By Quinne Lowe @sports_qa on June 4, 2014
The Lovie Smith era is underway in Tampa, but even with the greatest hires, you will still have starters on the roster who will find the adjustment hard. Either because of inexperience, schematic issues or simply because they don't fit what the coaches are looking for at that particular position. These following five players will find it the most difficult in 2014 for the Buccaneers.
There is always a learning curve for rookies coming into the NFL and it will be no different for Evans. He won't be able to out-muscle NFL defensive backs and the fact that he only lined up on the right side of the Aggies' offensive formation could make excelling in Jeff Tedford's offense difficult. He will still have his "wow" moments this season, but those calling for him to be a Rookie of the Year candidate will be disappointed.
Clayborn is coming off his most productive NFL season in 2013. He played in all 16 games and registered 64 tackles. But in Lovie Smith's Tampa 2 Defense, the success or failure of the scheme relies on pressure up front. Were the 5.5 sacks the exception or the norm for Clayborn? Because of that uncertainty, Lovie will be looking for a replacement at that position sooner than later.
A career special teamer and back-up, Tampa is now expecting more from the six-year linebacker opposite Lavonte David. While he did start four games in 2013, the defense did not get much production out of him. His season high in tackles was only eight. With teams game planning away from David, Casillas will be exposed through the air and the ground more in his expanded role. Unfortunately, the Bucs did not address this position in the offseason.
\ million for nine games. That's what Nicks has given the Bucs after being signed from New Orleans, and it doesn't look like it will get better any time soon. He is still listed as a starter, but he has already admitted to having permanent nerve damage in his foot. Playing at 80 percent after seeing limited action the past two seasons will put him at a major disadvantage against the upper echelon defensive tackles.
Goldson is known for his big hit capabilities over his subpar coverage skills and in the Tampa 2, the latter is needed more so than the former. In 2013, he was fined \ 0,00 and caught the ire of officials for his over-aggressive tackling. For a defense that is trying to build continuity, how long will it be before Lovie Smith tires from costly penalties caused by Goldson. It was a reason the 49ers let him walk and Tampa may soon find out why.
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