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2014 NFL Free Agency: Buccaneers introduce Johnson, Verner et al.

The Bucs introduced their first four free agents at a press conference at One Buc Place today; here's our reaction to what the newest Buccaneers (minus Josh McCown) had to say:

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In something approaching a live stream, here's my instant reaction to the press conference as it develops; it will be followed up with another article with more in-depth reflections to the press conference.

Buccaneers introduce Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner, Clinton McDonald and Brandon Myers

  • Licht: "we have a roadmap for success" - plan was to be 'aggressive & proactive' in free agency, signing the 'right players' in free agency. Says that they are not 'simply talent collectors'. Need a pass rusher off the edge not just in sacks but in pressures. Instantly addressing the lack of sack numbers in 2013, smart. Calls Verner a "proven Pro Bowl corner", says he was exciting on tape. Talks about the pressure McDonald will bring. Brandon will be a "valuable part" and a "complement" to the offense. Notably less gung-ho on Myers than some of the others, which might imply that maybe McDonald will be more than a rotaitonal guy.
  • Lovie: emphasises that the signings are not just "great football players" but are great people too. A recurring theme... as it is in, well, every NFL free agency press conference.
  • Emphasis on forming a "brotherhood" from Clinton McDonald. Admits it'll take "hard work and focus".
  • Myers talking about what a 'great group of guys' both that were brought in with him, and already there.
  • Instantly, the questions go to QB. Lovie wants to 'hold off' before talking about McCown. Hmmm...
  • Lovie says he's been scouting these four since before he was hired by the Bucs, though I can't help but think that that's probably truer of some of the signings than others. (Lovie seriously was considering signing Brandon Myers while he was on his year out from the NFL?)

  • Licht's goal is to "make sure that your team is young and fresh", though says that he won't eliminate older players. Places emphasis and always wanting to improve your football team - maybe as a generality the Bucs will be hitting FA more in future years than, say, the Raheem years?
  • Michael Johnson's already reached out to Gerald McCoy. Seems to have a very genuine smile on his face when talking about "crashing quarterbacks together".

  • Clinton McDonald attributes "fate" as to what brought him to Tampa, but gives special mention to the coaching staff. Lovie's reputation is clearly going to be a useful draw for future FAs.
  • Lovie flatly states that this is not 'rebuilding', but a 4-12 team has to improve. Can't really argue with that, though saying it's not 'rebuilding' is a questionable claim.
  • Lovie talks about wanting to build the front first on D, but gives a shout out to Verner's ball skills. Clearly turnovers are going to be key, as you'd expect from a Lovie defense. Lovie expects Verner to be able to contribute in man, zone and against the run.
  • Interestingly, Lovie says he wants 11 "athletes" on the field flying around. Makes you wonder what that means for bigger players (I'm thinking Penn here).
  • Verner says he believe he can do bring what the team wants from him, but is not looking to be a replacement for Revis. Which speaks a lot as to how much of Revis' skillset Lovie would actually have used.
  • Myers says he was more interested in being involved with the organisation than an opportunity to start... and then mentions a conversation he had with Lovie. Yeah, the Bucs might have only had one winning season in the past five years, and there's a chance they'll give you MRSA, but Lovie appears to have made Tampa a desirable destination again - which I'm not sure they would have been had Schiano stuck around.
  • Licht said he cares less about scheme and more about the players' attributes. Though, if that's true, why would you not re-design your D around Revis? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the team should have kept Revis, but, seriously man, that's just straight-up lying.
  • Licht says that the team's core will still be building through the draft... so, in the face of all these FA signings, make of that what you will.
  • Lovie says that McDonald will be a second 3-tech in nickel and rush packages, and that he'll be moved around the line, not just at 3-tech. Says he offers flexibility.
  • Lovie confirms Michael Johnson will play right defensive end, so Clayborn, Bowers etc will have to bring what they bring from LDE. Lovie says you need a 'special player' at RDE, hence Johnson signing - Adrian Clayborn is currently looking for the nearest burn ward.
  • Johnson defends his low 2013 sack numbers, saying "if you watch the film you'll see I was trending upwards". You'd have to think that just being next to McCoy will bring his sack numbers closer to what they were when he was playing next to a healthy Geno Atkins.
  • Myers brings up that game Doug Martin had against the Raiders, who Myers played for. That was a fun day for us Bucs fans.
  • Lovie says that in Myers, they have a TE who can both catch and block. Which is, um, optimistic.
  • Johnson reaffirms that Lovie was "definitely" a factor in signing with the Bucs. Again emphasis that the new free agents are not just good players but "good people".
  • That awkward moment when a reporter asks if there's any way Revis could stay with the Bucs, half an hour after the team officially announced they've released him...
  • Licht says that they want to go into the draft "not being pigeonholed into taking one position", which makes sense. Or at least, it will when they sign about three guards.


Right, there's some immediate reaction to the press conference; I'll be back with some analysis on the presser later.