Pass Rush May Put Bucs Over The Top

January 13th, 2021

Shut out since Dec. 13.

Where oh where has the pass rush gone?

Earlier in the season, the Bucs had a strong pass rush to go along with a strong run defense. In recent weeks, the Bucs pass defense has just been meh at best, weak more often than not.

Could that be because the pass rush has vanished?

For a short period of time, it seemed the Bucs may have three guys with double-digit sacks, NFL sack king Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Devin White. But none of them got to 10.

Inside linebacker Devin White had four sacks in his last two games, but he hasn’t played in two weeks because he was on the COVID/reserve list.

JPP and Shaq haven’t had a sack since the win over the Vikings on Dec. 13, exactly a month ago today.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes if the Bucs can rediscover their pass rush, there isn’t a team they can’t beat.

The pass rush rarely rattled Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who threw for 306 yards with a touchdown, an interception and two sacks on Saturday. However, we’ve seen pass-rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul take over games during the regular season.

Against the Packers in Week 6, for example, the pass rush got to Aaron Rodgers four times and made him uncomfortable throughout the game. Rodgers finished with just 160 passing yards and two interceptions.

The Buccaneers pass rush produced 48 sacks during the regular season and came close several more times. Barrett alone was responsible for 41 quarterback pressures in 2020.

Joe doesn’t know what it will take to get Shaq and JPP to rise from the dead. If they have anything left in them, now is the time to go get after Drew Brees.

If the Bucs can’t get to Brees, Joe thinks the Bucs better plan on scoring no less than 40 points to have a prayer of beating the slimy Saints, which put up 38 on the Bucs in November and 52 on Minnesota in December.

31 Responses to “Pass Rush May Put Bucs Over The Top”

  1. Onetrickpony Says:

    Bowles is on vacation and he took them with him,along with the secondary. Bowels can’t seem to adjust at all

  2. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    These guys played too many snaps in garbage time at the end of the season. There is no depth behind them. White, David and Winfield blitzing is the only hope now. Which is fine by me because Bowles seems to only play man behind the blitz. Bring it. Make Brees and his receivers make the quick timing plays that could easily turn into turnovers on tipped balls or miscommunication. If they sit back and play zone behind a four man rush, saints drop 40+ on us, no doubt.

  3. richbucsfan Says:

    I agree…it is disconcerting that the DC is doing interviews while the team in neck-deep in the playoffs. There is no need for any team to hire a HC at this time. There is time for that after the Big Game. Self-seeking never won a game, never won a championship, never won respect. For the DC to waste his time and that of the Bucs really is over the top. What a screwed up set of priorities. smh

  4. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Captain Bluster, Blah Blah Blah….. GO BUCS!!!

  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Just like it took Vea pressure up the middle before his injury , now it takes White pressure up the middle to give Barrett and JPP more opportunities

  6. Leighroy Says:

    My ears are bleeding. This Ben Mintz guy has a voice Taylor-made for print media.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Isn’t 40 points a little melodramatic Joe? Let’s not go overboard; 39 should just about do it.

    BigPoppaBuc absolutely nailed it with his comments. We have no depth on our DLine. Suh can more than hold his own, and Gholston has obviously improved a bunch this season, BUT … the rest (Nunez-Roches, McLendon, Ledbetter, Davis, O’Connor) really don’t strike fear into the hearts of opposing OLines (2 sacks & 8 QB Hits among the 5 of them all season).

    Same goes with our OLBs though. JPP & Shaq have done OK this season, but Nelson & Gill didn’t exactly set the world on fire (1 sack & 7 QB Hits between them). Heck, Will Gholston did better this year than all 7 of them combined 3 sacks & 20 QB Hits).

    Face facts, we don’t have the horses up-front, and that’s forced Bowles to blitz with his LBs & Secondary guys. Great concept, IF they get there. IF not, pass coverage pays a price. Seems like we’ve seen that once or twice.

  8. Razor Ramone Says:

    The Heineken kid was slippery and very elusive I’ll give him that, the times our guys got back there he squirted right out. I don’t think Drew can do that consistently. And I noticed on Sunday he sure looks alot older than TB12. Go Bucs!

  9. Listnfrmafar Says:

    38 & 34 points last to outings. If BA doesn’t realize Bowels isn’t vested then it’s his fault. Also why should we assume White after his two week vacation is going to come back without rust? Sorry O, you’ve done your job this year, I don’t see BL going on interviews. Sorry Bucs fans the season is about to come to an end unless the Oline can perform like last week and Brady pulls something out of his backside.

  10. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    Defense, that is a great post and incredibly insightful.

  11. Wayne PEREZ Says:

    One name vita vee

  12. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    Folks are seeing clearly that Bowels is not invested. He should be sent packing at season’s end regardless of the outcome of his fishing expedition.

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Defense Rules: Agree with your points, and would like to see the Bucs use 3 of their top 4 picks in the 2021 draft on defensive players.

  14. BringBucsBack Says:

    Some of the sacks went with the white dude (OLB- forget name) that signed with the Raiders, this past off season.

    I know everyone can’t be kept but, when do you ever let a pass rusher get away?

  15. Mikadeemas Says:

    Cassie only had 2 1/2 sacks and 17 tackles!

  16. Mikadeemas Says:

    Nassib, dammit!

  17. geno711 Says:

    Nassib was off this year at Vegas from what he did for us last year. Seems like he worked better in Bowles defense.

    By the way, great stuff from Defense Rules.


  18. bojim Says:

    The QB must go down. Really.

  19. unbelievable Says:

    Compare our sack totals from the first 8 weeks vs. the last 8 weeks of the season… it’s night and day.

    And For the love of god cab we put JPP and Shaq back in the sides where they’re most productive?

    Also gotta wonder if Father Time has simply caught up to JPP?

  20. 123urout Says:

    Our front 4 should be like the Bears and the Ram’s front four. They can pressure the opposing QB relentlessly. If we give Brees time to tie his shoelace in the pocket or text his wife, “what’s for dinner, honey…”, the bucs are screwed. 🙂

  21. gp Says:

    I agree with DR in principle but there will never be a time when we or any team has ALL of the pieces that they want unless someone can convince 53 ‘stars’ to play for pennies and share the glory. Ain’t gonna happen.
    In the meantime, we gotta do what everyone else does, and create the best plan for the talent we have.
    This year we have arguably one of the best teams in the NFL, talent wise, largely because of the charisma(maybe not the best descriptor for this argument) of Tom Brady. Much of that talent resides on the offensive side of the ball, but we are also at least somewhat blessed on defense as well.

    I am seeing a different view and welcome constructive criticism on that view.

    I think (hope) our coaching staff has been holding back in the hope of surprising our competition in the playoffs. I no longer have a DVR so I can’t back up this next observation, but it seemed to me that we didn’t send much pressure in the Washington game. You’re good with the numbers DR, perhaps you can correct me with a comparison of how many blitzes were sent Saturday -vs- regular season average.
    The same or similar view holds for our offensive game. Perhaps it’s just frustration, considering our talent pool, but I feel like we should be capable of rolling any defense we go up against. I know, we’ve put up some great numbers, but tell me you’re not frustrated at the play by play performance.

  22. TOM Says:

    Blitz, blitz, blitz

  23. SlyPirate Says:

    In preseason, Joe wrote extensively on JPP fading late in the year. We’re seeing it, but the real issue was shared by Wayne PEREZ …

    The loss of Vita Vea may be “bigger” than expected. Teams had to double Vea. The Bucs schemes were built around Vea’s presence. Losing Vea meant the team had to redefine itself. Thus, the emergence of White as a pass rusher.

    One positive was all the blitzing from last game. They’ll have a lot of game tape and experience to improve upon.

  24. m0j0 Says:

    I hope this doesn’t seem dirty, but I would blitz early and often make sure we get hits on the QB. They need to know the D is hunting.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    @gp … “I think (hope) our coaching staff has been holding back in the hope of surprising our competition in the playoffs.”

    It’d be nice if that was the case gp, but I doubt that it is. We’ve played the Saints 4 times in 2 years, and they’ve whooped us 4 times in 2 years. Kinda got a feeling that there will be no surprises in store from EITHER team; we know each other very well at this point I’m sure. No holding back.

    Sunday’s game will be mano a mano, no excuses slugfest IMO. Personally I’d give the Saints an edge on defense & the Bucs a slight edge on offense, with S/Ts being a push. Coaching advantage I’d give to the Saints, but at this point in the season the difference is minimal IMO.

    Bottom line: The TEAM that wants it more AND makes the fewest mistakes should win. Still, I expect a high-scoring shoot-out, although the way my luck’s been running lately it could end up being a 7-6 yawner.

  26. #1bucsfan Says:

    Man they need to show up or we prob don’t win this one. Let’s go Bucs. Please please please bring the heat Tampa on both sides

  27. Will Says:

    Defense like most on this sight I enjoy reading your takes on things and I’m usually on board with them. Your last post where you say ST is a push I’ve got to totally disagree with. Our ST is weak yes we finally have a reliable kicker for the most part but our return game compared to the Saints heck compared to anyone else in the NFL is garbage. The kid that returns punts and kicks for the Saints is dangerous and last week they got him more involved on offense. I’m not saying he’s a Tyreek Hill but he’s dang close. I’d love to see AB returning punts or even Miller because Mickens isn’t scaring anyone or maybe it’s just that our return teams can’t block, whatever the case is I’d definitely give the Saints the edge on ST. Please don’t punt to him. There’s nothing wrong with punting out of bounds or away from him. From what I remember from the last 2 games it was like we were kicking to him.

  28. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Why is it so obvious that Miller or AB should be the return guy? AB has had league accolades in the past as a return guy. Ok if you want to save him then Miller speed alone should be the guy, we know he has the hands.

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    Will … That observation on S/Ts was just off the top of my head admittedly (I’m lovin how well Succop & Pinion seem to be doing this year). Looked at a couple of comparative stats between the Bucs & Saints and I still think we’ve got a ‘slight’ edge in one aspect, but are behind in another.

    o Succop is hitting 90% of his FGs; Lutz is hitting on 82% of his.
    o Pinion is averaging 85% on his kickoff touchbacks; Lutz is averaging 75%.
    o Pinion is averaging 45.2 yds/punt; Morstead is averaging 43.1
    o Bucs punt returners are averaging 5.9 yds/punt return; Saints returners are averaging 10.2

    Based on just those, I’d still give a slight edge to the Bucs. However, kickoff & punt coverage is a huge part of S/Ts effectiveness IMO, and there the Saints get the advantage. Saints coverage teams have only given up 46 yds total on punt returns this year and 379 yds total on kickoff returns. Bucs coverage teams have given up 236 yds total on punt returns and 471 yds total on kickoff returns. That’s a major difference IMO, especially on punt coverage.

  30. Will Says:

    Defense like I said I enjoy reading your post. You always have the stats to back up your stuff and I’ll admit the things I say are strictly from observation and years of playing the sport and not getting into the stats as well as you do and for that I say thank you and keep it up it’s much appreciated. Good to know that I wasn’t that far off in terms of our return and coverage and that’s where I was giving them the edge as well. I love that for the most part when we kick off its going out of the end zone and the team will start at the 25 unless it’s like the Bears game where it appeared our guys weren’t use to guys bringing the ball out from deep in the end zone and we got caught jogging a few times and Patterson had a few nice returns.

  31. Brandon Says:

    At times JPP was absolute Haynesworth trash against Washington. He took one play off twice. He stood out of his stance, barely engaged the tackle, then when Heinicke came his way he kinda engaged the tackle then Heinicke went back into the pocket and he stood there with his hands up. Total dog play. His motor needs to be full speed or he needs do be on the sideline.