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Jason Pierre-Paul Injury Signals Issue With Jason Licht Draft Strategy...


NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul may potentially have suffered a neck injury which will most likely prevent him from playing in 2019 and may keep him from playing ever again depending on the severity and how his body heals from it.

The team is awaiting a second opinion. This accident occurred on 02 May 2019. On 25 April, one week prior, Jason Licht passed on edge rushers like Josh Allen, Montez Sweat and Brian Burns while drafting inside linebacker Devin White.

While Licht surely addressed a big need on Todd Bowles’ defense, as stated by the coach himself, he failed to address the glaring hole Pierre-Paul’s injury leaves on the team.

And according to some, this oversight (read: inability to read the future) is reason to fire the Bucs’ general manager.

If you haven’t picked up the sarcasm, I’ll spell it out. Jason Licht doesn’t deserve to be fired because he didn’t know JPP was going to crash a vehicle one week after the draft and suffer a potentially season-ending injury.

Yet, there are those who will use the injury as a sounding board to reverberate the belief they were in fact correct in their assertion the team shouldn’t have drafted White in the first place.

If I were to argue with you, which I won’t, I would say you got lucky - but I would stop there. To say anyone is lucky that a man who has poured his adult and much of his adolescent life into his career is about to potentially lose the final years of it would be disgusting.

To use this fact as evidence to win a trivial argument, deplorable.

I have been writing about or covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for six years now and for various sites or podcasts. I will say, this team’s fan base is passionate even if they are largely missing from the stadium on game day.

The fan base is opinionated, but mostly respectful. Part of the enjoyable part about writing sports related content is the interaction with readers and listeners and peers and even players.

When a player agrees with my takes, it makes my ego warm my soul a little. When a reader disagrees it sparks new thought and conversation. It’s fun. Mostly.

What I hate seeing is when people tear each other down. It reminds me of Chris Conte. You know the play. I don’t need to rehash it here.

When it first happened, I had a similar instant reaction. I winced, I think I said “oooh” and I watched the Steelers tight end run downfield for a score.

And then I learned like the rest of you did, that Conte had been hurt on the play. That he had come into the game already injured yet played anyway to try and get his team a big win on Primetime television.

But then I went to twitter, and there were jokes, and laughs and people generally drawing pleasure from it.

Those aren’t the Bucs fans I love. Those are the Bucs fans who make players clam up and give ‘canned answers’ those fans then complain about.

Back on topic. If you hate Jason Licht, then fine. Hate him. But to blame the man for this is beyond ridiculous.

Vernon Hargreaves hasn’t panned out; he’s on his third NFL head coach; Derwin James made the Pro Bowl; HE DRAFTED ROBERTO AGUAYO.

Hell, maybe you didn’t like the White pick before. That’s fine too.

The point is, you don’t need more ammo. If you want to start a petition for Licht’s job, there will be plenty from the playlist for you to choose from without having to fault his not consulting Tom Cruise’s Minority Report. And further, you won’t need to parade a player’s neck injury as a beacon of light for all to see your argument in all of its glory.

I for one, disagree, and think Licht is a solid general manager fully capable of assembling a roster which can be coached to winning a Super Bowl.

But that’s me. What else is me, is if Lavonte David were to succumb to an injury and miss the 2019 NFL Season, I wouldn’t be happy. I wouldn’t celebrate my genius for supporting the drafting of Devin White before it was a reality like I had cracked the DaVinci Code.

I’d feel for the player. For the pain and suffering which comes with season-ending injuries. I’d appreciate the existence of White, sure. But beyond this, I’d do my best to keep things in perspective.

What we’re talking about and tweeting about is a game. What they’re living is a business, and it’s their livelihood. We’re not supposed to see it the same, but let’s not allow ourselves to reach new lows in the pursuit of being right.