Buccaneers starting strong side linebacker, Quincy Black, was praised highly by the bucs before the 2010 season. With incredible athletic ability and enough strength to lift anything in the weight room, what’s not to like about him, right? Well, during the season last year, he was bit by the injury bug and didn’t seem like he lived up to the hype people talked about during the off-season. Thus the need to pursue a LB in this year’s draft (besides the fact Barrett Ruud is hated by many in bucs nation for being soft).
Before we start chanting for another OLB in the draft, let’s look at what we know about Mr. Black. First off, Black was a 3rd round pick by the Buccaneers in 2007 and came out of New Mexico. Then in 2009, he got thrown into the starting lineup after the Buccaneers went into a youth movement and cut veteran LBs like Derrick Brooks and Cato June. Since then, his stats as a starter haven’t been overly impressive in any category (61tackles, 2sacks, 3passes defended, and 1int in 2010). But what his stats don’t reveal is that he may very well still live up to that hype talked about an offseason ago.
Profootballfocus.com is a believer in Black. They even think he’s a “secret superstar”. While many might disagree, I can’t help but to agree WITH them. They point out that although the bucs have a weak run defense (young D-line and fuzzy-wuzzy-MLB in Ruud), Black was actually a bright spot in that category despite missing 5 games and only playing about 60-80% of snaps. For example, out of the 279 run plays he was in on, he only missed ONE tackle and was only flagged only once as well. They also point out that Black is an exceptional LB in coverage. Out of the 251 pass plays he was in on, only 11 of them were graded negatively. He may not make a ton of dynamic plays, but he makes the team better by NOT sucking. That doesn’t show up on in the average stat book.
So yeah, Quincy Black was supposed to be a sack specialist. And sure, he was supposed to make splash plays for the bucs too. He was also supposed to start becoming a key player on this defense. Heck, Raheem Morris even created a 3-4 package in his defense to utilize Black’s edge-rushing skills, and you better be good if a coach designs a whole package just for you. But after 2 measly sacks in all of 2010, and seeing Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson fill in for him with no loss in production, I can understand all you Black haters out there.
Although, like I mentioned before, I have another point of view.
That point of view is that Black’s only 27 years old, he’s just as athletic and strong as ever, and according to profootballfocus.com, extremely consistent.
You know how they say a pass rush can make DBs look a lot better? Well maybe another pass rusher (like we’ll be looking for in the draft) can help other pass rushers explode onto the scene (like Black). That’s what I’m hoping for and that’s what I believe can happen.
The Buccaneers shouldn’t go out of their way to re-sign Black when a new CBA gets done, but they certainly can’t let him slip away too easily. What’s the worst that can happen by re-signing him? He won’t be too expensive, and our pass rush can’t get much worse. It can only get better.