High Marks For Keanu Neal

August 2nd, 2022

Safety Keanu Neal

Joe found the adjective telling. Today, head coach Todd Bowles called newcomer safety Keanu Neal “great.”

That’s not a typical comment from Bowles. He’s not Jon Gruden who “luvs that guy” and is fond of over-the-top praise.

Calling Neal “great,” when he was a very inexpensive free agent signing after a few down years got Joe’s attention — much like how Neal got Joe’s attention on the field today. He takes great angles. He looks energized. And he hammered rookie running back Rachaad White in the hole today on a run play. The crack of the pads could be heard across One Buc Palace.

Bowles, a former NFL safety himself, likes what he sees from Neal, who is getting a handful of first-team reps.

“Well, he’s a great safety,” Bowles said. “He’s in good shape right now. He came out [of college] big. You know, when he was playing for Atlanta he was a big safety. … … But what [Neal] does, he can think the game and he can play back. He’s not just a box player. He understands schemes. He understands how to play zone. And he can play some man. So he’s a utility-size safety but he impacts the game because the ball is played on the perimeter so much. When smaller wideouts and running backs go try and block him, he can run right through them.”

Bowles added that he likes everything he’s seen from Neal, and that the 27-year-old former Pro Bowler is back at his safety weight after playing heavier at linebacker for Dallas last season.

Neal has a place on the list of former Pro Bowl Bucs looking to revitalize themselves this season in Tampa, including Julio Jones, Kyle Rudolph and Akiem Hicks.

Hopefully it least two of them recapture their former glory. Joe would wager a couple of bucks on Neal being one of those guys.

14 Responses to “High Marks For Keanu Neal”

  1. Tim Says:

    I think Neal, Ryan and perhaps even Jones could be examples of guys that Licht has picked up on the one year prove-it deals where they ball out playing for that lady big-ish contract. Good pickups, all.

  2. SlyPirate Says:

    If this team can stay healthy, this is the most loaded Bucs team of all time.

  3. Dooley Says:


  4. Buc92’ Says:

    Neal & Winfield should start , I just don’t trust mike Edwards full time with those terrible angles he takes


  5. Bird Says:

    Man. What a great problem to have. I wondered if he would be odd man out. They can disguise coverages on who is free / strong/ slot and who blitzes. as you have guys who have done all three. Should be fun. No wonder smb was pushed outside. 😂

    They need to figure how to give all 4 guys snaps

  6. Tim Says:

    *last not lady lol

  7. teacherman777 Says:

    Take Devin White or LVD out on obvious passing downs.

    Let Neal get snaps as a Dime package MLB.

    Sometimes, maybe even take White AND David off the field on third and long.

    I think we should experiment more with 6 DBs on 3rd and long.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    We can learn from our opponents using 6 DBs…..because they’ll need to against our WRs…..

  9. Hodad Says:

    It’s obvious Neal, and Ryan were brought in to raise the overall I.Q. of our secondary. Winfield Jr was on NFL net today saying how smart both players are, and how much he’s learning from both of them.

  10. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Will never forget his planting of Mike Evans:

  11. D-Rok Says:

    Neal looks like an assassin in that pic above. Glad we have him!

  12. AbucAway Says:

    When players are asked about a teammate, many seem to default to the cliche ‘he’s smart’ talking point. You wouldn’t call Mean Joe Green a smart football player. I want Neal to be a hard hitting tackle machine. Not smart

  13. D-Rok Says:


    Aren’t ALL NFL players these days rather smart? Don’t they have to be to make a roster?

    As for Mean Joe, those times are gone my friend. The likes of Mean Joe and Hacksaw Reynolds would be considered (hard-hitting) dinosaurs in today’s NFL. Personally, I miss the hitting we used to see, but I’m sure the players don’t – or at least most of them. They have to live their lives after football. It’s a changed league, for sure.

  14. Bucs Win Says:

    Yep, Neal and Winfield start have Edwards come off the bench when they’re in 3 Safeties. Edwards can’t tackle for spit but he does make a lot of plays on the ball. Bowles will scheme it up fine.