Why Is Vita Vea Getting Buried?

October 29th, 2019

Joe’s been keeping an eye on this and now, after a bye week, it’s time to shine the company flashlight on it.

In 5 of 7 games this season, Vita Vea has played two-thirds or less of the defensive snaps. With the season on the line Sunday in Tennessee, Vea played 54 percent of the defensive snaps — on a cool and comfortable day. Vea also played just 54 percent earlier this season in Los Angeles.

What is going on? Why can’t Vea play, say, 75 percent of the snaps? He’s 24 years old and healthy. The guy was the No. 12 overall pick. Why is he a part-time player?

Ndamukong Suh is 32 and plays about 80 percent of defensive snaps.

It’s not like the Bucs are rotating in another stud defensive tackle when Vea leaves the field.

Is fitness keeping Vea on the bench? Joe can’t say.

Vea got his first tackle for loss of the season on Sunday. Good for him. He had four last year. He’s had some good production in other areas, and Vea is a tough matchup for most offensive linemen.

It just doesn’t make sense why he can’t play more in a league where a couple of plays each week can be the difference in the game.

Joe supposes there are huge Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Beau Allen fans out there, but they’re not Vita Vea.

38 Responses to “Why Is Vita Vea Getting Buried?”

  1. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Probably wants out of this puke-fest of a team organization.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Interesting catch Joe. Snap counts have always fascinated me for some reason. Vita Vea is right at 65% on the season, ((but it’s trending well below that over the last month. –Joe)) but has fluctuated quite a bit game-to-game (34 def snaps against Titans vs 57 def snaps against the Panthers in Game 2). If I remember right though, the big guy has had a couple of muscle issues since being drafted. Maybe TB is just being cautious. Still, 65% on the season is quite good I think.

    Our defense has several ‘Ironmen’ who are playing at a high level IMO. Ndamukong Suh amazes me … 76.9% of the def snaps this year seems like a bunch for a 32-year-old, and yet that’s lower than his lifetime average of around 85%. Carl Nassib’s up to 83.6% now, and Shaq Barrett is close behind at 83.4%. Even Will Gholston is getting great time at 50.7% on the year.

    Of course the back-end starters rarely come off the field it seems unless hurt. LVD leads the defense, as always, at 99.3% def snaps. But Jordan Whitehead is close behind at 97.4% with VHIII close behind at 96.0% (no comment). Carlton Davis is at 89.3% (he’d be a lot higher if he didn’t get thrown out of games I bet). SMB is coming on strong in these last 2 games (still only at 25.2% though), while MJ Stewart is fading fast (at 55.1% but hasn’t played in 2 weeks). Jamel Dean & Ryan Smith have a total of 2 def snaps between them (one of them has to replace VHIII soon I hope).

    Two guys who boggle the mind are Beau Allen & Mike Edwards. Allen has only 20% def snaps on the season (seems under-used). Edwards played all of the first 5 games then nada these last 2 games. Not on the injury list so I’m confused (I thought he was being groomed to be the leader of the Secondary).

  3. teacherman777 Says:

    His knee is still hurt!

    He’s not 100%.

  4. AwShbucs Says:

    Pretty clear if you ask me. They are protecting his mcl to make sure he doesnt reinjure it.

  5. Buc'n Enough Says:

    There saving him for the playoff run????

    Yuck Yuck Yuck

  6. Todd Says:

    Joe, why don’t you ask the question at a presser?

  7. Buczilla Says:

    I think that everyone that says its his knee is spot on. Vita is a solid player but injury prone thus far. This season is lost anyways, so why not rest him even more and play for draft position? Oh, and Licht needs to be fired. Otherwise, draft picks or position won’t mean a damn thing.

  8. Doctor Stroud Says:

    For the same reason that Dare Ogunbowale, Tanner Hudson, and Scotty Miller are the primary targets in the red zone on the road in a must-win game: the coaching staff is shutting down the starters in order to preserve them for next year. They have officially mailed it in. #PaidFloridaVacation

  9. BucDan Says:

    Teams are passing more against the Bucs. I’m not sure about last week, but with JPP back, a pass rush of JPP-Nassib-Suh-Barrett looks better on paper (IMO). Lots of speed and length right there.

    That’s said, I feel like Vita played well given his opportunities vs the Titans. He was solid at the point of attack.

  10. Old Sombrero Says:

    Isn’t he a run stuffer first and foremost? Seems he’s likely to be out on passing downs and as well as Bucs have stopped the run it might be just a matter of playing himself out of more snaps. Then again as terrible as the pass defense is maybe they need to have him in on passing downs. Worth checking to see the passing percentage and production by other teams when he’s on field on passing downs.

  11. Rob Says:

    None of it matters anymore. Meaningless games for the rest of the year. Winning does nothing at this point but screw up our draft for next year. Sad that as a Buc fan you have very little to look forward to for the rest of the season except where you will draft. Have a GD fire sale and get rid of anyone who will fetch a decent draft pick like Suh or Howard. We are losers again for the umpteenth year and it sucks to be a Buc fan. Arians will abruptly have some type of medical reason to bail and Bowles will take over. Goody. This sucks. Go Bucs

  12. Allbuccedup Says:

    Hopefully Arians will bail and Bowles can sign with the redskins. Then the bucs can interview Kris Richards again.

  13. Bucsfanman Says:

    I wish this guy was on the field more, but there must be a reason.
    One of my favorite plays Sunday was Vea being ‘blocked’ by the guard in one hand and making a tackle on Henry with the other. He looked like he was hugging them together!

  14. D-Rome Says:

    Wow, great article Joe. There were several time in that game where I wondered why Vita Vea wasn’t out there. Then to read that he only played 54 percent of the defensive snaps surprised me. I understand he’s not really a sacking NT but still, he can bring pressure.

    He’s one of the few things Jason Licht got right during his reign of terror.

  15. Slugglife Says:

    Hey Rob, sad thing is we aren’t much better than the dolphins and bengals and they are tanking this year. I guess finishing third in the NFC South would be progress….

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Have him play oline!

  17. Hodad Says:

    Why is Dare O whatshisname getting snaps in the red zone, why is perriman targeted instead of Brate, Evans, and Godwin in the red zone? Why are they even on the team? Why is VH bust still floundering in the secondary? Why Joe, why?

  18. doctor_berto Says:

    Isnt this something that our media should be asking the head coach at the press conference? Tampa bay media is just made up of a bunch of brown nosers.

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Mountain meet molehill.

    I think the numbers are off, but even if they are not, it probably has to do with stage of development. Vea is stronger in run defense than in pass defense right now. So they put in someone else they perceive is better at pass defense. This will change as time goes on.

  20. TOM Says:

    Why? Why? Why? I don’t care if the Bucs get the first overall or twentirth overall pick. Licht & BA will screw it up. Yes I believe BA had as much in drafting all those DB’s as Licht. Maybe they both should go. And then have the Glazer’s sell the team. If only dreams came true.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Allbuccedup Says
    “Hopefully Arians will bail and Bowles can sign with the redskins. Then the bucs can interview Kris Richards again.”

    Won’t happen.

    Bowles might get offers, but he won’t leave after year one. Arians won’t retire, because he knows it was unlikely to turn things around in year one.

    The Glazers will not fire a head coach after only one year, and probably not after two years. They know their reputation for being quick on the trigger has hurt them with prospects. Arians is perceived as a great coach. If he is treated that way, no one will want to be head coach.

    Besides, Arians may talk about focusing on the now, but the way he built this staff is for development, and he knows development takes time.

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    Allbuccedup Says:
    October 29th, 2019 at 8:02 am
    Hopefully Arians will bail and Bowles can sign with the redskins. Then the bucs can interview Kris Richards again.

    sounds good to me…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  23. Doctor Stroud Says:

    More questions than answers. Will Team Glazer move on and pay yet another entire coaching staff not to coach? Will they hire the second coming of Jim Harbaugh or Mike McCarthy? Yikes!

  24. orlbucfan Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    October 29th, 2019 at 9:16 am

    The Glazers will not fire a head coach after only one year, and probably not after two years. They know their reputation for being quick on the trigger has hurt them with prospects. Arians is perceived as a great coach. If he is treated that way, no one will want to be head coach.

    Besides, Arians may talk about focusing on the now, but the way he built this staff is for development, and he knows development takes time.
    BB: your comments are one of the reasons I wander over here. You hit the nail on the head about the Glazers. I hope you’re right about Arians (I know his HC history); but right now, I have doubts. All this OJ Howard trade gossip feeds into my doubts. I hope Arians won’t do something that stupid!

  25. ElioT Says:

    Imagine if our Meat-Headed, crap for brains GM would have used even 4 out of his 9 idiotic draft picks on D-Lineman to help Vea out?

    It seems good teams rotate quality lineman during a game and not garbage secondary players.

    Look at the 49ers…

  26. ElioT Says:


    “Reign of terror”

    Haha, I like that. Excellent work!

    Our ONLY hope is that Arians completely neuters Licht’s dumba** during the 2020 draft.

    This team needs so much help and they cannot afford to miss on draft picks at this historic ratio.

    DE (x2)
    DT (x2)

    Same needs every year, same crappy depth every year.


  27. NPRSageBoy Says:

    Bad coaching and BA BS

  28. ElioT Says:

    Maybe they’re trying to preserve Vea like a starting pitcher because they know he’s the only starting caliber D-Lineman/OLB we have under contract for 2020?

    Use up the guys who will either refuse to come back or would have to be wildly overpaid?

    DL/OLBs Under Contract for 2020:
    • Vea
    • Gholston (overpaid)
    • Nelson
    • O’Connor

    That’s some scary sh*t.

  29. Jmarkbuc Says:


    “Staff is built for development “

    That’s extremely generous of you….They can’t even develop a game plan. They’ve been with BSA for years, they shouldn’t need a whole lot of warm up time to get to it….

  30. PhillyBuc Says:

    ElioT…great point, our D front will be decimated and thanks to Jason we have little cap space to afford anything decent. On the plus side, our vaunted secondary, less Adams, are all still under contract for next year….what a sh*tshow

  31. Buccfan37 Says:

    Vea will get more playing time in the coming up home games as the weather cools.

  32. jjbucfan Says:

    ElioT- also imagine if he used 2 of those picks on a guard and a tackle. Like Atlanta did- they are building for the future. Koetter probably learned his lesson on how important it is to block for your QB and RB, but his moron GM went for positions of glory instead.

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Allbuccedup & 813bucboi … Todd Bowles is the one bright spot on this coaching staff IMO. He made-over last year’s 2nd worst defense by bringing in essentially TWO FAs (Suh & Barrett) plus drafting 6 defensive rookies, with the lion’s share (4) going to LB, CB & S. Transitioned our defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 hybrid which was probably a monumental task all by itself. And despite being constantly screwed by our offensive turnovers & a couple of key injuries plus 1 suspension, this defense has improved steadily. It’s setting a decent foundation for the future IMO. And he’s done it with a defensive roster that now ranks #22 in terms of cost (and that’s up quite a bit from what it was because we added JPP to the active roster).

    Bucs’ identity needs to transition back to DEFENSE FIRST. Licht took us down a very rocky … and expensive … road that hasn’t panned out, and that has NEVER been our identity. John Lynch & the 49ers have shown the paying for quality defensive players is worth it (yes, they’re the #2 most expensive defense, right behind the Vikings, another quality defense).

    And BTW, I’m still willing to bet that Todd Bowles will be our next head coach when BA ‘retires again’ (after next year or at the latest the year after) and moves up to be our President of Football Operations.

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    ElioT & PhiilyBuc … Actually the Bucs are in excellent shape in terms of the 2020 salary Cap AT THIS POINT. According to Spotrac’s projections (assumes 2020 Cap is $199 mil), the Bucs rollover $9.0 mil giving us $208.0 mil to play with. We have 35 under contract for 2020 now, at a projected cost of $124.3 mil, leaving $83.6 mil to play with. However, included in those 35 players are such names as VHIII ($9.9 mil), MJ Stewart ($1.4 mil), Beckwith ($.9 mil) & a few others who very likely won’t be on the team.

    IOW, we could easily be pushing $100 mil salary Cap space, but with it we’ll need to add probably 25 or so players, to include re-signing several key contributors HOPEFULLY (like Godwin, Suh, Barrett & JPP). And oh ya, someplace in there we’ll need to come up with a starting QB, a RB, a couple of veteran OLinemen, a veteran CB & veteran Safety. And for good measure we need to throw in at least 1 quality pass rusher to motivate Joe to give up his binge drinking every time he watches a Bucs game.

    What will blow it all is if we sign a starting QB for big bucks & continue to overpay for offensive linemen. Lets’ put our money into DEFENSE for a change.

  35. JameisAlmighty! Says:

    Trade him.

  36. JameisAlmighty! Says:

    Fire Byron Sandwich

  37. Capt. Tim Says:

    Nose tackles are constantly doubled teamed. They typical get less snaps.
    Plus, our nose tackles watch our offense- so they are usually nauseous.
    They need frequent puke breaks.

  38. Bojim Says:

    Haven’t figured out why the Bucs do anything for years now.