“They Could Make A Dramatic Jump”

May 9th, 2018

Key to turnaround?

Consider uber NFL insider Adam Schefter to be in a wait-and-see mode.

Schefter, like the rest of us, watched Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht beef up the defensive line this offseason.

Perhaps he bought the hype one too many times in recent years, perhaps he’s not won over by Licht’s transactions on defense. But Schefter is waiting to see how the new look defensive line of the Bucs performs before he starts throwing rose pedals before the feet of Dirk Koetter.

In a segment during a recent airing of NFL Live on BSPN, Schefter said the biggest question mark in the NFC south is the defensive line of the Bucs.

“The Buccaneers run defense was 32nd in the NFL last year,” Schefter said. “And you saw how much that team emphasized its front during the draft, during free agency.

“All of the players they went out and got. They imported half of Philadelphia’s defensive line to come play in Tampa. This is a unit that must step up. If the Buccaneers defense can improve and get better, they could make a dramatic jump.”

Joe doesn’t blame Schefter for hesitating before jumping on the bandwagon. Still, despite the skepticism, this defensive line should be much better.

Joe still thinks the key element here is Noah Spence. If his shoulder can finally withstand a season-long beating in the NFL, his skills very well could dramatically turn around the defensive front alone.

57 Responses to ““They Could Make A Dramatic Jump””

  1. Ocala Says:

    A lot of Buc fans feel burned from last year, but on paper this Bucs team looks like they should make the playoffs.

  2. LJ'sDaddy Says:

    Show me, show me, show me! I love my team. I bought the hype last year. I will not get burned again. I am optimistic… but I too have a wait and see attitude. I am a little scared that the talk is building. I much prefer to fly under the radar. Lower expectations and then exceed expectations. GO BUCS!

  3. Casual Observer Says:

    If the team was dead last in D, why didn’t they fire the D coach?

  4. Dave Pear Says:


    You scared me at first when I saw the word “uber” in your first sentence.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    @casual observer

    Because they rather fix the “real” problem!!!!!!!!

    Will they be improved??? Yes!!!! The “real” question is, will they be good????? that is very hard to do when so many new players are all thrown together for the first time!!!!!!!! And thrown in the fact that GMC and JPP have a very short window too prove they will be good!!!!!!! Time will tell!!!!!!!!!

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

  6. AlteredEgo Says:

    Fingers crossed for a healthy roster this year….makes all the difference for a building team

  7. rrsrq Says:

    My expectations are also tempered, as much as it comes down to defensive improvement, with a young secondary, it still is going to come down to the QB and coaching on both sides of the ball. Jameis needs to take DJax advice and play like he loves the game and have fun (no stupid antics like head butts and finger pointing), I am no way an FSU fan and it has been a long time, but that first game against Pitt when he lit it up, thats what I am looking for, I am looking for the drive he had when the Bucs needed a first down against ATL or the passes he threw to ME and ASJ in that first ATL game in 2016. We se the talent, now just put it all together, let the combination of Barber, Jones and Sims keep the backfield fresh and let the others have to chooses between, OJ, Brate, Hump, DJax, Goodwin and ME. Put up 30 ppg and take it cliche (one game at a time)

  8. pelbuc Says:

    As a life long Bucs fan since ’76, the only real expectations are no expectations.

  9. Waterboy Says:

    I’m in the same boat this I’m not buying into any hype or projected leaps by players. I’m in show me mode this season.

  10. ndog Says:

    Realist you know this defense was not talented last year and was hit hard by injuries but it takes everyone INCLUDING YOUR BELOVED MIKE SMITH to be dead last in the league. Good coaches help the players they do have maximize their talents and I don’t think anyone, even you, can say anyone’s talent on this defense was maximized last year. So yes the players are better this year but the coaches need to be much better as well no matter how great you think they are or how many excuses you give them. Talk about lack of accountability, you are the prime example of that, just like your buddy Mike Smith’s lack of dealing with Swaggy last year. Heck maybe you are part of the defensive staff cause accountability eludes both you and them.

  11. Frank Pillow Says:

    Improved talent is one thing. Improved scheme is another. It’s a little bit of “chicken and egg” here. Were the rush-games and coverages poorly designed or poorly executed? Watching this D, it’s hard not to say both. With the uptick in talent, there should be a TON of pressure on Smitty and his staff to implement a scheme that puts his players in the best position to succeed.

  12. BucfanBF Says:

    We have been burned many times with excitement for the upcoming season. I like what we have done this offseason and it appears the pieces may be in place now but I am hesitant to get to excited. Show me on the field and we shall see.

  13. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Hey realist! Hit me with another one of your narcissistic reposts!!!

  14. Alan T Barlow Says:

    2016 great defense, 2017 bad defense, leadership? DC Mike a problem? Where did the motivation go? Subordinates or leadership? 50 50 thought here! All new defense line now, bad still, then I think leadership! Will see.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Vita Vea (Maui from Moana) and Stevie T side by side on the line would force the DEs to line up out of bounds!!!

  16. martinni Says:

    I agree with the posters above for the most part. We all pretty much realize that last years 5-11 season after all the hype and expectations left a bad taste with us. Thats a good thing because the bar is now much lower and I think even though it appears Licht has really tried to beef-up the 2018 defense the proof is still 8 months away.The only thing we can really count on are the intangibles that always affect the outcome of a season and the quality as well as intangibles that will affect the teams we play. (I.E. Ingram Suspension) Practice hard, stay out of trouble, expect adversity, and play one game at a time. Not rocket science.

  17. Mike Johnson Says:

    Don’t believe the Hype. Believe the checks in the WIN column. Sure we COULD make a dramatic Jump. I COULD win the 10 million lottery today too!!

  18. DBAG56 Says:

    Ocala Says:
    May 9th, 2018 at 8:09 am
    A lot of Buc fans feel burned from last year, but on paper this Bucs team looks like they should make the playoffs.

    ^^^we get burned EVERY year man

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    After much pre-season hype and build up of expectations – last year’s 5-11 kick in the nuts season (on top of the previous decade of mostly losing) – has most Bucs fans in “show me” mode this year. Even the “optimistic” ones like myself.

    On paper, The Bucs Defense looks to be much improved with the additions of JPP, Curry, Beau Allen, Unrein, Vita Vea, MJ Stewart, Carlton Davis and 4th rd safety Whitehead.

    That’s nine new Defensive players brought in and with getting Spence back, an even Ten Defensive players that the Bucs didn’t have last year. At least 7 of those players will either be starters or seeing significant playing time this year and the rest will play their role and/or develop.

    Best bets to be “difference makers” include JPP, Spence, Allen, Vea and Carlton Davis IMO.

    Wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see our Linebackers show up big time this year due to the vastly improved defensive front – and the secondary (regardless of who is playing back there) should be improved as well.

    Mike Smith’s defense (like most defenses) needs strong DL play and regular pressure on QBs in order to be successful. Think back to the 5 game win streak of ’16. What was the difference between those games and the other 27 games that Mike Smith has coached as Bucs DC? Solid DLine play is the answer.

    Let’s hope Jason Licht’s attempt at completely overhauling our DLine (along with the other nice additions) works out as well on the field as it looks on paper.

  20. Bob in Valrico Says:

    given the bad signings in free agency and injuries. here’s a look at some things that did .


  21. DB55 Says:

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

    tmaxcon Says:
    October 16th, 2017 at 8:52 am
    It does not matter who is coaching when your defense is led and captain by a mentally weak career loser who has led more blowouts and uninspured performances than victories in his 8 years of excuses… can’t change the losing culture with the leader of losing culture cancer93 still on roster… I’m always right team will never win a game that matters with cancer93 on roster. Cancer93 could wreck a defense that had Reggie white and LT playing on it…pathetic career loser with a smile and the results prove it

  22. Bob in Valrico Says:

    They were probably middle of the pack in Tackles and INT’s,but second in the league in fumbles recovered.

  23. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Tmax is the cancer…GMC is the cure…

  24. jmarkbuc Says:


    C’mon man. “On Paper”


  25. JJBucFan Says:

    Alan- Our defense sucked in 2016 as well except for a 5 game run. With 3 games left Mike Smith went back to his original defense and BOOM, we lost 2 straight and missed the playoffs by 1/2 a game. We did win the last game of the year, but it was too late by then.

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    I don’t have a clue what we’ve got on paper or elsewhere … yet. Our DLine has to be improved by the additions of veterans Allen, Curry & Unrein. All by itself that should improve our run defense AND help us to put increased pressure on opposing QBs. I normally put very little stock in rookies until they actually make the roster, move up the depth chart & start impacting games. But drafting Vea has me excited (and no TBBF, I don’t expect Stevie T will make the roster but will end up on the practice squad unless there’s an injury).

    Injured players always concern me, because so many never seem to make it back 100%. One of the reasons I guess why I’m concerned about our OLine; 3 healthy road-graders & 2 floppy hats as of right now. Love that we added Jensen (hopefully he turns out to be the leader our OLine has been missing), but our OLine is shaky at best right now IMO. On defense, I don’t see Spence as being a big factor this year, and not just because of his injury history. Noah will have trouble taking snaps away from the other DEs unless Smitty uses the 3-4 more than he has in past years. And now folks are talking like Beckwith might not be healed up in time to start the season? Sorry Joe, but still ‘cautiously optimistic’ … at best.

  27. gotbbucs Says:

    There was a DT getting paid $750,000 a game on that 32nd ranked rush defense.

  28. BucEmUp Says:

    The key element is the secondary. Just like a strong line benefits them, they can equally put the dline at a disadvantage.

    I guarantee if someone can find a stat for the quickest ball release between the time of the snap and the throw release it was against the Bucs.

    Yes, yes, yes I know a good dline is needed but so is coverage tighter than a 1w yard window of wide open field.

    Been saying since before they signed hop and all these new guys. It doesn’t matter who they bring in, if the corners and dbs continue to play so soft and far off the line of scrimmage (shut up Mike Smith your full of spit saying these players had the freedom to line up however they wanted…LIES!!!) No dline is going to be any good.

    Shoulda fired Mike Smith, everyone are dead men walking at this point and it’s not from a lack of talent.

  29. BucEmUp Says:

    Realist how much time do you give these new players to perform well with this so called excellent and experienced coaching staff? Three games, half the season, until next season?

    Is there ever a point in which you will say ok….its the coaching. I’m just curious. These guys are pros, so.many teams add.new players and turn it around the next season. Other teams.retain many of the same.players and.get new coaching and turn it around the next season. At what point does the fault fall on the coach?

  30. BucTrooper Says:

    Back to Back offseason Super Bowl Champs!

  31. Trench War Says:

    I am cautiously optimistic with excitable expectations that we won’t be last in run defense.

  32. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I feel like i’m just ready for the season. Not going to project and do my normal analysis. I’ll probably post W:L guess after training camp & seeing a couple preseason games.

    I am happy with the offseason aquisitions. I am not sure it could have really gone that much better in terms of meeting need /value and using up our resources to try and field as deep and talented a team as we can but who f*cking really knows until the games begin.

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:
    May 9th, 2018 at 8:29 am
    @casual observer
    Because they rather fix the “real” problem!!!!!!!!
    Will they be improved??? Yes!!!! The “real” question is, will they be good?????

    they better be “real” good for dirk and smitty’s sake!!!!!!!….anything less than 10wins and playoffs they going fishing, maybe for good!!!!!…..

    they made hayes the scapegoat but they wont have one in place this year….baker is gone….martin is gone…..ward is gone…..depth and talent has arrived….

    im super excited because this year someone will get exposed as a fraud!!!!….will it be dirk and smitty or GMC & JPP?….

    and pull your skirt down!!!!….your tmaxi is showing!!!!!!


  34. 813bucboi Says:


    I agree….im ready for it to begin….cant wait to go to TC practices…..i’ll be paying close attention to the tempo of practice….will they have a sense of urgency or will they repeat what they did last year…..will they turn up the physicality in practice or wrap themselves up in bubble wrap like last year……

    I aint making any predictions until the last week of September….they burnt me last year after that win vs the bears….

    I think licht has done his job….its up to the coaches now!!!!


  35. Brooklynborn Says:


  36. Gambelero Says:

    If you count ties as half-win, half-loss, the net record for every team has got to be 256-256. In stats it’s called degrees of freedom. It’s an immutable law of sports leagues. So, ESPN did a thing where they asked each team analyst to estimate his/her assigned team’s record, independently of the other analyst’s estimates (note the triple genitive), without enforcing the immutable law.

    This collective estimate was positive biased by a huge number, something in the 40s. The point is that even the so-called experts are way over optimistic this time of year. Kind of like the Jews against Vespasian’s sons or the Confederates at the beginning of the succession, or Napoleon at Waterloo, or Wellington’s troops in New Orleans or the French at Agincourt. Or like most of us here on JBF

  37. JJBucFan Says:

    BucEmUp- I feel 100% the same- I have been watching football since I was a toddler like most here, I cannot understand how anyone can’t see the true problem. I was happy with the Lovie hire-he was the right person at the time-that didn’t work out. I was happy with the Dirk hire-HE was the right person at the time-hasn’t worked out (so far). For me it is the pattern of resorting back to old habits by both Dirk and Smitty that tells me that they may not be the right people for the job. The game has passed their “old habits” by IMO. You can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time- it is catching up with them both now.

  38. BigMacAttack Says:

    I hope goofball Gerald McClown doesn’t bring the rest down. Or maybe he can sit on the sidelines stuffing his face with hotdogs.

  39. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Noah Spence is a luxury now, instead of a ‘dream hope’. The Bucs can make sure he is ready before putting him out there. I do think he should always play with the brace though. It helped him a lot his first year.

    In the meanwhile, the Dline is stacked.

  40. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I think we could debate a lot about this team but one thing seems REALLY certain to me.

    Our talent level on defense has improved dramatically. Now how will these guys jell as a unit? I think…for the reasons Pickgrin listed…that we are poised to really break out.

  41. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I predict 5 sacks in our first game against the Saints.

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Welcome to the Cove of Brutality

  43. since1976GoBucs Says:

    The good news is that our defense has only one way to go , and that is up. Still say signing an Elite cover corner like DRC is important , he was played out of position at slot last season by the morons in NY. DRC is a complete cover corner with elite speed and great ball skills , and could mentor our young draft picks in making sure they have security with metal detector wands when they host a big pool party. Rose pedals and brake pedals , are they the same Joe?

  44. RustyRhinos Says:

    That sure is a mighty big IF Joe. If Michael Bennett’s shoulder was not injured & reinjured he might have remained a Buc IF it was not injured. How long do you think the current administration will keep a often injured DE?

  45. Not there yet Says:

    Nope once again Joe’s I disagree. Spence is not key because he’s accomplished nothing

    They keep guy is the one no one will talk about and that’s Mike Smith. The defense has sucked for so long that everyone is refusing to believe this is the most talented defense we’ve had in a long time

    Honestly if Mike Smith can’t do anything with this front we have on defense he should be fired before the season is over because he’s to blame and it would be his stupid scheme as the problem. A lot of teams have done more with less talent than we have right now on defense

  46. Couch Fan Says:

    I usually agree with Realist however I am very curious as to why you are giving Dirk and Smitty so much time to fix this team when you refused to give Lovie the same amount of time. Ive seen no difference in the coaching. The only thing that seems to be improved is the talent level.

  47. DB55 Says:

    Did you guys see McIceCream’s new commercial? It’s fitting. Lmao


  48. 813bucboi Says:


    I have never agreed with rhealist but you are correct…..he acts like the roster wasn’t trash when the previous staff took over….lol….now he wants to give this staff a 2years pass because dirk ran over a squirrel in his drive way…..

    I know why he didn’t want lovie and its obvious….

    but I wont pull his card….I rather buy him a next tmaxi and pull his skirt down!!!!….lol….


  49. Bucsfanman Says:

    DB55- LMAO!!! You have serious issues!

    ONE player is not, nor ever has been, THEE problem!

  50. Dave Pear Says:


    Where do you find this stuff?
    Now, That’s funny.

  51. MadMax Says:

    Watch Big V do his best plow impressions….as long as the ends do their job, the middle will be flushed.

    And thats friggin hilarious DB55.

  52. DB55 Says:

    Lol can’t be all doom and gloom.

    I’d tell you where I find this stuff but then I’d have to **** you. Lololol.

    Have a great day fellers.

  53. Duke Says:


    Please allow me to join the crowd and salute you.
    If you didn’t know about that commercial before calling GM soft ice cream , then I think that you had to have made it. Ridiculous!

    BTW, put a hat on the guy and it is Bruce.

  54. BoJim Says:

    ‘Joe still thinks the key element here is Noah Spence. ‘


  55. Destinjohnny Says:

    Why am I not feeling a 238 pound end who runs a 4.89 forty and has one move?

  56. toopanca Says:

    Are the Bucs a better team now than they were last year? In terms of net points per game, how much better should the Bucs be this year?

    In 2017, the Bucs were 5-11. They beat the Panthers twice, and they split with the Falcons and the Saints. They only lost three games by more than 7 points – to the Cardinals, the Broncos and Falcons.

    On offense, the Bucs upgraded with FA C Ryan Jensen, 2nd round RB Ronald Jones, 3rd round OL Alex Cappa and 5th round WR Justin Watkins. The Bucs have had more time to learn how to best use DeSean Jackson with Jamais Winston in the offense. Is this enough for the Bucs to be better on offense by four points per game?

    On defense, the Bucs upgraded with FA DEs Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul, FA DTs Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein, 1st round DT Vita Vea, 2nd round CBs M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, 4th round S Jordan Whitehead and 6th round LB Jack Cinchy. And, hopefully, DE Noah Spence is now healthy. Is this enough for the Bucs to be better on defense by four points per game?

    If the answer to these questions is yes, the Bucs should be better by about eight points per game against last year’s opponents. That would have given them a record of 13-3.

    Of course, they are not playing last year’s opponents. This year, they are playing the 13-3 Super Bowl Champion Eagles and the 13-3 Steelers. Those two games look to be losses. But, the Bucs play six teams who had losing records – the Bears, the Bengals, the Browns, the Forty-Niners, the Giants and the Redskins. If the Bucs win those six games, split the six division games and split with the 9-7 Ravens and the 9-7 Cowboys, the Bucs would have a record of 10-6. That seems pretty doable to me. They could end up worse, of course. But, they could end up a bit better.

  57. BobBuc Says:

    I really like Spence and his story but if he is the key, given his recurring shoulder injuries, we’re screwed.

    And please, drop the “AC/DC loving” descriptor. It’s gone way past embarrassing.