Shaq Barrett Should Handle The Workload

June 18th, 2022

Pro Bowl edge rusher Shaq Barrett

If you listen often to the “Ira Kaufman Podcast” — and if you don’t, what’s wrong with you? — you will notice a small yet consistent issue Ira has with the Bucs defense.

Ira is of the mind the Bucs are putting too much pressure on Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett because he doesn’t have enough help. Well, Joe believes this is why the Bucs spent a first-round pick on Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. And it’s also why the Bucs also just drafted Logan Hall.

But what is there to fear when Shaq has demonstrated he’s one of best at attacking the quarterback?

Since Todd Bowles arrived as defensive coordinator (same year the Bucs signed Shaq), Shaq has developed into a top-five pass rusher. Per @NFLNumbers, only four players have had more quarterback hits in the past three seasons. That’s impressive.

Yeah, Ira has a point with Shaq to a certain degree. But let’s not make out Shaq to be the next (formerly) sackless Kyle Moore.

24 Responses to “Shaq Barrett Should Handle The Workload”

  1. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Hopefully (hate that word) JTS will make that big 2nd year leap on the other side

  2. ModHairKen Says:

    Licht has quietly reformed the entire Defense. Look at the additions and subtractions. I think very highly of Ndamukong Suh. I will miss watching him. But these moves are necessary.

  3. David Says:

    Suh and JPP all but disappeared last year so with Hicks, VEA playing more, rookie Hall, a jump forward from JTS, and continued improvement with Nelson, I expect the pass rush to improve this year.
    Lots of questions though. It is my biggest concern for the team.

  4. Hodad Says:

    Watch for Ponder coming on this camp as an edge rusher. Another site mentioned how much work he’s put in this offseason. He could be another reason they let JPP walk.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Shaq has been a great FA acquisition……probably the best defensive FA in many, many years.
    I think JTS will improve greatly this year and should provide Shaq the needed help.

  6. stpetebucsfan Says:

    There is a yin and yang here. If a great pass rusher is surrounded by other great pass rushers his job obviously becomes easier. However his NUMBERS should drop because many of the other great rushers will get to the QB before him. In fact we see this on our own team…or at least the past three years.

    If that same great pass rusher is on a team devoid of other great defenders his coaches will more than likely create special defenses and do everything to get the most out of his talent and he won’t be competing against teammates to get their first if they’re not good enough to get there period.

    So the individual stats while having obviously some bearing are not what I really wish to use to judge them. We need some great stat guy….D.R. are you reading this? to dig up some TEAM numbers.

    And so I would like to see the difference in TEAM sacks that Aaron Donald or guys like Shaq provide. How many sacks do they get when he doesn’t play?

    E.G. Guys like Suh and Vea are not getting individual numbers but they clearly contribute greatly to Shaq’s numbers…how much did Shaq and JPP contribute to the Bucs numbers…not just by subtracting their INDIVIDUAL numbers but seeing if other guys on the field while they played also got better numbers than they normally would achieve.

    I don’t exactly know the metric but like D.R. I believe in TEAM football. None of our eleven guys is in a vacuum. I get IRA’s concern but I think like Joe that perhaps it’s overstated for the reasons Joe mentioned…our last two #1 picks.

    Bottom line for me is…our pass rush will not suffer due to a lack of talent! Bowles also has a great rushing LB in White if he wished to use him and I think there are even players in the defensive backfield who can occasionally rush the passer. Can we ever forget Ronde Barber…small guy who played huge!

    In the 14 year stretch when he played…he got into only one game his rookie year and started only 9 his second…he average two sacks a season. His high water mark was 5.5 sacks one season and two other years he got three.

    Winfield has uber talent in all phases of the game…can we safety blitz or is that too risky…SMB has some skills that could help him copy Ronde’s success.

    As is obvious IMHO it all comes down to health! Vea’s health and conditioning.
    Ditto for Hicks who clearly has talent and attitude…but like Vea the questions will come on the critical ability…AVAILability.

    If those two guys remain healthy through the year and can stuff the run..we have PLENTY of guys who can get to the passer…again with that ubiquitous health question the major always.

  7. Captain Oblivious Says:

    Looking at that list I have to wonder why Aron Donald is getting all the love and not TJ Watt. Is it due to the success of their respective teams? Hey, is there another Watt brother the Bucs could recruit?

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Hodad … I think they let JPP walk because his performance didn’t justify his salary. Believe it was Mike Tomlin who years ago said ‘We’ll tolerate you until we can replace you’. Well, apparently the powers-that-be felt that they didn’t want to tolerate JPP any longer.

    Don’t know much about Ponder but I hope you’re right. JTS gave us 560 def snaps last season, but I’m hoping that he can give us a lot more than that this year. JPP gave us a tad more than 600 last year and those have to be replaced by JTS, Nelson & probably some by Hall. That’s cutting it thin IMO unless we can keep everyone healthy.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    David … I’ll give you that JPP all but disappeared last year, but not so with Suh. If you look at the overall performance of our defense, it allowed significantly fewer PPG in 2021 (20.8 PPG) than in 2020 (22.2 PPG). It also had more pressures per game (sacks, QB knockdowns & hurries) last year (13.2 average per game) than it did in 2020 (12.2 average per game). And that was with JPP hurting most of the year & contributing a lot less.

    Of the big guys in the DLine interior, Suh led the pack with 19 pressures, followed by Gholston (17), Vea (15), McLendon (6) and RNR (5). That totals up to 62 pressures from our inside guys). Those same players performed a tad better the year prior in terms of QB pressures: Suh (29), Gholston (29), Vea (5), McLendon (2) and RNR (3). That totals up to 68 pressures from our inside guys, but Vea was missing much of the year so responsibilities more than likely changed to compensate.

    Admittedly Suh (and Gholston) didn’t get the same number of QB pressures in 2021 that they did in 2020, but both of them also got fewer def snaps (probably because Vea was back, and ya, because they were both a year older). When it comes to Suh’s performance though, folks need to keep in mind that he did lead the ‘interior pack’ in both 2020 AND 2021 in terms of applying pressure on the QBs.

  10. Biff Barker Says:

    For those waiting for JTS to finally make headlines, you can read about soon enough. The future JBF article will be titled “busts like OJ Howard”.

  11. Dooley Says:


    Can’t forget Cam Gill, who went from playing 22 snaps in 2020, to getting about triple that amount of action last season in 2021 w/100 defensive snaps and recorded his first sack. Not the lions share as Gill is still a developmental player at this point, but we’re also talking about him being at the most depth/injury insurance.

    Ponder got highlighted for the transformation he’s undergone, being a IDL for the Bearcats in college, to cutting weight(30-45lbs) and being pushed by the staff to be developed as OLB talent in this scheme. Not saying he’ll be starting, or even pan out as a major contributor, but the staff has to see some potential to commit roster space in his transition. Lends credence to the notion that FOs see some guys at different levels of talent as balls of clay, that with the right conditions and enough effort can be molded into contributors in some capacity.

  12. PSL Bob Says:

    Basically, Shaq’s on par with everyone on the list but Watt, who’s in a league of his own. You can’t put two blockers on the entire front line (Vea, Hicks, Hall, JTS, and Shaq), so Shaq will get his share of QB hits and sacks this year.

  13. kyle Says:

    Definitely going to miss SUH! He was the void and upgrade the bucs needed when they dumped the fraudulent McCoy.

    Our pass rush sucked last year without JPP.. Hope the kids can make the next step. JTS?? who knows???

  14. Mickman Says:

    Tired about hearing about QB hits…means they got the pass of and more than likely completed, means nothing, he needs 15 sacks or he is over paid.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Dooley … You’re exactly right about Cam Gill. He’s on the smallish side (6’3″ & 240 lbs) but he’s made the most of his opportunities these past 2 years, and especially last year.

    Still don’t know much about Elijah Ponder, but this defensive staff must see something in him to try transitioning him from DT to DE/OLB. Listed at a good size (6’3″ & 275 lbs) on the Bucs’ roster, but that’s what he played at in college, so I’m assuming he’s lighter than that now based on what you wrote. it’ll be interesting to see if they promote him to the 53-man roster.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    @tbbf: Barrett is an excellent FA acquisition, no f’n doubt, but in my book, the #1 FA acquisition that forever changed a Buc team was Hardy Nickerson.

  17. ChiBuc Says:

    “Ira is of the mind the Bucs are putting too much pressure on Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett …”

    In 2021, Shaq was on the field for 767 snaps, a respectable 67% of the teams total snap count. He also earned approximately $16,000,000 in the same year… I find it hard to sympathize with anyone who earns $20,860.50 per snap. He’s being paid to elevate the play of those around him, regardless of who’s around him.

  18. GOB Says:

    Barrett had a grand total of 1 QB hit, and 0 sacks in two games vs. the Rams last year. I think he’s a fine player (maybe a bit overpaid). He strikes me as something of a front runner. You need your best players to step up in the biggest games.

  19. GOB Says:

    Against the saints last year, same thing. 2 QB hits, 0 sacks in 2 games

  20. ChiBuc Says:

    There are players that always elevate the play of those around them and players that are great when surrounded by great players, which category does Shaq fit in?

    I know apples and oranges, but Scotty Pippen was great when Jordan was on the court, but he didn’t fair as well while Jordan was playing baseball. Still above average, but not a game changer. Not once did the conversation turn from a”depleted backfield, injured JPP, etc” to how Shaq has stepped up his game to compensate for injuries on defense. He has great games, gets great numbers, but not a pony you can ride when the stable is bare.. kind of like your beloved McCoy, except Shaq is surrounded by talent

  21. steele Says:

    Good stuff in here (thanks StPete, DefenseRules etc).

    Obviously they are trying to do the cost-effective thing, hoping JTS and Hall bust out, and the rotationals step up. Unless ALL of that happens, and that is a huge bet, this is not the same thing as a terrifying defense across the board with a playmaker at every position. Barrett can’t do it alone, and yes, he is a bit of a front runner who did not take over the Rams and other games when needed.

    If this were a normal season in a 3 season time frame, with no pressure, fine, stick with your developmentals and look forward. But if this is the final campaign for a Brady SB run, and they want to beat all of the top playoff teams (the schedule forces it), they are short veteran pass rushers who can provide instant impact, but it’s just about too late in FA. Justin Houston, Carlos Dunlap are among the few legit pass rushers still out there.

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … Interesting observations about the impact on great pass rushers (like Shaq) from being surrounded by other great pass rushers. I have no idea how you could ever quantify that though because there are so many variables constantly in play. Things such as the game plan, individual play calls, quality of the opponents, injury status, the list just goes on & on i would think.

    This early in the season though, I can’t say that I’m as optimistic about your bottom line (‘our pass rush will not suffer due to a lack of talent’) as you are. I like Suh so much because he always showed up & played at a high level. The proverbial Iron Man. I don’t have nearly that same confidence in Vea or Hicks … yet. I love Will Gholston & even Nacho, but neither of them will every ‘carry’ the team on their backs; that’s just not who they are.

    I feel pretty much the same about Shaq. He’ll get his sacks & his pressures, but he’ll never take over a game like JPP did in any number of games in his career. He reminds me a lot of Phil Esposito when he was with the Boston Bruins (hey, ice hockey was my sport growing up). Espo was a high scorer, which was actually kind of unusual since he was a center (my position). Centers would normally get lots of assists because they were used a lot in the corners digging out the puck & centering it for the others. Espo though spent a lot of time parked in front of the net, and was incredible at deflecting shots into the net among other things. Very effective ‘scavenger’ in that regard (he very effectively capitalized on the play of others). That’s pretty much how I still see Shaq, and that’s not a bad thing at all when you’re looking at TEAM performance.

    I’m really hopeful that JTS will make some real improvements this season, but I have no idea what to expect out of our rookie Hall. Not nearly as optimistic as some are … but I sincerely hope that they’re right. Also hope that Nelson takes a step forward, and that we stay healthy as a team, because I’m not sold on our depth yet. In any event, I think it’ll be a fun season, and probably TB12’s last one with us.

  23. Tony Says:

    Mickman Says:
    June 18th, 2022 at 12:05 pm
    Tired about hearing about QB hits…means they got the pass of and more than likely completed, means nothing, he needs 15 sacks or he is over paid.

    So if he gets like 11-14 that’s not good enough for you? You’d still consider him overpaid? I could understand if he only got like 5 or so but as long as he gets at least double that & as long as he puts pressure on the QB that’s all that matters.

  24. FrontFour Says:

    The line is coming together. Hicks was a key add so veteran core looks good. Still thing we need another vet edge rusher. Once pads come on we’ll see how the developmental guys look. Will probably add more help once the training start.