Todd Bowles Talks Akiem Hicks’ Smarts & “Mean Streak”

June 17th, 2022

New free agent Bucs DL Akiem Hicks.

Ndamukong Who?

Joe hopes that’s what Bucs fans are asking all through the fall and winter.

Beastly 35 year old Ndamukong Suh is gone and has been replaced by former Bears Pro Bowl defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. He’s 32 but has battled injuries the past few seasons.

When Hicks is healthy, which he is today, he’s an absolute monster at 6-4, 335 pounds.

Joe already shared how Todd Bowles had a brief 2019 encounter with Hicks. The head coach laid out that unique happening during his sitdown on the Ira Kaufman Podcast last week. But Bowles also expalined why Hicks is a fit in Tampa and the head coach doubled down on his firm claim that Hicks will play a lot.

“He’s not just a big guy. He can move and he’s highly intelligent for a defensive lineman, as far as understanding pass rush technique and how the guy’s going to go down and block and how he can get his hands up under his wrist,” Bowles said. “And he can do a lot of things that way. … I’ve always been a fan of his. He kind of fits everything that we want in a defensive lineman. He’s big. He can get off the ball. He can move. He plays with a mean streak. And you know, we expect that coming from him right here.

“As far as how much he’s gonna play, we’re going to keep our guys pretty fresh. As a D-lineman, you want to have a two-group rotations; you don’t know if you’re going to get no-huddle. If you’re going to have a long drive, those guys can’t stay in there like DBs. But he’s going to play for us. He’s going to play a lot.”

Joe loves the new veteran blood on the Bucs defense, Logan Ryan, Keeanu Neal and Hicks, all smart guys who play with an edge. Now they just have to stay healthy.

27 Responses to “Todd Bowles Talks Akiem Hicks’ Smarts & “Mean Streak””

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I really like Hicks and agree that the new influx of veterans and young players is intriguing.

  2. Cobraboy Says:


    The Prime key to 2022 Buc success, and the failure focus of 2021.

    You gotta have all three: skill, health, and some favorable bounces of the ball…

  3. Casual Observer Says:

    Agree that Hicks is a great signing. Almost a clone of VV? We’ll have a very tough D line again.

  4. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Does anyone know how Keanu Neal is looking or what his role will be? He was solid player for Atlanta but had a grade 3 ACL and grade 3 Achilles rupture only one year apart in the same leg.. I figure he’s lost some explosiveness from those injuries.

    Any insight?

  5. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Yes, he is plenty Mean!
    When he was in Chicago, he got right in Aaron Rodgers face once.
    Suh could be mean too.

  6. SlyPirate Says:

    6’4 335 (Hicks) next to 6’4 350 (Vea)

    The average OG weighs 305.

    Have you ever given up 30-40 lbs to someone you’re wrestling?

    It doesn’t go well.

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    Love the mean streak….reminds me of GMC.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    I like the Hicks signing too, but we’re still a body short on our DLine to maintain the two-group rotation that Todd Bowles mentioned (at least 500 or more def snaps short depending on how much Vea & Hicks can give us on the season). I still predict they’ll re-sign Suh before all is said & done.

  9. Buc4evr Says:

    Yeah the guy can do anything but play an entire season. Vea isn’t much better in that regard. I have a feeling the second D line will get a lot of playing time after the 8th game.

  10. MadMax Says:

    Main thing is we got him….so glad to have Mr. Hicks here tearing everything up against our opponents

  11. GOB Says:

    He’s nasty. Not the kind of man you wanna meet in a dark alley. I get the idea of rotation on the DL, but I have problems with it. It can make it difficult to get into a rhythm. If you know you’re only getting 20 snaps in a particular game, you wanna make a play on every snap. This can lead to guys playing outside themselves, instead of letting the game come to them. I get the idea of keeping guys fresh, but if a player is rolling, leave him in please. The Patriots do a ton of rotation on the DL, and it drives GOB crazy.

  12. chris bell Says:

    Nacho is a great piece as well people keep asking for just one more piece on that Dline… like who?

  13. GOB Says:

    @chris bell, Derek Wolfe will likely be traded or cut from the Ravens. I’ve always liked him as a player. He was out last year with a torn labrum. I think the bucs could get him on the cheap. What he has left, who knows. He’s the only guy I can think of.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Every week that passes….Suh becomes a possible addition……only money separates him and the Bucs……….no small thing.

  15. Mike C Says:

    Love Sue, but new blood can be the difference maker

  16. GOB Says:

    Price is too steep for Suh. I’d take him back on a one year 4 million dollar deal, with plenty of incentives. He won’t play for that. Not with the bucs anyway. Once he realizes nobody will pay him 6-8 million, he’ll either sign with another team, or hang it up. Suh is all about Suh

  17. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I’ve read several times people comment that we are a defensive line player. I don’t see it. Logan Hall has to be an upgrade over Mclendon and I think Hicks is a slight upgrade over suh. No other changes right? I think we could still use JPP but that would limit JTS in the rotation.

  18. Tony D Says:

    There’s definitely one thing I won’t be saying and that’s “Ndamukong Who?”, I have too much respect for Suh and all he’s accomplished in his career and with the Bucs, although I am hoping for big things from Hicks. Go Bucs!

  19. Stone crab sam Says:

    Either the Bucs are all in on Brady’s last year or they are not.
    Either they sign suh or they don’t.
    It’s crystal clear to me.
    All in or not?
    Bucs move….

  20. Tony Says:

    I’d still consider signing another DE, DT, S, CB & OL. Sure it depends on $$$$, too! But I’d try to help the secondary & both lines as much as possible.

  21. CleanHouse Says:

    sign Suh… find a way.- you tell me this guy is in addition to Suh and then we’re on to something- otherwise bad move

    sign JPP too

  22. PassingThru Says:

    Stone crab, “all in” would entail signing Trey Flowers and Gronk. Sure. Suh would be great, but he’s an unaffordable luxury.

  23. David Says:

    Why are people still thinking they are going to sign SUH?
    Personally I don’t think there’s a chance. They have Vea, Hicks, Gholston, Nacho, and Hall can go inside and out.
    The main reason though is – watch last year‘s games. SUH was a shell of himself. His pass rush showed up in 2 games, that’s it. Against the run the defense slowly got worse and it was because of him and JPP. JPP was worthless with a shoulder.

    They were both great for a while but they are done

  24. Alstott up the gut Says:

    I think that last paragraph hits my excitement perfectly! Hicks, Ryan and Neal are excellent additions to this team. The replacements of Cappa and AB, with Mason and Gage…. I think Licht had an amazing offseason here. Add Logan Hall to the mix and let’s get it!

  25. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I am a huge fan of Bowles despite the ONE play that people here thinks represents the entire body of his work.

    Having said that it’s Saturday and so I admit this is a cheap shot for entertainment value only.

    “he’s highly intelligent for a defensive lineman”

    So who did Bowles throw the most shade at with this comment. Defensive linemen who in his opinion are not the brightest group on the field? Or did he limiit Hicks true IQ by saying I realize I’m setting the bar low because we all know how smart DL usually are? Yeah I know what he was trying to say…just funnin’ him.

    I agree with Cobra. The #1 variable for the upcoming season is HEALTH. We have the talent in house if they are available.

  26. PassingThru Says:


    I agree, Suh would just be insurance if Hicks got injured. Given Suh’s contract history, his asking price would make him an unaffordable luxury.

    Trey Flowers on the other hand is a proven EDGE, and the perfect hedge (that rhymes) on JTS.

  27. GOB Says:

    Passing, I’d love to see flowers come in. Playing in Detroit sapped his soul, like it does most players. I think he has plenty left.