Why The Bucs May Not Bring Back Suh

Welcome to a different version of “Grinding The Tape.” Now that we’ve assessed the Bucs’ 2022 draft class, this collection will transition to a weekly column popping out on Wednesdays.

And I believed there was no higher method to kick off this transition then by taking a look at a sizzling subject that has been in your minds over the previous couple of weeks. Two distinguished Bucs gamers from the 2021 workforce stay unsigned: tight finish Rob Gronkowski and defensive deal with Ndamukong Suh. Whereas Gronkowski shouldn’t be positive whether or not he needs to return for an additional season, Suh has been pretty open about his want to play.

Nevertheless, earlier than we have a look at why the Bucs could not need to signal on for yet another yr of Suh, I need to acknowledge one thing. As talked about earlier than, this column is about to come back out on Wednesday’s going ahead.

Such as you, I had come to actually take pleasure in Wednesdays on PewterReport.com as a result of that was the day Jon Ledyard’s Bucs Briefing column was revealed. I believed Colin Quinn summed up how I really feel greatest when he opened his first “Weekend Replace” for Saturday Night time Stay after taking on for Norm MacDonald.

Suh As A Buc

Now that we’ve had our second why don’t we dive into the topic at hand, we could? Ndamukong Suh has been a staple determine in Todd Bowles’ Bucs protection since he got here to Tampa Bay in 2019. Over the previous three seasons, Suh has amassed 112 tackles, together with 23 tackles for loss. As well as, he has added 46 QB hits, 14.5 sacks, six passes defensed, and one compelled fumble. These are stable, if unspectacular stats in and of themselves.

Nevertheless, Suh’s presence has at all times gone properly past his personal field rating. Suh has performed two main roles within the Bucs protection. First, he has been a plus gap-stuffer, serving to the workforce set up dominance within the run sport. Secondly, he was introduced in to work on passing downs as a 3-technique that may get stress on the quarterback.

Suh Final Yr

Regardless of six sacks final yr, Suh had maybe his worst yr as an expert final yr. Per Professional Soccer Focus, he registered a 49.4 grade in 2021. This included profession lows in each go rush (54.2) and run protection (50.2). Now whereas PFF shouldn’t be taken as gospel, it’s the most accessible grading system obtainable to the general public that seeks to guage gamers on a play-to-play foundation. As we mix this publicly obtainable knowledge with the actual fact the Bucs haven’t signed Suh up to now, together with the Bucs’ brass not stating it’s a precedence, we will begin to put the items collectively that the writing is on the wall.

However why? The place has Suh regressed in play that may lead the Bucs to not need to convey him again? In spite of everything, he’s a top quality veteran that has began each sport in his profession he has not been suspended for. He is aware of this Bucs protection and has excelled in it earlier than. He’s battle-tested. These are all qualities {that a} workforce in a Tremendous Bowl window ought to be searching for. Let’s check out a number of performs from final yr that may spotlight the place the Bucs’ considerations could lie.

Run Protection

Suh has at all times been a plus run defender all through his profession. As a matter of truth, since 2014 he has been among the finest run-defending defensive tackles in all of soccer. Nevertheless, his run protection has been slipping a bit over the previous a number of years as Suh entered his 30s. A part of the issue may be seen with the enlargement of the wide-zone working sport.

This type of offense will get the offensive line pushing the line of defense laterally. The working again follows behind the road searching for a niche within the line of defense from a defender both below or over-pursuing the play. As a defensive linemen this requires a number of athleticism to maneuver in area. And right here we see the primary space the place Suh’s efficiency is in decline.

Rams Playoff Sport

Within the above play in opposition to the Rams within the Divisional playoff sport, Suh is lined up in between the middle and the appropriate guard within the “A” hole. Because the play begins to develop the Rams offensive line slides to the left getting the Bucs protection shifting that path as properly. As Suh strikes left, he turns his hips parallel to the road of scrimmage. He most certainly did this in an try to sustain with the play.

Sadly, in doing so Suh additionally prevents himself from having the ability to correctly defend the bottom of the play if the working again cuts again to the left. That is precisely what occurs subsequent. A spot opens up behind Suh and the working again simply accelerates by way of it for an 8-yard acquire.

Philadelphia Playoff Sport

Right here we see it once more within the Wild Card spherical when the Bucs performed in opposition to Philadelphia. Right here Suh is lined up within the “B” hole as a 3-technique. Suh’s preliminary bounce off the ball is a bit sluggish and he’s instantly giving up a large hole to the play facet.

Nevertheless, this hole is being monitored by Devin White who can simply crash it to stuff the play. However Suh begins to rush to shut it off himself, once more closing his hips to the road of scrimmage. In doing so, he opens the bottom lane as much as the runner. Philadelphia finally ends up with a wholesome acquire.

Suh As A Move Rusher

Now that we’ve proven a couple of performs the place Suh is declining as a run-defender let’s check out his skills as a go rusher. We established on the outset that when the Bucs initially introduced Suh in, he wasn’t a dominant go rusher. However he may apply constant stress. Is that also the case?

Probably not. Don’t get me flawed. He can nonetheless apply stress, however the consistency simply isn’t there. On some reps he can strike laborious and quick with leverage and drive offensive linemen again along with his nonetheless appreciable energy. Check out these two reps in opposition to LA the place he rushes as an edge defender.

In each clips Suh is about outdoors the deal with as an edge rusher. In every clip, regardless of the deal with getting a great jump-set, it doesn’t matter. Suh strikes center-mass each instances utilizing momentum to assist drive his energy by way of his opposition. In each situations the consequence is similar. Suh forces his blocker again into the quarterback simply after he removes the ball.

These reps are nice for stress. However two issues stand out. First, Suh wanted area to get some velocity to switch his energy right into a helpful rush. Second, as a result of Suh isn’t a real edge rusher with the requisite explosion off the road and velocity up the arc that is about nearly as good of an edge rush as you’ll get from him. One the place he doesn’t get dwelling earlier than the ball is launched.

Which brings me to my subsequent level…

Can He Get Residence Persistently?

Each of the reps above had been constructive examples of what Suh may give the Bucs, or another workforce, at this level in his profession. In each of the clips he didn’t affect the throw. Or higher but, he didn’t get the sack. You see that on this subsequent clip as properly.

This can be a staple of the Rams’ offense. They pretend the surface zone run to the left and have quarterback Matt Stafford roll out on a unadorned bootleg to the appropriate.

Now for the great: Suh acknowledges the play, pushes the deal with out of the best way and units himself as much as make the play.

The unhealthy: He lacks the explosive closing velocity needed to actually blow this play up.

And the ugly: Suh is unable to get dwelling, sack Stafford, and actually put the Rams offense in a bind. What may have been a 10-yard loss that basically backed up L.A. was merely an incomplete go.

And this theme will proceed with the now notorious “Kupp Catch”

Suh works by way of the left guard simply and has a free lane to Stafford. Think about what may have been if he simply had the juice to get dwelling earlier than and even because the throw is made. Think about if the go wasn’t full or if the sack had occurred. Simply think about. However c’est la vie.

Inside Move Rush

Now I’ve proven you fairly a couple of clips with Suh displaying constructive traits as a go rusher. However these are unusual conditions and flash inconsistently as you look by way of final yr’s video games. As I watched Suh all through a number of video games final yr it grew to become obvious that on far too many performs he simply was not creating sufficient stress as an inside rusher.

Right here Suh will get a quasi-one-on-one with the appropriate guard. This can be a play he has to create some type of stress. A sack could be nice, however even a stress or a rush would suffice. The deal with who’s retains his eye on the rep is rarely wanted. The guard stones him.

Once more, we see Suh struggling to make life uncomfortable for Jalen Hurts in opposition to Philadelphia. Off the snap Suh comes out of his 3-technique place and tries to assault the appropriate guard’s inside shoulder. However Suh is sluggish off the snap and the guard is in a full go set prepared for Suh’s assault. He positive factors leverage and absorbs Suh’s body and momentum, slowing Suh to a standstill and permitting Hurts loads of time to evaluate the sector.

Last Ideas

Make no mistake about it. Suh can nonetheless play. However it’s obvious he can now not play on the stage he as soon as may. Definitely not a participant at age 35 that ought to command wherever near $9 million per season. He isn’t the run-defender or pass-rusher the Bucs signed in 2019 who helped set up what this protection was to turn out to be.

At this stage in his profession, Suh has restricted lateral mobility, which hampers his capacity to correctly defend outdoors zone runs. He additionally lacks the constant explosiveness wanted to be a key contributor in harassing quarterbacks. The Bucs have talked extensively this low season about getting youthful and extra athletic on the inside line of defense. This can be a trace at what the workforce was lacking with Suh, and a sign about why he hasn’t been re-signed.

Tampa Bay has additionally expressed a necessity to enhance the consistency of stress up the center. At this level in his profession Suh doesn’t assist in any of these areas to the extent that the Bucs are searching for. Bucs normal supervisor Jason Licht hasn’t closed the door on Suh returning to the workforce in an emergency capability. However whereas the door could also be open a bit, he hasn’t invited Suh to come back in, both.