Dropping YaYa Diaby

August 7th, 2023

Rookie OLB YaYa Diaby.

The reason rookie third-round pick YaYa Diaby (no, he didn’t launch YaYa’s Flame Broiled Chicken) is getting a lot of run isn’t too difficult to figure out.

Bucs fans are impatient with edge rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who after two seasons is still looking to reach the Gaines Adams plateau of production.

Diaby comes in fresh-faced with a perpetual smile, and already he is making more splash plays in practice than JTS. Sadly, that’s not saying much.

But Diaby is worried. With the Bucs practicing so much underwear football and not tackling despite wearing pads (in an effort not to hurt offensive players), Diaby actually said Saturday he hopes he can still remember what to do when he meets an opposing quarterback in the first worthless preseason game on Friday night.

“It’s funny, my coach was just talking about it,” Diaby said. “He was like, ‘Don’t get in the game and you haven’t been tackling the quarterbacks in practice and just freeze up.’

“Yeah, I can’t wait, I can’t wait until Friday to be able to actually hit the quarterback. I hope I hit them the right way so I don’t get flagged [laughs]. …

“I ain’t gonna lie, it’s a really hard defense to pick up.”

Diaby is also doing something he didn’t do at Louisville: drop in pass coverage. Thanks in part to his weight loss — 275 to 260 — Diaby believes he’s faster now than when he posted a 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine.

“I feel very quick and just more explosive,” Diaby said.

As for defending a pass, Todd Bowles said he wouldn’t put Diaby in that position if he didn’t think he could handle it.

“He’s comfortable enough,” Bowles said of dropping into pass coverage. “We gauge you by your athleticism. If you’re not a great dropper, you probably won’t be dropping.

“But I think he does a good job at understanding it and knows where everything is. It’s probably a little bit new for him, but for the few times that we ask him to drop, I think he does a good job.”

So far, Diaby has a highlight-reel interception where he hustled his tail off, sold out on a dive and was parallel to the ground when he caught a pick.

Diaby also has a couple of batted-down passes.

“I love this game, I love this game,” Diaby said between smiles that never seem to leave his face. “Every day, I come out here and have a smile on my face and want to get myself – not only myself, but my teammates – better. Whoever I face. It’s a drive for me.

“I just want it. I just want it bad.”

Joe isn’t sure Diaby will unseat JTS. But given how Bowles needs wins, if JTS struggles, Joe could easily see Diaby getting a bunch of snaps early.

And most importantly, putting the quarterback on his ass!

15 Responses to “Dropping YaYa Diaby”

  1. Brandon Says:

    According to official Combine numbers, Diaby weighed 263… so if he’s 260 now, he isn’t much lighter.

  2. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    That big smile of his does exude a confidence that to me says: ‘I got this’!
    Sort of like that prime time smile…. Of yesteryear.
    Wouldn’t that be special…
    Let the games begin already.

  3. Fred McNeil Says:

    I like this kid, but JTS will probably have a more organized plan this year.

  4. Toad Bowels Says:

    Love YaYas enthusiasm and work ethic and looking forward to him joining the rotation and contributing this year.

  5. firethecannons Says:

    I am much more behind YaYa Diaby then JTS, YaYa has huge wingspan and he reminds of JPP

  6. garro Says:

    Nailed it Joe!
    Hope he shines that smile this week after dropping a few QBs.

    Go Bucs!

  7. BillyBucco Says:

    Sad we won’t see Kancey. Get well soon man, this team needs you bad.
    I think if we don’t get interior pressure, it won’t matter much who plays the edge.
    We don’t even know if the starters are playing yet, so Diaby should get lots of reps in a real game settling. Looking forward to it.

  8. Lt. Dan Says:

    “first worthless preseason game on Friday night.” Are you trying to trigger me this morning Joe?

  9. SB~LV Says:

    Hope to see lots of that smile!

  10. Eckwood Says:

    Look for this kid to play , his desire to play and perform appears to be substantially greater than JTS . BTW where is Logan Hall ?

  11. gp Says:

    Many talk about the “IT” factor.
    The “Want It” Factor is the real deal.
    You see it when a player is stonewalled, yet keeps their feet under them and pushes the pile an extra yard or two. Or chases a QB across the field, or any of a number of full effort/never give up type plays.
    Sadly, through the years, we have not had our fair share of that type of attitude here.
    Hopefully, that is changing. The mindset of a team determines win ratios more than skill level or hype.
    It would be damn nice to see his winning “Want It” mindset infect the entire team!

  12. BucU Says:

    2021 The Bucs preseason was worthless. We brought back the entire starters from the SB.
    2023 preseason is anything but worthless this year. It’s going to determine a lot. It’ll answer very pressing questions w this team.

  13. John McKay Says:

    First, the Gaines Adams reference is because both were first round picks at the same position and Adams was an on-field disappointment in his time, like Tryon-Shoyinka has been.
    Second, you’re the one thinking race and injecting race into the next point you mentioned. Not Joe.
    Third, Joe never implied YaYa is lazy. The Bowles playbook has that reputation from everyone who has ever been around it. In fact, YaYa being in play to start speaks to his football IQ. Jason Pierre-Paul, in 2019, needed to learn how to play the position in a 3-4 defense, which was foreign to him. JPP was praised for his dedication to studying the role and adapting as a veteran. A year later, he was a dominant force for the Super Bowl-caliber edge rush.
    Fourth, if you don’t like Jenna Laine, you can write to here on social media.


  14. CTBucs Says:

    Stop ripping on Gaines Adams. Not even a good comparison. Not even the same scheme or position… let’s switch it to Noah Spence, that’s a better comp

  15. Wild Bill Says:

    I say Yaya to Yaya! JTS best option is as a backup, not a starter. Start Yaya right away. His worst day will be no worse than JTS and his best days will come sooner than rather than later. JTS has made no impact for 2 years. A green Yaya could make an immediate impact very quickly.