Sifting Through The Combine Chatter

March 3rd, 2017


We parse words. We study body language. We try to fill in the blanks.

If you’re an NFL fan, that’s what you do when the Combine rolls around and a succession of coaches and GMs take turns at the podium before gaggles of hungry reporters.

On Wednesday morning, before they examined the EKG charts of 330 prospects, Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht spoke for a combined 25 minutes on the state of your Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The primary message: we’re not there yet.

No kidding. When you’ve gone nine seasons without a playoff appearance, you’re not there yet.

But these Bucs are close. You can tell by the enthusiasm of the Buc brain trust as Licht and Koetter.

This is the time of year when fans have to trust their instincts. No coach or executive wants to tip his hand at the Indy Combine, but if you look closely enough, you can smell the tea leaves.

For instance, it’s now more clear than ever that Mike Glennon simply isn’t interested in being Jameis Winston’s backup, no matter how many shekels the Glazers throw his way.

I’m hardly surprised Glennon politely declined Tampa Bay’s offer for a lucrative contract extension. In our private conversation after the season finale, Glennon made it clear he wants an opportunity to start.

Looking around the barren NFL landscape, who can blame him? Why shouldn’t he think he can beat out Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg and win the Jets job?

Final score — Glennon is moving on and so are the Bucs.

Mangold Over Sweezy Shakeup

Licht and Koetter didn’t sound particularly concerned about an offensive line that blocked poorly at times in the run game last fall. Perhaps the specter of a healthy J.R. Sweezy has the Bucs thinking they don’t need help up front, but I’m not buying what they’re selling.

I still think signing center Nick Mangold for the right price would be a smart move, adding a seven-time Pro Bowler who missed only four games in his first 10 seasons before a severe ankle injury limited Mangold to eight starts last year.

Mangold adds character to any locker room and he can still play at a high level. The Bucs could use a mid-round draft pick on a center and groom him behind Mangold for a couple of years.

Instead of moving Ali Marpet from right guard to center and adding Sweezy as a starter, I say sign Mangold, keep Marpet where he belongs and let Sweezy duke it out with Kevin Pamphile at left guard.

If Sweezy becomes a quality backup, so be it.

Extinguished Stars

On the subject of Vincent Jackson, Licht and Koetter expressed their deep respect for a veteran receiver who proved to be a savvy free-agent addition in 2012.

Those remarks are justified, but let’s not get carried away … that ship has sailed.

The Bucs will add at least a couple of receivers in the offseason and Jackson no longer fits in their plans.

I don’t see Jackson or Doug Martin returning this fall, but I wouldn’t count out Martin resurrecting his career with another club. For the Bucs, the temptation to walk away from Martin’s contract will be too enticing to pass up.

Soon, speculation will give way to new bodies, maybe even some expensive new bodies, for a team that isn’t there yet.

“We have more than one position where we’re not sure how it’s going to shake out,” Koetter said.

Shake, rattle and roll, Mr. Licht.

13 Responses to “Sifting Through The Combine Chatter”

  1. Canadianbucsfan Says:

    I’m all for mangold! Why move Marpet when he is by far the best o-lineman on your team. Move Sweezy to LG and Pamphile to RT. See how it works out.

  2. Spartin Says:

    I hope you’re right about adding WRs Joe. We thought they would last offseason as well and they didn’t add anything.

  3. Guzzie Says:

    Spartin…didn’t add anything last year, Licht got the best medical courier and lounge singer money can buy to play WR, and threw in a couple of waiver wire adds, Shorts and Huff, talk about being proactive, don’t forget the great contributions our yearly IR specialist Louis Murphy, Licht was all over it last offseason, no one (sarcasm) could see a 34 year VJAX playing poorly then getting hurt, and Afro blunder was going to set the league on fire, looking at his hat lineup on paper, the Bucs were one player away from glory, that one player was a reliable kicker

  4. d-roca Says:

    Im all for anyone who can help the bucs get to the playoffs this next season. For all u guys looking 2 n 3 years ahead, stop it. Its a year by year game by game league. Plus its not my money. Leave some money for extensions n spend the rest boys. Lets get em this year. Mangold can ball still. Djax can run still. Do it.

  5. tdtb2015 Says:

    I’m not sold they are adding to the oline. Although, Mangold would be exciting to have as part of this team.

    I can see a vet wr joining the team along with a drafted wr. This would continue last years mindset of grooming their young rookie wideout.

    I’m praying for Licht to go all out with Calais. This would be a definitely upgrade to the line. OC’s will have to earn their money when planning to attack our defense. They will have very little time to do so.

    A solid #2 wr, RB Rodgers, FB DiMarco and Calais will get us to the playoffs.

    We are very close folks….Go Bucs!!!

  6. macabee Says:

    I’m going to make this short and sweet. There are four free agents that would immediately change the face of the Bucs. #IMO

    – DT Calais Campbell….10.5mil
    – WR Pierre Garcon………9mil
    – C Nick Mangold………….8mil
    – FS Tony Jefferson……….7mil

    In total that is 34.5mil. According to OTC, the Bucs have 68mil in cap space. Which would leave 33.5mil to resign key Buc free agents, allocate 7mil to the draft and have money to carry over to next year.

  7. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Agreed! Sign Nick Manhold! He can only help our offensive line and our young QB! Atlanta’s O-line was a mess before they brought in Alex Mack. He stabilized the unit with his knowledge, toughness and leadership, and Matt Ryan bore the fruit of the better protection last season! Mangold can still be a pro bowl type center for a few more years…,he can be our Alex Mack!

  8. Guzzie Says:

    Seriously Mangold is a declining player, you really want to start changing centers every other year

  9. Guzzie Says:

    Marpet or Pamphile should play center, solidify center for years

  10. Hodad Says:

    The problem with signing Mangold, is the same problem we had with Mankins. In a year or two you’re looking for his replacement. It’s time to give Jameis his Jeff Saturday. Time to give him a center he can have in front of him for 10 yrs, not one. Marpet has had two seasons in this offense, he came in with Jameis, he can be that guy. When asked at the combine Koetter mentioned Ali Marpet can really play center. Sweezy comes back heathy, it’s a no brainer, move Ali to center.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    macabee, looks like you and I share a similar FA vision. Safety Tony Jefferson (at $7 mil) should be our primary FA target IMHO, followed very closely by Calais Campbell unless price gets too high ($10.5 mil may be a tad low). Pierre Garcon would be a great WR pickup, although for $9 mil would personally rather have Desean Jackson (or a couple others). Not sold on Nick Mangold (age plus coming off an ankle injury), although we do need to pick up a Center to replace Joe Hawley (who I’d re-sign as a backup for the right price). Would personally rather draft a Center, or if necessary move Ali Marpet over and let him ‘grow’ with Jameis. RT still concerns me, and if I had my druthers we’d add Matt Kalil for about $7 mil (only 27 with extensive LT experience but surely could play RT AND that’d give us a true LT backup for Donovan Smith, something we don’t now have).

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

    That’s real talk mac and D-roca we share that sentiment. Everyone panties get in a jumble when mentioning the thought of losing a pick or two the following draft. Its about right here right now man. What can be done to make our chances of securing a playoff spot right now. Folks know what I feel would go a long way to ensuring that. Add in mac’s list and its done deal.

  13. Hig Says:

    Sage diagnosis and prognosis Ira. Please keep sharing your wisdom.