As frustrating as it has been watching the Bucs defense get shredded by opposing offenses over the past several seasons, it's been a lack of intensity by that Bucs defense that has been most frustrating to watch. This lack of intensity was no doubt a major focus of the Bucs' off-season.
In both free agency and the draft, Bucs GM Jason Licht looked to bring in players who would not only help his defense on the field, but also help the overall attitude of that defense as well. Robert Ayers, Daryl Smith, and Brent Grimes have become instant starters and leaders for this Buccaneers new defense. Rookies Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence are earning their playing time right now at practice, but it's clear these young players play with a chip on their shoulders.
“I mean, you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to have a reason to come out here and work," Spence said on Sunday. "Mine is for God and then after that it’s all I’ve been through. Then, it’s just coming out here and working with other guys on the team. You’ve got to play with a chip or else you’ll be no good.”
No good is exactly what the Bucs' defense has been over the past several years. Adding these players to Mike Smith's defense could lead to a drastic improvement on that side of the ball for the Bucs.
Spence has been as advertised early on in camp. I do want to emphasize that it is early. He is flying off the edge, using excellent leverage, and showing a natural knack for getting to the quarterback. Spence also has his teammates talking.
Our friends over at JoeBucsFan.com got Akeem Spence to say some nice things about the Bucs' new edge rusher as well.
“He is on his way to greatness,” Akeem Spence said. “If you just watch the way he practices, the special talent that God gave him, his ability and speed and the ability to turn the corner, you can see in Year 1 he is special."
If given the proper time to develop, and if he takes advantage of the excellent coaching he is getting, Spence could indeed be on a track to greatness.