The Tampa Bay Buccaneers resumed their offseason workouts today, and a whole lot of veterans talked to the media -- as did a few coaches. And they gave as a few hints as to the role of a new players. Most notably: defensive end George Johnson, who the Bucs traded for this offseason. We didn't know where the Bucs envisioned playing him, initially.
But now we know: Leslie Frazier said today that George Johnson would primarily play left end, with some right end mixed in, per Scott Smith. Johnson is pretty light for a left defensive end, at 6'4", 265 lbs. William Gholston was more or less the incumbent starter there, and he's significantly bigger: 6'6", 281 lbs. But the Bucs want speed and pass rush ability out of their defensive ends, and that's certainly what gives Johnson the edge there.
With Johnson on the left side, we're likely to see Jacquies Smith take over on the right side. Smith managed 6.5 sacks last year in very limited playing time, and should see some competition from T.J. Fatinikun, another player who flashed potential in limited playing the time. With veteran Larry English as another backup, the Bucs hope that one of these guys turns into a dominant pass rusher -- or that the rotation as a whole provides enough disruption for at least a functional defense.
Bucs see Will Gholston in role Da'Quan Bowers filled last year as versatile pass-rusher who will play at end, can step inside as nickel DT.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 18, 2015
Bruce Carter gets the middle linebacker job
The Bucs signed Bruce Carter to a four-year, $20.5 million deal this offseason, which was a little surprising. While he'd played a little middle linebacker in his career, he's primarily been positioned on the outside. The Bucs were paying him like a full-time starter, though, which means they want him for that all-important middle of the defense.
But that's a lot of responsibility for someone who has had, effectively, one good year of pro football in four seasons. Still, it seems the Bucs are intent on gifting him that job this year: linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson told Scott Smith that he sees Danny Lansanah on the outside, which means the only real competition Carter will face is that of rookie Kwon Alexander. And rookies don't generally win starting jobs in this defense, especially not in the middle, especially not by beating out recently-signed free agents.