Licht: There’s “A Ways To Go” On Defense

April 30th, 2017

Interesting take from the Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht in the aftermath of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Bucs added all kinds of firepower in the draft for America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston.

Deep, versatile, speedy receiver threat (Chris Godwin). Check!

Beastly, fast and powerful tight end (O.J. Howard). Check!

Talented running back with “rare hands” (Jeremy McNichols) Check!

What Jameis has to work with is downright dazzling. Compare it to what Josh Freeman had as he entered his third year coming off a standout sophomore campaign. It’s not even close.

But what about the Bucs’ defense?

Well, Jason Licht told Albert Breer of that it’s not as sunny on that side of the ball.

“Correct. That’s exactly right,” Licht says. “Defensively, we still have a ways to go before we get it exactly like we want it … we wanted to get more physical there. And we drafted a physical linebacker in [Kendall] Beckwith. And we drafted a huge 350-pound DT in Stevie [Tu’ikolovatu] from USC.”

Eyebrow-raising admission from the GM.

File that away in the back of your minds. This doesn’t mean the Bucs defense can’t perform like it did in the second half of last season. But the depth is suspect, as is the pass rush on a rather old and somewhat banged up defensive line.

106 Responses to “Licht: There’s “A Ways To Go” On Defense”

  1. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    Give evans a chance. Don’t hang him if he messes up here or there in his first year. He will learn how to finish tackles and end up being one of our better picks

    Gotta go defense heavy next draft and in fa

  2. Rob Says:

    Were going to be fine. Hopefully the offense doesn’t score so fast it puts our d out longer lol.

  3. Chris Says:

    Careful Joe, this guys no Dalvin Cook as many here will point out. I liked Dalvin too, but I think we got better with McNichols, Howard, and Godwin.

  4. Rob Says:

    Both lines have to be addressed next yr.

  5. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    @Rob … Yea honestly I’m actually a lil worried about that lol

  6. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Wait, The other Joe has spent the entire offseason telling us incessantly that Defense was not the reason the Bucs missed the playoffs. … It was not the reason the Bucs missed the playoffs. And that’s a big reason the Bucs were offense-heavy in the draft. Attacking Joe for sport as you continue to do is not going to be tolerated. Joe has no interest in babysitting your misleading comments. Your choice if you’d like to continue commenting from here forward. –Joe

  7. Bucs Fan Since '76 Says:

    Evans appears to play fast. His senior highlight video shows considerably more wrap-up tackles than his junior year. He flies to the ball and like all great safeties, seems to take pleasure in blasting through the ball carriers. I bet he starts alongside Tandy and our back end is vastly improved!

  8. Trubucfan22 Says:

    We added some talent and depth to defense. I think beckwith will win the starting job, if he is fully recovered in time for training camp If not at the start of the season then maybe mid way through it.

    Evans was drafted to be a starter. And i think with his speed and coverage abilities he is by far our best safety, talent wise.

    Stevie tu’i is a rotational guy. He can be an anchor on first down clogging up the middle of the defense so our LBs can get to work. Between the evaluations i’ve seen on stevie and the need we have for depth at DT, he should be able to make the roster. Which is rare for licht and his 7th round picks.

    Overall both sides of the ball got better in this draft. We havent always been able to say that. Licht was very 1 side minded in past drafts. Im glad he ws able to address both sides of the ball this year.

  9. Garv Says:

    I have to think the the further development of CB’s Jude Adjei-Barimah and Javien Elliott does add depth to the DB stable. The Buccaneers have a history of developing CB’s and hopefully these two pan out. I thought they did well for the most part when called on last season.
    It does seem the Buccaneers are relying on Noah Spence having a big second year as far as the pass rush goes. Question mark. Can Will Gholston get better in that area? With all the big guys in the middle, Siliga, Baker and rookie Stevie Tu’Ikolovatu maybe we will see more 3 down linemen sets with a blitzing LB?
    I have to like what I’ve seen over the course of the ast year as far as improvement on defense. Is depth a major problem? Could be if there are numerous major injuries but that’s true for every team.

  10. NycBuc Says:

    Licht is right but you can’t fix everything in 1 year and Jameis continued progression is paramount.

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jason reached on the the 2nd.
    History will not be kind to him on that pick.

  12. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Alright lol, I’ll lay off.

    But I was under the impression that we were free to express conflicting opinions as long as we weren’t making anything up.

    It’s your opinion that the Defense wasn’t the reason for the late season let down.

    It’s mine that when get zero pressure on the opposing Qb, give 55 of 70 pass

    Opinions are great. The kind that misrepresent Joe’s positions are not.–Joe

  13. SB Says:

    So far I see this draft as a B+. If they all make the team then it is definitely an A

  14. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    … 55 of 70 pass attempts, and allow 300+ rushing yards and multiple Touchdowns on the ground that your D didnt play good enough.

    All I wasnt saying, granted I was being snarky, was that it looks like Licht agrees with me.

  15. darin Says:

    Time will tell if evans is better than obi. With obi on the board i was surprised with the pick. Of course i dont watch as much tape or meet these guys. Bad part about this draft is some of the weapons i was hoping we would get the division rivals took. Ive got confidence in smitty to get the defense there. They improved big time last year towards the middle to end. We will definitely put up more points this year. I can see some good football players getting cut from other teams before the season, maybe pick up a player or 2 there for the defense. The offense is gona be humming. Go bucs

  16. darin Says:

    Oh and Mr Licht….please sign kd cannon.

  17. tnew Says:

    The draft really didn’t break our way defensively. I don’t think Licht had any imaginations that Howard was going to be there at 19. I really think that he was intending on dropping back to try to pick up another pick in the second or third but when Howard was there, his entire primary strategy changed and he adjusted accordingly, which is great! Long term we must get to a better place on the dline and as much as I wanted Malik McDowell, the draft didn’t break that way. I would have broken my laptop if he picked “my guy” over OJ Howard. All of the guys that wanted Cook should feel the same way. Howard just makes this offense so different. He could be the next Gronk or even better the next Tony G.. he has the coach to help him with that.

  18. Steven007 Says:

    Garv, completely agree with your second paragraph. I think the current personnel dictates that we will be blitzing more with linebackers to apply pressure. We’ve got some run stuffing​ Hogs and can generate a little heat up the middle now with GMC and Baker side by side. I’m guessing the hope will be that we can clean up on the outside with linebackers and also Spence and Ayers.

  19. Kobe Faker Says:

    We still need a few released cut players from other teams

    Would love to get 2 experienced corners…if grimes goes down, we are screwed


    Atlanta went 6-10 to superbowel with 2 FA acquisition and productive rookis

    Our Fa acquisition and rookie class has the same potential. It is proven with Carolina and Atlanta last year that a non playoff team can go all the way to the superbowel (offense blowing teams out)


    Malcom Butler for 2018 1st round pick?

    WIN NOW?

  20. Mike Johnson Says:

    Like I’ve said time and time again, Defensive pressure is the big key for us. And we are not there..well..not where we need to be. And I’m worried about this. Hopefully the waiver wires will provide us some relief in this area. What good is scoring 30 when your opponent scores 31?

  21. tnew Says:

    Sperbeck is an interesting UDFA from Boise St. He flashes a lot in the McNichols tape.

  22. Dewey Selmon Says:

    We drafted a DL. LB, DB, Coach Smith is only in his 2nd season. We will be fine. Besides, if our offense is so explosive like everyone is claiming, our defense should be playing with a lead. Everything looks great on paper. But there have been many “paper champs” that never won a SB.

  23. Dewey Selmon Says:

    PS, Thank you Joe(s) for busting your a$$es for us. You guys do put in the work!

  24. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Man, i should refrain from making comments on my phone. Holy moley what a jumbled mess.

  25. SB Says:

    Lol be careful Blake or you will end up like me. My original screen name can not even be typed here. I am hoping Joe will let me have it back if we win the SB

  26. Gencoimports Says:

    If we start playing some 3-4 will they move Spence to one OLB spot with Beckwith moving inside?

  27. SB Says:

    You must have a phone like me Blake. I try to only comment on my laptop

  28. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Lol yeah SB bro, I’m gonna take my foot of the gas for a bit. After all I do Love both Joes for making and running this awesome website.

    And I gotta ask, You heard from your boy NosBos at all?

  29. biff barker Says:

    Not sure why some are still wadded up about who we picked and who we passed on. Pull up the big boy undies. The votes are in and we go forward as a team.

    As long as we come away with three starters and a couple of role guys I’m good.

    Still stoked about Howard and Godwin.

  30. USFBUC Says:

    Kobe Faker – that might not be a bad idea at all if the Pats would do it.

  31. SB Says:

    No, he hasn’t texted me since we took Howard and we discussed the possibility of trading back up for Cook.

  32. SB Says:

    I fully believe though that he will own up to his debts.

  33. WelcomeOJ Says:

    What are your thoughts on trading for Sheldon Richardson? Just curious…saw a report that jets were still trying to trade him.

  34. Casual Observer Says:

    Biggest need, imo, is a grade A, consistent, pass rusher. I know they are scarce. Maybe a trade (it would have to mean giving up a lot) is the path if the current DEs (4 of them) can’t do the job. But overall the D looks pretty good right now.

  35. martinii Says:

    I think our defense is getting better for 2 reasons. The first is simply the fact that on paper our offense is solidifying. Jameis appears to have a war chest of weapons which should produce more points and sustain drives. That keeps our defense off the field and more vitalized when on. Second we are healthier on defense and more mature. Last years rookies are closer to being on the same page with Mike Smith. We must accept that our defense is rotational and at this point void of double digit sack masters or shut down corners that individually are fun to watch but often are forced to carry a team throughout a season. I for one like the talent neutral, rotational approach which is capable of covering injuries, providing depth, and still fresh in the 4th quarter. The idea is to win, the path to winning is as diverse as the number of teams playing.

  36. Gencoimports Says:

    My only critique of our draft was passing on DE Walker in the 2nd.

  37. DoNUTS Says:

    The other way of seeing this issue is that they believe Noah Spence will make the jump this season. He ran out of gas after 12 games (SEA) last year but he was a rookie and that is almost expected. If J Smith, who spends most of his time in the tub, can give us more than 3 games then I understand this decision more. Ayers looked good when healthy.

  38. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Perhaps the reason licht pass on certain positions is that he has good intel that there will be a few cap casualties around the league in the coming weeks & months.

    This is purely speculation. But interesting to think about.

  39. Ben Says:

    Not addressing pass rush will hurt this team once again this year. Down the stretch this team didnt have any juice left on that d line to finish. Just needed 1 more win….

  40. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Some posters on here think that the Falcons draft pick that the Bucs wanted bad was RB Brian Hill. But I don’t think so, I believe Mike Smith wanted CB Damontae Kazee in RD 5 at 18. But the Falcons picked Kazee at 5. I really, really wanted Damontae Kazee as our Slot CB. We brought him in for a visit on April 9 and Mike Smith was impress with him.

  41. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “…that’s a big reason the Bucs were offense-heavy in the draft…” – J0E

    Actually, it was split down the middle.

    Offense will get us into the playoffs.

    But we won’t go further without an improved defense.

    Two of the first three picks were offense. So Joe considers that offense-heavy, given the investment and talent-level of the higher picks. –Joe

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    LakeLandBuc Says
    “Some posters on here think that the Falcons draft pick that the Bucs wanted bad was RB Brian Hill. But I don’t think so…”

    They actually said during the presser that they wanted Hill and we fristrated when they lost him.

  43. B Coburn Says:

    Agreed that we will still lack pass rush…. cross fingers for someone let go after the draft? Lol

  44. SB Says:

    I know Lakeland. Falcons got several players I wanted. Kazee, Tak, and Duke. I am happy with what we got though.

  45. rayjay1122 Says:

    I find all of the takes that we reached on players to be quite idiotic to be nice. Unless you are involved inside the Bucs war room, then you have no clue how they had there draft board set up nor do you have any intel on who other teams were thought to draft.

    After the draft, I grabbed my NFL Draft magazine by Athlon Sports and looked up every Bucs pick. According to that publication, the Bucs selected every pick within their respective draft grade if not better. Below are the grades they listed.

    TE: O.J. Howard – Round 1 (Bucs round 1)
    Safety: J. Evans – 2nd-3rd round (Bucs round 2)
    WR: C. Godwin – 3rd-4th round (Bucs round 3)
    LB: K. Beckwith – 3rd round (Bucs round 3 trade up)
    RB: J. McNichols – 4th round (Bucs round 6)
    DT: S. Tu’Ikolovatu – 5th-6th round (Bucs round 7)

    No reaches according to those pre-draft ratings. I trust that Licht knows a little more than an arm chair GM. This was a solid draft, much better than last year I think.

  46. gambelero Says:

    I agree with gencoimports; walker > a poor tackling safety by a long shot. Otherwise great–not good–great draft

  47. LakeLandBuc Says:

    The pass rush didn’t do us in last season, we finish with 38 sacks. We were tied for 9th in the NFL, while the Falcons and the Patriots were tied at 16th. What did us in, was the offensive turnovers. During our 5 game winning streak, we turned the ball over 5 times and we created 14 turnovers. The 2 losses against the Cowboys and the Saints ( which kept us out of the playoffs) we turned the ball over 6 times and we created 1 turnover. Last season we turned the ball over 28 times and we created 29 turnovers. our defensive turnovers were 3rd in the NFL, which help get us to a 9-7 record. The Patriots and the Falcons each had 11 turnovers, tied for 1st in the NFL. If we can get our offensive turnovers down to 15 or below, we will be a top team in the NFL. The more I look at the stats,the more I can see why we didn’t add any D-Line or O-Line help.

  48. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Bonzai..Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht probably did want Brian Hill. But I believe Mike Smith wanted Kazee. Mike Smith want to create turnovers and Kazee had 15 INTs the pasr 2 seasons.

  49. Oj "I Got The Juice" Howard Says:

    I absolutely agree with your assessment LakeLand

  50. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    We had a shot at a DE with 16 sacks this past year….all kinds of accolades…perhaps it was the right call but I expect to see our new safety getting some ints and making some impact plays to offset the sack we may have had.

    I’m not particularly down on this pick just a bit curious…but again I’ve simply never appreciated a safety like a good pass rushing DE. Just feel the DE has more opportunities to make big impacts.

    Safeties are the last line of defense and quite frankly I hope ours become bored this year because the nine in front of them are dominating.

  51. LakeLandBuc Says:

    StPete, I would take Justin Evans over Demarcus Walker any day of the week.

  52. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Da’Quan Bowers had 15.5 his last season at Clemson.

  53. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    Yeah man, I’m still pissed about the Brian Hill pick. That has been my guy for like 3 months now. He’s gonna tear us up

  54. biff barker Says:

    Joe, while you may consider this draft to be offense heavy, I know you are smiling inside too.

    I find myself dreaming about all of the options Koetter has now.

  55. Tampa Tony Says:

    Licht may be hoping we outscore everyone as this d will have a hard time stopping Ryan Brees and good QB’s

  56. LakeLandBuc Says:

    If Jason Licht had plan to draft Brian Hill instead of Jeremy McNichols. Then I’m elated that the Falcons drafted him instead of us. McNichols is a more complete back than Brian Hill.

  57. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Jeremy McNichols is an Excellent Receiver as well as an Excellent blocker. Brian Hill is a better runner, not as fast as McNichols. But he’s bigger than McNichols, he’s a solid RB. But in this Vertical Offense, we need backs who can block and catch the ball out of the backfield.

  58. Ndog Says:

    I am not disappointed in the draft but I will say we need a d end badly. Right now it is Smith (always hurt) Spence who is an exciting prospect (but coming off a injury), Ayers (older and misses 4-5 games a year) and Goldson (great run defender below average pass rusher). Maybe we are looking at more 34 on pass rush downs as they could play Baker in the middle with McCoy and Ayers on the ends with either Spence or LVD coming off the edge.That would also make our pick of another inside backer look a lot better. The success of this draft might really depend on Evans as that was a high pick on a guy that most of us thought would go in the 4th.

  59. tnew Says:

    So after watching the McNichols game film. I kept hearing Sperbeck, Sperbeck, Sperbeck. We signed him as a UDFA

    This article is about his pro day

    He’s got a real chance to make the team and not just as a special teams player

  60. tnew Says:

    Sperbeck Highlights:

  61. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Jeremy McNichols dropped 2 passes out of 107 targets during the past 2 seasons. In 2012 with the Falcons Quizz caught 53 passes out of 59 targets. An 89.8 catch ratio. Jeremy McNichols caught 103 passes out of 107 targets for an 96% ratio during his 3 seasons in college.

  62. Yusef Says:

    I get what your saying but remember Rome wasn’t built in a day……..we all knew this offseason was about Winston, lets not act surprised our defense isn’t complete yet. and lets not act like our defense like you said, can’t play, they can…they just aren’t their quite yet….

  63. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    So far this is the best McNichols reel I’ve been able to find. Guy wasn’t at the top of my wishlist going into the draft, but he looks like a decent runner with really good hands and pass blocking. Dropped far due to his shoulder surgery, but should be ready to go near the beginning of the year.

    Solid Value pick at the RB position. Would’ve preffered Brian Hill personally because I wanted a bigger short yardage back. But this is how the good teams address RB. In the later rounds.

  64. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Jeremy McNichols announced on his twitter last night that Boise State WR Thomas Sperbeck had signed with the Bucs. He would make a decent Slot WR, ST Player.

  65. SteelStudBuc Says:

    Cue the Doug Martin hate campaign

  66. DraftJameis Says:

    I’m hoping that next year we make the playoffs on the back of our offense and Jameis’ MVP season. We then go balls to the wall on defense in the 2018 draft, and if that produces 2-3 quality defensive starters, let the Lombardi’s ensue.

  67. bucs_365 Says:

    DE is my biggest concern on the team. We have a lot of candidates, but as far as I can see, Spence is the only one with high upside as a pass rusher. Maybe we can get lucky and Jacq Smith plays most of the year and comes back effective after knee surgery. Of course, Ayers remaining healthy is a key – he could put up 8-9 sacks and his relentlessness is a good example for the rest. Ryan Russell may be a sleeper with pass rush skills. Channing Ward and/or DaVonte Lambert probably don’t offer much except effort and development as backups. Why is George Johnson still on the roster? Gholston could give us 5-6 sacks, maybe.

    To remedy the lack of a dominant edge rusher, I would expect more blitzes. I think both Bond and Beckwith are upfield guys who might be effective blitzers. We know David and Kwon can get there.

    I’m less worried about run defense with the size we’ve been adding up front.

    Our starting CBs need to stay healthy. Ryan Smith will be an eventual starter across from Hargreaves, but he’s gonna probably take some lumps if asked to start in the event of injuries this year.

    Yup, our offense is a lot closer to being a finished unit. Next year I’d expect a defense-heavy draft.

  68. Buc1987 Says:

    Koetter :”Speak softly and carry a big mutha*(*&#$^ stick”

    McCoy :”Ahhhh do I really HAVE to?”

  69. Brett Says:

    In four years, GMC will be declining, and DeMarcus Walker will have at least one Pro Bowl. It’s hard for me to criticize the Safety taken in round two, but I know DeMarcus will be a steady contributor for years to come.

  70. Ndog Says:

    No no no Blake you can’t like McNichols cause he had shoulder surgey. As we know you told us 10000 times a shoulder surgey means you can’t hold the ball and will fumble constantly. I just messing with you of course but you can see where I was coming from with that being repeated when in reality many many players have different injury issues. Let’s just hope he makes it and is a steal.

  71. Gencoimports Says:

    I hope Evans works out and I realize our pass rush improved last season, but 38 sacks doesn’t cut it. The 2002 Bucs had 43 sacks in an era that wasn’t quite as pass happy as the league is today. They floor figure we need to shoot for is 48-50 sacks.

    Spence played hurt last year, Ayers missed several games, and Jacques Smith was out for the year. Hopefully they will be healthy this year but I was hoping for some fresh blood to add to this group.

  72. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Why are you making me repeat myself Ndog? 5th Round vs 1st round or Multiple picks in the second round.

    Its all about Value.

  73. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Not to mention it’s one surgery vs three.

    Once is chance, Twice is coincidence, three times is a pattern.

  74. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    But I agree, I hope the kid does good, Best case scenario is we just got another Devonta Freeman/ Jay Ajayi type of player in McNichols.

    You wouldn’t catch me complaining if he’s the lead back on our Super Bowl run 😀

  75. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    I hope you’re correct about Walker. I’m not so sure. I think both players have talent. I just remember the endless comparison between Mark Barron and what could have been in Luke Kuechely.

    IF…and all of them are still “ifs” Walker balls out and gets a half dozen sacks this year or grows into a competent DE it’s simply going to put pressure on Evans….fair or not.

    But I hear ya Lakeland….given the QB’s and TE’s in our Division it’s going to be nice to have a solid safety.

    Overall I’m happy with our D moves especially beefing up the middle with the FA and late Draft pick. If we could just get tougher against teams that gash us with runs that’ll be an improvement. I’m assuming our new stud safety will help there and he should also help us improve those quick slant over the middle we simply concede.

    Our vastly improved offense is also a defensive improvement as well. How many games did the D wear down and we lose last year because the Offense couldn’t possess the ball for awhile and take some time off the clock much less chip in with another FG or two. The very best way to stop the stud QB’s is to simply keep them off the field to begin with. We can start doing that this year!

  76. Defense Rules Says:

    Interesting observation by Licht that the Bucs still have a ways to go defensively. He’s right, but the same could be said about the offense (personally think that our defense has better depth than our offense).

    Our DLine particularly looks to be quite solid. Assuming Bucs carry 10 total DT/DE in the final 53-man roster, it looks to me like the Bucs are in pretty good shape. McCoy, McDonald & Baker are all DT locks IMO, and I’d expect Bucs to carry 1 more DT (either Siliga or our rookie Tu’lkolovatu). Gholston, Ayers, Spence & Jack Smith (if healthy & re-signed) should all be DE locks, and I’d expect Bucs to carry 2 more (Johnson, Russell, Ward, Lambert). That’s actually a pretty solid lineup, although would like to see another speedy DE find his way in there.

    Our LB corps is pretty solid (David & Kwon particularly) and I’m hoping that either Bond or Beckwith really jumps to the top as the 3rd one.

    Our CBs look to be smallish but very solid also. Grimes & VHIII I’d expect to be starting outside, and I’m convinced that Ryan Smith will work his way in there as the Nickel this year. Jude & Josh Robinson will surely be in the final 53, but not sure Bucs will carry 6 CBs this year (if they do, Elliott & Riggs get to fight it out I guess).

    Safeties concern me a little bit, but tend to think it’ll iron itself out pretty quickly in training camp. Tandy, Conte, Wilcox and now Justin Evans should have an interesting battle for the 2 starting spots.

    All in all, Bucs should have a very respectable starting lineup that can be competitive in every game we play this year. Depth could probably be a little better in some groups (especially DE & LB) but it’s a LOT better than it has been for quite a few yrs.

  77. tdtb2015 Says:

    We are right on track. Now we need VJax to come join us again as a backup or slot receiver. He would be great to continue his leadership with Evans and Godwin.

    Lets see what kind of magic Licht will bring on the 2nd wave of free agency. Maybe another d-linemen?

    In Licht We Trust!!!

  78. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Agree D.R. I think your positional assessment is accurate and we are now down to the football “gods”.

    I’m being serious here. I think we have enough talent, leadership, and coaching to get the job done and so it’s just the breaks.

    1.) Always the most important…injuries…we were not lucky last year lets hope we will be this year although there are always going to be some. I guess considering the durability of our franchise QB we have had our share of good luck as well there.

    2.) Stupid stuff! No more bad needless penalties and what seemed to increase our stupid quotient over the past few years has been the timing of the calls which makes the penalties even worse! We need to start playing smart this year. I sensed a subtle improvement in that last year I hope it continues.

    3.) Sheer luck. This includes officiating that can sometimes influence the outcome of the games. I know many believe that some teams “get calls” while others do not…while I”m not sure I do seem to feel that N.E. is going to get more calls…or perhaps stated more accurately more no calls…than the Bucs!
    Perhaps we’ll improve this year in the Zebras minds…lets hope.

    It also includes the bounce of an oblong ball…and such things as when we catch opponents on our schedule…are they playing well or poorly…it’s amazing how different NFL teams can perform from portion of a season to another.

    Bottom line. We are ready!!! Sacrifice a few trolls to the football gods for luck!!

    Minneapolis here we come!!!!!

  79. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Lady Luck’ certainly does play a role St Pete. Injuries will surely happen, but I’m convinced that some can be minimized by even better conditioning & smart practicing (the indoor practice facility should help a bunch I think). In the heat of the moment everyone liable to do ‘stupid stuff’ as you so appropriately called it (on ‘Hard Knocks’ those stupid things will probably be preceded by the words ‘Watch this’).

    One additional thing that I think folks overlook is that other teams improve also. Saints went heavier on defense this time in the draft (for good reason I surmise), while Carolina went heavier on offense. Falcons were pretty balanced, as were we. It’ll be interesting to see if each of our division foes have minimized their weakness from last season through FA & the draft. Only time will tell.

  80. Rrsrq Says:

    Just like Chucky came in and challenged the defense, let Mike Smith run it but Dirk has to make them meet the challenge

  81. Broy34 Says:

    Once again people crying that we didn’t draft guys that work at regular jobs wanted. Ayers gjolston McCoy Baker 7th rounder jaq and Spence. Absolutely don’t need an edge rush so stop. Wouldve draft one if we did. Some of you are clueless. We are CLEARLY gonna be running 3/4 alot. Hence ayers/gholston, at end Baker and 7th and Clinton up middle and McCoy Spence and jaq at edge. Meaning spence outside rusher with Kwon and kelwith or whatever at middle with lavonte and bond outside. Front 7 is loaded. Now we have Grimes Hargreaves Jude Elliot and a stable if safeties. Evans is ABSOLUTELY starting day one. Smith wanted him guaranteed. Tandy opposite with conte anf wilcox for depth. We are deep and loaded both sides w more bodies to come. Offense-dont even get me started st how nasty our offense is. If you disagree then just stop because it can’t get any better. Mcnichols will break out. Literally TOO many targets. This team is 11/5,12/4 guaranteed. Take it to the bank the way Nole did cook (except I’m right he was dead wrong) and Nole how bout Ur idea glazer would pick cook. Damn fool

  82. Broy34 Says:


  83. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I’m glad Licht recognizes that we still have a long way to go on defense after just a couple good games last season.

    The Saints and Seahawks games showed us that we have the ability to play like that but we have to be more consistent.

    Good thing we don’t play the mighty Rams next season.

  84. Kobe Faker Says:

    Only reason conte is back is because mike smith doesnt trust anyone else

    Mike smith knows if they continuously run past out 2 lbs, conte will be there on the 2nd level to take down the runner. Mike smith has no faith any other safety can do that consistantly

  85. teacherman777 Says:

    Justin Evans brings dat FIRE like Mike Evans!!

    Another Badass Aggie in La Familia!!

    Justin Evans plays ANGRY.

    Mark this Joe’s words.

    Justin Evans is a rocket tackler. He will F people up from the FS position.

    He’s rangey and a hard hitter. Amazing combo for a Free Safety!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  86. Eric Says:

    First order of business is to get Jameis rolling like a franchise QB should.

    I support that endeavor. Otherwise, why bother with a franchise QB?

    Besides the team has previously invested high picks on defense. Need to get the most out of those guys.

  87. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    DestinJonny – did you watch the tape of J Evans? The kid flies to the ball and lays the wood opposing players. He reminds me of Kwon with his energy and what appears to be a lot of passion. I have to admit I didn’t know much about him before the draft. However after I saw his highlights I can see why Licht chose him over Obi and some of the other defenders that were available at the time. I am trusting Licht and I think this is going to be like Kwon and a pleasant surprise to Bucs fans that are doubting the pick right now.

  88. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Pretty cool cut-up here for anybody bored.

    Go Bucs!

  89. Rod Munch Says:

    Safety and TE are the two hardest positions for a rookie to contribute to in the NFL – and it was the Bucs first two picks. All you people who think if a rookie isn’t the clear starter in week one of their rookie season, that they’re a bust, you might want to get your depends out. I think both players make some big plays, obviously OJ will have the chance to do just that – but even if both guys don’t start day 1, just keep it together ladies, everything will be OK… For OJ I found it interesting in that one recap, don’t recall where, maybe ESPN – they called Brate, for the first time I’ve heard, a H-back instead of a TE.

  90. Jersey Buc Says:

    The pass rush ABSOLUTELY killed us last year, especially over the last six weeks of the season when it was non existent. Yes, the bucs had 8 more sacks than either the Falcons or the Patriots…but both those teams had 53 and 43 more QB pressures than the bucs! Common sense, people, please!!! If the QB isn’t worried about you, you can’t stop him. Plain and simple. The same people who say it’s not an issue, will be the same people bitching and moaning in week six about the lack of pressure.

  91. SCBucsFan Says:

    Our defense was one of the best in the league in the second half of last season. As long as we still have Mike Smith, I’m not too worried about it.

  92. Kevinthepainterimagine Says:

    I would be happy to bet my house and land that when playing against an above average offense, this defense will get torched. The depth is not great and the scheme sucks. Unless the mix it up, show some different fronts, throw in some blitzes, and play some press coverage and jam the receivers at the line they will get torched. I truly beliieve thats why licht does not invest a lot into that side of the ball. Unitl smith proves that he is not lovie smith 2.0, it wont happen. Im pretty sure that conversation has been had between smith and the front office. What I love most is that licht holds the power, not Koetter. I predict that in the begginning of the 2018 season Jay Hayes will be our new DE, AND THEN we will have a good defense….bht hey, maybe Im wrong. Maybe Smith isnt Lovie and will go against the grain of what he has believed in for years. maybe he will.change things up, but I will not believe it.until I see it. Its all on Dirk and Jameis to make this happen in 2017 .

  93. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Wow welcome Kevin. By chance are you related to Dallas?

  94. Kevinthepainterimagine Says:

    no sir….live my.bucs, love jason licht, dirk koetter and everyone one the team. plain and simple when you.look at the end of last season against new orleans and dallas we got embarrassed on defense. Hardcore beatdown on defense yoy cant deny that. That five game stretch where our defense was “lights out” started against the bears, which anyone couldve done that. And I truly feel that kansas city and new orleans slept on us because new orleans smoked our defense the second game, san diego is hit or miss and they were missing all of theyre main offensive weapons, and I cant rememver the fifth game at the moment….but once I saw the defense against dallas and new orleans it was the old bucs defense. Dallas set a record nfl completion percentage against us that game. Not being negative Im just being honest. Fans have theyre hopes on our defense being a dominant unit and it aint gonna happen UNLESS its coached different this year

  95. Kevinthepainterimagine Says:

    Again, we have really really good starters but I believe the reason licht didnt invest heavily in the defense for the third year in a row is lack of faith in defensive coaching. He knows the offense is the only chance we have to stay in games. If Smith proves to change his coaching and be a little more aggressive then I think Licht will invest mkre.on that side.of the ball.

    If I was.will Dallas Buc cursing Licht, I hapoen to think hes the best GM THE team has ever had, he is just giving Smith time to prove himself becasue he and Koetter are tight

  96. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    ^It’s just the way the draft fell bud.

  97. JimmyJack Says:

    Drafting players that are great and “dazzling” are one thing. Seeing them actually perform on the field is a whole nother animal………..You just never know with some of these players sometimes. I don’t care how great the prospects are supported to be. If they aren’t ready to work hard for this city it will show up on Camera and they will fizzle out.

  98. James Walker Says:

    This was a very deep draft, or so it seems. Usually I never pay attention to a 7th rounder.

  99. Buc1987 Says:

    Kevinthepainterimagine…so they should have never signed Smith to an extension then?

  100. DallasBuc Says:

    Oh man…I leave for a day and a half and someone, Blake of all fanboys, slides into my dutiful spot of keeping the hosts honest and that in some ways resembles a man carrying a big stick over being an aaskissing loser like most of grown older boys on here.
    The super sensitive one smacked lil Blake down tho like he often does to me with the same line about how they were being so sorely misrepresented. As if all the opinions they or anyone else tosses around is necessarily factually accurate and is required to be wholly representative in all manner of speaking. Just stop it and stop with your delicate sensibilities.

  101. MadMax Says:

    lol, so much drama….just try to chill fellas.

    Next year Im pretty sure DT/DE will be our first pick.

  102. Oj "I Got The Juice" Howard Says:

    Don’t sleep on OJ

  103. Broy34 Says:

    SA aw two minutes and it’s clear sperbeck is a STUD. Dude had TERRIBLE throws his way. He’ll develop route running but can flat out catch

  104. Broy34 Says:

    Dallas you weren’t missed. Tried callijg it a bad draft. Get out of here with that old man opinion. Demarcus Walker will be good cuz he has von Miller around him. And that’s still a projection. If he wasn’t Florida state nobody would say sheet

  105. mat Says:

    Ok I see the arguing but what is the special teams profile on the players drafted in later rounds? That s big. And did we get guys who will know the playbook. Some folks say that gets more low end players cut than their skills.

  106. Brandon Says:

    They got more physical but far less athletic. Beckwith was already considered a limited range two down LB with poor speed BEFORE he blew out his ACL in November… but then we traded up for him.

    The DT was the heaviest DL at the Combine and the fattest overall player there at 31.4% bodyfat…plus he’s extremely slow, not explosive, and already 26 years old so he’s done getting faster and stronger for the most part. Whatever he did in college, he did as a grown @55 man against a bunch of kids. Worked great for Danny Watkins, Peria Jerry, and Gaines Adams in getting them drafted high… did nothing to help them as NFL players. I thought these two selections were dog doo.

    Evans on the other hand, I’ve never seen a worse tackler. His Tennessee and UCLA games were among the worst tackling displays that have ever been put on tape. He won’t hit a guy unless his back is turned. Once the guy turns around, he’ll either throw himself down at the guy’s feet or he’ll jump on his back and go for a ride. Just a flat-out terrible defensive draft. The offensive guys look great, and they will look like HOFers in practice against these horrible defensive prospects.