“8-8 Talent”

December 26th, 2018

Perhaps the busiest man in football media circles is former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker. The Princeton grad is a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio and works on various game broadcasts and podcasts.

He might be best known to Bucs fans for blasting the drafting of Donovan Smith, a guy he watched as part of the Penn State broadcast team.

To refresh your memories, Tucker couldn’t believe how Smith performed in a contract year, aka his final season at Penn State.

“I thought he took a big step back this year. I thought he clearly was overweight. He played lazily. He really did,” Tucker said. “Even in the Pinstripe Bowl, getting beat inside on an inside move and like clapping his hands. He wasn’t even close to redirecting his weight back inside. I mean, if he thought at any time [turning pro] that this was a possibility. I’m like amazed he didn’t put forth a better performance to help his draft stock.”

Hmm, fast forward to 2018, and Joe also is amazed Smith isn’t putting out better effort in a contract year, as he approaches free agency in a matter of days.

Anyway, Tucker made his weekly visit to WDAE-AM 620 this week and said the Bucs have clearly underachieved based on their roster.

“They probably have, you know, 8-8 talent right now but could be better than that with better coaching and winning some of these close games they weren’t able to get done,” Tucker said.

In addition to pointing to talent at skill positions, Tucker acknowledged that it’s undeniable that Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy and Carl Nassib represent serious talent on the defensive line. Tucker said he’s particularly fond of the intensity Nassib has been bringing week to week.

Do the Bucs really have 8-8 talent? Joe thinks that’s fair, and that’s also not a very good endorsement of a fifth-year general manager.

50 Responses to ““8-8 Talent””

  1. Destinjohnny Says:

    We don’t have 8-8 talent
    If you break down the roster it’s clearly 6-10
    Qb 23rd
    O line 26th
    TE and WR 5th
    Backs 28th
    D line 19th
    Backers 25th
    Secondary 32nd
    Kicker 30th

  2. Topcoach1978 Says:

    Does Mike Evans have any balance or body control why every time he catches a deep pass he falls down without being touched or simply runs out of bounds without being forced or pushed out?

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    We played the hardest 3 game stretch to open a season and went 2-1 instead of 0-3. We have gone 3-9 since. This is a seriously underachieving team. It starts with the GM and runs down to the practice squad.

  4. D-Rome Says:

    I don’t think any of the Joes, or Ira, thought this team would finish better than 7-9 or at the end of the season be better than the 20th ranked defense.

    A few on this site thought this team was going to go 11-5.

    Most of us laughed that them.

  5. Bculaw Says:

    Hard to truly judge talent on defense due to the antiquated scheme Smith was running and Duffner is stuck with. Hard to judge talent on offense with the O-line’s play this year (is that talent, coaching, scheme??). There’s been zero development at any position outside of the passcatchers. Are these guys simply not talented enough to play in the league, or is the staff failing to put them in position to succeed?

    Hard to say, but a new staff is easy to find. A new roster … not so easy. I’d give these young guys a new voice before I scrap the lot of them and start over.

  6. Troy Says:

    It’s comedy when people talk about talent levels in the NFL. From team to team, the talent spread is very close. That’s why coaching is such a big deal and teams can go from worst to first in a year by adding just a few players. Our problem is we have a mediocre GM and poor coaches. You combine that with players who accept losing like a breath of air, and viola, 5 and 11.

  7. zzbuc Says:

    Evans JPP Nassib Kwon both TE maybe Hump, maybe Marpet, somedays LD and McCoy……..now where is the rest of the talent, please I beg you….. show me where the talent is….Benenoch? Grimes? RB´s? Donovan Smith? Davonte Bond? Winston? Smith? Gholston? Please lets be honest and debate this seriously….You are not close to be competitive on NFC south with this roster…….The problem is much deeper than a HC position………..

  8. DBS Says:

    If you want to say it was talent it means. Litter had nothing to work with. That’s on Licht.

  9. Kalind Says:

    They have to start hitting in the middle rounds of the draft. Injecting 1 or 2 players who make a difference won’t get it done. They need to attack the draft looking for CONTRIBUTORS not depth players. Get guys who COULD play. They’re available in the 5th and 6th every single year. They’re relatively easy to spot. Use the Kalind Rule: if you make 100 tackles or 100 catches. You can play.

  10. Not there yet Says:

    I don’t really worry so much about the roster with a new coach. You can’t get rid of 50% of the players. Guys will do what the coach needs to be done or be outta here. Certain guys like smith shouldn’t contract extensions but we’ll see who stays and goes. That’ll likely tell me how successful the new coach will be. Keeping big pay small play Geraldine will hurt, plus they should be moving on from Demar getting rid of older players

  11. LakeLand Says:

    A lack of talent combined with a lack of coaching

    A recipe for disaster

  12. Hoopstar82 Says:

    You have to add vita vea top 5 dt the last month nassib has played good and Carlton is coming along

  13. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    8-8 Talent ? No way I see that.

  14. DBS Says:


  15. tmaxcon Says:

    Its pretty hard to build a consistent winner when the standards are so low…. Dungy the clowns failed coaching tenure of 500 football with no chance to contend in post season is considered glory years. By that standard this is a good year for buc based 500 being great. Bucs fans made thier own bed with acceptance of low standards. Bucs will NEVER sniff a playoff appearance under glazers. They won’t even try.

  16. T REX Says:

    Losing mentality. It is hard to overcome that.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    8 & 8 talent averaged in with 4 & 12 coaching computes to 6-10…..

    And, sorry losers (losing culture fans) we should beat Atlanta to be 6-10.

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    i agree….

    with better coaching, we could be better….


  19. Tom Edrington Says:

    BILL PARCELS: “You are what your record says you are”

  20. Troy Says:

    So here’s my problem when people say that don’t see 8-8 talent on this team. I don’t think you can evaluate it with this coaching staff and this GM. I’ll give you an example. Benenoch has looked terrible all year; one of the worst guards in the league. My problem with his evaluation talent-wise is that he’s not a guard. He’s a tackle and he’s being coached by one of the worst line coaches in the league. Same with Alex Cappa. Is Benenoch good? I have no idea because he’s playing out of position and being coached by the worst line coach (Warhop) in the league. I fear we have too few good coaches and it’s hurting the overall talent evaluation of players. That’s why players leave and have success with other organizations.

    It’s also an indictment of Licht and his staff because if we need freakin guards, then draft guards. Don’t draft tackles and try to make them guards with poor coaching. Then, when players perform poorly, Licht lets them walk and they look great on other teams. He’s really disappointing as a GM.

    The only way to accurately evaluate this team is with a new GM and new coaching staff.

  21. LakeLand Says:


    I have been saying this for years

    They drafted Noah Spence (3-4 LB) to play 4-3 DE
    They drafted Ryan Smith to convert him to Safety
    I don’t care what anyone say Justin Evans is a SS (Not a FS)
    They drafted Vita Vea to play nose in a 4-3 defense( He’s a 3-4 NT)

  22. NPRSageBoy Says:

    Clearly, the worst roster talent-wise in the NFC South. Even in a down year for this division they are no better than last again.
    Time to blow this whole mess up and start over.
    IMO, there are MAYBE 5 players worth keeping. Release the rest ala Cleveland Browns and start over. That includes JayMiss.

  23. Eric Says:

    All you can do as an owner is look at the record.

    Is it the talent or coaching? Who cares?

    If we’re more talented than the record then that will benefit the new coaching staff and make the rebuild easier. Like when Dungy took over. Who knew we had the makings of the best defense in the league at that point?

    If we got squat for talent the new GM can address it.

    Either way clean the house, totally.

  24. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Coaching helps you win close games that combined with disciplined smart players

    I really thought 8-9 wins was a possibility but the turnovers awful defense and crap kicking game derailed another season

    Fix it Glazers

  25. This is our year!!! Says:

    I think the talent is there, it’s the coaching. I think Warhop must be awful and it’s Koetter’s scheme why we can’t run the ball. That’s why we have trouble scoring when we get inside the 20. Look at the turnaround with the defense since the change in coordinator.

  26. Tony LA Says:

    Clean house
    Hire an actual head of football operations first and have that person make the GM and coaching hires.

    The glazers have to change THEIR entire approach for anything positive and changing to trickle down. Hopefully 12 years of futilitdly has wisened them up to that fact.

  27. gotbbucs Says:

    This is an organization that cant self evaluate. They are unable to look at the roster with an unbiased eye. Dominik’s crew couldn’t either. Licht has found some players but this staff cant find the right recipe to mold them together.
    The schemes dont match the talents.

    It’s taken them 3 years to figure out how to scheme Hump into the offense.

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    “8-8 talent”? Well, our record says we’re 5-10 talent right now.
    I am 100% sure we can get better production from some of our current players with better coaching.
    Only a wholesale housecleaning will tell the tale.

  29. The Buc Realist Says:

    8-8 talent if everything went right!!!!!!!!!! Add in the jw3 suspension and all the depleted defense at the beginning of the year, and that is how we got to where they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So much for the “Licht did his job”, and the ” this team is full of talent”!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Coaches were setup to fail as the “real” fans knew and said at the beginning of the year!!!!!! Can’t wait for the sheep to figure that out sometime next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. unbelievable Says:

    8-8 seems fair. I thought 9-7 at the beginning of the season, and depending on how lucky or unlucky we were, that we could over achieve up to 10-6 or under achieve down to 7-9.

    That actually seems like a decent assessment when I look back. There were at least 4 games this year where we had multiple opportunities to get the win but just p!ssed it away.

    Not surprising though, that’s what the Bucs have been doing for about 15 years straight now.

  31. SOEbuc Says:

    Barber has talent and a ton of potential with a good oline. Him and Kareem Hunt. Nice. That’s the f#cking run game we’ve never had.

    Whitehead has been looking very good his rookie year and has a very high ceiling with a good DC and secondary coach. Davis is also making strides and has future potential.

    And for everyone that’s saying clean house, unless Licht gets fired (I highly doubt), no way they’re gonna just trash all there players and start over.

  32. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    DBS Says:


    “Welcome back… ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫…….”

  33. SOEbuc Says:

    Ughhhhhhh. Brent Grimes and Caleb Benenoch are the worst players on this team. We need to sign a bigger, at least decent CB in FA that can play up and down.

  34. tmaxcon Says:

    5-11 talent on the field and 0-16 talent at the ownership level.

  35. tmaxcon Says:


    Have you and Pickgrin starting making arrangements for another Basement Title Parade or are you just working on some assinine assumptions or comical excuses for next years failed season…. No one justifies failure like a special needs bucs fan led by our pals bonzi and pickgrin…

  36. DBS Says:

    TBD this phone touch pad does it’s own thing.

  37. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    I understand, DBS! — just playin
    Depressing season, gotta add a little light-heartedness now n then

  38. Buccfan37 Says:

    So much losing will make 8-8 seem like a dream come true.

  39. Owlykat Says:

    When Monken studied last year’s red zone scoring tries he didn’t find it was a scheme problem. If you study the first two games of this year Fitz had absolutely no red zone problems because he didn’t get nervous down there and he has a very accurate laser like throw talent. However, Jameis has continued to have his usual red zone struggles because he gets very nervous when he is down there and his throws are off. That doesn’t mean we should cut Jameis because he is prolific outside the red zone and has a high third down completion percentage and good escapability. Thus his usual high yardage stats in his losses and gets plenty of red zone tries. A new Coach will see that from the film and if he is smart, unlike Clueless Koetter, he will tell Jameis he is his starter and come out when he arrives at the red zone and take a break and then he will send Fitz in. That approach would have beaten the Ravens, and would have won a lot of our games. Now if Koetter had just sent both Smith and Warhop packing last year he would have picked up a good OLC who would have developed our Linemen properly and put them in the right positions and would have taught them how to work as a team and we would have had a much better running game and Jameis would have been protected and even more productive. However Koetter has to go along with Warhop now.

  40. 813bucboi Says:


    this team has talent….but your coaches have made most of the talent regress!!!!!!!!

    dirk failed to do what got him promoted which was develop winston…..this staff has made simple coaching 101 mistakes game after game, year after year!!!!!!!…..

    the defense got better once smitty was sent packing….i dont want to hear that “smitty faced the tougher part of the schedule” BS!!!!!!….

    he faced 2 playoff teams…saints & bears…maybe philly if they get in……duff has faced the same type of stiff competition in the saint, ravens, cowboys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…..

    the “real” fans knew this staff was in over its head when the were hired!!!!!!….competent coaching will have this team in the playoffs next year….perfect example: bears

    now, you have to help dirk pack his U-HAUL 01/01/19 at 8am and not a minute later!!!!!!!!!!!


  41. 813bucboi Says:


    lol….fitz had TO problems too!!!!!….lol….both QB’s turned it over way too much….both QB’s struggled to score in the red zone….

    that points to dirks lousy 4vert scheme…..

    but dont worry, dirk will be gone along with warhop and the ST coach….


  42. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    LOLOL Owlykat hoping to win the dumbest Buc fan award for the year. OMG that was the dumbest idea I have ever read on this site.

  43. Ndog Says:

    Troy Says:
    December 26th, 2018 at 9:25 am
    It’s comedy when people talk about talent levels in the NFL. From team to team, the talent spread is very close. That’s why coaching is such a big deal and teams can go from worst to first in a year by adding just a few players. Our problem is we have a mediocre GM and poor coaches. You combine that with players who accept losing like a breath of air, and viola, 5 and 11.


  44. Joe In Michigan Says:

    Ross Tucker, an even worse offensive lineman than Donovan Smith?

  45. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    ^^ Doesn’t really have anything to do with his analysis skills. I have always thought he is quite good.

  46. ThunderSack Says:

    I do not buy into the whole culture thing. These guys are professionals. If they are not performing the threat of being cut is always there. They have to uproot their life and run the risk of scrambling to find employment in a place with unfavorable weather, scheme, etc… No one wants to lose.

    I do like what someone said above about people being out of position. Vea being a NT in a 3-4 alignment instead of a 4-3, Spence as a 3-4 LB as opposed to a DE, Ryan Smith as a safety instead of CB, etc… That could be why Benenoch is struggling. He is a tackle. The question is why he is not being evaluated there when he is clearly struggling at Guard?

    Also, the Carolina and San Francisco games where De’Vante Harris and Andrew Adams went off with INTs and Passes Defensed. Why the hell did they not become starters? You go with Grimes who has been crap all season? These guys are young, hungry, and obviously fit the scheme.

  47. Joe In Michigan Says:

    Tampa Bay Demon: Let’s take Matt Millen’s advice and take a WR in the 1st Round this year. He’s on TV, too.

  48. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    ^^ Joe, lol, I didn’t say EVERY analyst was good, I just said that I thought Ross Tucker was good. I used to listen to his podcast all of the time.

  49. Joe In Michigan Says:

    TBD: Hahaha, okay.

  50. firethecannons Says:

    Donovan Smith is going to be responsible for the death of a quarterback, whether it be Jameis Winston or whoever we trade up for. He has no follow through and does not play to the whistle, the Randy Gregory forced fumble is an example. He did not block or continue with block and Gregory easily ran around him, he looked so lazy, he is 100% responsible for those 7 points scored by Dallas defense.
    Koetter is supportive of Donovan Smith and he needs to be fired. Smith is not worth a new contract, rather keep Winston and get a motivated left tackle in the 1st round. The following year would be best to consider a new QB if needed, get the line fixed first.