If Calijah Kancey And YaYa Diaby Raise Their Games…

July 6th, 2024

Defensive tackle Calijah Kancey.

The Bucs last year were one of the worst teams in the league allowing passing yards (fourth-worst). But if two second-year players take the next step in their development, that alone should help cut down on opponents lighting up the Bucs defense through the air.

Calijah Kancey and YaYa Diaby have spent much of the offseason trying to improve. Diaby bulked up and looks sort of like the Incredible Hulk. Kancey has worked out regularly with former long-time NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger in South Florida.

Additionally, Kancey last week attended Von Miller’s Sack Summit, hosted by Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby. There, former Bucs great Warren Sapp was a guest instructor.

(And in an off-field lecture, former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik held a financial seminar explaining how players dropping a chunk of their early salaries in safe investments like ETFs that follow the S&P 500 could make tens of millions down the road no matter how their NFL careers turn out).

Baldinger, as he often does, puts out videos on Twitter/X of players he likes and demonstrates what he likes about them. He did just that in a video highlighting Kancey and Diaby.

Baldinger is confident those two will be a major one-two punch for the next decade.

Joe just loves how quick Kancey is off the snap and how he can also line up wide on occasion to get after the quarterback. Kancey also had 10 tackles for loss — in 14 games! That’s crazy.

Diaby led the Bucs with 7.5 sacks — as a rookie! — and his 12 tackles for loss led all rookies. How could a Bucs fan not get excited about that?

Look, Joe’s readers know Joe has been bellyaching about a pass rush since Jason Pierre-Paul blew out his shoulder in 2021. A pass rush, especially from the edge, is just so, so important.

If both Kancey and Diaby do raise their games this fall, that could be a major boost.

25 Responses to “If Calijah Kancey And YaYa Diaby Raise Their Games…”

  1. Hodad Says:

    If Braswell turns out to be good? Adding Whitehead, and drafting Ty Smith are really going to up our secondary also. When pass rush, can mesh with coverage, it should be a beautiful thing.

  2. Beeej Says:

    That’s neat, twice I saw Yaya use his adjacent D lineman as a screen to seal off his opponent

  3. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I’m with you joe. I would even put pass rusher up there with QB as the most important positions. Each one plays a pivotal role. To win SB you either have an elite QB if you don’t then you have to have an elite defense. And vise versa

  4. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    20 sacks combined for 0 and 94. LFG

  5. Austin Says:

    Vea, Kancey, YaYa and Braswell/JTS/Watts is a heck of a line

  6. Lt. Dan Says:

    If Kancey and Diaby raise their games? Barring injury, of course they will. Both are a year removed from the college diet and lifestyle. One year into an NFL strength program and a better understanding of their roles in the defense. I think it’s a forgone conclusion. These two dudes will be far and away better than they were as rookies. “Can’t Wait!” Bart Scott.

  7. ChiBuc Says:

    Love Winfield, respect Vea’s mass, impressed by Diaby’s rookie season, but my gut is telling me that Kancey will be the bucs’ defensive MVP next year. Maybe it’s just because he has Sapp’s “crazy” eye, but his speed/quickness is a formidable tool on the line

  8. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I’m excited for our D.
    They could be the cornerstone pieces of our next Defensive Dynasty.
    They both seem hungry as hell and have the physical ability to get it done.

    Let’s go!

  9. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I read that Logan Hall has bulked up and improved his strenght. If he can raise up his game, then the Bucs will have a formable pass rush.

  10. Citrus County Says:

    I highly recommend that Mark Dominik read “The Great Taking” by David Rogers Webb. Mr. Dominik is asleep at the wheel as are so many others.

  11. Bucs And Them Says:

    This got me pumped Joe! These two keep progressing, it’s going to help the secondary tremendously. Licht & his staff really hit on these guys. Got a feeling Braswell is another good catch. You have to like how these guys are doing all the extra things to hone in on their craft. In other words, guys who love football and take pride in it! We’re starting to accumulate a good batch of character/effort young guys on both sides of the ball. Tykee Smith seems like another good one. Barton, McMillan, Palmer, and Irving seem to fit the same mold. We’ve got some great veterans showing these guys how to do it as well. Can’t wait for Week 1 !!!

  12. BucsfaninOregon Says:

    Austin Says:
    July 6th, 2024 at 9:10 am

    Vea, Kancey, YaYa and Braswell/JTS/Watts is a heck of a line

    Austin, you were doing fine until you got to JTS/Watts. Be realistic- -those guys don’t belong in a serious comment about DL. I don’t think JTS will ever get there.

  13. Fred McNeil Says:

    Nobody is mentioning Ramirez. I think he makes the team this year and excels as a rusher.

  14. Not My NFL! Says:

    Fred McNeil, what exactly makes you think that Ramirez will start and excel as a pass rusher??

  15. Austin Says:

    JTS packed on mass, playing for his career, I’m sure he understands the gravity. Well have a rookie stud Braswell, Bigger/motivated JTS, and Watts all competing HARD for the edge opposite of YaYa. I’m excited AF

  16. Buccaneer rick Says:

    20 sack in regular season another 5 or 6 in playoffs between yaya and kancey

  17. Drunkinybor Says:

    Kanceys film against the iggles in the playoffs is insane. Rep after rep after rep. Kelce, Landon Dickerson he makes them look foolish. I was actually shocked he was that good. He is going to have some amazing jaw dropping games. I’m telling you he is a different dude in a good way. I’m super super high on him, his ceiling is incredibly high.

  18. Joe Says:


    Sometime between July 12-23 Joe will publish a stat-based story on Kancey that will blow your mind (it did for Joe). Really, really believe Kancey is going to wreck sh!t if he stays healthy.

  19. Dave Pear Says:

    Getting pressure with 3 and 4 like the old days is the ticket to a deep playoff run.


  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Good to see you getting excited about Kancey & Diaby Joe. Now you just need to extend that a little to Vea, Gaines, Hall, JTS, Nelson & Braswell. Those 8, plus a couple other DLinemen, are a pretty decent mix of size & speed.

    I fully expect that the Bucs’ defense will get 50 sacks this year, 180 QB pressures, 90 TFLs & generate 30 Takeaways. Lofty numbers I know, but this young group is very talented & can achieve those goals IF they can stay reasonably healthy.

  21. Drunkinybor Says:

    @Joe I look forward to the story on Kancey! I check in every day so no way I’ll miss it. Thanks

  22. Scott Says:

    I am fired up for this defense. Hopefully it clicks again and can be what it once was.

  23. SenileSenior Says:

    If Diaby came in as a rookie at 275, what weight will he be at this year?

  24. SenileSenior Says:

    I have been saying that our franchise has achieved what I will call “class act” status for some time, y’all.

    Go Bucs!!!

  25. garro Says:

    That is some good stuff right there Joe! Those TFL numbers are amazing!

    I think we have two future All Pros in Kancey and Diaby.

    Go Bucs!