I wrote about a major overhaul on defense a few weeks back, and that may now be coming to fruition.
With new defensive coordinator Mike Smith and all new assistants coming in to run the Buccaneers defense, every job will be on the line with this completely new coaching staff.
We can all agree that Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander are completely safe. If the new coaches, Dirk Koetter, and Jason Licht all agree that they can change a person's attitude and motivation, then Gerald McCoy is likely safe as well.
Other than those players, all others will be heavily evaluated and possibly replaced. Here are a few names could be removed from the Bucs roster very soon:
Alterraun Verner - Verner was a pro bowler before coming to the Bucs, and his lack of production is not because of a lack of effort. There is a good shot, Verner's lack of production was simply because he was never a fit in Lovie Smith's defense. Even if that's the case, he shouldn't have the 5th highest cap number at $6.75 million for 2016. It wouldn't shock me if Mike Smith would want to give Verner another chance, but it may have to be at a reduced cap number, or the Bucs might just have to move on.
George Johnson - Out of George Johnson's 6 seasons as a professional defensive end in the NFL, he has had sacks in just one of those seasons. In 2014, Johnson took advantage of playing with Ndamukong Suh and Ziggy Ansah to total 6 sacks. What we have learned is that the combination of Gerald McCoy and Jacquies Smith could not do for Johnson what the combo of Suh and Ansah did. The Bucs need someone who can rush the passer, and Johnson has proven that he cannot.
Mike Jenkins - Jenkins was a Lovie guy from the beginning. Jenkins has been consistently beaten on the field, and now he'll likely be one of the first to be gone. It doesn't help Jenkins that his contract is set to expire, and I'd be surprised if the Bucs new defensive coaches are eager to bring him back.
Chris Conte - I think Bucs fans are used to watching such mediocre football that it has clouded their judgment. I have heard from fans that Conte played well enough to return in 2016 for the Bucs. While that may be true, it does not mean he can't be upgraded either. The good news for Conte is that his DBs coach with the Bears, Jon Hoke, is now the DBs coach with the Bucs.
Danny Lansanah - Lansanah is the perfect example of why I don't over hype off-season or training camp practices like other outlets do. Some websites called him a "secret superstar" and others called him "a man possessed," the truth is that Lansanah became a ghost once the season began. Lansanah had 46 tackles, 1 sack, and forced zero turnovers on the season. I know, strongside linebackers aren't on the field as much as others anymore, but all the more reason to not over pay for the position. Lansanah is a restricted free agent. I think the Bucs offer him a very low tender, and if they lose him, so what, they should be able to find another linebacker who creates zero turnovers as well.
Bruce Carter - Carter has a cap number of $4.25 million for each of the next 3 seasons. Like many others, Carter was brought in because of his experience playing in a Lovie Smith type of defense. Well, with a new defensive scheme, new coaches, and the ability to cut Carter and have zero dead money, Carter may be a name to watch as the Bucs start cleaning house on defense.
Major Wright - I probably like Major Wright more than most, but he was also brought in because of his familiarity with Lovie Smith. I think Wright could still be a valuable backup, and someone who may mesh well with a potential free agent signing brought in to start...dare I say another Florida Gator in Reggie Nelson? I would also completely understand if Wright is purged along with the rest of the "Lovie guys" on defense.null