A Secret Superstar

November 16th, 2012

While the (physical) hits keep on coming, the Bucs somehow, someway find ways to plug the holes.

Much has been written about the offensive line, with only Donald Penn remaining in his original spot due to the line being decimated by injuries. And it may get worse with Jamon Meredith’s bum left ankle.

But not a whole lot has been written about the defensive line. Adrian Clayborn was lost earlier in the season with a blown knee and Da’Quan Bowers has had to rally from his Achilles tear as a result. Fellow defensive end Michael Bennett has had to battle through injuries himself.

This created an opportunity for Daniel Te’o-Nesheim to step in, and of late, he has handled himself quite well on the field. So much so that the football thinktank of ProFootballFocus.com awarded Te’o-Nesheim as an unsung hero.

Against the run he had a Run Stop Percentage of 9.5%, with two of his three solo tackles resulting in defensive stops. That paled in comparison to the damage he did as a pass rusher, however. With all 34 of his pass rushes coming from the right, Te’o-Nesheim registered a sack and seven hurries on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. That gave him a Pass Rushing Productivity Rating of 18.4, the second-highest among 4-3 defensive ends in Week 10. His lone sack of the game came on 1st-and-10 with 3:53 left in the game, with the Buccaneers leading by 7. Beating left tackle Michael Harris to the inside, he was able to get to Rivers quickly and record the sack for a loss of 10 yards.

Now Joe has never played in the NFL much less coached in it. The closest Joe has sniffed the NFL was being coached in high school by a guy who just retired from the NFL, and Joe to this day is blown away by how much his old coach knew about football (his football bloodlines traced through John Madden, Tom Landry, Gene Stallings and indirectly, Bear Bryant).

Given that so many Bucs have come out of obscurity to fill holes caused be injuries and played well tells Joe that these guys are simply coached up. Albeit from a very different level of football, Joe has experienced this first-hand.

How many teams have had this many guys fill in for injured starters, and yet there has been little to no dropoff of play? That tells Joe the reserves (as well as the starters) are getting coached up big time.

How refreshing is that?

8 Responses to “A Secret Superstar”

  1. bucsfaninchina Says:

    This season has given me a new perspective on just how much coaching plays a role with these pros.

  2. Bobby Says:

    I think this should serve notice that it really doesn’t matter what ranks the coaches come from. That was my argument all along, the game is basically the same on college and pro level but it is much faster on the pro level and you have the best players from the college ranks so it makes it much more difficult to game plan. If you have coaches who understand the game and know how to communicate and teach then it doesn’t matter whether they come from the college ranks or whatever….they can be successful.

    It’s just like school, you have teachers who may know their subject but they are poor at communicating their knowledge to the students. The best teachers are the best communicators. Schiano did a good job of getting great teachers who happen to be very knowledgeable about football. The difference in talent between players in the NFL is minimized when you have great coaching. We’re seeing that with these Bucs replacements.

  3. JonBuc Says:

    Joe: Who was your high school coach if you don’t mind telling us…

  4. Buc N' A Says:

    Hey Joe – I too am excited about the coaching and the next man up, but as much as everyone dumps on Raheem – didn’t the same thing happen in 2010? We had injury after injury and the next man up was always handling business without missing a beat. Not saying Schiano isn’t a million times better coach than Raheem, but Raheem’s Rosetta Stone approach did work for a little while. It was obviously not sustainable. All I know is, I’m glad we got that Jersey guy running our ship. The future is bright guys and gals. VERY bright indeed. Go Bucs!! No let-down this weekend. Win the games you should win!

  5. Armando Says:

    That guy makes alot of splash plays. He could something special – get him in the game more.

  6. Joe Says:


    A scrub defensive back by the name of Bob Prout. He was camp meat/taxi squad guy for the Raiders for a while and made the Cowboys for a year or two. Gene Stallings was his position coach. When Joe was in college covering an NFL training camp, Joe asked Stallings about Prout and Stallings just went over the top raving about the guy.

    Joe just wants to cry he’s forgotten so much about the technical aspects of football he learned from Prout. There was no big epiphany he had, but it was ssssooo many little things that, put together, made a monster difference. Hell, Joe learned how to use his hands to block (don’t always need to drill a guy), how to get your knuckles under a defender’s breast plates on his shoulder pads to gain leverage, how to use your thighs to tackle, just so many things it was unbelievable.

    When Joe saw his first NFL training camp (Stallings, again), they did everything in stations like Joe’s high school team did. It was like watching Joe’s old high school practices, only the players were twice as big and quick.

    It was at that point that Joe realized he had a very, very, very special coach in high school.

    Oh, given Prout’s NFL linage, he hated the Steelers worse than the devil.

  7. IdahoBucsfan Says:

    Incredible article Joe! This was quite pertinent! I share your view, the only thing I would add, would be a clear declaration that the difference is Great coaching on the BUCS and NOT so great coaching in Carolina! 😉 GO BUCS!

  8. DaMayan Says:

    Te’o was a 3rd pick by the Eagles and isnt a scrub. He’s played pretty good and actually maybe just as good as Clayborn who didnt start well.