The Bucs may have to take a page from former Bucs commander Greg Schiano.
In Schiano’s final season with the Bucs (2013), frustrated because the team couldn’t find a pass rusher — you know, maybe don’t let Michael Bennett walk out the back door for no good reason, huh? — Schiano decided to beef up the Bucs’ secondary.
If you can’t get to the quarterback, then make sure receivers can’t get the ball.
It didn’t work, in part, because lousy Lovie Smith came in and refused to work with Darrelle Revis, who immediately went to the Belicheats and won a ring.
Barring something unforeseen happening, like edge rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka blowing up or the Bucs pulling someone off the street who turns into Superman, Joe thinks it is a fair bet to suggest the Bucs’ pass rush won’t be worth a damn in 2023.
Joe loves Shaq Barrett but a dude turning 30 coming off a blown Achilles, man, that’s not good. At all. So with Shaq neutered and JTS still looking to prove himself, well, you better hope your secondary can cover.
Bucs corner Jamel Dean is scheduled to be a free agent. And Cody Benjamin of CBS believes Dean is the Bucs’ most important free agent.
Tom Brady’s second — and supposedly final — retirement means the Buccaneers don’t have to worry about re-signing the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback. So that leaves Dean as the obvious priority, fresh off a career year opposite Carlton Davis in Todd Bowles’ secondary. In his first year as a 15+ game starter, he nabbed two picks.
Joe is convinced without Dean, the Bucs’ secondary slips and maybe slips badly. Sean Murphy-Bunting might be a much cheaper option but SMB is way too inconsistent for Joe. At times he looks and plays like an absolute stud. Other times he goes through stretches where he gets worked often.
If the Bucs don’t have an above-average pass rush — and right now nothing outside of “hope” suggests they will — then you better have a lockdown secondary, which makes keeping Dean is a priority.
How well did “hope” work for a pass rush during the Lost Decade? Hope should never be a strategy.
This content was originally published here.