Bucs Ahead Of The Curve On Pass Rush Plan?

June 20th, 2024

Joe could listen to some guys talk football 24/7. Rams head coach Sean McVay is one of them.

The man is a bonafide football wizard. McVay has a 70-45 regular season record and a 7-4 postseason record that includes a Super Bowl win and a Super Bowl loss — at just 38 years old.

Barring an extreme case of burnout or a historic fall from Grace, McVay will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.

On Green Light With Chris Long this week, McVay talked about how pass rushing is no longer all about edge rushers like it used to be.

It’s evolved to inside rushers driving the bus more than ever, he says, and sparking a dangerous and more balanced pass rush.

“… It had been so heavily influenced by edge guys, but now it’s really like, alright, the defensive line is going to affect and influence and change the game,” McVay said.

Long, the retired edge rusher (70 career sacks), noted how he preferred to play next to a dominant inside player versus having a beast of an edge rusher opposite him getting an offensive line’s attention.

Why? Per Long, the pass rush can “dictate certain things” more in that combination — edge guy next to strong inside guy.

“And if that [inside rusher] is a team player, you’re going to play off him, he’s going to create for you,” Long said.

Of course, this got Joe thinking about the Bucs with manbeast nose tackle Vita Vea and returning rookie stud Calijah Kancey on the inside of the Bucs’ defensive front. Both are crazy-talented, team-first guys.

Perhaps the Bucs are ahead of the new NFL trend of prioritizing an inside pass rush, with two first-round picks at the position? And how much better can Vea and Kancey make the Bucs’ questionable edge rushers?

Joe’s not sure. And yeah, Joe realizes the Rams drafted edge rusher Jared Verse in Round 1 back in April.

Still, McVay is sees the game clearly, and more and more teams are coveting inside rushers. Bucs fans will soon find out if the Bucs have enough to generate a consistent pass rush.

They’ve racked up sacks in recent years, but consistency and ferocity has been lacking.

16 Responses to “Bucs Ahead Of The Curve On Pass Rush Plan?”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    McVay is stating the obvious.

    Sure, one animal, whether inside or outside, is awesome, but the fact remains that football is a team sport won on the entire LoS.

    It does not matter where the pressure comes from or who gets the most sacks.

    It matters that the QB feels the pressure knowing any of 5 or 6 can bring him down at any time.

  2. Truth be Told Says:

    Pass Rush away from being a true SB contender. Let’s get Baked. Go Bucs!

  3. ATLBUC Says:

    If Vea and Kancey do their thing it will be like fishing with nets for the ends

  4. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Pressure up the middle and outside containment to clean up sounds good to me. Plus how many stunts free up a defender inside? Most of them.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Perhaps the Bucs are ahead of the new NFL trend of prioritizing an inside pass rush, with two first-round picks at the position?’

    Excellent article Joe. Got me thinking though that the Bucs had exactly what Long described starting back in 2019 when we had Vea & Suh inside, with JPP & Shaq outside. And the results were quite obvious. I think we’re positioning ourselves to repeat those performances with Vea & Kancey inside, and Diaby & Braswell outside.

  6. Crickett Baker Says:

    It’s interesting. BTW, Joe, please look up the words “effect” and “affect” and how to use them and their meaning.
    Stay calm. Joe learned all about these words in middle school. Joe made what’s called a mistake. –Joe Of course, it is possible McVay used them wrong.

  7. SlyPirate Says:


    Imagine in 2001 if Warren Sapp lined up next to Haloti Ngata with Suggs coming off the edge? That would have been a nearly impossible combination to block.

    The Bucs have that potential with Vea, CK, and Yaya.

    I believe the Bucs would be in the Super Bowl this year had they traded for Khalil Mack for the hot minute he was available.

  8. WilieG Says:

    It would not surprise me if two safeties, or a safety and a slot corner, have 10 or more sacks this year. I think the Bucs are farther ahead of the curve than anyone realizes.

  9. Hodad Says:

    They also drafted a DT? Would liked to hear what he has to say about Coen as an O.C..

  10. Boss Says:

    But does it matter when vv is huffing oxygen on the sideline on third downs?

  11. Matt Says:

    McVay had Aaron Donald …. that’s a pretty easy statement when you have probably the best DT to ever play in the league.

    Oh ya, what position did Warren Sapp play?

    Mr Simeon Rice probably appreciated having him as a teamate..

    Tom Brady always struggled with the Patriots when the opposition had a good inside defensive line. (Although that was because he was mainly because he was a pocket passer which is less common these days)


    A beastly interior DL is huge and I am grateful to have Vea and Kancey.

    Joe’s concern of our pass rush may be not so doomed if our 2 big boys on the inside play to their potential. Let’s stay healthy and shock the world again as we have for the last 5 seasons.

  12. Buccup Says:

    Sapp was a complete beast from the middle. He made everyone on that defense better. The Bucs’ starters have the potential to be a force and the two biggs inside can make the rest of the defense better too. Hopefully there’s enough depth to keep it rolling. Looking forward to watching Diaby and Kancey develop. Just wish JTS would decide that football is a contact sport.

  13. Travis Says:

    I’m hoping Kancey can up his stats to maybe 8 sacks 15 tfl

  14. garro Says:

    I think Bowles has known this for some time now. The number of plays that Vea has been able to go 100% is in my view questionable even with somewhat limited snaps. Largely a matter of stamina. Hope his thinner self has a bit more snaps in him.

    We could put two All Pros next to JTS and I doubt it would up his numbers much. Nelson is what he is…steady but not likely to be a sack king. Diaby is looking like a keeper and having he, Kancey and Vea on the field on third down should be the norm? Braswell the rookie coming up big this year would be a long shot …but. I think Watts can play!

    We have lined up a number of guys next to Vea to try to do what Long and McVay suggested. Kancey looked good but both guys on the field at the same time? Hall so far is a fail. Nobody was game planning for Gaines, Gholston, or Greene either. The rotation that we insist on is in some ways hurting us. Bowles has resorted to alot of games and stunts along the D-line as well. Seems like limited success to me.

    Go Bucs!

  15. Senor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “…They’ve racked up sacks in recent years, but consistency and ferocity has been lacking.”.

    And getting consistent pressure from only a 4 man front without having to send more…

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the Bucs are top 3 in the league in sending more than 4. This greatly contributes to our poor pass defense. Too many DBs “on an island”. And we do not have a D Revis back there.

  16. D Cone Says:

    Having another good rusher on the other end of the line costs a player sacks. Get there first and only get a 1/2 sack because someone else gets a hand on the QB. That is TJ Watt’s only beef about having someone great on the other edge.

    As far as McVay knowing the importance of a great middle rush he had the luxury of the best for his entire coaching career. Donald sucked up so much of the Cap he had to make due with Edge guys that were cheaper and/or not big name dominant players.