July 16th, 2013

You feel it, Joe feels it. When the mortgage is due, when deadlines loom, when traffic makes you late to work, you feel it.

The pulse rises. The sweat drips. Breathing is shallow and quick. It’s pressure.

For a handful of Bucs, they feel the hot breath of Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik and Bucs coach Greg Schiano on the backs of their necks, and perhaps the wrath of fans if the team doesn’t so well this season.

Tom Krasniqi of WDAE-AM 620, also known as “TKras,” is the station’s Bucs beat guy. He has typed a piece identifying five Buccaneers feeling the heat inside their luxury, air conditioned pads. Joe finds the one below interesting. 

3) Tie- Defensive ends Adrian Clayborn/Da’Quan Bowers – The pass rush for the Bucs will be a big factor in determining the team’s playoff chances in 2013. Last season, the Bucs were hideous in this area. The team registered just 27 sacks last season which ranked them 30th in the NFL. Not nearly good enough and don’t forget, the Bucs lost their best pass rusher in Michael Bennett (9 sacks) to free agency. As much as everyone loved to criticize the secondary, they were not helped out at all by the pass rush. Clayborn tore his ACL in Week 3 last season at Dallas. Clayborn showed some promise as a rookie two years ago when he recorded 7.5 sacks. Clayborn says he feels stronger and will be ready for the start of camp. The Bucs need him just as much as they need Bowers. The Bucs let Bennett walk in free agency because they have high confidence in Bowers as an every-down left defensive end. Bowers suffered a torn Achilles a year ago which delayed his season debut until late October and then was hampered by a hamstring injury. Down the stretch, Bowers did flash some ability and finished the season with 3 sacks. Can Bowers be a 10 sack per year type of player? Bowers thinks so and so do the Bucs. Bowers and/or Clayborn need to step forward in order to alleviate the double teams that Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy will undoubtedly see on a regular basis. The improved secondary may force the quarterback to hold onto the ball a little longer, so that helps. Clayborn was a 1st round pick back in 2011. Bowers was a 2nd rounder that year. GM Mark Dominik wants them to be full-time players because of their draft status. Now he needs them to deliver.

Joe doesn’t disagree with TKras here, but in Joe’s eyes, more pressure is on Bowers than Clayborn.

Unlike Clayborn, coming off a nasty knee injury, Bowers has always been dinged up for the Bucs with some sort of ailment. At least Clayborn has played a full season as a starter.

The Bucs had chances to either keep their sack leader (Michael Bennett) even though he may be damaged goods for a decent price, or go out any get, say, John Abraham. Instead, the Bucs are putting a lot of eggs in Bowers’ basket, hoping he not only can stay healthy but be productive.

While Bowers has shown flashes of being a key sack guy, like a certain Bucs quarterback who wears No. 5, he has not been consistent, largely due to injuries.

Oh yes, TKras has Mr. Freeman as the Bucs player under the most pressure.

17 Responses to “Pressure!”

  1. chef paul Says:

    I’m a huge Hawkeye fan. I watched every game Clayborn played for Iowa. I was so excited when the bucs drafted him. that being said, I’ve been kind of disappointed in him thus far in the pros. not that I think he’s been bad, he just hasn’t filled my high expectations thus far. Hopefully this year he makes us all proud

  2. tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Buc that should feel the most pressure is Revis. But…because he is the way he is….he won’t feel any pressure. He will simply perform. There are some others that should be on the list like Luke Stocker & Eric Wright.

  3. robert Says:

    yes pressure, but excitement I am sure as well.

    these guys have been given the keys, and I’m sure the excitement would surpass the pressure. not the same as the pressure on no 5, because their about to take his keys.

  4. Walter Says:


    Actually, they’re giving Freeman this season, so they aren’t taking them just yet. I know, I know, bummer right? Gotta watch another 16 games of Freeman football, then MAYBE they’ll take the keys away. Doubt it though

  5. Macabee Says:

    We’re going to get some answers soon. 28 rookies and first year players will start training camp tomorrow with the veterans joining them next Wednesday, July 24th.

    Soon we will start to get some answers as they put on pads a few days and come close to playing real football. We can actually see 10 practices that will get us up close to real football too.

    Been following the Bucs since their inception and can’t say that I’ve ever been more anxious than now to see what this edition of the Bucs can do. I’m not sure pressure is the right word. Excitement is more like it!

    I’m not worried about either Bowers or Clayborn. I don’t sense from their most recent interviews that they are worried either. Every player in the NFL fears the dreaded injury bug. My opinion – if they can stay on the field, they will get the job done!

    One week and one day, the gladiators will enter the coliseum! Go Bucs!

  6. tampabaybucfan Says:


    I’m with you….”since the inception”…..was a season ticket holder in 76.
    I also can’t remember a year where I am excited about the possibilities because of the changes and lineup of talent.

  7. Pete 422 Says:

    The media is talking so much about pressure, but I don’t think the players in question really feel this type of pressure. Athletes perform best when they are relaxed and enjoying their job (I think that goes for any job really). I don’t believe these players are feeling the stressful type of pressure, but instead are excited about the challenge ahead with the confidence they will play at a high level. I’ve seen athletes smiling before a big play which they end up making in the end. Human beings perform best when loose and ready for action. I expect big things from the Bucs & based in what i have seen, I think they will deliver.

  8. Biff Barker Says:

    More important than any individuals performance, outside of QB’ and kicker’s, is how we play as a units.
    The offensive line last year is worth noting, linebackers too.
    I’m actually thinking that as a group, the DL will meet expectations this year.

  9. Pete 422 Says:

    Agreed Biff. A healthy O-Line and Martin should be able to run the ball almost at will. This will help Freeman play to his strengths which is going downfield. This is how the offense is supposed to work. The defense just has to be good, not great. Situations such as the Oakland game should be a thing of the past.

  10. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    As soon as he blamed the pass rush for last seasons secondary woes, i quit reading. Anyone who watched the games or who have gone back and watched more film on last years secondary will see that it was nearly impossible for our d-line to get pressure on QBs when they were releasing the ball when they planted their back foot on their three step drop. I’m sorry even if we had Sapp and Rice their wasn’t enough time. The QBs were so confident against our secondary they were throwing timing routes 80% of the time. You would have to possess superhuman abilities to close the gap that fast.

  11. Eric Says:

    Personnel aside our DC is highly questionable. When they got some film on his scheme they lit his defense up like an Xmas tree last year.

    Same dude who presided over a talented, yet woeful, giants defense to the point Coughlin fired him.

    Huge concern. Especially in this Division.

  12. Pete 422 Says:

    Eric, good point. It seemed Schiano stepped in a bit in that last Atlanta game.

  13. the_buc_realist Says:

    It also didn’t hurt that Atlanta stepped out of the game, while walking into the playoffs.

  14. Travis Says:

    People now want to blame the pass rush for our secondary but I just don’t agree. The secondary has to help the pass rush first and actually cover for at least 3 seconds to allow the line the opportunity to penetrate. From 3 seconds on, its on the D-line to get enough pressure to affect the QB’s throw and help the secondary.

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    Ding dong Biggers is gone. Well it kind of rhymes.

  16. scubog Says:

    Like the rest of the old school Bucs fans, I am excited to see this group. Barring injuries to the star players, this team is poised to surprise. The ones with the pressure are the bubble players who are on the fringe of being released at any time.

  17. Mulligan Says:

    I don’t know why but I expect William Gholston to make a big impact. I watched a lot of his games at Michigan State and at times he is a beast. If the Bucs can get him to play every down he is in he will provide great depth on the Dline. I am also hoping for the same from Spence.