Back To The Future With Noah Spence

May 1st, 2019

Final chance? (Photo courtesy of

When Bucs defensive end/outside linebacker Noah Spence was a rookie, Joe saw him line up at outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in minicamp.

No, really. Joe saw it with his own eyes! And Joe doesn’t remember Spence lining up as an outside linebacker ever again. The Bucs had hoped he would become their next great pass-rushing defensive end.

In his rookie year, playing basically with one arm due to a separated shoulder, Spence whetted Bucs fans’ appetites with 5.5 sacks. Not awful for a rookie with one wing.

Since, Spence has had just one more sack than you and Joe. Last year he was so invisible, Spence was playing in the fourth quarter of the fourth preseason game against furniture movers, oil change specialists, landscapers and bail bondsmen.

It sure looked as if Spence’s career was toast. But the Bucs held on to him and he survived the final season of the Mike Smith Armageddon, playing sparingly on special teams and finishing with three tackles in 12 games.

New Bucs outside linebackers coach Larry Foote is tasked, in part, with trying to save the career of the former second-round pick. Foote declared today at One Buc Palace where Spence will play, which echoed Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht’s remarks back at the combine in February.

“Spence is not really a true defensive end” in a 4-3, Foote said.

Joe will have more later of what Foote said about Spence. Of course, it’s underwear football season and every coach, especially a new coach, is going to talk up his players like they are ready for Canton.

It would be profound for the Bucs defense if Foote can somehow use some pixie dust and get Spence on the right track.

If he doesn’t, Joe cannot see Spence on the roster next season.

Such is life in the NFL, produce or get out.

54 Responses to “Back To The Future With Noah Spence”

  1. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    We know he can play with pain….

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    After his promising rookie year Spence came to camp as at 228lbs – and he was still saying he was a DE. Then last year he came to camp having gained gained 35 pounds to play at 263lbs. It really seems as if the team, or himself, really had no idea what they were doing. Anywho it’s make or break for him obviously, and I’m thinking a number right in the middle is a great size for him to be a stand-up edge rusher. I mean you really just have to write him off at this point, but the good thing is that if you write him off, if he does anything, it’s a bonus.

  3. Petra...Sec147 Says:

    A lot of football and sports is mental we finally have a strong head coach that will raise everyone game sit back and enjoy the show.

  4. FlBoy84 Says:

    Can’t say any of the coaches talked about ANY of the players (new or old) like they were ready for Canton. To a man they all basically said they’ll know more once they get into OTA’s and summer camp, but like some of the qualities certain players seem to bring. Some did rave about Spence’s willingness to work, guess that’s Canton talk to JBF…. What stood out to me more is how multiple coaches were self-depreciating re: their coaching abilities and hoping that they don’t screw players up….

  5. Bob in Valrico Says:

    No Mystery here. Licht drafted a specialist and his ability to stop the run
    was suspect. Also the way Swaggy Baker was pushed into backfield by double teams pretty much prevented going to 3-4 after his first couple of seasons.
    Since the defense will probably revert to 4-3 during nickel situations it will limit his opportunities, IMO.

  6. unbelievable Says:

    So Licht says Spence is a 3-4 OLB but drafted him years ago to play DE in a 4-3 scheme…

    VH3 was a great press corner so they drafted him years ago to play zone…

    Ryan Smith was a cornerback who was drafted to then play safety…

    Carlton Davis was a great press corner drafted to play zone…

    Ali Marpet was a near pro bowl guard then they then switched to center and then the other side at guard…

    And people wonder why we’ve sucked for so long.

  7. bryan kohn Says:

    @ unbelievable Says: ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Kobe Faker Says:


    Nowhere Spence suks and doesn’t possess the skills to pressure the QB

    Its really not that difficult. peeps make football and other jobs like its rocket science

    break it down and reverse engineer

    you need 2 skills as a pass rusher speed and power only a few have both

    Nowhere has neither

    He doesn’t have the speed or bend to go around the tackle and he doesn’t have the power with his hands and lower body to bang and disengage against the tackle

    he got his sacks from broken plays

    mental midget should have been cut last year. its absolutely ridiculous this meth head is still in this team”

    Kobe Faker

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If Spence doesn’t make the adjustment quickly….I don’t think he makes the roster this year…..this regime will likely have not patience this year with anyone.

  10. K2 Says:

    If you listen to the coaches speak it is obvious they are a big part of the draft and evaluation process. I agree that the Bucs have done a terrible job of aligning player and defensive scheme…but this is not a Licht problem as much as a team problem. Clearly, the Bucs coaches got the guys they wanted in this draft. Hopefully, coaching and scouting are on the same page and they selected some guys that will help the team. If they didn’t I would join the group calling for a change of GM. Based on the poor win/loss record…I totally get the frustration. However, it seems that we should see a game or two played before the zealots assassinate Licht and drop him in a whole somewhere.

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bet he doesn’t make the final 53. Bookmark I said that.

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe stop giving reasons to give anybody hope about this guy. He’s been on the team for a while and the verdict is in. BUST!!!!

    This dude gets more mentions each week on this site then plays he has made. It’s becoming borderline obsession.

    All’s I care about this guy is he shows something in August. If not he needs to not have a job here. If they can’t find a way to replace a pure stiff our Front Office has done a poor job.

  13. JimmyJack Says:

    Bonzai……..I will not bet you on that. And when/if this guy gets cut it will be more $$$ for the payroll that those who obsess themselves with CAP space never factor in. When he gets replaced it will be with somebody at a low salary.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    Kobe……His 5.5 sacks we’re a mirage.
    Yes, those were nice plays but all the rest of his plays were basically worthless…….He was swallowed up and washed completely out of a good 90% of plays.

    You don’t have to get a sack to make a impact and Noah’s impact was nonexistent………Which was fine since he was only a rookie. You look to see him strengthen up and work on his technique and make more of an impact from year to year……but that never happened.

    Maybe a 3-4 seitch could benefit him but it’s blind hope at best. True impact players will find a way dispute the scheme(ahem, ahem, VHIII).

  15. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    “the Mike Smith Armageddon”

    What a line 😂

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Regarding Spence in particular, he definitely had pass rushing skills coming out of college. I mean you don’t get 5.5 sacks as an NFL rookie with 1 arm by accident. We had nothing close to a good pass rush, so he wasn’t just cleaning up leftovers.

    That said, I’m not sure if he’ll get back to the level of potential he once had. 2 shoulder injuries + surgeries that early in really stunts development and might not be something you can come back from. Plus who knows what his mental headspace is like at this point after going through that.

    Would be great if he could rush the passer again. I mean right now we have JPP, Nassib and LVD from the outside. That ain’t squat. Good thing we didn’t select one of the premier defensive lineman this draft…

  17. BucEmUp Says:

    Its not pixie dust, ITS COACHING!!!!!

  18. Eric y Says:

    Anyone here who thinks that since arians is here then “BOOM” we’re a better team needs to stop drinking the kool aid …. let these coaches coach me up and see where we are come December …. because after another 5 win season everyone here will be blasting the coaches the players and the owners … don’t go into this season thinking we are better than we were because we are not

  19. BucEmUp Says:

    Binzai ill take that bet

  20. LakeLand Says:

    All of this offseason hype the Bucs are selling

    I’m not buying any of it

  21. ATrain Says:

    Spence will Ball Out this year

    Nassib will have an awesome year

    The Bucs will be top 5 in Defense this year


  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Noah Spence = perfect example of a staff not knowing wtf they were doing.

    They had the idea right his rookie year with him being a DPR (Designated Pass Rusher).

    I.e. don’t worry about him defending the run. Use him like Bruce Irvan was in Seattle.

    He was effective even playing through injury in that role..Not only the 5.5 sacks but his speed off the edge was obvious and had an effect on a lot of other plays. 2016 was our best defensive season as well as a team.

    Then the weird 4ss weight loss season / weight gain seasons happened where it felt like the team wanted him to be a pure 4-3 DE that can play the run when they never should have pushed for that transformation.

    Should have spent all their development time on his pass rushing and only in those sub packages. Should not have f*cked with his weight/build. He was fine when he got here. H3ll that was his NFL prime as a rookie lol.

  23. AwShbucs Says:

    Uh oh spaghettio. Look out NFC South QB’s. JBF’s resident “opposite george” Buccaneer Bonzai just declared that Noah Spence wont make the team.

    We now can safely assume that Noah will have his best year as a pro. This might be the year he gets those 15 sacks Rob Ayers was talking about.

  24. SenileSenior Says:

    Some will argue that Licht should never have drafted Spence. He should have known that he was not a good fit. It can be argued that the last coaching group jerked him around and could not figure out how to use him. Some will argue that he just doesn’t have “it”.

    As a fan all I can say is I have not seen him enough during all of this time to have an opinion. I have more second hand info than first hand to go by.

    I hope the guy jumps at the chance this year and emerges as a player. I hope his career has not been ruined already. I expect to come to some conclusion only if he is still here in September and I get to see him at least in an ongoing rotational basis.
    Go Bucs!!!!!!

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    It’s not about hype and it’s not about magical pixie dust fixes for me.

    What it is about is solid football. A well prepared and practiced team that does beat itself.

    Asking for solid football is not too much. Not asking for 13 wins and deep playoff runs and Super Bowls………I just want a team that doesn’t commit brainfart turnovers on 2nd down in the red zone…….or committ a presnap pentalty on a game winning drive……..or forget what your assignment is and leave a entire sideline uncovered……..or miss several tackles in a game or several close range kicks.

    None of ^^^this^^^ is not professional football. All of it should be expected and required…………and all of it takes one training camp to fix. The multiple freaking seasons.

    Once the team stops beating itself we will get solid football and we dam sure won’t be getting blown out all the time. We will be a competitive team that I have been craving.

    None of this takes mega talent to fix. It takes hard work determination and firm leadership(making Djax a captain is not firm leadership).

    Give me a solid football team and it’s not as hard(as Bucs fans believe it is) to go 500 or better in this league………Then we can get an accurate assement of the roster and which pieces are needed………But until then we can never know if our CBs(as one example) are any good………It doesn’t matter one freaking bit how good they are when an entire sideline is left uncovered. Talent is worthless if you don’t know how to do your job.

    ***END RANT***

    GO BUCS!!!!!

    Let the Bucs get good first. Then we can be great.

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Trying to participate…..all of my posts are moderated and eventually cleared but show up much later and are likely overlooked……Sorry, TBBF

    FYI….none of my posts have been deleted for content.

  27. unbelievable Says:


    100% on that last post!!!!!!

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    And all above of what I just said in not a argument………This is how the Bucs lose gave and have been losing them for years.

    We have not played professional football……..We do leave entire halves of fields open on defense. We do miss kicks taclkes and blocks at a high rate. We do commit self inflicted pentaltys and turnovers…….and we do all of these things consistenyly.

    You tell me that we can do all these things consistently and still win I will call you a bald face f**king liar!!!! The NFL has never produced a winning team this sloppy in it’s existence. The Bucs are no different.,…………This is what makes me laugh when somebody says if this or that better we would be a winning team. Pure silliness. Just like that guy says……you can’t fix stupid.

    We are a stupid football team with stupid coaches and stupid players……….We been stupid so long it might even be making the fans stupid. Just look at some of the stuff Joe says as evidence.

    Fixing the roster does absolutely nothing cause ya can’t fix stupid.

  29. JimmyJack Says:

    ***END RANT 2***(I’ll compliment ya tomorrow Joe)

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod … I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to Spence. In your words, ” It really seems as if the team, or himself, really had no idea what they were doing.” Truer words were never spoken.

    If folks go back & research Spence’s college days, Noah makes Jameis look like a saint … partying & drugs did him in. Despite that bad rep, one of the articles that I found said of him … “As far as a pure 3-4 outside linebacker prospect goes, he’s the best one from a football perspective in this draft.”

    And yet, the Bucs picked him in the 2nd Rnd as a 4-3 DE. I think it was like you said though Rod, Bucs “had no idea what they were doing” when it came to Noah Spence. Those weight fluctuations were absurd. In college at Ohio State & Eastern Kentucky he successfully played around 260 lbs. Obviously 228 lbs was a ridiculous weight for a 4-3 DE. Really hoping that Spence can turn it around this year under Todd Bowles. I think he’s got the talent. It’s just a question of whether or not he’s got the proper mindset to bring it all together.

  31. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Rant on bro’ that’s why we’re here.

    You know I almost always agree with you and I understand your feelings about Spence but don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion.

    Spence was viewed as better than Bosa when they were freshman at OSU. Spence got “mollied” out of OSU. Rather than give up he redoubled his efforts and went to EKU. Have you ever been to Richmond Ky? I grew up in KY and there are three decent areas…Louisville..Lexington..and where I grew up N. Ky or Greater Cincinnati. Richmond Ky is truly purgatory!!!

    Spence went there…paid his penance…sent NFL management his urine tests to prove he was staying clean..and then got picked in the 2nd round. In his freshman year everybody had him pegged as a sure first rounder.

    So he comes to the Bucs…the team that time forgot…and gets rave reviews his first summer…including from opposing Jaguars in their summer scrimmages. 5 1/2 sacks with one arm. Played totally out of position with a horrible DC.

    Rod Munch made a GREAT point. Then Spence came into camp in back to back years at totally different weights. The management clearly did not figure out how to use him. DE or LB? I do not agree with all who claim coaching is TOTALLY responsible for our failures…but they rate at least 50% of the blame!!!!

    Poor Spence didn’t know which position to prepare for!!! That’s not a problem this year. He’s now known for months which kind of body to bring to camp and what to work on. I hope he has some RB and TE buddies who will work with him in the downtime. They need to run routes and he needs to see if he can improve covering them.

  32. Buc4evr Says:

    Spence was always a OLB. Smith misused him. He will be out of the NFL by preseason.

  33. Rod Munch Says:

    Defense Rules – Pete Prisco, who I enjoy listening to even if I don’t always agree to him, had Spence as the NFL’s next great pass rusher after his rookie year. Those dismissing his rookie year are nuts, he didn’t fluke into 5.5 sacks, in fact he was more disruptive than those number say. But his 2nd year he lost all the weight and then got hurt, then in year 3 he bulks back up and is rarely used. He was a bad scheme fit in a 4-3 because of his size. At 260lb he’s really too small to be a DE but he’s too big to be a LB, a classic tweener size. In a 3-4 he should do better, but since he’s going to be an edge guy, in my opinion he’d probably do best to get down to about 245lb. But at this point he should do whatever he’s most comfortable with because he’s down to his last chance to do anything.

    Also Bonazi, I don’t disagree with you, I think it’s unlikely he actually makes the team – BUT I’d give him every chance in the world to prove me wrong.

    However he’s still only 25 years old, so he’s plenty young if he can turn it around.

  34. Just a guy Says:

    Isn’t it funny they talk up Spence. But can’t mention Mccoy

  35. donuts Says:

    I said this last year and now this year, Spence is a bust. Bucs hang onto dudes way too long…Sweezy..Spence….Benenoch….Gholston…dump and reload is the NE way whereas Bucs cling. I am starting to strongly believe that until the Glazers are gone this team will not win again. Glazer boys just not Malcolm the giant.

  36. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    If Spence can stay healthy – if – he would be a factor.

  37. Joe Says:

    Isn’t it funny they talk up Spence. But can’t mention Mccoy


  38. Greg Says:

    @ Kobe
    Come on your last sentence discredits everything before that! ” Meth head ” yes you can say that but how irresponsible! Get a grip!

  39. Lamarcus Says:

    Spence is too small to make a impact on the dline. Too slow to be a linebacker. Too bad

  40. Destinjohnny Says:

    Having to stay with Jason’s guys till the next gm comes in it looks like

  41. Not there yet Says:

    How odd we have so many scouts and wanna gm’s on this site. How does Spence need to adjust to something he did in college and something he should have been drafted to do. People saying he sucks because he wasn’t good in a 4-3 should really shut up. Dude weighs about 10 pounds more than white. We already know he can’t rush in a 4-3 so why would they ask him to. He’ll have much more success as a stand up linebacker but keep thinking there’s some other reason this team passed on Josh Allen. I can see both Spence and white rushing from the edge at the same time like they both did in college

  42. Clw JB Says:

    Get him on the outside shoulder of a 325 lb tackle from a standing position and watch him fly around the edge forcing the play

    Much different than a 3 pt stance at the wide 9 trying to force and contain

    I mean, we played a 5-3 D in little league so the DE’s could dominate the edges and force everything back up the gut…you know like to a D White type MLB 🙂

    It’s all about the schemes and the talent working in unison, something we haven’t seen around here in a longgggggg time

  43. c-span Says:

    I dont think spence is a bust, his rookie tape shows it. I think he should have not lost the weight at all. He can be used as a DPR in a 4-3 and 3-4. He was just not used at all last year and I have no idea why.

  44. Destinjohnny Says:


  45. FireJasonLicht Says:

    Spence and RoJo both will live up to their draft billings with this new coaching staff. VHIII also if he stays healthy

  46. SappAttack Says:

    C’mon, man. Enjoy what’s here. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.–Joe

  47. Isaac haggins Says:

    Lottsa sense spoken !!!

  48. GrayBalls Says:

    @Bob in Valrico
    How exactly does an NFL team “revert to a 3-4 in nickel situations”? I was with you until that gem. Nickel package is called so due to there being five defensive backs on the field. So are you saying that in such situations we’ll completely abandon the appropriate structure or are we now allowed to play 12 men at once?

  49. Bucsfanman Says:

    We need to stop with all the excuses. It’s not JUST the scheme. Good football players can play in ANY scheme. The same applies to VHIII and ROJO.
    Sure, scheme may stymie a player’s development or hinder their skills A LITTLE. However, if they’re any good, they can play PERIOD. We saw it play out with Suh and Donald. JJ Watt can play ANYWHERE. We’ve seen QBs become productive TEs and WRs, CBs become Safeties, and Safeties become LBs.
    He can either play or he can’t, scheme be damned! Thus far, he has shown that he cannot. Until proven otherwise, it’s a wash.

  50. TOM Says:

    Hope Spence makes it at OLB. Lord knows they need all the help they can get and then some.

  51. m0j0 Says:

    I think Spence is going to finally have it all come together this season.

  52. Brandon Says:

    Every draft expert and their uncles had Spence going in round 1. He fell to round 2 and it’s hard to pass on good football players. So Spence was drafted hoping he could make an impact somewhere.

    unbelievable Says:
    May 1st, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Ali Marpet was a near pro bowl guard then they then switched to center and then the other side at guard…


    The other stuff you said was true…BUT…. Marpet was a collegiate LT. A big part of drafting is projecting players at different positions or doing different tasks than they did in college. A lot of WRs coming out didn’t run a full route tree, tons of RBs never pass blocked, a high percentage of QBs didn’t take snaps from under center, and a lot of guys that were drafted to play guard played tackle in college. It happens all the time… that being said, NOBODY could possibly succeed in Mike Smith’s outdated ridiculous scheme.

  53. BA FAN Says:

    Spence was very successful as an outside LB in college in a 3-4. I believe he can be developed into an effective OLB as a Buc. Time will tell.

  54. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…

    GO BUCS!!!!