Strong Position

July 27th, 2020

Ndamukong Suh

Some would say when you have a six-time Super Bowl champion at quarterback, that’s your strongest position.

Others would suggest when you have two of the best receivers in the game, both under 28, that would be the position of strength.

Others may even say when you have a future Hall of Fame tight end backed up by a first-round draft pick, tight end would be strong.

But Jelani Scott of looks to the other side of the ball. She believes the Bucs, a legit playoff contender for the first time in what feels like forever, have their strongest area on the defensive front.

Biggest strength on roster: Defensive front seven. With all due respect to the Bucs’ Pro Bowl tandem at wide receiver, I must give a different group the nod here. With the future of 2019 sack leader Shaq Barrett officially done commanding headlines (until 2021, at least), we can marvel at this beastly collection of talent. Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Lavonte David and Devin White comprise a playmaking quartet that few teams can match. The foursome totaled 31.5 sacks, 65 QB hits, 14 forced fumbles, 14 pass deflections and three picks in 2019. William Gholston, Ndamukong Suh (playing on his second straight prove-it deal) and Vita Vea are certainly no slouches on the interior. In fact, Suh played a major role in this unit’s success last season. The 33-year-old was double-teamed on 261 snaps (the third-most in the NFL), according to ESPN, which helped keep blockers off linebackers and paved the way for Tampa to post the league’s best run defense (73.8 YPG). He also placed among the top five defensive tackles in QB pressures (43), per Next Gen Stats. Bowles’ 3-4 scheme worked wonders for this core a year ago, and it will be thrilling to see what it produces in 2020.

Joe will agree the Bucs likely have the best foursome of linebackers in the league. Joe cannot name one better.

The only issue Joe has with the front seven is depth, and that is nitpicking. When arguably the best player off the bench, Anthony Nelson, has yet to play a full season in the NFL, that’s a concern.

Still, all this front seven has to do is what it did last year and the Bucs should be fine defensively.

7 Responses to “Strong Position”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Suh quietly had a good year…..he really made Vita Vea shine by taking on double team blocks.

    This year will be interesting since they will game plan to double team Vita.

    We all know Suh has lost a step but he’s an effective player when pushing/moving that pocket…..but rushing the passer……..ummm…..not so much

  2. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Joe says “Joe will agree the Bucs likely have the best foursome of linebackers in the league.”

    I guess seeing the bucs as 4-3 defense for so many years, it is hard to wrap my mind that Rice and Barrett are considered as LBs and not DEs. They need to come up with a new definition for this position because I see these types of LBs as linemen.

  3. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    With all due respect, Suh had a MONSTER year apparently…

    To get double-team the 3rd-most in the league and still finish in the Top-5 in QB pressures for DT’s is Beastmode status still…

    Suh is still an Elite DT… Top-5 in the NFL still hands down, based on those stats

  4. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    Bucs are a complete team now.

    We are winning it All this season.

  5. Casual Observer Says:

    Joe – Agree with your assessment of the front seven. Should be fine again this year. I suspect the new DL from Nebraska may stand out. He looks to have explosive moves, and is fast, from his films. Good new backup.

  6. Cobraboy Says:

    Notice how Gholston blossomed when playing a more interior DL position.

    IMO, he was an unsung hero on the 2019 D.

    Suh-Vea-Gholstom make for as solid an interior DL as I can remember.

    (BTW: the 3-4 resembles the 5-2 defense we ran in high school, where the end guys on the line were standing up.)

  7. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “Ndamukong Suh (playing on his second straight prove-it deal)”

    I don’t know how she characterizes one of the most recognizable names in the NFL as signing “prove-it” deals. Suh has nothing to prove to anyone. I’m sure he could have gone elsewhere for more money if he so desired, and maybe he no longer wants to commit to a long-term contract? Weird thing to say.