“Best Scheme” And A Fresh Dream

August 19th, 2019

Ira talked to new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for his Monday column.

JoeBucsFan.com Columnist
Tampa’s Only Hall Of Fame Voter

He arrived in Tampa seeking a fresh start, but the Bucs are more interested in his ability to finish.

Losing fourth-quarter leads has been a staple for this franchise since Jameis Winston’s arrival in 2015 and Shaq Barrett is here to reverse that discouraging trend.

Signed as a free agent from Denver, Barrett enjoyed a strong camp, showcasing the pass-rush skills that could lead to more snaps, especially in crunch time.

“Camp went good and I’m still out here, working. to get better,” Barrett says  “I love this defense — it’s the best scheme I’ve been in so far in my career. We’ve got everything we need to be aggressive and successful. I’ve been in a 3-4 my whole life and this is my favorite one.”

The Bucs raised their sack total from 22 to 38 last season, but Jason Pierre-Paul is still sidelined with a neck injury suffered in a May car crash. Nobody at One Buc Place knows when, or if, JPP will suit up, so Barrett’s production off the edge is critical.

Multiple Moves

When Bruce Arians and Jason Licht began analyzing the free-agent crop, new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles talked Barrett up as an intriguing player just entering his prime.

“He brings a lot to the table,” Bowles said after Sunday’s practice. “We’re gonna use him in a lot of different ways. We had an eye on him in free agency and he became available. He has a variety of moves and he’s not bad at all against the run.”

Barrett, who turns 27 in November, signed a one-year deal worth $5 million. There’s a lot more cash to be made if he emerges as a key performer. In Denver, he was strictly a role player, but Barrett registered 5.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles for the 2015 team that led the league in defense and won the Super Bowl.

A wrist injury to Shane Ray led to nine starts for Barrett in 2017, but his fate was sealed when the Broncos chose Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft. Chubb responded with 12 sacks as a rookie while Barrett was on the field for only 25.5 percent of Denver’s defensive snaps.

Time for a change.

“Shaq’s a good pass rusher,” Arians says. “That’s what he excels at, so that’s kind of his role right now,”

Ring-bearer Shaq Barrett

At the moment, Barrett is listed behind Carl Nassib and Noah Spence at outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. All three can become unrestricted free agents in 2020, so the guys charged with bringing pressure off the edge are feeling contract pressure themselves.

For Barrett, it’s about forcing teams into passing situations and applying the heat.

“It’s all up to how good we are against the run,” he said after Friday night’s preseason victory against Miami. “We’ve got to stop the run before we can do any of that stuff … then we’ll be able to have all that fun and unleash all the pressures and blitzes.”

Different Standard

During Barrett’s five years in Denver, the Broncos averaged 9 wins, made the playoffs twice and hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

This ain’t Denver. He comes to a franchise mired in an 11-year playoff drought and stuck in a daunting division.

Barrett’s response? Bring it on.

“We’re trying to change things around here,” he says. “We just might surprise the world, but it won’t surprise us because we’ve been putting in the work for a long time.”

Feast and party at Buffalo Wild Wings with Ira Kaufman for the Bucs-Carolina game! Join Ira for every road game this season. Schedule below!

TAMPA TWO is back with another episode with Derrick Brooks and Ira Kaufman, presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating. Lotta great perspective here. Enjoy this production from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.com.

7 Responses to ““Best Scheme” And A Fresh Dream”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    Solid signing, has looked very good in camp.

    But I don’t see how we come close to that same sack total without JPP. Not to mention he was also very good at playing the run.

    And yes I know it’s a new scheme this year so don’t @ me about that.

  2. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Ira, I’ll see you for the GMC bowl at Bdubs

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    “the guys charged with bringing pressure off the edge are feeling contract pressure themselves”

    I like this factoid. It can only be a good thing that Barrett, Nassib and Spence are all playing this whole year with the intention of earning a big contract at the conclusion of the season.

  4. Frank Pillow Says:

    Wins=payday. Barrett is one of a handful of guys, to include Suh, that have a chance to help implement much-needed culture change on D. They don’t have to be world-beaters either…they just have to be fundamentally sound and play within the scheme. That alone should make a world of difference and avoid us having to listen to ‘communication issues’ as an excuse anymore.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    I like this signing. Shaq might end up being a starter before it’s all said and done. I like his attitude too!

  6. firethecannons Says:

    we will get jpp back for second half the season and he will bring on the much needed energy at that time

  7. Crockett69 Says:

    Great pick-up. For once fellas we should look at the positive. Though I’d love to have 3 or 4 more Shaq’s at least one will do for now. Hold the fort down Mr Barrett & Mr Nassib so JPP can relax in his new role as the after party Grinch who stole December. Ya just never know about these things….