Invasion Of The Rookie Defenders

December 31st, 2023


Look, Joe is absolutely stoked with how outside linebacker YaYa Diaby has progressed. And Joe is darn pleased with how defensive tackle Calijah Kancey has developed after injuring his calf in training camp.

Kancey leads NFL rookies in tackles for loss (10). Diaby ranks second (nine). But the Bucs also have another rookie in the top-10.

That third man is slot corner Christian Izien. He is eighth with three tackles for loss. No, that’s not a whole lot, but for a cornerback who is not yet full-time to show he belongs, a guy who wasn’t drafted, that’s pretty damn good.

Joe spoke with Izien last week about this — and it was news to him.

Izien told Joe that he credits good ol’ fashioned homework for his play.

“I give it to my preparation throughout the week,” Izien said. “Communication — with the corners and safeties by me, I know what to expect and [as a result] I play fast.”

So what is it with the tackles for loss? Izien says he really has a simple strategy.

“My goal is to turn the ball back to the defense,” Izien said.

It helps to be surrounded by veteran defensive backs, Izien told Joe. Antoine Winfield, Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, they’ve about seen it all and their shared wisdom has helped him develop.

“They help me play faster and give me an opportunity to make plays,” Izien said.

So far, it’s hard to quibble with the rookie class the Bucs drafted and signed.

9 Responses to “Invasion Of The Rookie Defenders”

  1. SlyPirate Says:

    Don’t forget our Super Sophomores …

    Round 2 (57) – G Luke Goedeke
    Round 3 (91) – RB Rachaad White
    Round 4 (106) – TE Cade Otton
    Round 4 (133) – P Jake Camarda
    Round 5 (157) – CB Zyon McCollum

    5 starters! I see 3 future Pro Bowlers.

  2. Proudbucsfan Says:

    I’m impressed with Izien, he is a Bowles choice, Jason lights office didn’t find him. I think he’s playing good but in my opinion he will be better at safety. Watch for the switch next season Ryan Neal sucks

  3. garro Says:

    We have a young core of guys who can play. Some are already worthy of All Pro Votes. Camarda definately is. Ten rookie or second year guys starting is amazing 5 of those 2nd year guys were starters last year. That is counting Camarda, who is a weapon.

    How many guys can nail the coffin corner from 65?

    Go Bucs

  4. Leighroy Says:

    With Izien’s penchant for TFLs, desire to turn the ball back over to the offense and playing slot CB, his offseason study program is obvious; non-stop all-22 video of new HOFer #20.

  5. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    Kancey & Diaby will be huge contributors on the Bucs defense for many years to come while terrorizing QB’s throughout the league. For Kancey to do what he’s doing despite pretty much missing the preseason is impressive. Give the man an off-season to increase his strength and he’ll make a significant jump in year 2.

    Licht and his staff are better now at the draft than they were in his earlier years. He’s learned from the mistakes he’s made. I’ve seen comments in the past couple of weeks from some who want to fire Jason Licht. Those individuals need to be drug tested.

  6. orlbucfan Says:

    Our kicker McLaughlin is a rookie, correct? Whoa, Nellie! Camarda…..he’s stays healthy, he’ll be heading for Canton when he retires.

  7. Weebs10 Says:

    McLaughlin is not a rookie. He has been a great pick up though! Was on the colts last year

  8. Tucker Says:

    Moving on to Mclaughlin was huge as well as moving Wirfs to LT. I can understand Joe’s reluctance but the front office nailed those decisions.

  9. 1#bucsfan Says:

    All credit to Jason and his staff. They have done a great job. Not perfect but no GM is. With the cap jail we’ve bin in from SB the cheap deals like baker and our kicker moving wirfs drafting players who love the game and are willing to put in the work. JL has potentially drafted 3 future HOF. Deff 13 is gunna make it but then 78 he’s was considered the best RT then moves to LT and does just as good. He keeps this up he’s a shoe in and then there is the great Antwon Windfield Jr. Again if he keeps up how he is playing he’s deff making it. I know it’s really early in 78 and 31 careers but they are already considered the best and they’re super young 25 and under.