More Than A Safety Net

March 19th, 2021

Not just a backup.

The news of the Bucs re-signing defensive tackle Rakeem “Nacho” Nuñez-Roches should not just be dismissed as the Bucs perhaps overpaying for a backup.

One could argue without Nacho, the Bucs defense would have suffered.

Consider that Vita Vea was lost in the fifth game of the season at Chicago. At the time it appeared he would be gone for the year. Vea did return for the NFC title game at Green Bay. So for 11 regular-season games, Nacho started in Vea’s absence. And Nacho started in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl.

Still the Bucs had the best run defense in the NFL, and it wasn’t close, holding opponents to 1,289 yards. The second-best run defense, Indianapolis, limited opposing offenses to 1,448 yards. And this was with backup Nacho starting.

Joe isn’t trying to say Nacho is more important than Vea. That’s absurd. When Vea plays he is a total monster and likely the best defensive tackle in the game. When he plays, trust Joe, it’s noticeable in the production from Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh.

But also consider Vea has only played one full season in which he took the field for all 16 games. Of the 52 games Vea could have played since he was drafted three years ago (including all four postseason games this winter), he’s only been available for 37. That’s not great (less than 75 percent).

So since Vea has been injury-prone, it pays to have a quality backup in case the worst happens. And that’s just what happened this past season.

So Nacho’s importance to the Bucs is much greater than just being a quality backup. He likely would be starting for several other teams (and making more cash, as well).

18 Responses to “More Than A Safety Net”

  1. Chris Thomas from Heaven Says:

    Smart move. I’ll be euphoric if we get Kong Suh back

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Every day is xmas in Bucland 😀

  3. J$MCSports Says:

    Smart move and he could be the future for this team. At the very least he is outstanding depth and buys us time at that position. I say we get some pass rushers out this draft right here. Bruce seem like he might come closer to finishing his contract so we may can get one more good draft after this one from him to finish things off by drafting on the Dline next year. Next coach will bring their QB on. Who knows Arians may do it all this season in the draft.

  4. Fan from above Says:

    It could be Suh’s last year in Tampa. Nacho is likely next in line.

  5. Bird Says:

    1000% correct joes

    Vea cant stay healthy
    Injuries do happen. To some more then others
    I hope vea stays with suhs chef or finds his own. Some players take better care of their bodies then others.

    If bucs were smart , they would give vea the joey galloway treatment in practice and have snap count in games- 50-60 range …but he plays 100 % of snaps at end of close games.

  6. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    @ Fan from above, ” Let’s just hope Suh actually is a Buc this year. He has not been signed by anyone yet and is still fair game to the highest bidder.

    As for Nacho – don’t underestimate the importance of this signing as Vea’s durability, as pointed out by Joe, is an issue. I believe it was Devin White that pointed out that the defense did not have a noticable drop off in the games that Nacho started.

  7. ModHairKen Says:

    This guy was not overpaid. I don’t like how he treated his dog. That’s a separate issue.

    As a football player, this guy was NOT overpaid.

  8. Tampabaybucfsn Says:

    A player in a rotation position is more than a backup. A good example would be RNR vs Stinnie….Stinnie is a true backup who will only play due to injury or bad play from a starter. Nacho will play some in all games.

  9. Miller5252 Says:

    I’m gonna chalk this one up to Joe not having all his coffee this morning…. I’m a huge homer for Vea and believe if he stays healthy next year the D and sacks will be on another level, but Aaron Donald is the best tackle in the game. Maybe even arguable best ever.

  10. Bradinator Says:

    That dude worked hard to get that payday. He deserves it. Go Nacho!

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    Critical IDL rotation.

  12. Swampbuc Says:

    Thumbs up to Nacho. DWhite loves him, that’s enough for me.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    he was needed and he deserved his pay day….

    AB will be next imo….followed by SUH!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!

  14. David Says:

    I don’t think it is overpaying at all. And I still see them drafting more DL and a linebacke. Nacho really is not a back up, he’s part of a rotation and plays a lot.

  15. Smashsquatch Says:

    This signals a potential problem bringing back Suh. I bet Suh isn’t willing to play on a discount and Licht isn’t about to risk losing them both.

  16. FlBoy84 Says:

    Kinda meh on his re-signing. Plenty of decent DT’s on the FA market (Geno Atkins added to the field today) to be had if he decided to go elsewhere. Certain people’s beloved PFF gave him a pitiful 45.6 grade (they also gave Devin White a 43.4, so… lol). Funny how those grades never get brought up though unless they agree with the narrative. 😉 Think it’s a bit of a leap to say he’d likely be starting on other teams. He’s definitely not a scrub, but likely he has a similar depth role regardless of the team he’s on. Which is not a bad gig to have if you can get it.

  17. View from 132 Says:

    How’s does a guy with a nickname like Nacho end up so unknown? I’d fire my agent if I won a Super Bowl and didn’t get a meeting with Doritos, Chili’s, other nacho-related brands.

  18. MadMax Says:

    He’s a he!! of a player and a great team guy….and yeah, he’s rotation with Big V…a very important signing im very thankful for.