Warren Sapp Checks In On Calijah Kancey, Bucs Changing Defense

May 4th, 2023

Buccaneers rookie defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, their first-round pick.

Legendary Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp wasn’t just talking to JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman recently about CTE and the award-winning documentary that features Sapp.

The iconic duo also was talking Bucs football.

Sapp has had the film on for Bucs first-round pick Calijah Kancey, and the University of Pittsburgh defensive tackle gets an early blessing from No. 99.

“We like him. [Booger] McFarland called me early in the year and asked, ‘Have you seen this kid up in Pittsburgh?’ We thought he’s got something to work with.”

“I like the kid. He plays with nice leverage and on tape he’s like a rolling ball of butcher knives.”

Sapp said Todd Bowles might have to look at his personnel and switch to a base 4-3 alignment, suggesting Logan Hall could start at left end and shore up the rushing defense.

Sapp also sounded disgusted when it was brought to his attention that Kancey, a South Florida kid, wasn’t recruited by his beloved Miami Hurricanes. “UM has a real problem with talent,” he said.

Remember, Sapp worked with the Bucs’ defensive line a little last offseason, and he’s a fan of Logan Hall.

As for Bowles overhauling his base defense, Joe thinks there’s very little chance of that happening.

31 Responses to “Warren Sapp Checks In On Calijah Kancey, Bucs Changing Defense”

  1. Leighroy Says:

    Agreed on the overhaul. Has Todd Bowles ever run a 4-3 Defense in his career?

  2. Brandon Says:

    FYI, rewatch the Super Bowl against KC… we were in a four man DL no less than 90% of the time. Also, Aaron Donald and JJ Watt both had big years when Wade Phillips was their defensive coordinator running his 3-4 defense. They both played the 3-technique.

  3. Jvato24 Says:

    The Bucs run 4 man fronts more often than some may realize, and Licht alluded in the 1st press conferences they may make minor changes, Bowles himself has said having a guy in a 2 point stance is not a major point in the defense

  4. MadMax Says:

    If we run a 4/3, and Big V is on the same side as Taz Kancey, look out!!!…. put Gaines and Hall on the other side….somebody’s gonna eat. Now I know we have to account for Big V’s rest snaps…thats when Gaines or Hall can take the shares of resting him, they get some rest and go back to a 3/4 switching out…and surely theres anothe big DT out there we can sign as a vet with experience who can pitch in.

    Keep switching 4/3 and 3/4 and drive other team’s OC’s crazy!!! LOL

  5. sasquatch Says:

    Overhaul, no… but Bowles could definitely mix in more 4 man fronts.

  6. Redeemer Says:

    It’s not as drastic a change as it was years ago. It’s all nickel and hybrid fronts anyway. On first down, it could certainly help, and against good running teams. I don’t think the personnel fits a 3-4 anymore. It might actually help white by keeping lineman off him. Opposing offenses would have to block him differently. If he’s still here that is.

  7. Dooley Says:

    “As for Bowels overhauling his base defense, Joe thinks there’s very little chance of that happening.”

    There’s no need to do that because we run both 3 and 4 man fronts. We also hybridize our looks regardless of the amount of IDLs are in a given sub-package.

  8. catcard202 Says:

    It’s hard to comp future HOF Aaron Donald, when he was an outlier – especially length wise – for a 3-4 DT/DE…& Aaron has arms 2in longer & bigger mitts than Bucs new 1st rd DT.

    IMO, Kancey will need to prove his length is not a problem – regardless of D-Front Bucs run. He’ll need to maximize his quickness & flexibility advantage vs NFL OL…He’s not facing 19-22yr old college guys primarily destined for desk jobs anymore. So, Let’s hope he has the DAWG in him that translates to success in the league.

  9. Hodad Says:

    I think the Dline coach mentioned this is his presser. With different personal they will tweak the system. I think you will see four man fronts this season.

  10. lambchop Says:

    They have been running a hybrid alignment each of the last 3 years. Todd likes to keep the offense guessing and never get comfortable. But, if the players get gassed by the middle of the season, maybe there’s too much innovation happening at the detriment of your own players.

    You have to just bring the heat sometimes without posting your resume as a creative defensive coach each game.

    Jon Gruden fell into that trap as well.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    Sounds good!
    Still a rookie so understand that and expect a flat rookie year.

  12. teacherman777 Says:

    He ran a 4.61.

    He can also lineup at OLB. Vea has lined up as an outside rusher a few times. I love it when he does. He crushes tackles 1 on 1.

    To free Vita Vea from double teams on the interior.

    Let him get on the edge more and crush tackles and collapse the pocket.

    Kancey can also drop in coverage from the DT or NT spot.

    Bowles loves exotic blitzes (dropping lineman).

    Kancey, Diaby, and Ramirez can all drop into coverage and blitz.

    I love how Bowles blitzes.

    Todd Bowles is not our problem.

    Having the worst offensive line in the NFL is our problem!!!

  13. gotbbucs Says:

    4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, 46. They’re all related. We’ve got the personnel to run all of them. Multiple hybrids.

  14. SlyPirate Says:


    Joe (and everyone else) doesn’t believe Bowles can shift his defense to a 4-3. Last week an entire article was dedicated to how flexible and innovative Bowles defensive schemes are. It was called “Trendsetter”. Again, I’m the only one that actually reads and remembers.
    Hello? Joe never wrote Bowles couldn’t do it. Joe just highly doubts he will. –Joe

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    Awesome that he has Sapp’s blessing. Sapp has had a good eye for DL talent over the years. Also good to hear he’s high on Logan Hall. As anyone who has watched the NFL any length of time know, defensive lineman rarely do much their rookie years. Even Sapp, for example, only had 3.5 sacks his rookie season. So those writing off Hall are just morons.

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    catcard202 – I hate all the talk comparing him to Donald, as that’s just an impossible standard. It’s like people who said Bogger was a bust because he wasn’t Warren Sapp. That, of course, was nonsense. Booger was a really good NFL player, he just wasn’t a 1st ballot HOFer, and because of that, people bashed him.

    For Kancey, everything I’ve seen about him I love. He plays the part, and seeing him in interviews, he even looks the part. But I’m calling it now. If he’s not a 1st ballot HOFer, that doesn’t mean he’s a bust.

  17. Joshua porter Says:

    We play nickel the most and that’s a 4 man front….

  18. Cainishere Says:

    I have said this many times, “Warren Sapp should be The buccaneers Defensive line scout. This man knows his business when it comes to what it takes to play on a defensive line. He knows what traits to look for in a quality player, and could probably teach young prospects as well. If I owned the franchise I would employ Sapp because the man has shown nothing but devotion to our team and to be honest despite some bumpy spots here or there, Sapp has been an awesome guy to have gotten to know. I will never forget the day Tampa drafted Sapp because the next day a friend of mine told me omg you guys just drafted a monster. I laughed and said that’s what they always say but to be honest no one said that about our Buccaneer players except Selmon. Go Bucs.

  19. Duane Says:

    Im interested in seeing this line in action. I do give credit to Bowles for his matchmaking schemes, and he has some tools to tinker with. Would be great to see some these new guys catch on and bring heat from all over the line.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    It does seem like a lot of our defensive guys / recent draft picks would all fit better in a 4-3 base… but Bowles seems like one stubborn mofo to me.

    At the same time, we’ve heard Bowles and other defensive coaches also talk about how a 4-3 vs 3-4 can still execute mostly all the same stuff, it’s just the initial alignment… So who knows?

  21. Voice of Truth Says:

    It doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 4 down – the goal is the inside DT’s eat all gaps from b to b – or for those unfamiliar, stagnating the C and Both sides of both Guards –

    Watch the tape from 21 – vea and Suh were unmovable from the a and b gaps – the rest of the d just swarmed behind them – in pass rush they just bull rushed every play pushing the C/G right into the QB face so he couldn’t even see the DE/OLB coming…

    The stunt games with all these quick rushers is where we are going to shine

    For all the Todd hate I have spewed – this is one area I think we will do well – now if he can be okay with scoring more than 20 we could have a chance….

  22. J Ghotier Says:

    “Rolling ball of butcher knives” is exactly how Raheem “The Dream” described Michael Turner when we played ATL in those days

    I like the description for both offense and defense!

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Sasquatch … ‘Overhaul, no… but Bowles could definitely mix in more 4 man fronts.’

    gotbbucs … ‘4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, 46. They’re all related. We’ve got the personnel to run all of them. Multiple hybrids.’

    You both nailed it. Bowles hired George Edwards for a reason, and we’ll see why in the ‘multiple hybrids’ that the Bucs will be running this year.

  24. PA Buc Fan Says:

    No chance in hell Bowles changes to match his personnel. That’s what good coaches do and Bowles is certainly not that. He is a joke of a head coach. Sorry for the negativity but just can’t get behind this guy. No fire, or desire and seemingly has no clue what he is doing running the ship. Just hope we don’t see year 3 with him. Hope we find a coach that is in it for the long haul and can build a long sustaining competitive team something Tampa has really never had cept for the Dungy run!

  25. Capt.Tim Says:

    The way to salvage our undetsized, “Tweener” D linemen- would be to play a 4-3.
    Then Hall and Calijhan’s lack of size wont be nearly the issue it is in a 3-4.
    I also dont see it happening.
    Under Bowles leadership- the Jets got worse every year.
    Hes a good Defensive Coordinator.
    But he chokes as a head coach.
    Meybe he will learn from the past.

    But I dont expect it

  26. Tampamac Says:

    @Joe- Please correct coach’s last name in that final paragraph. I know commenters have their opinions, but y’all are above that as journalists.

  27. ModHairKen Says:

    Hire Sapp now

  28. garro Says:

    The Bowles 4 man front is not a traditional 4-3 We got bodies moving everywhere in Bowles defense. At the snap it may be a 4 man front but not in the traditional sense as Sapp is talking about.

  29. Cover deuce Says:

    Love it when guys who should know better still talk about defensive fronts like it’s 1980. First of all, nickel is base defense now, ~60% of the snaps over a yr will be out of that alignment. Second of all even Wade Phillips who exclusively ran a 3-4, still deployed a 3-tech on basically every snap. You guys might have heard of him his name is Aaron Donald.

  30. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Rod munch my point exactly. People calling him a busy just after one season. Geez. Sapp one of the greatest to ever play the position didn’t little his 1st season. I get after 2 season for JTS not showing much but honestly he opted out the covid year so he was seriously raw talent. If he can put it all together this year which at the moment seems unlikely n hall takes the next step man our defense will be nasty. Won’t matter who is playing in the back there will be so much pressure fumbles n ints are going to stack up

  31. Goatfarmer Says:

    Bloweszo will never adjust to the talents of his players. It’s the old force the player to conform to the system routine. Hamster breeding will be a fine profession for the Toadster.