A Microscope Game For Jason Licht

October 19th, 2018


Huge game for the franchise. Huge game for the general manager.
The Bucs have an opportunity to even their record at 3-3 before a two-game road trip to Cincinnati and Carolina. If they don’t take care of business against the Browns, a 2-6 record at the halfway mark would seem likely, accompanied by a six-game losing streak.

The Glazers would be in full regime change mode, making the departure of Mike Smith only the first in a sweeping change at One Buc Place in January.

Talk about a turnover.

But things could change with a home win. They could change for the organization and they could change for Jason Licht.

You can deal with a 3-3 getaway. You keep your postseason hopes alive, you end the bleeding and your confidence gets a boost.

The national media loves to speculate about head coaches on the hot seat, and Dirk Koetter’s name is often placed near the top. That’s understandable, but Koetter plays the cards he is dealt and Licht needs to win a few hands, starting Sunday.

First-round pick Vita Vea

Vita Vea needs to play extensively, and play well. In retrospect, that calf injury at the start of training camp was more extensive than projected. Through two games, Vea has been credited with one tackle. He’s still seeking his first QB hit.

In Gerald McCoy’s absence, here’s an enhanced chance to show Buc fans Vea is the right guy to eventually replace McCoy at defensive tackle. The Browns are a run-first team, according to Koetter, so Vea needs to capitalize.

That brings us to Licht’s next draft pick, Ronald Jones. To suggest that Jones has yet to make an impact isn’t exactly a stretch.He was selected for his big-play potential, yet his longest of 11 rushing attempts has been 7 yards. He has one 10-yard catch among his 4 receptions.

The other two second-round picks, cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, are components of a pass defense that is being picked apart at a historic rate.

Third-round pick Alex Cappa has yet to dress.

There’s a lot of season remaining, but Licht can’t afford another draft class with minimal impact. He can’t afford another 2016.

The ensuing years haven’t been kind to Vernon Hargreaves, Noah Spence, Roberto Aguayo, Ryan Smith, Caleb Benenoch, Devante Bond and Danny Vitale. Spence can’t get on the field, Smith and Benenoch are struggling and Hargreaves is hurt — again.

Jason Licht talks to Bucs co-owner Joel Glazer

Licht’s future rests with his draft classes because free agency hasn’t been a strong point. Mike Evans and Ali Marpet have already been awarded second contracts, with Jameis Winston, Kwon Alexander and Donovan Smith waiting their turn.

Licht may not be around to make that call.

This team is 24-45 since Licht assumed control on the personnel side. A 4-7 record the rest of the way would leave Licht with the same record as his predecessor, Mark Dominik. That’s hardly the company Mr. Licht would like to keep.

This would be a good time for Vea and Jones to make their marks as rookies. Buc fans will be watching closely. So will Jason Licht.

So will the Glazers.

Derrick Brooks takes on the tough questions of the day — your questions — with sage columnist Ira Kaufman.Click below and enjoy this great production from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.com, presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating.   

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters in July of 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter 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 at 5 p.m. Also a TV star, Ira is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show at 10:30 a.m. He’s also on BayNews 9 Mondays & Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. “The Sage” enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Bette Midler, Chiefs victories and needling Joe. …WATCH IRA AND DERRICK BROOKS on the new TAMPA TWO show from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.

21 Responses to “A Microscope Game For Jason Licht”

  1. DB55 Says:

    If Cappa is actually worse than Benenoch then that’s all we really need to know isn’t it? Licht prides himself as an oline man but his oline is absolutely awful.

    Watching the cardinals last night I couldn’t help but to see similarities in how poorly coached both these team are.

  2. Season Is Over Says:

    Yes, you are on the hot seat when your team is nearly finished by Halloween for the second year in a row. That leaves your fans with 8 solid weeks of useless football watching everyone else being successful. What kind of fan are you breeding?

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    dirk and licht need this game badly….simple as that……

    its as if some think licht should have omitted the 2016, 2017 & 2018 draft as well as FA….lol….we should’ve just rolled with the same players from the 9-7season…..lol…..even tho spence had his best year that year and VHG play was solid for a rookie…..that was surely grimes best year….

    imo, its player development…..which player has gotten better and taken the next step since dirk has been HC?…..maybe d.smith….


  4. 813bucboi Says:


    maybe but cappa came from a d2 school vs benenoch playing at a major program…..I knew he would be a project regardless of his measurables…

    licht screwed up a couple times no doubt and I think things would be different if we pick yannick ngakoue in 2016 instead of Roberto and guice this year instead of rojo…..

    players like spence and bond are not fit for a 43 DE or 43LB….they are both 34LBs…..players like VHG and ryan smith are man press CB’s….they don’t play off coverage and aren’t safeties……

    and that’s half of the problem right there…..trying to fit a square into a round hole….


  5. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Picking Vea over James simply because you were obsessed with getting tougher (ignoring who the better player was) might go down as his death knell. He already know he can’t scout RBs.

  6. Christopher Schiefen Says:


  7. ben Says:

    the bucs can do better with a new gm who can tell real talent. Lets hope the bucs pick the right guy moving forward.

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    “My Mentor and who I learned everything from is Steve Keim…


    Jason Gump

  9. Dapostman Says:

    Don’t forget passing La’el Collins in the 7th round for Joey Iosefa. I can’t believe some of these guys get paid to make decisions fantasy footballers do. There is absolutely no risk in drafting a 1st or 2nd round talent in the 7th round. I get missing on players in earlier rounds because you really don’t know for sure until they suit up and play but when you have a huge disparity of talent and round you take that guy. Also this was Winston’s rookie season of 2015 and should have been a slam dunk for more OL protection. Bucs being Bucs………………..

  10. Bucnjim Says:

    If Vea gets one tackle or even an assist he will have played better than McCoy last week. How do you go without a Stat against the Falcons? 42 pass attempts 22 runs.

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    I said months ago this was the draft that gets Jason fired

  12. Not there yet Says:

    No one will be a run first team against us. It’s our strength unless they are as pathetic as we can be with game planning they’ll attack the secondary instead of trying to play into the strength of our defense. Playing the run is all we do well.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Vea and ROJO will both have breakout games at some point this year. Plenty of talent between those 2 players. They just need some development time and experience.

    Sunday would be good timing.

    Its hard for me to believe that Ira is writing an article bemoaning the lack of impact so far from our nice crop of rookies. Its 5 games into their NFL careers for God’s sake.

    3 of the 4 first and second rd draftees have had injuries of one kind or another to overcome first off.

    Vea – (1) already stood out on tape a few times in his first live game action – and is only at 25% capacity so far according to his coach. Gettine Vita up to even 50-60% of his capabilities by season’s end should be enough for us to see that this manbeast of an athletic specimen was a good selection to fortify our aging and undersized DLine.

    ROJO – (2) has yet to flash with limited opportunities – but ONE 50 yard scamper for a TD is all it takes for perceptions to change – and that’s likely coming if we can ever get him the ball with some space or God forbid actually open up a nice hole for him to run through…

    Stewart – (2) He’s playing at Nickle with the injury to Hargreaves – but so far not impressing. Seems to be a decent tackler but looks slow and winds up trailing the play too often instead of being in position to defend the passes.

    Davis – (2) Playing – starting (when healthy) and showing some legit promise. But he’s taking his lumps as almost all rookie CBs do… His coverage and ball skills look pretty solid thus far. Plus size and long arms are both major positives – speed seems adequate but not great.

    Cappa – (3) has been inactive thus far. Expecting an OL player from a D2 school to get on the field his rookie NFL year would be expecting a LOT. There was little doubt this would be a redshirt year for Cappa coming in from my stand point.

    Whitehead – (4) Playing and starting due to Conte’s injury. He is flashing and looking like a great pick for where he was selected…

    Watson – (5) Active in 2 games thus far – showed in preseason that he belongs and can make plays as a receiver. Could be a good #3/4 receiver down the road for this team. Playing ST in the meantime…

    Cichy – (6) Active in all 5 games and playing quite well on ST. Has the talent and pedigree to become a solid LBer for this team in time…

    All 8 rookies selected in the draft this year made the team. That in itself says something about this latest crop of young talent Jason Licht brought in.

    It takes at least 2 years for most young players to mature into competent NFL starters or contributors regardless of where they were drafted. Judging the “impact” of a crop of rookies just a few games into their NFL careers is just silly.

    Two starters coming from a given draft class is about average for most teams. I’d be willing to bet when these young 2018 draftees get some experience under their belts that we will wind up with 4 or perhaps even 5 solid or better starters from this group.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “A 4-7 record the rest of the way would leave Licht with the same record as his predecessor, Mark Dominik.” Aah yes Ira, you da man. Finally someone with some cajones to take Jason Licht … the Architect of this Fiasco … to task. Actually though, at this point I think that 4-7 the rest of the way is optimistic.

    Pickgrin … excellent rundown (sad, but excellent). I think that several of them, in time, will be keepers (Vea, Davis, Whitehead). Still not sure what to make of Cichy & Watson, yet. RoJo & Stewart haven’t impressed me thus far, and Cappa is just a big question mark in my mind (the fact that we’re playing Benenoch over him is not a confidence booster IMO).

  15. DB55 Says:


    Could have grabbed guide at the MJ Stewart spot. Benenoch is terrible if Cappa can’t outplay him then it’s just two horrible picks imo. MJ Stewart over Donte Jackson was horrible. The list goes on and on….

  16. Jmarkbuc Says:


    All 8 rookies selected in the draft this year made the team. That in itself says something about this latest crop of young talent Jason Licht brought in.

    It sure does, although I don’t think it’s saying what you think it is

  17. 813bucboi Says:


    I don’t disagree….

    but at some point you have to develop your players…..every player that licht drafted aint sorry…..they aren’t getting coached right….panthers developed josh norman who was a mid-late round pick into a star and he hasn’t been the same in DC…..same with kony ealy…..

    its about player development….


  18. D-Rome Says:

    This team is 24-45 since Licht assumed control on the personnel side. A 4-7 record the rest of the way would leave Licht with the same record as his predecessor, Mark Dominik. That’s hardly the company Mr. Licht would like to keep.

    Remember folks, as it stands right now the Buccaneers under the Jason Licht era have a worse winning percentage than they did under the Mark Dominick era.

    You can’t blame Lovie on this, especially 2016. That’s *all* on Jason Licht. Hiring Dirk Koetter who in turn hired Mike Smith is all on Jason Licht.

  19. bucinA Says:

    Kaufman, you are sounding more and more like these punitive TB fans who just want to punish these players and coaches. Give me someone to punish, someone to blame. Now I know you’re mama gave you allot of positive reinforcement up there in Brooklyn for you to turn out to be the sterling fellow you are. These Tampa fans are always looking for someone to blame. Don’t start on my man Vea and for that matter, the rookie corners. Davis looks to be a long time corner with this team as are many others at their respective positions. When you, the fans, jump on their development early it makes them doubt themselves, makes them think it must be this pathetic franchise.

    With the hand of encouragement all these kids are looking to excel in this game and become their best selves. None of us are perfect. Your unrealistic expectations combined with relentless criticism set them up to doubt their own abilities. Who has been here since the franchise started and continues to be the intolerant bunch you are? That’s right Tampa Bay it’s you. You’re bad bad boys. Now go to your rooms without any supper. No beet salad for you either, Kaufman.

  20. Dubcity06 Says:

    He’s part of the problem. Building good teams is clearly not a strength. A good player here and there meand nothing.

  21. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Koetter is a good offensive coach, but Bucs need an experienced with defense head coach that’s only 1 generation older than the players