Fixing The Bucs 4-Man Pass Rush


The Bucs are one of many high sack-getting groups of the previous three years. Beneath defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Bucs have registered 47-, 48- and 47-sack seasons, respectively. These marks have all ranked within the high seven or higher, whereas Tampa Bay has been among the many league leaders in producing pressures.

So what’s the issue? The issue is that Tampa Bay’s move rush plummeted at occasions when the Bucs rushed 4 or fewer defenders. It was a problem when the staff confronted high offensive traces, together with in opposition to the Rams and Eagles within the playoffs. In previous video games in opposition to the Saints, Tampa Bay’s four-man rush has been neutralized too simply. Watching the Rams, 49ers and Saints persistently create stress with 4 has to place Bowles on discover. This space of the Bucs protection should be extra dominant in 2022.

How do the Bucs repair this drawback? How do they enhance their four-man move rush in order that Bowles doesn’t need to rely so closely on blitzes for stress? The excellent news is that two large options can come from gamers presently on the roster. And there actually isn’t a lot unhealthy information, however including another rusher by means of the draft may pay dividends too.

1. Can Tryon-Shoyinka Be Particular?

In his rookie season, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka proved past a shadow of a doubt that he has all of the instruments to be nice. Burst, size, quickness, physicality, flexibility, hand utilization and a terrific psychological make-up. However he additionally confirmed that he has a methods to go on the small print of the place. Establishing a move rush plan and dealing rush strikes off of speed-to-power assaults can be key for Tryon-Shoyinka in 12 months two.

I’m guessing it is going to be a lot simpler for Tryon-Shoyinka to try this as a full-time edge rusher, slightly than a defensive chess piece. On the season, Tryon-Shoyinka dropped into protection 67 occasions. That’s 11 p.c of his snaps. These 67 reps have been greater than all however 12 edge defenders within the NFL, regardless of the very fact Tryon-Shoyinka was not a daily starter. And 133 of Tryon-Shoyinka’s snaps got here from non-edge defender alignments, per PFF.

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

I don’t thoughts shifting Tryon-Shoyinka round in any respect. It even helped the Bucs win just a few video games this season. However finally, Tryon-Shoyinka must develop full-time on the sting. He must really feel out his opponent over the course of a recreation and be taught the artwork of successful one-on-one. No one, not even Myles Garrett, steps into the NFL and does that at a persistently dominant stage. It takes time and repetition to turn into an incredible one-on-one rusher.

Sadly, Tryon-Shoyinka didn’t get sufficient of both final 12 months. He was additionally continuously used on stunts and twists, opening up alternatives for others. Whereas that side of the Bucs protection ought to stay, Tryon-Shoyinka can earn himself extra one-on-one reps with a robust offseason.

Even regardless of being a reasonably uncooked participant, Tryon-Shoyinka may have had an eight-sack rookie season. Sadly, his tackling let him down just a few occasions too many. That’s usually a really fixable concern for a line of scrimmage defender. The Bucs first spherical decide additionally must hold his angles tighter to his opponent when making an attempt to nook. That normally begins with working into the body of opposing tackles first, slightly than all the time making an attempt to run round them. Ought to the rookie bulk up a bit after getting tremendous lean for the draft final 12 months?

All the pieces is there for Tryon-Shoyinka to be the difference-maker Tampa Bay wants him to be. However uncooked expertise, even with the correct psychological make-up, will solely take him to date. The Washington product will be nice, however this offseason can be crucial to getting him there.

2. Play Vea Extra

That is probably the most egregious difficulty and probably the most fixable. The Bucs simply signed Vita Vea to a four-year, $71 million extension. They then proceeded to play him lower than 50 p.c of the defensive snaps over the subsequent three video games. I can perceive that utilization in opposition to the Panthers and the Eagles – two wins that turned blowouts. However in opposition to the Rams? Enjoying Vea 47 p.c of snaps together with your season on the road?

Bucs NT Vita Vea

Bucs NT Vita Vea – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

That simply gained’t fly, man. Over the ultimate 10 video games of the season, Vea performed over 53 p.c of snaps simply twice. He by no means exceeded 66 p.c of the reps, and he was underneath 50 p.c of snaps in six contests. Both the Bucs made an enormous mistake giving a part-time participant one of many richest contracts for a defensive deal with in NFL historical past, or they aren’t taking part in Vea sufficient. There isn’t a in-between. And my cash is on the latter.

In 2018, Vea performed 59 p.c of snaps of video games he appeared in as a rookie. The following two years, that quantity elevated considerably. In 2019, Vea hit 66 p.c, and in 2020 the quantity ballooned to 70 p.c. However in 2021, Vea performed simply 56 p.c of snaps!

Transferring ahead, Vea can not dip underneath the 65 p.c mark. Ideally, he could be up over 70 p.c of defensive snaps subsequent season. Kenny Clark, the closest participant comparability to Vea, simply accomplished back-to-back 71 p.c plus seasons. There isn’t a motive on this planet why Vea can’t do this. If his conditioning isn’t ok to hold that workload, why did the Bucs pay him?

It’s unacceptable to interrupt the financial institution at any place within the NFL for a part-time participant. And we’ve already seen how dominant Vea will be when he’s on the market. The nostril deal with piled up 48 pressures this season and set a profession excessive with 4 sacks this season. That earned him a visit to his first Professional Bowl. He seemed higher as a rusher in 2021 than he ever has earlier than. With extra alternative in 2022, Vea may assist carry Tampa Bay’s move rush.

3. Bucs Should Discover One other Rusher

The Bucs have loads of run-stuffers up entrance. Vea, Will Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon and Ndamukong Suh in the event that they return, are able to dominance within the trenches. However on passing downs, solely Vea is persistently impactful. That’s an issue shifting ahead. Wanting on the move rush rotations of the highest four-man rush teams, it’s clear that depth is significant.

Tampa Bay may look so as to add one other edge rusher with function flexibility to hurry inside subsequent 12 months. Or they might add a defensive deal with with extra explosive traits to play alongside Vea. This draft class doesn’t have many difference-makers on the inside, and free agent choices can be scarce.

Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie

Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie – Photograph by: USA In the present day

Nevertheless, there are a number of collegiate hybrid defenders who will play inside full-time within the NFL. Just a few of them are on the Senior Bowl, and can bear watching. Might San Diego State’s Cam Thomas or Houston’s Logan Corridor impress in Cell? Or will a extra conventional defensive deal with like Georgia’s Devonte Wyatt or UConn’s Travis Jones present out as a substitute?

On the sting, Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson bears watching in Cell. He measured in practically 6-4 1/2 and 259 kilos with a virtually 83-inch wingspan. That’s ridiculous. His tape is strong, too. A robust Senior Bowl may lead to extra first spherical buzz.

Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie can be producing late first-round buzz. Does he have the athleticism to translate to success within the NFL? The Bucs can be watching in Cell, and so will Pewter Report.

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