Benoit: Vea A Three-down Lineman

July 22nd, 2018

“Hey rook, you are going to have to chase down quarterbacks, too!”

When the Bucs drafted mammoth defensive tackle Vita Vea in the first round, the 6-4, 347-pound beast was thought to be in some circles a two-down lineman who might come off the field on passing downs.

Andy Benoit of believes that is old school thinking.

Benoit explained how the rule of thumb in the NFL is to keep mountains like Vea on the field on both running and passing downs. That wasn’t always the case, Benoit noted in a “10 Things” podcast on

“Guys like Vita Vea were strictly base personnel guys,” Benoit said. However, that philosophy in the NFL changed, Benoit explained, because NFL offenses forced defenses to change, or not change as the case may be.

“It is three-wide receiver sets on about two-thirds of the snaps,” Benoit said. “Teams started playing base personnel more often because they don’t want to happen to them what has happened to the Kansas City Chiefs, which is teams line up in three-receiver sets but they just ran the ball down your throat because they handed the ball off anyway.”

While Vea might be little more than a rotational player initially because he is a rookie and the Bucs loaded up on veteran defensive tackles in the offseason, once Vea gets his feet wet, if Benoit is accurate, Bucs fans should not be surprised to see Vea being on the field on passing downs as well.

Joe senses that at least in the early going on third downs when it is clear the opposition needs to pass, the Bucs’ front line will be Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy, Vinnie Curry (who played some defensive tackle at Philadelphia) and Noah Spence.

14 Responses to “Benoit: Vea A Three-down Lineman”

  1. Dooshlarue Says:

    Man, I’m really excited to see what our D-line can do this year.

    Go Bucs!
    Go Buckner!

  2. Bird Says:

    The Tongan Tree stump

    Hopefully he can take over for McCoy in years to come. And I agree. I am excited to see what this Dline can do this year. Hope they are able to put some qbs on their back this year (mainly the NFC south studs)

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I think the first and seconds halves of the season are going to be complete opposites. We will come on strong the second half and I believe the defense and Winston are going to be humming. The question is, is it to late for another shot next year. I think if there is reason that they will have a shot next year, they keep it all together, at 21 million. 6-10 or 7-9 and Dirk might still have a job. Depending how the season plays out. I can’t wait. Go Bucs!!!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    I agree with Benoit … Vea will be a 3-down lineman. He’ll make his presence known, and nobody will want him to come off the field. But that doesn’t mean that he’ll be in for 100% of the defensive snaps IMO. Quite the contrary. Last year, Philly showed a lot of folks the value of keeping DLinemen fresh by using an excellent rotational scheme. My guess is that Smitty will try to do exactly the same this year. Injuries may hamper that as the season rolls on, but with GMC, Allen, Vea & Unrein playing predominantly inside, Smitty has all kinds of options. JPP will see lots of snaps on the outside IMO, but I can see Curry, Spence & Gholston being used more in specialized roles outside (down & distance dependent). After last year’s near total lack of DLine talent, this year’s DLIne has incredible potential. Now to translate that into performance on the field … and WINNING games.

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    If Vita Vea doesn’t eventually become a 3 down starter – then he was the wrong selection at #12 overall.

    Bucs already have a #11 overall slot CB.

    Spending top 15 overall picks on part time players 2 out of 3 years would not be a good look.

    Vea’s strength and extreme athleticism for a man that size is hopefully what sets him apart from other players over 325 lbs who traditionally come off the field on passing downs.

    I am optimistic in this case.

    Thought for sure James should and would be the pick when he was still on the board at #12 – but Jason Licht has earned my trust when it comes to young player eval so I’m not going to play the woulda, shoulda, coulda game regarding Vea.

    Same goes for CB Stewart – although I think pretty much everyone is scratching their heads over that one….

    We shall see. Might be 2 or 3 years before we actually know how well these guys turned out but at some point we will know…

    Regardless of who does or doesn’t “pan out” – if Licht is ultimately able get 3 starters out of this draft – then it was a very good one. More than 3 starters (for the 3rd time in 4 years!) and Jason unlike Dom will truly DESERVE the title of ROCKSTAR.

  6. SteveK Says:

    How about you put Vea on the line and Spence at OLB on rush downs?

  7. AlteredEgo Says:

    2 & 3rd downs…save him for the end of the games his rookie year…all sorts of talent combo’s available with the DL talent this year for the evil genius MS to dial up….Folks will be surprised …Bucs D is gonna tear it up this year…

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    This DL should give offense 1-2 more possessions per game which , coupled with reduced turnovers and improved running game could mean 5 more wins

  9. Destinjohnny Says:

    I wouldn’t even play him until the second half

  10. JWBUCS Says:

    No doubt it will be very interesting to see how the Bucs defensive line performs this year with the good additions, in terms of players, combined with Coach Buckner.

  11. BigMacAttack Says:

    Yeah well they can always line him up at fullback.

  12. BigMacAttack Says:

    Don’t be surprised if it happens occasionally lol

  13. Mark T Stephens Says:

    The Bucs will have a rotation on DL. I don’t expect to see any player, even McCoy get overused. This will allow plenty of reps for Vea. But it also means the idea of a three down player is not meaningful. Hopefully keeping everyone fresh will mean more big plays from the DL and I hope that Vea has plenty of them.

  14. RickinFtMyers Says:

    If Vita Vea can get a consistent push up the middle that collapses or threatens to collapse the pocket on most passing downs leave him in. If he can consistently collapse the pocket, opposing teams will be forced to double team him, an action that should leave at least two of the three from among Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy, Vinnie Curry, and/or Noah Spence one-on-one to wreak havoc.