Vita Vea And Playing Off The Line Of Scrimmage

November 15th, 2018

Joe’s watched curious Bucs film of Vita Vea, and Joe’s not talking about why former Bucs Warren Sapp and Ian Beckles call him “Velcro.”

For some reason, Vea does not line up hovering right up to the line of scrimmage. He nearly always appears a half-step behind the other defensive linemen. Fellow nose tackle Beau Allen is right up to the line, so it’s not like that’s how Bucs coaches mandate play at the position.

Strangely, Joe also has seen Vea do this on special teams.

A great example is on the extra-point (defense) after the Redskins scored their first touchdown of the day Sunday in the fourth quarter. Vea is alongside Will Gholston up the gut of the defense and Vea is visibly behind him.

Joe asked defensive coordinator Mark Duffner about this and Duffner didn’t deny it was happening. His implied that Vea gets to choose based on his comfort.

“Really, the defensive line, they all have alignments based on what their gap responsibility is and often times a little bit on the ability of the lineman, ‘How can I play my responsibility best?'” Duffner said. “So, whether they’re a little tighter or a little bit off, a lot of times that’s just based on the individual player’s ability to defend and play what his responsibility is.”

Joe wonders if Vea might have more success lining up tighter. His get-off isn’t special and it might give him a better shot at catching offensive linemen off balance.

Just something to think about as we all watch the No. 12 overall pick evolve before our eyes.

57 Responses to “Vita Vea And Playing Off The Line Of Scrimmage”

  1. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    Vita Vea was able to push around and bull rush everyone in college, but can’t do that in the NFL. He’s a one trick pony

  2. Mike Johnson Says:

    Joe..I hope your EVOLVE is more accurate. Sometimes I get the feeling our no12 pick is more like DE-SOLVING and RE[VOLVING right before our very eyes. No impact players out of 7 picks man. Why this makes me reach..for my evening double!

  3. bucanation Says:

    He’s just awful right now with no comfort level hopefully he will get better or just be a bust ,we will see

  4. bucanation Says:

    I just want to take a moment to congratulate our Great GM as of now our 1 and 2 picks are a BUST and the kicker you brought in is already gone , and one quick shout out to our scouting department for stealing money and i am wondering if they are related to our Great Gm , My wish is that you eat your belly full on Thanksgiving and jump in your swimming pool that you like to do and you can take the owners with you as well and swim until the crams get so bad that you all meet at the bottom .

  5. Iron wombat Says:

    Piss poor coaching at every position. But dirk dirk wouldn’t know because he treats the defense like it’s a separate entity.

  6. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    We have to give him time to adjust to the NFL game and they way block him. He’s still getting in shape and you can tell by watching him in between snaps he’s sucking wind. Incredible power. You can see the impact he has when he get his hands on you. Guards are winning with better leverage and better footwork. Leverage issues and lazy tired footwork is slowing him down.

  7. Zwak Says:

    Fix your “get off” you’ll go along way on this team. Trust me!

  8. Dooshlarue Says:

    So is it so crazy to think that at 350 lbs (and if he can’t get his act together on DL) that switching him to OL as a Guard or even Center might be a viable option?
    If he truly is Velcro wouldn’t that work better on the O-line?

  9. Seminole Bill Says:

    I wonder if it is because Vea is not as quick as those on the other side of the ball? In college, at 347 pounds Vea could shove other (read smaller) lineman around but in the NFL those on the other side may be quicker.

  10. A’train4047 Says:

    Why are these coaches leaving these decisions up to players. It’s the same thing with the corners. How about they tell them where to line up and how to play it. I could understand if we were talking about a defense that was good but cmon man

  11. Not there yet Says:

    Players are given all kinds of flexibility like I’ve never heard of before so your saying you aren’t telling guys what may make them more successful? Your line is horrible so why not micromanage something that small if it could make a big difference. Don’t worry this horrible staff will be outta here soon

  12. Mike10 Says:

    That’s it, I’m convinced.. we suck because our coaches suck.

    Could you imagine a rookie MLB pitcher pitching off comfort. Their pitching coach stays in the dugout while they struggle. No help on mechanics, suggestions of pitch selection.. just watch that ERA blow up.

    This is crazy!!!!

  13. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Man weird how licht passed on the nfl rookie of the year and future nfl all pro in derwin james for this guy what a colossal miss by licht

  14. FortMyersDave Says:

    Big Dust: James is a good player but you can bet if he was being coached by this Buc staff he would not be having a good year and we would be clammering about the Bucs not drafting someone else, perhaps even Vea if he got on another team and was coached properly and avoided the injury……

    A-Train: yeah why don’t the coaches simply make the kid line up on the line instead of a step back????? Of course this is the same D that allows a soft 5 to yard cushion in the backfield to allow any qb to nickel and dime the Bucs to death while the D-line fails to get pressure; even against a third string OL like the Skins and Browns have so its obvious that the coaching philosophy is in shambles………

  15. LakeLand Says:

    Let’s see who have the best game Sunday

    Vita Vea or the Giants rookie DT, BJ Hill

  16. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Derwin James would have been a scrub here.

    You guys can’t come complaining here about this horrible coaching staff and then blame these rookies and call them busts!

    If they had competent coaching maybe they could showcase their skills or be utilized a little better.

    Wayyyy to early to call anyone a bust. A lot of rookies don’t do ish in this league, but just because a few guys blow up, you all EXPECT that type of production.

    Go ahead write these guys off just like you have Jameis, next thing you know they are ballin out for someone else. Fickle fans have the attention span of a Labrador.

  17. joestang Says:

    Why shouldnt Vea play off the line, the corners play 10 yards off the receivers?

  18. Buc1987 Says:

    Alaskan Abdominal Snowman…you hit the nail on the head buddy.

    It’s a revolving cycle.

    Tampa Bay is like the farm league or practice squad for real NFL teams to come calling when they want one of our players after we can’t develop them. Schiano (LVD played GREAT under), Lovie, Koetter, Raheem and even the immortal Jon Gruden….

    How does it feel Bucs fans? I don’t mean you, 76’ers or any fans pre late-90’s to SB victory type fans either.

    You fans that came along when the winning started in the late 90’s….

    How does it feel to get peed on by your team week in and week out yet still remain a loyal fan?

  19. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Like Kobe has said …

    Poor mans Danny Sheldon…

    3rd/4th round run stopper..

    Its unimaginative but Gump had a worse draft in 2018 than he had in his putrid 2016 draft…

    We are right in the smack inside SEC country where plug and play NFL ready talent is prevalent but Gump and our mini Gumpies takes trips to scout the pathetic pac 12 west coast

    We have the worst talented roster in the NFL”

    Kobe Faker

  20. BigZ Says:

    Plays with his head down, looks slow.

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m guessing, and it’s purely a guess, that Vita feels like with an extra half step behind his moves that he has more power – it’s probably how he overpowered guys in college. Of course this isn’t college and his huge size advantage in college just isn’t there anymore – he’s still bigger than most guys, but not by a huge amount where he can get by strictly on being naturally stronger/bigger. That to me is where coaching comes into play, and if you trust Buckner to let him play how he feels most comfortable or not. Said it all offseason and since the draft, but rookie DT’s rarely do anything of note, they generally spend this year learning the game, so perhaps this is just part of that process and the coaches are just letting him adapt on his terms. Would be interesting to hear what guys like Sapp say about that, what the coaches did with him his rookie season, etc. Anywho I’m not down, and certainly not up, on Vita, but my opinion is what it’s always been, he’s a 3-4 run stuffing NT that might in a career year have 5 sacks, in a career year. In college he only average 3.5 sacks per season so it’s not exactly like he should be expected to easily surpass that at the NFL level, at least I don’t think so – which is why drafting him when we don’t play a 3-4 made no sense to me, and still makes no sense.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW, going back to the archives, this is a fun read, along with the comments…

    Will be even more interesting to look at a year from now when I think we will actually know what we have in Vita.

  23. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Vita Vea was a bust once Jason Licht selected him. Could’ve had Derwin “what a shame Jason Licht didn’t pick him” James Jr. Fire Licht!

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    Duffner says Duhhh. He probably didn’t even know it was happening. These coaches are oblivious. It’s pretty safe to say that Vea is a bust.

  25. BigMacAttack Says:

    Rojo bust. M.J. Stewart bust. Cappa hasn’t seen the field, bust. Jason Licht bust.

  26. Knoxville Buc Fan Says:

    @KnoxvilleBuc I don’t know of any other Buc fans around up here. We may be the only two in East Tennessee. We still go to a lot of the games down at Ray Jay and we traveled to Atlanta Cincinnati and Charlotte. But when we’re in Knoxville as we will be this weekend we go to Buffalo Wild Wings in West Knoxville and have our own Buccaneer Watch Party. Come join us bro?

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Anyone labelling rookies busts when we’re in game 9 of their rookie year is just a dope. Guys can look terrible in year one and bounce back huge. Prime example is Ronde Barber who wasn’t even good enough to get more than some garbage minutes his rookie year and I very much remember people at the time labelling him a bust. Chill out with calling rookie busts, if you have any historical perspective at all, you know how dumb that is.

  28. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    We are simply going along with Jason Licht’s draft selection tendencies. By his standard Vea is going to be a bust. Plus Derwin James Jr is a superstar. Fire Licht!

  29. Frank Pillow Says:

    I suspect Vita and the DBs were as much Smitty’s pics as they were Jason’s.

  30. NoTalentonDefense Says:

    Rod Munch, seriously? A number 11 overall pick should not look terrible, especially a lineman. I just read an article about how utterly disappointing the Bucs draft class has been. This organization is awful at evaluating talent, just awful. When a 350 pound, 22 year old man cannot at the very least disrupt a few plays per game by causing havoc in the backfield, then he is terrible.

  31. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    NoTalent- Oh an article! Why didn’t you say right away you read an article?! He must be a bust then if there’s an article about it.

    Look, Squirrel!!

  32. FireMikeSmith_orDie Says:

    How can ONE team be this bad at the draft?

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bucs Fan #7423 must have thought Warren Sapp was a one trick pony his first year too.

  34. THETRUTH Says:


    how many games has this ROOKIE played and you guys callnhim a busy !
    Is it just in Tampa that every player must be probowler from game 1 of career or he is bust.

    Look back on how many great players Buc fans would have run out of town after year one.
    Manning Peyton, Troy aikmen , Michael strahan (1 sack) , your beloved Rhônde Barber (sucked) , Lynch

    Give guys a chance to develop or could be they don’t develop past 3 years under this coaching regime and allow coaches who put players in position to succeed with talent they have

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Tampa fans are idiots. For years they complain that coaches made players adjust to scheme instead of the coaches adjusting the scheme to players.

    They get what they wanted and suddenly the coaches need to force the players?

    Make up your minds, people.

    KnoxvilleBuc nailed it.

  36. Rod Munch Says:

    NoTalentonDefense – Rookies struggle at a few positions in particular, that is safety, TE and the defensive line, in particular DT. They’re used to manhandling people based on simply being bigger and stronger and faster than the people they face, 99% of which will never play in the NFL. Then they get to the NFL and realize that they’re not bigger/faster/stronger anymore and they have to learn a whole new toolset. Even Sapp only had 3 sacks his rookie season, in this day and age of online lynch mobs people would have been saying he was a bust during preseason if he didn’t have a sack a game. I didn’t like the pick of Vea, I don’t think he fits this defense and he was taken way too high for a 3-4 run stuffing NT, which is what I think he is, but even with that I’m not saying the guy is a bust because he’s not dominating in his rookie season. That’s a nonsense standard.

  37. Jonathan Lipnicki Says:

    Short arms=short career? Having the moniker “velcro” placed upon you is never a good thing…unless you’re a receiver or DB. Draft haul turned to draft disaster at Licht speed.

  38. Fire Light Says:

    Vea is a big bust “no pun intended.” Fiiiiirrrreeeeeee Licht!

  39. Jeffbuc Says:

    Great catch joe didn’t notice that myself and I find myself watching him a lot during the game. And all I saw was exactly why he is called Velcro. Keying on him during the game so far I haven’t seen very much that screams special. Looks like another way overdrafted player for Licht. They keep piling up. Especially this years draft. Pretty much everyone but Davis seems to be way behind the 8 ball. But that’s a bucs life it seems like every year we keep counting on the disappointing draft class of the year before to live up to expectations. Which leads to false hope. In year two in the league they should all be better. Then in year two they are not then repeat. Then in year 4 they are not resigned or already released. We are still waiting on heargraves to put it all together and what it will be year 4 next year for him and we willl have to decide to pick up his 5th year option next year. And we probaly will still not knowing what we have. When that 8-9 million could have been used to sign a veteran cornerback who is proven. That’s Licht biggest problem keeps putting all his eggs in his underperforming drafts class basket expecting better results each year and they don’t get better. And either does the team. We need a real gm who actually drafts players to fit are schemes. Not 3-4 defensive tackles for are 4-3 team. Or not press coverage corners for zone schemes. And not running backs who can’t catch or pass block on a pass happy team. Man how different would are team be if we had a three down back with home run speed like guice instead of jones. Yeah I know he blew his knee out but that hit would have never happened if he was with the bucs. So he could be healthy right now still running his way to rookie of the year on a 7-3 team. Yeah one draft pick could have made that much of a difference The safeties having to play just one more step up along with the linebackers could really open the passing game up. And your man crush would probably still be the qb on his way to a 100 million dollar contract. But as the gm goes the team goes.

  40. Tc Says:

    Why do you get a run stuffer when the trend is now a passing league?

  41. Geno Says:

    Joe get a new picture of Vita Vea. He does not look like that any more. Not anything close to that.

  42. Rod Munch Says:

    Dirk and Licht claim he’s much more than a run stuffer. I’m not totally sure what that is based on, but that’s what they say.

    But keep in mind that the scouts said he was still pretty raw coming out of college, so that’s another reason people shouldn’t be expecting anything from him yet. I’m not a fan of the pick, but those dog piling on him at this point are just morons. Right now we have no idea what Vita will become, he could be a bust, or he could not, I’ve seen no evidence of either yet – he’s struggled when he’s out there which is 100% what you should expect from a rookie DT at this stage. By week 17 you’d just want to see some progress – not results – but progress, so that’s what people should be checking for a month from now, then end of season.

  43. Fix it already Says:

    I’m in east tn too

  44. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    @knoxvilleBuc Fan. Glad to see another Buc fan here in Tn! My wife and I live in West Knox off of Northshore. We do travel to a couple of Bucs Home games a year and go to ATL, Charlotte, and we went to Cincy(huge turnout by Buc fans). I’d love to meet up on a Sunday. Believe it or not there is many Bucs fans around my area. Carolina Ale House has a bunch on Sunday’s. Also the Beardan Fieldhouse has many. Would love to meet up and watch some football.

  45. Knoxville Buc Fan Says:

    @KnovilleBuc We moved here this year so it’s good to know there are others of us around Kville. My wife is a Bucs Fan except for when
    We got the Saints,she grew up in the Big Easy! She can put together a Jambolaya like none other though! I don’t know what I hate more, the team from the Big Easy or the last 16 years of hoping this is the year the Bucs turn it around! Answer~Saints

    2002 was a very long time ago. We may come on down Kingston pike a few miles to the Ale House

  46. Ryan Jensen’s Hair Says:

    Ah the obligatory griping.

  47. Tom Edrington Says:

    I’m wondering why Joe didn’t speak with the defensive LINE coach about this….

  48. ARGH_M8E Says:

    Licht should be fired on this pick alone! I won’t even waste our time with other picks that should’ve had his dumba$$ on a one way ticket outta Tampa but this is PATHETIC!!!!!!!!

  49. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Year 1 is always way too early to give an overall assessment on a Defensive Lineman. — I do remember that Warren Sapp was having a lot of struggles in year 1, and people were already thinking that he could be a bust.

    Please don’t misunderstand…. I am not comparing Vea to Sapp,,, I am just saying that if Sapp could struggle like that… than maybe we should be patient with a young Defensive Lineman.

  50. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Sapp did have intangibles and attitude…

    Has Velcro ever spoken a word?

  51. FortMyersDave Says:

    Speaking of Ian Beckles; just saw a tweet that he is going back on 620 with Ronnie Diaz; making JP Peterson the odd man out. Looks like JPP is going to be making a go of it in the podcast world as well. Beckles had some fiery things to say while he was on 102.5 The Bone but don’t know if I’d take the time to listen to him on that station in what used to be Duemig’s slot; I think I’ll stick with Rock Riley in the afternoons unless I am in the car (1040’s signal is weak, does not get further south than Manatee or North Sarasota while 620 does get into Lee/Charlotte County). I wish JP best of luck and hopefully he lands on his feet!

  52. Owlykat Says:

    I have seen Vea pushing his man back into the pocket which keeps the QB from stepping up to avoid JPP and Vinny and getting his pass off. The big problem I have seen is Vea has a big problem shedding his blocker and stopping the run. He is not attentive enough to follow the football as of right now like a veteran can do. Every rookie needs development and collapsing to the NFL game. Vea is super strong and he should be able to learn how to push off his blocker quickly with his great strength and go after the ball if he learns how to follow it. I am encouraged that Vea is no slacker. I see him playing to the whistle. Note that the Panthers went after our flanks and avoided the middle with great success. That is likely because of Vea’s presence inside. He will develop into a good tackler inside and pocket destroyer on pass plays, aiding our sackers.

  53. buccs99 Says:

    another good indication that coaches arent coaching. “yeah just do whatever makes you happy”. Being one of the worst defenses ever, i guess, is what makes them happy. how about some adjustments ?

  54. Rod Munch Says:

    Owlykat – I haven’t seen Vita do that at all, I mean not even once. Now I will say I don’t watch him on every play, but I do tend to watch him if he’s in there. Again I’m not bashing the kid, I don’t expect anything out of a rookie DT, but at the same time people who keep saying he pushes guys around – maybe he is but I just haven’t seen it.

  55. Rod Munch Says:

    buccs99 – I was thinking the same thing, but Buckner is supposed to be up in guys faces and really bringing a lot of fire, etc, I don’t think he’d be a guy to just say do whatever makes you happy, I assume if he’s allowing it, it’s by design.

  56. Oxycondoms Says:

    Never liked his first interviews after bics drafted him . It seems like he had no passion for being here and had no dawg in him

  57. Jason Says:

    Bucnation – let’s not forget his 3rd round pick who hasn’t been active at all this season, so our 1st 3 picks this year are in the toilet! Imagine if we picked correctly and they were contributing, nah lol we’re the Bucs