Another Pass Rusher

December 30th, 2016
Crowded house on defensive line in 2017?

Crowded house on defensive line in 2017?

One thing that seemed to confuse if not get under Dirk Koetter’s skin this weekwas when he was asked so many questions with concerns about the offseason if not next season.

There’s one more game to play, Koetter offered, and unless he was told otherwise by the NFL, the Bucs were not yet eliminated from the playoffs.

At one point, Koetter noted he’d rather not take any questions about next year until, you know, next year (as in after the New Year’s Day regular season finale if the Bucs are eliminated).

Fans, however, are already geeked for the offseason, which appears to be rather eventful. With so much cap space for Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht to play with, pockets full of Team Glazer loot, fans are giddy with the thought of Eric Berry playing safety for the Bucs.

But hold up, says Jenna Laine! The ESPN Bucs reporter seems to be of the mind if the Bucs throw Powerball Lotto figures at anyone, it would be a pass rusher.

The good news for Tampa Bay is it has a staggering amount of cap space to work with next year, with some $78 million available before the team re-signs any of its free agents. The Buccaneers might want to bring back starters like center Joe Hawley and safety Bradley McDougald, but they should have plenty of flexibility as they approach free agency. Tampa Bay will look at a wideout to play across from Mike Evans with Vincent Jackson leaving. The Bucs also will look for help at safety and surely will be in the running to add a No. 1 pass-rusher for yet another season, with nobody on the team producing more than 6.5 sacks so far this campaign.

Now this is interesting. Of course, we all hope rookie Noah Spence continues his progression into being that elusive 10-digit sack guy. And, of course, there is Mr, Beasting, Robert Ayers, who may not have a ton of sacks but he makes up for it with an attitude and work ethic that are invaluable for a team trying to learn how to win.

If the Bucs do go out and get a No. 1 pass rusher, where would he play? Wouldn’t it be a crowded field with this unknown player, Spence and Ayers, unless Ayers lines up at tackle next season?

This is a brainteaser.

43 Responses to “Another Pass Rusher”

  1. tmaxcon Says:

    Best way to help pass rush is by getting rid of the mentally weak soft ice cream man. It will help against run. Addition by subtraction. Free up that wasted money and bring in a winner. If the culture is truly to change you must eradicate the leader of the losing culture.

  2. Patrick in VA Says:

    I think Seattle has proven that you can’t have too many pass rushers. If they can not only have a rotation that allows us to bring a heavy rush on every down but also weather the storm if one falls to injury, there’s no way that’s a bad thing. Especially since everything on the back side of the defense is predicated on pressure up front.

  3. Patrick in VA Says:

    Honestly, I think we can bring Smith back on a very team friendly deal. Just because we have a ton of money to spend doesn’t mean we have to break the bank for everyone. It’s important that we get plenty of quality utility players too, not just the super stars.

  4. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I agree with Patrick. Joe, seriously? We have a rookie who has 5.5 sacks and you are asking “where would he play”? Um, anywhere he wants and can get a sack. I love Ayers and Spence, but you can never have too many sacks artists. And so far the Bucs have NONE.

    I can see Mike Smith now. “Geeze Mr Licht, I have too many awesome DE. What am I going to do with them all?!” lol

  5. Midnightstroker1 Says:

    I wouldn’t be sad to see gmc go. I also wanted rankins in the first rd last year to team up with gmc. That being said neither happened or will happen. I think tampa feels like it owes it to him to keep him. I also see doug martin coming back next year and competing for a spot. I am excited about this off-season more than i have been in a loong time. I think this might be for real this time but we have to let it play out. Give it time ppl. What the worst that can happen. I for once am excited to actually win more than one game in a row! Its not embarrassing to wear my bucs gear anymore. You know i was watching the dallas – tampa game at the bar going nuts at the counter when the bartender actually asks me what team is TB. Were not quite there yet but were on tv!!!

  6. Ndog Says:

    Trade McCoy for picks and get DTs to stop the running game and keep the oline off our small linebackers. Then look for the best edge rushers available. There is not one great defense in the league built around their DTs, but there are many built around their DE’s. Why are we trying to be the only one in the league to do it? This makes no sense and we have tried now for 6 YEARS, let’s move on as it is not working!

  7. Conte Piscateli Says:

    Let’s not forget we spent this entire season without our best pass rusher from last season, J Smith. I’m not against adding top level talent at any position, but I don’t feel pass rusher is the biggest need. WR to open up the offense is a better move. If the offense becomes more potent and we can play with leads, more pass rushing opportunities will follow.

  8. Warren Says:

    Our needs (for starter quality) at WR, RT, FS aside, i’ll be interested to see what Licht plans on doing at RB and TE and depth he can add on D line and O line.

    For RB I say let Quizz start and let Sims and Doug have a chance to redeem themselves. With an entire offseason to heal and work out, plus several games for his suspension to stew over, I think we see 2015 Doug again which can’t be a bad thing.

    Brate is our only true pass catching TE. He’s down now and we don’t really know how he’ll be affected going into next season. Myers, Stocker etc are just too one dimensional. We would crucify Licht next year if Brate goes down again for any reason or isn’t himself, if he didn’t address this in the offseason.

  9. tmaxcon Says:

    STOP with the jac Smith crap. He can NOT BE COUNTED ON. He is misses over 78% of the games. Your best ability is your availability. This team missed the playoffs this year because it counted on unreliable so called stars to produce and they did not. Jac Smith is a good story but NOT a reliable option

  10. Ndog Says:

    It’s not just about pass rushers as the last 2 games we were pounder into the ground by Ingram and Elliot. This doesn’t happen to teams with big strong double team taking DTS but it does to us. You don’t get to really rush the passer till obvious passing downs which we never get to cause we allow 4-5 yards every first down on the ground!

  11. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Conte – You make a great point. Our defense wouldn’t spend nearly as much time on the field if the offense could sustain drives with more talented receivers and a better running game.

    That said, I’m not sure that that logic marries up with the speed receiver that we’re all pining for. If we’ve got a guy that’s striking up the band and taking the tops off the other team’s defense, then that doesn’t equate to drawn out, clock eating drives.

    Not that I’m pulling a Lovie Smith and turning my nose up at scoring more points, but I wonder if a stable of very reliable possession receivers wouldn’t be a part of the complimentary football that’s being preached about by the coaches. Guys that we know will move the chains regularly and score points at the end of 10 play 70 yard drives consistently.

  12. Kalind Says:

    Bring JPP back home. Throw him 14mil a year for 4 years. Guarantee 2 of it. With bonuses. Still have room for Berry, Alshon Jeffrey and Dre Kirkpatrick.

  13. Midnightstroker1 Says:

    Kenny stills desean jackson ted ginn kenny britt all free agents. I would pass on alshon

  14. Ndog Says:

    Patrick why can’t we have both like most teams do. See NE, GB, NO, Atlanta, Dallas etc…. We have the beast in Evans, now we need a burner, possession guy and another jack of all trades who would be our #2.

  15. Midnightstroker1 Says:

    Berry is not going anywhere. If anything they will tag him again

  16. LocalJoker Says:

    JPP! Dude can still play, has something to prove and we could get the 3 finger discount. Lol. #beast

  17. tmaxcon Says:

    Jeffrey is not the answer last thing bucs need is another highly paid part time player. Just because you recognize a name does not make it a good fit or player. Bucs have enough highly paid part time producers

  18. Patrick in VA Says:

    Ndog – I’m not saying that one approach is more right than another. I’m just offering food for thought. It seems like the ready reaction for everyone is that we have to have a burner simply because we don’t have one. I’m not sure that it’s as black and white as that.

  19. Midnightstroker1 Says:

    Sebastian vollmer anyone??

  20. Tampa Tony Says:

    Chandler Jones would be my choice. Either Spence or Ayers aren’t productive enough to keep a top free agent from being signed. Licht needs to plan accordingly and not keep his fingers crossed that the chokers on the current roster are gonna magically become Pro Bowlers

  21. teacherman777 Says:

    Chandler Jones.


    Barkevoius Mingo. SLB/DE

    Eric Berry.

    Terrell Pryor.

  22. Mort Says:

    If these comments don’t get a lot more intelligent I’m going to have to check out of the comments section altogether for the whole off-season. Some of you guys -while well-intentioned – are saying some pretty moronic things.

    It’s like you see a players name on espn or PFT and assume they must be great because they’re on there in the first place. Pryor sucks. Finn sucks, Mingo sucks and wouldn’t be a great fit. Neither would chandler jones.

    Also, I’d bet any money that Berry stays in KC. Jeffrey is absolutely not what we should be looking for at WR.

  23. Ben Says:

    Best player available in FA that fills a need. Obviously another pass rusher would help and I am a firm believer in that, but I would be skeptical about throwing likely a ton of cash at just anyone. He has to be the right guy and not another Michael Johnson. But how about Eric Berry!? Imagine having Berry in this secondary and add a pass rusher in the draft? Either way Licht seems to know what he is doing. Lets spend but soend wisely this team is almost over the hump.

  24. Eric Says:

    I mean really cap space means nothing if you are not going to spend the money and last I checked my favorite team the TB Bucs are not spending a lot of money! So I’m not excited until someone put pen to paper

  25. Tampa Tony Says:

    Mort- if you want intelligent football talk instead of saying a player is a bad fit explain why you think that

  26. Patrick in VA Says:

    Here’s the thing about the draft and FA: none of us had heard of Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes was on nobody’s radar, no one was beating the table for them to go bring Cam Brate back, Jaquizz Rodgers was not being pined over by anyone.

    I trust this personnel department to go get the right people. If we’ve heard of them, great. But I’m not going to throw a fit if they don’t bring in a parade of names that I recognize or that the JBF commenter draft/FA experts are waving their flags for.

  27. Off the Cuff Says:

    Has anybody looked at our linebackers? Who do we have other than David and Alexander? We could also use bigger, more physical safeties and offensive lineman. Free agent wide receivers are only good if we sign a #1a. The Bucs have never been good at signing someone else’s #2

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    @tmax- Agreed regarding Jeffries. I have no idea why his name is mentioned so much. About your statement regarding Smith, I agree with that sentiment too. There’s one problem though, we haven’t had a full-time D-line player all season, including Ayers.

  29. Joe Says:

    Conte Piscatelli:

    Always enjoy folks working in a Sabby the Goat reference into a handle.

  30. MarineBucsFan Says:

    Being that we only rush our 4 Dlineman and expect to get pressure, we need a deep rotation. Added a JPP type of player would be great for this team.

  31. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    For those of you who do not see DE as a need position, I just don’t understand that. Our top sack person is McCoy, who many of you slam all the time. Next is Spence at 5.5 sacks. How on earth is DE not a huge need?!!

  32. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Adding a stud RB and WR would give us a very potent offense, and I can’t say I wouldn’t be excited about that. BUT, without getting greatly improving the Bucs pass rush, we would be the Saints. Lots of scoring, but we cannot stop anyone.

  33. 1nebuc Says:

    This may sound crazy but just food for the brain..
    Grab D. Poe (kc) move GMC to the 5tec put gholston opposite of Poe . Stand Spence up put Ayres up sign J Collins from Cleveland/ NE. Move Smith back to his natural position MLB next to kwon.
    Try and sign T Johnson (Rams) trade 1st rd and lvd to Cleveland for there 1st and grab safety J Adams (LSU) …

    M. Wheaton (wr Steelers )
    Do whatever… I MEAN WHATEVER to get COREY DAVIS WR
    Try and make a play for Copper Kuup wr EWU . (next J Nelson)
    The rest I will leave to the regional scouts …
    You ladies/gents have a wonderful new year

  34. LargoBuc Says:

    In the past, going crazy in free agency has not helped this team. However, I think this group is so close to turning that corner that it wouldn’t hurt to bring so game changers in. As far as “who”, well I could parrot names seen on bspn and what not but defensively , we need a safety, an end, a tackle. Possibly another linebacker and a corner just because Grimes is getting older. That said, will KC realistically be able to retain both Poe and Berry?
    Draft wise, this year is deep at safety. There is also some value to be had at receiver/rb. Sadly though this draft has been mentioned as being kinda “meh” for o line. Many big boards don’t have any o linemen in the top 40 besides Cam Robinson. So maybe signing a tackle or just a versatile o lineman will help. Not to be scared off by Ant Collins.

  35. Patrick in VA Says:

    @LargoBuc – I think we’re courting a different kind of free agent now. Let’s not discount the fact that the team is showing promise, has a QB, and is on an upward trajectory. We can legitimately start bringing in players who are looking to win, as well as getting paid. In the Johnson/McCown/Collins FA season, we got players who either had limited options or were obviously looking to get paid and had no intention of working. The players that were looking for winner teams weren’t even considering us. Now it’s different. I think the door is open to a totally different echelon of player this year.

  36. MadMax Says:

    “being that elusive 10-digit sack guy” -if Spence is getting a million sacks then -JACKPOT- we can just focus on every other position 😛

    Go after DE Calais Campbell and DT Kawaan Short or Dontari Poe, and while Id love Berry, he’s going to cost a lot to get him to move. So Im looking at other options. I also like Kenny Britt, Terrell Pryor and Pierre Garcon for WR.

    …still looking

  37. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Run the ball and rush the passer. For the first time in quite awhile I’m more confident next year of rushing the QB than running the football.

    On one hand perhaps Sweezy comes back with a chip on his shoulder and balls out…maybe Marpet and Smith and Pamphile continue their maturation…maybe Caleb Benenoch blossoms. I can see where the OL could be very good. Then again we suffered bouts of medicrioty at times this year.

    RB is the same…I liked what Quizz did and I think Barber still has upside but do we think we have an RB that can really pound the rock?

    I want a pass rush…and I want a running game. I see the pass rush I do not see the running game. I think DK will have to craft some more magic.

  38. Dave Says:

    They better get another pass rusher … from DE or DT, doesn’t matter. Always need linemen.
    Just like the O-Line- they need more in FA and draft.

    The pick draft pick will most likely be a WR and another DB.

  39. LakeLandBuc Says:

    We are the only team in the league,where a DT leads in sacks every season.

  40. MadMax Says:

    Watching Derek Barnett right now. I would not be disappointed if he somehow fell a little and we moved up 3-4 spots for him. According to what the plan is for free agency, of course. Then WR could be the next target.

  41. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    That’s right Lakeland but according to our amazing posters on here we need to get rid of that guy!

  42. Pickgrin Says:

    “fans are giddy with the thought of Eric Berry playing safety for the Bucs”
    I know I am – but its not a very realistic hope.

    I like a lot of our Dline players as individual players – McCoy obviously, Ayers, Noah Spence, McDonald, Gholson, Jac Smith. That’s six good solid DL players that are very capable of playing their roles well if they are not sidelined by injury which every one of them had to deal with to one degree or another this season.

    But as a “unit” – the DL only played well and applied semi-consistent pressure all game in about 2 or 3 games this year. The DLine needs to improve – and the best way I know of to improve a sub-par unit is to continue bringing in talent until the magic shows itself consistently.

    With all the $ we have available to spend in free agency, it would be foolish not to spend some of it looking to upgrade the Dline. Ditto for draft picks this year.

  43. MadMax Says:

    Well, Barnett just broke Reggie White’s sack record. Awesome! He’s probably going top 5. I would even take him over Myles…(wasnt impressed with him yesterday)