Markees Watts Hype

November 17th, 2023

Bucs edge rusher Markees Watts. (Photo courtesy

Look, Joe would love nothing more than for rookie edge rusher Markees Watts to totally blow up and become the second coming of Simeon Rice.

Maybe it’s just Joe being a cynical SOB, or maybe Joe has had his fill of the next-best-thing-at-edge-rusher pitches from the Bucs after hearing all the hype about stiff Gaines Adams, (formerly) sackless Kyle Moore, brittle Noah Spence and then Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.

Joe gets it, when you have a horrible edge rush, it’s easy to get excited by a couple of plays. Hope! People want a guy to be successful so badly they con themselves into thinking he has the last name “Bosa.”

Is Watts the next Bucs overhyped defensive end/edge rusher? Joe hopes not. The way Bucs coaches are hyping Watts, it’s like the Bucs found the next Deacon Jones hiding in a Plant City strawberry patch.

Yesterday, defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers floored the gas pedal on the Watts hype train.

“This is a guy who really caught our eye in training camp, Rodgers said. “This was a guy who, you’re sitting there like, ‘We can’t put this guy on [the] practice squad,’ because he really flashed in the one-on-ones and team drills and stuff.’ He can really rush and he’s elusive.

“We just got through practice and we’re watching him run around out there today. This guy is explosive and he’s really flexible. A lot of guys turn the corner and fall down. He can turn and stay up.

“If he falls, he can bounce back up. The one really impressive play to me was the screen. They cut him on the jailbreak and he got up to make the tackle out there.

“That is the freaky athleticism that he has, and he can really rush the quarterback.”

If this Watts had Bucs defensive coaches standing at attention this badly, then why in the world did the team wait until the ninth game of the season to put him on the field?

You can’t tell Joe someone was blowing away coaches like this yet they never had the inclination for him to take one snap until mid-November?

Rodgers never tried to pump the brakes. He said the Bucs were impressed with Watts from the moment he stepped on a Bucs practice field during rookie minicamp.

Watts had two impact plays Sunday in his 11 snaps. One was a really solid example of hustle and effort when he was chipped at the line but recovered to make a tackle on a screen pass right in front of the Bucs’ bench. His second impact play was when he drilled Tennessee quarterback Will Levis, which forced an arm punt resulting in Antoine Winfield’s first pick of the season.

Joe asked Rodgers if a reason Watts made such splash plays was that Tennessee wasn’t ready for him — no Watts film outside of worthless preseason games.

Rodgers agreed that Watts being unknown within NFL circles may have played a role.

“They really hadn’t seen him, and we knew the guy could rush,” Rodgers said. “That’s why the thought process was to get him on the field. We’re just juggling so many people, which is a good problem, but you wanted to get him on the field and get him going. But then to get him on the field, you’re taking somebody else off. You’re playing that game.

“This guy, he’s been doing really well since training camp. I take it back – OTAs, or invited rookie [mini-camp] when he came in. He flashed in front of everybody and he made enough impact that, ‘Hey, you can’t put this guy on practice squad or you’ll lose him.”

Again, Joe wants to swallow the hype whole like a hungry dog inhales a hunk of meat thrown at him. It would be so, so, so awesome if Watts blows up. What a find!

But what were the Bucs saving him for if he looked so special, the next coaching staff?

If Watts lives up to the hype, it’s damning that the coaching staff kept a superior pass rush prospect off the field for so long while their edge rush struggled.

43 Responses to “Markees Watts Hype”

  1. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Hope is the opiate of the Bucs fan

  2. Rich Says:

    Joe….the question that should have been asked is in your last sentence!!! Why doesn’t anyone in the media ask this organization the tough questions? Nothing but softball questions are asked…why hasn’t this kid who was so impressive early in the year been on the field, Someone has to hold Licht, Bowles feet to the fire…ask the hard questions…please

  3. Will Says:

    Great point Rich. It seems like everyone is scared to ask the tough questions for fear that they won’t be allowed to ask questions ever again. Especially when the question is so easy that even us untrained fans are asking it.

  4. Joe Says:

    Joe….the question that should have been asked is in your last sentence!!! Why doesn’t anyone in the media ask this organization the tough questions?

    Well, first there is etiquette in these press conferences. They are not inquisitions.

    Second, Kacy Rodgers stated why on his own (even though it doesn’t make any sense). So there was no reason to ask why. Rodgers said to give Watts more snaps, that means less snaps for someone else.

    Well, if Watts is as good as the coaches claim, then find a way to get him on the field and if someone b!tches then tell them to sack the friggin QB.

    You can probably do the math who they didn’t want to take snaps away from.

  5. Joe Says:

    Someone has to hold Licht, Bowles feet to the fire

    Willing to bet Bowles has it in his contract he has final say who steps on a field. Outside of maybe Dallas, not sure any team allows a GM to order a coach to play a specific player.

  6. SB~LV Says:

    He flashed in preseason

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Dude has played in how many games now?

    The hype is ridiculous.

    That said, I hope he pans out and is not a one-game wonder.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    “Stiff’ Gaines Adams………very poor taste…..the man was deceased prematurely……..RIP Gaines.

  9. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    So let’s please remember that our coach values run defense above all else, perhaps Watts has been a superior pass rusher all this time, but Bowles wouldn’t play him because he has deficiencies in the run game?

  10. Fred McNeil Says:

    Hey guys, Shaq Barrett was a UDFA. He never really got a chance in Denver. He came here and went thermonuclear that first year. He was pretty solid for a couple more years till last year. He blew up in the Super Bowl too.
    I’m not saying Watts is a Godsend like Shaq was. I am saying he’s way better than JTS and ya never know when lightning will strike. Right now wishes and hope are all we have. What have we got to lose?

  11. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Deff get him so more snaps and see what he can do. Only way to find out. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. We need a rush severely bad. More than joe needs Rachel Watson it a big storm beer or wings from hooters

  12. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Come on, TBBF. You read way more into ’stiff’ than Joe meant.

  13. Dew Says:

    Joe I told you about Watts before the cuts. Thought they might try to sneak him on to the Practice Squad. WIRF”S said he had the best moves in camp. Very elusive. Ask the All-Pro tackle & he’ll tell you.

  14. Nprbuc Says:

    Again, Further fodder for changing out some coaches. Starting with “ Bowles” who has to be seeing the same things as Rodgers. I would assume that Rodgers would have played Watts more but was shut down by Bowles. Bowels keeps running out the same players and running the same plays in hopes that someday a run up the middle will work or that JTS really blows up in a game, just so Toad can say “I told ya so!” You would think that a man coaching for his life would at least try something different. Having his secondary get out of their soft zone and plan man or press yielded results last week. Maybe he will come out of his stupor? One can hope.

  15. Pewter Power Says:

    Well JTS can’t say he didn’t get the chance to become a staple here but he’s invisible Watts steeped in and immediately made an impact

    It’s not really hype, JTS set the bar pretty low, it’s easy to notice anyone because how pointless it is to play him

  16. Bucfan1988 Says:

    Yeah this all about draft stock…

    JTS getting preferential treatment cuz of wheee he was drafted…

    Time to drop that line of thinking…

    GIVE WATTS AT LEAST 25 snaps this game!!!!
    See what you truly got in this guy!

    If he blows up, he’s perfect to back up YAYA on rush downs at this point…

    Release the Kraken, lol!!!!!

  17. Mike Johnson Says:

    I say, Play the Man. Hate to keep harping on Joe Tryon. But he is not getting it done. We got nothing to lose by playing this kid Watts. He has a high motor. Put the man on the field.

  18. Beeej Says:

    I think this alludes to a long-standing pattern by Bowles: by all rights Goedeke should have been pulled way early last season at left guard, but it never happened until he got hurt. JTS should have been pulled way early BOTH YEARS, but Bowles won’t give up the ghost. Neal should have been pulled way early, but again Bowles again won’t give up the ghost.

  19. Beeej Says:

    I forgot to mention Feiler this year for Stinnie

  20. Boge Says:

    Fred, Funny you mention Shaq. When I saw MW come off the edge wearing 58 I thought it was Shaq! Can’t get use to the single digit.

  21. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist and Founder of Says:

    Yaya with the 1’s

    Watts with the 2’s

    And JTS with the 3rd-stringers

  22. Red Skeleton Says:

    Ronde Barber was pointing this guy out in the preseason.

  23. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Perhaps the Bucs simply manage their roster just like they manage the clock at the end of games?
    That’s all I can think of…
    I do see a lot of teams not playing what I think are their better players because perhaps they are unable to see who’s the better player. I personally think this happens a lot more than people realize.
    Case in point:
    Tom Brady senior year at Michigan.
    He was on the bench much of the year sitting behind Hinson.
    Bucsfan 1988 said it strait.

  24. word Says:

    Deaon Jones’ best quote regarding the “head slap”

    “Because anytime you go upside a man’s head … or a woman; they may have a tendency to blink they [sic] eyes or close they eyes. And that’s all I needed.”

  25. orlbucfan Says:

    JTS must be doing something for Bowles to be giving him all those reps. I think Bowles knows more than a bunch of amateurs on a blog. Hope White stays awake Sunday.

  26. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Jose, there is a LOT of personality management and ego management going on with the substitutions. Rodgers explanation was easy enough to understand: it was the devil you know vs the devil you don’t. I recommend not trying to read between the lines on every single quote and sometimes taking them at their word. (Though it can be hard to tell when to do that.)

    Regarding the ego management, remember Schiano’s statement that respect in the locker room has more to do with the size of your contract than with the quality of your play? That is likely a part of the decision making. Letting a kid with a free agent rookie deal show up a veteran might be frowned upon.

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I agree with dispensing with the “draft ego”…..simply because you invested a draft pick on a player doesn’t mean he should play more snaps than an UDFA who performs better….
    Perhaps benching some draft picks may lead to improved performance.
    The same goes for players with higher salaries…..the same principle should apply.

  28. Nick2 Says:

    They were saving him because Todd Bowles is slow to react and always has been and that’s his downfall as a coach

  29. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If the Bucs are trying to build from a younger group of players, I am guessing Shaq and C. Davis is going to be cut or have their contract renegotiated this offseason. While both players are still good, neither has proven they are worth their high pay. I just don’t think we have the luxury in keeping all our older players but yet signing and renewing our younger players.

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    You know who was fast to react? Lovie Smith.

    When Kwon Alexander came in, in the preseason, and looked the part – they took their new signed FA MLB and told him to hit the bricks.

    People around here are clueless when they talk about Lovie, pretending like he had no idea what he was doing. But as a head coach, I’d take him any day of the week over Bowles. (As DCs, I’ll take Bowles).

    Anywho, lets see what the kid can do. I personally don’t expect much, he’s pretty undersized for the position he’s at, which means to Bowles he’s a liability in the run game – and Bowles still thinks it’s 1970 and running the ball, and stopping the run, is the most important thing in football. So, because of that, I doubt he’ll really get that many more snaps.

    Then again Bowles did bench Neal when he was stinking up the joint – it was a few weeks to late, but I was shocked he made any adjustment at all. So there is hope.

  31. Baking with Canales Says:

    “Stiff’ Gaines Adams………very poor taste…..the man was deceased prematurely……..RIP Gaines….. said tbbf

    Was it to get a reaction from us?

    He was an exbucs player. Aren’t you a Bucs fan?
    I get it. This is just your job. Smh

  32. Kidfloflo Says:

    Having a player that flashed all off season just now get a shot is inexcusable!! Its not like we have the Eagles line and don’t know who to take out!!? Wow that is alarming at best, especially if he balls out! Hence why with this coaching staff we get rolled 31-13

  33. WillieG Says:

    Maybe he’s still learning the playbook? He flashes with the limit knowledge he has but can only be used sparingly because he doesn’t grasp enough of the playbook yet?

  34. Joe Says:

    Jose, there is a LOT of personality management and ego management going on with the substitutions.

    There is a lot to that, sure. If Watts turns out to be a stud, and Bowles and the staff get run, that decision not to play him could have cost people their jobs, maybe careers.

    As for giving draft picks preferential treatment, it’s a business. Never ever forget the NFL is a business. Owners consider players investments.

    If you have major draft and financial investment in a guy, you don’t want to immediately pull them as rookies to eff up their heads and probably destroy them. What’s the point in that? Remember: Investment. Football is not alone. In baseball, a “bonus baby” will get all the slack in the world over another guy at the same position who is hitting much better because of the investment.

    Is it fair? Is it right? Probably not. Welcome to reality.

    Pulling rookies due to two or three bad games is a really good way to get yourself fired. The quest for job security in the NFL is very real. These guys don’t exist in a vacuum.

    Also, a high draft pick, the team is going to give that guy all sorts of slack and time to get figured out.

    No one has told Joe this, just reading the tea leaves: Gonna guess Bucs hierarchy decided internally they would give JTS a half season to get on track. Watts was activated in the ninth game.

    You do the math.

  35. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Perhaps this rookie can ‘flash’, but doesn’t have a clue about ‘setting the edge’. If one is really good at one thing, but totally sucks at another, then what?

  36. ATLBuc Says:

    Passing down Dline. Vea and Watts on the ends, and Hall, Green and Shaq on the line.

  37. Zoocomics Says:

    If this guy was 6’3″ or better we’d already seen him.

    I think we haven’t seen Watts yet because guys like JTS, YaYa and Anthony Nelson pass the eyeball test. They have the prototypical size that scouts/couches like in OLB or 4-3 DE. Coaches are going to lean into this more due to measurables. This is a thing in ALL sports. If you have size, and some shred of athleticism and/or coordination for the position, then coaches will bet on that potential to “coach-up” vs undersize players who at pro levels will struggle no matter how good they are. Teams passed on guys like Aaron Donald and especially Elvis Dumervil due their size. They are the exception.

    Additionally, how much do they actually get a chance to go 100% in practice, there’s nothing like seeing game action where you’re really trying to take the head off of an opponent. Izien had a hot start and fizzled thus far, hoping Watts might be a gem for us, doesn’t have to be a stud, just someone that is disruptive and is not a liability as rotational piece in this def.

  38. garro Says:

    “If this Watts had Bucs defensive coaches standing at attention this badly, then why in the world did the team wait until the ninth game of the season to put him on the field?”

    That was my first thought Joe! He did look awful good Sunday but agian for a guy who lookd that good to only get 11 snaps? What are we waiting for or is this just a mirage and we find out he likes to get flagged for holding and roughing the passer while loafing on plays the other way.

    Go Bucs!

  39. Watzz Says:

    Play him then!! Go Bucs!

  40. Alstott 40 Says:

    Joe knows nothing. Joe probably thinks Bowles is genius.

  41. BillyBucco Says:

    Stupid comment Alstott.
    We need hungry players on the field and some of these younger players are just that.
    Yes, there will be mistakes, but you are already getting mistakes and more importantly LAZY play from some high priced veterans out there.
    This team learns to fight after a punch and they can be dangerous down the stretch.
    I say better late than never, but definitely agree this management has WAY TOO MUCH EGO.
    Probably concussions too from banging their head against the wall, trying to play and HOPE, a player because of physical attributes alone.
    Maximum effort over size any day IMO.
    You honestly think they would sit White for Dennis?
    Zyon for Davis or Dean?
    Watts for JTS or Shaq?
    When they couldn’t even take Neal off the field as a 1st year player!!!!
    It’s ALWAYS the SAME story with this staff, and exactly what we thought would happen is happening!!! Baker will win enough games to prevent you from truly being better with draft capital.
    This team will now look exactly the same next year, you wait.
    Same LBs
    Same CBs
    Same OL
    Same QB
    With a few influxes of HOPEFULS that let us down.
    Bowles is incapable of looking to the FUTURE, because his job is on the line.

  42. adam from ny Says:

    so let me get this straight…weapon X has been sitting on the bench for no particular reason for the first 10 weeks of the season…

    can you dig it?

    i guess i can

  43. adam from ny Says:

    if this guy turns into a player can we just call him weapon X 🙂