With all the hoopla surrounding the Tom Brady signing, the Buccaneers have quietly secured most of their stout defensive line from last year.
On Thursday, Ndamukong Suh signed a one-year deal. So, he, Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul will all be back next year. The only linemen who won’t return are Carl Nassib (Oakland) and Beau Allen (New England.)
One of the lasting images I have of Suh from last year is his fumble return for a touchdown to seal the upset victory over the Rams in L.A.
The Bucs were the #1 defense against the run last year. There’s no reason to believe they won’t be near the top next year.
What a month it’s been for the Bucs. If you’re not excited by now, I don’t know what to tell you.
Two big pieces of the Buccaneers’ star-studded defensive line are coming back.
First, the Bucs signed Jason Pierre-Paul to a two-year contract. J.P.P. had 8.5 sacks in just 10 games last season.
Also, Tampa Bay placed the franchise tag on reigning sack leader Shaq Barrett. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. Shaq had 19.5 sacks in his first season with the Bucs.
It remains to be seen what happens to the other members of the front four: Ndamukong Suh and Carl Nassib. Bruce Arians made it clear after the season ended that keeping the nucleus of this defense together was a priority.
Oh, and what about Jameis Winston? He should know his fate by the end of the week, perhaps as early as Wednesday. I don’t know how that it going to play out, but that will likely be the next big development in what’s already been a busy week.
Think of everything that happened in Tampa Bay’s 35-22 win
over the Falcons on Sunday in Atlanta.
Jameis Winston threw two more interceptions, but also three
touchdowns. Two of them went to
superstar Chris Godwin. The other one
was caught by Vita Vea.
Yes, the guy on the defensive line who weighs 347 pounds
reported as an eligible receiver, and caught a 1-yard TD pass.
The Bucs defense played well. Yes, you
read that right. They had six sacks. They forced two turnovers, once of which was a
fumble returned for a touchdown by Ndamukong Suh. With the exception of the second play of the
game, the secondary did a nice job covering the Falcons’ receivers. Atlanta was just 4-of-16 on third downs. Where has this defense been over the past two
months or so?
Need more insanity?
Matt Gay missed three extra points (one of them blocked.) And those misses didn’t come back to haunt
Godwin and Mike Evans are both over 1,000 yards receiving. Vea is suddenly a touchdown machine. And Tampa Bay is staying out of the cellar of
the NFC South for the time being.
We’re about to get our first look at the 2019 Buccaneers. The team holds its first workout of training camp on Friday.
There’ve been a lot of changes since the end of last season. That comes with the territory of eleven straight seasons without making the playoffs. Bruce Arians is now in charge. Gerald McCoy is gone – to a division rival no less. Jason Pierre-Paul is out of commission for a while – possibly the entire season. Enter Ndamukong Suh, and first-round pick Devin White, who Tampa Bay hopes will be the next Derrick Brooks. And under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Bucs will be moving to a 3-4 defense.
On offense, this has to be Jameis Winston’s breakout season, otherwise he won’t be around much longer. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are back from injuries. The running game is still in flux, with Peyton Barber apparently in the starting role for now. Can Ronald Jones do…well, anything? Can the offensive line do…well, anything?
On special teams, there’s a kicking competition between Cairo Santos and rookie Matt Gay. As I often say on social media, can we just get someone who can make a kick? And while we’re at it, how about a special teams’ touchdown or ten?
One thing we already know: Arians is a soundbite machine. Watch any of his news conferences and you’ll see what I mean.
And for me, as I unofficially begin my seventh season of this blog, I thank you for your continued support. Let’s shock the world. Go Bucs.
The Bucs hope they’ve found Gerald McCoy’s replacement.
On Thursday, they officially signed Ndamukong Suh. This had been reported by various outlets a couple of days ago, but I like to wait until things like this are confirmed (must be my TV news background.)
Suh has been around the league for a while. Last year, he was on a Rams team that went to the Super Bowl. He spent the early part of his career in Detroit.
This guy is solid; there’s no doubt about that. But he also comes with baggage – i.e. doing things like stepping on a player during a game. If he can get rid of that stuff, then okay. At the very list, he needs to put numbers similar those put up by McCoy did.