Inside The Licht Five

May 26th, 2018


When Beau Allen agreed to become a Buccaneer March 15, he had no idea he was joining the revolution.

Allen signed with Tampa Bay one day into free agency, figuring he would replace Swaggy Baker next to Gerald McCoy in the department of the interior.

What he didn’t know at the time was the shakeup that would follow as the Bucs addressed their No. 1 offseason issue in dynamic fashion.

On the day after Allen arrived, the Bucs signed Mitch Unrein from Chicago. Allen’s former Eagle teammate, Vinny Curry, joined the overhaul 24 hours later. On March 22, Jason Licht pulled off the trade that brought Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants.

That made four new defensive linemen added within a one-week span as Stick Carriers rejoiced from Pinellas Park to Plant City.

The Bucs, however, weren’t quite finished. They tossed in one rather large final piece on the opening night of the draft, so I pulled Allen aside after an OTA session on the same day Vita Vea scrawled his name on the dotted line.

“I like our group a lot,” said Allen, who will compete against Vea for playing time at nose tackle. “I think we’re like-minded individuals. We all want to win, and when you have guys who all think like that, it can carry you a long way.”

You don’t need the NFL’s investigative unit to figure out why Tampa Bay’s defensive front will feature at least five new faces this fall.

Did you see last year’s pass rush?

But there’s more. The Eagles, 50-1 longshots to win the Super Bowl before the 2017 season began, now own the Vince Lombardi Trophy, led by a deep and talented defensive line.

Forcing The Issue

Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman just might be Licht’s closest buddy in the business and it’s no coincidence that the Bucs are trying to emulate the Eagles model.

“I love our depth — the more the merrier,” says Allen. “The thing I always think about is if you have a deep unit, it goes a long way, not only late in games but also late in the season. We had that going on last year in Philly. You can wear down O-lines over the course of a game.”

In the NFL, when defensive linemen hunt, everyone feasts.

New Bucs defensive tackle Beau Allen

“It all starts up front,” says second-year safety Justin Evans. “If you have a great D-line, you have a great defense. D-line great, that makes the linebackers great because they don’t have offensive linemen pushing up on them … they’re making more tackles.  And we don’t have to cover for that long.”

I asked Evans what happens when quarterbacks don’t have enough time to go through their progressions.

“Then he gets sacked,” Evans said with a smile.

Stopping History

The season opener in New Orleans will provide an immediate referendum on this offseason makeover. Drew Brees has been tormenting this organization since 2006 and few teams have been successful at putting him on his rump.

Throughout a Hall of Fame career, Brees has been sacked on only 3.9 percent of his pass attempts, sixth-best of all time. The top spot is shared by Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, who will welcome Brees to Canton.

“We have to look at that first game as an opportunity,” Allen says. “There’s not anybody on our roster or in our building shying away from that. You have to love it. It’s not a daunting task — we’re excited about it.”

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at 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 show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

13 Responses to “Inside The Licht Five”

  1. Iamabuc Says:

    We have to look at that first game as an opportunity,” Allen says. “There’s not anybody on our roster or in our building shying away from that. You have to love it. It’s not a daunting task — we’re excited about it.”
    That’s confidence, right there…let’s see how it translate to the field…

  2. Onetrickpony Says:

    Ah, kool aid season is here again.
    No thank you., none for me this year.
    Show me you can walk the talk.

  3. JA Says:

    At least they’re trying to create a “department of the interior.” We’ve been saddled with the “department of the inferior” for over a decade. Only time will tell if Ira’s new tag will stick.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    Nice piece Ira – as usual.

    Its pretty hard to imagine that our DLine – and thus the entire Defense will not be vastly improved with the additions of JPP, Curry, Allen, Unrein, and Vea. (as well as coach Buckner).

  5. teacherman777 Says:

    The Super Bowl Champ Giants had it.

    The whopped up on Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to be world champs.

    The only way to beat the best QB’s in the game- is to BEAT UP the best QB’sin the game!

    Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady- You gotta hit em HARD!!!

    Coughlin has built the same D-Line of Bullies and Badasses as his Giants teams.

    I still think we could have used another small, fast, DE like Harold Landry.

    Hopefully, next year!

    Go Bucs!

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    After being burned last year….I’m still in “prove it to me” mode….but, I can tell you this….Will Gholston wouldn’t make this team if he didn’t have a large guaranteed contract…, that gives me some encouragement.

  7. AlteredEgo Says:

    See… was the talent ..not coaching…

  8. SteveK Says:


    You crushed this piece like it was beet salad with a bottle of Riesling. Nice work.

    This D Line in vastly overhauled and could be the most talented in years. Let’s hope they come out ready in September. No excuses!

  9. gotbbucs Says:

    No imagine if Noah Spence can turn the corner….

  10. Buccfan37 Says:

    Yeah Ira likes to playfully nitpick one of the Joes.

  11. BigMacAttack Says:

    I agree guys, well done Ira. Licht is doing his job and putting forth max effort. I hope these guys feast on Brees and send a message to all who follow.
    Go Bucs!

  12. unbelievable Says:

    A healthy Spawn would be icing on the cake and give us a shot at a top-15 or even top-10 d line.

    Of course it’s nothing but paper right now, gotta go out there and prove themselves. Go Bucs!

  13. Bucamania Says:

    Plus this line will have some serious run stoppers with Beau Allen, Vea, and Unrein. JPP and Curry are also excellent against the run. Been a long time since the Bucs D line was a force. GMC will be much better with less reps. How many times does he start a game off on fire then fizzles out? Can’t wait!