Linebacker Help

February 15th, 2019

Should Bucs take a look?

A year ago Joe thought the Bucs had linebackers coming out of their ears.

A year removed, and that may not be the case. The Bucs very well could be without two linebackers they had penciled in as starters this time a year ago.

First, of course, there is Kendell Beckwith who Joe likes a whole lot. But until or unless Joe actually sees Beckwith take the field wearing a Bucs uniform, Joe won’t Beckwith is back.

Just before offseason conditioning began last year Beckwith was in a car wreck that broke his ankle. After surgery in April, he missed the entire season. That seems to hint Beckwith had a major ankle injury and maybe even had it shattered. It’s severe enough that Joe isn’t sure if Beckwith will ever play again.

No one with the Bucs has told Joe that Beckwith is done. Joe is just counting the tea leaves here that suggest Beckwith is far from certain to be ready to play come September.

And then there is free agent middle linebacker Kwon Alexander. With the worst possible timing, midway through his contract year, Alexander blew out a knee. Because of this, Jenna Laine of ESPN is of the mind Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht might want to target a linebacker in free agency. And she believes Cincinnati free agent linebacker Preston Brown is a good start.

If there’s no movement on the Kwon Alexander front — and the Bucs are expected to move to a 3-4 defense in 2019 — Brown is an option, having spent the 2018 season as the Bengals’ starting middle linebacker. He can play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. When he was with the Bills, at times, he looked to be a liability in coverage, but he performed better in seven games with the Bengals (he picked off Winston in Week 8 in 2018).

It appears that Alexander’s agent, oily Drew Rosenhaus, is looking for $10 million a year for Alexander, which is just ridiculous. Nobody knows if Alexander will be 100 percent come September much less ever be the same.

Joe loves Alexander’s intangibles — they are through the roof. He is an excellent teammate. Works his tail off. And is beyond loyal. Oh, and he’d rather eat an unwashed jock strap than lose. Those things are all fantastic.

But damn, it gnaws at Joe that Alexander was the starting middle linebacker for the worst defense in the NFL since September 2017. And until he was hurt last season, Alexander was the middle linebacker for the worst defense in NFL history. The defense got better when Alexander was out. You should not be saying those things about a quality middle linebacker.

Yeah, Joe understands this rankles some readers but if you do not think teams — including Licht — will use this as ammo against Alexander when dealing with Rosenhaus, then Joe has a box of lavender-scented candles for you to surround yourself with while you soak in the bathtub listening to “Up With People.”

40 Responses to “Linebacker Help”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One-year $5 for Kwon…….at best……no other team would pay more…..his best shot is to stay with the Bucs on a short-term deal.

  2. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    So you (Joes) claim the biggest downfall of Dirk was keeping Smith. That tells me what you think about Smith. So when Smith is fired and the whole defense gets better, you are saying the real reason they got better was Kwon was gone and not because Smith was fired?
    Which is it because you can’t have it both ways. The corners played better, the pass rush was better, and the turnovers came once Smith was gone. Maybe Kwon was instructing the corners to play 10 yards off? Maybe Kwon was holding back the pass rush? Does any of this make any sense?

  3. Joe Says:

    So when Smith is fired and the whole defense gets better, you are saying the real reason they got better was Kwon was gone and not because Smith was fired?

    Read into it what you wish. Whether that is just circumstantial evidence or cause-and-effect, no idea. Regardless, that’s not a good look for a middle linebacker who called the defensive plays.

    Do know that will be used against Kwon in contract negotiations.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    $10m a year for Alexander is absolutely insane.

    1 season in 4 where he played a full year. Missed 4 / 4 / 8 games in other seasons.

    Coming off ACL injury.

    Has been suspended for PEDs.

    Misses tackles / angles / coverage too often.

    Even his one pro bowl season he was an alternate, and graded out as the 48th best LB per PFF that year.

    If you are paying $10M+ for a LB they better be an all pro stud that doesn’t miss time.

    Love his fire and attitude but come on man. This would put him close to top 10 in all LB earnings including OLB edge rushers like Justin Houston/Von Miller.

    The only pure LB making over $10M that isn’t an edge rusher is Luke Keuckly – a perrennial all pro and future HOFer.

    Hm let’s pay a guy whose made it through 1 full season in 4 years, with only one pro bowl appearance and only due to being an alternate and an injury occuring (for what is a popularity contest anyway in a year you were ranked as the 48th best LB)

    the same amount of money as if he’s a future HOFer who dosn’t miss games and is constantly a top 2-3 LB in the entire league

    My god

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    move on from all of them…. keeping kwon, beckwith and lvd make zero sense…. kown and lvd have been key members and so-called leaders of some of the most embarrassing defensive units in nfl history. lvd has stated himself that he is mentally weak and that he can not overcome bad calls or big plays…. why would you want a mentally weak overpaid career loser in a key role on defense hoping to play in the postseason sooner than later. makes no sense the emotional attachments to losers.

  6. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe I love your opinion on this. Thanks for giving this opinion attention because the be frank our LB absolutely suck on this team. All year long(for the past 2 years) it’s the same garbage on Sundays. Tampa Linebackers getting throttled.

    TEs and slot guys catching 8-12 yard balls with Grace and ease over the middle. WRs turning their routes inside to catch some easy balls over the middle. RBs hitting the 2nd level and smiling because nobody’s there and they can run freely.

    These freaking LBs are a total embarrassment. Easily the biggest underachiever in the NFL.

    I mean what was that freaking Pittsburg game? Are you ****ing kidding me with that performance? I literally pretended I was sick so my friends would leave at halftime. That was supposed to be a big freaking event!!!!! AWHOLES

    We we couldn’t tackle a HS kid in that game. I know Conte and Grimes got abused the worst in the tackling game but I’m at the point I’m blaming our LBs for the entire teams tackiling. For F*** sake I seen Mike Evans show better tackling technique.

    If our LBs could set a tone on defense and wrap up anybody near them it would motivate the entire team to never slouch on a tackle. But no. Out LBs continue to suck annually. I hardly doubt they even practice.

  7. JimmyJack Says:

    ***END RANT***

  8. Destinjohnny Says:

    When u can’t draft worth a crap you have to look at all options

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Love the passion & hard not to agree……would be better off with 4 Whiteheads on the field…….

  10. JimmyJack Says:

    Bowels toughest job will be with the LB. There are serviceable parts in the secondary and DL.

    In the middle there is nothing. Except a few splash plays from LDV now and again.

    I like Kwon but I’ll let Bowles make the call. He’ll watch film and see Kwon show some great stuff. But he’ll also see him coming back from a injury last year………..when he looked like a bad rookie. A guy who was three steps(not one) behind every darn play. Kwon didn’t even look like a pro athlete in those first few games. Now he’s coming of an ACL rip!!

    BOTTOM LINE is this……Devon White. My radar is way up on that guy. Bowles is gonna want some LBs in here bad.

    A lot of the analyst are giving White a lot of hype. He sounds like the best bet to be a truely elite player…….along with Bosa Q and Allen.

  11. Jean Lafitte Says:

    [Jenna is a solid reporter with very good sources. She wrote a story about potential free agent targets. Not sure why this would bother you or do you have some sort of a woman-covering-sports complex? — Joe]

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    @JimmyJack … “our LB absolutely suck on this team. All year long(for the past 2 years) it’s the same garbage on Sundays. Tampa Linebackers getting throttled.”

    Interesting ‘rant’ JimmyJack, and I suspect many JBFers agree with you (well, at least TBBF & myself it seems). I’d take it a tad further even … I suspect that our mediocre LB play is a key reason why our Secondary got beaten to sh_t these past few years. Having a beastly TE or RB coming full throttle at one of our smaller CBs & Safeties because the LBs didn’t get to them first has to hurt. Chris Conte getting mowed over by a 260 lb TE was a classic example IMO; he shouldn’t have been primary coverage on that play.

    Wouldn’t mind re-signing Kwon to a short-term, cheap deal, but NOT as a MLB. Still think he’d be much better outside. Love Beckwith but I’m not convinced he’ll make it back by September either Joe (there has to be more to that story than we’re being told).

    Preston Brown is intriguing. You classic 4-3 MLB (6’1″ & 251 lbs); only 26 too. Steady improvement in his 4 years with Buffalo (started 62 of his 64 games played in 4 years with them). But then last year with Cincy … missed Games 3 & 4 after getting injured in Game 2 (ankle) and again in Game 9 (knee), then spent the rest of the year on IR. Made $4 mil on a 1-year contract with the Bengals, so I suspect he’d sign for less than that this year coming off a knee injury. Definitely worth kicking the tires (oooh, sorry, bad choice of words with him having a bum leg).

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Fans won’t ike hearing it, but sometimes the best free agency move is not to move at all.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If we move on from Kwon……I will forever remember him for taking the ball away from Julio Jones…… that was one great play!!!

  15. tmaxcon Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    February 15th, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    If we move on from Kwon……I will forever remember him for taking the ball away from Julio Jones…… that was one great play!!!

    kwon has been on the field for some of Julio Jones greatest days!!!! don’t use a guy that torches your team in a post…. that one play although nice does not offset watching julio running up and down the field against cancer93, lvd, kwon and the rest of the blowout boys….

  16. Jean Lafitte Says:

    [One more comment like this, and Joe clicks the goodbye button. Seems you have a woman issue. As ALWAYS — Joe writes what Joe finds interesting. Committing Crimes against Joe with false narratives and ascribing motives can and will get you run. — Joe]

  17. JimmyJack Says:

    Defense Rules. Absolutely.

    The secondary definitely needs to be addressed but it really isn’t as bad as most think it is(unless we bring back Grimes).

    Our secondary looks horrible on paper because of a godawful completion % and a 32nd ranked pass defend…….a deeper look into those stats shows an extreme amount of passing plays given up over the middle.

    Good TEs eat us alive and noname TEs have highlight games against us……..To add insult to injury a good pass-catching RB can do the same thing. Alvin Karama and Freeman love seeing us on the schedule.

    Almost every game plan against us is designing to attack our LB.

    The LB are a huge part of the #32 rank.

  18. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I am relieved. When I saw the headline, Vontaze Burfict came to mind . He is one of the dirtiest players in football,IMO. That said a middle linebacker with some
    size would help this team immensely. I would like to see LVD play with an experienced Mike linebacker, that might free him up to make more plays. He has only missed 7 starts in his seven years.

  19. Not there yet Says:

    5 mil a year for Kwon is an insult but 10 mil is actually insane, he really is somewhere in the middle. Don’t listen to joe, this website is the only one with the stupid take that the team was better BECAUSE Kwon was out and that is the case if basically what your saying if you keep up with the nonsense the defense got better and say it’s because Keon got hurt and completely gloss over the fact that mike Smith got fired and the defense as a whole played better namely the cornerbacks. Yea ok it was because they benched Kwon and nothing whatsoever to do with mike Smith. Ya know you guys are getting to the point where we might as well listen to Steven a smith stupid hot takes because you have a couple stories exaggerate big time while ignoring key factors

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    Kwon is well worth re-signing – IF he is reasonable with his contract demands.

    3 years for $18M sounds about right – as long as there is a free out after year 1 or if he winds up not playing next year because the knee injury is worse than expected.

    Sucks he got hurt when he did – because it for sure cost him some millions – but that’s how it goes sometimes in the NFL….

    I imagine Beckwith will be good to go this year – as will Cichy who showed well for himself on special teams in his rookie year.

    We are not desperate at LB by any means – especially assuming these guys are all back, can be coached up and will assuredly be playing in a better defensive scheme…

    So we are

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    …So we are pretty good at LB IMO

  22. 1Gr8Buc Says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing GMC, LVD and kwon be let go or traded. There are a couple solid options in FA for LB and the dline depth in the draft is ridiculous this year. Draft Devin White in the first grab the best available DT with the next pick and pick up one of the top tier LBs available.

    Beckwith is still cheap and I think will benefit from a more aggressive style D. Would also like to see what Hargraves, Davis, Stewart, and Smith can do with real coaching.

  23. JimmyJack Says:

    Gr8 I love the idea to get rid of them three.

    But now it really it gets tough because you better have a very solid plan at LB.

    What if your coveted FA doesnt sign? Or what if Q falls in the draft and you have to pass on White?

    Great idea but they better have a good plan our it will blow up in their faces.

  24. AlteredEgo Says:

    Hugh Green never came back from his car accident knee injury and he was a beast!

  25. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Even healthy he’s not 10 million a year good

    He’s a suspension away from being out for a long time
    He’s had injury issues
    Takes bad angles to ball carriers
    Can’t shed blocks
    Is so so in pass coverage
    Leader of a bad, historically bad defense

    Unless he make a splash play he’s nothing special

  26. bucfan999 Says:

    Same can be said about Gerald McCoy. He is a good player, one of the best at his position but he’s been here 10 years and the defense has sucked for 10 years. Not all Gerald’s fault but being over 30 years old and making $13 million on a team that need salary cap space, he needs to go. Take a page from the patriots playbook and move on from a player a year early rather than a year late.

  27. Jeff Says:

    In always thought the phrase was reading the tea leaves.

  28. Bradentonbuc Says:

    Man Joe you are very caught up on the Kwon-absence-defensive improvement angle. It will probably be used against him and he’s unlikely to get 10mil but come on man that is really relevant only to his cash value not if he’s worth keeping around. I am all for CJ Mosley if he becomes available but the constant reference to the angle gets old and only in-passing mentioning Kwon got less then a game with Duffner. Is your arguement really that Adarius Glanton outplayed Kwon? I mean come on at one point Devante Bond and Glanton started a game for us and our defense played better then earlier in the year. Is it really because we saw the ‘high-water’ mark for someone like Glanton?

  29. Bradentonbuc Says:

    Glanton showed he’s a great special teamer and can sub in a pinch but besides his interception did he make many plays?

  30. BringBucsBack Says:

    Heck, I even caught an interception from #3 in that Bengals game.

    Joe, the vid? What the…?

  31. Frank Pillow Says:

    Devin White fills a critical need on this team. Our LB corps is inconsistent at best.

  32. Not there yet Says:

    Kwon still made a pro bowl the same way Winston did so he can use that against the Bucs. He can also use this pathetic defensive scheme against them as well. I think he could easily sign a one year contract and get his money the next year. Geraldine has been the best player one of of the worst defenses in the nfl and has been for a decade but he got his money and didn’t accomplish crap beyond making pro bowls which is a meaningless accolade for the simple fact that it means you ain’t ever in the playoffs or you had a subpar season. I’d say sign him though but only if he didn’t have the season ending injury and if cj Mosley wasn’t out there and they didn’t have the chance to draft devin White

    Bad year for Kwon to overvalue himself that’s for sure. I think licht would be foolish enough to give him whatever he wanted if it wasn’t for hiring a completely new staff

  33. RustyRhinos Says:

    Tough call here. Offer Kwon a 5 million a year deal with a option for year 2 at 6 million. We need to have a very good backup plan if he is not back full strength by the end of the next season.We do need LB depth. As we do not have much in the LB cupboard. I am excited to see what LVD can do in an attacking defense, not a reactionary defense.

  34. BucsFIRE Says:

    JOE says (to Jean Lafitte)
    “One more comment like this, and Joe clicks the goodbye button.”


    And it won’t be a moment too soon.

  35. BucsFIRE Says:

    Bob in Valrico Says:
    “When I saw the headline, Vontaze Burfict came to mind”


    Same here, Bob.
    Burfict is one of those guys that you can’t stand, and love rooting against… and yet, he could definitely bring some nasty EDGE to this defense that could be just what the doctor ordered.

  36. BucsFIRE Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    “Kwon is well worth re-signing – IF he is reasonable with his contract demands.”


    I agree with this, Pickgrin. I think there is something in Kwon that can still be tapped to make him twice the player that he is now. In a way, there are similarities between Kwon and Jameis in that there have been some deficiencies in their game… but I believe there is still a BEAST underneath.

  37. BucsFIRE Says:

    BringBucsBack Says:
    “Heck, I even caught an interception from #3 in that Bengals game.”


    Ok… I am a big Jameis fan…
    But that was pretty damn funny.

  38. MadMax Says:

    im telling you right now, DRAFT DEVIN WHITE!!!!!!! He’s gonna be an all pro player! We’ve seen this in the tea leaves and tried getting there drafting LSU LB’s with Kwon and Beckwith……3rd times the charm!

    If Williams and Allen are gone by pick #5, trade down a few spots and get him. Just dont let him get to cinci, they WILL draft him! Move back into the 1st if Montez Sweat is still there and a viable trade can work, or get Chase Winovich in the 2nd.

  39. TOM Says:

    One year 5mil prove it deal.

  40. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    I feel the biggest factor the Defense got better is because Duffner took it over. Kwon was playing his ass off in the Browns game before he got injured. I am more concerned with the knee than anything else.