Money-Down Musings

June 20th, 2018


He’s been called a beast, an animal and a savior.

Today, he’s viewed like he should be — as an X factor. Not an afterthought, but also not a critical component.

The Bucs are no longer relying on Noah Spence to lead their assault on opposing quarterbacks … and that’s a good thing.

The textbook definition of an X factor is “a person that has a strong but unpredictable influence.” Can’t you just see Jason Licht raising his hand because he knows Spence fits the description?

For two years, Tampa Bay coaches and executives counted on Spence to come off the right edge with fury. The 39th pick in the 2016 draft wasn’t bad as a rookie, registering 5.5 sacks despite starting only three games.

Spence, only 24, started off last season with a splash play, nailing Mike Glennon for a sack-fumble that was recovered by Lavonte David in a lopsided opening-day victory against the Bears.

Who knew it would be Spence’s only takedown of the year?

Spence has shouldered much of the blame for Tampa Bay’s woeful pass rush in 2017. His shoulder kept popping out of place, raising concerns among Buc fans as Spence’s weight dropped to 228 at one point. That’s the body of a strong safety, not a defensive end.

Given the facelift along Tampa Bay’s defensive front, Spence has the potential to blend in as a contributor. But unlike the past two seasons, the Bucs won’t be bent out of shape if Spence’s shoulder gets bent out of shape.

Icon Endorsed

Still, Spence can help as the Bucs seek their first double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice posted 14 takedowns in 2005.

“I’m pretty sure Noah’s ready to go,” says Dirk Koetter. “Noah’s had a hard time staying healthy, two unfortunate injuries. He did all he could do, he got them fixed. So, he’s taking care of his body. He has his weight where it needs to be. Physically, he looks great out there.”

Simeon Rice was impressed

When Rice slipped into Buc camp last August, he took some of the defensive linemen aside to show them tricks of the trade.

“Simeon taught me things in five minutes that I’d never even heard of, or even thought to put into my game,” Spence said.

That startling quote didn’t do former defensive line coach Jay Hayes any favors. When Rice looked at Spence up close and personal, he had a flashback.

“Noah reminds me very much of myself,” Rice said. “He has the talent and the capabilities. Now, he has to allow it to shine more. Don’t hide it from the world.”

Although new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner has a lot of potential alignments at his disposal, it would be surprising if Spence isn’t in the mix on third down.

That’s why he’s here, to supply a burst on the money down. I like the idea of Jason Pierre-Paul at left end, Spence at right end and Vinny Curry and Gerald McCoy charging inside in sure passing downs. Finally, there is quality depth up front with five new parts. That makes production from Spence a bonus rather than a necessity.

“I think it’s going to make us better because with less reps we’re going to be not as tired when we get out there so we can play our best,” says Spence. “Less people tired, less injuries, so it’s going to be good.”

Especially if the X factor does his part.

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.

25 Responses to “Money-Down Musings”

  1. '74 Bucs fan Says:

    Unless I’m crazy – Simeon Rice had 4 sacks in the Super Bowl. Guy was a baller! How about bringing him on as an assistant D Line Coach?

  2. Pickgrin Says:

    “I like the idea of Jason Pierre-Paul at left end, Spence at right end and Vinny Curry and Gerald McCoy charging inside on sure passing downs”

    Exactly Sage. There’s your “Turbo Package” folks…

    Here’s a reminder. Noah’s surgery last year included a procedure that will not allow his previously injured shoulder to come out of it’s socket again. Doesn’t mean he can’t get hurt in some other way – but the shoulder should be good. I’m looking forward to seeing what Spence can do when fully healthy for most or all of a season. Hopefully this is that season – followed by a string of many more…

    Go get em Spawn!

  3. Joe Says:

    How about bringing him on as an assistant D Line Coach?

    Don’t think he wants the hassle for the cash. He’s busy producing movies.

  4. Lamarcus Says:

    So Vita is a 2 down player or nah?

  5. 813bucboi Says:

    I disagree ira…..

    if spence ends up injured or provides little to no impact again, he’ll start to look like a wasted 2nd round pick……

    hopefully he can stay healthy because he’s talented….


  6. 813bucboi Says:


    I think he’ll start out that way until he proves he can rush the passer or curry proves he cant….if he takes off in TC and PS then he’s a 3 down player…..we’ll see….


  7. SB Says:

    Vea, McCoy, Jpp and Spence all at the same time? Good luck picking a Double team. Add in Curry, Allen, Unrein and Gohlston for a rotation and MAN this front looks scary. As many of you know I live in Montana and I can tell you now that alot of people up here are talking about the Bucs’ revamped DL.

  8. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    I see that the delusional optimists are out in force today with pie in the sky dreams

    Mccoy will play less than 6 games and obvious that is a good thing. Sooner shes on IR the sooner this team will flourish

    Jpp 10 gamea max. He’ll sit out a few just because thats what free agents do in tampa

    Spence 4 played games max.

    Reality is truly a beotch. I damn sure gurantee my prediction is far more accurate than the losers in denial in denial with dreans of mediocrity

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Look for the Buc linebackers to get sacks this year…..

    And, yes…..Vea will be a two down back unless it’s 3rd & short….nothing at all wrong with that….unless you want to pull a LB for Spence.

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:
    June 20th, 2018 at 4:43 pm
    I see that the delusional optimists are out in force today with pie in the sky dreams”

    There were 7 posts/comments before this weirdo wrote this comment.

    Post 1 is about Simeon Rice
    Post 2 is comment about the likely starters on pass rush downs and a note about Spence’s shoulder surgery
    Post 3 is Joe responding to post 1 about Simeon Rice
    Post 4 is someone alluding to Vea just being a 2 down player
    Post 5 is skepticism that Spence may just be a bust if he can’t stay healthy
    Post 6 is about Vea being a 2 down player again
    Post 7 is excitement about the D-line.

    Only 1 post was actually truly just an optimistic reaction to Ira’s article.

    Talk about f*cking delusional.
    Talk about a weird psychotic agenda and posting pattern.


    Go Bucs!

  11. TX Bucs fan Says:

    Lord C, well said! He is like that fly in the house when you cant find the fly swatter!

    Go Bucs!

  12. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Lord C.

    If you tire of music you could always become a shrink. lol

    BTW how’s the band doing?

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Good man thanks for asking! Got into this local festival that I’ve been submitting to the last few years without getting in so that was really cool. I feel like we’re at least getting known in the local Denver scene more than ever. We put out a new album late last year and sold our release show out (200 ppl) which for me was a big milestone accomplishment. You can check out any new stuff on our site ( – Joe – if you want to remove this I understand). Also on itunes/spotify/etc.

    Working on new stuff now. I should try to make a song for the commish podcast lol.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How can anyone really be optimistic given last year…..hopeful, hell yes….but optimism is difficult…..


    You need to get some help…..and please stay away from Children….

  15. DB55 Says:

    like the idea of Jason Pierre-Paul at left end, Spence at right end and Vinny Curry and Gerald McCoy charging inside on sure passing downs”
    That’s great for the first and top of the second qrt but what they gonna do in the fourth? I’d just put Will in for tutti frutti he’s melted by then as you all know.

  16. Dave Pear Says:


    Just went to your website and listened to a couple of your tunes.
    Very nice. There is a picture of all you guys as well. Which one are you?
    You can’t possibly be the drummer because you wouldn’t have enough time keeping up with the Bucs AND getting new tattoos.

  17. DB55 Says:



  18. SB Says:

    Well Said Steven……Though I think DB is hetero. Not so much Tmax

  19. SB Says:

    And COMPLETELY well said Lord C

  20. Joe Blahak Says:

    Excited for Spence…it’s just a matter of staying healthy

  21. Bobby M. Says:

    So much focus goes on Winston but the d-line will dictate this season for us…..If they blow up, Winston’s job is back to the Dilfer days of simply avoiding turnovers.

  22. Steven007 Says:

    DB55, thanks (?) For the link. Not sure what your point was. As for your passive-aggressive Veiled Threat, there is not a keyboard Warrior on Earth that intimidates me. Certainly not on JBF! Perhaps I would have thought twice about going back and forth with the late great Christopher Hitchens, but, uh, you’re no Hitchens. Simply not going to happen. But nice try? Too bad, I’ve defended you in post before even though you clearly have a six foot four 299 pound blind spot.

  23. Jim Says:

    What 007 said…

  24. destinjohnny Says:

    He has one move. to the outside and thats about it.

  25. Blind Melon Says:

    Ira and PickGrin nailed it. Absolutely agree.