Fun With The Pass Rush

May 8th, 2024

Getting creative?

Joe is trying to teach himself, will himself, not to stress about the Bucs’ pass rush. It’s sort of like going cold turkey on coffee. Joe has the shakes.

One way Joe is searching for mental zen is thinking of the pass rush as a puzzle.

The interior defensive line may allow the Bucs, specifically head coach Todd Bowles, to be creative. (Joe will explain more in a bit.)

So while Joe is trying to self-medicate from blowing a gasket thinking about an edge rush, the PFF tribe has picked up the slack. Zoltán Buday believes the Bucs’ weakest link in the wake of the draft is a pass rush.

Where will the pass rush come from?

Last year, the Buccaneers recorded just 247 total pressures, 26th in the NFL, yet the team recently released edge defender Shaquil Barrett, whose 56 pressures led the team last year.

Among the remaining interior and edge defenders, only one played a significant number of snaps in 2023: interior defender Vita Vea.

Although rookie edge defender Yaya Diaby led the team in sacks, the Buccaneers need him to be more consistent on a snap-by-snap basis in his second season.

Well, Joe has stated it’s concerning that once YaYa Diaby was named starter last season, his production declined. Is it as simple as waving that off as a rookie wall? Or did opposing coaches, once they had enough tape on Diaby, figure out how to gameplan against him?

Here is how “this Joe” is navigating these treacherous waters of mental anguish over a lack of an edge rush.

Joe thinks the Bucs will use a three-man rotation on the edge: Chris Braswell, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Diaby. Joe guesses the Bucs will give JTS 4-6 games to demonstrate he belongs in the lineup and get his act together.

If JTS is the same ol’ JTS by Week 7 or so, provided Braswell and Diaby are showing they can produce, then Joe will guess JTS’s snaps drop drastically.

But here’s the fun part: Vita Vea shed a bunch of weight. Ostensibly, that is to keep him on the field and perhaps extend his career.

However, Vea takes a few snaps at edge rush on passing downs every year. When he did last season, he fully manhandled the left tackles trying to block him. Those tackles didn’t want to deal with that smoke!

Could it be that one reason the Bucs seemed way too content with sitting on the sidelines watching other teams acquire by trade or free agency quality, proven edge rushers is that Licht and Bowles had a trick up their sleeves? That Calijah Kancey and Vea will take more snaps from the edge on passing downs?

Kancey took edge snaps last year, too, and the initial results were promising. Tackles are not used to dealing with quick guys as strong as oxen like Vea and to a lesser degree Kancey.

And yes, Joe is 110 percent stoked to see what Kancey does after his first full training camp. Joe genuinely believes Kancey will be a gamewrecker.

30 Responses to “Fun With The Pass Rush”

  1. Hodad Says:

    We lost Shaq, but we did sign Gregory, and we did spend a second round pick on Braswell. Had we traded for Reddick, we wouldn’t have Braswell, or McMillan. Next year with more cap space, and, or using a #1 pick on an edge rusher would be the way to go.

  2. geno711 Says:

    I wonder where Joe gets his pressure rate from.

    Pro Football Reference, I think is a go to for football stats.

    They have team defensive stats.

    In their category of “Pressures”
    They define it as “hurries” + “knockdowns” + “sacks”

    Last year they had the Detroit Lions with the most pressures of 187.
    Last year they had the Carolina Panthers with the least at 90.
    Last year the Buccaneers were in the middle (18th) with 134.

  3. geno711 Says:

    Correction. I should not say where did Joe get the pressure rate.
    But more fairly why does Joe more than anyone else on this site rely on PFF to get his stats when there is the much better respected Pro Football Reference.
    Actually, Joe uses Pro Football Reference and so often, like many other media outlets, Joe defaults to their numbers and doesn’t feel the need to cite them. When Joe references PFF, Joe will mention their name.–Joe

  4. SB~LV Says:

    The pass rush is directly linked with pass coverage

  5. Scott Says:

    The problem is all of our guys are ranked like 70th and beyond for the position. No real studs or quality starters unless someone makes a jump.

  6. Scott Says:

    Minus Vea we have one of, if not the worst starting D line units in the NFL. However we have good depth because everyone is somewhat decent just not game changers yet. Hopefully the guys make some serious improvement this year.

  7. Rover Says:

    We will pin our ears back and get after ‘em, Coach! Bucs in thr Backfield will be such a beautiful site this season. 11-win season incoming! Go Bucs!’

  8. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Didn’t Yaya suffer a shoulder injury that hindered him late in the season and into the playoffs? I think he was playing injured more than it was teams figuring him out.

  9. BucsFan55 Says:

    Hopefully Markees Watts can step it up, he flashed.

  10. Dave Pear Says:

    Once YaYa was named starter, The Toddster undoubtedly gave him 4 options each with three variants on what he was supposed to do, given the opponents’ formation, personnel grouping, the Bucs personnel and then the Toddster’s Laplace Transformative play call.

    If Jason would hire a defensive coordinator who wasn’t hellbent on proving to the world what a genius he is, maybe all the guys would be able to play better.

  11. Joe Says:

    If Jason would hire a defensive coordinator who wasn’t hellbent on proving to the world what a genius he is, maybe all the guys would be able to play better.

    Licht would first have to fire the head coach for that to happen. Generally — there are never any absolutes — but generally head coaches hire their own assistants.

  12. Tucker Says:

    @bucsfan Yeah, Yaya did have an shoulder injury that combined with him being a rookie I think was the reason why his production fell a little. Expect a leap from him this season, so excited for this season to start, go bucs!!

  13. larrd Says:

    Every OLB on the roster should make significant improvement this year, except maybe Nelson, who will probably continue to be steady. Add in Gregory and the Bucs are going to be set unless all the youngsters flop.

    I wonder if they’ll use more four man fronts with the skinnier Vea, too. They might be thinking Kancey is better with guys on both sides.

  14. SlyPirate Says:

    SACK PREDICTION – 51 (Top 5)
    CK – 10
    Yaya – 9
    JTS – 7
    Braswell – 6
    Other – 5
    Gregory – 4
    Winfield – 4
    Hall – 3
    LVD – 3

  15. Saskbucs Says:

    I can’t wait to see Kancey this season. High hopes that calling him a game wrecker is right on the money. Vea and him take a lot of attention. No excuse for our edge guys to not get back there and pressure. Should be able to keep them fresh in rotation.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Last year, the Buccaneers recorded just 247 total pressures, 26th in the NFL, yet the team recently released edge defender Shaquil Barrett, whose 56 pressures led the team last year.’

    Have to agree with geno711 Joe, those stats aren’t really close to what the Bucs (and Shaq) actually got, at least according to Pro-Football-Reference.

    Bucs: 47 sacks + 42 QBKD + 44 QB Hurries = 136 pressures

    Shaq: 4.5 sacks + 8 QBKD + 6 QB Hurries = 19 pressures

  17. adam from ny Says:

    i tallied up about 45-50 sacks for us on another thread the other day…i think we’ll get about what bowles usually generates from his defense…

    but 56 pressures is a pretty high number from shaq – a guy who didn’t do much else last year…

    ida guessed him at about 35 by looking at the rest of his numbers…but he seemed to generate a decent amount of pressure to the qb’s…someone’s gonna have to step up big time in that dept.

  18. adam from ny Says:

    yeah it certainly didn’t “feel like” shaq got 56 pressures last season from seeing every game…

    it didn’t feel like 19 either… ^^^

    more like, say 2 a game on average…equaling around 35-ish…

    i’m sorta just guessing now…

    but 56 seemed really high for him

  19. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Randy Gregory is most likely going to be in the rotation as well. My guess is it will be mostly Gregory, YaYa, and JTS rotating, with Watts coming in on some passing downs. I think as the season goes on, Gregory and JTS playing time will fade and Braswell will increase. I think Nelson is a prime cut candidate to save money on the cap.

  20. D Cone Says:

    If a defender gets push and gets close but the pass comes out quick by design is that a pressure?

    As more teams go to the high percentage screens and short passes the defense will have to adapt and focus less on sacks and more on limiting screens to losses or minimal gains. Second and 11 from shutting down a screen is the same as stuffing a run up the middle.

  21. adam from ny Says:

    SlyPirate Says:

    SACK PREDICTION – 51 (Top 5)
    CK – 10
    Yaya – 9
    JTS – 7
    Braswell – 6
    Other – 5
    Gregory – 4
    Winfield – 4
    Hall – 3
    LVD – 3

    these numbers might be a little on the high side because if it works out this way, we will have more like 60…because you have to add in vita and nelly…and they should be good for about 8-10 between them…say at least 4 each…

    and your ( other – 5 ) will still be there…here below would be an example of the other 5…

    britt – 1
    gill – 1
    watts -1
    whitehead – 1
    gaines – 1

    so these high numbers really have us at like 60…a bit too high imho…

    hall could have 0…let’s be for real…

    jts could have 4 or 5…

    4 could be high for winfield…

    braswell could have 3…..or 9…who knows…

    gregory could flame out…or get 6…hard to tell…

    it’ll be interesting to see how we generate qb pressure this year

  22. Bobby Says:

    Agree 100% Calijah will be dominant and a gamewrecker this season and going forward. Im getting a Kancey jersey, before the new season begins

  23. ^^mtn^^ Says:

    Yaya had a significant lower leg injury as well

  24. toad bowels Says:

    Putting Gaines or Ghoulson in the middle and having the now-svelte Vita Vea at one EDGE on passing downs could be one way to go.

  25. #99 the big fella Says:

    Can we get a better pic of kancey? I hate seeing that falcon in the background

  26. HC Grover Says:

    Send Plan 9 back to Outer Space.

  27. Jeffrey Becker Says:

    none of these stat projections mean anything if bowles has to blitz constantly to do it

  28. adam from ny Says:

    HC Grover Says:
    Send Plan 9 back to Outer Space.

    when joe sho pinballs himself off a tackle he is literally bounced so far out of the play that he is somewhere near saturn…

    and if he is buried under a pile of players after being steamrolled, his head can be as far up and away as in uranus 🙂

  29. LongSeason Says:

    Keep in mind with both Diaby and Kancey that most edge rushers don’t blossom their rookie season. Second year is the big step as being a consistently productive edge rusher is an art.
    We do need to figure Randy Gregory in rotation. He can be a guy that spells others effectively so he doesn’t get gassed.
    JTS (OLB) and Logan Hal (DE)l have been disappointments. JTS still has possibilities but must be more consistent.

  30. matthew a veal Says:

    Joe imo is understandably letting the lost decade scare him, we should be fine on defense, even without a very good running game.