Former GM: Akiem Hicks And Vita Vea Will Dominate

July 13th, 2022

Ex-NFL suit loves Akiem Hicks.

Yeah, the loss of Ndamukong Suh stinks. The only thing giving Joe any rest after watching Suh walk is his current unemployment. So it is not just the Bucs who think Suh might be out of gas.

In theory, the Bucs will replace Suh with Akiem Hicks. And in the eyes of Michael Lombardi, the former NFL general manager and coffee fetcher for Bill Walsh, Al Davis and Bill Belicheat, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht got the next-closest thing to Suh.

Lombardi worked with the Belicheats when they traded with the slimy Saints for Hicks. He claims Hicks cannot be blocked with single coverage.

“I love the [Akiem] Hicks signing,” Lombardi said in a recent edition of his GM Shuffle podcast. “Look, I am a huge Akiem Hicks fan. You know when I was with the Patriots and we practiced against the Saints down in West Virginia, we had a hard time blocking him. Then we traded for him. And it was a great trade for us.

“That defensive front we had in ’16, that was one of the best defensive fronts New England has had in a while with Hicks and Alan Branch and [Rob] Ninkovich and Chandler Jones coming off the edges.”

Lombardi said the Bucs again have two tackles that will eat up blocks. Joe believes if Vita Vea and Hicks can stay on the field at the same time, it will draw traffic away from Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.

“If [Hicks] can stay healthy, he’s hard to block one-on-one,” Lombardi said. “And Vita Vea is hard to block one-on-one. You better be good at guard if you are going to block these two cats.”

It is not just Hicks who needs to stay healthy. So too does Vita Vea. Regular readers know how Joe is triggered by Vea having so few snaps per game for his talents and his price tag. Unless there is something seriously wrong with Vea, he should not be a part-time player, especially for mega full-time pay.

But Joe fired up hearing someone who worked daily with Hicks be so upbeat about his addition to the Tampa Bay roster.

18 Responses to “Former GM: Akiem Hicks And Vita Vea Will Dominate”

  1. SB Says:

    Goodbye Suh. Thank you very much for your service!
    Sorry @ #8.

  2. steele Says:

    Hope Lombardi is right, but his take is about Hicks from 2016, 6 long years ago and many injuries later. I think Hicks is still a force, but not as consistently, and he has to stay healthy. The DL is still short some proven talent.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘The only thing giving Joe any rest after watching Suh walk is his current unemployment. So it is not just the Bucs who think Suh might be out of gas.’

    OR … MAYBE Suh doesn’t intend to play for anyone else. MAYBE his desire is to retire as a Buc. Heck, MAYBE Suh & the Bucs’ front office have an ‘understanding’ concerning him playing for the Bucs this season & he’ll come onboard later. He is his own agent after all, and can negotiate things that other players wouldn’t be able to.

    And as far as Suh being ‘out of gas’ goes, that’s a pretty bold statement about a player who led the DLine in terms of sacks, QB Hits, TFLs, defensive snaps & games played LAST SEASON.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Joe believes if Vita Vea and Hicks can stay on the field at the same time, it will draw traffic away from Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.’

    Both ‘stay on the field at the same time’? Bucs averaged 65 def snaps per game over the last 3 years. In that same timeframe, Vea averaged 32 def snaps per game over those 49 games. Hicks averaged 26 def snaps per game over those 49 games. So the two of them TOGETHER don’t even add up to the 65 snaps PER PLAYER.

    Don’t go to Vegas as often as you Joe, BUT … I’d take the bet that Vea AND Hicks won’t be on the field together on any more than a quarter (at most) of the Bucs def snaps this season. On most plays they won’t be used that way, and the past 3-year history for our 2 BIG GUYS doesn’t project that they’ll both stay healthy for 20-21 games this season.

    IF we’re REALLY ALL-IN, hedge the bet and RE-SIGN SUH.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    On paper. Sure. Stats don’t lie though. Defense Rules said it about as best it could. The guy Hicks is “replacing” logged the most snaps of any DL since he came here. By comparison, Vea would be a part-time player and Hicks, with all the injuries, even less.

    No doubt, I want them to be successful. They could be a very disruptive combo. Time will tell. Stay healthy fellas!

  6. Mybucsdontbucaround813 Says:

    Not being happy on a team that’s consistently have bad drafts has some not all to do with it

  7. #8 Says:

    hahaha SB gave me a laugh…


    Imagine those three beefs rotating- Better chance at health.

    Go get OBJ, restructure someone and add a vet TE.

  8. Ash Says:

    It’s not bold to say a 35 year old dt is out of gas this notion of there being a secret pact between the bucs and suh is silly he has made mention of wanting to pay for other teams in interviews. If teams thought he had something left he would be signed not be a free agent bucs moved on from suh so excited to see hicks and vea playing together can’t wait for the season go bucs.

  9. Razor Ramone Says:

    Suh was our best defender against the Rams in CCG.

  10. ocala Says:

    Suh played well against the Rams, but he was killing the Bucs on running plays for most of the year. That is why the Bucs did not resign him. He is a borderline hall of fame player. He is now a rotational player, but is not willing to be paid like one.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Ocala … How exactly was Suh ‘killing the Bucs on running plays for most of the year’? I don’t see it. Opponents ran against the Bucs FEWER TIMES than against any other team. And since Suh’s been here, our run defense has finished #1, #1 & #3 in the NFL. Me thinks we’ve become spoiled. And opponents didn’t run against Suh or Vea all that much from what i saw (majority of opponents’ explosive runs came off-tackle or outside from what I can see).

    And ‘borderline’ HOF player? Compare Suh’s 12-year stats against Sapp’s 13-year career. Warren was a first-year inductee. Sapp has more sacks (96.5 vs 70.5), but he was also used differently. And Suh has more tackles (590 vs 578) and more TFLs it looks like. If Suh doesn’t get into the HOF, something’s bad wrong with their selection process.

    Oh, and sure would like to know how much Suh is asking for to play this season. No one seems to know, but everyone seems to ASSUME that it’s a whole bunch.

  12. Dooley Says:

    I’ve stated before if we can get 10-12 games out of Hicks it’d be awesome, but at the very least half the season and a possible post season return I’d feel the same way. We’ve got talent on hand, an HC dedicated to his players having scheme versatility and a track record of mixing talent up when available to put the best we’ve got on the field for a variety of situations.

    Hicks & Vea staying healthy all season would be great, but I’m also of the mind that our DL will be as good and go as far as our depth players behind Hicks & Vea can get us. Gholston, Hall, Nacho, and then Deadrin Senat & Pat O’Conner battling it out for that 4th IDL position. Can also push Anthony Nelson inside on obvious passing downs. Not hard to picture even if all of our guys stay healthy, the snap splits would be bound to change anyway given the newer additions in place of not bringing back Suh or McClendon. Does not necessarily mean that 1 particular player is going to have to be account for replacing all of those snaps, as we could see them dispersed amongst all 4-5 players.

  13. Goatfarmer Says:


  14. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I think your speculation about Suh may be very accurate. He understands the business world and was mentored by the “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffet when he played at Nebraska.

    IE Suh does not need the money. Brady is the only other player on the team who may be earning as much or more money off the field from his investing prowess. Why do people so quickly assume that all of Brady and Suh’s investments are profitable. Just because they’re famous These are not public companies. –Joe

    He does not NEED to play. He can be very very picky about which team he signs with…if any…and he has pretty good leverage in salary negotiations.

    Because football is a “sport” to us and we have fun with the sport…it’s actually WORK for the players. They have to love it to succeed and sometimes the passion begins to fade, especially when football is not your only option. This is why I also believe Gronk will remain retired.

  15. Buccsfanchad Says:

    With Hicks and Vita both requiring double teams, this should free up Gholston more, who had a really good pass rush win rate. He didn’t get a ton of sacks, but he was disruptive, and is solid against the run as well.

  16. geno711 Says:

    I always felt that Suh was one of those players that played best in big games; Whether for us or any of the other teams that he was with.

    The good thing I see is if we were able to get Suh back is that in those big games we would have Suh, Vea, and Hicks. If we have that impactful of an inside presence during the playoffs, I imagine that our chance to go all the way, would increase immensely.

    Lots of ways to win in the NFL but clearly would be excited if we had all three of those guys on the inside for a playoff run.

    There are just some guys who come up bigger in the big games.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … Noticed today that Suh’s name has been tied to the Vikings, the Broncos, the Browns, the Raiders, and recently the Rams. Personally I think he’s just playing it cool, isn’t really interested in going through another training camp, and is still anticipating playing for the Bucs this season. No rush to do anything on his part.

    Also read today that the $9 mil Suh played for last season with us was the lowest amount he’s gotten since his rookie season. I don’t blame him one bit for wanting to be paid for his services … however much he’s asking. That’s what negotiations are all about. Start low and you’ll invariably end lower.

  18. Stone crab sam Says:

    Suh is an all decade member.
    The man has never been hurt.
    He’s a bad man.
    And just like Mohammad ali, he’s pretty.
    Sign this guy jason. For gawds sake man!