Bucs General Manager Mark Dominik spoke with the media today and explained his plans for the Line backing corps, defensive line, and how to improve the pass rush:
"We’ve got a good group of players that we think can compete at the positions, and we like their athleticism; their speed to cover ground. And we intend to give them every opportunity. But a lot will be said in March and April to get a feel for how they’re doing, how they’re learning the system and we’ll go from there." - Tampa Tribune
Translation? Look for the Bucs to solidify the Line backing corps through the draft in April. If I had to guess I’d say that first round pick may go in the direction of a Brian Cushing (USC) or Larry English (Northern Illinois -if we traded down a bit).
" [We have] young players that fit this new Jim Bates system in terms of defensive tackles and what we’re asking them to do. That was a big part of why we wanted to get Ryan Sims signed prior to free agency. He’s a young, bigger bodied guy that can push the pocket. With Greg Peterson (’07 draft) and Dre Moore (’08 draft), they’re big bodied guys that are - I think - able to step into those roles and they’ll get their opportunity to step into those roles." - Tampa Tribune
Translation? If we can upgrade the line via trade/free agency we’ll look to do so, but at this point the Draft doesn’t appear to be where we will upgrade the position. It will be interesting to see how Sims’ play translates into Bates system, the guy is huge and should do well clogging lanes. Hopefully Moore is ready to shed that red shirt season he took a year ago.
"Part of it is the system that Coach Bates puts them in. Again, just like we were talking about with the other guys that are under contract now. You create pressure in the pocket so you can push the pocket back and pin your ears back off the edge. We’re expecting a lot of big things from Gaines Adams. And I think he can deliver them" - Tampa Tribune
Translation? I think he dodged the question here. He didn’t really tip his hand to either outcome (the draft or free agency). My guess is the Bucs kick the tires on a potential trade as the draft doesn’t provide many upgrades in this department. Also if they don’t re-sign Flip and Phillip we’ll have more pressing needs any way.