Talkin’ To “The Moneybacker”

July 29th, 2019


Whether you’re a gymnast, a money-market manager or an NFL head coach, flexibility is a beautiful thing.

Tampa Bay has ramped up its speed on defense significantly in the offseason, according to Bruce Arians, but there’s another key element to this overhaul. In adding veteran Deone Bucannon and rookie Mike Edwards, new coordinator Todd Bowles has some versatile pieces to move around and create havoc.

“Yeah, that’s huge when you have guys who are position-flexible to play two or three spots,” Arians says. “Either one can be the back-half safety or they could be covering the back blitzing, so you can’t just say, ‘Hey, 23 (Bucannon), he’s this or that,’ because you never know if he’s coming off the edge. So, it’s fun.”

Vita Vea is another potential wild card for Bowles, lining up inside next to Ndamukong Suh in the standard 4-3 or perhaps shifting to end when the Bucs utilize a 3-man front.

“The Moneybacker” got the nickname from Bruce Arians in Arizona

But it’s Bucannon who earned the moniker “Moneybacker” in Arizona for his effectiveness as a safety/linebacker hybrid.

“Coach Arians gave me that title,” Bucannon told me after a recent training camp practice. “It means being an athlete, a guy who can play in the box or line up on the outside, a versatile guy you can count on to make plays. We’ve got a lot of guys like that around here.”

Bucannon, who turns 27 in a month, is entering his prime years. He started 9 games for the Cardinals as a rookie in 2014, when Arizona went 11-5 with Bowles orchestrating the league’s No. 5 scoring defense.

Bowles was hired as head coach of the Jets before the start of the next season and now Bucannon is reunited with one of the NFL’s sharpest defensive minds.

“The word I would use for Coach Bowles is aggressive,” says Bucannon. “We’re going to get after you and at the same time, we’ve got athletes who can back that up. Being aggressive, you have to make sure you have the athletes in the back end to be able to cover.

“You’re seeing us get our hands on a lot of balls here in training camp. Coach Bowles mixes it up and gives offenses the full gamut. He’s going to bring it.”

Edwards appealed to the Bucs as a defensive back equally comfortable at corner or safety. Bowles will find a way to get him on the field in crunch time.

“He (Bowles) likes to mix it all up,” Edwards says, “so there’s not really one main thing, like a free safety just playing the middle field. I blitz, cover guys, stack the box and different things like that. So, he definitely has a great scheme for our defense. I just try and prepare for whatever he sets me up for and wherever I line up. I’ve been doing that since college and high school. I’ve been playing all over the field.”

When Bucannon reached free agency in March, he got a phone call from Arians, who realistically had Bucannon from hello.

“The decision was super easy because this is what I’m comfortable with,” Bucannon says. “He’s always treated me like a man and treated me with respect. I feel good out here, hoping to continue to stack the bricks. The energy I see around me is great.”

Leading the charge is a young man out of LSU, chosen with the fifth pick in the draft and immediately charged with critical responsibilities.

“His mental approach is what impresses me the most,” Bucannon says about inside linebacker Devin White. “He’s a lot more advanced than most rookies I’ve been around. We’re putting a lot on him and he has handled it great. He knows the calls and as for his talent, that’s not even a question.”

12 Responses to “Talkin’ To “The Moneybacker””

  1. DB55 Says:

    flexibility is a beautiful thing.
    Being able to play multiple positions is one thing but being able to play one position and be flexible enough to bend your knees and actually block someone is another. Ira your boy Dotson is going to get someone hurt on the field. How a 13 year vet can let a rookie blitzer get to the QB untouched is beyond me. But hey he gives interviews so he’s great I guess. 🙄

    Buchanan will probably end up playing CB across from Davis bc im pretty positive Whitehead and Edwards have the safety positions on lock but wtfdik

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    @Deone Bucannon … “The decision was super easy because this is what I’m comfortable with,” Bucannon says. “He’s always treated me like a man and treated me with respect. I feel good out here, hoping to continue to stack the bricks. The energy I see around me is great.”

    That’s an awesome quote Joe. Tells me a LOT about the respect that Bucannon has for BA AND how he feels about being a member of THIS team. Got me thinking about that JBF article from yesterday inferring that maybe BA is over-the-hill and maybe can’t relate to the new Generation X-Y-Zers (or whoever they now want to be known as). Poppycock. Respect is respect. Obviously in Bucannon’s case it’s based on a strong mutual relationship between himself & BA. I suspect that’ll be the same with ALL our Bucs players. BA is the least of our worries.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Chalk up one more player who really likes being here…..before you know it, we’ll have an entire team of them.

  4. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    TBBF- I think that is an underrated advantage of having a highly respected head coach. The fact that people cannot simply come here for a paycheck but rather because they want to play in a Bowles defense or a Bruce Arians team could help turn the tide of this sinking ship.

  5. DB55 Says:


    That’s what they said and about Lovie and Leslie but then Michael Johnson happened.

  6. NOSBOS Says:

    Just remember something folks. BA’s first week in the building his first presser with Tampa media he stated ” this defense is designed to attack the QB”. I expect all our QBs to kinda struggle against this defense most of camp. They prolly won’t look all that good until they face an opposing team’s defense.

  7. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Lovie to the best of my knowledge wasn’t a no BS guy. Lovie was a door mat trying to collect a retirement check in Tampa. Lovie rode the coattails of Ron Rivera to success. I think Bruce Arians is not only a self made man but he makes other men better coaches and players.
    Bruce Arians will straight call you out if you’re not performing up to your abilities. He will cut you if you park in the wrong spot or make a bad play to lose a game. Lovie was just too soft to turn the culture of this team around.

  8. mark2001 Says:

    DB55… no one that watched Lovie coach as an HC would say that. Even with great personnel…some future HOF players ion that Bears D…they couldn’t win the big one. And other than that one year, when they came close, they consistently underachieved. He could never make in game adjustments… if it started to go south, it was over. Koetter couldn’t make in game or in season adjustments either. That is why he was passed over so long for a HC position. I think this Arians deal is like night and day. May take a year or two, but he won’t sit on his hands.

  9. DB55 Says:


    I hear you and agree 100%. I pointed out the fact that Lovie’s success was in fact Ron Rivera’s doing but if you go back and read the comments you’ll see all the “real fans” praising Lovie’s accomplishments in all their glory bc you know buc fans.

  10. mark2001 Says:

    Agree DB55….as I remember, most fans were cheering, similarly to the way the crowds cheered when the Titanic left port. But some of us knew it was extremely unlikely that wrong way “couch coach Lovie” was more than a captain of a proverbial floating vessel, heading towards an iceberg, in the North Atlantic.

  11. DB55 Says:


  12. Buczilla Says:

    Great article. Football can’t get here soon enough and the withdrawals are always at their worst the closer you get to the first preseason game…