Learning The Line

August 2nd, 2018

Defensive coaches learning too.

Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht wasn’t fooling around this offseason when he aimed to upgrade the defensive line. Licht brought in five new players, including three guys with Super Bowl rings.

Bucs coaches have talked about using the new players in a rotation along with Bucs incumbents. But in reality, a rotation isn’t as simple as a set number of snaps.

Yesterday, Joe asked defensive coordinator Mike Smith about the challenge figuring out that rotation. He said coaches have to learn how the new guys on the line play first before they can be penciled in for a number of snaps, and when those snaps will come.

“It’s us learning about what they can do,” Smith said. “And it’s very important that through the preseason we find out what these guys can handle in terms of what we can put into the playbook, and then also what we think they are going to be able to play in terms of numbers of snaps.

“We’re going to have a rotation. There are too many good guys up front that deserve an opportunity to play and they’re going to be able to help us.”

Joe asked if this could take at least a few regular season games to see how the new additions work out. Smith noted that examination should be complete by the end of preseason.

Lots of toys in the toybox for Smith and Brentson Buckner to play with. One toy (Vita Vea) is already broken. Joe hopes the other toys are in good shape come September.

17 Responses to “Learning The Line”

  1. joestang Says:

    Lets hope that at least 2 or 3 guys end up earning their pay, looking for someone who could get double digit sacks.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Lots of toys in the toybox for Smith and Brentson Buckner to play with. One toy (Vita Vea) is already broken. Joe hopes the other toys are in good shape come September.” Yeah verily Joe. Injuries killed us last year, largely because we didn’t have any real depth on defense (except our LB corps).

    Was heartened to hear Buckner say the other day that the Bucs are sticking with the 4-3 defense. Smitty’s defense has to have a monster DLine to work, and hopefully our DLine upgrades represent that monster Dline. Looking for huge improvements in terms of pressure on the QBs AND in our ability to stop the run (our defense took a big step backwards last year in those 2 areas as you’ve pointed out at least once before). Much more talent on the DLine though should dramatically improve our ability to make stops on 3rd down and hopefully to create even more turnovers. Smitty’s defense doesn’t get enough credit IMO for tying for 7th in the NFL in 2017 in takeaways (26) and for being 3rd in 2016 in takeaways (29). Still cautiously optimistic …

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    Rotation, rotation, rotation! Your defensive line is better suited late in games when they are kept fresh. When your best DT is in the game for almost 80% of the snaps and the rest of your line are a bunch of empty cereal boxes, you are NOT going to be able to make big plays late in games.
    Before anyone challenges this statement Aaron Donald was in for ~ 73%, GMC ~78% and Donald has a much better line.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    so buckner is calling the shoots regarding the type of defense we will or will not run while smitty is calling the shoots regarding rotation…..lol…

    I thought the dline coach sets the rotation and the DC sets the scheme…..

    boy, buckner came in with his big stick and is putting it in everyone’s face…lol…he’s the true alpha dog….I think he’s our next HC…..


  5. Robert Says:

    so tired about hearing about rotation. how about you get 4 guys that can ball and play them. sapp, booger, spires

    make them play until they have time to take a breather. I.e we’re winning

  6. Robert Says:

    and rice of course

  7. German Buc Says:

    If all five new players, Geraldini and Spence get nine sacks each I’ll be happy without a double digit sack guy 😉

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    JPP – McCoy – Allen – Curry

    That is a very solid base 4 starting DLine

    Spence – McCoy – Curry – JPP OR Spence – JPP – McCoy – Curry

    Nice “Turbo” pkg for obvious pass rush downs

    JPP, McCoy, Allen, Curry, Spence, Vea, Unrein, Gholston, Will Clarke – Are the likely 9 DL players who stick on the 53 man roster assuming all stay healthy through the beginning of Sept.

    Nice job Jason Licht! Amazing actually.

    Doubt we will be able to afford all these players after this year – but THAT is how you turn a weakness into a strength in 1 offseason….

  9. jmarkbuc Says:


    All we have to do is go 3 and out every series , plenty of time to rest then. 🙂

  10. Robert Says:

    that works jmark 🙂

    if JPP can be 2/3 a simeon rice we’ll be good. that guy NEVER let you down when they needed a stop on 3rd.

  11. Bigbrother005 Says:

    I just saw that Sweezy is signing with the Seahawks again.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Pardon my football ignorance….but shouldn’t we have known what these guys can do before we brought them in either paying them millions or using a high draft pick…..
    Seems to me that excuse is only good for low draft picks or UDFA.

    But, what do I know, I’m simply a lowly fan.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    @813bucboi … “I think he’s our next HC.” You obviously have no clue what it takes to be a HC, or a DC. Fortunately Buckner is a LOT smarter than that, and knows that great coaches build experience from the bottom up. And in the process work for people who know what they’re doing. Takes a lot more than carrying a “big stick and putting it in everyone’s face”.

    After being with the Cardinals for 5 years as their DLine coach and doing extremely well, Buck could’ve gone anyplace (or stayed there). He CHOSE to come to the Bucs. And one of the reasons he said in other interviews was a chance to work with Mike Smith. And keep in mind that Buck chose to come to the Bucs BEFORE we made all those FA additions.

    In a great interview that Buckner gave to Rick Stroud for his Bucs Beat Blog back in Feb of this year (http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/bucs/2018/02/21/new-defensive-line-coach-brentson-buckner-wants-to-make-the-bucs-pass-rush-great-again/ ), he obviously shares Mike Smith’s philosophy. Apparently you either didn’t read it or disregarded it, so here’s what it (and he) said …

    “Buckner said he has talked to Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, and he shares their vision about what the Bucs’ defensive line can become.

    “We’re going to hunt until the whistle blows,” he said. “We don’t want nobody to feel comfortable. Because all week long, that offensive line has told that coach and that quarterback and running back, we can run this play and we can block those guys. And we’re going to take that personally.

    “We’re not going to go looking for a fight, we’re going to invite a fight when that ball is snapped, because we want to be vicious. We want our play to precede us when we walk into a stadium. We want them to say, ‘We know when the Bucs step onto the field, it’s going to be a battle.’ We might not win them all, but your training room is going to look like we did.”

  14. Joe Says:

    Pardon my football ignorance….but shouldn’t we have known what these guys can do before we brought them in either paying them millions or using a high draft pick…..
    Seems to me that excuse is only good for low draft picks or UDFA.

    :::nods head:::

  15. Bucsfanman Says:

    jmark- ‘Amen’ to 3 and outs!

  16. 813bucboi Says:


    buckner has the experience and qualifications to become a HC….he’s played the game at its highest level with success and learned under 2 coaches who far better than who he’s working for now(bruce and todd)…..

    buckner is a class act so him saying “he wanted to work with smitty” is expected…..kinda like when dirk said, “we’re close”…well what else is he suppose to say….lol….its called media….sad that you believe everything that the media throws out….lol…

    you can huff and puff all you want but the fact remains if this season doesn’t end in the playoffs, dirk and smitty will be sent packing…..and we all know licht likes to promote within…..


  17. unbelievable Says:

    bucsfanman dropping some truth!

    agreed tbbf- we should absolutely already know what they can do.