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Old 05-15-2013, 01:32 PM    (permalink
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Default Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2013 Edition

So the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books, the bulk of Free Agency is over, and the 2013 season is fast approaching. As we head into the summer doldrums of rookie camps, OTA's, jersey number buying and general deep digging for NFL stories, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at what we've done, where we seem to be headed and what is coming ahead.



Offense – Where do I start? Doug Martin is obviously the guy that defensive coordinators look at first when they pop in tape of the Bucs O, and he’s the key to our success as well as our identity on O. If he ain’t going, we ain’t going. If somehow Jeff Demps is actually really in the mix at RB, I like what he can bring to an offense. He’s lightning in a bottle, waiting to be let loose. You make a mistake on him, he’s gone. I love our starting OL group. Should they all be healthy, as we had hoped last year, they are beastly. Considering how decently some of the backups did in their stead last year, I am confident in that group as a whole. Overall, I do like the WR corps, but only in-so-much as Josh Freeman can get them the ball. And I have concerns there. It is a contract year for Freeman, and he’s got lots to prove. Irregardless, he still has trouble reading coverage and holds on too long. Anybody expecting Glennon in 2013, don’t, unless Freeman gets hurt.


Should this offense rank in the top 12 to 15 in yards and scoring, we should be fine and in the playoff tournament.

Here’s how I see the 26 on offense sorting out.



QB – Josh Freeman – Mike Glennon – Dan Orlovsky
RB – Doug Martin – Brian Leonard – Mike James – Jeff Demps – Michael Smith
FB – Erik Lorig
WR – Vincent Jackson – Mike Williams – Tiquan Underwood – Steve Smith – Kevin Ogletree – Tim Wright
TE – Tom Crabtree – Luke Stocker – Evan Landi
OL – Donald Penn – Demar Dotson – Davin Joseph – Carl Nicks – Jeremy Zuttah - Jamon Meredith – Ted Larsen – Adam Smith




Defense – So this was a tale of two teams last year. A “Jekyll and Hyde” type of unit. So very stout against the run yet so very porous against the pass. And in this division, that’s a recipe for disaster. I honestly think that it stems from the lack of consistent pass rush, but the only thing Mark Dominik saw fit to improve with the pass rush was to get everyone healthy. I admire the confidence he has in his picks, but they don’t exactly have a sterling history of staying healthy, much less getting the job done. While McCoy, Clayborn and Bowers have all three shown flashes, very good flashes at times, it’s the consistency. Maybe it’s due to the heat we play in, maybe it’s the number of plays they are on the field, maybe it’s…..______[fill in the blank]______...... but we didn’t fix it all.


The more I think about the group of LB’s and DB’s, the more I like what we’ve put together there. Mostly because there are contingency plans, backups in place, safety nets just in case the master plan falters and depth to go along with experience and youth. If Revis, Goldson and Banks can generate some positive plays (INT’s, passes defensed, etc) at a regular rate, and David, Foster and Casillas can fly to the ball like we all know they can, the back end of this defense will be alright. They have, on paper at least, the look of a classic “bend but don’t break” type of group, with the ability to cause some turnovers.


Here’s the early look at the 27 defenders possibly on the roster.


DT – Gerald McCoy – Gary Gibson – Akeem Spence – Derek Landri
DE – Adrian Clayborn – Da’Quan Bowers – Daniel Teo’Nesheim – William Gholston – Steven Means
LB – Lavonte David – Mason Foster – Jonathan Casillas – Adam Hayward – Dekoda Watson – Najee Goode
DB – Darelle Revis – Jonathan Banks – Eric Wright – Leonard Johnson – Myron Lewis – Mark Barron – Dashon Goldson – Ahmad Black – Cody Grimm or Keith Tandy

K/P/LS – Michael Koenen – Connor Barth – Andrew Economos




Overall, it's not bad. Thin in spots, but not bad. My next post addresses this. I don't know how I feel about the schedule yet. Tough, as usual, but some very winable stretches in there. We should be "in" most if not "all" of them.... I do not see us blowing anybody out, neither do I really see us getting the rails much. We've got a gritty coach, and we've got to win with hustle and sheer will.

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Old 05-15-2013, 01:34 PM    (permalink
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The major concerns with this roster as we head into camp, really can be narrowed to 2 or 3 groups. On the defensive line, specifically in regards to the pass rush, at Tight End, with just a simple lack of playmakers, and at Running Back, with a lack of solid depth and experience.


So, I don’t usually complain about a problem without at least offering up a solution. And here is the solution to my concerns.


Dwight Freeney, DE – OK, so the stat monsters are going to tell me that he’s 33 and his stats have declined the past couple years. I say SHUT IT!!! Freeney still has some good football in him, especially if he plays that football in a 4-3 defense. And that’s not any “NFL Fanboy” at play here. Part of his statistical decline is age, but also because of position and role change in Indy to a 3-4 defense, to which his skills are not suited. Plain and simple, Freeney can still get to the QB, and he is not a liability on the field. AND, we need a guy like him on the roster to bridge the gap a little until we develop a longer term solution, possibly Steven Means, but maybe someone else. Also not a bad idea to have some young pups around a guy like Freeney to maybe pick up a few things.

His contract demands have come down from $8mil/year, to $6mil/year and now to somewhere around the $4mil/year range after Osi Umenyiora’s deal was signed (2 years; $8.5mil for those living under rocks). I think he’ll sign for an incentive laden deal around $7-10mil over 2 years with a base salary in the $2-3mil area. If that’s the case, sign me the hell up yesterday.


Sedrick Ellis, DT – A bust. Check. Two very unproductive years. Check. Possibly done in the NFL. Check. Now a reclamation project. Also check. Look, this guy has all the negatives in the world, and I can see not wanting him around. But look at what that really means. First, his contract demands are centered around just getting another shot in the NFL. Second, he has talent, and more talent than some DT’s on the roster. Maybe a change of scenery is all he needs. Maybe.

So that leads me to this thought. If we sigh him, at very WORST, he would be a veteran in camp to get the OL some decent reps that we can cut. At very BEST though, he could be a valuable experienced rotational DT. That ain’t bad. Leave no stone unturned, and just be honest with a signing like this. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, just cut the cord.



Ahmad Bradshaw, RB – Two things. He knows this offense, and he can still play. Yes, he’s got the foot/ankle issues, but so what? It’s not like we’d be expecting him to be “the guy”, just a part of the machine. If he can accept a backup type role to Doug Martin, it does a couple things for us. First, gets Martin some much needed reps catching his breath. Second, we don’t lose much of anything doing that, because Bradshaw is as battle tested and productive a RB as you can find right now. He still has youth on his side, although his contract demands might need to be negotiated….. but I can’t put my finger on why we shouldn’t be having those discussions right now.



LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB/KR – He’s just too versatile to pass up at this point. He can play for small stretches in the backfield, can run, block and catch a few passes. Plus, he’s a pretty good kick returner. Should Jeff Demps decide to keep pursuing other interests at this point, what better foil than a guy who we know can do the same things Demps can do? Contract would have minimum impact, and we can easily afford it.




And lastly, Tight End. Slim pickens at this point. Comes down to letting the group we have prove something, bring back Dallas Clark for another year, or pick up a guy like David Thomas (Saints), Kevin Boss (Chiefs), Dante Rosario (Chargers) or Chris Cooley (Redskins) up off the scrap heap and see what happens. Nothing sounds particularly appetizing at this point, but one of those scenarios will play itself out for us this year.




Given how much I’ve thought about the roster, I’d love to have any of the 4 players signed and in camp, and I’d love to see them all here. This team is shaping up like one that could….. *could*….. be a playoff team.


And that’s exciting.

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Old 05-16-2013, 03:01 AM    (permalink
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To me signing Ellis is a must. He's better than Gary Gibson and Derek Landri. I don't mind our DE's at all Clayborn is a monster when he plays. Bowers looks like he can turn it on this season. It comes down to if the Bucs feel like having two rookies playing heavy snaps if one gets hurt.

I would love if we sign Bradshaw. He would bring that swag to this team. He could be Martin's backup. We need someone else to take the load off. You can't have your RB pounding the rock over 300 times a season. They don't last.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:40 PM    (permalink
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To me signing Ellis is a must. He's better than Gary Gibson and Derek Landri. I don't mind our DE's at all Clayborn is a monster when he plays. Bowers looks like he can turn it on this season. It comes down to if the Bucs feel like having two rookies playing heavy snaps if one gets hurt.

I would love if we sign Bradshaw. He would bring that swag to this team. He could be Martin's backup. We need someone else to take the load off. You can't have your RB pounding the rock over 300 times a season. They don't last.
I pretty much think the opposite, lol. DT is the one place I am not worried about. Gibson/Spence will be fine at NT considering they will see the field less then 50% of the snaps. Landi should be a nice rotational guy as well.
What worries me is DE and it's why I would say getting a quality DE is a must, although I don't see us getting anyone worth a dam at this point. AC is coming off the knee, he should be fine. Bowers is injury prone, but I am hopeful he puts it together this year. We have a bunch of nothing behind them and our starters are potential guys who havn't really proven anything yet.

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Old 05-16-2013, 02:04 PM    (permalink
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To the original post...

Jeff Demps, agreed. This guy is an asset, I don't mind him coming back in October or whatever to return kicks and catch a few screen passes every game. I really hope he suits up this year for us because he is a home run threat everytime he touches the ball.

Passing game, I think Freeman will be more then fine this year but understand
everyones concern and for the sake of this thread will leave it at that, we don't need a tired Freeman debate at this point of the year. The WR's/TE, we don't have a third option in the passing game. Most good teams have 3, hopefully Ogletree or Smith steps up this year. Don't really see us getting much from our TE's. For the Free Agents you listed I would rather bring back Dallas then to sign any of those TE's, and I think Crabtree gives you the same if not more then any of the ones you listed also. Freeny would be a HUGE pickup and I wouldn't mind Bradshaw or S.-Howlings but don't think there is good odds for us picking up any older vets. I could see maybe a guy like Bradshaw not getting a starting gig and deciding to come here because of the Sullivan connection, if he is willing to sign on the cheap of course.

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Old 05-16-2013, 10:47 PM    (permalink
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In that name, I forgot to mention some ages. Freeney is older, at 34, but Stephens-Howling and Bradshaw I believe are both 27 and Ellis is 28. At best, those guys should have 2-4 productive years left, just enough I belive to.... again..... bridge the gap until the FO can draft replacements.


They only SEEM like they're all ancient.
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:03 PM    (permalink
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Seems to me Ellis could be had on the cheap. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing him in for a look. He's not great, but better than Ryan Sims was at any time in his life.

I don't think Landi has the edge over Danny Noble at TE. Noble is bigger, faster, and has already proven he can make the team and contribute. I think he stays.

Two undrafted guys that I think have a fantastic chance of sticking on the roster this year are CB Rashawn Melvin and Deveron Carr. They really fit the mold of what the team is looking for in a CB. Melvin is especially tough in run stopping as well.

It will also be interesting to see what happens with Aaron Morgan. He started coming on late last season and looked good off the edge before he got hurt.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:13 PM    (permalink
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I can not for the life of me figure why would we not bring in Freeney as a 3rd down pass rusher, especially if you know as GM this may be your last year. I am not saying go all out and bring a bunch of decrepit vets but my God, your pass rush was in the bottom 5. I love Clayborn(if you didn't notice my sig) but him returning from energy is going to add 20 sacks to our paltry 26 from last year. Plus Bowers is starting to scare me the more I think about him playing 16 games because including college I think he has only made it through one season in a full time role. Rotation, Rotation, Rotation!

Mark has made some really good moves in tenure but then I don't know if I'm being a greedy fan or giving an unbiased opinion when I say time after time after time success starts up front OL or DL. Our offense was pretty good even when our 2 Pro Bowlers went down offense didn't miss a beat....
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:14 PM    (permalink
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Well Freeney signs with the Chargers so there goes that dream...
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:45 PM    (permalink
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I know. I muttered a "dammit" under my breath when I saw that flash on my news feed.


Still time for the others.


And that's really it. Rotation is the key here. I made that point on the radio the other day with Booger McFarland, and he agreed. We got to have quality depth up front on DL, to keep the energy level high. Just don't think we have that right now.
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:27 AM    (permalink
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It is getting really slim, there is John Abraham but he wants to get starting snaps. Then there is Israel Idonije who puts up decent numbers sack wise but that was hugely in part to the attention Julius Peppers was getting. The problem with the remaining vets who bring some impact on the edge is that they do not want a "reduced" role but with most teams having a starter in place except for Seattle, with the injuries and suspensions, its going to be hard for them to find that. If Melvin Ingram would not of got injured it might have been a couple weeks before Freeney would have signed with a team.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:36 PM    (permalink
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I know. I muttered a "dammit" under my breath when I saw that flash on my news feed.


Still time for the others.


And that's really it. Rotation is the key here. I made that point on the radio the other day with Booger McFarland, and he agreed. We got to have quality depth up front on DL, to keep the energy level high. Just don't think we have that right now.
I don't believe in bringing in overpriced vets to take quality snaps away from the younger, more promising guys we have. Teo-Neisheim proved he is more than capable last season. After a full season under his belt, he'll be even better. Think about how Michael Bennett improved season-to-season. Teo-Neisheim could really flourish. He is quicker than either Bowers or Clayborn and can also slide inside as well. I'm not saying he is the answer, just that he is quality depth. He held up well against the run, and was able to sporadically get to the QB. His season last season reminded me of Michael Bennett's 2011.

Dakoda Watson supposedly got first team nickle reps at DE as well (they said Bowers moved inside). His speed off the edge is extraordinary and whenever he used to go in during nickle situations I would always zero in on him. He caused many pressures and sacks as he is always a threat to threaten the QB's intended pass drop with his speed.

Aaron Morgan showed some flash doing essentially the same as Watson before getting hurt last season. He has a shot at making the final roster.

I know it is far too early to make this judgment, but Steven Means reminds me a little of Jared Allen. He's got good get off, a rangy frame, great motor... Allen is a bit bigger, taller, but Means has some potential. The chances are more likely that he fashions his career after former Buc John McLaughlin, but I'm excited to see him at work.

William Gholston reminds me of Marcus Jones. Like Jones, he isn't very sudden, but has good enough speed to threaten the edge, and terrific brute strength and a remarkable frame. Of course he could end up being the next Kyle Moore, or worse than that, Julian Jenkins... but I think all of the guys on the roster are worthy of trying to find out what we have.

Picking up Abraham wouldn't be wise for a variety of reasons. 1) He'll want more than one season 2) He'll eat up money ($4-5 mil+) 3) With his contract and demands he'll HAVE to start over somebody (Clayborn or Bowers) which will do nothing for their development 4) He hasn't been holding up very well the past few seasons, it will only get worse. He hasn't missed many games, but he's always beat up. He just turned 35.

I'm all for picking up Sedrick Ellis. He's young, he's solid, if he plays up to his potential he could be one of the better DTs in the league. But I'll pass on Abraham, and I would've passed on Freeney as well.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:36 PM    (permalink
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I think all that really applies to John Abraham, and I am with you on that. He's a headache. Though, not that it matters now, but I don't think the same on Freeney. He seems like more a "team guy". He'd likely accept the idea of a rotation....... at least moreso than Abraham ever would.


Still think we're too thin there..... thin and inexperienced.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:00 PM    (permalink
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I look at the Seahawks last year. With the only true every down pass rusher on that team being Clemons. Irvin was a 3rd down guy. And they were 18th in the league in sacks with 36. I think a lot of their sacks came from the great secondary they have. Sometimes that .2 seconds is all you need.

With Clayborn coming back. Bowers fully healthy. McCoy becoming that player. Only thing that I'm scared about is snaps played. We were gassed out at the end of last year. Our D line was number one with starters getting snaps. If you want to make a run at the SB then these big guys need rest
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:11 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by bigbuc View Post
I look at the Seahawks last year. With the only true every down pass rusher on that team being Clemons. Irvin was a 3rd down guy. And they were 18th in the league in sacks with 36. I think a lot of their sacks came from the great secondary they have. Sometimes that .2 seconds is all you need.

With Clayborn coming back. Bowers fully healthy. McCoy becoming that player. Only thing that I'm scared about is snaps played. We were gassed out at the end of last year. Our D line was number one with starters getting snaps. If you want to make a run at the SB then these big guys need rest
They say a great pass rush creates INTs and a great secondary creates sacks. The Seahawks are certainly very good in the secondary last season... perhaps making their pass rush look better than it really was. With the exception of Clemons and Irvin, they really weren't above-average anywhere else rushing the passer last season. I've always liked Brandon Mebane, but he has never been really considered a pass rusher. Red Bryant either. This might be why the team loaded up on pass rushers in free agency (Bennett, Avril) AND the draft.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:23 PM    (permalink
brasho
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Originally Posted by bigbuc View Post
I look at the Seahawks last year. With the only true every down pass rusher on that team being Clemons. Irvin was a 3rd down guy. And they were 18th in the league in sacks with 36. I think a lot of their sacks came from the great secondary they have. Sometimes that .2 seconds is all you need.

With Clayborn coming back. Bowers fully healthy. McCoy becoming that player. Only thing that I'm scared about is snaps played. We were gassed out at the end of last year. Our D line was number one with starters getting snaps. If you want to make a run at the SB then these big guys need rest
Schiano mentioned Teo-Neisheim specifically in an interview recently and raved about him making plays and being an integral part last season. I don't think the Bucs will hesitate to get him back in there. Again, I see many similarities between him and Bennett... only instead of being an UDFA we acquired on waivers, DTN was a 3rd round pick we acquired on waivers.

In Bennett's first two seasons he managed 2 career sacks and then in his 3rd, he started 10 games and played in 14 and got 4.

In DTN's first two seasons he managed 1 career sacks and then in his 3rd, he started 9 games and played in 15 and got 4 sacks as well.

At the age of 26, Bennett entered his 4th season and notched 9 sacks.

DTN will enter his 4th season at the age of 26 and... After some research, I found another way they are alike... They are both born in November, one on November 13th, the other on November 30th. Not exactly twilight zone stuff here, but it's slow at work and I'm bored and I'm trying to be optimistic.

That being said, I think DTN is quite a bit faster while Bennett was quite a bit stronger though they didn't play too dissimiliar in their styles.
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