“Changing The Picture”

August 14th, 2023

Safety Ryan Neal.

Some fans debated back in 2021 that maybe the Bucs would have been better off not returning every starter from their Super Bowl defense and instead injecting a little new blood.

Joe understood the mindset, but Joe was more than happy to bring back the band. And the results were strong. Tampa Bay allowed the fifth-fewest points in the league and cranked out a 13-4 regular season record.

New defensive blood (most of it old) came last season and the defense took a step backward after a fantastic start.

More free agents were added this offseason and newcomer safety Ryan Neal will be a starter — one who has been humbled and impressed by the talent and unity around him.

That tells Joe a lot because Neal coming from a defense-first head coach in Seattle. He touched on how impressed he is during his recent WDAE radio visit.

“You can see the chemistry, you can see the brotherhood, you can see the love,” Neal said of his defensive teammates.

Daily, Neal said, he’s trying to show guys like Antoine Winfield and Devin White that he can be counted on. “Let me prove to them my worth” is how Neal described his attitude.

The free agent has gotten rave reviews for his smarts, leadership and quick mastery of the defense from Todd Bowles. And Neal has thrown back the love to Bowles for a complex playbook that fits the modern game.

“These offenses are very smart so you gotta be able to change the picture,” Neal said.

Joe hoped to see a first real-football glimpse of Neal on Friday, but he was among the nine key defensive players that were rested, and that’s sign that he’s a certain starter.

Joe sees Neal as the 2023 version of Logan Ryan, only younger and hungrier, like most Bucs additions compared to last year’s new bodies.

15 Responses to ““Changing The Picture””

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I am excited about this year’s defense…….here’s what I’m looking for.

    A younger, more athletic group……with a more experienced JTS & Logan Hall……solid secondary along with contributions from Ya, Ya & Dennis….

    Concerns…….Secondary Depth

  2. All_da_way Says:

    Neal can ball which really leaves NCB as the big question mark.

  3. Dave Pear Says:

    Todd is expecting his starters to flip the switch and just be ready on opening day.

    Kinda like the Dallas playoff game after the debacle in Atlanta.

  4. HC Grover Says:

    I advocated this for this year. The Lost Season. All Bowles will do this year is dig the Bucs hole deeper. He has taken us from first to worst. Can’t put lipstick on this pig.

  5. Lt. Dan Says:

    Here’s to hoping the “light” goes on for Zyon McCollum real soon. Dollar to doughnuts he will start at least a few games this year due to an injury or two.

  6. Buc4evr Says:

    @Dave Pear, agreed why wouldn’t Bowles at least play the starters for a quarter or maybe even four possessions? It’s all about timing, knowing what your players are going to do to help you out, and reaction and the only way you get it is in a real game situation. You would think after Dallas, our brilliant HC would have learned a lesson. The guy is so hard headed…..

  7. SlyPirate Says:

    A lot of good observations in the comments …
    1. Why is Bowles not playing his starters in preseason? Dungy, and years of stats, tells us starters will get hurt and look out-of-sync in the first few games
    2. Look for Zyon, JTS, and Hall to rise up.
    3. Defense will be fast.

  8. Pewter Power Says:

    I hope he works out because there is no credible backup to replace him. Please no more young safeties, even mike Edwards couldn’t handle full time duty

  9. BoricuaBucfan Says:

    I’m just curious how are we first to worst if we are still the reigning NFC South champions. Make it make sense.

  10. Boss Says:

    dude would shave a second off his 40 time if he cut the dreads

  11. Dave Pear Says:

    When I want to see what the cool kids do who are head coaches, I look at Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh. They seem to like getting their starters some preseason reps, and Harbaugh actually likes to win. A novel concept, some would say radical .

    Todd and his four consecutive losing seasons obviously knows better than the Super Bowl winners.

  12. teacherman777 Says:

    Todd Bowles is a great defensive coach.

    But he is a players coach. And sometimes, like with Raheem Morris, NFL egos take advantage of “players coaches” and start playing soft.

    However, I don’t think that’s the case with Bowles.

    I saw Neal talking to Bowles on the sidelines.

    He was listening with a true heart.

    I think we finally found a great safety next to Winfield.

    Plus he’s almost 6-3. Winfield is only 5-9.

    We needed a tall center to improve their overall length.

    Plus we have two tall corners.

    I also think Zyon looked like a new CB.

    He has transformed this body.

    He looks much sleeker and leaner.

  13. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    They were just one good defensive coordinator away from beating the Rams and taking another Super Bowl that year.

    Oh terrific, he’s the head coach now.

  14. Dave Pear Says:

    Bowles has no excuses in 2023. It’s his ship, his coaches, his system, his players.

    Time to break the trend, Todd. We all hope you can do it!

  15. garro Says:

    Like the signing. If he shines Licht will look like even more of a genius. Especially considering the salary cap he has had to work with.

    Go Bucs!