Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs favor speed over size on defense

TAMPA — The Bucs hope to make 2014 very different from 2013 in many ways, but one interesting change looks to be a smaller, faster front seven.

Speed on defense is a trademark of coach Lovie Smith, and depth chart analysis by philly.com had the Bucs with the second-lightest front seven in the NFL — the lightest, if you correctly move tackle Clinton McDonald into the starting lineup.

The Super Bowl champion Seahawks have the sixth-lightest front seven in the rankings, with the Colts and 49ers, two other playoff teams last season, also among the eight lightest.

Though the Bucs have 13 offensive linemen listed at 300 pounds or more, they have just one defensive player above 300, second-year tackle Akeem Spence (307). Compare that to the Ravens, who have three tackles over 335, and the Jets, who have three over 345.

The Bucs' slimmer look comes as the rest of the NFC South invests in bulk. Carolina started 2013 first-round draft pick Star Lotulelei in every game last season at tackle at 315 pounds. The Saints used a third-round pick last year on 359-pound John Jenkins, and the Falcons gave a $33 million ($14 million guaranteed) free agent deal to veteran Paul Soliai, who weighs 340.

Choosing speed over size appears to be the Bucs' preference. One of the most intriguing names in this summer's supplemental draft is Lakendrick Ross, a tackle who checks in at 6 feet 5, 360 pounds. He played at Virginia-Lynchburg, where the Bucs found undrafted rookie corner Keith Lewis, and has a local agent, Brandon's Glen Lansky.

Just the same, as of Thursday, the Bucs were one of just four teams that hadn't contacted Lansky about Ross, who will work out for scouts Monday and is likely to go to a 3-4 defense as a run-stopper.

GOOD MODEL: It's no coincidence that Bucs rookie WR Mike Evans is working out in Miami with Bears WR Brandon Marshall. Evans (6-5, 231) is often compared to Marshall (6-4, 230), who played for Smith in his final season with the Bears and finished in the NFL's top five in catches, yards and touchdown catches.

Marshall worked with Bucs QB Josh McCown last season, combining with 6-3 Alshon Jeffery for one of the league's best 1-2 receiver combos. And Evans will seek the same "Twin Towers" magic with the 6-5 Vincent Jackson this fall.

NEW LOOK: After Saints star Jimmy Graham lost an arbitration ruling last week in his effort to be franchise-tagged as a receiver for compensation instead of a tight end, Bucs rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins jokingly changed his Twitter bio to say he is a "WR" and not a "TE." Part of the arbitrator's explanation for his decision was that Graham identified himself as a tight end on his Twitter page. Browns star Cameron Jordan, in line for a new contract and with a similar issue as Graham, changed his Twitter bio to "Pro Bowl pass catcher."

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

The dust has settled from another NFL draft, and Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made three promotions in his scouting department as a new year of player evaluation begins.Byron Kiefer, entering his 14th season with the Bucs and fourth as a nati...
Updated: 9 hours ago
NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

ATLANTA — The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams enacted a new national anthem policy Wednesday designed, they said, to compel players to stand if they’re on the sideline for the playing of the anthem prior to a game."Clearly our objective as a leagu...
Published: 05/23/18
Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy, who handled the Bucs' kickoff and punt returns for much of last season, is back with Tampa Bay again.Reedy, 26, was signed on Wednesday, one day after the Bucs began OTA workouts. Thomas Sperbeck, the former Boise State r...
Published: 05/23/18
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Published: 05/23/18
New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

And you thought our headline would be "Mariota hosts NFL draft before Winston."The NFL owners are meeting in Atlanta this week, and that means a new batch of future Super Bowls getting announced for their homes.A year ago, Tampa got the huge news, an...
Published: 05/23/18
Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
Published: 05/23/18
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Published: 05/22/18