Rise Of The Rookies

May 30th, 2019

Bucs rookie DB Mike Edwards.

As Joe mentioned in one of the great Ira Kaufman podcasts recently, Joe assumes the reason the Bucs drafted two defensive backs in the second round a year removed from drafting two cornerbacks in the second round is defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, after watching tape, told Bucco Bruce Arians and Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht there was no way he could compete with the secondary as it stood.

And if one can gauge the words of Arians after an underwear football practice Tuesday, it is the rookies who are making ballhawking plays on defense.

“[Jamel] Dean had a game-winning interception right there at the end of practice, so all those guys are getting their hands on balls,” Arians said of the rookies. “I think 95 percent of our turnovers have come from rookies in practice and they’re going against our best guys.

“Vernon [Hargreaves] fell into one the other day and he dropped a pick-six today, which I’m still talking to him about, but you can’t drop touchdowns. Those young guys, they’re making plays.”

Joe has to qualify everything this time of the year with the following four words: But it’s underwear football. Outside of the skill position players, there really is no way to accurately measure how guys are doing.

But skill guys do show up in underwear football in the way one would expect athletes to show up. If these guys are already being disruptive and forcing turnovers, that’s a foundation to work on when the pads come on in late July.

Just judging by last season, goodness, the secondary needs to find a way to force some picks.

32 Responses to “Rise Of The Rookies”

  1. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    Ahh yes… sounds like things are coming together nice. VH3 needs to get his sh!t together though
    Go BUCS

  2. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Sounds like there’s hope.

    They only thing the secondary picked last year was their nose.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    What’s a defensive line’s best friend? A ball-hawking secondary. Hopefully those who stood on the ledge after the draft will start seeing the picture.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    There better be hope.

    9 DBs drafted in the last 3 years – 6 with premium picks

    Surely we can find 4 quality starters and a capable nickle back out of that group.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see rookies starting at 3 positions on defense this year: MLB, CB & Safety. Plus another 2-3 getting substantial time as key rotational players right near the start of the season.

    Our biggest problems on defense last year IMO were stopping the run & protecting the middle of the field. Switching to a predominantly 3-4, beefing up the interior DLine & adding (what looks to be) a lot of speed SHOULD help fix those problems in a big way. This promises to be an exciting year, even though it might take time for these guys to grow together as a TEAM. Can’t wait for September …

  6. JA Says:

    Anybody old enough to remember Lawrence Taylor?
    His position in the NFL stat sheet is listed as ROLB—roving outside linebacker—a great addition to a 3-4 defense.

    They apparently didn’t count sacks his first year. With that, he had 132.5 sacks in 168 games. In his prime, from 1984-90, he had double digit sacks every year (11.5-13.0-20.5-12.0-15.5-15-10.5).

    With his renown history of drug abuse, one can only imagine how many more he would have had with a clear head and healthy body … Even so, he was the greatest linebacker to ever play the game.

    My point is this: why not bring back the roving linebacker position full time and see what we have in Devon White?
    It would be foolish for any of us to imagine any linebacker approaching those numbers again (20.5-WOW!!), but many of Taylor’s sacks came when he kept jumping around, confusing the opponents OL because they never knew where he would line up or do next.

    One moment he’d fake a blitz and break out in coverage. The next he would play off the line and come charging. Essentially, he did what the hell he wanted and it repeatedly confused the opposing offense.

    We know White was a great college linebacker or he wouldn’t be here. If we use him as a ROLB in this new 3-4 and get something out of the 200 DB’s, mentioned above, we might be on to something.

    In essence, what do we have to lose?
    Todd Bowles—hope you’re paying attention—hahaha …

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    JA- “Remember LT?”! The dude revolutionized the position!
    Also JA, I think that is their intent with our LB corps. In theory, a 3-4 is predicated on the ability to disguise blitzers and blitzes. So many people think that DEs are the pressure position when it is, in fact, LBs that provide the pressure. Look at any Steelers defense through the ages. It wasn’t their d-line that instilled fear in teams.

  8. #1bucsfan Says:

    I’m deff no scout but honestly think with our premium picks the past couple years that have earned the bust label are going to put those labels in the dirt now that we have a coaching staff that can develop. It still might take a little bit of time seeing how the last coaching staff stunted their growth #endthedrought

  9. JA Says:


    Agree, but Taylor was a little different. Most successful 3-4 teams do/did as you articulated, but the linebackers hold/held their inside or outside position.
    Taylor was everywhere—sometimes over the center, TE or way outside. Watch the old film. It was a beautiful thing.
    My guess, however, is that current coaching staffs are far too conservative to give a player that sort of freedom again. The fear of giving up a big play because a linebacker might be out of position looms large …

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Like ROLB idea….but why not have 2…..White & LVD…..you talk about confusing an offense….

  11. NOSBOS Says:

    JA LT in my personal was the greatest Defensive force the game has ever seen and could challenge whomever one feels is the Greatest football player the game has ever seen. I recall seeing him at Universal Studios years back here in Orlando. The man looks like an Oak tree in person,he was still massive years after his playing days. Where we differ in our thoughts is you feel he would’ve been even better we’re it not for the drugs,I feel cocaine made an already ultra talented individual Super. Knew my fair share of dope boys growing up,from most accounts that stuff is an upper that makes you feel like Superman.

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    JA- NFL Network was playing the Buffalo vs NY Giants Super Bowl in the Old Sombrero the other day. Two great teams with HOFers EVERYWHERE! And, of course, the legendary LT!

    NOSBOS- I hate to admit it but I think you’re right……allegedly!

  13. JA Says:


    If what you say is true about feeling like Superman (I wouldn’t know-hehe), they should give it to everybody on the Bucs.
    Be nice to see the defense flying around for a change instead of standing there, scratching their helmets thinking, “ where am I supposed to be?”
    Being faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, while being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound does have its merits.

  14. NOSBOS Says:

    JA stay tuned my friend.. It’s coming.

  15. JA Says:


    I’m with ya:

  16. Todd Says:


    While it’s been a couple decades, at one point I imbibed. Just like alcohol, the first drink is awesome…the rest of the night you chase that initial “upper”. You never achieve it, but you sure as hell try. With alcohol, the chase results in becoming sluggish, dehydrated and overall…stupid. We’ve all been there. You know what I’m saying.

    With coke, the chase is more desperate…you desire more, more quickly. Never achieve that first jolt again. What you DO catch is a murderous headache, bloody nose and lots of other nasty side effects.

    I can’t IMAGINE this drug benefiting anyone physically. There’s no way it ups your game. LT would have had to continue snorting throughout the game…chasing that initial high. Just no way. It wears off too quickly for a line before a game to have any positive physical outcome.

    Maybe I’m wrong. But rarely on Thursdays.

    Anyway, my name’s Todd and I’m a recovering…

  17. DB55 Says:

    When VH3 gets cut who will be the starting CBs?

  18. SOEbuc Says:

    Once again. I vote Dean for outside CB opposite Auburn teammate Carlton Davis. 6’2″ ballhawk with speed. Bunting or VH3 at nickel if he’s still on the team. Very excited to see what Edwards is able to accomplish, also. We are stacked with good DB depth now and we don’t have to put in Javion Elliot or Isaiah Johnson. This pleases me.

  19. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    ” Look at any Steelers defense through the ages. It wasn’t their d-line that instilled fear in teams.”

    What was the Steel Curtain??

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    While underwear football does not necessarily translate to Sunday afternoon, the fact is if you can’t do it in underwear football, you won’t do it on Sunday afternoon.

    So smile at a little progress.

    Last season Koetter lamented teamwork in underwear football…and it showed on Sunday afternoons.

  21. BringBucsBack Says:

    “…so all those guys are getting their hands on balls.”

    Joe, this statement should have BA in moderation, at least until everyone washes their hands.

  22. NOSBOS Says:

    That’s whus up Todd. Glad you overcame broski.

  23. NOSBOS Says:

    SOEbuc it’s early but I wouldn’t be surprised at all week 1 those two Tigers march out on that field as the 1 and 2 corners. Carlton says “this is the best scheme he’s ever played in”. These dudes geeked because the system allows them to showcase they’re true skill set and ability. Aggression is the name of the game.

  24. webster Says:

    Why do you feel bowles told licht to go heavy in the secondary? The bucs did exactly what they said they were going to do and that is pick the best player available period. I know the joes, media and fans bashed the draft but the bucs had higher grades on bunting then they did on whoever the remaining dl or rb or ol were. The same goes when they picked dean and edwards. Its just how their board fell. Why is that so hard to understand?

  25. Joe Says:

    Why do you feel bowles told licht to go heavy in the secondary?

    Adding two-and-two. If Todd Bowles thought he could win with Justin Evans, Ryan Smith, Vernon Hargreaves, M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, then there would have been no need to draft defensive backs. Pretty foolish to load up on players at positions of strength and totally ignore positions with gaping holes, no? Unless you think Jason Licht has completely lost his mind.

  26. TOM Says:

    If just a couple of rookies and/or 2nd year db’s come thru, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hargreaves gets cut. Another Licht FU.

  27. 813bucboi Says:

    why do folks think VHG wont be on the team?…lol….

    he dropped a pick6 in a may practice….lol…he didnt allow a WR to score a TD during TC….

    folks need to chill out….VHG will be a starting outside CB come week1…..BA just wants VHG to led by example in practice by executing to perfection…..if BA allows VHG to drop a pick without getting on his a$$ then the rookies will think its ok to lack focus and not execute…..

    BA is simply holding VHG accountable and to a higher standard…..focus and execute…..

    GO BUCS!!!!

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    Ghost- Outside of the Steel Curtain’s Mean Joe and L.C. Greenwood, Steelers LBs like Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Joey Porter, James Harrison, Levon Kirkland, Ham, Lambert, Nickerson, etc…were more well-known.
    Name another d-lineman more well known than the LBs listed.
    Nice try though. I got the point.

  29. Anglican Says:

    Oh the other hand, who is throwing those pic sixes in the first place?

  30. webster Says:

    As i said, BA said before the draft that drafting for need gets you fired. He also said so what if you already have 2 at the same position, now you have 3. Hey its not my fault some chose to ignore what he said and jump on the draft a running back, dend, olineman etc bandwagon and now you are hurt because they did not do what you wanted/expected. Those players were rated higher on their board period. Just like BA told you mccoy was not the same player especially for 13 mil way back when. Translation, he will not play for us this year. Not my fault all the mccoy lovers did not see this coming. My suggestion is to listen and not only hear what you want to hear.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Unlike the guys that Licht drafted last year, the guys this year are fast – and Dean, who isn’t fast (or slow) was a ballhawk. Last year, for no reason I can understand, Licht drafter two guys who were slow AND didn’t create turnovers. I still think Davis is going to be a solid #2 when it’s all said and done, but he’s not there yet. I gave Stewart the label last year of being a slower version of Ryan Smith last year, and there’s literally not a bigger insult I can give someone. I did however say, as I say with all rookies, that you can’t truly judge them based off year one. The example I always give is Ronde Barber – who almost didn’t play at all his rookie year. I remember the talk at the time was that Barber was too slow and a bust – and, well, things turned out might well for the future HOFer.

  32. webster Says:

    @ rod

    Brian kelly was no star either his rookie year but was very huge his first year as a starter ie superbowl year.