Week 1 Help From Keanu Neal

May 12th, 2022

New Bucs safety Keanu Neal, the former Pro Bowler.

Joe remembers iconic Bucs cornerback Rondé Barber talking about how every other year it seemed like the Bucs would sign a player just to get all the info they could about his former team.

Why? Because that team was a Bucs opponent on the upcoming schedule.

Barber said the intel gleaned was interesting, but he felt that too often it caused Bucs players to overthink on the field. And Barber added that, overall, he preferred not to have that knowledge from coaches who had freshly pumped a new teammate for all he knows.

Of course, the guy signed as much for his information as for his playing ability often was a fringe player who was just cut, or he was sitting on a practice squad. The Saints made that move with Cameron Brate after the Bucs cut him in 2015, and crazy Saints defensive coordinator Rex Ryan pumped Brate for info on the Tampa Bay offense.

But it’s a little different when a team signs a prominent player with in-depth knowledge on an opponent. This year, Bucs safety Keanu Neal should be that guy.

The Bucs open the season on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys. Not only did Neal play for Dallas last year, Neal spent years in Atlanta with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

So Joe is fully confident that Todd Bowles and many Bucs coaches will squeeze every ounce of Cowboys knowledge from Neal as they prepare for a huge opening day game.

And the great thing is Neal is a smart veteran rather than an undrafted player scooped off the street, like Brate was in 2015.

Maybe Neal’s knowledge will represent a tiny edge for the Bucs. And Joe will take it, considering Tampa Bay needed a game-closing field goal to beat Dallas last year.

12 Responses to “Week 1 Help From Keanu Neal”

  1. Riskitbiskit Says:

    Brutal opening schedule

  2. firethecannons Says:

    get ourselves mentally right and we could win the first four games!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    It’s kinda like how Winston handed Dennis Allen our entire playbook. It works both ways.

  4. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I’ve thought the same thing about Jameis and the Saints. The Saints have a very good defense, but it sure seems like they know what’s coming. The one time the Bucs beat them, in the playoffs, it was the defense that did it (for the most part).

  5. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Brutal Schedule, yep, But the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
    Brady had to deal with a first place schedule year after year in NE, so Bring it on.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  6. Crickett Baker Says:

    Nice reminder, August!

  7. Hodad Says:

    This would make me think Neal will be starting at safety week one.

  8. Bird Says:


    Yup. No doubt. I think he gave them our actual copy of the playbook. Saints have owned us for sure

  9. PSL Bob Says:

    We knew we had the 4th hardest schedule in the league, and that was based solely on the 2021 win/loss records. Throw in where those games are played and in what order, and it becomes even tougher.

  10. RustyRhinos Says:

    And that FG won us the game. Why all the fear mongering Joe? What you so scared of? Other NFL teams? Would you be happier if we had not pulled out the win? Bring whoever and whatever team is on our schedule, and never look past the team your playing.
    LFG!!! BUCS!!!

  11. Eddie Marz Says:

    I like a tough schedule, gets you ready for the playoffs. Stop thinking like The Bucs have to be the ones worrying. Let the other teams worry about having to play us. Kick ass. GOBUCS!

  12. Wild Bill Says:

    Yup its a tough start but after those 4 games we should know what we got. Win three out of four would be awesome. Loose 3 out of 4 and a dark cloud hangs over their heads. Trial by fire!