Missing in action - one Pewter and Red passrush
by Alex Howells
So we all sat down on Sunday night be it watching on Slingbox, an internet feed or listening on Field Pass. Many a good beer decison had been made, nimbles were prepared and Bucs merchandise donned. The 2009 season was finally here, most of us thinking that the Bucs would be mediocre at best but nevertheless football was finally back. Unfortunately one other thing was back, the frightening lack of pass rush that the Buccaneers have endured since the departure of the likes of Simeon Rice and Warren Sapp.
This year's starting line up on the Defensive Line is the scarily average-poor team of Jimmy Wilkerson, Chris Hovan, Ryan Sims and Gaines Adams. I think I can actually hear NFL QB's knees shaking at the thought of this lot...or maybe its faint laughter. It is not until you actually look at the performance of our D-Line over their careers, not even last season, their WHOLE CAREER that it gets really scary how average-poor we are this tremendously important position.
Chris Hovan has just 21.5 sacks in a 9 year career in the NFL. Ryan Sims has a mammoth 7.5 sacks over an 8 year NFL career. As if that freight train of pressure wasn't enough we then have Jimmy Wilkerson on one end, currently with 6 whole sacks in a 7 year NFL career, and then we come to Gaines Adams.
Gaines Adams who signed a $42 million contract when the Bucs drafted him 4th overall only a few years back. Since then Gaines has seen about of much of NFL QBs as I do in an average week around Bristol. He has recorded 12.5 sacks in his career so far, at $3.36 million dollars per sack. A bargain!
Compare this to arguably the best in the NFL in these positions and you realise even more how far behind other teams we are on getting to the QB. Mario Williams has 30.5 sacks in a 4 year NFL career and newly super rich Albert Haynesworth has 24 sacks in a 7 year career. So to compare, the Buccaneers starting D-Line has a total of 48.5 sacks over a 27 year NFL career and Williams and Haynesworth have 54.5 sacks in 11 years in the NFL between them. Your honour the prosecution rests.
The secondary got badly burned against the Cowboys on Sunday, and this will be the trend of the season if you elite NFL QBs stand in the pocket for as long as it takes for someone to get open. This season the Bucs see regular season games against Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Donavon McNabb (and/or Michael Vick), Aaron Rodger and twice against Drew Bress and Matt Ryan. You cannot give these guys anytime let alone as much time as they like to find an open receiver. Ronde and the boys will just end up chasing shadows all over the field and this won't end well for the Bucs.
We appear to have an Offense that can score some points led by the Cadillac and the Caravan (thats Bryon by the way!) but if we give up 350 passing yards every game then it won't matter who is on the Offense and we will be in for a long season. Its great to have football back but it would be nice if we got some pass rush back too.
Alex Howells, September 2009