“It’s Like I Didn’t Really Have Time To Be A Rookie”

July 27th, 2021

Tristan Wirfs talks to Joe

As a rookie, Bucs right tackle Tristan Wirfs set one hell of a standard for himself.

Sober, veteran NFL analysts wonder aloud if Wirfs is already the best right tackle in football. After only one season.

Wirfs came in green as grass and stunned fans with how he locked up Cam Jordan in the season-opener at New Orleans. No one knew or even envisioned that would be the norm for 18 of the next 19 games.

Sunday, Joe (finally) had a chance to talk to Wirfs in person after the first Bucs training camp practice of 2021. And just like his image, he’s a cool guy and very down to earth.

So Joe asked Wirfs if he already hit his ceiling given how well he played as a rookie? What does he need to improve — or can he even improve?

Wirfs seemed surprised.

“Oh, 100 percent!” Wirfs said about improvement. Then he explained.

“Coach Gil [offensive line coach Joe Gilbert], we were just talking,” Wirfs began. “Kind of get back to the basics. There is still a lot of stuff I can refine, and detail. Throw my outside hands. Staying square in my set. Staying off my toes in the run game — that’s a big thing [Gilbert] is always telling me I’ve got to do so I am not falling on my face. I did that a couple of times last year.

“There is always room for me to get better.”

If Wirfs fell on his face, outside of the lone sack he gave up to Khalil Mack, you’d really have to research a lot of All-22 tape to find the plays.

Wirfs said all offseason and through underwear football, Gilbert has harped on him to “get back to the basics.” It’s basically Wirfs’ personal motto for the season.

Being the cool dude he is, Wirfs couldn’t (or didn’t want to?) single out any specific teammate on the offensive line that helped his transition to the NFL the most last season.

“Oh, geez,” Wirfs sighed, thinking. “I think it was the whole o-line collectively. Everybody took me in when I first got here. It’s like I didn’t really have time to be a rookie. They were trying to get me ready as fast as I could. That makes sure we have all five guys on the same page.

“Yeah, I think all of them. All across the board. They were super helpful to me.”

It seems Wirfs still sometimes thinks he is living a dream. He has mentioned in interviews this summer that he remains amazed his last game as a rookie in the NFL ended in a shower of confetti.

(Tom Brady often talks about how he had so little time to prep for the season last year with no OTAs, minicamp or preseason games. Wirfs was in the same boat. Unlike Brady who has two decades under his belt in the NFL, Wirfs was thrown into the fire.)

So yesterday when Wirfs had his first in-person press conference as a Bucs player at One Buc Palace, he was asked about his Super Bowl ring.

Wirfs confessed while alone at his pad at night, he can’t help but put that ring on and wear it around his place.

7 Responses to ““It’s Like I Didn’t Really Have Time To Be A Rookie””

  1. Hodad Says:

    Can’t wait to see him, and the O line really dominate this year.

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Terrific person. Wish him all the best this year – and the next ones.

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    Like you say Joe, every interview I’ve seen with him, he seems very down to earth. Just a regular guy. A very big, strong, smart, and talented regular guy. I hope he has a long tenure with the Bucs.

  4. Eddie Marz Says:

    Tristan the next one’s even better. Get them while you can. Great season, keep it going. GO BUCS!

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    At the draft party at my house, many of us watched in total disbelief as Tristan kept falling, but no one expected him to be there, when we picked.
    His addition has made our O Line dominate, compared to what it was before he arrived.
    And, he will continue to get better and stronger, the more he plays.

  6. SlyPirate Says:

    Wirfs and Vea may be two guys that make the SB ring look small.

  7. Hissylizzard Says:

    You can bet Brady had a lot to do with it as well