Defense May Have To Lead The Way

August 25th, 2022

Believer in Bucs’ defense.

It is a good thing the Bucs have a solid if not strong defense.

You may have heard the Bucs have injuries on their offensive line. You also may have heard three of the top four Bucs receivers are nursing injuries/rehabbing and the fourth is healthy but injury prone.

So while Joe doesn’t expect the Bucs offense to light up the scoreboard like it did last year, partly because whack job Antonio Brown and foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski are gone, the Bucs may have to lean on their defense.

Popular sports television and radio personality Adam Schein, typing for, decided to select his top-nine defenses. He has the Bucs at No. 7.

Like Allen in New Orleans, Todd Bowles was elevated to head coach this offseason after a strong run as the team’s defensive coordinator (three straight top-15 finishes). His fingerprints will no doubt remain visible on this defense. He has a sharp mind and a loaded team at his disposal.

Only Bobby Wagner has more tackles than Lavonte David (1,220) since David entered the league in 2012. The veteran David and rising youngster Devin White (fourth in tackles over the past two seasons) form a dynamic linebacking duo. Shaq Barrett has been one of the league’s more effective pass rushers, ranking fourth in sacks (37.5) over the past three seasons. Jason Pierre-Paul is gone, but 2021 first-rounder Joe Tryon-Shoyinka can pick up the pass-rushing slack. Vita Vea matched a career high with 12 QB hits last season and set a personal best in sacks (four) en route to his first Pro Bowl nod. Vea is joined on the Bucs’ mammoth line by veteran Akiem Hicks, whose signing in free agency was a top-notch move. And corner Carlton Davis, who has more passes defensed than anyone in the NFL in the past three seasons despite missing seven games in 2021, will be back, healthy and newly enriched.

It will take time for the young Bucs offensive linemen to gel and get seasoned. While Nick Leverett, Robert Hainsey and Luke Goedeke have a combined grand total of one start, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, they will be experienced enough.

So if the offense sputters because the Bucs have to work around the blocking, the defense will have to carry the team. And the Bucs defense could be better than last year.

Logan Ryan is a helluva pickup. Akiem Hicks, if he can stay healthy, is an awesome addition. And Joe Tyron-Shoyinka should be better.

27 Responses to “Defense May Have To Lead The Way”

  1. PassingThru Says:

    JC Tretter just announced his retirement so that ship has sailed.

    Back to defense: Trey Flowers would be a great addition. He’s versatile and hedges the bets on JTS and Logan Hall.

  2. allen Lofton Says:

    spot on Joe

  3. #8 Says:

    I am torn on Suh & Flowers. I’d be insanely happy with either.
    Or both????

  4. George Says:

    Sign Flowers

    Have Brady explain to Tretter the process of coming out of retirement

  5. Dooley Says:

    Barrett, JTS, Nelly, Nassib, Gholston, Hicks, Nacho, Vea, Hall, and Gill is on IR. We’ve no room for Trey Flowers and unlike Nassib, he’s no familiarity in our defensive scheme and the clock to the regular season is a’tickin.

  6. PassingThru Says:

    Please… Flowrs has far better recognition as an OLB than JTS, and he can work either inside or outside the line better than Hall. Neither has the experience in multiple systems as Flowers. Last, Flowers also gives the Bucs a better, deeper rotation which an reduce the wear and tear on Hicks.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Adam Schein … ‘Vita Vea matched a career high with 12 QB hits last season and set a personal best in sacks (four) en route to his first Pro Bowl nod.’

    So Vita gets to the Pro Bowl with 4 sacks, 12 QB hits & 5 TFLs (all career highs), in 16 games & 607 def snaps (55.5% availability) last season.

    Suh is over-the-hill dogmeat last season when he gets 6 sacks, 13 QB hits & 7 TFLs (leading our DLine), in 17 games & 717 def snaps (65.6% availability).

    And Hicks is a huge upgrade over Suh because he got 3.5 sacks, 9 QB hits & 5 TFLs (with Chicago), in his 9 games & 304 def snaps (30.1% availability) last season.

    Got it. Love the new math.

  8. MadMax Says:

    We’re good….crystal ball is showing it. And Logan Hall will come on strong….THAT I have faith in.

    Big V and Hicks switching out, always there Big Will, then Nelson….all good!

  9. Steven007 Says:

    DR, it begs the question, what does the brain trust see or know that we don’t? And the answer seems to always lead to salary demands. If Suh is indeed asking for last year’s salary or something close to it, they obviously don’t seem to think he’d be worth that given the extra year of age. I’m not saying I agree. But what other explanation would there be? If the raiders don’t sign him, and we end up having injury issues, he may be an in-season signing. Flowers on the other hand has not been anything special lately. So aside from the name I’m not sure what the love affair is there.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ve said this before but for those who didn’t see it:

    The Bucs defense will be much better than last year’s because:

    Additions of Hicks, Hall, Neal, Ryan, Nassib…..and, in particular the extra year experience for our young defenders….and they are numerous….
    JTS, White, Davis, SMB, Dean, Edwards, Winfield

    Add the great punter to help with field position and we have a winner.

  11. Dooley Says:


    but we didn’t draft Flowers in the first round and it’s not about what any of us want, but it’s who the team has and why they’re choosing to stick with them. Flowers has only played 14 games the last 2 seasons, for all that we could’ve brought JPP back. Gholston & Hall can rotate with Hicks, so who’s snaps would Flowers eat into and would he even be available? What’s funny is, Flowers was selected with the pick we sent over to NE in 2015 w/Tim Wright for Logan Mankins. Won’t be the first time our FO has passed over him.

  12. Steven007 Says:

    Avery, the linebacker we signed yesterday, has nearly the same sack production that Flowers had the last 2 years.

  13. geno711 Says:

    DR why the hate on Vita Vea and Hicks so much in these articles?

    Are you saying that Vita Vea and Hicks won’t have successful seasons for the Bucs?

    It’s been pretty clear in the last few days that Suh wants 9 million.

    Also, pretty clear that Bowles wants guys that stop the run 1st.

    Last year Suh had 15 solo tackles, the worst of his career. Obvious evidence of a decline in at least one of his abilities that Bowles values.

    Both Vea and Hicks seem better at the solo tackle math. So that being said, why hold on so hard to Suh is the better choice.

    P.S. 15 solo tackles in 717 snaps would be enough for some to call a player dogmeat (which I never have). Bowles knows what he wants. Sorry it ain’t Suh at this point.

  14. SPARKY Says:

    De. Rule, as always, numbers don’t tell the whole story. Vea is almost always double teamed. That leaves Suh 1 on 1 with his blocker. Who is gonna have better numbers? Also, Hicks has never played along side someone like Vea, who will get the double team. Hicks numbers should go up.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Geno711 … ‘Last year Suh had 15 solo tackles, the worst of his career. Obvious evidence of a decline in at least one of his abilities that Bowles values.’

    I can think of several reasons why. Maybe our DLine has gotten better at gang-tackling? Maybe Bowles had him in largely on passing downs? When our opponents chose to run, maybe they ran further outside (like towards the injured JPP)? Maybe they went down because Suh’s def snaps went down to 717 (lowest of his career, but understandable)?

    Just out of curiosity, how many MISSED TACKLES did Suh have last year? Obviously he must’ve had quite a few to ONLY have 15 solo tackles. (BTW, I couldn’t find the answer either). On a Chicago blog however, I did find that Akiem Hicks missed on 6% of his tackle opportunities last season. Maybe Joe has the answer on Suh.

    Steven007 … ‘what does the brain trust see or know that we don’t?’

    I believe (like you apparently) that the big issue is MONEY. But the NFL is the entertainment BUSINESS, and every player can ASK for whatever they want. IF Suh’s asking for $9 mil, that’s not a big deal (and especially since we don’t have it to give to him). He’ll either eventually sign with someone else, OR accept less from us, OR choose to retire. It’s not a ‘love affair’; IMO he’s an outstanding LEADER by example, AND he’s still got a lot of quality snaps left in him. I’m convinced that at some point this season the Bucs will desperately NEED that, and that’s why I’ll keep pushing for us to sign him … WHEN the time is right & the money is right.

  16. PassingThru Says:


    Flowers is a health risk, but he wouldn’t be asked to start in Tampa Bay. He’s a great rotational piece that would keep the other vets healthy as we both know Hicks and Vea will be on snap counts. Hall is a rookie, you know he won’t make much noise… he hasn’t made much noise in the preseason games and I don’t see his name splashed in practice reports. He got lauded in very brief action against future insurance salesmen and middle school physical education teachers (my phys ed teacher was a preseason Dallas RB). Hall might have a future, but this isn’t about potential, it’s about now. JTS has a lightning-fast first step and reportedly picked up some strength, but his moves were limited and his recognition was (and still is) poor. Maybe JTS can ascend in recognition over time, but it isn’t there now. Flowers has that in his arsenal.

  17. Hodad Says:

    Fans here crack me up. They want Flowers, Tretter, Suh, still want JPP?, every player no other team seems to want. Now Tretter might retire, Suh, JPP next? Does it matter? They’re not with any of the other 31 teams for a reason. Stop looking for the one you don’t have. It’s time to love the one you’re with.

  18. Dooley Says:


    Sounds good, but Flowers doesn’t play special teams and no matter how eloquently you state it, it’s pretty clear our front office and coaching staff lined JTS up to be the guy on the left edge of our DL. We’ve picked Avery up to probably take Cam Gill’s spot as a back up OLB and special teams contributor, but the chances that’d we’d swing at Flowers kind of bottomed out with the signing of Carl Nassib. Who actually plays special teams and hasn’t accumulated a seasons’ worth of missed games in the last 2 years. Also forgot to mention Pat O’connor who is also another depth guy in the interior, who’s lowkey had a solid preseason so far.

  19. Hodad Says:

    Nonsense thinking the defense needs to lead the way when we have a loaded offense led by Tom Brady. Has every sports writer lost their mind? O.K. we’re starting three new O lineman, but this offense has to many weapons, and did I mention Tom Brady, to play second fiddle to any offense in the league. Don’t let these talking heads fool you. Tampa Bay is one of the few teams in the league that has a legit shot at the title regardless who our center, and LG will be.

  20. Scooter Says:

    In New England, Trey Flowers was a good player.

  21. Dooley Says:


    That “nonsensical” defensive led narrative you’re rebuking won us our title in 2020. Bowles installing a defense during the 2 week break he hadn’t used leading up to the SB, our young DBs executing the plan, and our front 7 making Pat Mahomes the most hurried and hit QB in SB history was a thing.

  22. geno711 Says:

    Defense Rules Says:
    August 25th, 2022 at 10:55 am
    Geno711 … ‘Last year Suh had 15 solo tackles, the worst of his career. Obvious evidence of a decline in at least one of his abilities that Bowles values.’

    “I can think of several reasons why.”

    I got it! As you and I have always noted, Suh’s snap count is always very high. He was only 10% less snaps last year from 2020. So, decline in solo tackles of 40% is alarming to me.

    I feel like your explanations for the low solo tackles are weak. It would be like me saying the reason that Suh might have gotten 6 sack and 13 QB hits is because he typically was the guy who on almost every passing down was not double teamed when rushing the passer.

    And really that does fit my eyes. Did he ever get any sacks or QB hits for being fast or extremely explosive? At this point, he is a slow yet smart player. And that is to be expected with his advanced age.

    Suh was thick and extremely hard to move on short yardage situations, but I never once last year said wow look at the explosiveness or speed during a pass rush move. I certainly don’t have a perfect memory for that type of thing though and I will gladly accept if I am mistaken in my assessment.

    Still think that Bowles knows what he wants, and it is not Suh at this point.
    I want to believe that Vea and Hicks both have more interior explosiveness and speed than Suh at this point. But admit that it is from a limited amount of information that I have formed that opinion.

  23. Hodad Says:

    Dooley yes, but our offense was pretty damn good in 2020. My point is it still is, maybe better. We averaged over 30 a game far cry from the days Sapp said just give us 17. We won games by out scoring teams in 2020, it wasn’t just the defense that shined. We led the league passing yards, passing attempts, and passing TD’s also. To say our defense needs to carry us is rediculous.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Hodad … The battles are won in the trenches. Every Tom Brady-led team improves a bunch as the year goes on, and this year won’t be any exception IMO. Our biggest problem will be surviving the first part of the season while our OLine especially is ‘gelling’.

    Personally think that he’s right; the defense will have to lead the way … for roughly the first half of the season while the offense gets it together. The big factor that might sidetrack this puppy? Injuries, just like always.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Geno711 … I get it too; Suh really isn’t that ‘explosive’ anymore. I just happen to believe that you must have DEPTH to win championships, especially in the trenches. And Suh as DEPTH (ie, insurance) is who I prefer. I get it that others don’t. HOPEFULLY we skate through the year injury-free and never need to tap into our depth.

  26. steele Says:

    Those of us who keep clamoring for more defensive impact—Flowers, etc. SUH—question the present lineup, because…it’s the same guys.

    We know the strengths and weaknesses of Vea, Ghol, JTS, Nelson, Shaq. These are the same guys who didn’t generate enough pass rush and/or were injured (Vea) (always) and/or were raw (JTS). We have now seen Logan Hall playing like what he is, a rookie. Comfortable Carl Nassib is exactly who he has always been, a nice locker room guy who has never been a great pass rusher. Hicks has looked great in camp and preseason, but he is always a ding away from being out for weeks. The LBs are…the same. The secondary, a huge problem, are…the same… but “should” get leadership from Logan Ryan and some hitting from Neal, if he isn’t hurt.

    The Suh/JPP hole has not been filled. That is why the constant “Suh”, and Flowers, and why I keep clamoring for bigtime edge rushers that the Bucs have passed on for months. Nassib is not one of them.

    This defense, which Joe correctly calls “solid but not strong”, must be able to carry the team, but this largely same unit didn’t last season.

    The gamble is on:

    -Hall plays like a pro bowler as a rookie
    -Hicks stays healthy for an entire season
    -JTS, Nelson and Nassib each play like pro bowlers
    -Ryan makes the secondary play like the Pats secondary used to
    -Bowles suddenly becomes the most genius defensive guru who ever lived

  27. David Says:

    A lot of naysayers on here. The D-line should be better than last year because at this point in their careers a healthy Hicks is better than healthy SUH. He did nothing last year and still wants to be paid like a top DT. He’s not coming back people, get over it. They’d be stupid to sign him unless it’s on the cheap later in the year because of injuries. There’s a reason no one else assigned him.

    JTS is ready to explode.

    But the main reason this defense will be better is the secondary. They were trending up in a big way when they were absolutely decimated with injuries last year.
    Health is the key