A Different Big Win In Week 1

September 13th, 2023

BILL CURRIE FORD IS OPEN DAILY! Shop now online and don’t forget to request the Ira Kaufman Discount. Nationwide lifetime warranty on new vehicles.


It’s easy to take greatness for granted.

We’re so focused on the new guys that often we fail to appreciate a young veteran who just keeps getting the job done in spectacular fashion.

Heading into the season opener, all eyes were on Baker Mayfield in his Tampa Bay debut. Buc fans also wanted to assess Dave Canales as a play caller and see how Calijah Kancey looked in his first NFL game.

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Meanwhile, over in the corner of your TV screen, a 24-year-old superstar was doing his thing — swallowing up anyone with the audacity to line up in his path. In his first pro game at left tackle, Tristan Wirfs was fantastic.

Should we be surprised? Of course not.

When the Bucs said farewell to Donovan Smith and indicated Wirfs would move over from right tackle to the blind side, there was a decent argument to be made that you don’t mess with a sure thing. Wirfs was so dominant and so comfortable with his technique at right tackle, there was a chance his play would suffer if he switched positions.

Those concerns were answered Sunday when he made his opponents disappear.

Minnesota’s only sack came when elite pass rusher Danielle Hunter came off the left edge against Luke Goedeke, who played a solid overall game. The Vikings registered all of two hits against Mayfield while Tampa Bay hit Kirk Cousins nine times.

In the no-brainer of the offseason, the Bucs picked up the fifth-year option on Wirfs in April, knowing he’s in for a major payday very soon. They will be very happy to show him the money because he has emerged as an unquestioned team leader. He is placed at the podium as often as possible because Wirfs is a terrific representative, one of the faces of the franchise.

A supreme grade for Tristan Wirfs in his left tackle debut.

That face needed a little touchup this spring.

Wirfs admitted he saw a sports psychologist to allay his anxiety about changing positions. Whatever transpired in those conversations worked wonders because it looked like the same old Wirfs at Minneapolis.

While his run blocking can improve, Wirfs remains one of the game’s elite pass protectors.

On the rare snap Wirfs is beaten for a sack, your first thought is to blame the protection scheme … or the quarterback for taking too much time. In 47 regular-season games, Wirfs has been whistled for only 10 penalties — four holding calls, five false starts and one flag for an ineligible man downfield.

Smith was flagged seven times for holding last year alone. Last week, with the Chiefs trailing by one point late in the game, Smith was beaten inside and committed an obvious holding penalty that wiped out a potential first-down catch as the Lions prevailed 21-20.

For a player of his size, Wirfs rarely looks off balance. And once he gets his arms into you, it’s all over.

When the Bears roll into Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, former FSU standout DeMarcus Walker will find himself across from big No. 78. Walker posted seven sacks and 16 QB hits last year for Tennessee before leaving as a free agent.

Here’s one thing you can be assured of as the Bears look to rebound from a Week 1 drubbing: Mr. Walker will not be taking Mr. Wirfs for granted.

Nor should we.

12 Responses to “A Different Big Win In Week 1”

  1. Crickett Baker Says:

    I am glad to see you wrote about Wirfs. I, also, was a bit miffed to not hear much about his good play. So many were worried. NO MORE! 🙂

  2. BucU Says:

    Love Tristan! We’re lucky to have him.

  3. NJbucs23 Says:

    Best athlete on the team !

  4. unbelievable Says:

    Kid is a stud.

    He’ll get a decent test against Chicago this week, but the real tests will be the following 2 games against Philly and New Orleans.

  5. Darin Says:

    Not sure anyone was worried about wirfs not being wirfs this season. History will usually predict future. So don’t crown Bowles quite yet

  6. stpetebucfan Says:

    Agree totally IRA although in honesty as I first started reading about future GREATNESS I thought you might be headed to Antoine Winfield.

  7. Fansince76 Says:

    Wirfs is simply freakin awesome!

  8. Mike C Says:

    Trade Trask for a 4th round pick, Ira…. you should have undressed that Joe. Ridiculous BSPN like take, you have to have a capable back up on your team.

  9. Voice of Truth Says:

    I loved watching DSmith get beat while wearing a different jersey – so glad he is gone – his lazy play demeanor doesn’t exist on our team anymore- maybe he was one of Todd’s targets to remove and “change the culture”

    Truly believe Tristan will be wearing a Gold jacket one day – he is a 10-15 year all pro

    The major difference in Sundays team from last year to me was a noticeable sense of urgency in all 3 phases

  10. adam from ny Says:

    he’s not even built like other linemen…

    he always looks like he could add another 20-30 pounds…

    his body fat % is probably one of the lowest in the league for linemen…

    he’s like a clydesdale or something…

    and he’s a buc…….hopefully a buccaneer for life

  11. Esteban85 Says:

    He’s the best player on the team by far, and at the second most important position. Lucky are we that he should be a Buc for life.
    He will be a hall of famer some day.

  12. Ed Says:

    Could you imagine the potential of Vita Vea if he worked out and trained as hard as Tristan Wirfs?