Strange Happenings On The Defensive Line

December 13th, 2023

Rookie beast Calijah Kancey.

Something very odd happened Sunday in Atlanta. Joe hopes everyone involved is ok.

The Buccaneers had two defensive tackles start the game and combine to play more than 75 percent of the snaps.

Rookie stud Calijah Kancey and veteran Greg Gaines were catalysts in shutting down the Falcons’ beastly running game. Kancey played 57 snaps (79 percent) and Gaines was at 52 snaps, the kind of workload he had when he started alongside Aaron Donald with the Rams.

Todd Bowles was impressed by Gaines filling in for Vita Vea, who sat out with a bad toe.

“I thought Gaines did a great job. He did a great job,” Bowles told the Buccaneers Radio Network. “I thought as a whole those [interior defensive linemen] stepped up as a group and really were hustling to the ball and that kind of helped us out a lot.”

Joe has long agonized about Vea’s limited playing time. He’s so damn good and impactful, but the Bucs seem to believe he doesn’t have the stamina to play more.

Only 11 times in Vea’s six-year career has he played more than 50 snaps in a game. Heck, he’s never played more than 43 snaps in a playoff game and he played less than half the plays against the Rams in the 2021 playoffs thriller.

Joe’s guessing Gaines, who got his first sack of the season, came out of the game fine and will be ready to go Sunday if Vea is not.

On that note, the Bucs need Vea for his playmaking ability in Green Bay. Big games are about big plays 80 percent of the time.

36 Responses to “Strange Happenings On The Defensive Line”

  1. RamblingRhino Says:

    So when a OL-WR-RB-DB-LB get a turf toe injury it takes time, But when a 6’4″ 345 DT does it is a leisurely stroll around One Buc and into and out of the training room and hot and cold tubs. Got it. Thanks for your information or lack there of. Toe injuries on a big DT do take some time. As for being out of shape. Vea looks like he is in the best shape that we have seen him in all his 345 frame.

    Get your body healed up and be ready and able to go full speed ahead Vita Vea. Gaines has done his job we brought him in to do. Fill in when Vea, Hall, or any of our DT/DL need a rest. Great signing by our GM

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    I want IN on these fishing trips Joe. They look like great fun.

  3. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Warren Sapp said that Vita Vea wouldn’t last in Florida. I believe him. He’s too big and now he’s getting nicked up every other game.

  4. All_da_way Says:

    This is why rotation and depth matters. Last December the Bucs defense looked gassed and sleep walking into the playoffs. Bucs slid into a division title on a sour note.

    Lets see if the the younger, faster additions in the off season will help carry the Bucs this December with more energy and play making ability.

  5. SB~LV Says:


  6. orlbucfan Says:

    Both Sir Kancey and Sir Gaines did a great job. Joe, you have to factor in the simple fact that the Falcons were NOT called for holding! That’s one big reason why their receivers were having a field day catching the ball. Plus, Atlanta’s OC called a slightly better game than Canales. Bucs weren’t called for holding either. At least not when I was able to tune in. I so hope Canales calls a perfect game Sunday. The players will be ready. I still can’t get over Miami losing. What’s their problem?

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Vea is probably the #1 most valuable player on our D, in terms of how we look with and without him. Which is crazy knowing he plays limited snaps. The pass rush/ run defense just look so much better with him in the lineup.

  8. Marine Buc Says:

    I like the progress Kancey is making. He got his 4th sack against Atlanta last Sunday.

    However – he is still struggling against the run, getting pushed around a bit and sealed off too easily on the zone run plays…

    I’m sure an NFL off-season will help him to bulk up and add some much needed strength.

    Looking forward to watching his continued progress.

  9. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Very excited about some of the young players on defense. Kancey, Diaby, and McCollum are looking good. Even Britt and Russell are looking ok (or is it just the absense of DWhite?).

  10. Beeej Says:

    After the last couple games, I’m starting to think that DW caused a lot of our defensive failures

  11. godlovesbucs Says:


    I don’t know if we can call last week a defensive success. Ridder had his best game ever as a passer and drake London went for 170. They were 2 yards short of an amazing comeback. They missed 2 field goals. Without a few key brakes our way, we lose. D looked average at best against an inept offense.

  12. VATom Says:

    Joe is worried? Is there something here? Or is the sarcasm lost on me? I truly don’t get the message. Viaxs hurt? Gaines is hurt? Kancey’s hurt?What’s going on?

  13. Beeej Says:


    There’s that, but we were much better stopping the run against a VERY good running team. As far as passing goes, 3-4 times a game our secondary people mess up a zone assignment and a receiver catches a long pass without another Buc anywhere on the TV screen. Apparently Winfield was at fault on at least one of them

  14. Badbuc Says:

    I’ll say it again, play Vita and Gaines at the same time. We have no other major threats on the line, they draw double and triple teams. We need better outside players. When your NT is the leading sack guy you have problems elsewhere! We need more heat off the edge for their O line to account for. As far as snap counts Gaines is capable of playing every snap and he did that in L.A. Usually 90% + per game looking at stats and IIRC one game where he played every single snap.

  15. godlovesbucs Says:


    I think Atlanta stopped their own rushing game, mainly because they were having their way thru the air.

    Their coach is just as bad as Bowles, maybe worse. A rookie 1st round RB considered one of the better prospects in years is averaging 4.7 ypc but only 13 carries a game. Against Tampa him and allgier split carries.

  16. Beeej Says:

    Well, they tried it 26x, 3.7 average (vs 40 pass attempts)

  17. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    Whats with the Bucs secondary? The Atlanta receivers were having a field day.

  18. firethecannons Says:

    Vea needs an anti inflammatory diet, and a toradol injection on gameday, new shoes and a better tape job, go and play 75% of the game–it is not like he has a whole season out in front, it is a toe not a broken neck, deal with it!!!!!!

  19. HC Grover Says:

    This sounds OK to me.

  20. HC Grover Says:

    Sack the Pack!

  21. HC Grover Says:

    Get rid of White and Plan 9 and things will get bettah!

  22. Derek Says:

    Be nice to get a game reaction podcast? Man you guys take awhile..

  23. Beeej Says:

    Do we pull Vita on obvious passing downs as a standard plan?

  24. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Atlanta was pulling people out of the stands to play OL.

    But we kicked a$$. ?

  25. Tony Marks Says:

    godlovesbucs Says:
    December 13th, 2023 at 10:55 am

    I don’t know if we can call last week a defensive success. Ridder had his best game ever as a passer and drake London went for 170


    one thing is for certain. NO matter who the Qb is the defense always makes them march down the field within seconds at the end of games . Prevent isn’t very preventative.

  26. Sam Says:

    Joe? Wasnt Vea coming off a broken leg in that playoff game? I thought it was his first or 2nd game back

  27. Dave Pear Says:

    Anyone notice that when Gholston went out either because he had an injury or because of Todd’s lovely “rotation,” is when Bijon got his big play that set up the Falcons first 2nd half TD?

    Gholston played with Suh and JPP. He knows what he’s doing and makes sure everyone else does too.

    Glad we have Todd’s rotation.

    And why has no one asked Todd about JTS total bust-whiff when he had Ridder dead to rights?


  28. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey ignoramus Dave Pear: JTS backed off Ridder cos he got nailed with a FM (right call) earlier. If he had stopped Ridder, god only knows what the refs would have flagged him with. Plus, dumbo, Atlanta was HOLDING the whole game. How do you think they looked like the greatest O since the start of the league? The actual Dave Pear was a good player. You’re a fake.

  29. Dave Pear Says:

    What? So he gets a face mask penalty and because of that he purposely whiffs on Ridder? LOL!

    Yep, JTS is a Todd kind of guy. Fail on the field and face no consequences for it.

  30. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    JTS had a shot to make a play and didn’t – again. No excuses.

  31. Dave Pear Says:

    74, oralbuc is apparently one of those who believes in trophies and accolades for everyone regardless of how poorly they perform. Maybe he’s auditioning for a role on Todd’s staff when Todd starts running a hardware store chain after Jason fires him.

  32. Beeej Says:


    I don’t know if we can call last week a defensive success. Ridder had his best game ever as a passer and drake London went for 170”

    Ridder also threw a pick 6 (basically) and had a safety

  33. D Cone Says:

    Falcons were down two starters on the O Line and by the end of the 1st quarter were down 1 more. Played with Two second stringers and one guy just brought up from the Practice Squad. It’s not hard to see why the Bucs shut down their Running Game.

    It’s a four game season and a Bucs win at Green Bay just might help another team in the Division to squeak into the 7th Seed by the end of Week 18.

  34. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Dave Pear, why do you think when the Bucs go into that zone defense, so many receivers are so wide open? Is it coaching or personnel? Sometimes our coverage is 4 defenders in one area on one guy, and nobody in another leaving 3 guys wide open.
    Leaving head coach scratching his head….

  35. beeej Says:

    They’re supposed t know every scenario: “WR goes long, corner leaves his area to follow WR, X guy is supposed to shift into that vacated area”, etc. Teams have figured out we have trouble pulling that off

  36. Daniel Dream Says:

    If a player can make an impact on the field, and you have two options- A: he plays 50% of the snaps in every game all season, or B: he plays 100% of the snaps in half the games and misses the rest of the season with injuries, I’ll take option A every time. Obviously it’s usually not so straightforward, but its something to think about…