May 16, 2013 at 02:05am by Scott • 1 Comment »
The Bucs have been busy signing their draft picks to contracts and currently have their last four picks taken care of. Only Johnthan Banks and Mike Glennon remain unsigned, but seeing as how there’s not a lot to negotiate over and neither of them are going to hold out and go back into the draft next year, the Bucs probably aren’t sweating it.
In other news about not sweating it, Darrelle Revis will apparently not attend OTAs with the team, but he will be at One Buc getting rehab for his knee.
Considering how heavily the Bucs are expected to lean on Revis this season, his absence during offseason practices raises questions about how seamlessly he can be integrated with his new team. Essentially, the man who is expected to be the most vital member of the defense won’t join his teammates on the field until the first day of training camp, at the earliest.
All these questions were raised by the Bucs when they traded for Revis because they knew he wouldn’t be ready right away. And as Stephen Holder points out in the article, Revis’s main responsibility will be to lock up a receiver one-on-one. Regardless of how complicated Greg Schiano’s defense is, it won’t make Revis’s job much harder and the learning curve won’t be anything he can’t handle.
May 13, 2013 at 01:35am by Scott • 5 Comments »
The Bucs held a rookie minicamp sometime in the last month or so. I’m pretty sure it was last week, but the Bucs’ draft was full of relatively anonymous players and I’ve been busy. What, you don’t have a calendar? Pirelli makes more than just tires, you know. Here’s the condensed version of what happened at the camp:
Johnthan Banks: Was on a separate field from the media and no one could tell what he was doing most of the time. Lined up at right CB on Day 2.
Mike Glennon: Big arm, very smart, sporadically accurate, started camp fumbling snaps from center.
Akeem Spence: Strong and fast, needs help with footwork.
William Gholston: Practices hard, has nasty streak, hot and cold practice but a lot of raw potential, played at DT and DE.
Steven Means: Easily overpowered, had relatively poor practice, hard worker.
Mike James: Out of view.
There were a ton of tryout players an undrafted free agents on the field for the minicamp, too. The Bucs wound up signing four. In alphabetical order:
WR Jheranie Boyd (North Carolina): Physically gifted, injury history
OT Jace Daniels (Northern Michigan): Another project tackle, strong.
WR Chris Denton (Mount Union): Projected return man, productive in DIII.
DE Ka’llal Glaud (Rutgers): Went to Rutgers, also plays LB, went to Rutgers.
To make room for the new guys, the team cut three players you didn’t know existed and George Selvie, who seems to have a soft spot in Bucs’ fans hearts since he went to USF.
May 09, 2013 at 02:20am by Scott • 7 Comments »
This post was actually supposed to be about the rookie training camp and how everyone looked, but obviously there was news bigger than what a handful of rookies did without pads today.
Ronde Barber, 38, decided Wednesday it’s time to ride off into the sunset, ending a 16-year NFL career many believe will be immortalized one day in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The writing was pretty much on the wall when the team signed Dashon Goldson, ending Ronde’s brief starting stint at safety. And then it was all but certain when they drafted Johnthan Banks and kept Eric Wright. So it’s not too much of a surprise at this point that Ronde is retiring, and I can’t feel sad about it. He’s leaving on his own terms and still able to play at a high level, which is infinitely better than watching him slowly limp into irrelevance as we have seen so many others do (don’t make me name them).
It is kind of a bummer that he is the last link to the Super Bowl team and there are no more grizzled veterans to take over his leadership role. The longest-tenured player on the team now is Vincent Jackson, and while I understand he is an excellent teammate and a good leader, he isn’t that dyed-in-the-wool Buccaneer that we had gotten accustomed to seeing. Josh Freeman and Gerald McCoy are the next two guys you think of when you think of team leaders who are purebred Bucs. And just being drafted high doesn’t earn them what Ronde earned with his 16 years of consistent excellence and occasional awesomeness. Nope, there is definitely a gap in this team now. I’m confident someone will step up to fill it.
Three or four years ago, I would never have thought Ronde did enough to get into the Hall of Fame. Now I’m not so sure. Every year for the last few, I kept looking for him to slow down and start becoming a liability, and he never did. But his game was never based on superior athleticism, it was all about smarts and instincts, and that doesn’t fade. He knew where the play was going and he attacked it week after week, year after year. But even though his game wasn’t about the physical, he didn’t mind the physicality. He racked up 28 sacks and 1,428 tackles, the latter being the second-best in franchise history. We’ve gotten used to those kinds of numbers because we’ve been watching him for 16 years, but that’s really unusual for a cornerback. I don’t know that he’s a shoe-in for the Hall, but I think the selection committee will give him serious consideration. As they should.
Good luck, Ronde. Please don’t go far.
May 06, 2013 at 02:21am by Scott • 4 Comments »
The Bucs went with their second defensive end in a row by picking Steven Means out of Buffalo. And if you tell me you knew who he was before the draft, you’re a liar. Here’s his highlight tape.
If the Bucs wanted another defensive end, Brandon Jenkins (Florida State) was still on the board and is a much better prospect, although he had a foot injury that maybe Mark Dominik wasn’t comfortable with. Also, the Bucs used their sixth round pick on running back Mike James out of Miami. But Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State) was still on the board in the fifth and seemed like a better pick at running back than James. They are two completely different runners, so maybe the Bucs needed a thicker, heavier back like James (or they could have kept LeGarrette Blount, but everyone is tired of hearing me beat that horse) to compliment Doug Martin. James will pass protect and contribute on special teams if he makes the teams, but Michael Smith is faster and Brian Leonard is better, so it may be the practice squad for him.
Oh yeah, I didn’t cover the Blount trade. The Bucs traded LeGarrette Blount to the Patriots for Jeff Demps and a seventh-round pick, which they used to move up and get James. The reason the Patriots were fine getting rid of Demps is because he is committed to running track during training camp and possibly some of the preseason.
With the track season extending through the summer, Demps might not be in position to participate in much of the Bucs’ offseason program or even training camp. The last major event, the world championships in Moscow, are Aug. 10-18. So it’s conceivable Demps, 23, could return in time to play in the regular season.
As a track guy, Demps is obviously fast and had some success at Florida. But he’s no Bo Jackson and the whole two-sport thing is reserved for elite athletes. Still, as the story goes, Dominik basically got his rights for free since he was willing to give up Blount for only the seventh-rounder anyway. The Bucs need a decent returner and if Demps is limited to that role (which I’m assuming doesn’t require a ton of practice time), that may work out well for them.
Overall, it was a decent draft but it didn’t blow me away. I like the Banks pick and think they addressed some needs, but thought they could have made some better value picks in the lower rounds. The Glennon pick is a head-scratcher since he’s not really good enough to challenge Josh Freeman, but he was picked high enough that they’re going to hold onto him for a while. If the Bucs part ways with Freeman after this season, they’ll probably still have to give up a high pick in 2014 to draft a good one or trade for one. Everyone else has potential at their various positions, and with Mark Dominik’s track record, he probably found some hidden gems in the lower rounds.
May 03, 2013 at 02:00am by Scott • 4 Comments »
The Bucs had a second fourth rounder that they got from the Patriots in the Aqib Talib trade and they spent it on William Gholston (Michigan State), a defensive end and the cousin of Vernon Gholston, a huge draft bust by the Jets. William is 6-7, 281 and by all accounts a physical specimen, but has poor technique and footwork and generally has only one move — a speed rush. But as a late fourth round pick, he is a lump of clay to be molded. And you’d rather have a muscular lump to work with than, well, a lumpy lump.
This was probably the best pick they could make at this slot. Jesse Williams (Alabama) was a good DT still on the board, but they already got a DT on their previous pick. Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech) was a wide receiver of some acclaim and could have added to the competition at that position, but the Bucs signed about a dozen wide receivers already in free agency. If they really wanted to roll the dice, Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina) was also there and could have been a value pick if he totally healed from his gruesome knee injury last season. But overall, this was about the best they could have done.
May 02, 2013 at 01:04am by Scott • 3 Comments »
In the fourth round, the Bucs picked up DT Akeem Spence, a guy out of Illinois that I don’t know anything about. Mike Mayock called him a “weight room warrior”, which isn’t exactly a complement since he also said he didn’t always see that strength on the field. I watched about ten snaps just now and he seems to have decent feet for a big guy but doesn’t get off of large guards all that well. He played for three years in college and had a total of 3.5 sacks, but that’s not a huge deal since he was surely drafted as a nose tackle. His job will be to consume double teams, which he will be able to do if he can convert that workout strength into something useful.
The Bucs needed to replace Roy Miller, but there were better prospects on the board. They seemingly never have enough defensive ends and Alex Okafor (Texas) was still available. I liked him as a work-hard lunch bucket DE like Michael Bennett. He had 12.5 sacks last year and even missed a game with a tweaked ankle. That would have been my guy.
This pick doesn’t bother me and I think the competition is thin enough at NT for Spence to win the starting job as a rookie if the Bucs don’t bring anyone else in. I just think the pick could have been spent better.
April 30, 2013 at 12:50am by Scott • 10 Comments »
With their third round pick, the Bucs took quarterback Mike Glennon out of NC State. I knew Mike from his season opener against Tennessee in 2012 (which the Volunteers won, by the way (although they didn’t win many more after that)) and thought he had a great arm but poor accuracy and limited pocket presence. He’s a good leader and is clean off the field, but I honestly didn’t think this was a good value for this pick for what he brings to the table. I’ve heard the comparisons to Joe Flacco and I guess I see the height and arm strength (Flacco still has the better arm) similarities, but Flacco was always more accurate. Glennon reminds me more of Derek Anderson, which makes him a solid backup, but no threat to Josh Freeman.
John Jenkins (Georgia) was still on the board and could have been a good NT to replace Roy Miller. Dallas Thomas (Tennessee) was also available and would have provided solid competition at RT. If the Bucs wanted to improve on Dan Orlovsky, Glennon may eventually be that guy. But I wouldn’t trust a game to him in 2013.
As long as I’m talking about quarterbacks, let me answer the “Why didn’t Tyler Bray get drafted?” question. It definitely surprised me. I thought he had a fifth-round value but that some team would overdraft him because teams overdraft quarterbacks every year. Not this year. They saw that the crop of quarterbacks was subpar and they stuck to their boards. Good for them, but tough for the kid who declared for the draft knowing that teams always pay a premium for a big arm. But Bray is a known jackass. Nothing terrible — mostly college prank stuff — but he doesn’t handle adversity on the field well, either, and that’s the dealbreaker. So the guy who probably had the best arm in the draft went unselected and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chiefs. He should have stayed in school. Everyone knew it, except apparently him and his agent.
April 29, 2013 at 02:04am by Scott • 9 Comments »
Now that the draft has been over for a day, I think we have enough data to grade how the Bucs did. Most analysts say they can’t assign a grade to a draft for at least three years, but those people clearly aren’t trying hard enough. Of course, since it’s almost 2:00AM and I really should have turned this computer off hours ago, we’ll just go one pick at a time and sum the whole thing up at the end of the week.
The Bucs’ second-round pick was cornerback Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State. I swore I wrote about Banks in a previous entry, but I just did a search and he doesn’t come up, so I’ll assume it was my early onset dementia. I liked Banks for a couple years and thought he had done enough to warrant a first-round grade. Others didn’t think so, and I think the Bucs got a good value for this pick. And as we discussed last week, they needed another starting-caliber corner. They have enough late-rounders and undrafted free agents in the secondary that they can “groom” if they like, but they really needed someone who could come in and play opposite Darrelle Revis right away. The only knock against him is his speed, and 4.55 is plenty fast enough.
The Bucs still have a couple talented corners who actually have starting experience that can fight for nickel and dime packages in case Ronde Barber doesn’t come back. But a starting secondary of Revis, Banks, Barron and Goldson is a huge improvement over what they had a year ago. They set out to fix the worst pass defense in the league and (at least on paper), they took major steps to doing it. This was a great pick at a good slot for them.
April 25, 2013 at 02:05am by Scott • 12 Comments »
Just because the Bucs traded away their first round pick doesn’t mean you should spend tomorrow evening huffing paint out of a tube sock and then playing mailbox baseball. Of course, it doesn’t not mean that, either. But before that, you should start paying attention to the draft sometime in the 20s to see if the Bucs trade back into the end of the first round, which they are rumored to be considering.
“You get a little antsy, but we’ve already gone through scenarios,” Dominik said. “Who are the guys you’d consider going to get depending on how far they drop? Here’s what it takes. We’ve gone through a lot of (debates) that way.”
It sounds crazy, but I could see the Bucs taking Desmond Trufant (Washington), another corner who excels in man coverage. They need another starting corner and Trufant has all the skills to play on an island like Darrelle Revis does. Imagine the other team’s two best receivers being taken away every week. Trufant, Revis, Barron and Goldson would be the starting secondary. And if Ronde comes back, he would play nickel corner again. And with a healthy Clayborn and Bowers rushing from the edges and David patrolling the weakside, that’s a pretty impressive defensive machine.
According to the article, the trade chart says the Bucs’ second and third round picks would get them up to #27, and Trufant may still be there then. The trade chart is pretty meaningless these days, but that still sounds about right. I’d be comfortable with that move. Then the Bucs don’t pick again until the fourth round, but the most glaring weakness from last season, the secondary, would be completely taken care of as long as Revis’s ACL holds out (no pun).
I won’t be around at the beginning of the draft, but I’ll be on Twitter later in the evening if anyone wants to hang out and make fun of the other teams.
April 23, 2013 at 02:01am by Scott • 12 Comments »
I’ve had some time to digest the Darrelle Revis trade and am a little more at peace with it now that I know the details. And now that it’s already done and there’s nothing I can do about it. I love a good bandwagon.
But in all seriousness, this could turn out pretty good. The deal was for the Bucs’ 2013 first and their 2014 third (as long as he is still on the roster by the third day of the 2014 league year which he definitely will be unless legs actually fall off before then). This year’s first is steep at #13 and don’t let anyone tell you different. Revis himself was picked #14 a few years ago, so it’s a calculated risk by Mark Dominik to trade for a player who he knows has elite talent but is also a known injury risk and holdout risk as opposed to an unknown commodity on almost every level except raw physical ability. And Dominik mitigated his risk further by structuring Revis’s contract so that every year he was essentially on a one-year deal with NO guaranteed money. And Dominik paid Revis $16-million per year for six years. What’s Revis really ever going to hold out for? There’s very little incentive for Revis to ever act a fool and hold out, so my concern about that part of the deal is assuaged.
And honestly, this is a weak draft. If Dominik was going to pull this trade, this was the year to do it. There are some good players this year, don’t get me wrong. But a first round right tackle or nose tackle wasn’t going to make the same impact as a superstar corner.
The only issue is the knee. Revis didn’t discuss his rehab or how his knee is progressing, saying only that he’s working as hard as he can. But if the knee is good enough for Dominik, I suppose it should be good enough for me. And it needs to be good enough for Dominik since he’s pretty much betting his job and his legacy with the team on it. If Revis re-tears his ACL in week one, Dominik may never live it down, especially if whoever is selected at #13 is doing well. If Revis does well and the pass defense improves, no one will remember the former busts and bad signings. It’s a big gamble, but it’s a whole lot more exciting than signing a street free agent. So at the very least, thanks to Dominik for making this offseason interesting finally. For all you Bucs fans, this is what you’ve been waiting for — a secondary that doesn’t suck. And for all you non-Bucs fans, you read this nonsense all the way to the bottom? Seriously?