If there was ever a need for an "extreme makeover," it would be at the linebacker position for these Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the Greg Schiano regime.
It is not necessary to go into all the gory details of the failures of last year's linebacking corps, a group that failed miserably, like the rest of the defense. A group that would have had trouble tackling their mothers.
There is already restructuring out there on the practice fields at One Buc Place, and you can only imagine Schiano's reaction as he pored over video from last year.
First, let's take a look at exactly who is on the current 90-man roster.
You have Quincy Black and Adam Hayward as the elder statesmen of the group, both starting their sixth season. Dekoda Watson and Jake Cutrera are starting their third season. Rennie Curran and Mason Foster were rookies last year. Draft picks Lavonte David and Najee Goode are the current rookie crop.
As you can see, there's not a lot of quality experience on the roster.
There's already one surprise, and that would be Curran, the former Georgia Bulldog, running drills as the first-team WILL or weak-side linebacker in the OTAs. David is behind him. Foster appears to be the man in the middle, and you have to know that things are very unsettled on the strong side.
Black, who played the position last year like a statue, may not be the starter come September. Seems the Bucs are looking at Dekoda Watson as a potential SAM or strong-side backer as detailed at Buccaneers.com.
Hayward will be around come September. He's proven his value on special teams and his ability to play more than one linebacker position.
Cutrera is an unknown quantity, but if they're giving Curran a shot then it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Cutrera, a former LSU Tiger, will get one as well.
Goode has taken reps in the middle and is expected to play in the fall.
When you look at the overall experience level—or lack thereof—a veteran addition to the position after June 1 and before training camp might be something Mark Dominik and Schiano have discussed in depth.
If the linebackers are going to do a better job this season, then the front four will have to perform better as a unit to make that happen.
If you can remember Derrick Brooks (and I think most of you do), he was a great player on the weak side because he lined up behind a guy named Warren Sapp, who wrote the book on the 3-technique. Brooks could look at an offense and it was as though he knew what play was coming. He understood gap responsibility and was a marvelous tackler.
Whoever ends up on the weak side, be it Curran or David, they'll need Gerald McCoy to play well, or that position will continue to be a struggle.
Same with the rest.
This will be one of the "positions of interest" in training camp with a lot of "persons of interest."
As it stands now, there's no telling who will be starting against Carolina in September.
All we know right now is that an extreme makeover is needed.
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