Noah Spence’s New Role

September 18th, 2018

Here’s what really know about Noah Spence:

Dirk Koetter thinks defensive ends Will Clarke and Carl Nassib, two guys cut from rosters this month, are more valuable football players than Spence. Both played Sunday against the Eagles while healthy Spence was in street clothes, inactive and not part of the gameday roster.

This is not how it’s supposed to go for second-round draft picks.

Spence was selected No. 39 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft and had a very solid start to his career, earning the respect of Dirk Koetter for his willingness to battle through a season-long shoulder injury to 5 1/2 sacks for a 9-7 football team.

Spence mysteriously dropped to under 230 pounds about 16 months ago, surprising the Bucs with a chiseled body more suited to the beach than their roster. Remember, Spence was an undersized defensive end coming out of college at 251 pounds. Nobody at One Buc Palace had told him to drop 20 pounds.

Fast forward to this offseason, Spence, while recovering from shoulder surgery, got up to about 260 pounds and looked great and proclaimed himself healthy and ready. But toward the end of this year’s training camp, Spence looked like he had lost weight and had gotten a little soft.

Then he landed in the fourth preseason game as a full-time participant before securing a spot on Koetter’s inactive list.

Koetter shed a little light on Spence yesterday, saying Spence came to talk to him personally last week after learning he wouldn’t play against the Eagles. And Koetter noted that getting on the gameday-46 is also about special teams and Spence has an action plan for success within the organization.

On Sunday, Joe watched Spence be engaged on the sidelines with his defensive line teammates, spending chunks of times with Nassib and even obviously coaching him up on pass rush moves.

That was good to see. But it’s what we’re not seeing or being told that troubles Joe. Yeah, Joe has been around long enough to know that there’s much more to the Spence story.

Essentially, Spence is a one step from NFL rock bottom for a 24-year-old second-round pick. Heck, a year ago his teammates were openly projecting him to be the Bucs’ next double-digit sack guy.

Joe likes Spence and hopes his arrow starts pointing up in a hurry, otherwise an eventual return of Mitch Unrein could see Spence with a new address.

58 Responses to “Noah Spence’s New Role”

  1. Telly Smaint Says:

    We are certain this isn’t playing things safe concerning his shoulder?
    He’s not on the injury report. And if they were playing it safe with his shoulder, he never would have been in the 4th preseason game, much less playing against beer truck drivers and XFL tryouts in the fourth quarter.–Joe

  2. pick6 Says:

    might be a decent performer for a 3-4 team that can use his smaller quicker frame better in the pass rush, but he seems misplaced as a 4-3 end. he cuts against the grain of the physical and versatile d linemen the team seems to be stocking up on

  3. jmarkbuc Says:

    spending chunks of times with Nassib and even obviously coaching him up on pass rush moves


  4. Pat Says:

    Do you know if Nassib and Clarke are playing a lot of special teams? This was the first thought that came to my mind when I heard Dirk talk about having to play special teams.

  5. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    Trauma has a way of making people timid…

    I am ok waiting on him to figure it out…

    Clearly he still wants to play… Buut you cant play this game scared of RE INJURY A 3RD TIME!!!

  6. Lamarcus Says:

    Spence is a bust up till this point

    Too small for de
    Too slow for lb

    Just unfortunate

  7. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Imagine had licht drafted vonn bell, derrick henry, and/or mackensie alexander inststead of noah spence and the kicker……might be kind of strange when the remaining player of the bucs 2016 draft is a special teamer in ryan smith

  8. The Buc Realist Says:

    The “real” fans wondered if the game plan was supposed to defend against a heavy run game by the eagles!!!!! But the offense starting early, and the defense holding the eagles to 7 until the very end of the third quarter changed philly’s play-calling!!!!!! Be cause they sure could have used some pass rush to rotate in during the second half of the game!!!!!!!! It is not how NS57 career trajectory is supposed to be going, But Head Coach Koetter said a lot of other things as well on this topic!!!!! Will be an interesting to monitor during the next few games!!!!! But it is not like Nassib is dominating either!!!!!!! Still DE will be the number one priority in the 2019 draft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  9. Joe Says:

    Imagine had licht drafted vonn bell, derrick henry, and/or mackensie alexander inststead of noah spence and the kicker

    Or just Yannick Ngakoue.

  10. AlteredEgo Says:

    Sometimes you just are not good enough ….and Spence is an elite athlete…just the way it is….Nassib….is a cool story….the little (well big) engine that could….find his story for yourself

  11. Season Is Over Says:

    You mean Noah Presence is another wasted high draft. You don’t say.

  12. The Buc Realist Says:

    How come the sheep never played the “what if ” game for talk show host dominik’s drafts?????????????

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

  13. pok Says:

    agree that its odd for spence- i wonder if 260 makes him too slow for the edge rush he had coming out of college. 10-15 extra can do that to you. Just ask the weekend warrior guy over 40. I would think 245-250 is his zone, given that he was ~250 and doing well rookie year before he got hurt. Before the piling on of the 2016 draft class continues- lets see how ryan smith pans out- he did a solid job last week, and VH3 was playing a great game before the shoulder took him out for the year. There is no consensus yet on him. McCoy lost 2 seasons in a row to pec tears and everyone was screaming bust. Some still scream bust, but those are now just the perpetually angry fans that don’t really understand the game. Patience and man we are having the most fun team to watch in years, basically ever in my opinion. Go Bucs!

  14. unbelievable Says:

    It’s really bizarre what’s happened to him. He showed so much potential and skill as a rookie, even if he was a little undersized and playing injured.

    Could have sworn I saw 1 or 2 plays where he got pressure on Brees and forced him out of the pocket in game 1. So it was definitely a head scratcher that he was inactive last week.

    I hope he can turn things around, I have a hard time believing all his pass rushing skills have just disappeared. But who knows, he was out of the action for quite some time.

    With that said I think Carl Nassib was a great pick up, I was really surprised the browns cut him. I believe we showed interest in him predraft the year he came out too.

  15. Hawk Says:

    I’m smelling personal issues. And *if* that’s true, the odds are not in his favor.
    Good luck Noah, in whatever obstacles you are up against.

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    Spence is an afterthought. I was never impressed with the guy. His replacement, Nassib, has exceeded expectations in the first two game.

    Spence is nowhere near the player Nassib has been and he never has been. I’ve all but forgotten about the dude at this point. Next year we are likely taking a DE or 2. It is a strong draft class and might push Spence right out the door.

  17. Robert Says:

    no worries. I wasn’t high on JPP, but something is rubbing off on the DL. If thats him then great. they just need to keep doing their thang. spence will get in there if his heads right. it’s those inside conversations that could be him either asking for guidance, or being a *ick that make all the difference. and we’ll never know that.

  18. passthebuc Says:

    Could be about the right size for a blocking fullback. Then again, a trade to someone that needs help in a 3-4

  19. adam from ny Says:

    what if he was roiding and got busted by the team or the league

  20. adam from ny Says:

    another arron sears type situation???

    hopefully not

  21. BucEmUp Says:

    He should be playing linebacker at last year’s weight. If he gets cut another team will change his position.

  22. adam from ny Says:

    remember the arron sears situation…he was also a very promising 2nd round pick

  23. adam from ny Says:

    nassib is a smart one…i listened to his time on the radio yesterday and he is only going to get better…if we let him loose, he goes to the patriots…teams do need some high iq guys on the field to offset the lug heads and jug heads…

    look how things have progressed now that we have a high iq point guard running our offense (fitzbeardrick)

  24. ATLBucsfan Says:

    Something has got to be going on for him to regain the weight and then lose it again. I hope he is alright health-wise but putting him on inactive says he’s not ready for whatever the health issues he has. May not be an injury at all.

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Still DE will be the number one priority in the 2019 draft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Agree. Hell even before this 2018 draft I wanted 2018 AND 2019 to be about the D-line.

    We’re old and overpaid on that entire line.

    Really really hope Vea can get healthy soon because we need to start the youth movement. To me that pick isn’t about Vea vs Derwin James. It’s Vita Vea vs Marcus Davenport & D’ron Payne. We better have taken the best D-lineman because we have no other youthful prospect hope there other than Spence.

    I’d be fine with DE in R1 & R2 next year. DE = most valuable position after QQ. Look at what a Khalil Mack can do for a defense for example; and look at who gets paid the most on defense. DT/DE that can blow up games.

  26. D-Rome Says:

    Exhibit Q as to why Jason Licht is overrated as a GM.

  27. Buc4evr Says:

    Spence is a middle linebacker not a DE in the NFL.

  28. 813bucboi Says:

    unfortunately, I think we can stick a folk in spence as a buc……nassib and Clarke have outplayed him and we will be sure to select at least 1 DE in the draft or FA……

    the writing was on the wall in that 4th preseason game….im not surprised by dirk move….

    the better question is, whats up with rojo?… can a UDFA like Wilson be active and getting opportunities on offense but our 2nd round pick cant even dress….that’s the head scratcher……


  29. __TGH__ Says:

    Sounds like you know something about the Spence situation the rest of us don’t Joe… care to elaborate? Its rare to hear a guy have a weight issue where he can’t keep weight on, usually its the other way around. I can think of a couple of reasons.

    Spence should do himself a favor and get Dwight Freeney down to Tampa to learn his spin move. Once O-Line gets their hands on him, he is useless. What good is a pass rushing specialist that can’t get to the passer and doesn’t play special teams?

  30. Crack3rK Says:

    The Buc Realist: please stop all the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!plezase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. 813bucboi Says:


    I agree…the trench movement is not over…..we need an early olineman too!!!!….


  32. Ryan McGregor Says:

    This is just speculation, bu he was into drugs (ecstasy) when he was in college. This could be a very, very bad sign. I hope I’m totally off base. Aside from football, I wish him nothing but the best in his personal life. That stuff will RUIN him.

  33. Bucsfanman Says:

    This happens every year to many teams. Players don’t live up to expectations, are outplayed, and then forgotten.
    That Clarke and Nassib are active and Spence is not, and healthy, should tell you everything you need to know.

  34. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Somebody has to be released when JW returns…

  35. BucEmUp Says:

    Realist….our dbs played tighter coverage in this game, more so than any other game I can recall in Smitty three years here with the exception of last season’s MNF game vs Atlanta. Even Ryan Smith improved when allowed to play more aggressive. That s not a coincidence

  36. Destinjohnny Says:

    We are an Interesting team.
    If jason did have so many misses we would be much mo interesting

  37. JimmyT Says:

    Jason LICHT second round picks of Spence, Aguayo, Jones is scary. I understand if an org has a couple 2nd rounders that don’t make it maybe 2 out of 7 or 8 years but this getting crazy. This organization has been snakebit on 2nd rounders. DEX Jackson & Bowers come to mind. Can u imagine the depth on this team had these picks been O LINE & D line?

  38. Mort Says:

    It’s about special teams. Check the tapes. Dirk even told you this the other day at OBP. He doesn’t play teams and so Will Clarke is gonna be active over him.

  39. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jimmy t exactly
    I don’t wanna be like Saban being pissed when U win by 50
    But we hit those picks…..

  40. Brandon Says:

    I’m pretty sure his weight was in the 230’s, not under 230. Also, looking soft and smaller doesn’t necessarily mean he got smaller. The leaner a guy is, the bigger he looks. He puts on body fat, he looks smaller. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spence wasn’t nearly as lean at the end of training camp as he was when it began… that doesn’t mean he was smaller, just not as lean. I look like an absolute monster when I weigh ten pounds less than I do now but I’m not as strong… but when I’m heavier, I’m definitely stronger. Maybe Spence is trying to find a comfortable weight where he can be both strong and explosive.

  41. Joel Says:

    Nassib has a great motor. Hopefully he doesnt pick up any bad habits from “Take Plays Off” Geraldine McCoy.

  42. Issaic haggins Says:

    Spence only ran 4.8 in college and playershis size at end in the NFL are norm a lil quicker . The Kid does have some great moves and plays hard but just can’t play the run and is just a touch short of elite speed !!!

  43. rrsrq Says:

    To counting Spence out, it’s a long season, maybe this makes him hungrier. If he and Beckwith can come back and make this team better in the front 7 that’s a plus for the Bucs.
    There is a lot of love for Nassib, I guy I had hoped we drafted out of college, but I do not get all the love over Spence, they have been in the league equal years, how many sacks does Nassib have, I’ll wait… in less games Spence has either as many or more, plus he was cut by a team that hasn’t won a game in 34 attempts, yeah he has a motor, but can he finish

  44. rrsrq Says:

    Nassib 30 games 5.5 sacks, his TB stat line in 2 games is 0 sacks, 0 tackles, 0 assists
    Spence 19 games 6.5 sacks, in 1 game this season, they have the same stat line

  45. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Give him a clipboard and he can be Kenny Bell 2.0”


  46. Defense Rules Says:

    Still a mystery to me why Spence did reasonably well his rookie year (sacks, etc). Even played the run reasonably well, and all that with a very bum shoulder. Just hasn’t looked like the same player after his Year 2 injury, for whatever reason. With JPP & Curry available, plus Gholston, Nassib & Clarke to spell them, Spence is obviously on the outside looking in. Bucs will move on from him as soon as Winston or maybe Unrein need a slot on the roster. He’s simply not pulling his weight in this defense, although I think that some 3-4 defense might have a use for him. No trade value there though.

  47. m0j0 Says:

    The thing Spence does better than most is bend around the corner. However, I was watching him play during the preseason and didn’t really see him do it the way he has in the past. Don’t know if it was because it was preseason and he didn’t want to risk injury or he just can bend it like before, but without that, he really is limited in his ability to rush the passer (though he has developed an inside swim move that isn’t bad).

  48. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’d drop Spence like a bad habit..Immediately!

  49. ManzielMadness Says:

    Agree with the posters above about needing to keep drafting for DLine. It’s been a problem for years now… need youth not more vet FA’s.

  50. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Buckner was saying Spence needed more than one move earlier in the preseason. Could also be that move isn’t as good as it was at a lesser weight.

  51. Destinjohnny Says:

    Spence is a bust

  52. Gene Deckehoff is my hero Says:

    Jason Licht drafts busts… But I don’t fault him for this pick. He took a shot at first round talent and it hasn’t worked. Something has to be wrong with Spence for him to not be able to keep weight on. With all of the emphasis on strength and conditioning and the wealth of resources players have to them, it’s hard to not draw this conclusion.

  53. BigMacAttack Says:

    Dirk is using all these guys as his 4’th line (hockey). That’s his bench basically. He wants Beckwith to get healthy and stronger. He wants Vea to watch, learn and get in shape. He wants Smith to be engaged, practice and be ready. Dirk is fully confident in the 46 he’s fielding right now. He knows it won’t last for 16 games and he will have to go to his bench. But he wants them ready to rock and perform on a high level. As much as I’ve hammered Dirk the last two years, he’s figuring it out and has a plan.

  54. BigMacAttack Says:

    Spence* AC

  55. firethecannons Says:

    Finally the coaches are not playing favorites but actually putting players in that can get production. For some reason Spence is not working out for us, while we appreciate his warriorlike tenacity, we need to move on and put the best player forward. No doubt the hire of Brent Buckner has something to do with this roster move. Hopefully Spence can do something else–perhaps linebacker? He is not big enough in my opinion to get leverage on 325 lb linemen but as a linebacker he is quick and solid–perfect size.

  56. SB Says:

    Sad, And when I lost my bet to NOSBOS I had to buy him a Spence Jersey. I hope Spence turns it around.

  57. Locked In Says:

    Wasn’t Spence one of the muscle hamster’s party buddies?

  58. LostinPa Says:

    Let’s not Mark Baron this thing. He was drafted because he had talents. It up to the coaches to get him ready to play. Unless he’s playing scared they a way to use him. Maybe he needs to play linebacker. We cannot afford another high draft pick develop into another teams starter.