Adrian Clayborn > Will Gholston?June 28th, 2014
When the Bucs were playing underwear football this spring, Bucs fans got excited. Joe understands. When NFL teams gather, fans, starved for football, lap up any morsel of action they can find.
Problem is, it is underwear football.
Joe got plenty of questions asking about play of safeties and linebackers, and how the defensive line was rushing the quarterback.
Sadly, defenses can’t hit in underwear football (think touch football wearing only a helmet for protection). So it was virtually impossible to get a true idea of how the defense played.
While multimedia maven Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com admits as such, and agrees it is way too early for a fair judgment who will start at left defensive end, Adrian Clayborn or Will Gholston, Smith seems to think Gholston’s versatility may work against him in winning a starting job.
I think what it comes down to, however, is that Smith and company want to generate pressure with the front four alone as much as possible, and as such they’re going to want the four best pass-rushers on the field as often as they can have it. Clayborn has not yet emerged as a breakout pass-rushing star, but he had 7.5 as a rookie and 5.5 last year (sandwiched around a season on the DL), and I think he’s currently more of a polished rusher than Gholston. Gholston, with his ability to play inside and outside, might serve the team better as a versatile reserve who sees a good number of snaps in order to keep everyone fresh.
Joe cannot argue with this. It’s sound logic Smith is using. Keeping guys fresh under the brutal Florida sun is key in the first two months of the season, if not beyond.
Gholston seems to be able to pass rush from tackle just as well as he does defensive end. Obviously, Clayborn is a defensive end only, even though the previous coaching regime under then-commander Greg Schiano thought Clayborn was a cornerback who could cover Darren Sproles on pass plays.
So if the Bucs coaches this season think Clayborn is as good as or maybe just a bit better than Gholston, Clayborn may get the nod as a starting defensive end because Gholston gives the Bucs versatility.