Much Ado About McCoy and Paul:
With all the attention lately going towards Gerald McCoy’s future with the team, and JPP’s health and future. The rest of the D- lineman, save maybe Anthony Nelson, the fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, seem to be on a back shelf somewhere.
Let’s not forget about Noah Spence, who so far during these early workouts, and practice has looked pretty good. We all know the guy has played well at times. He needs to step it up and become “that guy” in the trenches this season! Linebacker Lavonte David had this to say about Noah, so far this year in voluntary workouts.
“Seeing him, he is in a whole new attitude and mindset right now. His body is looking good, he is in great shape and he is having fun. Noah is communicating and talking and feeling more confident, so that is what I like to see. An unfortunate thing happened with JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul). That gives guys like Noah and other guys a chance to step up. We have all the faith in the world in Noah. We know what he brings to the table and we’re ready for him to bring it this year.” – Lavonte David
Another player that’s fallen off the planet in many fans’ minds is Vita Vea. I think people have forgotten, or maybe have never known just how good this guy can be for the Bucs. Part of that was his missing 4 games last year healing up from an injury. What follows is a capsule of what may have been Vea’s signature game as a Buc, in week 15 against the Ravens.
“In the game, he picked up seven total tackles in run defense, including four run stops. According to Pro Football Focus, Vea made first contact with the ball carrier on 15.8 percent of his run-defense snaps, the ninth best out of all qualifying interior defensive linemen in Week 15. Vea’s role as a nose tackle is not conducive to filling the stat sheet, he has 21 tackles, two tackles for a loss and two sacks in 11 games played. The numbers might not look impressive, but some of Vea’s contributions in run defense, such as absorbing double teams and destroying running lanes are two things that might get overlooked.” – Quote from Eli Cuellar of COWBOYSWIRE, 2018
From the same article, the writer went on to say this:
“Buccaneers nose tackle Vita Vea is a player who was highly coveted in the 2018 NFL Draft. Some player level metrics shed some light on how freakish his physical profile really is. He stands at 6-foot-4, 347 pounds, but his play speed is something that sets him apart. Judging by his speed score, which measures his 40-yard dash relative to his size, he ranked in the 87th percentile with a score of 102.6. Vea is a player with a mountain of untapped potential, but he hasn’t been able to piece it all together in his freshman year with the Buccaneers. Early in the season, Vea dealt with a nagging calf injury that sidelined him for his first four games. Like most rookies, Vea has needed some time to get acclimated to the rigors of the NFL, but things are beginning to turn around for him.” – Eli Cuellar, COWBOYSWIRE
A different perspective on Vea and Time to step it up Bucs fans in 2019:
No, Bucs fans, I’m not getting lazy. I just thought it might mean more in a different way if I let a writer from an NFC Foe help make the case. If your enemy is taking notice of our Bucs players, there is something to be said for that. In short form, writers from other teams don’t kiss our Butt or have a dog in the race for our team. Generally, their praise is genuine. Of course not that our writers aren’t, but you get my point I’m sure. The last handful of games that he played in last year after Smith was terminated and a D.C. that actually had a brain (Mark Duffner) took over, he got better almost every game it seemed. He’s a player much like McCoy (see above quote) in the way that much of what he does, doesn’t get much notice. The more scrutinizing fans see it, but you got to look for it, and that’s a tough thing to do with the real action elsewhere, better on replay to observe such intricacies of the game. It’s a special Joe or Jane Bucsfan that takes the time to study tape, God love ya.
Add to that equation at DL, Nassib, Nelson, various backups, and any other player added before the regular season gets underway, and it’s not hard to find a little optimism for a part of the Defense that has seemed in rapid decline so far this off-season. So make sure you record this season in some technical fashion so that you can stay up studying tape far into the A.M. It’s time for Bucs fans to rededicate themselves with a more involved commitment, or not.