Is Will Gholston Too Fragile?

December 10th, 2016

Robert Ayers (right) and Dirk Koetter talk about Will Gholston (L).

Interesting takes this week from head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive end Robert Ayers about DE/DT Will Gholston, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Both those guys expressed massive love and appreciation for Gholston, but both painted a picture of a guy falling apart.

First it was Koetter on Monday, telling the Buccaneers Radio Network how important it is to have a defensive line rotation. Koetter, unprompted, explained what a big impression it made upon him last year watching Will Gholston play a lot of snaps and look so beaten up after games.

Trust Joe, for the offensive coordinator to notice, it must have been pretty bad.

Koetter’s point was that few D-linemen can play the vast majority of snaps and Gholston isn’t one of them.

Then on Thursday night, Robert Ayers was sharing his appreciation of Gholston and remarked how beat up he is and playing through pain.

“You grow to appreciate the guys like Will who are just rugged,” Ayers said of Gholston. “He don’t care about nothing but winning. You know, he’s just willing out there laying it on the line. The has so many nicks and things like that, pain, so much pain after the game.

He’s a “true warrior,” Ayers added.

Gholston is great against the run, one of the best DEs in the league. The guy is a legitimate massive presence at 6-6, 285 pounds with little fat on him.

But Gholston, 25, is a subpar pass rusher (two sacks) and it appears the game is beating him up badly. (Remember what Mike Evans said last year about Gholston).

Interesting decision for Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter after this season. Gholston has a lot of value. But what’s he really worth? The market for young DEs is usually wild and very inflated. And Gholston already has gone public saying he wants to get paid.

33 Responses to “Is Will Gholston Too Fragile?”

  1. JonBuc Says:

    If the Bucs make the playoffs…and depending how deep they go if so…will determine if a team will pay him a ton of money…more than the Bucs may be willing to spend.

  2. SB with Jameis Says:

    Remind me again what a players greatest ability is……….

  3. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    After Martin and GMC and some others, it’s hard to shovel money to guys no matter how deserving when their health is questionable. Just comes back to bite us in the backside too dang often.

  4. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    SB, availability.

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Gholston the only Dline player who has not missed a game this year?

    3 years – $13.5M should be the offer

  6. DB55 Says:

    He’s hurt cuz he plays hard on every play. Need more guys like this and his teammates know this. Too fragile? HELL TO THE NAH. Plays waaay tooo hard? Very possible if such a thing exists. The best part is he’ll rub some dirt on it and come back for more. Love this guy!!!

  7. orlbucfan Says:

    Earth to Joe: Nope, Gholston is not too fragile. Dlinemen go through a beating at their position. Natural Law. Two HOF examples: Lee Roy Selmon (RIP) and Sapp Mouth. Both played with pain. Gholston isn’t those two; but he’s a very good, tough player. If he’s being paid peanuts, he’s worth more. Off season should be interesting to say the least. 🙂

  8. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    It seemed to me that they were referencing his toughness and ability to stick it out and play through pain.

  9. unbelievable Says:

    Hmmm, so they both praise how much of s grinder he is, playing through injuries and being banged up, and the Joe’s take is that he’s too fragile?

    You guys have some weird issues on certain players on this team lately.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    I can’t believe y’all would even write a headline called ‘Is Will Gholston Too Fragile?’ Joe. Like Evans said Gholston is ‘a beast’. Like Ayers said he’s just rugged and lays it all on the line every game. Takes a beating every game. I’d bet that Will plays more defensive snaps than any other DE in the NFL. He’s played in all 12 games, has 35 tackles plus 10 assists, far more than any other DLineman on the Bucs. May not get a huge number of sacks, but he keeps the pressure on QBs and is great at containment. If the Bucs let him walk it’d be just as stupid as when they let Bennett walk. Hopefully Koetter, Smitty & Licht appreciate Will more than the Joes seem to.

  11. Brian Says:

    “Hmmm, so they both praise how much of s grinder he is, playing through injuries and being banged up, and the Joe’s take is that he’s too fragile?

    You guys have some weird issues on certain players on this team lately.”

    Ya think? This is a ridiculous take on Gholston.

  12. Johhnie Says:

    Can u say Bennett 2.0, don’t let good players leave the building!happenjng to often in Tampa! Not same production but why loose top 4-5 dline on ur team that u hv groomed! Have we not learned anything. And y never let him run some DT on passing downs he may find more sack success there. Seems more like a bull rush guy than a high twitch off the corner player for passing downs!

  13. Knucknbuc Says:

    Huh? I read this as saying the guy is super tough. Hes not gonna miss games for lil nicks aches and pains like the dougillac. Dude plays hard on every play. Literally watch him sometime this dude is close to almost every play always hustles. Id take gholston on my team every sunday. So what koetter said he played alot of snaps last year and not every dlinemen can do it. No shame in that. Few can. Pay the man. How many games has he missed? Id pay gholston over dougillac.

  14. Lunchbox Says:

    Not to pile on, but I took those comments to mean that he was willing to play through the inevitable pain that comes from fighting in the trenches over the course of an NFL season.

  15. Getaclue Says:

    He probably looked so beat last year cause he was pissed from losing

  16. webster Says:

    Joe you are straight up tripping!!!!!

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I always find it amusing that fans seem to have an inside knowledge on a player’s physical condition….playing through pain, not only the injury but the actual severity. A player doesn’t need to be put on injured reserve to have a serious injury that affects his play. I leave it to the team Doctors, coaches and the player to make that determination.
    Yes, that makes me ignorant….I admit it. Can you?

  18. SOEbuc Says:


    “It seemed to me that they were referencing his toughness and ability to stick it out and play through pain.”

    Agreed. I highly doubt Koetter and Ayers and Evans are gonna come out and say what a p*ssy and liability Will is cus he’s often in a lot of pain. They’re just saying how tough he is and that he pushes to the limit every Sunday.

  19. q Says:

    Joe will gholston plays hard every down…he wears his heart on his sleeve…really the game has beaten him up? The game beats everyone up…but one thing is for sure…will gholston puts it on the field every sunday.

  20. Joe Says:

    You guys are so hilarious, reading between all kinds of lines. Joe isn’t knocking Gholston, just presenting the reality that the organization is very aware of being a guy who routinely is injured as he enters free agency. … You know, not every player is beaten up at 25 years old. Joe presents this as food for thought as the Bucs decide whether they want to return a DE who isn’t much of a pass rusher.

  21. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    Do you not realize how tough Gholston must be to do what he does? Do you not think he might be able to stay healthier longer if his D linemates were able to do the same? Gholston is a staple in this defense and NEEDS to be retained.

  22. Dreambig Says:

    Hey I have a idea, lets let him go to Seattle to play next to Michael Bennet. If we let him go in a year or two we will be bitching about it the same way we do now about Bennet. Gholston deserves a good offer as he is worth it.

  23. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Fragile? The guy hasn’t missed a game, he is being called words like “Warrior”, because of the way he fights through and gives his all every play. It is late in the season, every player is banged up. Every player, especially lineman are playing through pain.

    As for what the bucs do after this season with him. I think this game (if he doesn’t play) will give the bucs an idea of life without gholston. If the bucs struggle in the trenches on defense then expect Gholston to earn his pay day from the bucs. If the bucs can be dominating against the saints on the LOS, then it will show the d line can do well without him. Sign him to a fair deal if possible, if he asks for top dollar then let him walk.

    The kicker on the Bennet situation was that he went to the Seahawks for peanuts. The bucs could have had Bennett back at a very reasonable price. If gholston leaves it better be because he is going to make a fortune somewhere else.

  24. Brian Says:

    You flat out ask if he’s fragile and acuse your readers of reading between lines… Hack

  25. unbelievable Says:

    Frequently injured? Who’s reading between imaginary lines Joe? LOL.

  26. Dooshlarue Says:

    The Bucs would never overcompensate a fragile, oft injured D-lineman…….oh wait a minute.

  27. q Says:

    Joe will throw kisses at mccoy…and im not knocking mccoy …just that i really see the crush joe has…but he will knock a tough player like gholston …hmmm…this is unbelievable

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Should let a sleeping dog lie I’m sure Joes, BUT … when the headline says “Is Will Gholston Too Fragile?” and your commentary contends that he is then I don’t think that folks are reading between the lines. Your contention is pretty obvious.

    Will Gholston wants to get paid. Duh! What NFL player finishing out his rookie contract doesn’t want to get paid? Will’s a beast like more than one players have said, and even you’ve said he’s solid as a rock. If he’s getting beaten up then perhaps it’s because of how the Bucs are using him and how many snaps he’s having to play? And maybe that’s because of the lack of quality DLinemen on the Bucs? Example: last game Will got as many snaps as Akeem Spence, Russell & Siliga got ALL TOGETHER. Same situation against Seattle & the Chiefs.

    McCoy, McDonald, Ayers, Noah Spence & Gholston are ALL getting beaten up because those 5 DLinemen are taking the vast majority of the snaps on the DLine. Noah is playing hurt, McCoy is playing hurt, Gholston is playing hurt. McDonald & Ayers both missed a number of games because … oh ya, they were hurt. Call it like it is: The Bucs have minimal depth on the DLine, and at many other positions for that matter. Makes their 7-5 record look even more impressive to me.

  29. Lee Cohen Says:

    Gholston is one of the best players the Bucs have. The Bucs should absolutely keep him. When he is in he is a complete run stopper. He is versatile too – he can play tackle when needed.

  30. Bob in valrico Says:

    gholston is a beast that was holding the down fort.when all the other d lineman were hurt during the early part of the season.While he hasn’t gotten that many sacks, I have him be disruptive from his position. Don’t imagine many NFL QB’s want to Gholston charging them.

  31. Dave Says:

    Boy am I glad Joe isn’t Bucs GM.
    Have you even had one intelligent idea.
    Oh yeah, drafting Johnny Manziel.
    Please don’t insult our intelligence anymore.

  32. q Says:

    Joe i enjoy your page…i really do, however…what you need to learn is loving one player who in this case (and dont get me wrong i give him props for this season) named mccoy who has missed a good fair share of career games due to injuries , and giving him the most respect a player can get then of the other side of the coin come at these very intelligent fans of the game with this article which i call straight up horse doo doo and say this player gholston is getting beat down by the game and questioning whether the bucs should resign him? I mean are you insulting our intelligence? Are you insulting williams heart for the game? If mccoy gets 100 plus million dollars and he chooses to play when he is willing then i think gholston deserves his pay day also…dont be a hypocrite joe

  33. THETRUTH Says:

    bucs 48 million inder cap no issues in resigning anyone but signing for the right price and not overpaying like top 10 talent