Oct 25, 2012; Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
This article is titled “Tampa Bay Buccaneers Release First Regular Season Depth Chart,” but it could also be called “Why in the World is Da’Qaun Bowers Not Starting at Defensive End?”
Listed below is the Buccaneers’ depth chart that was released today, which you can find at Buccaneers.com.
So what are the main things to takeaway from this first breakdown of the Buccaneers’ final roster?
Da’Quan Bowers Is Seriously Not Starting
So much for wanting Da’Quan Bowers to be an every down player, as the Buccaneers will be bringing him along slowly as a backup behind Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. This absolutely baffles me, but hopefully Bowers will still be rotated in and out and allowed to make an impact on the pass rush.
The Buccaneers will not have the pass rush they need with Daniel Te’o-Nesheim as a regular player on the defensive line. He’s just not as efficient at generating pressure as the other options at the position. He is capable as a defensive end, but he’s not going to get pressure on the quarterback on his own.
Hopefully this is a continuation of the offseason message to Bowers that he has to earn his role as starter, and not a sign of the plan for the entire season.
Leonard Johnson Starting Ahead of Johnthan Banks
Earlier this offseason I made the case for Leonard Johnson to start at corner for the Buccaneers, but at the time that was against Eric Wright rather than Johnthan Banks.
There is a general sentiment among Buccaneers’ fans that Johnson isn’t very good, and that’s just not true. Johnson isn’t perfect, but as I stated in the above article, there’s are a lot of things Johnson does very well, and he’s shown improvement in some of his areas of concern coming out of college.
And since NFL teams use the nickel more and more against modern offenses, naming a starting corner doesn’t mean as much as naming a starting quarterback or left tackle. The third corner is an important position, and the young Banks will get plenty of chances to grow into his role in the NFL. In fact, Banks will probably be on the field for 40-50% of the plays this season, with a chance for more if he proves himself to be better than Leonard Johnson.
But for now, have faith in Johnson. He’s going to do well with the defense at full strength this season. Just trust me on this one.