“And He’s Gritty. He’s Very Gritty”

February 4th, 2017

Bucs defensive end Noah Spence

Old guys are almost always knocking young guys.

It’s been happening since the beginning of time. Every generation thinks the one after it is softer and weaker and about to let civilization crumble.

As a kid, Joe heard over and over again about how the Japanese were going to take over and become a world power because they had a savage work ethic and were so much smarter and more disciplined than Joe’s fellow American kids.

It was such a hot topic, Hollywood churned out the not-so-classic but pretty good Gung Ho on the big screen in 1986.

And no, the Japanese didn’t end up ruling the world.

Similar finger wagging lives in the NFL. Guys who retired 10 years ago can’t believe modern players don’t practice twice a day in training camp and hit each other full throttle in practice. Old school quarterbacks like Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana secretly wonder what Tom Brady would be like if he got drilled high and low throughout his career.

Enter Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, the 30-year-old Bucs captain who owns a Seahawks Super Bowl ring.

He thinks young players are soft these days, so he told WDAE-AM 620 this week. But McDonald named one exception, Bucs defensive end Noah Spence, who turned 23 last month.

“He’s a guy that dedicates himself to aspire to be great. And he’s gritty. He’s very gritty,” McDonald said of Spence. “He plays with a lot of bangs and bruises and hurts. In a young guy, that’s hard to find these days. Some young guys get hurt or banged up and they’re like, ‘Ohhh, I’m tired. I’m going to take a week off.’ Noah, he’s right back in it and he’s very gritty, and that’s what I like about him.”

Great stuff to hear about Spence, who had shoulder surgery immediately following the season.

Joe is high on Spence, but Joe also is cautious. Often, guys who get injured become guys who keep getting injured.

All the Bucs’ top defensive ends were injured significantly in 2016. That’s probably more than just a coincidence, and Joe suspects general manager Jason Licht is thinking a lot about that.

19 Responses to ““And He’s Gritty. He’s Very Gritty””

  1. Bill Says:

    McDonald thinks guys are soft these days. Probably true. Did he name anybody? Who did he say was soft?

    It’s a rhetorical question, because you can’t find an NFL player saying anything negative about another NFL player these days….they might be teammates before the new sun rises.

    Prove me wrong Joe. Find some genuine quotable beef before the superbowl. I wish you the best of luck.

  2. Bill Says:

    On second thought, I’ll extend that challenge for the entire offseason. Gimme the beef.

  3. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    This must be the negative joe. Why do u always have to throw a stupid line at the end of a good article? “Often guys who get injured become guys who keep getting injured” Jeez it must be horrible to live in negativity

  4. Bill Says:

    It’s more believable than: guys who haven’t been injured will keep getting injured.

    Dude, part of this was deleted. Why insult Joe? GMs across the NFL will tell you they are wary of guys with injury histories, because usually (certainly not close too always) injury patterns continue. Same holds true for NFL players. Joe’s not going to pretend otherwise.–Joe

  5. 941BUC Says:

    Yes guys get hurt and wanna back off a bit Joe. But not everyone is a dislocated shoulder popping back in playing with a sling through the season and performing exceptionally well kinda guy like Spence. I say Licht should draft another DE in the 3rd or 4th to rotate into the lineup and help keep our guys fresh.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    GOAT, what’s stupid or negative about “Often guys who get injured become guys who keep getting injured”? I happen to agree with Joe on that observation. The key word is OFTEN (not always or usually). Look at the Bucs DEs over the last 2 yrs.

    N. Spence (2016: 16 games).
    Gholston (2016: 14 games; 2015 16 games).
    Ayers (2016: 12 games; 2015 12 games).
    H. Jones (2016: 8 games; 2015: 12 games).
    J. Smith (2016: 1 game; 2015: 12 games).
    G. Johnson (2016: 0 games; 2015: 11 games).
    Hughes, Russell, Ward and Lambert also played DE of course, but saw limited action on the year overall.

    The first 3 DEs (Spence, Gholston, Ayers) averaged 14 games played in 2016. Gholston & Ayers did about the same the previous year. The next 3 DEs (Jones, Smith, Johnson) averaged 3 games played in 2016. All 3 did better the previous year, but were still injured quite a bit.

    Personally think that the lighter DEs (like Spence & Smith & Jones) get hurt easier and more often than the heavier guys (like Ayers & Gholston). Same with DTs I think. It’s obviously rough in the trenches, and for a DE or DT to make it through 16 regular season games plus 4 preseason games … plus the playoffs … without getting injured has to be REALLY hard. Maybe that’s why Mike Smith has a penchant for ‘beef’ in the trenches? Personally I think that it takes a combination of DEs like Ayers & Gholston & Noah Spence & Jack Smith to win in today’s NFL. Dirk Koetter’s word ‘complementary’ comes to mind.

  7. Bill Says:

    I think the terms ‘Often’ and ‘Usually’ often (or usually) mean the same thing.

    The breakdown from year to year for our DL is nice, I guess. Which ones were injured? Nobody on that list is terribly delinquent in consecutive years. Smith playing only 1 game in 2016 seems suspect, but he managed 12 games the year before which seems average.

    More importantly, the claim that injured players resume a status of ‘injured’ should extend beyond the Bucs roster.

  8. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Spence is a Warrior. Eventually I think he’ll have an Ayers-like effect on future rookies.

  9. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    I know most here will think I’m crazy, but I truly hope we can sign Poe and play more 3-4 this year. Stand up Spawn n J. Smith. I’m NOT saying completely switch, just more snaps out of the formation. We ran it a few times this last season…I say let’s actually have that in the play calls, Presnap adjustments. We would literally give opposing teams nightmares
    GMC Poe Gholston
    Spawn Bond Kwon David
    Grimes VHIII
    Now you’ve got D-line depth for days.

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

    I wish we our guys could get a flask full of whatever the Patriots are taking, they never seem to be injured. With the one exception of Gronk.

  11. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “All the Bucs’ top defensive ends were injured significantly in 2016.”

    And that is another reason the Bucs need to use the #19 pick on a DE. We not only need depth, but we need talented depth!

  12. Bob in valrico Says:

    Agree with defense,and doug martin injury history falls in line with the theory.
    I don’t think the collective bargaining agreement allows for the best conditioning and opportunities to coach a developing player.That said,
    more young players are coming into the league bigger and stronger than
    some, not all of their of their predecessors.This contributes to more injuries.
    The thing I have been wondering is: will the 3-4 defense give our DE’s longer,
    less injury prone careers. Believe they will get more of a running start and
    its unpredictability would make it harder for opposing lineman to set up on
    the oncoming rusher.

  13. mesh Says:

    One of the genuinely stupid aspects of the culture surrounding football is the playing hurt mentality. Your body is just meat, not metal. You play with reckless disregard for your health and you start to break it. You then play through injuries and come back too early and it starts to break more often. Then you get labeled as injury prone. Then you are discarded as useless and you spend the next few decades broken down and wrecked with no money and everyone around you wondering why you aren’t a trillionair after the NFL. The younger guys aren’t that stupid.

  14. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I certainly take Joe’s point in the broadest sense and not just football. Societies since the days of Cavemen have always worried about the “younger generation”.

    As you guys know I’m probably the senior guy here and when I was young I heard the same things about my peers as I now hear about Milleniels and GenXers. I vowed not to be “that guy”…one who says…”when I was young we were…blah blah blah..

    As for the NFL though there have been amazing changes but I do not blame the younger or current players.

    First I agree Brady would not be playing at his current level if he had to take the beating old time QB’s took. But that’s not on Brady or his attitude…it is what it is and Brady..as much as I dislike him….has carved a remarkable career with the rules he was given.

    Second…players are totally different physically. When the league first started players were virtually the same size. When the league exploded in the late 60s player specialization began and the giants started growing. Now players are all different sizes and a guy 6-3 280 is a “tweener” too small for a lineman too large for a skill position. The players became better trained physically and gained speed and collisions these days are just far more brutal. If they practiced like they did in the old days with two a days and full on hitting one of two things would have to take place…either a significant % of the roster would be on the sidelines injured or the player would loaf through the practices.

    Third…and IMHO the biggest change is the $$$$$$$$$. It’s easy for we keyboard warriors to say guys should lay it all on the line with reckless regard for their careers. But in honesty we’re talking ten of millions of dollars. Do we really believe that these players are unaware of the financial implications? Would you slam a guy crossing the goal line knowing it wouldn’t change or prevent the TD but would send a message how tough you are? Yeahhh yeahh.

    I’m the blog optimist…pollyanna…nice guy whatever. I’m not a materialistic person by nature…in fact…I don’t say it’s the root of all evil but I do believe what Cyndi Lauper sang…Money changes EVERYTHING.

    What I do not respect in today’s athlete is the greed of SOME not all of them.
    When a guy has already earned 10 million dollars in his career and he becomes an FA ready to cash in…I dislike immensely a guy who would leave a multimillion dollar deal on the table from his current “team” to join another for another million or so. How much bling…how many car and house does one guy need. How extended of a family is he setting up for life. Hey’s it’s America I do not begrudge them that right….they should not begrudge my right to view them as greedy and poor teammates. BTW as much as I dislike Brady he at least gets that part of the equation and hasn’t milked his career financially as much as he could have…oh the misery…dude is worth $120 million..his wife is worth 360 million and he could make a ton more if he did a lot of commercials like Peyton Manning. Where does Peyton store all that money?

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    Stpete…I told you in the past.

    Expensive tastes always requires more money.

    You would know this if you grew up a rich kid like me. My step-dad could have stopped at 2 million, but always needed more to keep up with wanting expensive things.

    Most of these guys don’t spend like you and I. Always need more money.

  16. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    You are correct sir. My old man the bookie was a 7th grade dropout my mom 10th grade and until the 3rd grade I grew up in a ghetto.

    I feel sorry for the “rich” people who are poor in spirit. The secret in life is in wanting what you have not having what you want.

    I totally get what you are saying…I just do not respect it…it’s greed pure and simple.

    And this is really where you and I part…there is an acronym on political blogs about the right…the wealthy….IGMGFY. I Got Mine Go F Yourself.

    Hopefully you do not call yourself a Christian 87. I debated two libertarian’s on a political blog…one was a staunch Christian…can you say hypocrite…the other was a staunch Atheist. At least the latter was not a hypocrite.

    Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

  17. Piratic Says:

    Well, after some initial trolling by Bill, there ended up being some really good comments here.

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    St. Pete..er Methuselah… yeah Joe and St. Pete, Brady needed to be pummeled more and still does. Amazing that he gets touched so little.

  19. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Bucsfan LMAO Methuselah for sure. Just got back from a great workout at the gym. All cleaned up for the New Year. Put the ole smoking device up until vacation….Life is good. Exercise and keep some balance to your life and you too can be Methuselah. 🙂