Ward Needs “A Managed Role”

September 4th, 2017

Inside analysis.

Those who follow Joe on Twitter and ask every time they recognize a name of a player who has been released if there is a chance the Bucs sign him fully know what Joe is about to type.

Joe always has two quick responses:

* Chance? There is always a chance. How much is another story.

* Why would [insert team name] wash hands of [insert player name]?

The latter was Joe’s immediate response when Joe’s Twitter timeline began to fill up with T.J. Ward questions after the Broncos cut him when the team trimmed its roster to the mandated 53-man roster.

If Ward was so good, then would a good team like the Broncos part ways?

As Derrick Brooks has said for years, if an NFL team wants you, they will find a way to keep you.

Well, it seems Albert Breer of theMMQB.com has poked around and found that Ward is slipping in a specific skill set and may no longer be a full-time starter.

And look, I understand that the Broncos like Justin Simmons’s upside at the [safety] position, and the potential of Will Parks and Jamal Carter. But you have to wonder if Denver loses its identity a little bit here. I spoke with two opposing AFC West coaches last night, and their feeling was that Ward still brings physicality and savvy to the table, but has become a bit of a liability in coverage. Which means Tampa—the Buccaneers signed him to a one-year, $5 million deal overnight—is getting a guy who’ll need a managed role, but certainly has something left in the tank.

If Breer isn’t getting conned by AFC West coaches, then that sure doesn’t smell like a full-time starter. Yet the Bucs are paying him full-time starter cash.

Perhaps Ward isn’t able to be an every-down safety for what the Broncos are wanting him to do but Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht sees Ward as an impact player in Mike Smith’s defense?

51 Responses to “Ward Needs “A Managed Role””

  1. Bucs Fan Since '76 Says:

    Adding a Pro Bowler for depth at a position where the team has struggled = never a bad thing.

  2. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Wont Ward be more of the box safety that tandy player pretty well down the stretch last year? Hope Breer wrong but productive players dont get released

  3. Ed Says:

    Good pickup by the GM. nice mix of young and older vets. A perfect fit for Ward in Tampa,may be a question mark about his covering ability, however the same can be said for most safeties in the NFL.

  4. CautiousOptimism Says:

    Liability in coverage. Sounds like what we had be shelling out $5mil. Still don’t see how this signing improves our nonexistent pass rush in 2017.

  5. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Hard to believe any team can pick up a player who is cut that can step in and be a legitimate starter.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Ward seems like a bargain at $5 compared to ATV @ $7mil

    Let’s face it the cap is spent in many different ways……too much for some and not nearly enough for others…..Look at what we are getting from Cameron Brate….for example.

    Sure, maybe we spent about 1.6 million too much….oh wait….that’s exactly the amount we spent over JJ Wilcox….what kind of bargain was he?

  7. HarlemBuc Says:

    Ok so he has a drawback. But we don’t have a safety on this roster that matches his pedigree. I’m hoping Mike Smith can take advantage of the skills he does have.

  8. Destinjohnny Says:

    Think the whole thing is a mistake

  9. nate_tweetz Says:

    Players are released, not resigned, or traded all the time and go on to be legitimate starters all over the league.

    1. M. Bennett – Now one of Seattle’s best DL.
    2. L. Blount – Lead the league in rushing touchdowns last year.
    3. M. Foster – Starting MLB for Washington.
    4. B. Grimes – We signed as a 33 yr old CB that has been arguably our best D player.

    There are examples like this throughout the league, so to say someone who is cut can’t be a legitimate starter is not necessarily the case. Sometimes good players get cut for salary reasons, especially if a GM thinks he has a younger, cheaper player, that is close to the same level of talent. Experienced players can find themselves on the chopping block.

  10. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Nate dont forget Licht letting Zuttah and all pro donald penn walk….

  11. German Buc Says:

    @CautiousOptimism – Guess most of the readers here got the point, that you expect our pass rush to be underwhelming this year. So please do us a favor and stop posting it.
    Why not honor your nick and start posting something optimistic?

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There are some perfectly good wives that have been jettisoned for younger ones…..although unlike the NFL…..it’s not always the least expensive option.

  13. darin Says:

    Yeah i agree Joe. I figured theyd keep wilcox around at least until they saw what ward can n cant do. Maybe jj wasnt doing too good either. Gota trust in JL i suppose. Those hammies always concern me tho. Lets hope he is healed and motivated. Go Bucs

  14. MadMax Says:

    Blitzing, defending the run, and forcing fumbles looks like his strong sets. Something very needed.

  15. martinii Says:

    Bold pick, has all the ingredients of a future success story or a nightmare. My concern was not the logic behind the pick, I was concerned with the JJ Wilcox trade. A sixth round pick has merits and gives us some move-up ability, but where is our 2016 Pick? I would have cut Cameron Lynch and kept 5 Safety’s. Certainly nothing wrong with our LB corp, so I would have focused more at solidifying Safety, especially with the QB’s and receivers in the NFC South. Wilcox had a pretty good camp and would have served as adequate rotational player in what could have been a strong DB Corp.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    John Lynch is one of my all-time favorite Bucs. Not many safeties hit harder than he did, plus he was a sure tackler & quite good in coverage. Remember thinking when the Bucs didn’t re-sign him in 2004 (32 yrs old then) that we’d made a big mistake. Denver snatched him up & John went on to play 4 more years with Denver at a pretty high level (4 yrs Pro Bowl). Would love to see T.J. Ward return the favor Bucs did for the Broncos back then. And HarlemBuc, I’m thinking the same way that you are … I’m also hoping Mike Smith can take advantage of the skills he does have.

  17. NOSBOS Says:

    German,some d!€%heads come here specifically to throw shade. You kinda have to just get use to’em and they’re whack antics. A number of them are trying to be Dallasbuc disciples. That’s been his shtik since I discovered jbf. These other dudes…

  18. NOSBOS Says:

    MadMax,all that is something we’ve never seen in Tampa.

  19. NOSBOS Says:

    Well maybe not the defending the run and forcing fumbles part. But this notion that most safeties can cover is assinine. They play safety for a reason.

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    When Lynch was cut, many questioned if he had anything left in the tank. Ditto Warren Sapp.

    I discount the premise of the article from unnamed sources.

  21. Supersam Says:

    Productive players don’t get released? Hmm let’s see here, We’ve released traded or cut the following, Michael Bennett, Aqib Talib, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Blount, Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks,… you get my point lol

  22. Supersam Says:

    Oh and one of the leagues best kickers Matt Bryant and we still can’t find a replacement

  23. Mexican Buc Says:

    I think we, the tampa bay buc’s fans are never happy. If another team had got Ward before us we would be very angry because we left a pro bowler go. now that we have it we say he might not be good enough…. let´s be happy with the new player. There is not a single player in the NFL that isn’t a risk in FA. enjoy the ride while it last. We have a good team, just let’s hope to many injuries don´t occur

  24. Michael Says:

    Just like Lynch, cut to make room for younger guys. How did that work out for the Broncos, Lynch played pretty good.

  25. Ed Kerber Says:

    I see WArd as a third safety, 4th linebacker. When he makes it on the field, husband job is only blitzing or attacking the running back behind the line of scrimmage. He will make the other 10 he plays with better. BESTT 11 players will include Wardrobe about 75% of the time

  26. stpetebucsfan Says:


    At least I forced his to add 2017 to his insult! For the past couple of days I’ve posted a link that shows the Bucs tied for the 9th best in sacks in the league…ahead of teams like the Pats and Falcons…last year’s SB teams.

    CO used to simply post about our non existent pass rush until I linked the FACTS.
    Now he’s got to project his negativism into the future to try and insult the Bucs.

    But hey there’s logic to his point. Signing Baker…having Spence with a healthy shoulder and a year’s experience…having VHIII with another year’s experience and the possiblity of a coverage sack…what a concept….why yes it’s clear to see the thought C.O. puts behind his posts. Of course we’ll fall dramatically from last year’s 9th place finish in sacks since our personnel has improved! SMH

  27. Carlos Danger Says:

    You know who else that can’t cover? Chris Conte you dickheads. I think I’d rather take my “chances” with a guy that had an interception and a fumble recovery in the SUPERBOWL. Christ you people. I think you tardos would still bitch even if we found a way to sign Von Miller

  28. stpetebucsfan Says:

    This move is not risky at all. It’s a ONE year deal so it won’t really impact our cap going forward. Why not spend all of our money this year as long as we don’t impact signings next year and beyond.

    Let’s face it…we’re going to have to be creative when the time comes to pay #3!
    And of course there’s ME13. I wish we could lock them up early because the cap will go up.

    Look at the careers of GMC and Suh. We locked up GMC early…the Lions did not with Suh. And so now Suh makes more than JJ Watt…seven million PER YEAR more than GMC and he’s produced 3.5 fewer sacks than GMC the past two season for those big bucks. Both Suh and GMC have their strengths and weaknesses but I simply do not see either one of them being worth 20 million per year if the other is making just 13.

  29. Pa Privateer Says:

    @ Dusty,

    Zuttah was cut by Ravens, and may still be available…..

    That being said, It is a 1 year contract to a Veteran who can teach our 2nd round pick J. Evans. This is the type of vet and bridge player that Licht seems to be bringing in for every one of our draft picks to learn from.

    People talking about Ward having a Hammy issue is information I want to get details about. It doesn’t bother that much since we were probably starting Tandy and Conte before signing Ward anyway. So If Ward needs a couple weeks of limited action to heal then I am ok with that. Remember, Ward has Playoff experience that very few on our team have. It is a long season and having a good rotation of players is necessary.

  30. German Buc Says:

    @NOSBOS and stpete: Besides the Joes and Ira – it’s the guys like you, why I am addicted to this side 😉

  31. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    Some of you guys just kill me.

    Question #1 – “Is TJ Ward better than the 53rd best guy on the squad?” – Yes
    Question #2 – “Did we give up a lot in trade for him?” – We traded nothing
    Question #3 – “Are we taking a huge cap hit in signing him?” – When you offset what Pittsburgh is picking up in Wilcox’s salary, it’s almost a wash.

    So just what is the freaking problem? I’m still having nightmares from the Arizona game, watching John Brown run by Chris Conte with 30 seconds left in the half like his feet were in concrete! “TJ Ward may be a liability in coverage” OK.. please name a Bucs safety who is not?

    I swear, if some of you win the lottery, you’d bitch about the taxes. If Rachel Watson was at the Bucs watch party and wanted to take you home, 3/4 of you would complain because you’d miss 2 for 1 appetizers.

    There is absolutely no downside to this signing.

  32. JameisWin55 Says:

    I see this as a win now move it’s only one year deal therefore the risk is minimal if he is Pro Bowl caliber we got a steal of not it’s a one year experiment then we turn to Justin Evans next year the Bucs have cap space to use why not take a one year gamble on probably the best player that will come available this close to the season at a need position.

  33. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Ward, 30 years old, hasn’t played a down in the pre-season and is nursing a hammy. Frankly, I would rather have kept Wilcox, who is only 26, and though not as talented probably has more gas left in the tank. I trust Jason knows something I don’t though.

  34. NOSBOS Says:

    Danger make no mistake,if we signed Miller they would jump off a bridge. It’s like some around here don’t feel like we deserve to be relevant. To those type I say screw you,I’ve patiently awaited this moment like many others a long time. And plan to bask in the glory of it all as long as it last.

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “that sure doesn’t smell like a full-time starter. Yet the Bucs are paying him full-time starter cash.” Since it’s a 1-yr deal, and Bucs have the $$$, how much paid TJ probably doesn’t matter too much.

    And Joe, been noticing lately that JBF.com has been gobbling up my free memory unlike anything I’ve ever seen (in both Safari & Chrome). No other website even comes close for some reason. Any idea from your IT guys what’s going on?

  36. BigMacAttack Says:

    I don’t care what anyone says, his teammates wanted him to stay and we need more help on defense. I’m happy about the signing.

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe, just stumbled on a solution to the free memory solution for Safari, so please disregard last post. Can I come out of moderation now?

  38. NOSBOS Says:

    Mac they actually seem deeply saddened by him departing.

  39. NOSBOS Says:

    As far a sore hammie and not playing in pre season is concerned. T.J just do me a favor and be ready for week five.

  40. stpetebucsfan Says:


    That last paragraph was some seriously funny snark! Well done.

  41. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I am sure that Jason Licht, Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith know exactly what Ward is….and isn’t. They have already figured out what role he will play. My guess is that he will help try to shore up the pass rush, and we will see him in a lot of Safety blitzes.

  42. Joe Says:

    And Joe, been noticing lately that JBF.com has been gobbling up my free memory unlike anything I’ve ever seen (in both Safari & Chrome).

    Not really sure what you are referring to.

  43. NOSBOS Says:

    I feel you German. Pete along wit a number of others like SB,Lord C,Tmax,LWD and many others to include Blake(we don’t get along that well but he knows his ish)are the MAN round these parts.

  44. BucEmUp Says:

    yaaaaaawn…..until the defense changes it doesnt matter who we put back there. Im predicting and easy 300 yards passing for Jay Cutler Sunday. Been saying it since we sign Mike Smith. The defense was very oportunitstic last year. A lot of lucky plays went theyre way and out of 16 games only had three legit dominant showings. Jameis better be on it this seasons or no playoffs yet another year

  45. BucEmUp Says:

    you can give a checkers player a board full of queens in chess and they wil still lose. Mike Smith is playing checkers with a stacked chess board.

  46. webster Says:

    @ st. Pete

    I do have one critique of your sack argument. Just because the bucs were 9th in sacks does not mean they got consistent pressure. Thats what is important. Sack is just a stat, but constant pressure is more important than a sack or two. Remember the dallas game? I believe the bucs had 2 sacks (one off a blitz), but there was zero pressure the other plays and dak ripped us apart. So again, constant pressure is more important than a sack number.

  47. Joe Says:

    Zuttah was cut by Ravens, and may still be available…..

    Pretty sure Zuttah is available for a reason: he’s done.

    He has been released/traded three times in 2017. That generally doesn’t happen with productive players unless they are wife-beaters.

  48. Bucamania Says:

    Denver fan and his teammates are IRATE about losing TJ. That should tell you something. TJ will be a huge plus against the run where Conte gets run over on the regular. Ward also can blitz like a beast. He’ll bring a physical presence and swagger back there. Love it.

  49. Rob in Land O' Lakes Says:

    St.PeteBucsFan said:

    “Rob, that last paragraph was some seriously funny snark. Well done!”

    Thank you SPBF! I do what I can. 🙂


  50. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Dallas was the hottest team in the NFL when we played them!!! They have one of the most respected OL’s in the entire league..

    We played them in THEIR house when they were fighting for playoff seeding and on a multi game win streak.

    We LED them into the 4th Q. There is no shame for us in the Dallas game. And one game does not a season make and any stats are too small of a sample.

    I’m not saying we can’t improve. The first time I brought this stat up I mentioned QB rushes and tipped passes are also great. If anybody wishes to dig deeply into those stats I’m happy to see the comparisons but we simply are not as bad rushing the passer as some wish to make out here.

  51. webster Says:

    @ st pete

    Dallas was an example. It happened during the saints game and many more. We had sack totals but not consistent pressure. That is why all off season many outlets are talking about our pass rush or lack there of. Yes sack total was nice but consistent pressure was below average. Raiders game, 2nd falcons game etc.