Banking On Question Marks

January 19th, 2018

Peering at the past.

It is the season of looking back.

Not only is Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht looking back at what went wrong, so too is the self-proclaimed worldwide-leader.

Mike Sando of BSPN looks back at how he graded the Bucs offseason and to see where he goofed up.

The Buccaneers added capable weapons for quarterback Jameis Winston. They did not have enough at running back to help balance out their offense. That was predictable but also overlooked in our initial review, which focused on the team’s ability to add DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Tampa also needed more pass-rush help and didn’t get it.

In the bigger picture, Tampa could have been banking on too many players with question marks on their résumés, from Winston to Doug Martin to Jackson.

Well, not sure how one lumps America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, in with a known violator of the NFL’s banned substance policy. That’s a helluva a big, wide sweep of the brush there.

And yes, Jameis’ injury mattered. A quarterback’s shoulder goes out and that’s not supposed to have any negative result? Ever see a pitcher try to throw with a bum shoulder?

And Joe isn’t sure why Jackson was lumped in with Martin either. Sort of reckless. Has Jackson ever been popped in a whiz quiz?

The thing here is, if Joe has an issue with Licht it is has now been two straight offseasons where he banked on hurt players being healthy, and it blew up in his face.

Two years ago Licht and the Bucs put cash down that Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy would both bounce back from knee injuries suffered in 2015. Jackson hurt his knee again and was finished for good; Murphy never did return healthy (though he is still in the league). That right there very likely doomed the playoff chances of the Bucs in 2016.

Then this past offseason, Licht and the Bucs banked on two hurt defensive ends to be healthy. Jacquies Smith never did recover from his season-opening game knee injury in Atlanta in 2016, and Noah Spence again blew out his shoulder, this time in the second game of the year in Minnesota.

Hopefully, Licht has learned from the past and will treat injured players as just that, guys you cannot bank on. As Bill Parcells said, your best ability is your availability.

44 Responses to “Banking On Question Marks”

  1. Architek Says:


  2. tnew Says:

    Article on question marks is incomplete without including Sweezy.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Licht has a history of drafting and counting on players with an injury history. Starting to think that’s one of the reasons we seem to be near the top of the NFL ladder each year when it comes to games lost due to injury.

  4. Evolvingbucfan Says:

    We did however get very lucky with Beckwith coming off of surgery. There’s a positive for ya, lol.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    We saw the and read the same exact thing last year!!!! Except it was the WR depth and known injured players that got re-injured in 2015!!!! The good thing to know is that the front office know and have said what the holes are already!!!!! And they turned that WR group into a strength of the team last year!!! We should see this play out again!!!!! what some around here don’t realize is that with the kind of roster that is so far behind from the dominik years, you have to gamble in area’s!!!!! Maybe JBF will hire a “president” so they can explain this, so that they will understand!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  6. Off the Cuff Says:

    Jason Licht is ok in rounds 1,3,,4 and undrafted free agents.
    If we could get someone else to handle the other rounds and veteran free agents, we might compete every season.

    Dirk Koetter coaches and evaluates talent like he owes somebody lunch money. He doesn’t want to be too aggressive for fear he may hurt feelings.

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    “with the kind of roster that is so far behind from the dominik years, you have to gamble in area’s”

    wow – Realist actually made a valid point. Good for you

  8. The Buc Realist Says:


    I have said that for years!!!! Congrats on finally understanding it!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I know why Says:

    Schiano won 11 games in two seasons, Lovie and Dirk combined over four have won 22….change for the sake of change is stupid and that’s why we are where we are….Jason has yet to draft a 1st team all pro and will have picked in the top ten now 4 out of 5 years.

  10. The Buc Realist Says:


    Coach Schiano won 11
    loser lovie won 8
    Coach Koetter 14

    Please don’t drag others down by loser lovie!!!!!!!!!

    If the GM was the best in the league and finding 3 players every draft, that would still only be 12 players!!!!!! That is why they have to find and depend on band-aids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I know why Says:

    Hey Buc Realist, name the best 12 players Jason has drafted.

  12. I know why Says:

    Oh and ample cap room to add additional players, the best in the league would find three starters a year, but just because they start for us doesn’t mean they are good starters…Eric Curry use to start for the Bucs, Gaines Adams use to start for the Bucs, Sabby the goat use to start, doesn’t make them starters.

  13. The Buc Realist Says:

    @I know why

    IF the GM was the Best in the league and finding 3 players every draft!!!!!!!

    That means a GM finding 3 players every draft would be the “BEST” in the league!!!!!!

    Read it over and over until you understand!!!!!!!!!!

    And I don’t blame you, I blame the educational system that has let you down!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Joe, Your evaluation is on point,Hope that licht gets evaluated or has the good sense to self evaluate himself. Just one of the factors in our 5-11 season. ANd I would blame the lack of talent on roster on both Dominick and Bruce Allen. Too many holes to fill has been a consistant problem.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    The thing here is, if Joe has an issue with Licht it is has now been two straight offseasons where he banked on hurt players being healthy, and it blew up in his face.

    It’s hubris. Simple as that.

  16. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Licht might be drafting players who are decent, the jury is still out on all of that because the bucs are 5-11, I would say the best player he has drafted is Mike Evans by far and the rest are average to well below NFL players, whether that is coaching or they have hit their ceiling, the bucs just are not good and there is not going to be any NFL FA that wants to come here, I wish schiano would have coached one more year because the defense was coming, not sure who was responsible for the bennett walk out but had the bucs not signed Revis which was a dumb move by dom, the bucs would have had a pretty decent defense for schiano anyways GO BUCS

  17. Says:

    Sam Bradford and Jamaal Charles can take this team to the next level. Go get em!

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Best 12 players Licht has drafted:

    Evans, Winston, Kwon, Marpet, Smith, J. Evans, Beckwith, Howard, Godwin. Sims, Pamphile, Hargreaves, Spence and we can add Ryan Smith & Benenoch, Bond ,……11 starters & a 3rd down back and 3 reserves.,

    Plus UDFAs Brate, Humphries, Barber, Auclair, Cross, Elliott, Martino, Glanton

    Name the 12 best Dominick picks…,

    GMC, LVD and just to be fair Gholston & Tandy (Schiano)(And according to Tmax…there was only one!!!)

  19. Pa Privateer Says:

    I will keep supporting GM Jason Licht because he keeps bringing in talent from the drafts.

    SO many Buc fans are furious at Licht because of FA failures. But that is the whole point. If you strike out in FA, that means the roster is lacking huge amount of talent. And striking out in FA is like a kick to the nuts.

    But the truth of the matter is that Licht had been far more successful at the draft than anything through the Gruden and Dominick Years. It is going to take more time.

    The answer lies in Both the Draft and UDFA.

    Let Licht keep bringing in talent and then we will not have to rely on “Question Marks”

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    It has to be tough writing about this pathetic team and coaching staff every day.

    Kudo’s to the Joes for hanging tough.

    Could be worse. Could be the other JBF: Joe Browns Fan…;)

  21. D-Rome Says:

    Best 12 players Licht has drafted:

    Evans, Winston, Kwon, Marpet, Smith, J. Evans, Beckwith, Howard, Godwin. Sims, Pamphile, Hargreaves, Spence and we can add Ryan Smith & Benenoch, Bond ,……11 starters & a 3rd down back and 3 reserves.

    While not here, you could put ASJ on that list.

    What I find funny about this list is that Joe #2 frequently talks about Licht “before Lovie” and Licht “after Lovie” as if to imply that Licht has done better after firing Lovie. Yet, most of the players you listed (and it’s a list most would agree with) were drafted during Lovie’s regime. It’s funny to me how every bad decision in 2014 and 2015 are automatically blamed on Lovie but every good decision during those two seasons Jason Licht is praised.

    The truth of it all is that Jason Licht owns all of it. The 2-14 season is as much on Jason Licht as it was on Lovie Smith.

    Jason Licht is entering his fifth year as GM. The Bucs have had a worse winning percentage under Jason Licht than under Mark Dominick.

    Also, in terms of Dominick’s picks you have to include the guys who are playing elsewhere. Granted, there’s still not a lot. As a GM in any sport you hope to draft a player that can provide value either on your team or as part of a deal. For all of you out there who continue to b*tch and moan about Mark Barron not being here, Licht most brilliant move (arguably) is trading Mark Barron. The picks he received were used to eventually draft Kwon Alexander and Ali Marpet.

  22. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    D-Rome, good points on that, the problem with licht and the organization in the past 5-9 years is there has been ZERO vision on building a team, there may be some good draft picks but they are square pegs in round holes, where the fact is the pieces needed for a championship have not been picked…..I have always thought schiano deseerved another year and that he was building a tough defense with a vision of that as the way the organization should be successful…..I alos thought the bucs should NEVER have hired schiano but since he was hired though he deserved year 3 and earned it but OSU got him and he is a legit defensive coach by the way you can see all the talent coming out of OSU ready from day 1 to be nfl stars, and I cannot stand urban nor ohio state

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Bob in Valrico says:
    “blame the lack of talent on roster on both Dominick and Bruce Allen. Too many holes to fill has been a consistent problem”

    Which is why I still can’t understand the constant bitching about “why hasn’t Licht gotten this or that position filled yet?”

    Um – because when you walk in the door needing upgrades at about 16 or 17 different starting positions and also have very little “depth” – its going to take some time to make up for 10 previous years of horrible drafting.

    Jason is doing very well in the draft thus far and a # of those previous “holes” are now filled and filled well. QB is not a position we are looking for anymore and that is a huge albatross off this Franchise’s neck. Our LB, WR and TE groups are all among the very best in the league. The Oline received some attention – not enough but its partially “fixed” with Marpet and Smith entrenched as solid to good young starters. Justin Evans looks to be a legitimate part of the solution on the back end of the defense….

    We’re getting there. Other than McCoy and LD being solid Defensive cornerstones – this has been a total rebuild project for GM Licht. Jason has drafted 11 quality starters in 4 years including a # of future NFL star players most likely in Evans, Winston, Marpet, Kwon and OJ Howard. Also some good “depth” in Ryan Smith, Bond, Stevie T, etc. and on top of that got us some great UDFAs in Brate, Hump, Barber and possibly Elliot and Bobo

    Bucs still need a lot of DLine help, some additional OL help, a dynamic RB and some additional young secondary talent. But the “needs” are becoming fewer and the talent level of the team is rising with each passing year that Jason has been here.

    Yea-yea – I hear ya naysayers – “But we were 5-11 last year” – “The Bucs W/L record during Licht’s tenure is terrible”….

    OK whatever – stick to your negativity. I see a team with a good bit of young talent in a lot of key positions that is likely to be pissed off about all the losing and underachieving last year and is ready to bust out and make some noise in the NFC this year.

    And I also see a GM who is basically averaging 3 solid, good or great starters per draft over a 4 year period which is not something you see very often in this league.

    Bucs are on the upswing despite all the negativity being showered upon them currently. Familiarity and comfort with the offensive and defensive systems and with those who coach them – along with an additional talent infusion at a few key spots this offseason (DE, OG, CB and RB) will have this team competing for a playoff spot in 2018 and maybe more. Betcha….

  24. I know why Says:

    So Pickgrin, The roster was so bad that Licht needed to fill 16/17 spots, well lets see 2-3 guys each year in the draft and ONE free agent a year. Plus you all forget that Licht not only picks in the top 10 every year but in the top 10 in every round of every draft. Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, TJ Ward, Sweezey, I can go on and on how this roster (since as you say was SO bad) that it should be fixed by now, especially when you have the #1 overall pick and a choice at QB. BTW Mark Barron has 330 tackles over the last three years, not one Buc has more…that was a MASSIVE blunder

  25. 813bucboi Says:


    yall blame dom….
    yall blame lovie….
    yall blame IRMA….
    yall blame HK….
    yall blame injuries…..
    yall blame “supposedly” tough SOS…..

    bspn has us winning 6 games next year…..what will be the excuse then?…..GO BUCS!!!!

  26. D-Rome Says:

    BTW Mark Barron has 330 tackles over the last three years, not one Buc has more…that was a MASSIVE blunder

    I agree with most of your post except for this. Trading Barron wasn’t a massive bluder at all. The Bucs received a 4th and 6th rounder for Barron. The Bucs used the draft picks acquired from that trade to draft Kwon Alexander and Ali Marpet. It’s arguably Licht’s most brilliant move as a GM.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    @Pickgrin … “I also see a GM who is basically averaging 3 solid, good or great starters per draft over a 4 year period which is not something you see very often in this league.” Just because a draft pick starts on the Bucs team doesn’t mean he’s a good player Pickgrin. Quite the contrary actually. ME13, Jameis, Evans, Beckwith, Kwon, OJ, Godwin, Marpet, D. Smith … yes, all valuable starters. Pamphile? VHIII? R. Smith? Bond? Benenoch? Sims? Not overly impressed at this point. On the UFA front, Hump, Brate & Barber are definite keepers in my book, and possibly Auclair. The rest? Meh.

    Wish folks would stop pretending like Licht has aced it in the draft over this 4 year period. He’s had 26 picks in 4 years.
    o From 2014, ME13 will surely be re-signed. Sims & Pamphile are possibilities, but neither is exactly lighting it up. ASJ, Herron & Edwards are kapow.
    o From 2015, Jameis, D. Dmith, Marpet & Kwon are all doing quite well. Bell, Clay & Iosefa are gone.
    o From 2016, VHIII has been demoted & Ryan Smith has be promoted to his spot, Noah Spence is on IR, Bond & Benenoch are backups. Aguayo & Vitale are gone.
    o From 2017, OJ, Evans & Beckwith are all starting, Godwin could be starting, Stevie T is on IR. McFlurry is gone.

    I see 2 good drafting years out of 4 (2015 & 2017). I see 8 decent starters, plus a handful of fair backups. Add in Hump & Brate & Barber as UFAs doing quite well and I’d think that’s probably about average for good teams. Add in his abysmal record with FAs and I don’t see how anyone could give Licht anything higher than a ‘C’ overall grade (lower in my book for lack of vision in building a T-E-A-M).

  28. LakeLand Says:

    Jason Licht has the ability to sell “false hope” to the fans and ownership. As long as he continue to do that, he will have a job with the Bucs.

  29. The Buc Realist Says:

    NFL GM Jason Licht fired loser lovie!!!!! He gets an automatic pass for 3 years just for that!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    opinions tend to vary DR. We will see what happens this year and go from there.

  31. Joe Says:

    Defense Rules:

    You do realize the bust rate for first round draft picks is right at 40 percent, right? And for each round lower, that rate jumps.

    NFL draft is an inexact science. It’s not a fantasy football draft where everyone is an established player and each player is available to be selected.

    If you are looking for a GM to draft 80 percent starters in the draft, you are going to be looking for a GM for years.

    Joe finds it funny that the most hated man in Tampa Bay with Bucs fans (unfairly) is now being mourned for losing his job four years ago — Mark Dominik.

    Joe blames Bucs defensive coaches for Vernon Hargreaves falling off the map as much as he has, not Licht.

  32. LakeLand Says:

    42 years and counting

    The stench will continue to stink

  33. The Buc Realist Says:


    Was it the coaching that Vernon Hargreaves problems????? Do you have to be first on the map to fall off the map?????? One can say that with the problems of pass rush that even Brent Grimes had a worse year than the previous????? was that the coach as well?????? you are making assumptions with a very small piece of incomplete data!!!!!!

    what we know: the pass rush stunk
    what we know: the CB can be upgraded?
    what we are unsure:the secondary coach was the reason for bad secondary?????

    unless you know something that we have not heard of know of, but I doubt that very seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Jason Licht doesnt draft for need and an aim at building a team through the trenches or through defense its just some crazy kooky licht value draft, the bucs were not a FG kicker away from the playoffs when they got that lousy pick, build the defense which coudl ahve been accomplished by now and get a good RB which could have been done, dont pay for djax………all blunders on the great OZ that is licht…6-10 buc s 2018….building from the bottom, the browns will be 8-8 next year with their defense and then a QB and barkley is they go that way, browns could be a playoff team next year, sign cousins or brees, draft barkley and DE chubb…team will be on the way

  35. LakeLand Says:

    How did Mark Dominik leave the Bucs so far behind in TALENT?

    Pro Bowl/ All Pro Players

    Vincent Jackson
    Gerald McCoy
    Donald Penn
    Darrelle Revis
    Dashon Goldson
    Lavonte David
    Davin Joseph
    Doug Martin

    Then their were quality starters

    Mason Foster
    Mark Barron
    Jonathan Casillas
    Demar Dotson
    Jeremy Zuttah
    Bradley McDougald
    Patrick Omameh
    Ted Larsen

    Mark Dominik left them with some talent

    Dumb and Dumber got rid of the talent

  36. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Pickgrin and DR and Realist have saved you all from another one of my monster posts. What they said!!!

  37. loggedontosay Says:

    I like the way ESPN go on about Tom Brady’s hand to inflate his greatness. IF he loses to the excuse is built-in.

  38. 813bucboi Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:
    January 19th, 2018 at 12:04 pm
    NFL GM Jason Licht fired loser lovie!!!!! He gets an automatic pass for 3 years just for that!!!!!!!!!!!

    and he hired dirk…..they’ll be canned very soon….GO BUCS!!!!

  39. 813bucboi Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:
    January 19th, 2018 at 12:50 pm
    Was it the coaching that Vernon Hargreaves problems?????

    YES!!!!!!!!….DUH!!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  40. Pickgrin Says:

    Lakeland – your list itself answers the question above it.

    Do I really need to go point by point? Yea – I imagine so if you see any value in starting a team with that group.

    VJax – was 31 when Licht got here – great player but not much left in the tank. Licht rewarded him for his 4 years of solid service by honoring the 5th year of his contract for $10M when he probably shouldn’t have. We were desperate at receiver though so kept him and it wasn’t worth it.

    McCoy – check 1 good keeper – a cornerstone to build on

    Penn – Good player but was coming off his worst year (by far) as a pro and was very much overpaid at the time. Should have just paid Penn and kept him in hindsight – but I understand why they didn’t at the time. 2013 Oline was god awful and Penn looked more like part of the problem than a solution that previous year.

    Revis – Another good player that a different decision MIGHT have been made on – but he was coming off a very serious injury that he never did fully recover from and was being so grossly overpaid it was sickening. Top CBs were making $8, 9M at the time and Revis was at $16M. To top it off – Revis NEVER wanted to even be here – and it was obvious to all. He had to go.

    Goldson – Really?? Goldson mostly sucked when he was here. A former headhunter who had his best attribute (aggressiveness) taken away by the leagues new pussification policies. He never came close to living up to his contract and had to go. Out of the league after 1 more year

    LD 54 – check – 2nd good keeper – another cornerstone to build with

    Davin Joseph – freshly off a devastating Injury the previous year that he never recovered from. Davin was DONE Played a few games for St Louis the following year then out of the league

    Martin – We kept him and were “rewarded” with 1 great year and 3 very bad ones.

    Foster – we have 3 LBers on our roster who are all a good bit better than Mason Foster.

    Mark Barron – We all saw what happened when he was here. What he put on tape was not even close to being worthy of that high 1st rd pick. He was in fact somewhat of a liability in numerous instances. Turned out to be pretty good at another position on another team – but pretty much had to go the way it was going for him here. We got Kwon w/ one of the picks we traded him for – so all’s well that ends well.

    Casillas – he would’t even have been able to make the final cuts at LBer this year if he were somehow still with the Bucs.

    Dotson – Decent Rt Tackle. Licht kept him and paid him. At the tail end of his career now.

    Zuttah – Probably a mistake to let Jeremy go when we did. But only because we were so bad at the Guard position the following year. Zuttah didn’t want to play Guard – he wanted to play Center. The truth is he was decent at both position – but not really “good” at either. And he was a tad overpaid at the time as well. Was basically a casualty of the “Fluck it – we’re blowing up this crappy Oline” mentality that was perhaps a bit overzealous but somewhat understandable based on 2013 tape. We signed Evan Smith for less $ anyway who is basically the same player as Zuttah or at least close anyway.

    Omameh – That “so bad at the Guard position” comment from directly above was because Patrick was one of our starting guards as a rookie in 2014. His play has improved since then obviously because he’s still playing and starting in the NFL.

    McDougald – Bucs watched him develop for 3 1/2 years and decided he wasn’t good enough to build with and didn’t think he was going to get much better. He hit free agency and was without a deal for a full month before signing a 1 year $1.8M deal to be a back-up in Seattle. So the rest of the league obviously agreed with the Bucs assessment.

    Larsen – Yea – he still plays in the league but has never been very good.

    This is the “talent” that Dom left us with alright. Which is why a damn near total re-build was necessary.

  41. mike10 Says:

    Joe, I think you’re missing the generalization being made in the grouping of those three guys… it’s not that Martin equals Winston equals Jackson. Those 3 were question marks coming in and throughout 2017 varied in their ability to prove doubters wrong.

    Look, I know that we all want Jameis to be the guy but we also can’t live in some false reality. So when you blame a lackluster Bucs 2017 on an injured shoulder, I’ll remind you of a horribly inaccurate Jameis to open up the season, him lightning it up in Buffalo after coming back, and finishing 3-10 as a starter where our backup went 2-1 in his absence.

    This team relys on an smart, accurate Jameis much more than it does a speedy Jackson or unreliable Martin.

  42. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @ pickgren
    While I agree with your 16 holes idea, Licht has to do better in his big money free agents signings. Because players like Sweezy ,Ward, and Baker were misses and still leave the team with too many holes. And most of them are on defense.
    He had good signings with the Anger, Fitz,and Grimes. Ayers has missed 4 games for the past four years and has not been as good this year.Sometimes Licht
    signs players like Anthony Collins who like Ayers had one good season and were reaches. Can’t believe we paid George Rogers to be on injured reserve his second year here. He should have been cut long before the season started.

  43. LakeLand Says:

    I counted 18 former Buc players from the 2013 team, that played on playoff teams. And most of them were starters or key backups.

  44. LakeLand Says:

    It’s hard for me to accept that these players don’t have enough talent to play for the Bucs. A team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years. But they are good enough to start for playoff teams.