Buckner wants to recreate Buccaneers line legacy

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New Buccaneers defensive line coach Brentson Buckner saw firsthand what the Buccaneers could do with a good offensive line.

When the NFC South was formed in 2002, the Panthers line he played with alongside Julius Peppers, Kris Jenkins and Mike Rucker formed an immediate rivalry with the Bucs, which featured Hall of Famer Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice.

And while the Bucs bullied their way to the division title in 2002, Bucker was so impressed he flew to Tampa to see their playoff game in person.

“I came down right here for the first playoff game and watched,” Buckner said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “Me, Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers, as much as we disliked Warren Sapp, we admired what they did. And I wanted to see what kind of atmosphere they would create when they came out, the energy with which they played with. And to see those guys run out of the tunnel on Sunday, you thought it was an earthquake.

“And I remember calling Mike Rucker from the stands and was like, ‘This is what we’ve got to create in Carolina. They’re doing this with their front four. It’s not the quarterback running out. It’s not the star running back. This is the defensive line that’s being introduced.’ We wanted what those guys created here, and we tried our best to get it.”

The Panthers did it the following year, winning the division (including an epic 12-9 win over the Bucs which included two blocked kicks by the Panthers linemen to force overtime and win).

The difference between what those two lines had and what Buckner has to work with now is simply talent. Other than Gerald McCoy and project Noah Spence, the Bucs don’t have much to work with, which is much of the reason they were last in the league with 22 sacks. Getting them back to anything resembling the glory days will be a big job.


6 responses to “Buckner wants to recreate Buccaneers line legacy

  1. As a Bucs fan I am really excited by this hire. Would be even more excited if he was replacing Mike Smith.

  2. Talent is ultimately going to be the deciding factor as to whether or not this D-line will succeed, and not just on the D-line. Those great Bucs defenses of the late 90s and and early 2000s had talent at every level.

    This Bucs D has one of the best DTs in the game in McCoy, a good LB core, and a safety with a lot of upside in Justin Evans, but not much else. They still need good CBs, an enforcer type SS, and the most glaring need: a defensive end who can ACTUALLY rush the passer.

  3. I love that this guy is thinking big and aiming for historical greatness. Hopefully he’ll also get some good input in on who to target in the draft and free agency because that’s one area where we’ve swung and missed many times in recent years.

  4. My God he just gave me some great memories. I was a season ticket holder from 1995 to 2009, and remember quite well how much we LOVED those defensive players. Not just the line, either. When Derrick Brooks or Hardy Nickerson or John Lynch or Ronde Barber was introduced, we’d go crazy.

    And, back then, our offenses were usually so terrible to watch, I’d be happy to see the defense on the field again because it was the only chance I got to root for excellence.

  5. You will love this guy. I really wish the Panthers had made an effort to get him. He did local sports radio for awhile after retiring. He is fun to listen too. He has a lot of knowledge and passion. Great hire by the Bucs.

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