“Crazy Pop And Explosion”

December 13th, 2022

Hard-hitting safety Keanu Neal.

Where would the Bucs be this season if safety Keanu Neal didn’t lay a bone-crushing hit on Saints tight end Taysom Hill as he hauled in what could have been the game-sealing grab last week?

Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be considered.

But Neal’s explosive hitting quickly backfired on the first snap from scrimmage on Sunday. A tone-setting sack to get in rookie quarterback Brock Purdy’s head turned into a 15-yard penalty because allegedly Neal’s hit was too high.

Fellow safety/cornerback Logan Ryan talked about what Neal’s playing style is all about and how it’s impactful but a sad commentary on the NFL at the same time.

“He’s a true introvert,” Ryan said of Neal on the Buccaneers Radio Network. “And this is why you don’t go around and mess with people randomly on the street who don’t talk a lot. Because you just don’t know what’s really in there.

“Football’s an outlet for him. And I don’t know what he’s letting out, but it’s a lot. And that is a guy that has natural crazy pop and explosion out of his hips and violence. All his hits are huge hits. …  He’s got that ability, a Kam Chancellor to him. Unfortunately, the NFL is just taking that out of the game.”

Ryan went on to lament that huge plays are now 15-yard penalties.

Joe remembers when the Bucs signed Pro Bowl safety Dashon “Hawk” Goldson in 2013. He was a throwback hitter and the NFL was just hitting a new level of crackdown to stop big-hitting safeties. Tampa Bay’s timing was terrible and “Hawk” had his wings clipped in a hurry.

Ryan said he still sees great value in a player like Neal if the rules don’t favor his game. First, he’ll still make plays. And second, playing with a guy like Neal “gets you juiced,” Ryan added.

16 Responses to ““Crazy Pop And Explosion””

  1. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Tired of BS talk by the players. Actions speak louder than words. All they have are words.

  2. CleanHouse Says:

    Glad to have enjoyed the days of John Lynch and Steve Atwater

  3. Show Me the TDs Says:

    Uh…Losers. No change in status.

  4. Redeemer Says:

    I thought for sure they were going to throw a flag on that hit. If you’re going to lay the wood like that, you need to be perfect. Boy was it. Perfect. I love guys like Neal. Keep quiet and speak with your play.

  5. Lakeland Steve Says:

    The game is getting almost unwatchable with a lot of hitting being taken out of the game. Guys like Jack Tatum if he played today would be indicted for attempted murder in every State he played in. No he didn’t help his case much when he wrote that book ( they call me assassin ). Do we need to have guys playing the way Tatum did in todays game? No. But why don’t we just let guys hit as long as it isn’t helmet to helmet. In a couple of years all the players will be wearing Tutu’s and ballet slippers.

  6. Old School Bucs Says:

    Neal just needs to lower his point of impact. I dont understand the big hitters and why they don’t lower their point of impact. Especially on quarterbacks. The Lions crushed Mike White last week with massive hits. All the hits were way below the shoulders and the refs let all of them go without penalties. It is not a matter of a big hit it is where they are hitting. If Neal hit that kid 1 foot lower there would not have been a penalty!

  7. D-Rok Says:

    Old School,

    Neal probably hits higher because it’s much easier to keep your head up. As a young lad I had to work on my technique because I led with my head too much. So I adjusted by hitting higher and kept my head up. Not saying for sure that’s Neal’s issue, but it certainly was mine, and probably lots of younger kids learning tackle football in their first few years.

  8. Redeemer Says:

    Old School, it’s hard to lower your strike zone in real time. Many times, the reciever lowers his head, and the safety can’t help it. Hitting a stationary target,. like a QB is a lot easier.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    The issue with Neal isn’t that he’s hard hitting, it’s that he’s way too slow to play safety.

    Someone brought up the idea that you should use Neal as a middle linebacker, then move White outside where he can just rush the passer over and over again.

    That’s not a terrible idea, but Neal is actually worse in coverage than White since Neal is too slow to keep up with anyone. But using Neal as an outside pass rusher might not be a bad idea.

    In any case, just don’t use him in coverage, he’s terrible there. Yes, he got in a good hit in the Saints game – but he also gets left behind in coverage about 20 times a game, and you could say single handedly lost the Ravens game for the Bucs.

  10. NEfan Says:

    At least take White out on passing downs and put Neal in.

  11. ClwJB Says:

    He has missed way more than made in the “plays” department – he can’t cover to save his life

    he is like a 3rd ILB in there – but when you leave him in too long, he gets exposed by NFL level play callers in the passing game

    Unlike the one employed by the Bucs

  12. Old School Bucs Fan Says:

    REDEEMER, D-ROK Point taken. Not saying it is easy. What I am saying is Saw the Lions just pulverize Mike White on Sunday. They were clearly trained to hit below the head shoulder area. This is a coaching and practice issue. Have to change techniques to fit the rules. Neal is a hard hitter who just needs to change his strike zone a little bit.

  13. stpetebucfan Says:

    If he lowered his head a bit he might have avoided the penalty. He’s had some bone crushing hit this season that drew the oohs and ahhs but not a flag.

    Just a very slight lack of concentration.

  14. D-Rok Says:

    Old School,

    Completely agree this is a coaching/practice issue. Brings to mind the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”

    How MANY of us would love to be allowed to watch a Bucs practice, especially the last few weeks??? Maybe one of us fans could fix this team, because the coaches are clueless. SIGH.

  15. Depressed 2022 Says:

    Bowels and Leftwich are Zombies

  16. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    D-Rok Says:
    “Neal probably hits higher because it’s much easier to keep your head up.”

    Also rushers naturally approach a QB upright when they are thinking about battling down a pass attempt. Makes it hard to break down before contact.