Heavy Lifting Still Ahead

March 13th, 2017


Let us pause amid the fanfare and acknowledge there is more work to be done.

Quite a bit, if you ask me.

The Bucs are off to a good start in free agency, addressing their pressing need for a big-play wide receiver, adding depth in the interior defensive line and increasing competition at safety.

The failure to land Calais Campbell remains a 6-foot-8 bummer, but Chris Baker is a nice fallback at defensive tackle and I expect him to displace Clinton McDonald as a starter.

Jameis Winston was all in on DeSean Jackson from the start, and as we are learning, what Jameis wants, Jameis gets. If the Bucs proceed with that indoor practice facility we’ve heard about for awhile, then it will be because No. 3 pushes for it.

Speaking of Mr. Winston, it would be nice if the Bucs add a veteran quarterback to back him up. Scratch Nick Foles off your list and pardon me if I don’t do cartwheels about Chase Daniel, who has thrown exactly one touchdown pass in his seven-year NFL career.

Winston has taken virtually every snap in the past two years and the departure of Mike Glennon could be costly in 2017 if Winston is sidelined.

Urgency For 1st & 4th Downs

And now on to the kicker position, where Roberto Aguayo has been put on notice. A 9-7 team that just added a weapon of Jackson’s caliber isn’t going to show much patience with a struggling kicker, regardless of Aguayo’s college pedigree or draft status.

Dirk Koetter and the Glazers will be watching Aguayo closely in training camp. So will Tampa Bay fans, who had little confidence in Aguayo after his early-season struggles.

Running back is another issue to be addressed, even as Jason Licht suggests things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Bringing Jacquizz Rodgers back was a smart move and I still believe in Charles Sims as a No. 2, but the Doug Martin situation is a headache the Bucs didn’t need.

I think Martin is out, creating a major void. Peyton Barber has potential, but he rushed for more than 38 yards only once last year and Rodgers isn’t built to carry the load.

The draft is deep at running back, but the Bucs are now forced to address the position with a premium pick. The NFL may be a passing league, but Tampa Bay’s poor run game last season set this offense back significantly.


An offensive line that struggled to open holes could use an upgrade. A starting five of Donovan Smith, Kevin Pamphile, Ali Marpet, J.R. Sweezy and Demar Dotson doesn’t exactly evoke comparisons to the front wall of the Cowboys.

If the Bucs can get center Nick Mangold at a fair price for two years, I say make the deal and give Winston the benefit of a nasty leader at the point of attack.

This defense is still looking for its first double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice left town a decade ago — and I’m not sure this year will be any different. Noah Spence showed promise as a rookie defensive end, but he is still learning how to be a pro.

The Bucs can crow about all their depth along the defensive line, but I’m still not sure they have a pass rusher that will keep Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton up at night.

There might be a spot open at strong-side linebacker, but that hasn’t been an impact position for the Bucs in the past 20 years.

No big deal.

At corner, there is the potential for a big drop off beyond Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves. Alterraun Verner wasn’t the answer and Ryan Smith will now be given every chance to make a successful transition from safety.

Don’t be surprised if the Bucs add a veteran corner toward the end of August, when teams scramble to adjust their rosters.

So far, so good for the Bucs, but Jason Licht is nobody’s fool. There’s heavy lifting to be done before the Bucs take the field this fall, determined to live up to all of your lofty expectations.

30 Responses to “Heavy Lifting Still Ahead”

  1. JonBuc Says:

    So far so good…lots of long overdue optimism. I don’t have a ton of confidence in Roberto and wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up on IR in a bit of a face saving move as his contract is guaranteed anyways ( I believe ). Should be interesting to see what they do at center, running back and the defensive backfield as a whole moving forward.

  2. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Still feel better about this team now than at any offseason since I’ve been perusing JBF (2010 or so). The arrow is pointing up, but I agree with pretty much all the points here made by Mr. Kaufman. Keep that pedal on the floor boys.

  3. Birdman Says:

    Great article Ira.
    I think Noah Spence hits 10 sacks for two reasons. First off, having a pro year under his belt will only make him more experienced. Second let’s not forget how he played from week 4 on with a fully torn labrum… that’s seriously some super human stuff to get 5+ sacks with basically one arm. With double the useable arms he ought to have double the sacks, right?
    Second, don’t forget about Javien Elliot and Adjei-Barimah. I know it’s early and the DB draft is deep, but I think that’s going to be a training camp roster spot battle to look forward to…

  4. Etzel Says:

    I wouldn’t mind RG3 as our backup. Bringing him in after Jameis gets injured would really mess with a defense who didn’t gameplan for him. Obviously he has his own durability issues if he starts too many games, but I don’t see many better options.

  5. D-Rome Says:

    The draft is deep at running back, but the Bucs are now forced to address the position with a premium pick.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by premium pick but I don’t think the Bucs should use a 1st or 2nd round pick on a running back. There will be plenty of talent and value in the later rounds.

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

    Good to see at least Ira not going for the malarky and understands the importance of the RB position. People can it a passing league all they want. If you wanna advance in the playoffs you better be able to tote rock. Always has and always will be that way.

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

    So we should wait to later rounds and grab a guy because he fits under “the value” label. Hmm does that assure us he’ll make the team and work out for us. No. If I need it I want the surest thing possible. We waited in the later rounds for Sims and he is what he is JoJo dancer. Nothing more nothing less.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    You covered the full gamut of issues Ira … awesome! I too think the Bucs will use a ‘premium pick’ to draft a RB (somewhere in the first 3 rnds). Loved your analysis of our OLine … have a lot of confidence in D. Smith, Marpet & Pamphile but not-so-much in Sweezy or Dots at this point. Really hoping we grab a starting-caliber C & RT (or G) in FA (1) and the draft (1). I’m with you also that we need another DE to pressure opposing QBs (as well as a starting-caliber safety).

  9. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I think Noah Spence hits 10 sacks for two reasons.

    I agree Birdman…provided your second reason materializes and Noah recovers fully from his injury.

    As for RB I want one of the best…I do not wish to settle. This and the OL upgrades are all that are needed to produce a truly special Offense.

    Wouldn’t it be exciting if this iteration of the Bucs has the offensive equivalent of our vaunted Buc defense in the glory years.

  10. JoeArea609 Says:

    We have running backs. We still don’t have a top pass rusher or a Stud O Tackle. Good to see you are still around Ira. Keep up the good work.
    Still around? Ira pounds out columns here Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his podcasts roll twice a week. –Joe

  11. DB55 Says:

    1. That practice facility needs to get done, NOW!

    2. Mike Vick would make a great back-up and mentor for JW. If not him RG3 or Kapernick.

    3. Sign Alfred Morris at RB. Instant starter.

    4. Draft Ryan Ramczyk at 19 and find a center in FA.

  12. Kstoges Says:

    Everyone hates on sims but guarantee he’s a do it all back this year for us

  13. Kstoges Says:

    no body was hating on him when he had the most yards per touch in the NFL in 2015 and yes that includes running the ball which he did very well as well as his huge big play ability catching the ball

  14. ben Says:

    I dont think the bucs have done enough in free agency. Plenty of $$ left and only 1 big signing .Could they have done more??? After all,they raised season tkts prices.

  15. Pickgrin Says:

    You forgot to mention the need at Safety Ira. I’ve seen you talk about it before so I know you are not like the Joes who seem to think we are fine at Safety and OLine when neither is the case.

    Our positional needs to upgrade starters or get better depth include RB1, Center, RT, TE, WR3/4, Safety, CB, SLB, DL. So that leaves our draft board wide open to possibilities for BPA at any spot in the draft.

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

    Kstoges when he starts hitting the hole without fear I’ll get in line with you bro. Until then..

  17. Hodad Says:

    Ira, enough with the Mangold love. No team including the Bucs seem to be interested. His best days are well behind him. The whole league seems to know that, get a clue. Better to put someone in front of Jameis that they can grow together. Think Jeff Saturday, P Manning.

  18. BigMacAttack Says:

    So it would be nice to get Cook inbround 1, but we need a fast OLB. It’s not the most pressing need but it will seriously put this defense on more solid footing. The Bucs are decent shape all around now, so it really opens the Draft to Licht to get a few premium players at any position.

  19. Wausa Says:


    I agree with you. I’ve said this many times, but we have a playoff caliber starting line up but we have one of the worst back ends of a roster in the NFL.

    When we loose a starter the drop off is gargantuan. Look what happened when Demar Dotson got injured last year and we turned a below average DE for the Cowboys into Simeon Rice or when Vincent Jackson was injured and we replaced him with Dontae Dye or can you imagine if Lavonte David got injured and we had to put in Cameron Lynch.

    We have got to build more depth and competition.
    We need more at RB, WR, DT, DE, TE, LB, S, C and a backup QB.

  20. Gencoimports Says:

    Martin or no Martin, the Bucs do not need to waste a premium pick on a RB. This is suppossed to be very deep draft for RBs.

    Draft a TE or WR early and then upgrade the lines.

  21. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    Draft DE or CB with the first pick and the other with the 2nd!

  22. NFLNut Says:

    Daniel Jeremiah’s new mock draft has the Bucs drafting some CB I’ve never heard of with the #19 pick … and Dalvin Cook not getting drafted till #27 … and Mike Williams not until the #30 pick.

    Weirdest mock draft I’ve seen yet!!!!

  23. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    It’s not weird to me we need a CB ! IN FACT I THINK IT’S OUR BIGGEST NEED! then a C!

  24. DB55 Says:

    The biggest need imo is to keep Jameis upright. Give him time to throw and it’s all over. He might just throw for 8 TDs in a game. Didn’t he throw 5 TDs in a game twice already?

  25. ISH Says:

    You’re right about Jameis having a lot of say about personnel.. That’s how we wound up with a kicker in the 2nd round. I’m afraid we’ll wind up with Cook in the first for the same reason.. Nothing against Cook, just not where I want to go in the 1st. Wouldn’t mind a C, or a LT so we could move Smith to RT. Safety and CB are needs too. BPA in the 1st.. except a RB. 🙂

  26. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    Just seen that mock, I’ll take it, beast CB to take over for Grimes. Or DE

  27. NFLNut Says:

    ^ Buccaneer Scotty … I think we NEED too draft a CB in the first 4 rounds as well BUT that is still the weirdest mock I’ve seen yet … the guy has Christian Mac at #11 and Dalvin at #27 and again a CB I’ve never even heard of and who doesn’t seem to appear in any other first round mocks, going #19 while Mike Williams who most mocks have as a top 12 pick goes #30 … WEIRD is the word!

    Ish … you’re crazy imo … I would bet $$$ that Jameis did NOT tell Licht to “trade up into the 2nd round” for Aguayo … if anything, Licht probably just asked Jameis what kind of dude Aguayo was as anyone with eyes can read Roberto’s stat sheet and see he was one of the best NCAA kickers ever. Don’t put Licht’s trading up into the 2nd round for a kicker on Jameis … that’s dumb. Jameis is a young pup on a cheap rookie contract … he may have soome input but there’s just no way he’s “calling the shots” yet … not even Brady gets to call any real shots, imo …

  28. ISH Says:

    I wasn’t putting it all on Jameis.. That would be dumb.

  29. teacherman777 Says:

    Barkevos Mingo was a major loss!!

    I want a SLB who can also play DE on passing downs!

    I want a beast of a SLB who can play like a big MLB, run stuffer like Donte Hightower and then rush the passer as a DE like Donte Hightower.

    We need a SLB who can also be a speed rusher as DE!!

  30. MarcBucs88 Says:

    Craw, not craw!