all know Gerald McCoy is the face of the defensive line, one of the NFL’s top players annually, except in the clouded eyes of a loud rabble of Bucs fans.

Then there is productive Robert Ayers, gifted rookie Noah Spence, underrated Jacquies Smith, sleeper Howard Jones, steady and versatile Will Gholston, and run stuffers Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence.

Yes, the Bucs, with the proper coaching, just may have one of the NFL’s deepest front lines. Yeah, Joe said it.

One guy to look out for is a virtual unknown. That would be tackle A.J. Francis. Chris Burke of wrote about how, for him, Francis jumped off the screen last week in Philadelphia.

Haven’t read much about DT A.J. Francis this off-season, but he showed up in this game to the point where if he cannot survive the Tampa Bay roster squeeze, another GM will come calling. While Francis did not record any stats, the 330-pounder collapsed the interior multiple times, helping to force a Carson Wentz interception in one case. Francis is on his fourth team in four years since going undrafted, so he may never stick as a starter, but there appears to be potential.

Let’s just say Francis is making the right people smile in training camp, per Joe’s private conversations at One Buc Palace this week.

But can the Bucs keep five defensive tackles (if you consider Gholston a tackle)? Or, can the Bucs keep eight defensive linemen? That’s the numbers game Francis will have to win.

To Francis’ credit, he has one of the greatest lobbyists in the free world on his side. That would be Miko Grimes.

19 Responses to “Scary Deep On DL?”

  1. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    He will prob be put on the practice squad unless theres a significant injury. I will keep my eye out for him in Jax.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Scary fragile maybe, scary deep???? I would not say that!!!

  3. Erik w/ Clean Athletics 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans' Says:

    Man-for-man, I truly think the Bucs have the most talented roster in the NFL now.

    Yes, I said it. Don’t hate

    Combine that with our Elite leadership, coaching, etc and we have as much potential to win the Superbowl this season as any other team out there.

    80-1 odds in Vegas??? Hysterical.

  4. DB55 Says:

    Francis did jump off the screen on Thursday. I know MSmith likes those huge tackles in the middle and I can’t say that I blame him. If I’m not mistaken Francis is the second 330lb’er on the depth chart.

  5. BigHogHaynes Says:

    We have such All-World Coaches, maybe they can coach the fragile out of them while coaching the LOVIE out of them, killing two birds with one stone!

  6. Destinjohnny Says:

    Scary average

  7. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    Wow. The deepest defensive line? And with one of the best D-line coaches in football? And they say football games are won in the trenches? Oh my. Something’s happening here.

  8. Jerry G Says:

    After what our Defense did to the Philadelphia Pigeons last week and that was just a vanilla taste of what Defensive Guru Mike Smith is brewing up im looking forward to the final formula!

  9. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    What a difference a real coaching staff can make… We saw it last season with the OL. This year may be the DLs turn.

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

    Better believe it Other side.

  11. Cover Deuce Says:

    They’ve got me excited, but they’ve gotta prove they can do it when they go live, especially the rook. Then we can start calling them deep.

  12. tmaxcon Says:

    The line could be deep but considering the top 3 dt have NEVER stayed healthy for a 16 game season and Jac Smith can stay healthy its hardvto call that group deep… you need that many extra dlune to compensate for the fragility of top 3 dt

  13. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Now sure why Jones is a sleeper. He produces when given the opportunity.


    @BigPoppaBuc Coach Warhop was hired by Lovie if I’m not mistaken. Just sayin

  15. "That guy" Says:

    Love the positive attitude, but the reality is, a team we blew out last year beat us in the preseason when it was starters vs starters(not the 3rd and4rth quarter scraps).

  16. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    For the record, Philies starters scored nothing when starting outside the Bucs red zone.

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “That guy” Says
    “Love the positive attitude, but the reality is, a team we blew out last year beat us in the preseason when it was starters vs starters”

    We had guys playing out of their regular position due to starter injuries.

  18. BigHogHaynes Says:

    It ain’t the coaches people it’s the talent, we’ve needed a consistent Pass Rushing Defensive End since we drafted McCoy, finally we have one, no coaching, we just needed the player! Simple as that!

  19. BigHogHaynes Says:

    AJF and The Kitchen should make this team (big bodies in the middle of that line)!!