Time For Graham Barton To Undergo The Tristan Wirfs Crash Course

June 14th, 2024

Bracing for major test.

OK, let’s get one thing straight: Underwear football is just a tease. It’s not real. Football involves hitting and there is zero hitting in underwear football.

Thus, it’s not real football.

However, when real football commences for the Bucs, a few days into training camp when the pads come on, Joe sure hopes rookie center (?) Graham Barton gets the Tristan Wirfs treatment.

Let’s look back at the beautiful year of 2020. The globe was crippled by The Sickness but the NFL was not. At least not until late summer.

That season the NFL didn’t have any underwear football season. The Bucs had no rookie minicamp, no OTAs, no mandatory minicamp. (Randy Gregory would have loved it.)

Instead, the Bucs went straight to a training camp.

However, there was legitimate worry at One Buc Palace. The Bucs drafted Wirfs in the first round. In his first game, he would face mouthy slimy Saints defensive end Cam Jordan. Most rookies would be eaten alive at their first NFL at-bat against Jordan.

The Bucs, however, had aces up their sleeves, a dynamite pair of edge rushers, Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett. The latter had just registered 19.5 sacks in 2019, a franchise record.

The Bucs went to JPP and Shaq and laid it out for them. They had to pretend Wirfs was Jonathan Ogden. The Bucs ordered them to give Wirfs every look, every move in their toolbox. Do not let up. Not one play.

The Bucs figured if JPP and Shaq showed the youngster from Iowa tough love in training camp — and also helped him out with techniques — that Wirfs would not be embarrassed by Jordan.

After all, the NFC South back then ran through the filthy Mississippi River, New Orleans.

So JPP and Shaq let loose and put every move they could think of on Wirfs. Every day, all summer. The strategy paid off. You hardly heard Jordan’s name called in the FOX broadcast, which is a great compliment for an offensive lineman.

Joe wants to see a repeat of that this summer when the pads come on and Barton has to go up against Vita Vea and Calijah Kancey.

“I just think it’s great they are on our team,” Barton smiled about facing the Bucs’ twin towers of terror on the defensive interior. “I’m glad I get to go against them all of training camp. Then I don’t have to see them in the season.

“It’s great to have guys with that much talent and ability and experience, too with Vita, getting a taste of what [NFL matchups on gameday] is going to be like. That will be great in training camp to get used to [facing the best].

“They will be two of the best I will see all year. Getting that experience now will be helpful down the road.”

Let Vea and Kancey pound away at Barton. Baptism by fire.

If Barton can hold his own against them as training camp crawls to a close, Barton ought to be able to handle Daron Payne, Johnnie Newton and/or Jonathan Allen.

That is, if Barton is playing center.

18 Responses to “Time For Graham Barton To Undergo The Tristan Wirfs Crash Course”

  1. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Right on it Joe! It will be great for him to go against contrasting styles of play. A motivated Vea is a monster task and Kancey’s elite quickness and pass rush technique are going to give Barton a great variety of looks.

  2. Baking with Evans Says:

    Another great post Joe! Thank you!
    I had goosebumps reading about Wirfs’ baptism by fire.

    This is a perfect pair in Vea and Kancey to get Barton ready for the season.
    Licht is assembling quite a team.

    I say 2025 could be very special for us.


  3. garro Says:

    Good thought Joe! I remember that now.

    Hope Todd makes that happen.

    Go Bucs!

  4. stpetebucfan Says:

    I realize that tackles, especially LT is where the money and emphasis is placed.

    But on the IOL Center is my favorite position. Like the QB he is the ONLY guy who touches the ball EVERY play. I hope Barton develops a great chemistry with Mayfield early on. Center is like the assistant QB for the OL. Jensen was great at that as well as being mean. Barton has a reputation for “playing to the whistle”

    This tidbit was included in the Bills scouting report pre draft.
    “NASTY STREAK to displace and put defenders on the ground in a hurry.”

    Here is what Athlon said about him.
    “He’s a FIERCE COMPETITOR who makes life miserable for opposing defenders with a nonstop motor and the ability to win leverage early in the rep and stay latched on through the whistle.

    Of course Duke’s Athletic Dept is biased but here’s a tidbit from them,
    ‘The hardest football player that we have’

    I do not dislike or disrespect Hainsey and if he ends up at LG OK but he never came close to filling Jensen’s shoes at center and he didn’t set the “hardness” or “mean streak” for the rest of the OL.

    I’m looking forward to watching Barton play!

  5. JimBobBuc Says:

    Same thing with Braswell going up against Wirfs. Tykee going against Godwin in the slot. Bucky trying to evade Win.

  6. Beeej Says:

    Anyone know if Hainsey is a better guard than a center? Worst case he’s a good backup

  7. Dave Pear Says:

    Just keep The Oaf away from him.

  8. heyjude Says:

    Excellent read, Joe. Loved the “Baptism by fire.” 😂

    @stpetebucfan – Agree about Hainsey and cannot wait to see Barton on the field. The Bills scouting report says it all.

  9. Beejezus-belt Says:

    Randy Gregory would have loved it. LOL Joe, that was one of the many suspensions, in the summer of 2020.

  10. unbelievable Says:

    Totally agree with the thought process here, though I would say that the 2020 versions of JPP + Shaq were probably a much fiercer duo than Vea + Kancey, at this point…

    But nothing would make me happier that seeing those 2 turn into absolute monsters next season!

  11. Badbucs Says:

    Missing the point. Barton most likely not the problem. Opeta and and Mauk both have pitiful records so far. Will we get an honest assessment from the defensive guys at training camp or will they be defensive of their bro’s? Barton will be a star if we trust Licht’s judgement. Mauk a questionable genius pick and Opeta a dice roll. Certainly it helps to have them face the quality guys in practice every day. In Licht we trust. Fingers crossed. Now about ILB…..

  12. Hodad Says:

    If Barton is playing center? Joe, you’re kidding right?

  13. Lokog Says:

    cam”no ring”jordan

  14. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Please do not let Hall anywhere near Barton, cut Hall before training camp

  15. SenileSenior Says:

    If Barton plays at a level somewhat comparable to Wirfs rookie effort he will be on his way to great things in the NFL.

    I am so looking forward to this season. There is so much to be hopeful about. All I can say is … Go Bucs!

  16. ModHairKen Says:

    Barton will dominate from Day 1. He will teach Vea a thing or two.

  17. RamblingRhino Says:

    I do not get all the “Cam Jordan Hate”. I wish we had drafted him. Thanks To the “Rockstar” we went with a player with health limitations.

    Had we have gotten Jordan with McCoy, LVD, hmmm…

    Hate it when Jordan plays well, against us. Enjoy watching him be outplayed by us. Totally enjoy watching him beat up on other NFC South and NFL teams….

    I think he would have been a great Buccaneer, he sure had been a pain in the arse as a saint..

    Excited to see Barton go up against Kancey Vea, Gaines,
    Same goes with two “new” vet G. You can practice against less than or better than, one may make you confident, the other should make you better, humble, and eagerly hungry to get better.


  18. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    ModHairKen Says:
    June 14th, 2024 at 10:21 pm
    Barton will dominate from Day 1. He will teach Vea a thing or two.

    John Macenrow voice – “you can’t be serious!!”