“Football is won and lost in the trenches.”
Would you be surprised, given the defensive stats last year, if I told you the Bucs were third in 2017 with 26.12% ($40.1 million) of their salary cap allocated to the defensive line? Now, what if I told you the Bucs have been in the top ten of defensive line salary cap allocation every year since 2014?
The lack of a consistent pass rush and sacks over the last four seasons makes that hard to believe, right? Yet, those are the cold hard facts. For all the bashing that Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht receives from fans, he’s continually spent money on the defensive line in an effort to try and make it better.
The sports website Spotrac.com posted this tweet recently in response to a comment from former NFL player and now tv analyst Louis Reddick, and it got me curious as to where the Bucs ranked.
So what does the previous information tell us? That spending a lot on players isn't the same as spending a lot on the right players. If it was just about who spent the most on their defensive line, Tampa Bay would have had a consistently dominant line over the last four seasons.
Obviously, there are injuries & bad coaching that can derail even a roster full of good players. The Bucs have had plenty of both over the last four years. But, I truly believe the team finally has a defensive roster ready to fulfill it’s potential and the money spent on acquiring that potential.
The players and coaches have to find a way to live up to the hype this year.
The time is now.