The Luxury Of Roster Depth

August 15th, 2017

Patience. (Photo courtesy of

How refreshing and, frankly, intelligent it is for the Bucs to build schemes around the players they have at hand.

Such is the case with Mike Smith’s defense. The Bucs have tinkered in training camp with a three-man safety set, not so much because the coaching staff of the Bucs wants it, it’s because the Bucs have the talent on the roster to use such a defense.

It appears the Bucs have a logjam at safety, to listen to the words of Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. This has been the main reason the Bucs have tinkered with three-safety looks, Licht noted when he appeared last week with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Kirwan, a former Bucs scout and Jets pro player personnel director, watched a Bucs practice last week and was excited to see the talents of rookie safety Justin Evans up close and personal.

Pat Kirwan: Evans wasn’t here for the OTA parts, but if I didn’t know that, I wouldn’t have believed it because I just got a chance to watch him pretty closely and there are a lot of things about that guy I like and I said to [Mike Smith, who] likes big nickel, there is a reason to get into some three-safety packages with that kid around.

Jason Licht: There is certainly no disappointment there. He did miss OTAs but he’s back and he’s full-speed now. And he is – man, is he smooth. We don’t have an athlete back there like him. We have some good athletes but he is very springy, explosive guy. He’s just picking it up. He’s a smart guy. He’s tough. And we recently have just been elevating his snaps to get him working with the ones.

We are in a good situation now. [Chris] Conte and [Keith] Tandy are playing well and J.J. Wilcox, one of our free agents, is making some splash plays. So we don’t have to rush this. So we think sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Joe knows from experience Bucs fans slam their computer mouses (mice?) down on the desk when Joe doesn’t write about [pick a player] in his practice notes. As Joe likes to say, you have to flash to be noticed.

And one reason Joe hasn’t written much about Evans is for the very reason Licht mentioned. There seems to be a logjam at safety with Tandy and fan favorite Conte, so Evans hasn’t played a whole lot with the ones. The Bucs aren’t trying to force-feed Evans, which sometimes can destroy a rookie.

And this is a luxury the Bucs have. They don’t need Evans to start right away. The Bucs can start him when he is ready.

25 Responses to “The Luxury Of Roster Depth”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Lovie used the three safety set several times when he went to his 12 man defensive formation…..

  2. voiceofreason Says:

    TBBF, thats some funny $hit

  3. Waterboy Says:

    I watched Evans in the 1st pre-season game and was a little disappointed but I forgot that he wasn’t able to participate much in the OTA’s. Hopefully he’ll get more comfortable and make a strong push to crack the starting lineup.

  4. Maze Says:

    Maybe this will help slow down some of the crying from some of the no-it-all Bucs fans with this talented kid

  5. shouldhavedraftedeifert Says:

    Seriously true Joe. @Justin Evans… what an immense talent this guy is. That reverse he snuffed out in Cincy… I’ve never seen that before. The rest of the D looked like they were walking. He’s got major wheels and likes to hit (but misses sometimes so did Lynch). I see why they spent a second rounder on him.

  6. shouldhavedraftedeifert Says:

    @Tampabaybucfan Faking hillarious dood good one!

  7. Mike Says:

    The kid is special and will be something to see once the light comes on. Bucs are doing the right thing by working him in slowly and showing some patience. A lot of folks don’t remember how long it took Lynch or Barber to become good players, but when they did, it was worth the wait!

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    when a safety cant tackle is why….

    Chris Conte is still here

    Smitty knows/trusts Conte can still tackle the runner if gets past the linebackers

    “Kobe has been complimented numerous times he looks like Chris Conte naked”

    Kobe Faker

  9. Pa Privateer Says:

    Living in PA I have watched the Steelers do this for decades. The younger players will start “showing up” in highlight reels when they are ready to take on a bigger role on the field. That is when the team has the “Luxury” of deciding when to let a older Vet walk and a younger player take the field.

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m not sure that I’m ready to heap praise on this kid yet. First of all, not starting him immediately is a GOOD thing. We have serviceable safeties that can play until he comes around. I can only judge him by preseason and it was less than stellar. Keep working kid, we need you.

  11. Joe Says:

    Lovie used the three safety set several times when he went to his 12 man defensive formation…..


  12. Mojiska Says:

    My brother is an a&m and panthers fan. He was dissapointed tampa got him, but said he is at least a 1 year project…

  13. shouldhavedraftedeifert Says:

    I remember the same knock on another secondary guy drafted by the bucs… anyone remember Aqib Talib?

  14. teacherman777 Says:

    He is a FREAK.

    Look at his calves in Hard Knocks. He has two softballs in them!

    He is thick and fast!

    He is gonna be exactly the SEC speed type safety we need.

    I have always said we needed to draft more SEC guys.

    Now we are stacked with Southern Speed!!

    Hey Racist Frat fools like in Virginia.

    Why do you watch football???

    With Black athletes southern football would SUCK!!!

    If you are a racist, stop watching Black Stars ball out!!

    Blancos would get destroyed if they had their own teams!!

    Remember that!

  15. CannonFodder Says:

    hilarious TBBF. And a few couch GMs are already calling Evans a bust, which is almost as funny as TBBFs comment. How about giving the guy a full year? Mike Smith was a bust until the bye week last year :whistling:

  16. Wausa Says:

    On April 15th reported the Bucs, Falcons and Cowboys all were interested in drafting Evans in the 1st round and their article also stated that the Bucs ‘likely wont let him get past their pick in the 2nd round.’

    Obviously their site was spot on and it sounds like the Bucs must have graded Evans as one of the top 25 players in the draft.

  17. Batman Wood Says:

    He looks smooth criminal in that photo.

  18. Joe Says:

    I remember the same knock on another secondary guy drafted by the bucs… anyone remember Aqib Talib?

    Talib? Hell, how about something more current. There were folks last year who wanted to run off Vernon Hargreaves!

  19. Piratic Says:

    Football only.

    Every other topic is not wanted here.

  20. shouldhavedraftedeifert Says:

    @Joe I don’t get that either. He did get owned by Benjamin that last game in iso but 99% of corners would… 1% being the ageless wonder Grimes.

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    J. Evans speed was obvious and impressive on that run that got strung out to the sideline and Evans came flying out there like a heat seeking missile to make the tackle.

  22. darin Says:

    We also used the three safety look last year every time aguayo missed an extra point.

  23. Dreambig Says:

    Evans got schooled on a few plays (Mixon) but man that guy was all over the field. Great motor! I have not been a fan of that pick, but with a bit of growth, he could be the real deal!

  24. Dreambig Says:

    Teacherman, ease up on the random racist comments lest you look quite bigoted yourself. Any color human is capable of hatred.

  25. Yohan Abercrombie Says:

    If it is the truth, then what evs. Facts aren’t “racist.”

    People need to stop being so darn sensitive.