The Return Of Jordan Whitehead Could Be Huge

June 25th, 2024

Overlooked man.

When Joe reads one of the many on the growing list of #NFLMedia who think the Bucs are one of the worst teams in the league this year — yet hype Kirk Cousins as a second coming of Tom Brady with less jewelry — it frustrates Joe for one reason.

The same folks almost always, predictably try to point out how the Bucs didn’t try to get better and only re-signed their own.

Oh? Well, props to them for not monitoring team transactions.

The pass defense of the Bucs was poor last year. The easiest way to solve that was to find a pass rush. Instead, the Bucs chose a different path.

(No, signing MIA Randy Gregory is not a way to solve a pass rush problem.)

Instead of going pass rush, the Bucs re-signed one of their own, sort of, in Jordan Whitehead, who the Bucs drafted in 2018 and was a key figure in the Bucs’ march to a Super Bowl win two years later.

Even sometimes-humorist Adam Rank of sees the value in Whitehead.

The Bucs got a relative bargain in their reunion with Whitehead, who spent 2018 through 2021 with Tampa Bay and the last two seasons with the Jets. He signed a two-year deal worth $9 million in March. The 27-year-old brings some versatility and stability to the back end of a defense that ranked 29th against the pass last season.

Not just that, but Whitehead also brings a hammer with him. He’s is a ferocious hitter and, even more important, is smart. Whitehead knows when and how he can lay the wood to ballcarriers and receivers without drawing a Roger Goodell/Richie McKay special of don’t-hit-too-hard flags.

Joe really believes Whitehead will help make the pass defense better. He replaces a guy who was so bad he is still walking the streets panhandling for a job.

No, a safety will never impact a pass defense like a solid edge rusher. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Why all of these Bucs-will-suck/Falcons-will-rule people overlook the Whitehead signing, well, Joe can’t answer that.

20 Responses to “The Return Of Jordan Whitehead Could Be Huge”

  1. Dave Pear Says:

    Thank you again Joes, for emphasizing the point that many Bucs faithful who love Todd without conditions miss —

    The Bucs pass defense sucked last year. Abysmal. 29th in yards allowed. After not being great in 2022, the year Todd became both HC and DC. Very lucky it didn’t translate to points. Without change it will. But we are seeing change.


  2. Pickgrin Says:

    It works both ways Joe….

    Better coverage helps the pass rush. Gives rushers that extra 1/2 second to ‘get there.

    Which option makes more sense?

    Option A – Trade a 2nd rd pick for 30 year old Riddick and then sign him for $25M – forcing the team to let Mike Evans walk and sign another cheap, crappy (Neal-like) vet Safety

    Option B – Spend 2nd rd pick on an edge rusher from Bama – re-sign Mike Evans for $21M and bring back Whitehead for $4.5M

    Which option helps the team win more games? Duh….

  3. Joe Says:

    Which option helps the team win more games? Duh….

    Agree! Trading for Reddick in additional to the rest of the moves the Bucs made, sans Gregory. Duh!

    Who says the Bucs had to give up Evans to sign Reddick?

    Better coverage helps the pass rush. Gives rushers that extra 1/2 second to ‘get there.

    Eh, you’re not fully wrong but Joe’s on the flip side. There is nothing more important than a pass rush. Nothing. A good pass rush makes mediocre defensive backs look good. Give a QB time to throw and even an average QB will pick apart a defense.

    Joe will just repeat what Gil Brandt preached: The two most important players on a football team are the quarterback and an edge rusher. It’s not a coincidence that both times the Bucs won the Super Bowl, they had a pass rush.

  4. firethecannons Says:

    He was awesome in Greenbay game on the way to the superbowl. He laid out little Aaron Jones.

  5. CallTheSaltTruck Says:

    >>>The Bucs pass defense sucked last year. Abysmal. 29th in yards allowed. After not being great in 2022, the year Todd became both HC and DC. Very lucky it didn’t translate to points. Without change it will. But we are seeing change.

    It wasn’t luck. What Bowles detractors miss is that Yards aren’t points, and you get no Ws for yards. Since 2020, Bowles Defenses have ranked 8th, 5th, 13th, 7th in scoring defense. The thing that actually does win games.

    BTW, last year our passing defense was alllowing 248 yards per game. 2020, the year we won the supercool? It was 246 yards per game.

    Whitehead is an upgrade, but don’t get it twisted- Bowles knows what he is doing, defensively.

  6. CallTheSaltTruck Says:

    *Superbowl not supercool, lol. Stupid phone.

  7. MadMax Says:

    bet the over

  8. gotbbucs Says:

    Signing Whitehead should free them up to be even more creative with Winfield on the field without giving up too much on the back end.

  9. Beeej Says:

    We can play more man, (which you want to do if you’re blitzing) less zone with Whitehead instead of Neal

  10. Pickgrin Says:

    Joe Says:
    “Who says the Bucs had to give up Evans to sign Reddick?”

    $25 Million ($75M over the next 3 years) that the Bucs don’t have says so….

    If not Evans – Then they would have had to let Winfield walk to cover the difference. Or not re-sign Mayfield and let Trask start this year….

    Take your pick.

    The $ has to come from somewhere…. Bucs are already up against the wall with salary cap constraints. Over $150M in debt that has to paid off over the next 4 years is already on the books…. You want to add another $75M on top of that???? For a 30 year old player?

    Bucs are in the process of getting younger – not older….

    Bucs are in the process of getting OUT of debt – not deeper into it…..

    Riddick is a mercenary at this point. He doesn’t care who he plays for – just that he gets PAID top dollar. I’m quite sure he would be more than happy to play for the Panthers, Cardinals or Foreskins if one of those teams would pony up $75-$80M guaranteed over the next 3 years….

    Riddick is NOT a ‘Buccaneer Man’ – and his skills/stats WILL decline over the next couple of years – while he’s still getting paid like a top 10 pass rusher. Bucs already went down that road with Shaq Barrett – and he WAS a Buccaneer Man. We still owe Barrett $26M over the next 2 years and he isn’t even on the team anymore.

    Joe’s desperation for an Edge rusher we can’t afford – has apparently blinded Joe to the realities dictated by economics.

  11. BucU Says:

    I still have bad dreams about Neal. That and when the Bucs play with the creamcycle uniforms.

  12. Dude Says:

    Jordan Whitehead = Mr.Tone Setter

  13. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Bucs over, Falcons under. Easy money.

  14. unbelievable Says:

    Look, obviously a proven pass rusher would most likely do more for the pass defense, but it would also cost a lot more. Whitehead helps to solidify the backfield at least (don’t forget the #2 outside CB is now a question mark).

    Need Kancey, Vea, Diaby, and the rookie to step up big time and put on their big boy pants. I won’t count on JTS for anything other than wasted snaps at this point, though I would love for him to prove me wrong (but he won’t).

  15. Dave Pear Says:

    The 2020 team also scored 30ppg.

    When you can’t score 20 and give up yards like a Thai hooker, you are skating on thin ice. If Todd had been head coach instead of Arians in 2020, Bucs probably miss the playoffs.

    Todd knows he needs to score more points.


  16. Scotty Mack Says:

    I have to also assume that ANYONE on the Bucs roster at edge rusher (LB) will be able to do better than Shaq Barrett’s season total of 4 1/2 sacks (and only 3 the previous season).

  17. BuccoChacho Says:

    Safeties are the most undervalued position in football… improvements to the secondary besides losing cd will put a better product on the field for winning the division. As much as fans hate Devin now he was undeniably one of the top 5 players they had on defense. Notice the intel on the division on how offenses are shaping out. The mlbs no longer require exceptional athleticism bc Kamara no longer used as the threat he was (injuries limiting him) and mccaffrey is no longer there for Carolina. It’s worth noting Carolina hc was just in Tampa all last season. During that time intel was gathered as well. I see a Bucs divisional sweep in the forecast.

  18. CallTheSaltTruck Says:

    Dave, the 2020 offense had Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown as the 3rd Wideout, and an absolutely stacked o-line. Comparing offensive numbers just makes it more clear your comparison and criticism of Bowles isn’t good faith, and your prediction that they miss the playoffs that year without Arians is laughable.

    I think Bruce was a better HC than Bowles, but last I checked, Bowles has made the playoffs twice with teams considerably worse than the one he would have had in 2020.

  19. D Cone Says:

    Of all safeties in the league for 2023 Bucs added a guy that gave up the 13th most YAC to a room that had steaked claim to the 5th and 11th most YAC. Whitehead also had the 2nd most missed tackle percentage @ 14% and tied for 1st with one other for the most TD’s given up.

    Overall they look OK but are only as good as the sum of all parts. Looks to me like getting Bucs safeties one on one in coverage is something that can be an advantage to the opposition.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think the offense will be better, not considering the Baker factor.

    Adding in Baker? Well, we’ll see. He has more to prove this year than last. Unless the offense is decimated with injuries, he’ll have no excuses.

    And I believe the defense will be better as well.

    Saying the defense was bad last year? I don’t feel that way at all. Offensive mistakes caused us to be behind late in games. The defense was spending far too much time on the field.