Calijah Kancey Better Than Advertised?

October 17th, 2023

Major splash in home debut.

Bucs first-round pick defensive tackle Calijah Kancey suffered a calf injury before the pads came on in training camp. The first time Joe saw the rookie wear shoulder pads was in the season opener in Minnesota. For a grand total of 11 plays before he reinjured his calf.

But in those 11 plays, wow, Kancey opened Joe’s eyes. Whew, he went after Kirk “You Like That?” Cousins. Total blur.

Kancey wouldn’t play again until this past Sunday against Detroit. Joe saw Kancey get good pressures, and also once when Detroit was waiting for him on an inside stunt and they trapped him out of the play.

It seems Kancey was better than advertised. In fact, per NextGen Stats, Kancey had one of the best games for a rookie defensive tackle in years.

Here’s the goods.

Next Gen stat of the game: Buccaneers rookie DT Calijah Kancey generated six pressures on 28 pass rushes in his second career game, tied for the most pressures by a rookie defensive tackle in a game over the past five seasons. Kancey averaged a 2.37-second time to pressure against the Lions.

Now that, friends, is flying.

Kancey finished his home debut with the Bucs with three tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. And six pressures.

As of midnight Monday evening, had not updated its stats on quarterback pressures from the Bucs’ loss to the Lions.

Based on Kancey’s production Sunday alone, that matched the same number of pressures that Vita Vea and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka each produced through the first four games. Only Bucs sackw king Shaq Barrett had more (seven) than Vita and JTS through the first four games.

It seems the Bucs may have stuck gold with this Kancey. Of course, it’s way too early to make any sweeping conclusions.

29 Responses to “Calijah Kancey Better Than Advertised?”

  1. ATLBuc Says:

    It will not matter if we have Vernon Hargreaves Jr. at safety. The defense play great ball on Sunday and lost on two bombs over Ryan Neal.

  2. Hail2dabucs Says:

    Yep atl buc . That sabby Conte Neal guy sure does know how to shat the bed play after play . Joe’s, I don’t think your watching any of the bucs games if in your reads , your trying to defend this guy . Just because you were high on him in the spring coming over from Seattle does not mean you get to tell us to slow down with the bashing of sabby Conte Neal. He is TRASH and the more games he plays this season , the more you will see . Go bucs

  3. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Most compared Kancey to the great Aaron Donald. If he keeps up this pace, then the comparison will stand true.

    If YaYa Diaby turns out to be another gem, then this will be Licht’s best drafts.

  4. Maxxedbuc Says:

    That safety, man that was awful. Bea and Kacey is going to make some noise y’all and why in green earth was those corners so far off the receivers? Dean want the answer and at times Davis looked weak. Let’s go bucs

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Hard to tell just watching the game on TV, but it looked like Kancey (57% of the def snaps) was out there a lot with Vea (who got 63%, while Gaines got 34% of the snaps). Apparently he makes a nice complement to Vea. Also looked to me though like Goff had way too much time to throw on most of his 47 pass attempts.

    We did sack him 3 times, but it looks like we only got 3 QB hits on him. So from a pure ‘eyeball perspective’ we didn’t get all that much pressure on Goff. Of his 44 actual passes, he completed 30 and the Bucs got credit for just 3 PDs (Davis, LVD & JTS). The vast majority of those were short; Goff only threw 1 deep in the 1st half (INC), and was 2-for-4 deep in the 2nd half (with 1 TD deep).

    Even though we essentially shut the Lions’ rushing attack down (24 attempts for 40 yds), the threat was always there because they did a nice job of mixing runs & passes. Goff’s short passes were all over the field, and relatively few looked to be just short ‘dumpoffs’ behind the LOS. They were very intentional it looked like with running us all over the field using those short passes. Still, most of their 3rd down situations were 3rd-and-relatively long. Unfortunately Lions were very good at converting those 3rd-and-longs. On their 3rd down attempts, Lions only ran ONCE and passed 16 times (they made the 1st down on 9 of those & Goff was sacked once on 3rd down … and both TDs came on 3rd down passes).

    Bucs edge rushers did a good job of containing the run, but didn’t put much pressure on Goff it looks like. Our OLBs need to do better; a lot better.

  6. dmatt Says:

    Please let’s not spoil this story by mentioning JTS.Don’t get overexcited n let his one sack fool you. Hes a fluke n has been since drafted. He’s in a “ little” league of his own. Puff be gone!! This story is about rookie Kancey who is hungry,smart and outta the box proving he can roll with the big dogs. I was impressed with him in college, underwear football, 11 play Vikes game, Lions game, and games in the foreseeable future. This guy is going to rock the league. He’s not a slouch, he attacks n is relentless. He’ll only get better as the season moves on. I’d like to see him play a Micah Parson type roll on this defense. His homeboy LDavid put on a show for Kancey. The torch has been passed.

  7. K_bassuka Says:

    No to mention he did it against a really good OL.

  8. BucU Says:

    Kancey = Good.
    Ryan Neal = Awful.

  9. Zoocomics Says:

    Man, tough crowd this morning.

    This fan base can be so bitter, and yet most of us know this team has some growing to do. As far as I can tell, Neal got burned on one bomb play…and was he burned? He was in position, he didn’t get the head around quick enough, did have hand inside at the last minute, the receiver was turned around and made a great catch. The screen to St Brown appeared to burn everyone that was in the play. Bowles didn’t blame Neal for that one.

    This game was close, we just have such a razor thin margin for error. We lost this game on 2 freaking plays everyone… We beat Atlanta this weekend, we’re still winning the games that we’re supposed to win. Phili and Lions are good teams and we’re still ironing out the newness on offense. Keep the faith, go Bucs.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Sort of makes you wish we still had Jordan Whitehead……but…Licht has drafted so well we can’t keep them all.

    Kancey was impressive to say the least…..

  11. ModHairKen Says:

    Sabby Conte Neal. Ouch. But he earned it.

    There are glaring weaknesses on this team. DBs Dean, Davis and Neal. Center. Both Guards. RB. TE. Pass rush that is good but not quite getting enough hits on QBs. Bad scheme with DBs matching up. Bad scheme with futile running plays up the middle. Someone noted not pitch outs all season.

    Mix that with overthrows and drops. QB being continuously forced from pocket. It by design. All of that against a well-coached, aggressive team with a QB that avoids sacks and mistakes.

    That explains this loss.

  12. stpetebucfan Says:


    “Man, tough crowd this morning.”

    Yes the “chicken littles” love to roost here at JBF and ESPECIALLY after a loss.

    Nobody likes a loss, especially in a game the Bucs could have won. I say could have not should have because the Lions are a top 4 team and well coached.

    Ben Johnson had Bowles number on 3rd down always finding a way to have somebody schemed to be wide open. Bowles can fix that it wasn’t a talent, lack of effort, or being gassed.

    Baker did not have a good game. His two worst misses were bombs to Palmer who was open. Baker seems timed up well with CG14 and ME13 but clearly he needs to work more with the rookies.

    The int was a simple football break. They pay the Lions to play as well and the DL just made a good play followed by the LUCK of the tip falling right to the Lion defender. Fast forward to later in the game and the MUCH TALLER Goff also had a pass tipped in pick six territory but it fell harmlessly to the ground. Two breaks that went the Lions way.

    The Bucs continue to show improvement and growth and the addition of Kancey is going to be major. YaYa is playing well and Logan Hall is beginning to live up to his draft status and even JTS seems to at least rise to the level of average.

    The critical game is Sunday against the Falcons. Can’t afford to lose a division game at home. The Bucs appear ready to continue a roll to the playoffs. How well they do will depend on how much they improve.

  13. orlbucfan Says:

    Someone dropped a joe on his head. I’m reading a POSITIVE article. Yes, Mr. Kancey was impressive as was VV, JTS, LVD (!!!), WG and others on both the D and Special Teams. Hey joes, when are you going to do an article on the Special Teams? The Lions did a LOT of holding which wasn’t called, and the D still held them to 17 points. Zoocomics, not all of us are bitter fans. I’m not. A lot of hot air on here are trolls and fakes, and fruitloops like NE fan.

  14. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    23 stinks.

  15. stpetebucfan Says:

    Too early to compare this team to the 2021 SB Champs but not too early to hope.

    That team started off 6-1 with a couple of 2 point squeakers. They went to New Orleans and unlike this year’s Bucs got crushed. They too had a bye week after N.O. to regroup and came back and lost to the stinking Washington Football Team by 10. And then they went on a roll losing only one more..again to the Saints.

    It starts Sunday. The Bucs NEED to beat Atlanta. 2 of the next 4 are against quality teams..Buffalo on the road…and SF on the road. That SHOULD be two losses unless the Bucs pull an upset. Then another game on the road against a rapidly improving Houston team. The Bucs could easily be looking at a 4-5 record.

    But then the Bucs get to the easy part of their schedule and could finish strong with 10-12 wins. It’s 1/3 of the way and the Bucs have a winning record and reason to remain optimistic about the future.

    Donny Deutch likes to do “brand up” and “brand down”. The Bucs are hovering between the two right now but a SOLID win against Atlanta will get the needle pointing up once again.

  16. garro Says:

    Not sure how these stat geeks are defining pressures, but I think it’s within two yards. My Eyeball stats say that we should have one of those almost every pass play, and that those are not even something most QBs are even gonna pay much attention to. Pocket awareness is such that these guys know they have time to get the ball out unless the defender is considerably closer. I dont think we bothered Gofff much with these so called “pressures” How many hurries Joe?

    Go Bucs!

  17. SteveK Says:

    Vita Vea = a pirate ship 🏴‍☠️ 🛳️

    Calijah Kancey = a cannon ball

    This is a match made in heaven.

  18. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    the only thing impressive about JTS is her physique. Zero football instincts and more importantly ZERO DAWG.

  19. garro Says:

    Kancey did look good though and will only make everyone better once he confirms to the league that they need to account for him and Vea both.

    Go Bucs!

  20. Bobby Says:

    Been saying it on this platform since the Bucs drafted Kancey. Kancey is going to be a star in the league. Going to see alot of #94 jerseys in Ray J for years to come.

  21. gotbbucs Says:

    Yep, he’s a stud. Problem is that the back end can’t hold up their end of the bargain.
    Neal is a box safety. Why on earth is he covering the deep muddle of the field? All this talk about Winfield Jr. being this stellar middle fielder this season and moving him away from the line of scrimmage, and here we are losing games because our deep middle is getting beat.

    Defense doesn’t need to be this complicated. Constantly blitzing beside someone like Kancey is negating what he does well, short area quickness. They’re jumbling up space that he can work with to beat guys one on one. When you draft someone like Kancey and put him next to Vea it should allow you to challenge outside recievers and drop the other five into coverage. Quit blitzing constantly, widen your DE’s to a 9-tech, give Kancey and Vea some room to play, and send the heat.

  22. Mike Says:

    It was awesome to see Kancey finally get on the field and fly around a bit. He does flash, there’s no doubt about it! Might as well call him The Flash!

  23. teacherman777 Says:

    Who else wishes we had Jordan Whitehead playing SS instead of Neal?

    Probably every single Bucs fan on here!

    Next year?

    Bring Jordan Whitehead back to Tampa Bay!

  24. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Defense Rules-you are spot on, I always respect your takes and that is the way I saw it also. I think Jared Goff was very good out side of the pocket with his short passes and our edge rushers didn’t do a good enough job of getting pressure on him from the edges to contain. That being said I think as a whole the defense did an ok job on limiting points on a team that averages 30 a game. We only lost because our offense sh-t themselves.

  25. rrsrq Says:

    everyone hating on Neal, give any QB the time Goff had to score because our OLB’s barely got any pressure most safeties would struggle covering that long. But Kancey will wreck some stuff, right CDIII

  26. Buddha Says:

    No we lost because of a 40 yard bomb in which every thing went right for Detroit. The pass was underthrown and the receiver turned into it. A lot of luck on that play.Just not our day. Burn those uniforms.

  27. Duane in Sanford Says:

    94 was getting after it. His stunt moves are gonna be a problem for offenses, and especially when he runs them off of Vea up the middle. Just wait until Bowles sends 45 and 31 through the open areas on the blitz. I just need to see him stop the run and in pursuit against Atlanta on Sunday.

  28. SlyPirate Says:

    The article was on Kancey’s emergence (not our Safety). I, for one, expected this from him.

    Fastest Ever
    CK is the fastest DL in the history of the combine. The former #1 was Aaron Donald. You cannot teach it. You cannot prepare for it.

    What History Tells Us
    Anyone who remembers Sapp should also remember he ALWAYS said speed was his greatest attribute. The 2002 Bucs opponents would talk about the DL speed. They’d say, you cannot simulate that kind of speed in practice.

  29. No Mercy Says:

    It’s ironic the game we are mostly healthy on defensive with Kancey playing great in his first full game is the game our offense decides to come out and lay a big fat turd all over the field