Every team has players they can't afford to lose. Usually, that's the quarterback -- but that's hardly a shocking insight. ESPN's Matt Williamson named one can't-lose-player-who-is-not-a-quarterback for each team in the NFC South and selected Darrelle Revis for the Bucs.
The Buccaneers' pass defense was far too generous in 2012. The pass rush was a problem, and that area still very much concerns me. But the cover men also were huge liabilities. That should not be the case anymore. Not only did Tampa Bay bring in the best cover man of this generation in Revis, but it also signed Dashon Goldson to pair with last year's first-round pick, Mark Barron, at safety and drafted Johnthan Banks, who should compete for a starting spot opposite Revis. But it is Revis the Bucs need to count on. As he showed so many times with the Jets, Revis is capable of eliminating an opponent's best receiver by himself, which essentially would allow the Buccaneers to play 10 versus 10 against the opposing offense. The ripple effect would allow Tampa Bay to blitz with more regularity, which clearly helps its suspect pass rush. That is, of course, if Revis is healthy. Hopefully for Tampa Bay's sake, it doesn't have to find out how indispensable Revis is before he even gets the chance to contribute.
Interesting thought, but allow me to disagree. That's not to say that Revis isn't important -- he clearly is, and he could be what makes the Buccaneers' secondary go this year. But at least they have some talent behind him in Eric Wright and Johnthan Banks, with Leonard Johnson perhaps improving on his up-and-down rookie season. They're not overflowing with talent at the position, but they aren't completely doomed if they lose Revis.
The same isn't true at several other positions, however. If Vincent Jackson goes down, the Buccaneers have no one who could credibly replace him and they'd be forced to start Tiquan Underwood or Kevin Ogletree opposite Mike Williams. If the Bucs lose Doug Martin they'll have to turn to Brian Leonard, Michael Smith or Mike James -- hardly encouraging options for a team that wants to run their offense through
Defensive tackle is a problematic position, too. It's hard enough to replace someone like Gerald McCoy if you have a backup three-technique, but the Bucs don't really have even that. Derek Landri may be the main backup there, but he's struggled at the position in the past. Behind him the Bucs will likely have to turn to defensive ends to provide any kind of disruptive ability inside. That's a disaster waiting to happen.
Is Revis important for the Bucs? Absolutely. He changes everything about a defense -- but at least the Bucs could still credibly put a secondary on the field without Revis. I'm not so sure they can say the same about a few other positions.
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