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Posts Tagged ‘michael bennett2’

Catching Up With Actual Bucs News

March 10, 2013 at 11:59pm by Scott   •  7 Comments »

And if that doesn't scare you, wait until you see all the tattoos on his head.
Several things have been going on with the Bucs over the last few days, so just like a typical blogger, I’m going to give you the news several days after it all happened and with the added benefit of being unfunny and completely uninsightful. And apparently not smart, either, since my spellcheck just said “uninsightful” isn’t a word. But it also doesn’t like “Bucs”, so maybe it’s not completely my fault.

The Bucs re-signed LeGarrette Blount without having to use a restricted tag on him, which is great since they actually paid him less than a second-round tender would have gotten him. Blount has shown he can be an effective back when he is used the right way. And by “the right way”, I mean lowering his head and destroying smaller linebackers. Free agent running backs and hit and miss (anyone remember Derrick Ward?) but they know what they have in Blount and it was worth $1.75-million on a one-year deal to them to hold on to him. Good move.

Despite reports that the Bucs weren’t sure if they wanted to bring Ronde Barber back, the Bucs have said they want to bring him back. Which is why anonymous “reports” almost always suck. Barber spends time hemming and hawing (no spell check there? Seriously?) every year and always comes back, and there’s no reason to think he won’t come back again. Until his level of play drops to where you see him on the field and just know he’s going to be out of position (this is known as “The Sabby Syndrome”), he’s better than most options out there. It may seem counterintuitive to think that the league’s worst pass defense should keep anyone from last year, but I don’t think Ronde was the problem. Like everyone else, he missed some plays, but he was generally effective and it just seems wrong to cut him before he’s totally worthless.

Michael Bennett won’t be returning to the Bucs. The team plans to start Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn as their defensive ends and that doesn’t leave any room for another starting-caliber player. At least not one who wants to play. Seems pretty dangerous to me to put all their eggs in the baskets of players who have missed significant time due to injury. Bowers may have a higher ceiling than Bennett, but Bennett is always on the field and led the Bucs in sacks last season. It’s a numbers game and the Bucs are making their choice, but they better invest significantly in depth at defensive end this offseason.

One of the players they may invest in is John Abraham. There’s apparently no report about actual interest; just Florio speculating. Abraham will be 35 when the season starts but still put up ten sacks last season and has been really consistent throughout his career. He hasn’t missed any significant time since 2006, so maybe he’s the depth the Bucs are looking for. When Clayborn or Bowers gets hurt (and one of them will), Abraham can step in and be effective. He’ll have other options, but this wouldn’t be a bad pickup. He won’t command an elite price, but he’ll be somewhat expensive. The Bucs may have to convince him that being a backup isn’t so bad, and one way to do that is to pay him almost-starter money.

So there you go. I cleared out the inbox that had been piling up and actually got an entry posted. And if you’re wondering about the clickys, sorry, I haven’t really been in a clicky mood this week. And look, you survived. Hey, some anticipation builds character. I’ll see what next week brings.

Defensive Line Will Look Different In 2013

March 01, 2013 at 01:21am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

This is how Michael Bennett flies away from Tampa.
So here’s the situation with the defensive line. The Bucs and Roy Miller have stopped negotiating and Miller will head into free agency.

“Roy is excited to see what’s out there for him in free agency,” said his agent, Mike McCartney. “He has a lot to offer after an excellent season, helping a team that was last against the run (in 2011) go to No. 1 against the run last season.”

And the Bucs will not be using the franchise tag on Michael Bennett (or anyone for that matter) and there has been no word of progress on an extension for him. So, the Bucs could be without two of their four starting defensive linemen this season because, hey, when you’ve got the #1 rushing defense in the league, the only way to get better is to switch everything around. Or something.

Miller had a good season and I thought he was getting better, but his departure isn’t going to make me too upset. They need a big, strong guy in the middle to clog everything up and give the linebackers room to work, but they can probably find another one of those at a reasonable price. But Bennett is the team’s leading sacker over the last two years, is still improving and is still young. There may be some good guys that get cut, but that’s a hell of a chance to take. Who is better that has an expiring contract? Michael Johnson? He’s probably a better athlete but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s a better player. Osi Umenyiora? The Bucs would be stupid to replace Bennett with a player over 30. The only explanation I’ve got is that they really like Da’Quan Bowers (pending gun charges and all) and they already know Adrian Clayborn is going to be on the right side, so there’s not really room for Bennett. And hey, quality depth on the defensive line is overrated anyway. When have the Bucs ever really been short of good players on the line? I don’t think it has ever happened.

D-Line Stars Haven’t Played Together

January 29, 2013 at 12:40am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

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At first I thought this fun fact was an interesting tidbit that maybe shed some light on why the pass rush just wasn’t getting there.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik has a dream. In it, he sees defensive linemen Michael Bennett, Gerald McCoy, DaQuan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn all getting after the passer on the same third down.

“We never had those four players playing together at the same time – ever,” he said. “And whether that’s us being snakebit or whatever, it’s still an important thing that just didn’t happen.”

But that’s three defensive ends, right? Bennett swings to tackle sometimes, but it seems like you’d want a bigger guy on the field (you know, like a nose tackle) when McCoy is playing his standard 3-technique. I guess offensive alignments might dictate that you’d want four lean, fast guys on the field some time, but that would be a rare thing. Now if all four of those guys have never been healthy at the same time, that’s a different complaint. But Dominik’s take almost seems like saying that they’ve never had Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount on the field at the same time. Which I’d actually like to see once. I know Erik Lorig is a good fullback, but one time I’d like to see Blount grating the road for Martin. There would be pieces of linebacker marking the path for Martin to follow.

REAR ENTRIES: Less Is Still More

December 14, 2012 at 12:44am by Scott   •  12 Comments »

rearentry156

16-TEAM PLAYOFFS: It seems that some of the local Tampa media trolls have finally started agreeing with me on some of the various football controversies lately I have to believe that, because the only other explanation for why I find myself nodding (and not because I’m falling asleep) while reading some of their articles is that I’m the one agreeing with them, and seppuku looks like it hurts a lot so I don’t need that to be true. The latest is Gary Shelton, who takes the position that 12 teams in the NFL playoffs is plenty.

I’m not saying that the playoffs are like holidays, but in a perfect world, they would come with their own reindeer.

Did I mention he makes his point in the dumbest way possible?

Most fans seem to agree that too many teams make the NHL and NBA playoffs. Most seem to believe there are too many bowl games. Some baseball purists howled when an extra wild-card team was added a year ago. When college football finally agreed on a playoff system, it was careful to set the number at four teams. Anything more would have devalued the regular season.

If half of a league makes the playoffs, how exclusive can they be? Plus, and I mean this sincerely, by the time the Super Bowl is over, I’m pretty glad football is done. I enjoy the offseason, too. I enjoy the combine and the draft prep and the the draft and the free agency period and the minicamps. Because my team is generally not in the Super Bowl and I’m ready for every team to be 0-0 again and for my team to have a shot again. And the longer they drag it out, the more I have to see Tom Brady and no one wants that.

BENNETT WANTS TO GO TO THE PRO BOWL: News flash! Michael Bennett thinks he should go to the Pro Bowl, which gives him something in common with about 90% of the league. They all think they should go to the Pro Bowl. But somehow, Bennett is getting more attention for it.

When Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett sacked Eagles quarterback Nick Foles for the second time Sunday, he sprang up off the ground and broke into a hula dance.

“I was definitely being direct, trying to send a message, with that dance,” Bennett said, “because I know that, statistically at least, I’m right there with any other defensive end.”

I’ve seen this done before after sacks and touchdowns by different players for years. It’s not a big deal. So why is it being reported everywhere?

Bennett will have a hard time making the Pro Bowl. He may do it as an alternate and get to go when someone drops out, but that would be it. He doesn’t have the name recognition yet, and that’s more important than skill for the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl has turned into a joke anyway. They used to do skills competitions but those have gone away. Most of the television coverage I see of the Pro Bowl is of Rich Eisen doing softball interviews and mugging for the camera more than Bill Cosby on meth. Man, Eisen used to be the best on TV. I guess you can take the man off ESPN, but you can’t take the ESPN out of the man. Anyway, the Pro Bowl itself is a ridiculous display of not-give-a-shit on the field. Sean Taylor is the only thing that made it cool in the last ten years.

Just take the family to Hawaii in the offseason, Mike. You’ll have a better time and won’t degrade yourself for the camera when you feel obligated to laugh at one of Eisen’s pop culture foibles. Get it? Because he’s a silly little Jewish nerd interviewing a great big athlete. Oh the absurdity!

Those went kind of long, so just two today. But you still get a full length clicky.

Bowers Back To Practice

October 17, 2012 at 03:46pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Just like the original players to wear those uniforms, Bowers will not be performing this week.
Da’Quan Bowers started practicing again today and the Bucs have three weeks to evaluate him before deciding to put him on the active roster or put him up for adoption. Or whatever the other option is.

As to what ultimately will determine whether Bowers is ready for game action, the Bucs’ 2011 second-round pick said he’s first looking for “consistency. I just want to be consistent with everything. The playbook, the plays, taking coaching, conditioning and most of all, my Achilles. It’s just all about how that thing feels.”

So what if it feels great and Bowers is ready to return? The surprising rise of Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and the not surprising standout play of Michael Bennett this season gives the Bucs the flexibility not to rush Bowers back on the field or use him sparingly. I don’t remember Bowers playing much at right end, so Bennett would probably have to come off the field (or kick inside to DT which I hate) in order for Bowers to get some playing time. And we want Bennett on the field all the time right now. I’d take all three weeks and then activate him and cut a linebacker since they’ve got eight of them. Like Markus White, for example. I should probably pay closer attention because I’ve never heard of him and he’s on the active roster. So yeah, cut him.

Brady Quinn Makes Historic Start

October 10, 2012 at 07:04pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Don't know how I could have thought otherwise.

According to the Romeo Crennel, Matt Cassel may not be able to start the game against the Bucs due to a concussion. This leaves former first-round quarterback and first openly gay active NFL player Brady Quinn as the starter for Sunday. What a day for gay rights!

What? Seriously? Even with that hair? Huh, go figure.

“He hasn’t started a game in a while, but he’s played in the league, he understands what it takes to run an offense and run a team,” Crennel said in a conference call with Tampa Bay media. “And I think he’s been preparing his whole time in the league and many times, as he always says, he’s always been one play away. And so if it’s determined that he gets the next play as he did on Sunday… I think he’s going to operate the offense efficiently.”

That’s a whole lot of words to say very little, so that makes me think Romeo is a bit nervous to start Brady against the Bucs. But Brady should take a little comfort in the fact that he probably won’t get rushed from the edges too much. The Bucs have exactly three defensive ends on their roster. Michael Bennett is obviously the best of the three, so he’s likely going to see a lot of extra chipping and some double teams. We may see more of Dekoda Watson than we have so far this season since he has been known to rush from the edge in the past. But it’s a shallow defensive end bench right now. The defensive tackle are really going to have to collapse that pocket and make Brady uncomfortable up the middle. And I would have had a great joke for that last sentence if I hadn’t just learned what I learned.

King Goes To Bucs Camp (Nom Nom)

August 10, 2012 at 12:22am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

king2
Peter King is making his way around the country this offseason, visiting various team camps, and eating things.

In the Bucs’ cafeteria, the PR staff put Team SI (We’re on the SI-EvoShield Training Camp Trip, with a party of five) in a side room so we could grill Josh Freeman. And grill a turkey burger. I had the grilled turkey burger on a wheat roll with raw onion, lettuce and tomato (B-plus), along with a mixed salad with balsamic (C; the lettuce was a tad on the other side of ripe), and a bottle of fruit punch G2. Grade: B. Freeman rather enjoyed his healthy meal, led by turkey, lettuce and tomato on whole-wheat bread, with red beans and rice.

Of course King’s biggest complaint is about the only green item on his plate. He’s just pissed because he couldn’t drown in it a quart of ranch dressing since the menus at NFL training camps are healthy and scone-free. And this comes after bitching about the oatmeal a couple years ago. Someone give him a flask for Christmas so he can keep some drawn butter in it and leave these team chefs the fuck alone.

Oh, and King had a couple opinions about Bucs football, too.

3. I’m not too optimistic about Da’Quan Bowers playing football after his May Achilles tear. He’s on the PUP list, and the Bucs say they’re cautiously confident he can play sometime this year. But really — how likely, or smart, is it that a speed-rush player would be ready to play football six or seven months after Achilles surgery? Looks like Adrian Clayborn will get more attention than the Bucs had hoped from offensive protections, because there’s no other pass rusher in-house who will scare foes.

Keep an eye on Michael Bennett. He’s going to start at left end and he’s going to make some offensive coordinators take notice.

The pass rush and secondary will be vital to keeping the Bucs in games this year, because I don’t know how many shootouts they’re going to win.

Remember that, folks. Eight of the eleven players on the defense will be vital this year. You can’t get analysis like that just anywhere.

This Ain’t Your Old Coach’s Camp

August 08, 2012 at 06:10pm by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Greg Schiano explains that if you pass out on the field, he will kick you out of the way and continue with practice.
Buccaneers players who had enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of Camp Morris last year with its valet parking and on-field concierge are getting worn down by the grind of Camp Schiano and its padded wind sprints and lack of on-field benches. Oh yes, things are different around One Buc this year.

“I’m not trying to be a hard guy or anything, because we will (take the pads off) eventually,” Schiano said. “But as I tell (the players) I want to make sure we’re ready (for the regular season opener against Carolina) Sept. 9.

“I want to make sure we’re feeling good and ready to play. Right now we’re building a foundation for our 2012 team and part of that foundation is built through suffering together.”

“WINNING THROUGH SUFFERING”. I’d buy that T-shirt.

(Speaking of which, I need three more Bucstats T-shirt orders to place the order with my vendor. BUY MY STUFF!)

Tired and sore, the Bucs battled through a workout at One Buc Place on Tuesday that was rife with mistakes such as dropped balls and missed assignments, but there is no rest for the weary on the horizon.

There is such a thing as running your players so hard that it becomes counterproductive, but with the best trainers and medical staff money can buy in the building and a history of being undisciplined to overcome, fuck it. They’ll live. It’s not like they can get worse. I mean, I guess mathematically they can get four games worse, but that’s not a realistic possibility, is it?

Not everyone looked tired. Defensive end Michael Bennett, who missed a couple of days with an unspecified ailment, was back at work for the second straight day and drew raves for his performance.

And that’s the way it will be for everyone else. They’ll get a couple days off and get refreshed and still be used to the head and the pace, which is what Schiano wants. By the first regular season game, even if they’re not perfect, they’ll be disciplined, assignment-sound and tough, which makes for a good foundation.

REAR ENTRIES: Finish It

March 21, 2012 at 12:14pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Rear Entry 119

TALIB’S TRIAL PUSHED BACK: Aqib Talib‘s trial in Texas was supposed to begin yesterday but was pushed back because he prosecutor’s wife is expecting a baby next week. Is it really going to take a week to finish this? Some asshole got pistol-whipped and there were only a couple people in the room. How many surprise witnesses does he think he’s going to call? Pfft, a real lawyer could be done with it in three days.

MICHAEL BENNETT SIGNS TENDER: This happened last week but if your name wasn’t Peyton Manning, no one gave a shit what you did. But other people are allowed to make news now and I can tell you that Michael Bennett signed his RFA tender and is locked up for 2012.

Bennett, 26, had a breakout season in 2011 playing mostly left defensive end. He registered four sacks in 14 games (10 starts), but was among the defense’s most consistent players during one of the franchise’s worst defensive seasons. His ability to play both the run and pass is valued by coaches, as is his flexibility. Bennett has played extensively at defensive tackle on passing downs, despite being just 274 pounds.

I like Bennett a lot and thought it was smart to put the first-round tender on him. The competition between him and Da’Quan Bowers should be a good one

IF YOU WANT A LINEBACKER…: Yesterday, the Texans traded MLB DeMeco Ryans to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick and a swap of third-round picks (which turns out to be less than a fourth-round pick). Ryans may not have had his best season last year, but he was one of the better middle linebackers in the league. He was the defensive rookie of the year in 2006, is a strong locker room leader, the quarterback of the defense, a Pro Bowler and still young. I guess the Texans wanted his salary off their books, but he was only going to count $5.9-million this season and that includes whatever pro-rated bonuses he had already been paid, so it will likely be less for the Eagles. If Curtis Lofton was too expensive for the Bucs’ tastes, they should have looked into this.

The good news is that the Bucs are still interested in Lofton, and he’s still out there.

Don’t think for a second the Bucs have lost interest in Curtis Lofton. They want him at their price, but make no mistake — they want him.

It can get done, Mark Dominik. Put the cherry on this excellent free agent cake you’ve already made.

Bennett Gets Tendered, Plus Some DT Talk

March 08, 2012 at 09:47am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

So much cooler than Cam Newton's weak-ass Superman thing.
Michael Bennett is a restricted free agent, and that’s as far as his association with free agency will go this season. The Bucs slapped a first-round tender on Bennett yesterday, meaning that while Bennett will be free to negotiate with other teams next week, the Bucs will have the right of first-refusal in matching any offer he gets. And if they don’t match it, the other team will have to give up a first-round pick to the Bucs to sign Bennett. And that just isn’t going to happen. Despite a couple highlights during prime time, Bennett is still under the radar in the NFL. And that’s good for the Bucs.

It’s a great move to keep a good, versatile player on the defensive line. The starters on that line are likely going to be the first and second round draft picks from the past two years, but they need to retain some of the quality depth they have. Along with Bennett, they’ll have Roy Miller, Frank Okam, George Johnson and Tim Crowder under contract, all solid players. Plus they already have some camp meat under contract. Seems like they have the defensive line taken care of.

The thing is that this draft is pretty deep at defensive tackle. And Mark Dominik knows how to take advantage of a draft’s strengths. No DT is worth the #5 overall pick and I don’t see the Bucs trading down, but I could see them spending their second, third or fourth rounder on a DT. A guy like Kendall Reyes (UConn) might work. He’s moving pretty quickly up the draft boards because of his good combine, but he’ll still be available in the second round (possibly the third given the depth of the position). Great athleticism, but needs technique coaching. He’s not necessarily a penetrator and would probably play nose and give Miller some competition. Or if the Bucs wait until the late rounds to go after some DT depth, they could look at Akiem Hicks (Regina). Yes, I said he went to the University of Regina, which is in Saskatchewan (it’s in Canada — look it up you lazy shits). Hicks started off at Sacramento Community College but transferred to LSU. The trouble was that he may have (read: definitely) accepted money from the school, making him ineligible. So he transferred again to Regina where he has been playing the Canadian game. He had a fantastic East-West Shrine Game (got off the ball really fast) and has all the measurables. He’s a project, but could develop into some solid depth with a year or two of NFL coaching.