The Depth Difference

April 12th, 2021

A couple of Buccaneers seem to have views that differ from most fans when it comes to the standout successes that got the team to the Super Bowl.

It was a rainy Sunday yesterday, so Joe decided to kick back and listen to an interview earlier this year of Bucs backup offensive linemen Josh Wells and Aaron Stinnie. The pair both went to James Madison University and joined a JMU Football show to chat.

Joe was stunned. In 20-plus minutes, Joe did not hear one question about Tom Brady. That might be a world record for an interview of a Buccaneer (coach, player or front office member).

Stinnie was asked to name a standout moment or two from last season, and he responded by noting how many different players stepped up to shine in place of players lost to injury or The Sickness — no mention of Brady, Devin White, Shaq Barrett or Ronald Jones impact plays.

Wells seemed to agree while lauding what Stinnie accomplished, stepping in at right guard in the playoffs for his first NFL starts.

“People don’t understand, when you don’t play for a while and then you get thrown in, the speed of the game and having the ability to be able to do that is incredible,” Wells said. “And it’s taken guys like Stinnie stepping in; I’ve stepped in a couple times and guys have kind of filled their role.”

General manager Jason Licht and his crew didn’t deal with a ton of injuries last season, but there were enough to showcase the team’s depth. And more important now, that depth got fantastic experience and gained confidence.

Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, Alex Cappa all missed starts on the O-line, and Vita Vea lost most of the season on the defensive line. White and Jones lost games to COVID-19 and the Bucs battled through injuries at receiver and to O.J. Howard. Also, Ross Cockrell made two starts at cornerback and played 22 percent of the defensive snaps last season.

Perhaps, the roster’s depth isn’t getting the credit it deserves.

14 Responses to “The Depth Difference”

  1. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    This year’s draft will be most likely reinforce our depth. Hopefully the Bucs address both sides of the line.

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    the OL is set in stone. DL, OLB or a corner @ #32

  3. Casual Observer Says:

    I think Blahak has nailed it. But maybe substitute DB for corner. Be nice to draft someone who can be a backup at S or Corner. Depth, for sure. Oh, and an edge rusher up there somewhere.

  4. lambeau Says:

    Joe–where’s Cockrell? Even drafting a CB, we need him back. Haggling over money?

  5. Bruce Blahak Says:

    @Casual Observer ….yes, a hybrid DB? maybe

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Carlos Basham Jr might be available at 32 overall. Pass rush depth is needed.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree with your bottom line Joe, but some position groups are much better off depth-wise than some others. We had & have good depth on offense IMO, at WR, TE, OLine, RB (thankfully never had to find out about QB depth).

    Not so much on defense though. And especially at DE/OLB positions. Inside LB was also thin (heck we had to bring back Cichy off of New England’s Practice Squad to finish the season). Our DB depth is also shallow. I love what Cockrell did last season in filling in, but we haven’t even re-signed him yet (right now our 4th CB is Herb Miller who got a grand total of 17 snaps last season on defense). And our 4th Safety is Javon Hagan who has 0 def snaps (nice size though at 6′ & 215 lbs and did well at Ohio U). So ya, defensive depth could use a little tweaking.

  8. 813bucboi Says:

    A little tweaking?….nawl…if it aint broke dont fix it….

    cockrell was trash imo…a rookie would provide the same production which is why he hasnt been resigned….

    no tweaking is needed…just continue to build….

    draft 2 DBs, DT, OLB/DE, LB & OL and we’re good…

    GO BUCS!!!

  9. LakelandSteve Says:

    I know as a team we are loaded with top tier starting talent on both sides of the ball, but my concern is injuries. We had a few last year which were horrid injuries like those to O.J. And Vita but we also had a lot of guys get dinged during games. Missing plays here and there and a few games. Guys like Kevin Minter, Aaron Stinnie, Ross Cockrel just to name a few were stellar. I know Licht and Arians have done wonders in the last couple of years especially with picking up those needed competent backups. Also we now have to replace at least two starters on Special teams who were critical at times. I know everyone wants A.B. and I do too but I really hope we find some real quality depth (hopefully some through the draft) that can keep this team upright when injuries happen.

  10. BucsFanSeffner Says:

    I think one thing that made the Bucs so successful last season was that every single player had a team-first attitude. There were no prima donnas, and nobody acted like they were better than anyone else, even though we had some of the best players in the NFL all vying for playing time. From the first string to the backups, every player had one priority, the team. And that seems to be carrying forward to this coming season, based on what we saw in free agency. This team is going to be a powerhouse this season! GO BUCS!

  11. SOEbuc Says:

    C and OT need to be addressed in rounds 1-5. Always in WIN NOW! mode, even if it’s about the future.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    @813bucboi … “draft 2 DBs, DT, OLB/DE, LB & OL and we’re good…”

    Hmmm, exactly the same positions I recommended yesterday that we needed to draft, EXCEPT you have us drafting 2 DBs instead of the 1 DB that I suggested (personally I’d rather see us sign an experienced DB instead of drafting a 2nd rookie).

    Don’t know where you get this ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ thing bucboi. Our Secondary & LB corps is thin once you get past the starters. Not a problem as long as everyone stays healthy. But then again, I think there’s a reason why they call it DEPTH.

  13. 813bucboi Says:


    you said, “So ya, defensive depth could use a little tweaking.”

    if you “tweak” something, that means your doing so because something isnt working right….

    minter is resigned…..if a CB goes down, SMB slides outside….SMB goes down, whitehead slides to the slot….safety goes down, edwards slides right in…

    this is the best depth we’ve had in years….we dont need to “tweak”…

    we need to continue to BUILD the depth….not tweak it…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  14. David Says:

    They are right. That’s why I was so happy when they re-signed Stinnie, Wells, Minter… always need solid depth to go far