The assumption, is that on defense the Buccaneers will return to the “Tampa Two” under Smith. Let’s be perfectly honest, no matter who the defensive assistants are, the Buccaneers will look very similar, at least in scheme, to the teams of Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and John Lynch.
Oddly, or perhaps perfectly enough, Tampa Bay has a stud at each of those Hall of Famer’s position. Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, and Dashon Goldson all have eerily similar skill sets to their Buccaneer predecessors. However Darrelle Revis is nothing like Barber, for better or for worse. If Smith and his eventual staff are married to a zone heavy scheme with little variation, is Revis worth $16 million next season? Keep in mind, should Revis not be on the roster as of the third day of the official league year, the Buccaneers will not be sending a 3rd round pick to New York.
Personally, I believe a good defensive mind like Smith should realize what he has in Revis. This means regardless of cap hits or draft picks, he will find a way to adjust his scheme and let Revis Island strand receivers in Tampa Bay. Regardless of scheme, odds are the position will be improved. Oft-injured and aging Charles Tillman could get the tires kicked by Smith as he hits free agency.
One thing is for certain, the pass rush needs to be improved. Da’Quan Bowers has already let the world know how happy he is on Twitter but adding another pass rusher seems like a foregone conclusion. While the Buccaneers could hope for Jadeveon Clowney to fall into their laps in the draft, odds are that won’t happen. But let’s remember, Smith did once steal a great pass rusher from the Carolina Panthers, and Greg Hardy is set to hit free agency. Is there a more perfect fit than “The Kraken” in the only stadium with a pirate ship?
Should Frazier indeed get involved in some capacity, Jared Allen could be another name in play to add a pass rush and some more veteran leadership. Also, could Marinelli want Jason Hatcher to join him in Tampa after his best season as a pro?
With Tedford in place on offense, we have to hope he can do what he does best and make quarterbacks look better than they are. Mike Glennon quite frankly is not that good, but then again, how well was he coached in his rookie season? There is always the idea that Tedford may know quite a bit about his former player’s little brother in Derek Carr or that Lovie makes a play for his old quarterback Jay Cutler in free agency. Whoever the signal caller is, keep in mind Smith reached a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman throwing passes.
The other spot on offense due for a major shakeup is the offensive line. With way too much money invested in way too little production, we could see the end of one, if not all, of Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, and Donald Penn. Should either guard be sent packing, let’s hope Tedord does his best to convince his former player Alex Mack to come over from Cleveland. While he may not be a household name, Mack is arguably a top five center in the NFL and Jeremy Zuttah is quite capable at guard.
The guy we all expect to be in the dreams every Buccaneers fans is Devin Hester. I wouldn’t count on it though. After all, he is a 31 year-old return specialist who is far less valuable than a younger, more versatile player like, Largo native, Dexter McCluster (25), who will also be on the open market.
Keep in mind folks, this is all purely speculation and the Buccaneers are still far away from another Super Bowl. However, bringing the right pieces in around Coach Smith is surely a step in the right direction.