Need For A Pass Rusher Creeping Back To The Surface

January 18th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Former Dallas scouting director Gil Brandt is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a reason. He was a key cog in helping build two dynasties: The Cowboys of the 1960s and 1970s, and the Cowboys of the 1990s.

Joe has heard Brandt say the three most important positions are quarterback, pass rusher and left tackle.

A glance at the teams in the divisional round this weekend shows half have a defender with double-digit sacks. There would have been a fifth but Buffalo pass rusher Von Miller was lost for the season with a knee injury in his 12th game — with eight sacks.

Those teams include each conference’s No. 1 seeds and the NFC’s No. 2 seed (San Francisco).

That’s not a coincidence.

Simply put, in a quarterback league, you cannot allow the quarterback time to throw.

Monday night, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had so much time to throw he could order a Bromosa and chug the damn thing before the Bucs breathed on him.

Sadly, Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett was lost for the season in October. And with Shaq turning 30 this year, an Achilles injury is very difficult to overcome. Frankly, sadly, Joe doesn’t expect a whole lot from Shaq in 2023 as a result.

Joe Tryon-Shoyinka? Joe will just be polite and say the jury is still out on JTS. The second-year outside linebacker had four sacks this season, the same total as his rookie season.

Four sacks from a first-round pick isn’t going to cut it, especially with Shaq’s future up in the air. It sure smells like the Bucs are back to square one with edge rushers the way they were throughout the Lost Decade, which drove Joe bananas.

Watching quarterbacks have so much time against the Bucs defense from the time the team let Michael Bennett walk away for no good reason until Shaq began dominating was infuriating! Opposing quarterbacks could take a morning dump and still get off a pass. Watching this non-pressure took a couple of years off Joe’s life during those dark years of Bucs football.

So yesterday, Joe asked Bucs coach Todd Bowles if a pass rusher is a position the team will address in free agency or the draft.

Bowles didn’t show his hand other than to say the Bucs need more production from their outside linebackers.

“If the situation becomes available, we’ll definitely need more sacks from that position,” Bowles said. “That’s one of our money positions where we count on sacks to come from – the majority of them, anyway.

“Hopefully Shaq [Barrett] comes back okay. In the third year, Joe [Tryon-Shoyinka] can be better at that. [Anthony] Nelson hopefully we can get back. Carl [Nassib] stepped in nicely.

“But we need more production from a sack standpoint out of that position.”

JTS actually was second on the Bucs in quarterback hits with 14. So he’s ok at getting to the quarterback. but he’s not getting them on the ground.

Nelson and Nassib are free agents. Nelson is a nice backup. He had 5.5 sacks and led the Bucs’ outside linebackers in putting quarterbacks on the ground. From what Joe has seen, physical defenses take Nelson out.

Joe remembers at San Francisco, Nelson got the s(p)it knocked out of him by the rugged 49ers. The physical Cowboys also kept Nelson away from Dak Prescott on Monday night.

So unless Shaq can rebound from a major injury that often dooms guys in their 30s, and/or JTS can take a couple of steps forward, the Bucs will have to find a pass rusher.

Joe fears it’s back to the Lost Decade we go when it comes to edge rushers.

40 Responses to “Need For A Pass Rusher Creeping Back To The Surface”

  1. TDTB Says:

    Agree with your assessment of all three players. JTS fails to set an edge, runs around like a chicken with its head cut off and when he does get to the QB he pulls up. He’s athletic but lacks both fundamentals and a killer instinct.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Let’s hope the one good thing that comes from having a “defensive” head coach is the urgency to fill at least that position with some real dynamo’s. If not then what good is it to have that type of head coach?
    I must say I’m curious to see how this plays out. I’m NOT interested in sorrow and suffering EVER AGAIN! BUT…..

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    If you manage to keep Brady, you’re going to have to make a number of moves, and one of those will almost certainly be a post-June 1st cutting of Shaq.

    Frankly Shaq hasn’t been doing much for a while now. Sure, he’s better than the other options, but that doesn’t mean he’s all that good anymore. He does flash, at times, what made him special, but I’d rather you move White into that rusher spot, never let him play coverage again, and then, man, you got someone who can be elite and has a chance at getting 20 sacks again.

  4. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I heard someone in the media call JTS “Almost”, because he almost gets sacks…He’s young and could improve, but I’m not holding my breath because something seems to be missing.

    I kind of want the Bucs to draft a Left Tackle, if a good one is still available when they pick. If Wirfs could move to LT, that means the Bucs could take a pass rusher in the 1st, then take a Right Tackle in the 2nd or 3rd.

    It’s good that Bowles admits lack of sacks are problem, past Bucs regimes would turn a blind eye to the pass rush needs, as Joe said in his article, which also drove me crazy.

  5. Joe in Michigan Says:

    *Are a problem

  6. ModHairKen Says:

    Go get Sean Payton. No one can tell me that is not being pursued as we sit here two days after an embarrassing blowout at home after a season of embarrassing losses and tough games against lesser teams.

    The Glazers have done it before. Bowles should not be refinancing his mortgage.

    Shaq gone. Dean or SMB or Edwards 1 or 2 gone. Julio Jones or Gage, 1 is gone. Fournette, gone.

    Brady will not come back unless they promise a better OL. The D will suck if they do not improve the pass rush. Can’t have Vea leading the team in sacks. Hicks was sometimes very good but MIA much of year.

    It all starts and ends with Bowles. If the Saints want the Bucs 1st round pick, grab him. He could take Brady, Evans and Godwin and Rookie White to a new place that even Arians did not reach and he will bring defensive coaches and special teams coaches who can coach.

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Another thought that has crossed my mind…Since Leftwich hasn’t officially been fired yet, are the Bucs thinking of firing Bowles, too? The way the defense played so poorly vs. the Cowboys, it wouldn’t shock me.

  8. Joe in Michigan Says:

    ModHairKen: This would be like the Red Sox and Yankees making a deal in baseball, it happens once in a great while, but these teams and organizations don’t like each other.

  9. Goatfarmer Says:

    Todd Blowes. It’s the beginning of a new lost decade and Leftardwich is still employed.

    As long as the Toadster is head coich this team will scrape the bottom and set new lows.

  10. SB~LV Says:

    Need for a new coaching staff and a new GM for a fresh start!
    There is nothing wrong with admitting you are rebuilding, NOTHING
    Don’t pizz on my leg and tell me it’s raining

  11. darengibo Says:

    I went back and looked at the players we passed on for JTS in the draft, and I didn’t see many other options in the position. IF there are edge rushers available in this years draft, either draft them OR make some moves for experienced (but not too experienced i.e. old) in FA and/or trade….

    I still have a hunch IF Brady wants to play again, it will be with the familiarity of Tampa. If he is gone, then let’s build it back up!

  12. dmatt Says:

    I agree with u. JTS fails to set an edge, he runs around like a chicken with its head cut off and when he does get to the QB he pulls up. He lacks both fundamentals and a killer instinct. After watching joe burrows toss a soft underhand pass to him that was a potential int n td n he batted it down, I was done with expecting anything outta this guy. That was one of the most bonehead plays I’ve ever seen. Bowles seep that under the rug. He’s not nfl material. I have watched multiple games where JTS rush the qb n when a low pass is thrown towards him he only extend his arm in the air n doesn’t get his feet off the ground as in jump up in the air when he has the height to jump up to bat the ball or int. I then watched Micah parson in multiple games on similar plays n he literally jump up in the air (feet leave the ground n arms extended in the air for batted balls or ints. He’s 6’3 245 n JTS is 6’5 259. Two things concern me with JTS, poor coaching and a lazy player. JTS is timid n gets out maneuvered by bigger linemen. He plays like a lost big kid. We need a strong aggressive de.

  13. ClwJB Says:

    No pass rush at all Monday night, Hicks played hard for about 2 drives then disappeared – no push inside, Vea a non factor all night

    With no push the edge rushers just run by the QB and lose contain, every single time

    The league has passed Bowles by – Kellen Moore throttled him

    PJ Waker and Kenny Picket whooped him, as did many other far less talented teams – like losing 14-12 to the crap butt Packers?

    Lovie Smith has some advice for him, save your money and go back to college

    Todd Bowles is a complete bust as a HC and our team will suffer until
    He is GONE!

  14. BucU Says:

    I couldn’t care less what this organization does at this point. We are back to being the laughingstock of the league. Nothing they do is going to change that so keep Bowles. Fire Bowles. Honestly who really gives a sh!t?

  15. SB~LV Says:

    It’s time for new ownership too

  16. Hodad Says:

    So out of the three things a team needs, QB, LT, and pass rusher we have none. Brady gone, D. Smith garbage, pass rusher no there either. We’re doomed. Licht should be on the hot seat too. Isn’t it his job to find players?

  17. Cchead Says:

    JTS is NFG. When your nose tackle leads the team with 6.5 sacks. There is a problem.

  18. Robert Says:

    How many veteran pass rushers did we pass on this offseason? Glaring hole that Jason Licht left open for a reason I still do no understand. We prioritized bringing in Julio Jones and Logan Ryan over the top 3-4 vets who all signed for reasonable contracts with contenders. So then we’re resigned to bring back Carl Nassib, who may be fine as a 4th or 5th option in the rotation, but not to play a key role.

  19. adam from ny Says:

    there def needs to be some re-stacking on the DL…

    if hicks isn’t resigned, vea has to be paired with another behemoth to man the middle…

    we might need at least 2 big time edge guys…even 3…and resign nelson…

    can’t bank on shaq (achilles) or lavonte (unsigned and aging)…

    oh man the more i type the more i think rebuild…yikes!

    and we’re gonna lose at least 2 of the younger guys on the back end…and who knows about ryan and neal…

    wow, a lot to figure out

  20. HC Grover Says:

    Plan 9 is not a pass rusher. Maybe they could try him at a different position.

  21. SB~LV Says:

    New owners!
    Cash out and move along Glazer’s

  22. James Patrick Reilly Says:

    I would go further. You can have a middle of the pack quarterback and offensive line and win. You need elite defensive line to win the super bowl. Right now we only have vea. We need two more elite players on the line. Ithink if Tommy stays we need at least an average offensive coaching staff and need much better defensive line.

  23. Manny Says:

    Never mind new pass rushers. WE NEED A NEW HEAD COACH AND OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR. What does skin color matter??? Now h cant fire a coach for giving brady hus worst season cuz hes black?!!!!! Wtf!!????? Dude just hire payton or hatbaugh or obtirien, bienemy. Literally anyone besides bowles

  24. Red86 Says:

    I would draft a middle linebacker. Then, I would move D. White to outside linebacker assuming we stay in a 34 defense. Rushing the passer and shooting the gap for the run is his strength. Covering tight ends and deep coverage are iffy.

    JTS is developing well. He just got to stay in his gap, keep his edge, and wise up on fakes his way.

  25. mark2001 Says:

    Agree we need a pass rusher. But since Shaq, when have we acquired one? When have we developed on… in the last four years, even though we have used high draft picks on them. Why should I believe we will be able to develop one or find one miraculously next year, with our salary cap issues? Rebuild.

  26. mark2001 Says:

    JTS can play. But a dominate pass rusher? He has had two full seasons. And he hopefully will continue to develop. But he is no JPP three years ago. And hasn’t shown himself capable of double digit sacks. And Shaq may never be the same again. Hall? Who knows. So far very little.

  27. Thomas Edrington Says:

    Joe Tryon isn’t good enough to have three names…!!

  28. ElioT Says:

    They’re screwed.

    They’re in cap hell and need quality starter help at nearly every position.


  29. Arn platz Says:

    Completely agree. I thank Shaq for all his contributions but coming back from that injury on the other side of 30, OUCH. So many needs in the draft, please address the trenches

  30. Craig Says:

    This upcoming draft will be all about the defense for the Bucs. I am not sure Bowles cleaner can tell what college guys are going to transition to the NFL.

    He has already drafted what he thought would work, and they might, in a year or two.

    I do hope he remembers the need for an )-lineman or two, also,

  31. Dooley Says:

    Get me one of these guys out of the draft to add to the rotation:
    -Will McDonald
    -Keion White
    -Yaya Diaby
    -Isiah Land

    Moving Devin White to OLB in our 3-4 alignment makes 0 sense, if you’ve watched Devin White against OLmen in space, what makes you think he’d have success snap to snap giving up a few inches in length AND about 100lbs to tackles on either side

  32. beano Says:

    “Joe Tryon-Shoyinka? Joe will just be polite and say the jury is still out on JTS.”

    That’s rich. JTS was the Bucs’ first round pick in 2021 and has had two full seasons to prove himself. He hasn’t. And yet the “jury is still out” on him.

    Taken in the same draft in 2021 in the second round was Kyle Trask, who has not taken a single snap with the Bucs’ first team. Magically, Joe has rendered a verdict on him. Interesting that, just yesterday, Kurt Warner tweeted that he did not start an NFL game until he was 28 years old. Hmm.

  33. Goatfarmer Says:

    I can’t stand to look at that d-bag, proven to be one of the worst head coaches of all time. Failed with one of the best rosters in the NFL. If Arians didn’t hang it up the Bucs would have been 11-7 at least and likely preparing for San Francisco right now.

  34. Bucamania Says:

    Bad drafts the part two years and terrible coaching is to blame. Picking JTS over Ojulari was just dumb.

  35. sasquatch Says:

    Not that he’s the answer, but Cam Gill will be back from IR next year. He was developing nicely and is potentially another guy who can contribute in certain situations. But they do need to find some guys who can come in and dominate. And we have no money to sign guys, so we’ll have to find a guy in the draft.

  36. Dooley Says:

    Tyree Wilson outta Texas Tech as well, because he’s gigantic and plays pretty violently

  37. unbelievable Says:

    JTS gets pushed around far too easily still. Should have never been gifted a starting job (DaQuan Bowers 2.0?)

    Shaq is great… at times… but he disappears way too much. Especially when there is no pass rush threat on the other side of him (*cough* JPP *cough*).

    Nelson and Nassib are both good role players, but neither is a bonafide starter. OCs around the league are not being kept up at night game planning for Nassib or Nelson. I will say Nelson seems like a guy who just works his arse off day in and out (similar to Will Gholston).

  38. Bucamania Says:

    The Eagles have 4 guys with 10+ sacks this year. Four! The Bucs didn’t have one even close. Joe Tryon had 4 in a full time role.

  39. Tony Says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing them take somebody like Robert Beal from Georgia. Dude seems like he’s got the talent to be pretty good.

  40. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Can’t believe fans are calling for our GMs head. Y’all have no clue. He built a super bowl roster and 3 years in a row making the playoffs. He’s not perfect but dude knows what he’s doing.