Breaking Down Bucs Pass Rushers

November 23rd, 2023

Bucs’ best pass rusher (who plays).

Joe is still moderately triggered that Bucs coach Todd Bowles did not put YaYa Diaby on the field to slow Brock Purdy on Sunday. Purdy was shredding the Bucs defense.

Purdy had the best day for any 49ers quarterback since 1989, when the legend Joe Montana wore the cherry red and gold.

Diaby has performed well lately, three sacks in his last two games. On the other hand, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has only three sacks all season (10 games) and no sacks at all in his last five games.

Brandon Thorn is known for analyzing offensive line play and is one of the rare fellows who does deep offensive line breakdowns (don’t get Joe started about the PFF tribe on this fine day).

You can read Thorn’s work on his SubStack site, “Trench Warfare.”

Recently, Thorn has branched out to breaking down pass rushing. Using TruMedia stats, All-22 breakdowns, and consulting with his sources in and out of the NFL, Thorn decided to break down pass rushing after Week 11 games of the 2023 season.

In Thorn’s rankings of the top-27 interior pass rushers, Vita Vea is ranked fourth behind only Justin Madubuike, Aaron Donald, and Chris Jones. No other Bucs player is mentioned in this list.

In Thorn’s top-32 edge rushers, no Bucs player is listed.

However, Thorn did not ignore Bucs’ edge rushers entirely.

Thorn detailed how he came up with his lists, awarding points for the following: 1.25 points: Rare High Quality (RHQ) Sack; 1.0 point: High Quality (HQ); .5 points: Low Quality (LQ); .5 points: Coverage/Cleanup Sack.

Thorn embedded video examples of what sacks in each category look like. On the lowest-rung category, Coverage/Cleanup Sack, Thorn embedded a video of JTS sacking Justin Fields of the Bears earlier this season.

As Joe wrote earlier this week, if Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew torches the Tampa Bay pass defense to drop the Bucs to 4-7 and Joe sees that JTS once again got more snaps than Diaby, you’ll likely find Joe at Kilroy’s doing shots.

21 Responses to “Breaking Down Bucs Pass Rushers”

  1. Beeej Says:

    So WHAT….a sack chasing dude out of bounds is MEANINGless?

  2. David Says:

    Absolutely correct. This was JTS last year to prove himself and he is what he is. Diaby has easily shown the potential to be 10+ sacks a year .

  3. ModHairKen Says:

    Good coaching to continue to play an unproductive guy like Tryon while the opposing QB is having a perfect day.

    All these people saying Bowles is a defensive genius know nothing. He’s just bad. How did he get here???

  4. Winny Testaverde Says:


    Obviously a rhetorical question but it’s one of the few things Bruce Arians did “wrong” as The Bucs head coach/advisor. He saddled the team with Bowles at the 11th hour…for a minimum of two seasons. It’s been painful to watch.

  5. Buc4evr Says:

    Well at least the stat experts and fans agree that JTS is a total waste. Too bad Bowles is too stupid or stubborn to admit it. White and Barrett don’t help much either . Sad situation on the D line, kind of like when McCoy was the only rusher on the Dline – Vea is now in the same situation.

  6. Crunchbuc76 Says:

    I believe what is happening, Joe, is the Toad Bowels is not in control his own roster. He is being controlled by Jason Licht’s ego. Licht doesn’t want to own up to the fact that his last two first round picks (I know Hall is 2nd) are complete and total busts. Because of this more high value picks had to be used to overcome these mistakes. But if Hall and JTS sit the ego takes a hit. That is why YaYa isn’t starting. Wins and sacks be damned. The ego must be soothed.

  7. Leighroy Says:

    Forget the shots at a bar, we need you taking shots with your questions at Todd’s presser if that ends up being the case.

  8. Craig Says:

    It looked like it was already broken down when the game started. It just got more broken as the day went on.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Why do I suspect Joe will be at Kirby’s doing shots no matter how the game goes.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs are middle-of-the-pack with 29 sacks in 10 games right now (tied for #13). That puts us on-track for getting 49-50 sacks this season, most we’ve had since our 2000 team that had 55 sacks.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    But that team also had a pretty good Secondary to go with their DLine; we apparently don’t. We’re just not a complete defense at this point.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    That 2000 team BTW got trounced by the Eagles 21-3 in the 1st Rnd of the playoffs. Their 55 sacks didn’t guarantee anything because like us, they weren’t a complete TEAM either.

    This is more of an ‘evaluation year’ than anything else IMO. Let’s see what we’ve got, keep what’s good, replace what’s not over the next year or two. Work in progress.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Buc4ever … ‘Well at least the stat experts and fans agree that JTS is a total waste.’

    He’s certainly not meeting expectations of a 1st-Rnd pick, but I wouldn’t call him a ‘total waste’ (not yet at least). JTS wasn’t a 1st Rnd talent & most everyone knew that. That was JL looking for another diamond-in-the-rough.

    JTS isn’t starter-material IMO, but could make a decent rotational DE/OLB (which is about what Nelson is). Diaby appears to have more upside at this point. Time for a reversal of def snaps.

  14. Bobby M. Says:

    If we get diced up by the Colts, Bowles may join you for shots.

  15. Jeff Says:

    JBF – that’s Old Clueless Todd doing his thing! Dungy Stubborn, Lovie Stupid!

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    So some are faulting the coach for not being to coach up bad draft picks?
    Let’s then call out the vandy coach for losing to bama ?

  17. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Offenses have figured out the Todd Bowles defense right after Cooper Kupp caught that long pass at RayJay during the playoffs. Brock Purdy broke records against us, shocker! Like I said before the Titans game, this is our season, this Sunday against the Colts. If we go to Indianapolis and lay an egg, give up on the season. This team, that I started to follow back in 1980, has no pizzazz, no lighting bolt resurrection. It is sad that we have so many faithful fans that manage to get disappointed year after year.

  18. Ed Says:

    Diaby has what JTS and Barrett (present version) do not have.

    Strength- JTS is a weakling for an NFL starting edge rusher

    Speed- Barrett has lost his, not his fault, but his injury last season has turned him into a pedestrian pass rusher

    A coach like Bowles is a loser because he has stuck with players that time in and time out either don’t make plays or are a liability in a 60 minute game

    Why he doesn’t adapt to the flow of a game is indicative he isn’t engaged in the moments of the game. A head coach does need to show some level of attention to what is going on the field in the real time of a game.

    If Bowles had any interest, he wouldn’t keep those timeouts in his pocket at the end of a half when any smart coach would use time outs to force punts and get the ball back to the offense with 40-60 seconds left in the half. He always will let the other team hold on to the ball and run the clock out into halftime.

    All of the winning coaches in the NFL always try and stop the clock when there is a chance to force a punt and get the ball back. But not Bowles, he is totally unaware of that time is running against a team trailing at halftime like the Bucs typically do every game.

  19. Jack Clark Says:

    JTS looks like a girl and plays like a girl, put his sorry weak as on the bench!

  20. FlBoy84 Says:

    Have to love seeing Bowles become a bit defensive when his thought process is questioned re: this lol.

  21. Sly Pirate Says:

    What Happened, Joe? Great headline. Didn’t deliver. Let me show you what your article should have been. Feel free to write a redo.

    The Bucs have the following pass rushers ….
    Primary: Vea, Gaines, Hall, Gholston, Kancey, JTS, Yaya, Watts, Shaq, Nelson
    Secondary: Winfield, LVD, White

    Ranking Considerations:
    Expectation – Is sacking/hitting the QB your role?
    History – How have your performed in the past?
    Contract – How much have the Bucs committed or likely might commit?

    Great: Vea, Winfield
    Vea being the sack leader for 2x seasons is crazy. He’s almost eclipsed last year’s production and on this way to a 10 sack season! Winfield gets to the QB when they rush him. Want more sacks, rush Win more.

    Good: Yaya, Nelson, Gholston, LVD
    Yaya looks like a beast that will be terrorizing DL and QBs for 10 years. Nelson always delivers off the bench. Gholston is Mr. Reliable. LVD has been shockingly good as a rusher lately. Makes me wonder what his career numbers could have been.

    Bad: JTS, Shaq, White, Hall, Gaines
    This whole crew can pack it up. Shaq is done. JTS just never turned the lights on. White’s career is going the wrong direction fast. Pass rush could have been his saving grace and pathway to a contract. He just hasn’t delivered. Hall isn’t evolving at all. He’s in rookie year 2. Gaines is a journeyman.

    Unknown: Watts, Kancey
    Both have shown sparks of talent but not a lot of play. Kancey’s early injury is definitely slowing his start.