Fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been wondering just how the team - defense mostly - will look under new head coach Bruce Arians and his coaching staff.
Todd Bowles has said quite a bit about how he plans on attacking opposing offenses in an effort to thoroughly disrupt their plans. What hasn’t been clear is just how certain guys will be used.
This question just got a little bit of clarification as Greg Auman from The Athletic pointed out a subtle detail of the Buccaneers’ online roster listing:
And now Bucs roster now delineates between OLB and ILB:— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 14, 2019
OLBs: JPP, Nassib, Barrett, Nelson, Spence, Harris, O'Connor, Huguenin, Daniels, Kenney
ILBs: David, White, Minter, Bond, Cichy, Nelson, ESmith
(again, Bucannon is an LB/S)
Bucs roster no longer lists "DE" or "DT" -- those not listed as OLBs are simply DLs: McCoy, Vea, Allen, Gholston, Ledbetter, Tu'ikolovatu, Nunez-Roches, Odeyingbo.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 14, 2019
Looking at the roster in this formation, it’s a bit more clear now why the team coveted Devin White as much as they did. Without White, the defensive unit which relies so heavily on their linebackers would be entering this time of year with Lavonte David, Kevin Minter and Devante Bond as the only interior linebackers who can reasonably be expected to make a consistent appearance on the field.
Meanwhile, Jason Pierre-Paul (who was not injured until after the NFL Draft), Carl Nassib, Shaquil Barrett, and former second-round pick Noah Spence gave the team four reasonable options at the outside linebacker position.
Deone Bucannon being a wildcard really helps with the versatility Bowles’ defensive squad is expected to bring, and the hope is this unit will look a little different based off each opponent they face.
If the team does part with Gerald McCoy, and if it is discovered the team knew they would be parting with McCoy before the NFL Draft, then those who coveted down linemen in the draft will likely have their concerns heightened by the move and this group designation.
For those looking for a simplified explanation of these groups, defensive linemen (DL) are the guys you can expect to see with their hand in the dirt more than not, while the outside linebackers (OLB) are going to be your edge rushers and defenders who will be standing up more often than not.
This small change is just one additional sign into the change happening throughout the organization as coach Arians and his staff continue to make their mark on the team and begin to shape what will become your 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.