Pass Rush May Be Worse Than You Think

April 11th, 2023

Leader despite being hurt.

Holy smokes, Joe knew the Bucs’ pass rush was subpar in the wake of Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett getting hurt last year. Joe didn’t realize it was this bad.

Sadly, Barrett blew out his Achilles in the late-October loss to Baltimore. The regular season seemed to have imploded from there, as the Bucs back-doored their way into the playoffs only to get run on national television in prime time.

Joe is beyond skittish banking on a 30-year-old bouncing back from a serious injury like an Achilles. Dismiss Shaq’s injury all you want, but history is not kind to veterans who suffer it.

If Shaq is on the turf of The Licht House on Sundays to open the season, that’s a tremendous recovery. Will he be the same player he was before? Big question.

Noted handicapper turned stathead Warren Sharp researched the Bucs’ pass rush and it is almost starting to sound like The Lost Decade, where the Bucs couldn’t breathe on an opposing QB.

Would you believe despite missing about half the season, Shaq was fourth on the Bucs in quarterback hits?

For the record, Shaq was tied for fourth with Anthony Nelson, Carl Nassib, Logan Hall and Antoine Winfield, Jr.

But this is just incredible and shameful all rolled into one. And the sad thing is, without a veteran upgrade at edge rusher (how can the Bucs afford one?) a rookie is unlikely to come close to replacing Shaq this fall.

Add to that this year’s crop of pass rushers is watered down. So unless Tyree Wilson or Tuli Tuipulotu fall to the Bucs, drafting an edge rusher at No. 19 is a reach.

Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, it is time.

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29 Responses to “Pass Rush May Be Worse Than You Think”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Will McDonald, Nolan Smith, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, BJ Ojulari, and Byron Young are pass rushing prospects, a few that might be there in the 2nd Round.

  2. Hail2dabucs Says:

    If we are banking on JTS To be the guy we are in serious trouble…let’s say JTS stands for just there sorta….I do not like our chances of getting to the QB at all this year which means we will see a lot of opposing QB’S sit back and eat a sandwich and pick us apart ! The bucs better invest in defense and offense lines , build the trenches & run the sh** outta the ball and play keep away or we are f’d!

  3. Fansince76 Says:

    They need to trade back a few picks and then draft FOSKEY.
    Smith has no production as a pass rusher but could eventually be used to replace David maybe.

  4. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    Shaq Barrett imo should have been cut…

    It’s a what have you done for me lately kind of league and the Bucs haven’t gotten much of an ROI from Shaq since the playoff/Superbowl run in 2020. We could have saved a ton of money by cutting him…If he’s ineffective again this year we need to let him walk Imho…

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Perhaps it’s not as bleak as some maintain. As a TEAM, the Bucs had 45 sacks and 104 QB Hits last season, with Shaq only getting 3 sacks & 6 QB Hits in 8 games.

    As a TEAM, the Bucs had 47 sacks and 127 QB Hits in 2021, with Shaq getting 10 sacks & 22 QB Hits in 15 games.

    As a TEAM, the Bucs had 48 sacks and 116 QB Hits in 2020, with Shaq getting 8 sacks & 16 QB Hits in 15 games.

    Over that 3 year period, there’s a certain consistency in the number of sacks (45-48), despite the fact that different players had to step up to the plate to accomplish that. Our QB Hits were down in 2022, but it looks like 2 factors account for most of that: (1) Shaq only getting half a season; (2) the interior DLine didn’t get as many QB Hits in 2022 (33) as they did in 2021 (42) or 2020 (42). The interior DLine probably didn’t create as much pressure either, allowing our outside guys to capitalize.

    However, it still looks like Todd Bowles found ways to create some pressure last season with less than ideal talent, but the fact remains that guys have to make the plays, but in too many cases they didn’t. We desperately need for JTS & Hall to both step up as most seem to say. But we also need better talent in the trenches. We need at least 1 more quality DT (preferably 2) to work a rotation with Vea & Gaines. We also need a quality DE/OLB to rotate in with Shaq, and most likely take his place next year.

  6. Duane Says:

    DR – correct. One can use statistics to propagandize a narrative of anything they want, as JBF did in this post. But the bottom line is still the bottom line – the Bucs D was a little better than average last season, ranking # 13 in the league in points allowed … a drop off from the two prior seasons where our D ranked #5 and #8, but yet it still didn’t fall off a cliff either.

    No doubt the offense’s poor performance in scoring points also put a lot more pressure on our defense to produce. Own team offenses affect defenses, and vice versa. The best teams, like our Super Bowl winning team in 2020-2021, are top five, or at least top ten, in both offense and defense. That’s where a team needs to be to win a ring.

  7. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Licht should get an F on drafting pass rushers. Trading for JPP was good and Shaq was ok, but if you throw out his 19.5 sack season he is just above average surely not worth 17 mil. If he loses a step because of the acl he will fit right in with the rest.

  8. Beej Says:

    Can’t cut Shaq, owing to cap repercussions. Read a thing yesterday about that. I expect he’ll come back on October, underwhelm, get cut after next season. I’m glad he and his family got a payday though

  9. Bobby M. Says:

    It’s easy to be great when you’ve got JPP, Suh and Vea causing havoc….take those away and defenses can neutralize Shaq pretty effectively. That SB defense was very similar to the offense, we just had so much talent it was impossible to stop everyone. Last yr with no JPP, no Suh….the defense gets exposed, teams ran right at us, we had no ability to pressure the opposing QB….I don’t anticipate that changing.

  10. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’m pretty confident that JTS will improve greatly this year. Hall … I don’t know.

  11. Marine Buc Says:

    Here is a little more bad news regarding Shaq Barrett – according to a study done a few years ago 28% of players with a torn Achilles don’t return to play again.

    The ones who did return took an average of 330 days to fully recover – so Shaq probably won’t even be ready to play until mid-season.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucs select an Edge Rusher in the 1st round.

    OT and Edge Rusher are probably our two biggest needs…

  12. Goatfarmer Says:

    Don’t fret. The defensive masturmind head coich will make everything ok.


    Canales will have to score 30 a game just to win 7.

  13. Brandon Says:

    It’s easier to rush the passer when you’re playing with a lead and know the other team is throwing. We played with far less leads last season than in seasons past.

  14. catcard202 Says:

    Brandon might be on to something….

  15. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    As a team, the stats look great for hitting and pressuring the QB. But you know what the stats don’t show? Big completions because we sent everyone to rush the passer.

    We must have an EDGE rusher in this draft in the 1st round. Draft OT in 2nd, or better, cut a deal with durable Donnie to come back for one year. The bonus of resigning Donnie is 2 fold: 1) we can use that 2nd round pick on a needed DB, and 2) that will give Doosh material for crazy posts on JBF

  16. 97 bucBaby Says:

    Shouldn’t have payed Shaq what we paid him and I’m sticking to it if he couldn’t replicate the 19 sack season which he didn’t u do not pay him

  17. bucsfaninOregon Says:

    I’m in the camp that says JTS is a bust.

  18. HC Grover Says:

    Plan 9=weak link.

  19. Jeff Says:

    Bucs must address edge rusher in the draft. Multiple picks.

  20. SlyPirate Says:


    It’s unlikely the Bucs fill all their holes in this draft. It’s going to take 2-3 years to return to relevance … so think long-term

    The #1 priority this year is to repair the OL. #2 is depth. The Bucs are thin everywhere. Next year the Bucs need to find their QB. After that, it’s about game changers. I really see the next two years as critical developmental years for JTS and Hall. It’s okay for the Bucs to pick up a project DL. They can all grow together.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    BucsfaninOregon … ‘I’m in the camp that says JTS is a bust.’

    JTS had 3 things going against him IMO in his rookie year:

    1 – Too young & inexperienced (only 2 years of college ball)
    2 – Skipped the COVID year, so he hadn’t played ball for quite awhile when we drafted him
    3 – Like most rookie DLinemen, he lacked strength.

    His stats improved a little last year, but not nearly as much as what any of us were hoping. Got the same 4 sacks in both 2021 & 2022, but QB Hits increase to 14 (from 10 in 2021), and his TFLs increased a tad to 6 (from 5 in 2021). Not very dramatic, but at least he didn’t regress.

    Hopefully those 2 years of experience will pay off in 2023. Having George Edwards training him should help a bunch.

  22. Go Bucs Says:

    The truly sad thing was that Shaq wasn’t himself all season untill the Baltimore game, he was pooping off and then his Achilles decided to pop off

  23. Jerseybuc Says:

    Brandon Graham just did it with the eagles. He was coming off an Achilles also produced 11 sacks he’s older than shaq to I believe. So hopefully shaq can do the same. I still look for a pass rusher rather high still

  24. fred Says:

    We need to trade up to pick 3 and take Will Anderson

  25. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Goatfarmer Says:
    April 11th, 2023 at 9:38 am
    Don’t fret. The defensive masturmind head coich will make everything ok.


    Canales will have to score 30 a game just to win 7.
    Do you think you could’ve coached more than 45 sacks last year from the Bucs defense?

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Just think how much worse it’s about to get without Devin White blitzing.

  27. Mike Johnson Says:

    Barrett will not come back as his old self. I suspect he will be a tad slower. We had better get an energetic pass rusher in this draft. If the Bucs cannot get off the field, its gonna be a real long season spiraling downward.

  28. Mike S Says:

    You think JTS is going to do something this year? Ho ho ho

  29. Mike S Says:

    Lukas Van Ness is too much of a project huh? The guy with JJ Watt measurables?