The Two Best Part-Time Players In The NFL

October 15th, 2021

Vita Vea is one

Joe’s officially calling it.

No longer can Joe wonder whether the gurus at One Buc Palace have a mysterious plan for manbeast defensive tackle Vita Vea. It’s obvious they do.

Vea is a monster, an absolute terror for offensive linemen. He a brick wall against the run and a massive disrupter when pass rushing. But for some reason, Vea is a part-time player. Last night Vea logged a whopping 52 percent of the defensive snaps, a cool 27 plays on a comfortable fall night. That’s down from just 30 plays on Sunday.

Ndamukong Suh, who turns 35 in January, has played more this season than Vea. And Suh gets days off from practice and was on a veteran management plan through training camp.

Joe suspects the powers and sports science gurus at One Buc Palace have determined that Vea is more valuable on the field … when he’s on the field less.

It’s the only logical explanation barring an unknown injury or fitness issue.

The wild thing is that Vea might be the Bucs’ most dangerous defensive weapon. So the defense potentially could have a lot of room to improve if Vea just got more snaps.

On the other side of the ball, Antonio Brown continues to be the NFL’s best No. 3 receiver — and perhaps football history. He’s a true No. 3, as well, playing very part-time despite leading the Bucs in targets per game at 8.4.

Damn, if the Bucs win another Super Bowl, general manager Jason Licht might have to be fast-tracked to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for building the deepest roster in NFL history.

38 Responses to “The Two Best Part-Time Players In The NFL”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    Joe Tryon is better than JPP. Shut down JPP for a month

  2. Mike Says:

    I think it’s more to limit his exposure to injury, aka, save him for the playoffs.

  3. tampabuscsbro Says:

    I’m actually agreeing with pete.

  4. Robert Says:

    I can’t see a man his size playing much more snaps….especially when he was chasing the QB 20 yards. If anythin Nacho and Gholston hold the line very well until he get’s back in and crushed them. Heck….Nacho has been looking very good and Gholston only gets better and is SOLID depth.

  5. August 1976 Buc Says:

    They showed Vita on the sideline at the beginning of one of the late scoring drives by the iggles, it was the drive where they got several huge runs. My first thought was sure enough Vita is on the sideline and what do you know, suddenly the iggles sprung some runs.
    The resident Rhino is needed in there for more plays.

    GO BUCS!!!!

  6. gbobucsfan Says:

    why is Nelson getting more snaps than Tryon ?

  7. R.O. Says:

    NFL is all about matchups and creating mis-matches. Bringing in AB puts Defenses in bad matchups. Especially with Gronk. OJ although seemed to have a pretty good game last night he looked a bit tentative and not as fast. Also did notice him limp off the field in the 4th.

  8. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Brady got Licht’s foot in the door for HOF.

    Licht for HOF if he can prove he can do it without Brady.

  9. D-Rome Says:

    Joe suspects the powers and sports science gurus at One Buc Palace have determined that Vea is more valuable on the field … when he’s on the field less.

    I think the Bucs could be taking a “Rays way” approach to the younger players and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The Bucs can say they are looking to preserve careers, and there may be truth to that, but what happens when the rookie deal is going to expire and they look to extend Vea? Will they tell his agent they won’t make him the highest paid NT in the NFL because he only plays a little more than 50% of the snaps?

    I think this is the future approach of the NFL. Derrick Henry is the only running back in the NFL that gets more than 20 rushing attempts a game. He averages 28. The next guy is Nick Chubb and he averages 18 attempts a game. Even Ezekiel Elliott isn’t truly a feature back any more. Tony Pollard is getting a lot of opportunities. If the NFL can rotate players in and out of positions that both extends their careers and lowers their value.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Even though Vea is good against the pass….he’s even better against the run and teams aren’t running…..
    I don’t know if it’s a health strategy or a play strategy…..but it’s certainly deliberate…..keeping him fresh & healthy is key.

    As for AB……he is the absolute steal of FA…..and Lenny is 2nd…..There has never been a better #3 receiver and teams simply can’t cover him without redirecting attention to Evans & Godwin…..

    AB gets open, catches the ball, YAC…….and Brady loves throwing to him.

  11. SlyPirate Says:

    Medicated Pete … I agree. More JTS.

    17 snaps doesn’t cut it.

    JPP – .5 sacks
    JTS – 2 sacks

  12. ModHairKen Says:

    I trust the coaches on this. Every game is not a blowout. But that was a nice win on the road through a distracting week. The holding on JPP early was noticeable. The Defense made stops when it counted. I hope Sherman is okay.

    This is the toughest part of the season, maybe not opponent-wise, but when the newness of the season has worn off and it’s too early to get excited about the postseason. This is the time where guys should be rotated and rested.

  13. Bird Says:

    Im ok with it. If games are close, get him more reps
    Against better teams , get him more reps

    Cause we need him healthy for playoffs where he should play as much as he can
    A bye and/ or playing at home in playoffs would be great

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Haa! JPP better than JTS. What are you guys smoking? Wait ’til the end of the season, you’ll see. JPP is a team changer. Alot like the GOAT, alot like Suh, Vea. Man, we’re loaded. …Gronk. Nice to see OJ getting some balls come his way and him getting more confidence in his abilities.

  15. Casual Observer Says:

    I thought the refereeing was exceptionally poor last night. As some posters have said, some pass interference calls were ignored on our backs. But so were some holding calls on our rush groups. They seemed obvious to me. Poor ref job.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I suspect they are trying to keep him healthy for a playoff run. Saving him up because his return last year made such a huge difference.

    “if the Bucs win another Super Bowl, general manager Jason Licht have to be fast-tracked to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for building the deepest roster in NFL history.” – Joe

    I disagree here. Not that the roster is deep, but that Licht deserves a HoF spot. I like him, but he’s got a long way to go before I believe that.

  17. Lamarcus Says:

    Gholston is the man. Has been an elite run stopper his entire career

  18. RCS Says:

    Really I think its more about teams giving up on the run and passing 52 times a game. Once Philly started running the ball the Bucs put Vita back in, it was just too late and Philly was already inside the redzone. Also I think they realize this is a long season and they expect to be playing well into January and February again. I rather Vita be fresh in the playoffs than the regular season where they have the depth to rotate him

  19. SOEbuc Says:

    McClendon is trash and now Khalil Davis is gone. RNR is there but not the best idea to hold Vea to less snaps when they obviously started beating up our run defense in the second half.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    It’s pretty obvious he’s a part time player because he’s at least 350lb. If he dropped some weight, got down to around 320lb, he could probably play around 75% of snaps instead of 50%, and I doubt it would affect his run defense much — and he’d be better against the pass.

  21. godlovesbucs Says:

    Short week against a weak opponent who doesn’t run the ball. Goal of last night was just as much “no injuries” as it was to win. Thursday night games are hard on injury front.

  22. westernbuc Says:

    His body isn’t built for playing full time. I’m perfectly content with him being a part time player and keeping a rotation going

  23. Hodad Says:

    Let’s not forget the short week. Agree, it was dumb keeping McLenden over Davis.

  24. Sparky Says:

    I wonder how many games the Bucs have to win before the people sitting on their couches stop second guessing the professionals.

  25. chickster Says:

    Did they sub out the whole Defense in the third quarter or was i seeing things

  26. Steven007 Says:

    Captain Munch, I was waiting for you to comment here. I agree with you that he has some dead weight. A bit too sloppy for my taste. Hard to argue with the results when he’s in there, but then he’s only in there just over half the time. Would love to see him take his fitness seriously and lose maybe just 10 lb of garbage weight. He’s a superior natural athlete. High school running back. Did a good job chasing Hurts last night. But hard to argue with what’s currently working too.

  27. Stat guy Says:

    It’s because they weren’t running the backs hardly and put more speed out there to contain Hurts from scrambling.

  28. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    When Todd Bowles came along I had to educate myself on what to expect from a 3-4 base defense. Like many fans I was accustomed to thinking in terms of the 4-3 base that was the Buccaneer standard for so long. Naturally, I came to expect that Vea would be our “beast in the middle” as had been required for the most successful 3-4 defenses in the NFL past. How he is being used remains a mystery to me also.

    Early on Todd warned us not to put too much stock in what the base is as he was going to employ multiple schemes on a regular basis. So I will keep watching and guessing what is going on here

  29. Ash Says:

    That’s how they have always played him he is too big has little if any pass rush moves he just moves the pocket with pure power and you just can’t do that all game long at high snaps this is how they have always played him

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs’ defense is probably as injury-riddled as any in the NFL right now, but Todd Bowles has this group quietly improving every single week. They’re anything but dominant against the pass, but they keep finding ways to get the job done.

    Our D currently ranks #17 in the NFL in Points Allowed, and we’ve been improving steadily. Obviously we started the season terribly, allowing Cowboys to score 29, Falcons 24 & Rams 34 (seems like we ranked around #27 or so after the Rams game). But in these last 3 games our D has allowed fewer points (Pats 17, Dolphins 17, Eagles 22) and we’ve improved 10 places in the ratings.

    Through it all our run defense has remained #1. We’re also doing reasonably well on getting takeaways, ranking #8 in the NFL now. Even our pass defense seems to have improved somewhat (we now rank #25 in Passing Yardage Allowed, despite being #32 in terms of Passing Attempts Against Us). Getting Dean & Whitehead back in these last 2 games has surely helped (Dean’s had 2 INTs & 6 PDs in just these past 2 games). Ross Cockrell has done an excellent job filling in IMO (5 PDs last 4 games as pretty much the starter is quite good). Some of these guys are getting some excellent playing time that’ll stand us in good stead come the playoffs.

  31. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Robert and Tampabaybucsfan make good points. We do see Vea chasing down runners as well as QBs when he is not collapsing the middle Perhaps, they are simply trying to keep him fresh during the games.

    They have other guys to use to accomplish what they want when VV is out for a play or two.

  32. cover deuce Says:

    17 games plus the playoffs. I’d rather have him on a pitch count now so he’s fresher when it counts.

  33. Rod Munch Says:

    Steven007 – People think I’m bashing him, I’m really not, I just think he can be a better player if he was lighter and thus had more stamina and was able to play more of the game. I highly doubt losing 30lbs, in his case, would affect his ability to stop the run. Also, if I’m wrong, it’s not like he’d have a hard time putting the 30lbs back on. But if he got his playing time up in the mid-70s, he’d likely get some good sack numbers to go along with all those run stuffs. Also, probably most importantly, he might not be injured as often, since that kind of weight on his frame might be what has made him fairly injury prone.

  34. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    The Buccaneers have successfully kept player weight targets as some kind of deep dark secret as far as I can tell. I never see any local reporters or analysts mention them. They are rarely discussed among fans either.

    Bruce Arians is big on using state-of-the-art sports science knowledge. I have read that the Bucs have targets for each player and that their strength & conditioning staffs work closely with each individually to get them to bulk up or trim down as needed. They are monitored daily and weekly.

    Vita Vea’s weight has been listed as 347 since the day he walked in the door at One Buc Place. I understood early on that he was a bit unusual in that he was quite athletic for a guy who could carry a lot of weight on his frame. I have observed that Vita has a very protruding belly now. I have to assume that this is allowed by their plan for him

  35. David Says:

    My guess is just pacing him for a long year.
    I know it’s hard to keep JPP off the field but Tryon looks good and needs to rotate in more just to keep the legs fresher as the year goes on

    Joe… It seemed that Shaq and JPP switched sides for a lot of the second half, is there a reason?

  36. gp Says:

    Did y’all see the play where the eggles RB thought he could use his speed to squirt past Vea?
    Vea grabbed him with one arm and proceded to hug him while seemingly saying “Where do you think you’re going, little man?”
    This while standing almost flat footed and not taking a step for balance!

    I’m thinking between those plays, and the speed he shows when chasing other ball carriers, that he may just be at the perfect weight. Or at least very close.

    My guess is ‘pitch count’ to preserve his value through a deep season.

  37. Ateonetree Says:

    Joe I get what your saying but I see what the Bucs are doing here. Keep him fresh for the postseason, then unleash the Hulk

  38. Buczilla Says:

    Vita is huge even by dt standards and I think that carrying all of that weight makes him more susceptible to injury. Knock on wood for this year, but the dude gets hurt a lot. I love watching him play, but save him for the playoff push as much as ya can Bowles.