Where The Bucs Fell Apart

August 29th, 2018

Out of work (again).

You want to know why the Bucs stunk out loud last year? It was all over the news for those paying attention.

Yesterday, roughly 24 hours after he signed with the Lions, former Bucs starting defensive end Mr. Beasting Robert Ayers was released.

Last week, hours before he was to play (in theory) in the Bengals’ third preseason game, former Bucs starting defensive tackle Chris Baker was cut.

Then Joe started doing some digging. A guy the Bucs had planned to start at left defensive end and share time with Will Gholston, Jacquies Smith, is a backup with the Cardinals. Smith is having an OK preseason with eight tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack through three games.

So let’s do some quick math. Four guys who were expected to start/play a significant role on the Bucs’ defensive line last year are either looking for work or are backups. Gholston, who got a sack last week against Detroit.  has been relegated to the bench after Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht rebuilt the defensive line.

So you want to know why the Bucs stunk last year? Four guys on a critical area of the team are either out of work, playing backup or have had their responsibilities greatly scaled back.

46 Responses to “Where The Bucs Fell Apart”

  1. Andy Baby Says:

    Any word on why Ayers was released after only 24 hours? Wow!

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    But let’s blame Smith for not turning that into a top 15 defense….

  3. Buc believer Says:

    Gee I wonder what GM signed the tree humper??? Could it be Mr. 22-44?

  4. Rossta Says:

    Still don’t like Smith

  5. Rob In Land O Lakes Says:

    Strong Van Halen choice with Outta Love, Joe. Honorable mentions for Ayers and Swaggy could be Mean Streets as in hitting the mean streets as well as Somebody Get Me a Doctor for Jaquies Smith and Noah Spence in Week 2.

  6. D-Rome Says:

    Gee, it was nothing but love over the last few years for Ayers by most around these parts. Keywords like leadership, toughness, and attitude were thrown around when describing him.

    We hear the same old buzz words for a few new guys this year…

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    McCoy aside (and GMC certainly did not have a career year either) the Buccaneers DLine was basically just PITIFUL in 2017.

    Couldn’t stop the run too often. Couldn’t pass rush for chit!

    Spence out for the year after 1 game. Jack Smith slow to recover from major knee injury and given up on. Swaggy, Ayers and Gholston all under-performing at disastrous levels.

    That mess was UGLY!

    Here’s hoping that throwing a new coach, $30M+ and a high first rd draft pick (+ a high 3rd rd pick for JPP trade) at the problem was the catalyst for major improvement.

    The GM literally did everything he could in one offseason to improve this unit. Now its up to the players to get the job done on the field.

    Early returns seem promising. JPP looking like the best DE we’ve seen in 13 years. Curry looking pretty solid as well. Even Gholston made the best play we’ve seen from him in years Friday night.

    Coach em up Buck!

  8. Godeep66 Says:

    [No “crime” was committed. Tread carefully. — Joe]

    Take a look at the reply from ESPNs college sports had to say when asked if the recent negative news would impact his viewership for college football games. JW roped in with Sandusky. Ha.

    “I don’t think so,” said Lee Fitting, the vice president of college sports at ESPN and the point person for the company’s coverage of college football. “It has been brutal to watch, brutal to read about. It’s disgusting. It’s depressing. I just think at the end of the day people are still going to watch these games. I don’t want to say it is right or wrong. But — and I hate saying this and it is sad to say this — the sport has been through these rough patches whether it was Joe Paterno and Penn State, Baylor and Art Briles, the Jameis Winston stuff. It’s sad but the sport has been through this. For whatever reason, the sport continue to be very popular”.

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    And yea – solid VH offering Joe.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I always liked Jack Smith….he produced when health….

    There is no question that our Dline is better…..will they play better…..I think yes but I don’t know yes.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Maybe once Winston gets back from his BS suspension – the Bucs offense can “Light Up the Sky” with an “Eruption” of points.

    DLine needs to stop looking like “Fools” and play with wild abandon – become “Unchained” – a real “Loss of Control” if you will.

    “Push Comes to Shove” every week in the NFL. So the Bucs need to “Jump” all over every opponent early – Come out “On Fire” each week in order to convert the Den of Depression into a “House of Pain”.

    10 wins and a meaningful January game will have Bucs fans “Dancing in the Streets”. 🙂

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    There’s no question that this is an improved area, at least talent-wise.
    I liked the Ayers signing a couple of years ago but last year his, and really everyone’s, play fell off last year. Coupled with a lack of depth, it’s a wonder we were ever able to stop anyone. Oh wait, we didn’t!
    Cut after 1 day! That’s crazy!

  13. Dooshlarue Says:

    I’d have to go with “Panama” for JW just for the line….
    “Reach down between my (her) legs….. ease the seat back….

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    Man, I need more coffee! I’m just getting the references now!!! Thanks Doosh, Pick!

  15. Dooshlarue Says:


    That is a mighty fine list!

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Doosh – It was a mighty fine 5 albums that band produced from 78>84. (+ Diver Down – LOL)

    Eddie Van Halen was THE MAN. IMO the most important and influential rock guitarist of all time aside from Hendrix of course.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “So you want to know why the Bucs stunk last year? Four guys on a critical area of the team are either out of work, playing backup or have had their responsibilities greatly scaled back.” I’m missing something Joe. I didn’t see anything in there telling me that Scapegoat Smitty screwed the pooch last year despite having an awesome DLine to work with. Nor did I see anything about Jason Licht giving this coaching staff all the resources necessary to have a winning season last year … certainly it wasn’t a TALENT issue. You missed a great opportunity to blame Smitty for NOT developing Baker, Ayers, Gholston & Jack Smith into an Awesome Foursome. It has to be the coaches’ fault.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    A little Van Halen lyrics (dedicated to 87)

    “Right Now”

    Don’t wanna wait til tomorrow,
    Why put it off another day?
    One more walk through problems,
    Built up, and stand in our way ,ah
    One step ahead, one step behind me
    Now you gotta run to get even
    Make future plans, don’t dream about yesterday, hey
    C’mon turn, turn this thing around
    Right now, hey
    It’s your tomorrow
    Right now,
    C’mon,it’s everything
    Right now,

  19. OneBuc55 Says:

    Getting JPP was huge for us…

    McCoy gets a proven vet to run with…the thing I like most about JPP is the fact that he’s a well balanced DE…Some DE’s are just run stoppers and not very good at rushing the passer…then others are just pass-rushers that could care less about stopping the run…With JPP we have a guy who’s pretty d@mn good at both…Imho JPP was the easily best move Licht made this off-season…

  20. Architek Says:

    And add VH to this list of disappointment too.

  21. Bobby M. Says:

    Lets not forget Spence has been a total bust….He’s a 2nd round pick that cant beat 2nd and 3rd string units in preseason.

  22. Joel Says:

    Where’s that guy we took with our first round pick in April? Is he dead?

  23. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    And people wonder why McCoy didn’t dominate games to their liking last year lol. The fact that he got the amount of sacks and pressures he did with those cast of “football players” is an amazing accomplishment.

  24. TX Bucs fan Says:

    You really missed the mark on this one JBF! In case you didn’t get the memo from Godeep, the crappy defense was all JW3’s fault.

  25. Dooshlarue Says:


    Yeah, no Van Hagar!
    My first show ever was VH Diver Down tour at the Lakeland Civic Center in 82. DLR was slurring lyrics and there’s nothing quite like a 20 minute Michael Anthony bass solo.
    Eddie and Alex were great.
    Agree that Diver Down was their weakest album.

    I’d say:
    First album and Fair Warning are a toss up for their best.
    1984 has grown on me over the years and is a solid contender for the next spot.
    Women and Children First a slight edge over VH2

  26. Farley Says:

    Oh no no no you publish an article blaming the players and not the person that put them there in the first place Mike Smith. His defensive schemes are predictable and that’s the reason he’s at a disadvantage in their division who are smart and has played for him or against him for years and know his rational defensive team schemed make-up Yeah and one more thing he needs to come down from the high lofty booth and have personal coaching interaction with the players on the sidelines. I think he should have been firedby midseason last year.

  27. Dapostman Says:

    As far as a Van Halen selection I think I would have went with


    World turns black and white
    Pictures in an empty room
    Your love starts fallin down
    Better change your tune, yeah
    Reach for the golden ring
    Reach for the sky
    Baby just spread your wings

    We’ll get higher and higher
    Straight up we’ll climb
    We’ll get higher and higher
    Leave it all behind

    Run, run, run away
    Like a train runnin off the track
    Got the truth gets left behind
    Falls between the cracks
    Standing on broken dreams
    Never losin’ sight, ah
    Spread your wings

    We’ll get higher and higher
    Straight up we’ll climb
    We’ll get higher and higher
    Leave it all behind

    So baby dry your eyes, save all
    The tears you’ve cried
    Oh that’s what dreams are made of
    ‘Cause we belong in a world that must be strong
    Oh that’s what dreams are made of

    So many great Van Halen songs to choose from.

  28. 813bucboi Says:

    You want to know why the Bucs stunk out loud last year?

    monken already told us the answer…….

    its because “we chose to suck”…..


  29. 813bucboi Says:


    100% agree…..couldn’t have said it better!!!!!


  30. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Van Halen is frigging awful

  31. adam from ny Says:

    vea is trying to appear an early bust in order to get out of tampa…he was advised by tatu and mister rourke to play elsewhere

  32. webster Says:

    Gholston was signed to be a backup/rotational player. Only in tampa when a dlineman signs for an average of 5 mil per season we expect him to be von miller who makes 16 mil. Smh

  33. webster Says:

    Mitch urien makes 3.5 mil. Please tampa fans/writers, do not expect jpp type production. That is all

  34. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Pickgrin…TBBF…Dapostman…Joe and others who have used musical references.

    I love it!!! Always enjoyed VH but I’m not a real aficionado…I’m also a Sammy Hagar fan so I probably appreciated that second version of the band but I realize for some that version was too “pop” and not rock enough so I get Doosh’s comment. But as Pickgrin pointed out…Eddie was a great guitarist and he was still great in the band’s second incarnation.

  35. LUVMYBUCS Says:



  36. JimBuc2 Says:

    OneBuc55, Gospel truth, dude. JPP was the smartest move Licht has made yet.

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    There were multiple contributing factors to why the Bucs stunk out loud last year:

    • A hurricane took their bye week away, which resulted in no time off for recovery of injuries

    • We started the season with a horrible kicker who cost us two games all on his own (2 GAMES)

    • Our team had 21 of 22 starters injured throughout the year

    • Our defense, even when healthy, lacked the talent needed to keep the opposing teams from scoring

    • Our defense specifically cost us 4 games in which the offense took the lead late in games (4 GAMES)

    • We had some lazy free agents (Baker)

    Two things to note from the above:

    • 2+4 games equals 6 losses that would have been won with talent that was just a little better…6 games plus our five wins would have put us at 11-5 instead of 5-11.

    • I did not mention Hard Knocks because it took place in Training Camp, not in the regular season, so it had zero effect on the season, no matter how much some people fail to grasp that simple fact.

  38. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    And I did not even mention Winston’s shoulder injury and the lack of a run game.

  39. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Andy Baby Says
    “Any word on why Ayers was released after only 24 hours?”

    Failed the team physical to make the team.

  40. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Godeep66, nothing against Jameis was even ever proven. Innocent until PROVEN guilty still means something in America.

  41. Pickgrin Says:

    Who is quoting Van Hagar and naively presumes to call it “Van Halen”? LOL

    spbf – I am a big Sammy Hagar fan. And I can’t stand David Lee Roth.

    But Van Halen is not Van Halen with out the (now 2nd) biggest narcissist on the planet behind the microphone screwing up the lyrics left and right….

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Farley Says
    “Oh no no no you publish an article blaming the players and not the person that put them there in the first place Mike Smith.”

    Nice try, friend, but no go.

    Mike Smith has been here two full seasons, and in that time, he has lacked the talented players needed to run his defense. This, his third year, will be different. He’ll either do well or not. Prove himself or not.

    But you cannot hold it against him for the hand he was dealt the last two years.

    You can blame Licht, yes, for choosing crappy free agents during those two years, but again, this year, Licht did a much better job in free agency.

    Every conceivable weakness on defense has been well addressed this year. In most years for any team, that cannot be done in one off season. Think about it.

    • Defensive line has been overhauled by adding DEs and DTs in free agency, and good ones.

    • JPP was added.

    • Vita Vea was drafted (he’ll prove he was worth it this year)

    • Davis and Stewart have been excellent at Cornerback.

    • VHIII has come with a new attitude and effort

    • A new safety who looks good was added in the draft

    That covered all of the defensive weak spots. So if Mike Smith fails this year, yes, he sucks, because he finally has the talent to get things done. But before now, he had a bad hand.

  43. Joe Says:

    But Van Halen is not Van Halen with out the (now 2nd) biggest narcissist on the planet behind the microphone screwing up the lyrics left and right….


  44. Kobe Faker Says:

    Thats why Tampa cant win

    You win (sustain) thru the draft

    when your master builder(GM Gump) wiffs in the draft, the ramifications lasts for years

    when we needed a #1 corner and a pass rusher, Gump gave us Milli Vanilli and a molly Shoulder hardness. we are still trying to plug those positions while our division rivals are building complete teams that are built to last because the rosters are young and cheap

    2018 season, gump has built a 1 year rental facade of a team. we will be in salary cap hell next year and the future is bleak because of Gumps lack of foundational drafting

    Kobe Faker

  45. Eric Says:

    Hopefully the analysis of why we fell apart this year will not have to be conducted.

  46. Mike Johnson Says:

    To hell with all of this. Whats up with Vita Vea? He’s not practiced much. Is he another Easy money Sweezy?