It wasn’t flashy or something that would make the rest of the NFC South, much less the NFL as a whole, stop what they were doing Monday afternoon. However, the Bucs introduced new free agent acquisitions center Ryan Jensen and defensive lineman Vinny Curry to the media, and are hoping those players are part of quick improvement at their spots.
First, the hope is Jensen will solidify the middle of the Tampa Bay offensive line. And on Monday he was all smiles in a lavender sports coat:
"A lot of years of hard work finally coming to fruition. I'm excited, ready to get rolling."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 20, 2018
Jensen doesn’t come to the Buccaneers with a superstar resume’, as he’s never been to a Pro Bowl, etc. However, he did start all 16 games in Baltimore last year and is regarded a tough athletic center. And also, his signing will allow the Bucs to move Ali Marpet back to his position of his first two years in the NFL, right guard.
Marpet playing there was part of an offensive line in 2015 that helped former running back Doug Martin rush for over 1,400 yards, which was second in the NFL that season. He had been asked to move to center in 2017, where he had played some at Division III Hobart College. This was because the Bucs were looking for more size and athleticism in the middle from what they had on their roster.
Next, former Eagles defensive lineman Curry also stood a One Buc Place Monday, looking to bring some Super Bowl winning attitude to the Bucs. After being released on Friday, the Bucs wasted no time in signing him Saturday afternoon in an attempt to jump start their pass rush.
Earlier last week, the Bucs had signed Curry’s Philly teammate and fellow defensive lineman, Beau Allen. And, Curry had this compliment:
Vinny Curry says DT Beau Allen, his teammate in Philly and now again in Tampa, is the smartest football player he’s ever played with.
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) March 19, 2018
The concern is that Curry only had three sacks a year ago, and his best sack output, nine, was four years ago (2014). The Eagles line was led by one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL, Fletcher Cox. The Buccaneers are hoping that Gerald McCoy’s presence will enhance Curry and the others brought in. And there’s new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, that they have high hopes for energizing that position this season.
And that’s the key word, “hope.”
The Bucs definitely are projecting that adding Curry, Allen, and the Bears Mitch Unrein as veterans on the defensive line, and then drafting a pass rusher, maybe even with the #7 overall pick in April will be enough.
For now, we don’t know the answers on Curry’s, or Jensen’s, impacts. That comes this fall.
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