Interview with Dave Razzano by Dewey Hammond.
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout and Playmaker Mobile correspondent with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches including Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).
Q: Terrible rush defense last season. Talk about what the Bucs have done to improve that.
A: Gerald McCoy was arguably better than Ndamukong Suh. They were very close, both outstanding defensive lineman, and McCoy is one of the best to come out in a while. He'll have an impact right away, and their second-round defensive lineman Brian Price, he'll be good. He's been injured a little bit lately. These guys will help this season with regard to wins and losses, but I still see the Bucs as the 27th best team in the league. I think they'll be picking again in the top 10 this season. They have some good young players on defense but it's not enough.
Q: What do you see on the offensive side of the ball?
A: Well I've never been a big Josh Freeman fan. He's a big guy with a strong arm but in college you saw all the interceptions he threw, and you saw them last year, and I don't think that ever changes. They just don't have a QB right now. That's going to hurt them. They have a pretty good offensive line, not great. The running backs are good enough. The receivers are a question mark. I like WR Sammie Stroughter a lot, a seventh-round pick they got a couple years back. Winslow should have a good year if he stays healthy. They got some good young WR guys in the draft, Mike Williams out of Syracuse and Arrelious Benn from Illinois. But again, I'm not big on Josh Freeman and they're going to be hard pressed to win more than five or six games.
Q: Where besides QB do they need to make the biggest improvement?
A: Their offensive guards are very average, and they need a bellcow running back. They have running back by committee but they always seem to be nicked up. They need defensive ends. They have two young inside guys but their ends aren't very good. And I think they need another linebacker or two. They have Barrett Ruud in the middle, but their outside guys — Quincy Black and Geno Hayes are very inconsistent, and they could use a solid young safety. They need DE, LE, offensive interior guys, and their young receivers need to step up, so they're still a few drafts away, and with the QB being shaky, that's not going to help anything. I wish the kid the best, great kid, but when you throw those interceptions… it's hard to change those bad habits.
Q: Any chance Freeman gets bumped out of the lineup for Josh Johnson or Rudy Carpenter?
A: I wouldn't say Rudy Carpenter. Josh Johnson has a chance. They're going to have to look at that because those guys are on the hot seat. If Freeman throws three or four picks in a game, they're going to have to look at that hard. But Josh Johnson is another guy with fringe ability. They really need a QB down there. Carpenter, I'm surprised he's even in camp. Johnson and Freeman are kind of the same guy, only one of them is a little bigger.
Q: If you're in the front office in Tampa Bay and not sold on the QBs on the roster, where would you direct your immediate attention: next year's draft, a trade, or free agency?
A: I'm shocked a guy like Jeff Garcia, who said he'll play in the UFL, is not in the league. He's a performer. He's performed everywhere he's ever been, every time he's ever been on the field. He's a great short-term solution and next season there will be a boon at QB. There are four or five really good QBs coming out of college next season. These top picks next season will definitely have some good choices, legitimate franchise QBs.