The Fate Of The Defensive Line

January 10th, 2019

What is his future?

So with the hiring of Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator made official yesterday, changes to the defensive line are coming and in some ways they may be drastic.

Joe thinks it is fair to say the Bucs are going to play a whole bunch of a three-man defensive line. That may be good news for Vita Vea and Noah Spence, but Joe wonders what this means for Gerald McCoy and/or Jason Pierre-Paul?

With Mike Smith in 2017, the Bucs played a little three-man front. Not much. And GMC did not like it one bit playing as a defensive end. Oh, GMC was the good soldier. He did what he was told and put out 110 percent effort. But he thought he was being misused.

With JPP, the Bucs finally found a guy who could get double-digit sacks. Unless Bucco Bruce Arians and Bowles want to completely tear down the defense and build from scratch (not a horrible idea) Joe would hope the coaches could find a way to somehow use JPP.

Granted, Bowles sort of used a hybrid defense in Arizona. And defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers has a solid history of having good defensive lines (he’s an old Bill Parcells guy, too, always a plus).

Even though it would royally suck to see the Bucs get rid of a guy like JPP after finally finding a pass rush with him, and it would stink to lose GMC — he seemed resigned to his end after the final game of the 2018 season — if this is what it takes to bring the Bucs defense back to respectability after too many years of garbage play, so be it.

If JPP was traded and GMC traded or released, in Joe’s eyes, that makes it imperative for the Bucs to draft a defensive end at No. 5 this spring.

73 Responses to “The Fate Of The Defensive Line”

  1. ra'shad Says:

    Give me the entire d-line from Clemson.

  2. Cover Deuce Says:

    Bowles is definitely the type of guy that plays a more hybrid style if it suits personnel. I think it’s likely GMC is gone for production/cap reasons, but I think Bowles is creative enough to put JPP in good pass rushing situations regardless of the front being used. Wade Phillips uses plenty of 1-gap concepts with his defense and he still runs a 34.

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    joe you know damn well cancer93 has never put 110% effort into anything but playing with his dolls and fleecing the glazers out of coin. this team will never have success until the leader of the losing culture and softest nfl player of all time is stealing from another franchise. good riddance and take that drive killing penalty machine who could not block a paraplegic Dotson with you. not a single meaningful win in his pathetic career as the face of the buccaneer basement years. reality is cancer93 has captained more blowouts than any captain in team history and that says a lot on a team with 2 good years in 42.

    give this franchise hope end the losing culture eradicate cancer93 and all left overs from the Dominic regime.

  4. StoutGospel Says:

    Dammm….trading (smarter) or cutting BOTH would save us $28 million right off the top of the CAP!!! We should seriously look hard at both of them being gone! Draft picks, plus, lower end substitutes, couldn’t be any worse than we were last year, plus improved coaching staff and scheme.

    $28 million saved could be used in SO MANY WAYS!!!

  5. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:

    JPP and Vea are the 2 pillars and whatever else Bowles wants to do is up to him…

    We will be running a 4-3 and switching it up to a 3-4 once-in-a-while, so I’m sure we’ll have the personnel to accommodate that…

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    you fools bringing up the cap when the team has not left the basement for more than a cup of coffee in a decade are laughable….

    fear losing not the cap…. worry about the cap when you are contending not a laughing stock. worry about the cap for a franchise that forced the nfl to institute a minimum salry cap is pretty damn funny. it is like celebrating pro bowls while your team craps all over itself week in and week out.

  7. TexBuc Says:

    Really not much difference between a one gap 3-4 and a one gap 4-3 under alignment. No we do not have the DL for a 2 gap 3-4 but we do have for a one gap 3-4. Wade Phillips runs a one gap 3-4 and converted the Rams who have been drafting one gap 4-3 players for years.

    Todd Bowles is known for calling plays that suit his players so I do not think this will be big issue. Cannot wait to see us blitzing 60% of the plays and hopefully not allow every QB to complete over 70% passing completions.

  8. D-Rome Says:

    It’s probably imperative to draft a DE at the #5 pick anyway, as that is a unit that needs to get younger.

  9. TexBuc Says:

    Left out that Todd Bowles is a one gap guy.

  10. Ghingus Kwon Says:

    Lots of 4-3 in New York. I ain’t worried

  11. adam from ny Says:

    jpp is going nowhere…he will be wearing a “c” on his chest next season…said dude has more tude than half the dang squad…


  12. adam from ny Says:

    please someone put todd bowles in a kangol too 🙂

  13. Joe Says:

    It’s probably imperative to draft a DE at the #5 pick anyway, as that is a unit that needs to get younger.

    Exactly. JPP may not outlast Arians. And Joe sure hopes the Bucs don’t pick this low again in a long, long time.

    The way the NFL is going, no position on the field affects an offense like a pass rusher. Cornerbacks have damn near been taken out of the game the way refs throw flags. Same with safeties, maybe worse with them. And that’s not going to change.

    To use a Dirk Koetter line, no position on defense is a gamewrecker like a pass rusher.

  14. StoutGospel Says:


    Yeah, we’re the fools. You constantly spitting out your nonsensical irrelevant backwash and obvious hatred of anything Bucs, yeah we’re the fools.

    We’re the fools, because the new Oline coach has produced at #3 rushing squad last year in DEN last year, and could use a quality add in FA at the RB for him, neah doesn’t take part of the $28 million savings for that….or purchasing a quality starter at CB, maybe LT….neah…we’re the fools.

    You’re the hack clown that spews noise…but we’re the fools, for using the money much more comprehensively.

  15. TexBuc Says:

    My personal opinion is we should just play a big nickle(3 Safety) as base even against running teams such as the Panthers. Panthers beat us on outside runs so smaller faster players would have worked against them. Put speed against speed to counter the spread formations.

  16. tmaxcon Says:

    a fresh new approach across the entire defensive unit is needed and that means parting with some names that are popular but not nearly as good as low standard bucfan believes. outside of jpp the entire dline and linebacker corps should be replaced. kown is far more popular than good, beckwith is done, lvd has not played a complete season since shchiano was here… nothing worth keeping considering how bad the results have been for a decade

  17. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Love the idea of DE at #5 but with the draft so deep at the position, we can easily pick up a starter in the 2nd. Our biggest need is at both the LT and RT positions. Should Allen, Bosa, or Q Williams not be there at 5, gimme some Jonah Williams all day.

  18. Fartman Says:

    I remember Arizona picking up John Abraham a few years ago, who is a classic 4-3 DE, when Abraham was at the end of his career and him dominating. I would hope Bowles could figure out how to use JPP.

  19. SOEbuc Says:

    Agreed, Joe. Now is the time to trade JPP. He’s coming off a double digit sack year and we could get some nice incentives like multiple early round picks and free up a lot of cap space. I would say LVD also, but he brings his game every time he steps on the field and never gives up. He’s the best player on our defense.

  20. 813bucboi Says:

    these hires seem like win now hires…..makes no sense to start over or make drastic changes….

    but it is what it is…..they have all the experience…..

    whatever they do, im expecting at least 10wins and playoffs…..

    GO BUCS!!!!

  21. Joe Blahak Says:

    Under Tackle at #5 to replace the ice cream softie…Q.Williams or Oliver…

  22. SenileSenior Says:

    Besides his sacks and quarterback hurries look at everything else JPP did as a team mate. Look at his tackles. Look at his relentless play. Look at his leadership.

    It is hard for me to believe that Bowles will not know how to use him. More importantly it is hard for me to believe that Bowles and Arians won’t want him as a complete defensive football player.
    Go Bucks.

  23. DB55 Says:

    I know Oline is crucial but the name Josh Allen keeps popping into my head like he’s the next Derrick Thomas but wtfdik

  24. 813bucboi Says:

    who’s the oline coach?…..

  25. ManzielMadness Says:

    DLine needs to stop being patched with FA’s. Vea was just the start… go target Josh Allen our if Kentucky. Guy looks like a stud.

  26. ManzielMadness Says:

    I believe it’s Harold Goodwin.

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Listen we need to rebuild the trenches – on both sides of the ball. Whatever it takes.
    One guy is not gonna cut it. So if JPP can land us one or two premier picks; move’em.

  28. Deminion Says:

    its win now mode however the D has sucked so revamping it and changing it can do more good than bad imo

    @manziel madness Josh Allen is an animal he was the only reason UK was even good. I wouldn’t be surprised If he became a buc.

    I worry about the Oline

  29. tmaxcon Says:


    are your little feelings hurt because I am always right. it’s ok…. hating the results is different than hating the team. I will not apologize that I can not lower my standards as low as yours or accept losing with a smile like cancer93

  30. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    JPP is going nowhere. He is fine vs. the run. McCoy is not worth 13mil. Noah will make a great pass rushing LB along side Lavonte. Kwon and Beckwith will make great inside linebackers. Vita Vea a prototype NT. Just a few defensive lineman to fill the holes. I think this is doable.

  31. Big Scott Says:

    There is no way they get rid of JPP.

  32. tnew Says:

    This change goes way deeper than just the line. The linebackers as well may undergo a huge change. Kwon just lacks the size of a 3-4 interior linebacker, as does LVD, but LVD makes up for it with his blitzing ability and can play the OLB. Beckwith must get healthy and they still need another base interior LB. None of the guys truly fit the bill outside of Beckwith.

    Can Mathieu be acquired? This would be exactly were I would spend Grimes money.

    The defense will look totally different next season.

  33. Joe Says:

    I know Oline is crucial but the name Josh Allen keeps popping into my head like he’s the next Derrick Thomas but wtfdik

    Apparently, you know very little. What exactly has sparked your imagination to think Buffalo is going to give up on Josh Allen???

    Or did you just invent this in your fantasy world like how to said Jameis had an injured knee?

  34. Tackleblockwin Says:

    I’m ok with moving on from McCoy, but no way should we trade/cut JPP. You don’t cut studs. I don’t care about the cap. If we are going to draft a DE, then all you gotta do is point at JPP and say…”work harder than him, that is your standard”. You gotta have at least one guy on the D line that knows what it takes.

  35. tmaxcon Says:


    you are forgetting past success at other nfl franchises guarantees future failure with the bucs. the results prove it. I don’t think jimmy johnson, vince lombardi, and bill wash on the same staff could over come the circus that is the bucs franchise under the glazers for the last 16 years.

  36. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    As earlier poster has said, Todd Bowless runs a ONE GAP 3-4. This means the 4 guys (only 3 DL) line up to prevent double teaming. Either a linebacker or DB is the 4th rusher. Unlike the two-gap 3-4 which relies on size, the one gap focuses on speed and quickness. JPP would be perfect for the one-gap 3-4. He ain’t going nowhere!

  37. SOEbuc Says:

    Minus JPP and GMC some how or another and get Kareem Hunt with the money. Draft Jonah Williams at #5. Figure something out about RG and RT. Hunt+Barber with a good oline is the best one-two punch in the country. Even though he’s great and I love him, can’t afford to keep Humphries as a #3 WR that’s gonna be asking for big money. Already f’d it up with the Brate signing for big money and something needs to be done about that this offseason. Depending on if they want to wipe out all there older, big money players (JPP, GMC, LVD), they should put a bid in on a long time Cardinal 2019 Pro Bowler CB Patrick Peterson (28 years old) that was asking for a trade in 2018 to come help this young secondary Bowles defense. He’s due $11 million/yr the next two years until FA.

  38. Mike10 Says:

    Did you say McCoy playing at 110%?! Bahaha

    Dude literally disappears for quarters at a time

  39. Mike10 Says:

    And I love Spence as a 34 LB.. I’ve been calling for that for years (literally)

  40. Ateonetree Says:

    Josh Allen from Kentucky at #5 absolute unit.

  41. Hodad Says:

    What about the linebackers Joe? To me that’s more of a question mark. Kwon coming off an ACL, undersized, and over rated, David getting old, over paid, undersized, Beck, is he healthy, can he stay that way? Everyone else, garbage. Our L.B. core can use a serious upgrade, especially if we’re moving to more of a 3-4, what we have don’t fit, and they’re not worth keeping just for their sake. We’ve lost plenty with Kwon, and David being so called stars.

  42. Bird Dogger Says:

    Bowles has been known to switch things up and get creative. Essentially the exact opposite of what we saw from Mike Smith’s defense. If BA and Bowles value certain players on the roster, I believe they’ll find a way to use them, regardless of the defensive alignment. Imagine that, creativity. Something this team has been lacking on defense for several years.

  43. ManzielMadness Says:

    I expect us to be more of a hybrid defense this year and fully make the transition over to a 3-4. We’ll find out more at 2, I do agree that we need to completely revamp both lines.

  44. Lord Cornelius Says:


    He’s talking about Josh Allen from Kentucky. The guy with 17 sacks last year.

    He profiles as a protypical 3-4 OLB/DE at 6’4 258 lbs and lots of athleticism/pass rush ability.

    I’m down with anything on defense philosophically as long as the emphasis is rebuilding / drafting on the lines still / front 7.

  45. Tom S. Says:

    Did Joe think that posters were talking about Josh Allen the Buffalo QB when they referenced DERRICK THOMAS and not Josh Allen the pass rusher from Kentucky who is a surefire top 10 pick in the draft this year? LOL

  46. SOEbuc Says:


    Bring back the 1979’s!!!

  47. BringBucsBack Says:

    Noah has a chance and JPP should worry?!?! That’s crazy talk!

    The only way JPP should leave is after receiving a handsome ransom!

    The only way Noah should stay is if he is bitten by a spider and inherits superhuman abilities.

  48. Bucsfanman Says:

    Whatever we’ve been doing hasn’t worked. JPP is the only veteran on that line that stood out.
    Hit ‘reset’ and start from scratch maybe saving a body here or there.

  49. tmaxcon = POSITIVE REALITY Says:

    bucfan all too often confuses popularity with greatness or good for that matter. start fresh…. we have lost with these heartless losers for long enough. fresh names, fresh faces and more importantly fresh new winning throat stomping attitudes.

    there is no place for being sentimental or having man crushes if they can’t win then out….

  50. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joe, I was thinking…last off season, what are the chances Jason Licht told the Gazers to give him a year and he could get Bruce Arians to coach the Bucs?

    On topic:
    “he [McCoy] seemed resigned to his end after the final game of the 2018 season”

    How would he know so far in advance that the Defense would change? He must have been informed that Arians was the target and when Bowles was fired, he knew that meant Bowles would come with Arians.

    That would mean the plan to get Arians was hatched a while ago.

  51. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Potential Trade Candidates
    • Jason Pierre-Paul – DE (Age:30) $14,700,000 – Cleveland
    • Gerald McCoy – DT (Age:31) $13,000,000 – Oakland?
    • DeSean Jackson – WR (Age:32) $10,000,000 – Pittsburgh?
    • Cameron Brate – TE (Age:27) $1,000,000 – Chicago?
    Potential Savings: $38.7 M
    Additional Draft Capital: 4 picks (Possibly 2 to 3 premiere picks)

    Potential Release Candidates
    • Vinny Curry – DE (Age:30) $8,000,000
    • Beau Allen – DT (Age:27) $5,000,000
    • William Gholston – DE (Age:27) $3,750,000
    • Mitch Unrein – DE (Age:31) $2,750,000
    • Evan Smith – C (Age:32) $2,000,000
    Potential Savings: $21.5 M
    Dead Cap: $6M (Brate)

    Total Potential Savings: 60.2M

    That’s more than enough to sign the following

    Short Example
    • Preston Smith OLB (Age:26) WAS
    • Trey Flowers OLB (Age:26 NE
    • Tyrann Mathieu FS (Age:27) HOU
    • etc etc etc

  52. Bucsfanman Says:

    LUV- Can you believe that Gholston is still on this roster?! I laugh every time I see that!

  53. aceinthehole Says:

    Q Williams, Allen and J. Williams (the big three of this draft) will all be gone by the fifth pick.

  54. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Yeah, I thought he was for sure cut before the new league year. Sad because at one point the kid showed promise.

  55. Chief K Says:

    I love GMC and JPP both are real professionals, that respect the game. Bowles is a “real” football coach. You watch film on what you have in house, Film doesn’t lie! Based on that I Say he’ll keep the core JPP,GMC,Kwon,David, Kendal, VV, (J Evans?),Nassib and build around that…….3/4 4/3 doesn’t matter you just have to get players to play.

  56. zzbuc Says:

    You can bring the best coach or even god to run the bucs, you can say 4-3 or 3-4 defense, but if you do not have the talent you have no chance…..we need CB, we need 2 RB and safteys, and at least to quality OL and do not turn the ball over by the QB…….I love Arians and Bowles hires, but is the GM doesn’t add real talent to the roster we will be in the same exact place we’ve been for the last 10 years.

  57. I Bleed Pewter Says:

    Good grief Pierre Paul was the best player on our defense and Joe is advocating we get rid of him? Never ceases to amaze me.
    Joe did not advocate anything. –Joe

  58. DB55 Says:

    Or did you just invent this in your fantasy world like how to said Jameis had an injured knee?
    Joe you’re a funny guy, luv u though buddy.

    And yea I’ll put money on the fact that Winston’s knee was hurt after the 1st half of the saints game. It wouldn’t be the first time he played hurt and didn’t announce it publicly unlike some divas that will remain nameless McIceCream Djax oh wait….

  59. DB55 Says:

    Potential Release Candidates
    • Vinny Curry – DE (Age:30) $8,000,000
    • Beau Allen – DT (Age:27) $5,000,000
    • Mitch Unrein – DE (Age:31) $2,750,000

    I know you and I said these dudes are trash but Joe said they would upgrade the dline, wtf do we knew ey?
    Didn’t they??–Joe

  60. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree with all of that except for JPP….he brings too much leadership, professionalism and production imo….it seemed like his attitude and work ethic rubbed off on nassib because he started playing great….

    i hope they build the defense around JPP, Vita and nassib by adding ed oliver or quentin williams…..

    GO BUCS!!!

  61. Bucsfanman Says:

    813- The only thing about JPP though, is that his trade value will probably never be this high again.
    I agree with you, but when it comes to business, there are no sacred cows.

  62. THETRUTH Says:

    Joe you end your story with drafting at DE!!!!
    We have one that proved he is top DE in JPP , so why the hell trafde a position that is filled already.

    Draft position we need not replace. That’s like saying tease Evans so we can draft a WR.


  63. THETRUTH Says:

    Correction……Trade Evans so we can draft a WR. MAKES NI SENSE

  64. Getaclue Says:

    JPP could play multiple positions. He’s not a liability because of how stout he is Vs the run and has enough size . Nassib is the bigger question. He would probably be an olb at his weight. But he has the motor and did drop back into coverage a few times and was not a liability

  65. Getaclue Says:

    JPP is bigger than Cameron wale who played in both systems

  66. RO Says:

    What if there is no DE worth the 5th? So you reach?cant stand when pundits try and pigeon hole a pick. Crazy…

  67. 813bucboi Says:


    i understand the business side of things but the draft is a crap shoot as well….

    luckily, i dont get paid to make those decisions…lol…

    GO BUCS!!!

  68. BucfaninMi Says:

    Rashaan Gary! Can’t miss. Brings a nasty attitude and big play ability.

  69. Bucsfanman Says:

    813- Oh yea, the draft is so iffy, especially with the GM in our front office. JPP moved around a lot so I think he has a good chance of staying. I mean, you can’t replace everybody in one off-season anyway.
    A good coach SHOULD be able to adjust their scheme and gameplan according to their talent. Bowles is supposed to be pretty decent at tinkering, at least when he was a DC.
    We’ll see.

  70. DB55 Says:

    In what world did they improve the worst defense in nfl history (almost) ? You just messing with me now Joseph.

  71. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Shout out to tmax,, hopefully they will give us something to be proud of soon, brother.

  72. denjoe Says:

    He said that your in nickel 70% of the time nowadays, which is four man front, so I think JPP isn’t going anywhere. IMHO he also said they will tailor the schemes to the players, so I guess we’ll see. I’m psyched! Go Buc’s.

  73. Brandon Says:

    That’s the one part of the hire that i didn’t like. Bowles bringing in his 3-4. We finally found a double digit pass rusher at DE and now he won’t be a good fit. He wasn’t a good fit for Bowles’ replacement for Arians in Arizona, James Bettcher. When Arians left Arizona, Bettcher went to the Giants and became their defensive coordinator and decided JPP wasn’t a good fit in his defense (that he learned under Bowles in AZ) and he was traded. Nassib has all the makings of a very good base 4-3 DE…now he’ll have to be a 5-tech DE in the 3-4, probably not his strong suit. All of the LBs on the roster are run and hit LBs that are ideal for the 4-3… Bowles coming in with his system is going to require many square pegs to fit into round holes. I don’t like it.