The Rise Of Will Gholston

October 28th, 2016
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In the offseason, Joe remarked that if Will Gholston could somehow get six sacks in his contract year this season, he was looking at a massive pay raise in 2017, if not by the Bucs, then surely by someone.

That’s how desperate teams are for sacks.

The versatile Gholston, 25, who can play both tackle and end, came up with goose eggs the first three weeks and Joe wrote how it appeared Gholston was a one-dimensional player, not a sack artist in the making.

Joe may have ignored a confluence of circumstances brewing behind the scenes.

Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith offered early on that he expected to see his defense begin to make strides in the fourth game of the season. Sure enough against the Broncos, the Bucs defense showed signs of life and Gholston himself got a half-sack that day.

Gholston had a sack against San Francisco last Sunday and has appeared to wake from his slumber. With the defensive line riddled with injuries, Gholston has been somewhat of a rock, and he has drawn accolades from Dirk Koetter and, yesterday, Smith.

“I’ve got to mention [that] I think [defensive lineman] Will Gholston has really played well over the last three weeks,” Smith said. “He’s done a very nice job and it’s good to see Will starting to have the production that he’s had the last couple of weeks.”

Smith also noted the uptick in quarterback pressures Gholston has contributed in recent weeks was due in part to extra work he has put in with defensive line coach Jay Hayes.

“We’ve had to lean on him a lot and with [defensive end] Robert [Ayers] out, he’s had to kind of play that role, so he’s playing some on the outside, then he moves to the inside,” Smith said of Gholston. “So he’s been our guy that has been very flexible for us, in terms of playing defensive end and defensive tackle.

“I think he’s gotten a lot better. Again, I contribute to his hard work, but I believe [Assistant Defensive Line Coach Paul] Spicer and [Defensive Line Coach Jay] Hayes specifically have been working with Will like they work with all the guys. We’re seeing improvement and that’s the thing.”

So if Gholston is still improving as Smith said, with 10 games left, Gholston still has an outside shot at reaching seven sacks for the season.

And Joe is convinced six sacks will be worth a bag of gold for Gholston from some needy NFL team.

21 Responses to “The Rise Of Will Gholston”

  1. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Aren’t the Bucs a needy NFL team? I don’t remember the last time the Bucs had a home grown DE… well, there was the guy who is now in Seattle ‘who the bucs let go for no good reason’

  2. Miko Says:

    it better be the Bucs needy team to sign him…remember Bennett to Seattle?…

  3. NutterBuccer Says:

    Really hoping we resign Gholston, Akeem Spence, and Bradley Mcdougal, As previously mentioned we let a great DE slip away already and have lost players such as Mark Barron and Donald Penn for simply letting them walk or trading them for peanuts. We have the money so there really is no excuse. Especially with the D line, Big Will is one of the best run stuffing DE in the league and has proven to stay Durable, and spence provides much needed depth and keeps getting better and better.

  4. NutterBuccer Says:

    I believe Hey Jude is a free agent also, someone I would like to see the bucs keep, the more he plays the better he gets.

  5. mike n Says:

    @miko I don’t think he is close to as good as bennett but I see your point. He better come back but there is a chance someone offers him crazy crazy money. If that happens, you probably have to let him go. Oliver vernon got 7.5 sacks last year and got 85 million dollars ( more than watt). Maybe you are right miko, resign your own even if you have to over pay and hope the improvment continues. May be better than taking a chance on a player you don’t know.

  6. Knucknbuc Says:

    Yea you dont let him leave hes younger then ayers with ayers type talent imo. It took forever for ayers to become as good as he is. Will was raw af coming out of michigan state hes just now turning into what he can be. You sign him. Licht better not let our best run defender go and improving pass rusher after all the other fa duds hes resigned. PAY DA MAN!!

  7. SoftastissueMcCoy93 Says:

    I predicted a big year from Jac Smith and Gholston with new position coaching. I glad to see he is performing, but I wished Smith didn’t go down in ATL. Overall The line is playing better. Will Ayers play Sunday?

  8. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Sacks are great and I get the lust for more of them. I also get that we’d like Gholston to be a contributor in that area.

    But the Bucs will resign Gholston whether he hits six or not. He brings a couple of very valuable traits to the game that may not be sacks but are valuable in their own right.

    First off he’s very versatile and has adapted to being used in multiple ways. One thing going for both our OL and DL’s is thanks to players like Gholston the injuries don’t sting quite as much because some of the guys are able to move around to fill holes. Gholston is one of the best at this!

    Secondly..he passes the Tmax test. He shows up and plays week after week.
    Injuries are largely a result of bad luck but some players seem to have “good luck”. We knew that DB55 would show up every week. Simeon Rice showed up every week. Who on our DL besides Gholston shows up every week?

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Will Gholston has become my favorite player on the Bucs. Blue collar, brings his lunch pail and shows up to work every single day, rain or shine (or injury). In a way reminds me a lot of Mike Alstott … you’ll always get his best. He may never get the sacks that some DEs get, but he’s solid as a rock at his position(s) and he rarely gets fooled. If the Bucs don’t re-sign him, that’d be just as dumb as when they let Michael Bennett walk.

  10. Miko Says:

    the thing that matters most is keeping some continuity on this team, for a change….like resigning the good players we draft and having a team that stays together

  11. astrobuc Says:

    Will is a good player. I personally value a run stuffed over a pass rusher simply because the run stuffer will force the offense into obvious passing downs. It is nice to have someone who does both really well, but those guys are rare. Hope he is RE signed

  12. tmaxcon Says:


    Good day sir.. i hope all is well in retirement land… Thank you very much for pointing on playing every Sunday is very important. Not all d lineman are fragile. I am pulling for Big Will he deserves a payday!

  13. orlbucfan Says:

    The first priority is to keep DK and his coaching krewe here for 3 years, if not longer. It is that simple. The HC musical chairs has to end. Go Tampa Bay Sunday!!

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    Assuming we intend to re-sign him, it would actually be best for the Bucs if Gholson doesn’t get many more sacks this year.

    The difference in “perceived value” on the open market between him winding up with 4 1/2 sacks vs say 7 1/2 or 8 in 2016 is literally tens of millions of dollars over the course of his next contract.

    His value to the team and what he brings on 1st and 2nd down is not at all diminished if he gets 4 sacks instead of 8 this year. But the cost to retain him long term goes up astronomically if he registers more than 6 or 7 sacks this year.

  15. ElioT Says:

    I’d like to see them re sign Akeem Spence and Big Willy.

    Here’s some money possibly coming off the books in 2017:
    V-Jax (Ret.)
    D. Smith (Ret.)
    Evan Smith
    B. Myers

  16. Buccaneers Says:

    Im with Defense Rules. Will is one of my favorite players to watch. Anytime there is a play at the line of scrimmage he is all over it and it seems that he can’t be blocked going side to side. Quarterback sacks are a different ballgame tough. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t they taking him off the field every time its a passing down?……………..Anybody who thinks he is going to collect a whole bunch of sack numbers better start praying. I love the guy but, cmon, he sucks as an edge runner.

  17. RustyRhino Says:

    I agree with you Pickgrin.
    I want Mr. Gholston Re-signed, sooner rather than later.
    He has grown up Here and is very good at his position. Growing his skills yearly as a Professional DE. I would hope that he wants to play Here, and continue to grow Here. Even If he gets as many Sacks as he can get this season. Pay him not over pay him, he has way out played his first contract surely. I hope he stays.
    Culture Building at is best? Re-signing those who you have cultivated who are growing within your system.

    Miko, “the thing that matters most is keeping some continuity on this team, for a change….like resigning the good players we draft and having a team that stays together” WOW! You are so right with this. We Can’t Grow together if We Don’t Stay together.

    Go Bucs!

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    sign him…..GO BUCS!!!!

  19. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    Keep him!

  20. Brent bull/buc Says:

    Def gotta resign spence gholston. Gm should know this.if nor we have a problem at gm.

  21. godzilla13 Says:

    No way we let William go. There is a ton of cap space and if he ever gets a counter or spin move added to his pass rushing skills..lookout. I am sure Ayers has shown him some tricks of the trade.. like his violent hands, bull rush, fake counter move. Works everytime!