The Case For Robert Ayers

February 21st, 2018

Sacks aside, Roberts Ayers played fine last year.

Yeah, Joe doesn’t think Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht is finished throwing out the dead weight on his roster, especially on the defensive line.

Joe doesn’t give a damn how good against the run Will Gholston may be. If a starting defensive end cannot even come within a zip code of a quarterback and gets absolutely zero pressure, paying the guy $6,500,000 is out of hand. Gholston is the fifth-highest paid player on the Bucs roster per That’s out of whack.

For perspective, Cam Brate barely made 1/10th of what Gholston made last year. And which one was an impact player?

Now some Bucs fans suggest Robert Ayers ought to be worried about employment. Yeah, Joe could see that happening, but Joe wouldn’t campaign for it. Ayers, if you don’t look at sacks, played just fine last year. A cursory glance at his stats shows Ayers was about average for his career in tackles. So it is not like he has lost all his game.

Data-driven, limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, kiss-stealin’, data-analyzin’, Bucs-film-studyin’ Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times believes unloading Ayers would be a rash decision.

The primary objective is to make the quarterback uncomfortable, and Ayers did that throughout last season. He generated 45 pressures (two sacks, 17 hits and 26 hurries), according to Pro Football Focus. Among Bucs defensive ends, that was by far the most. Among all Bucs players, that was only two fewer than McCoy even though he played more than 200 fewer snaps.

But Ayers wasn’t just one of the most productive linemen on the Bucs; he was one of the most productive linemen in the NFL. His pressure total ranked 20th among defensive ends who play in a 4-3 front. On a per-snap basis, he was about as disruptive as Michael Bennett of the Seahawks and Everson Griffen of the Vikings.

And only the psychotic among Bucs fans wouldn’t want Bennett or Griffen — what is it about some fans not wanting production?

Sure, Joe could see the Bucs closing the door on 32-year-old Ayers, but to paraphrase Raheem Morris, until you can replace him, you should keep him.

41 Responses to “The Case For Robert Ayers”

  1. tmaxcon Says:


    What happened to beasting. He was much more aggressive and vocal previous year. was he muzzled by team or by his soft dline mates

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    idk about ayers….

    if this staff was smart, they’ll tell gholston to add about 10-15 pounds and move him to DT since he’s only good against the run(after restructuring his contract)…..if he refuses, send him packing…..

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  3. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Keep him. Solid rotational player and we are too short at defensive end to let Ayers walk.

  4. Solinor Says:

    At least he didn’t have the bad attitude Chris Baker had. I say give him a shot but put him as rotational, not full time. I think he’ll thrive better when he’s able to get some more rest in between snaps

  5. AlteredEgo Says:

    The coaches will know during training camp…

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    I think he can be an asset in much the same way that Clinton McDonald!!!! Too old and fragile to be a starter But could be productive off the bench or in a rotation!!!!!!! CM98 has never played a 16 game season!!!! and yet last year was one of his better productive season!!!! The easy part is having depth, the hard part is getting starters!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It has been a full team rebuild since talk show dominik was shown the door!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!

  7. Joe Says:

    What happened to beasting. He was much more aggressive and vocal previous year.

    No idea but Joe is fed up with guys glossing themselves as leaders when they perfectly tolerated if not encouraged sloth like Swaggy to get away with what he did. Hey, if you can produce on the field, great. Don’t gloss yourself a leader when you tolerate and abide quitters, malcontents and thieves.

  8. SCBucsFan Says:

    Joe – wouldn’t you say the problem with Baker should not only have been addressed by his fellow players but, more importantly, the coaching staff? If someone like McCoy calls out Baker and the staff doesn’t have his back then who knows how bad things get – probably as bad as they are right now.

  9. BobbyBucs Says:

    While I agree that we need to do a significant overhaul of the roster (under performers),I think we also have to be careful that we do not spread ourselves to thin at positions unless they make some smart moves during free agency.

    JL doesn’t have the best rep when it comes to free agency – this worries me

  10. The Buc Realist Says:

    Joe Says:

    “No idea but Joe is fed up with guys glossing themselves as leaders when they perfectly tolerated if not encouraged sloth like Swaggy to get away with what he did. Hey, if you can produce on the field, great. Don’t gloss yourself a leader when you tolerate and abide quitters, malcontents and thieves.

    Wish this “Joe” was around during the talk show dominik days!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  11. Bucn Enough Says:

    Let Coach Buckner is his responsibility.
    Maybe it was the way Hayes had them stunting etc….

  12. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Nah Ayers needs to stay. Solid rotational piece if nothing else, good locker room presence.

  13. pelbuc Says:

    Keep him for depth only but please get rid of Gholston.

  14. Lamarcus Says:

    Looks like Joe is fed up like myself and some of here with these damn veteran players who tolerate mediocrity.

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:
    February 20th, 2018 at 10:55 am
    Trade GMC for picks!!!! Don’t need the phony captain crying about playing out of position in a 3-4 holding the whole defense back!!!!!!!!!

    1st Mount Vea
    2nd Harold Landry

    If the Bucs commit fully to switching to a 3-4 front defense, then the “real” fans will give this regime 2 years to get the roster and scheme installed!!!!!! 2 year extension to all coaches!!!!!!

    Make the best choice and switch to the 3-4!!!!!!!

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

  16. BucFanFromOH Says:

    Article bashes Will Gholston for not getting sacks, then follows it with “Ayers, if you don’t look at sacks, played just fine last year.”


  17. Easy Denman Says:

    Let Ayers walk and save the cap money.

  18. ndog Says:

    Realist I am all for going 3-4 in fact I think from a talent standpoint that is what we should do. HOWEVER nothing stopped this staff from going 3-4 last year so they do not get 2 years to do it when they are the ones that did not make the change soon enough. They get this year and nothing more, as they do not get a pass for missing the forest for the trees all of last season. And one more thing Realist, in all seriousness, we all know you love Mike Smith so what is your take on how he and all of his coaches let C Baker do nothing and kill the culture on the defense last year? Even you have to be critical of that?

  19. The Buc Realist Says:


    If they trade gmc for picks, and go for the full D-line rebuild, then I and others will give a pass next year!!!!!! GMC cried when they ran a little bit of a 3-4 look last year!!!!!! so they have to get what they can for him!!!!!!!!!

    Published 4 months ago on October 25, 2017
    By Roy Cummings
    “McCoy spent about half the game last week working in a three-man front and while he didn’t come right out and say he didn’t like it, he certainly didn’t endorse the practice.

    “I just play what they call,’’ McCoy said with a sardonic chuckle when asked about the strategy. “Whatever we run, I just kind of go with it. I’m a team guy so I do what they ask me to do.

    “Do I feel like I could be more effective in a different way? Yes. But I’m a team guy. It’s not about Gerald. So whatever coach calls is what I’m going to run.’’

    Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith acknowledge making more use of a three-lineman, three-linebacker, five-defensive back set in the Bucs 30-27 loss at Buffalo last week.”

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

  20. tmaxcon Says:

    When your highest paid team captain refuses to be a team player and embrace change its an orgaizational issue not a coaching issue. Until cancer93 is gone there will be very little hope

  21. Tom Says:

    First off I would keep Ayers before Gholston. Second McDonald was perhaps the best of the DL Yes, that includes McCoy.

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    Absolutely need to re-sign McDonald and should probably keep Ayers 1 more year as well. Both these guys are good players – but the biggest problem is they are both oldish and injury prone.

    Need to draft at least 2-3 DL players this year and 2-3 next year to re-stock/re-build the Dline.

    Pay Ayers his $1M March bonus and bring him to camp and see if he’s “beasting” or not. He could still be cut prior to the start of the season saving $5M.

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    AND THE WINNER IS……..NDOG!!!!!!!!!!


    this staff only has 2018…..notice how he avoided your question regarding smitty and the coaches allowing baker to do whatever he wanted…..chump

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!!

  24. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    “but the biggest problem is they are both oldish and injury prone.”

    And that pretty much is my problem with Ayers. I like his game, and his abilities…except for the critical availability.

    I just looked up Ayer’s career stats and he has played just 12 games four years in a row..whether it was the Giants or the Bucs. If a guy missed one quarter of a season for FOUR YEARS IN A ROW…what our expectations for 2018? 12 games?

  25. Gambelero Says:

    Wonder which Joe came up with the “night of the long knives” analogy and was it the original version, the purge of Sejanus’s supporters after Tiberius suddenly showed up in Italy or something later like Hitler’s purge of recalcitrant Nazis.

  26. jerseybuc Says:

    When you watch Bellicheck over the years he didn’t announce he was going to a 3 4 or a 4 3. He adapted his game plan to fit his opponent weekly, and depending on injuries or depth or talent you never knew what you might see.
    Amazed more coaches don’t try and copy what works from the most successful coach in the game.

  27. Bobby M. Says:

    He’s nasty with a good motor….got to keep that guy for at least a reserve role….unless we switch to a 3-4….who knows then.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Get rid of Goulston.

    Keep Robert Ayers. I bet the new DLine coach can work wonders with him.

  29. zzbuc Says:

    We can get rid of everybody on the D-Line…. there is not to much on the market….and it takes some time to make good and reliable players from the rookies.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    You get rid of the DLine with no one on the market and we get nothing in return.

    On the contrary, I would have a fire sale.

  31. zzbuc Says:

    u make a fire sale ( which you know it won’t happen ), and you get what?

  32. martinii Says:

    Keep Ayers, keep Gholston, and force the latter to take a pay cut. Licht got rid of the biggest bust in Baker, but defensive players are at a premium and we need to let Buckner work his magic with some of these guys. To get a feel for Buckner’s value you have to see if he can help a guy like Gholston get back on track. Ayers is a Pro, he will be fine.

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    813bucboi Says:

    February 21st, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    @realist… dig yourself into a deeper hole with each excuse you make…..

    you love to blame lovie and dom for this team finishing 5-11 but you were singing a different tune not too long ago…

    The Buc Realist Says:
    November 29th, 2016 at 7:05 am
    @seanyMac in SC
    do not let the past dictate your future!!! Why are you worried about what old gm’s and coaches did with teams????

    now your saying the dline must be rebuilt…..WTF?…..again that wasn’t the tune you were singing earlier….

    The Buc Realist Says:
    September 2nd, 2017 at 7:46 am
    why the panic???? Is this the same defensive line on the defense that as Warren Sapp described as “choking out teams”????????? is this not the roster with your “beasting Robert Ayers”???? Why were the Bucs top ten in sacks but the QB pressure was lower???? The answer is Coaching and scheme!!!! That is what made the defense work last year!!!!!!

    so now the same defensive line that was “choking teams out” now needs to be rebuilt?…..what happened?……now the same dline that “made this defense work last year” all of a sudden needs to be rebuilt…..

    keep making excuses….they’re falling on deaf ears…..luckily this staff has ran out of them…..they only have 2018 to get us to the playoffs….

    you expect smitty to be successful at installing a 34 when he was unsuccessful at installing “HIS” 43 defense….OK….that will be the quickest way to get smitty and dirk fired!!!!

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!…GO BUCS!!!!

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    Can’t fix everything in one year. DLine needs to keep 4 DTs & 6 DEs based on the typical weekly injuries we experience. DTs: McCoy, McDonald +2 (preference would be Vea or Payne plus 1 more draft pick or Stevie T). DEs: Spence, Ayers, Gholston, Russell or Clarke (who’s a FA) +2 (1 FA + 1 draft pick or 2 draft picks). IOW, add AT LEAST 2 new faces, up to as many as 4 new faces to the DLine plus re-sign McDonald. Far as transitioning to a 3-4 goes, a beastly DT like Vea or Payne makes that transition a LOT easier AND sets the stage for the future. If GMC can’t make the transition, trade him. 5-11 records should tell folks that something needs to change.

  35. Mr. Ed Says:

    Ayers is a good teammate and locker room presence. Hard working, and the results do show up in his stat line. Keep him, trade Gholston for a 6th rounder.

  36. martinii Says:

    Well joe it’s been an hour and my post is still in for modification. Guess my ideas are too lame for this site. I have never once posted a derogatory comment. Compared to many I am considered tepid. So this Vietnam Vet, retired bank manager, and avid life long Buc fan is tired of being discriminated against and while I am sure you could care less this is my last post on your site. Go Buc’s

  37. Bucsfanman Says:

    Coaching. Where’s the coaching?!
    The same article quoted above mentions d-line snaps. GMC had 200 more snaps than any other d-lineman. Does that sound like sound coaching to anyone? Does it make sense to overwork any guy?
    No rotation, no production, no change in scheme. Does it matter if we retain Ayers?
    Maybe Buckner can revive this unit.

  38. SOEbuc Says:

    No he did not have a good year. He’s a DE and we got 22 sacks and the worst defense in the league. No one on the defense played well. The only reason the often injured last year Brent Grimes is still liked is because he made the most plays of a BS defense and played opposite of the “rookie at CB” Ryan Smith and VH3 for two seconds. I’m down for Ayers as a back up DE but we need a new, younger boss DE, especially on the right side. And we need two new starting younger CB, one at least being a top notch. I don’t blame the backfield with the 15-yard cushion scheme but I do blame every player on the d-line.

  39. SOEbuc Says:

    ^And the BS coaching^

  40. Capt.Tim Says:

    Of course Ayers is gonna get “pressures”
    McCoy chases the QB right at him!!!
    If he had ANY talent left at all, he would have had 10+ Sacks, just by turning the Corner.
    Playing Ayers is like no playing anyone at all. Save money- dont even play a DE.
    You’d get the same production.
    I know hes ttying. And I like the guy.
    But the only thing “beasting” about him now. Is his mouth.

    Least sacks in the damn league? You get new DEs.
    Ours are horrible
    Playing with a great DT like McCoy- no excuse for their lousy sack numbers

  41. TSyce Says:

    Who the hell writes this garbage? Ayers is trash. We’ve seen his best and he’s 30plus not to mention the $$$ he’s paid.keep the almost got there stats I’ll take sacks