Breakout Players, Adding A Pass Rusher

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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds solutions your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account every week within the Bucs Monday Mailbag. Submit your query to the Bucs Monday Mailbag every week by way of Twitter utilizing the hashtag #PRMailbag. Listed below are the questions we selected to reply for this week’s version.

QUESTION: Who’re the gamers to observe through the preseason, which is the proper place to uncover hidden breakout gamers?

ANSWER: We’ll have a greater concept in coaching camp as to which Bucs might have a breakout preseason. It’s totally different when the pads come on. There have been loads of gamers which have had some offseason buzz through the OTAs and mini-camps fizzle when it will get bodily. Former defensive finish Patrick Chukwurah (2007), former receiver Kenny Bell (2015) and present receiver Jaelon Darden (final 12 months) come to thoughts.

I wrote about six attainable Bucs coaching camp sleepers in final week’s SR’s Fab 5. Darden wasn’t included, however he had a stable preseason. The participant that I’m anxious to see when the pads come on and the preseason video games roll round is undrafted receiver Deven Thompkins. That was a participant who head coach Todd Bowles singled out because the participant he’s trying ahead to seeing in camp. Thompkins was the second-leading receiver in faculty soccer final 12 months with 102 catches for 1,704 yards and 10 TDs at Utah State.

At 5-foot-7, 167 kilos, he’s the smallest participant on the Bucs roster. He additionally could be the quickest and the quickest. Thompkins ran a 4.35 40-time at his professional day. Darden ran a 4.46 by comparability. We’ll see if Thompkins can unseat Darden because the group’s return specialist and win a reserve receiver spot within the course of.

One other one is edge rusher Elijah Ponder. He spent final 12 months on the observe squad and has completely remade his physique. Ponder performed 3-technique defensive deal with on the College of Cincinnati at 275 kilos. Now, he’s making an attempt to make the group as a 240-pound exterior linebacker. The Bucs like his physicality and his potential. He’s one to maintain an eye fixed in camp as he battles Cam Gill and others for a roster spot.

QUESTION: Do the Bucs add yet one more move rusher?

I believe the Bucs will wait till the beginning of the season to think about including one other veteran move rusher. The Bucs have some younger, gifted move rushers who they wish to see in camp and the preseason first. Two-time Professional Bowler Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will begin at exterior linebacker. Anthony Nelson made strides final 12 months and is getting into a contract 12 months. He’s the primary edge rusher off the bench.

Bucs OLB Cam Gill

Bucs OLB Cam Gill – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

As I discussed above, Cam Gill will compete will observe squader Elijah Ponder for the fourth OLB spot. Ponder is one in all my Bucs coaching camp sleepers, and I featured him in final week’s SR’s Fab 5. Gill, who’s a precious contributor on particular groups, made some strides final 12 months as a situational move rusher and completed with a career-high 1.5 sacks.

Former Bucs exterior linebacker Carl Nassib, Justin Houston, Carlos Dunlap and Anthony Barr are among the higher veteran free brokers who’re nonetheless accessible. Bucs basic supervisor Jason Licht has waited till after the preseason to bolster the move rush earlier than. He claimed Jacquies Smith off waivers proper earlier than the beginning of the season in 2014. Licht did the identical factor in 2018, claiming Nassib off waivers in early September.

If Gill and/or Ponder don’t emerge as viable threats to constantly stress the quarterback this August, then I might see Tampa Bay including one other move rusher. Rookies Andre Anthony, the group’s seventh-round choose, JoJo Ozougwu and Jordan Younger are additionally within the combine. However Gill and Ponder know the protection higher and have the sting heading into camp.

QUESTION: I’ve a question about “stress” statistics for NFL groups. We all know what constitutes a sack, however how is a stress decided? Is it merely within the eye of the beholder, or is there a statistical measure (akin to one yard from the QB when the move is thrown?) And who makes the choice?

ANSWER: It’s a utterly subjective statistic. And never all pressures are created equal. Some pressures lead to incompletions. But, it’s attainable to stress the QB and he nonetheless completes the move. Some analytics people assume pressures are the end-all, be-all stat and even maintain them in larger regard than sacks. Pressures are necessary, as they’ll result in incompletion and even an interception. However once more, a quarterback may be pressured and nonetheless full a move and even throw a landing.

Ndamukong Suh pressured Matthew Stafford on his 44-yard strike to Cooper Kupp within the ultimate seconds of the NFC Divisional Playoffs. However Stafford nonetheless made the play.

A sack is just not subjective. It’s definitive. A quarterback can not full a move when sacked. And generally, sacks can lead to fumbles. Sacks on third downs depend extra as a result of they typically result in punts, which change possession. For that purpose, I imagine sacks trump pressures.

When it comes to how pressures are measured, properly, that varies. Professional Soccer Reference defines pressures as “hurries + knockdowns + sack performs.” Similar to a deal with for loss can also be counted as a deal with, PFR contains sacks as pressures.

Professional Soccer Focus has this to say about the way it measures pressures: “Coping with stress is a large a part of taking part in quarterback, particularly with the pass-rushers within the NFL and faculty these days and the pass-happy nature of the league. Below stress passing is any time the quarterback is disturbed from his regular throwing movement from set as much as launch, or anytime a stress is registered on a given passing play. Very like deep passing statistics, we then develop particular person statistics off of simply pressured passing. Along with the same old suspects of yards, completions, makes an attempt, passer ranking and adjusted completion proportion, we even have stress proportion (the quantity of instances a QB is pressured in comparison with whole dropbacks) and sack proportion (the period of time when underneath stress a QB is sacked).”

QUESTION: In a worst case state of affairs if Rob Gronkowski doesn’t return what would the tight finish room appear to be? Is there any tight finish the Bucs can commerce for or signal from the free agent market?

ANSWER: Nicely, Tampa Bay’s tight finish room with out Rob Gronkowski would appear to be one ageing veteran and a bunch of rookies. Cam Brate will flip 31 in July and his expertise are diminishing. The Bucs drafted a pair of tight ends in Cade Otton and Ko Kieft, and so they signed a pair of undrafted free brokers in Ben Beise and J.J. Howland. Follow squader Codey McElroy is technically thought-about a veteran, however he hardly has any NFL recreation expertise. The 29-year previous is extra like a rookie than a veteran.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Picture by Cliff Welch/PR

I nonetheless stay satisfied that Gronkowski will re-sign with the Bucs in July – probably proper earlier than coaching camp. If he actually was going to retire this offseason, he would have knowledgeable Tom Brady and basic supervisor Jason Licht so the Bucs might put together. As an alternative, the Bucs didn’t signal any veteran tight ends and solely spent a fourth-round draft choose on Otton. If Gronk wasn’t going to return, Tampa Bay would have been rather more aggressive to find a veteran alternative.

There are nonetheless some veteran tight ends who may very well be signed if Gronk doesn’t return. Jimmy Graham, Kyle Rudolph and Jared Prepare dinner are among the larger names. They’re all around the age of 30 and never the weapons they had been of their prime, although. Eric Ebron can also be accessible and is 29, however his play actually went downhill final 12 months in Pittsburgh.

QUESTION: If the Saints can get new black helmets what provide chain points are holding up the Bucs throwback unis? Restricted orange thread?

ANSWER: That’s a very good query. I used to be questioning the identical factor once I noticed the Saints unveil their black helmets on social media final week. I believe the distinction is that getting 53 black helmets is totally different from getting 53 orange and white throwback uniforms, which comprise of jerseys and pants. Completely different supplies are used to make soccer uniforms versus the helmets.

There are provide chain points clearly affecting totally different sectors. The infant method scarcity is actually the extra urgent and necessary one throughout the nation. However apparently the Bucs throwback uniforms will probably be prepared for the 2023 season. Maybe that would be the lure to get Tom Brady to return again and play yet one more season in Tampa Bay.