Bucs Have A New Password

March 23rd, 2018


This changes everything.

With one bold phone call to Giants GM Dave Gettleman, Jason Licht set in motion a move that stoked Buc Nation and generated a rather large smile on the mug of Gerald McCoy.

The acquisition of Jason Pierre-Paul gives Tampa Bay its first legitimate edge rusher since Michael Bennett was allowed to float out of town and spearhead Seattle’s ascension as a dominant defensive team.

The new password in Tampa? Flexibility.

Flexibility in terms of next month’s NFL draft and flexibility in terms of how to use a proven pass rusher.

During his accomplished career with the Giants, Pierre-Paul lined up at both left end and right end. That versatility could be critical in maximizing the effectiveness of Tampa Bay’s four-man front. For example, if Noah Spence is healthy and playing well, new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner could move Vinny Curry inside next to McCoy on passing downs and utilize Pierre-Paul off the left edge.

In that best-case scenario, the Bucs would seem to have the firepower to hound Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton in ways the Stick Carriers could only fantasize about.

Granted, Pierre-Paul isn’t the same dynamic force he was in 2011, when he registered 16.5 sacks and was voted a first-team All-Pro at the age of 22. But the man can still play, especially when motivated by a fresh start in the town he first made a name for himself.

Complete Repair

Let’s be honest here. Curry was a solid player for the Eagles, but he didn’t even start until last year. He has one season with more than four sacks.

Pierre-Paul has six.

Until this deal was finalized, there was a depressing sense that the Bucs hadn’t adequately addressed their No. 1 offseason priority — significantly upgrading an anemic pass rush.

And with a major drop off from Bradley Chubb to the next highest-rated defensive line prospect, there would have been considerable pressure on Licht to consider a move up at the top of the draft.

Now, if Chubb somehow falls to the Bucs at No. 7, they should thank their lucky stars. The key is they are no longer in desperation mode.

Drafting Quenton Nelson would complete a startling trench overhaul. There would be a roar in Tampa Bay’s war room, led by the Glazers.

Physical Numbers Game

Now Licht has the flexibility to select a cornerback or a safety at No. 7. or even trade back to a quarterback-needy club like the Bills. And if Saquon Barkley should somehow still be on the board, that’s a no-brainer.

Yes, flexibility is a beautiful thing when it comes to the draft.

Desperation is often a franchise-killer.

The Bucs have already added four defensive linemen, and the draft could provide one or two more. The Eagles just proved you can never have too many quality guys up front, keeping them fresh when the game is in the balance.

Toughening the trenches was the offseason mantra and in that regard, Licht deserves to take a bow. The Bucs haven’t been a physical team since Warren Sapp and John Lynch departed 14 years ago. They also haven’t won a playoff game during that span.

Quite a coincidence.

Here’s to the nasty boys, one and all. And as for you, Drew, Matt and Cam — don’t forge to buckle those chinstraps when you get to RayJay.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

Be there for Thursday’s Round 1. Arrive early. Return for Rounds 2 and 3 the following day.

21 Responses to “Bucs Have A New Password”

  1. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Sorry, really try to avoid links like that here. –Joe

  2. Dubcity06 Says:

    DL still needs work. OL still needs work. Nelson or Chubb please

  3. Lord Cornelius Says:

    As long as it’s Nelson/Barkley/Chubb or trading down at 7 I’ll be happy.

    If only 3 QBs go before our pick there is no way in h3ll we don’t have a trade down market with at least 4-5 teams picking in the teens that could use that 4th QB. This # 7 pick is honestly pretty awesome right now.

    Derwin James
    Denzel Ward
    Vita Vea
    Marcus Davenport
    Minkah Fitzpatrick

    No reason to take one of those 5 players at 7 when you can have them at 12 and get either another 1 or a 2/3. To me that group is the next group of players I like after Nelson/Chubb/Barkley.

    Hell Bryan / Payne / Hurst at DT all look like legit dudes I’d be happy with. Harold Landry is probably the best pure pass rusher in the draft.

    Too many good prospects to not trade down if the big 3 are gone.

  4. J 2.0 Says:

    Does no one remember Tyson Jackson? I’m sure Bradley Chubb is a fine player, but he is not a guarantee. And he certainly isn’t going to be the only good rusher in the draft.

    Nelson should be priority #1. And then try to get Guice or, for some reason, everyone is sleeping on Kerryon Johnson. He will be legit. Team him up with another Auburn alum in the backfield in Barber and you have a good backfield.

  5. JAB83 Says:

    Getting JPP is like getting your cake and eating it too.

    Lets just hope the double possitive is not a negative in this case.

    We should come out the draft with a team on the cusp uet again. This time however THE FAMILY understands they ALL need to eat together!

    If I was the coach/GM. The montra would be simple.


    Every Sunday would be a W shaped buffet.

    JPP is the evidence we are built to Win Now!!!

  6. tmaxcon Says:


    lol your enthusiasm is entertaining but highly misplaced. built to win now… let’s try to win a playoff game within in the next decade before acting like this is a good team. this roster has tons of holes and JPP is hardly a savior just a piece. there is reason the bucs are the worst team in nfl history. it’s time for them to earn on the filed off season moves are meaningless if they don’t translate into a playoff victory.

    this team has been a complete and total embarrassment since super bowl it’s time to shut up and win.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    JPP already ate some Ws and look what happened to him!!!

    I agree we can be flexible…..Also, if Chubb is gone….Colts may trade their pick leaving another position player available.
    My choice in order of players that may be there…
    Nelson, Minkah, Ward

    But, I’d really like to trade down. I’m fearful the trade will happen in front of us.

  8. AlteredEgo Says:

    I am out of the Davenport camp….small school….very late bloomer against lesser competition….certainly not with the 7 pick….let some other team be the hero….

  9. adam from ny Says:

    i’m about ready to “eat some W’s”

  10. Pickgrin Says:

    Ira – Another great piece. You truly are one of the best in your field. The Joes must still be pinching themselves to prove that they pulled such a great sports writing talent into the interwebs fold here on lil ol JBF. And it sounds like your podcast is kicking butt in the listening ratings as well. Congrats Ira – so glad you found a “home” here.

    Now get this man his new Cadillac for God’s Sake! Cmon Joes – CMon Ed Morse – Make it so. Are we gonna have to take up a collection online so this old guy can ride comfortably in style or what? LOL

    Congrats to all at JoeBucsFan – and congrats to GM Licht for managing to achieve “a startling trench overhaul” once he lands Nelson, Hernandez or some other quality OG in the upcoming draft as I fully expect.

    Expectations for this coming season are going to start climbing substantially if Licht manages to find us starting quality players at RB, OG and CB by the time the draft is finished.

  11. Bird Says:

    They got quality players at 1st two levels now. The back end is extremely weak with no depth and 35 year old starter.

    Get the top db Denzel ward or top safety Derwin James

    Or safety /db hybrid Fitzpatrick.

    Get Guice is loose or Michel as stud next pick

  12. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    WTH @Pickgrin…are you running for Congress or something?!

    Go Bucs!

  13. JAB83 Says:


    Remind me why you blocked me and put me under strick moderation again. Wasnt it because I became fond of a certain Trolls mouth and was trying to use your site as a means to pick up said troll under various local Tampa bridges for a night out?

    Please tell them not to address me by name and run them pretty lips. It temps me to be bad and you wont let me be bad.

  14. Joe Says:

    Please tell them not to address me by name and run them pretty lips. It temps me to be bad and you wont let me be bad.

    Joe doesn’t care if you are good or bad. Commenters make their own bed as to whether they have open freedom to comment, are in moderation, or are banned.

  15. JAB83 Says:


    Even though its a double standard that you let trolls talk spit and spread their STDs (Stupid Thought Disorders).

    I understand they have a role in your game of chess. They serve a purpose as every pond does.

    For the record, the two teams your playing with are.

    The Stick Carriers/Trolls


    The 12th Man/Fans

  16. Dlavid Says:

    Dang Joe reading these articles on JBF is making me anxious to order the ZnFL ticket AGAIN so I can see my Bucs every week ! These Oanther fans up here are nauseating to be around ! Appreciate your website and podcast ! Fire the cannons !

  17. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    Agree, Ira – totally.

    If the Bucs land Nelson at 7 – the FIX THE TRENCHES campaign will have been a startling success.

    I’ll push it one further and say the 2nd round pick should go:
    1. Another DE
    2. An offensive tackle to push Smith and/or groom behind Dotson
    3. Another DT to really enhance that rotation

    The Bucs can shore up RB and the defensive backfield in the later rounds and with the surprise roster cuts that happen every year. Everything cannot be fixed in a single offseason. Focus on the trenches – the most important foundation for the team.

    The Bucs look good now – but really god teams have depth. Keep bringing in the hoard of guys for some real trench warfare…


  18. tmaxcon Says:


    it was awful nice of mommy to let you stay up so let now take your meds and go back to the safepace… maybe grab some bubble wrap reality is a tough place

  19. NFLNut Says:


  20. NFLNut Says:



    If the Bills can’t get into the top 6 and one of the top 4 QBs is still available at #7, I would prefer to trade the #7 to the Bills for the #12, #22 and #96.

    I love Saquon and Nelson and like Chubb, but I don’t think any of those three guys are worth THREE players.

    Instead of Saquon, we could get Viti Vea + Derrius Guice + Anthony Averett

    Instead of Nelson we could get Derwin + Isaiah Wynn + Rashaad Penny

    Instead of Chubb we could get Davenport + Joshua Jackson + Derrick Nnandi


  21. Horse Liver Says:

    Hey Ira — I think the statistics show JPP with 8.5 sacks in 2017, not 6.