Did Akiem Hicks’ Injury Throw Off The Entire Defense?

November 4th, 2022

Return could be huge.

Joe remembers last year the Bucs’ pass defense wasn’t that great, including Devin White not following up his dynamite 2020 postseason play that helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl.

The pass defense also dipped because of so many injuries in the secondary. But the step back for White was a little more puzzling.

Because of the defensive backs’ injuries, Joe thought perhaps then-Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was asking White to do things he normally wouldn’t do in order to compensate.

Joe asked Bowles and he admitted as such at the time.

White later confessed he might have been trying to do too much to help out teammates, which took him out of position too often. So is the same thing sort of happening again? Joe wondered about that after Bowles’ quotes from today.

Bowles was asked how much of a difference it could be for the defense if defensive tackle Akiem Hicks can play Sunday. Hicks injured his foot in the slimy Saints game (Week 2) and hasn’t played since.

Bowles basically said if Hicks plays, defenders can resume their normal responsibilities.

“It helps because it puts everybody back in their roles,” Bowles said if Hicks plays against the Rams. “It puts everybody back in their roles and they can get the amount of time and play how they’re used to playing, and it helps us up front because it gives us a dimension we haven’t had over there.”

So players are playing out of position all because of Hicks? Joe can understand that being the case if edge rushers were asked to play inside. But Hicks’ injury affected the whole defense?

If that’s the case and the Bucs play lights out with Hicks, well, there’s your MVP of the defense right there.

75 Responses to “Did Akiem Hicks’ Injury Throw Off The Entire Defense?”

  1. Coburn Says:

    Sounda like a pretty fragile defense if true. Shouldn’t be so affected by one player

  2. D-Rok Says:

    Weak, pathetic reasoning. So your 350+ pound DT goes down. And now the D has to play only 10 players?

    Anybody ever heard of using another DT so everybody else on D can resume their “normal responsibilities?”

    We shoulda got Suh.

  3. Pewter Power Says:

    Run defense wasn’t healthy when he played. If white’s duties while hicks was out included being out of position to help teammates and making things worse that’s on the head coach for not calling it out

  4. D-Rok Says:

    As to the State of the Bucs, I heard something yesterday that caught my ear. A few weeks ago, all the talk was about the “players-only” meeting that the Bucs were gonna have. I still don’t know if that meeting actually occurred or not; nevertheless, our team was about 3-4 at that point. A players meeting seemed like a needed thing at that point.

    So on SXM yesterday, Jeff Simmons, DT of the Titans, was on. He spoke of their team being at 0-2, and all the players were pissed about it. So they DID have a players-only meeting, and he said a lot got discussed, including passionate pleas from team leaders/captains.

    Now, the Titans are 5-2. Their team woke up, and they all started playing much better.

    I bring all this up to illustrate or to ask: Why can’t the Bucs leaders, team captains, actually hold a players meeting? Coaching aint cutting it to date.

    At this point, these players better wake up and make some changes, IMO.

  5. SufferingSince76 Says:


  6. Darin Says:

    Bowles should please the fifth from now on. If this is true, shame on all of em for counting on a fragile player to be a savior of sorts. Fire someone Joel!

  7. IE Buc Says:

    If your DT goes down, you have your backup DT play his position and assume his duties. Sure he’s not going to be the same as the guy he replaced, but that’s no excuse for a LB to be out of position, not playing his role, doing too much, and covering for somebody else.

  8. Jeff Says:

    Lol! No. Anyone with half a brain knew this guy was a porcelain doll. What destroyed the season was Clueless Todd and his stooge the Byron of Leftwhich.

  9. HC Grover Says:

    Sounds like as good of excuse as any.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Todd Bowles … “It (getting Hicks back) gives us a dimension we haven’t had over there.”

    Hicks played 1 full game (count ’em … ONE) & less than a third of another, out of 8 games thus far. He was the $8 mil replacement for Ironman Suh, who could’ve been had for about the same amount. But instead Licht goes with a DT with a real nice injury history. And what should’ve been expected plays out. Duh.

    Bowles compensated for the loss of Hicks by giving RNR & Gholston more snaps, playing an unheralded Senat, plus Hall in the interior. Gee I wonder how all that worked out. Looking at our #24 ranked run defense I’d say not very well.

    Getting Hicks back (assuming he stays back, which is a big assumption) could be huge in any event. If he can just give us 50% snaps each game, that’ll allow us to cut down on everyone else’s snaps & keep them fresher. Hopefully allow us also to move Hall outside to help compensate (there’s that word again) for the loss of Shaq. Nassib’s not the answer as a starter, and Nelson does better as a key replacement IMO.

  11. PSL Bob Says:

    I’m calling BS on that. It’s not like Hicks is Aron Donald or JJ Watt. Come on, get real. If that was really true, why wouldn’t they bring back Suh? Just don’t buy it.

  12. geno711 Says:

    I am with others calling BS on Bowles. It is one thing if he wants to be a quiet coach and just say the standard next man up mantra.

    But to make excuses that don’t even make sense. I wanted to give Hicks a chance but as DR says the guy has played less than 2 games for us.

    There has to be a contingency plan as your season starts that included Hicks not playing some of the season.

  13. Marine Buc Says:

    Any free agent over the age of 30 who has missed a large percentage of games due to injury the past season or two – Is a horrible investment and a wasted roster spot.

    For example:

    A. Hicks
    J. Jones
    B. Perriman
    C. Brate

  14. Lamarcus Says:

    If this is true…smh

  15. Duane Says:

    Not enough of a Hicks experience to feel good or bad, but hoping for the best. That Suh bandwagon looks better ever week )

  16. Redeemer Says:

    Defense, thanks for translating Bowles speak into something understandable. I was a big proponent for Hicks. If he can be the disruptive force missing from the D line, it should help everyone around him. Vea comes to mind specifically.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    This sounds like something Lovie Smith would say, Lovie actually said that his defense wasn’t effective in college because offenses ran too many 3 receiver sets. Bowles defense wasn’t/isn’t effective because he depended too much on an injury prone player (also see Julio Jones on offense). Isn’t part of being a coach the ability to make adjustments? There’s a 99.9% chance Bowles gets outcoached on Sunday.

  18. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Whenever Hicks comes back, for how long until he is injured again? I asked the question before game 1 at Dallas about how games Hicks would miss? I thought he would play more then 1.25 games before he was on the shelf. If the defense is predicated on Hicks, then the Bucs are in no mans land, because Hicks cannot ne counted on.

    GO BUCS!!!!

  19. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Curious to hear the excuses after losing to the Rams.

  20. HC Grover Says:

    This Moron has spent the whole 1st half of the season working on excuses for the next half. Get him out.

  21. adam from ny Says:

    2 back sets might be the move…

    tommy b will be more secure in the pocket…

    and you won’t really lose a receiver underneath with lenny and white…as both can catch shorts and dunks

  22. adam from ny Says:

    i’m sticking with my bucs…i think they finally pull a win out on sunday

  23. BucU Says:

    I so wanted Bowles and Leftwich to succeed. They both look and sound clueless after each loss. God help them both if we lose Sunday. There’s no coming back from 3-6.

  24. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    What a bunch of BS. This isn’t soccer with a team playing with 10 men. Hicks is a decent player but he isn’t the focal point of our defense. Losing Barrett will throw our defense into disarray. I wonder if we wouldn’t be better served moving White to OLB and ask him to rush from the edge full time like the cowboys did with parsons. White is a better attacker than read and react player. I wonder if simplifying his responsibility would help.

  25. SOEbuc Says:

    How incompetent are all these bandwagon defense haters when the offense is dirt poor ugly. Tom himself says it’s the ultimate team sport. Can defense have one series to gain a first down before they have to jump back on the field??? Apparently not.

  26. Listnfrmafar Says:

    No his cap hit does. If Bowels looked at stats he may have insisted that Licht bring Suh back.

  27. D-Rok Says:


    I agree with the idea of moving White to OLB, pass-rush specialist. Provided he doesn’t tackle at the shoulders and doesn’t run a circle around the QB like JTS most often does.

    At this point, what could it hurt to put DW on the edge?

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    SOEbuc … You’re sounding like the old me before I saw the Licht. Oh wait, the Licht really did turn out to be the train coming straight at us. My bad. All of this season goes straight back to very poor personnel decisions prior to (and during) the season. You gotta have the horses to pull the wagons or you end up just like the Donner Party come the cold of winter.

  29. Listnfrmafar Says:

    SOEsuc, if they would get off the field on 3rd down and stop giving up 200 yds a game rushing, oh and if your captain wasn’t bored in the 4th quarter, over runs plays constantly and loafing, oh and your over paid nose tackle would take his roller skates off we’d give them a ton of respect. The D AIN’T anything special.

  30. David Says:

    If that is the case it’s horrible coaching.
    Everyone should have a backup, the defense should not have to change because of one injury.

  31. D-Rok Says:


    Try playing offense with 3 limbs tied behind your back. Also known as play-calling by our illustrious, “We do what we do,” BL. Even Tom can’t prevent an asteroid collision, LOL.

  32. Listnfrmafar Says:

    I’m not saying to O is pulling their weight and need to sustain longer drives but the TOP is on the D to, when teams run for 200 yds that means opposing O’s are using up a lot of the clock so using the excuse they’re tired is BS, stop the run then get your rest.

  33. Redeemer Says:

    SOE, The bucs rank 25th in opponent third down conversation rate, allowing a first down 42% of the time. If the defense can’t get off the field, the offense has little margin for error. Couple that with the fact that the recievers can’t separate, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

  34. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Hicks can be a real Animal when healthy.
    The problem is, he has seldom been healthy because he can’t seem to stay healthy.
    But when he is not in there, they are doubling Vea, until he gets tired, LOL
    I agree that the loss of Barrett effects us more, but it will be great to have Hicks back.
    Vea’s lack of stamina is surprising to me. After all, he is Polynesian, a warrior race.
    His ancestors rowed their boats for zillions of miles, to add other islands to their kingdoms.
    But when Vita Vea is not gassed, look out!
    I have seen him run Defensive Tackles straight back into their Quarterbacks, to get the sack.

    People talk about our so called no risk it no biscuit offense, but our Defense to me is more an all or nothing type of defense.
    Bowles insistence on Blitzing is fine, if the Blitz gets there, but all too often it doesn’t, leaving our secondary unable to cover very well.

    Remember, it was Bowles call of an all out Blitz that cost us a return trip to the Super Bowl because his stupid call left the best receiver in the NFC Cooper Kupp one on one.
    Plus, the Blitz was not working against Stafford all day either.

  35. sasquatch Says:

    If removing one piece makes our defense that vulnerable, then the scheme(s) may not be very sound.

  36. gotbbucs Says:

    Banked the whole season on an injury prone defensive tackle? Smart.

    Hicks didn’t look great against Dallas. The defense fell off when Logan Ryan got injured.

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    D-Rok … I much prefer to move Logan Hall outside. He’s already played there some, and as far as I can tell he wasn’t doing us a whole bunch of good inside. Bucs site now lists him at 283 lbs, but he played most of college at 260.

    IF (and that’s a big IF I know) he shines outside, that solves one of our problems for this next draft. Of course we’d still need to find another DT to pair with Vea (we surely won’t re-sign Hicks for another year, would we?).

  38. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Chris@ that’s what all the stats tell ya, wait bowels & BL don’t look at stats

  39. D-Rok Says:


    You are describing the unicorn known as complementary football. In the case of the Bucs lately, it’s the lack of compy football. O gets too many 3/outs. D gets too many 39 minute drives on them. Camarda can kick and then the return team doesn’t….oh wait nevermind on our ST’s. They’ve been average or slightly good at times.

    O-line can’t effectively block. In my mind, it all starts there. Add in the inconsistent D-line, lots of injuries across both aisles, bored MLB’s, well, it just all gets blurry after that.

    Someone said “discombobulated.” Good, descriptive term applicable to the Bucs, circa 2022. Add in the term, “Rudderless,” and you have the bifecta for what’s gone wrong this year.

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    D-Rok … The only ILBs we’ve got on our roster right now besides LVD & White are 2 undrafted rookies. TOGETHER they have ZERO snaps this year. Is that really who we’d want manning the middle of this defense?

  41. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DR, do you really see Bowles making changes like that? He lacks common sense.

  42. Your Mom Says:


  43. Roc Says:

    So who do we blame next week???

    Who is the Bowles scapegoat?

  44. D-Rok Says:


    solid thoughts and solid analysis on Hall moving to edge. It’s actually a more plausible solution than the idea of moving DW to edge. DW cannot shed blockers this year, so having him at edge might give the opponent prolly 50+ rushing yards running sweeps his way. Somehow, I suspect Hall will be stouter against the run on the edge. Call me crazy, but good introspective thinking, my man. Preciate you.

  45. SB~LV Says:

    Box of rocks

  46. Redeemer Says:

    Defense, Hall isn’t a traditional 3-4 tackle. As you alluded to, he’s never played this heavy. I don’t view him as an anchor. I think they drafted him primarily because of his ability to penetrate. But, that’s not what an anchor is supposed to do. They’re supposed to tie up blockers, especially in Bowles scheme. Square peg, round hole. I’m all for trying him outside.

  47. ClwJB Says:

    Great idea, base the stability of our run D and coverages to a DT coming off multiple injury riddled seasons

    Dude was a beast prior to the injuries setting in but like Jones seems like brittle candy – looks good on the outside but kills the teeth….

  48. Defense Rules Says:

    D-Rok & Redeemer … Well, that’s 3 of us in favor of trying Hall outside. Pretty much guarantees Bucs won’t do it. Stubborn is as stubborn does (OK, variation on Forrest Gump’s mom’s advice to him, but it seems to fit this Bucs’ staff).

  49. Defense Rules Says:

    gotbbucs … ‘The defense fell off when Logan Ryan got injured’.

    I agree totally, but it may have fallen off even with him in there. These last teams seem to have figured out that we can’t stop the run. I’m still convinced that Ravens intentionally threw it a bunch in the 1st half to wear us out by running us all over the field. IF that was their strategy, it worked to perfection. Aw heck, IF it wasn’t, it still worked to perfection. Of course, our offense having 5 straight quick outs helped them more than anything.

  50. D-Rok Says:


    The letter I just wrote to Mr. Bowles is in the mail asking him to move Hall to edge given Shaq’s injury. In 10-12 days, I will let you know if there’s any response to my letter.

    Hey, they could make a mistake and move Hall to edge, right?

  51. Defense Rules Says:

    Gut feel is that you just wasted a 60 cent stamp D-Rok. But that’s OK, the way things are going your letter probably won’t get to Bowles until Christmas anyways.

  52. D-Rok Says:

    60 cents? I just paid 75 cents. I feel cheated. Of more than one thing, as a fan, ha ha.

  53. DisenheartenedBucsFan Says:

    Pay attention everyone.

    This is reality.

    Todd Bowles has been Todd Bowles for years. He will turn the BUCS in to his Jets.

    Byron Leftwich has been exposed. The emperor has no clothes.

    If we are successful, it is in spite of these two dimwits…. Not because of them.

  54. captivajim Says:


  55. Crickett Baker Says:

    That statement from Todd just blew my mind. Besides that, seemed like everyone here knew Hicks was always injured when he was signed. No contingencies from the coaches other than everyone playing out of position? GEEZE. And I am sick of Leftwitch. We need a Rightwitch.

  56. Smapdi Says:

    This team isn’t good enough to paint itself in a corner like this even if we get Hicks and Vea in the middle of our D-line and suddenly can stop the run

  57. gotbbucs Says:

    The truth is the Cowboys and Saints were running the ball down our throats in the 1st quarter of each of those games and they inexplicably abandoned the run to try to throw it.
    It took two or three weeks for the rest of the NFL to see the film and now the cats out of the box.
    It wasn’t that teams couldn’t run on us last year either, the Colts ran up and down the field, it’s just that it was so easy to throw on us that they didn’t bother running. It was a mirage.
    Our offense can’t convert a 3rd down, no matter the distance, and our defense can’t get a 3rd down stop, no matter the distance. Piss on it, let’s get to the offseason.

  58. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    I mean a rookie center for the Ravens was making it to the second level to dominate white on every play.. so?

  59. SOEbuc Says:

    Offensive numbers for the bandwagon defensive haters:

    -Brady: 6.7 yrd/avg

    -31 in running game (just ahead of Rams)

    -Have the Bucs offense even scored a TD in the red zone this year???

    I’m gassed from reading these numbers, I wonder how fresh and motivated this defense is looking at that. I’m just saying they are getting a lot of hate where a lot of it should be coming from the other side.

  60. steele Says:

    Losing Hicks didn’t help, but jury’s out as to whether his return completely fixes a badly out of tune, injured, and poorly coached defense. And Hicks is so fragile, he may go out again by the 2nd quarter. Suh Prime he ain’t.

    Also no excuse. This D should have held up far better than they did without Hicks.

  61. Cchead Says:

    This guy Bowles just admitted he does not no how to make adjustments to win a freaking game. He is a effin idiot. F this guy. Fire his ass after we lose again in Sunday. What has he done to show any kind of leadership? His plan is if we just stick to our game plan that we had from game 1 it will all work out.
    Ah Todd, it ain’t working.

  62. LakelandSteve Says:

    What happened to the Bucs evaluating talent. Is that on Licht? If it isn’t it should be. We give Licht credit when he has a good draft and this class may turn out to be one but right now, only Rashad White and Camarda are the only ones making a positive impact. But what about free agency and letting Whitehead walk. So far it seems like all of the free agents brought in are either hurt or have been hurt and missed extensive time. That, like it or not has to be on Licht.

  63. Bojim Says:

    Hicks was supposed to replace Suh. Seems it didn’t work too well pretty fast.

  64. Goatfarmer Says:

    Can’t fix stupid.

  65. Defense Rules Says:

    LakelandSteve … ‘We give Licht credit when he has a good draft and this class may turn out to be one but right now, only Rashad White and Camarda are the only ones making a positive impact.’

    These last 4 draft classes are our future. Licht’s drafting got a whole lot better starting in 2019 IMO, coinciding when BA took over as HC. Coincidence? I think not.

  66. Defense Rules Says:

    Many top picks (say Rnds 1 & 2 like Winfield & Wirfs) can often handle high expectations & excel, but some others were ‘projects’ to start with (hello Jameis & JTS) because they had limited experience in college & we drafted them based on ‘potential’. Personally I’ve come to believe that their on the job development is hampered by EXPECTATIONS that are far beyond what they can deliver, even though they’re very talented. And a lot of those expectations deal with their capability to provide on-the-field LEADERSHIP in their key roles. Devin White MAY be another who falls in that category, I’m still not sure.

  67. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Jason Licht could have signed Suh the day after Hicks went down.

  68. BUC CHEEKS Says:

    Akiem who???

  69. J Ghotier Says:

    Our Defense was “completely” thrown off when Vea went down for a good portion of the year during our glorious Super Bowl year. Nacho was the replacement for him too AND we’ve added Hall to that mix as well. Hicks going down is no excuse for this Defense. Just as it wasn’t when big Vita Vea went down either. Was it ideal and did we want Vea in there and back ASAP? Yes, but it didn’t completely throw us off either.

  70. J Ghotier Says:

    Our Defense wasn’t *** completely thrown off ^^^

  71. Bucsalltheway Says:

    Something real fans already knew. He was bringing in to play suh but he’s not as healthy and durable as king suh. Vita is struggling without Shaq I can imagine them saying “it’s just a foot the jig is up” we haven’t been the same since he left. And no Winfield this week hope they practiced tackling fundamentals this week.

  72. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Bucs were not getting it done against the run even during the very brief stint when Hicks was playing. You cannot replace a HOF’er like Suh and the leadership he provided. Sign Suh now Jason Licht.

  73. Mike Johnson Says:

    This guy Hicks is Sweezy 2.0 all over again. Remember him? He got his money for nothin and his chicks for free. He made lots of cash just sitting on his rear end rehabbing all year. Then he went on to start for another team. One of Licht’s wonders.

  74. Rod Munch Says:

    You never want to play rookie defensive lineman if you don’t have to – and the Bucs had the defensive line as Gholston, Vita and Hicks.

    Not having Hicks out there means you have to put an undersized rookie who played low level D1 ball out there, and he’s not ready. If you did play Hall, you didn’t want to do it until the end of the year.

    So I can completely see how this happened.

    As for Suh, we have no idea if the Bucs tried to resign him or not. They are very hamstrung by cap space, and we know Suh is a business man first and foremost. The only way the Bucs could resign him, with him already being like $9m in dead cap space from his previous year void year, would be to pay him probably a lower salary, but also stretched into future years. I’m guessing Suh is smart enough to know what Bidenflation looks like, and knows that $9m in 3 years is only going to be worth about about $500 by the time this idiot in the White House gets done. Once we hit hyperinflation, that money isn’t worth anything, so Suh wants to get as much as he can now.

  75. garro Says:

    Getting really tired of Bowles weak ass defense of some of his players. Even if true this would fall on Bowles and his staff not being able to make better adjustments and actually coach these guys. Yes the D-line missed Hicks especially Vea. And yes this is a team sport. But come on!