Breakout Players, Adding A Pass Rusher

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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds solutions your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account every week within the Bucs Monday Mailbag. Submit your query to the Bucs Monday Mailbag every week through Twitter utilizing the hashtag #PRMailbag. Listed below are the questions we selected to reply for this week’s version.

QUESTION: Who’re the gamers to observe through the preseason, which is the right place to uncover hidden breakout gamers?

ANSWER: We’ll have a greater concept in coaching camp as to which Bucs may have a breakout preseason. It’s totally different when the pads come on. There have been loads of gamers which have had some offseason buzz through the OTAs and mini-camps fizzle when it will get bodily. Former defensive finish Patrick Chukwurah (2007), former receiver Kenny Bell (2015) and present receiver Jaelon Darden (final yr) come to thoughts.

I wrote about six attainable Bucs coaching camp sleepers in final week’s SR’s Fab 5. Darden wasn’t included, however he had a strong preseason. The participant that I’m anxious to see when the pads come on and the preseason video games roll round is undrafted receiver Deven Thompkins. That was a participant who head coach Todd Bowles singled out because the participant he’s trying ahead to seeing in camp. Thompkins was the second-leading receiver in faculty soccer final yr with 102 catches for 1,704 yards and 10 TDs at Utah State.

At 5-foot-7, 167 kilos, he’s the smallest participant on the Bucs roster. He additionally may be the quickest and the quickest. Thompkins ran a 4.35 40-time at his professional day. Darden ran a 4.46 by comparability. We’ll see if Thompkins can unseat Darden because the crew’s return specialist and win a reserve receiver spot within the course of.

One other one is edge rusher Elijah Ponder. He spent final yr on the observe squad and has completely remade his physique. Ponder performed 3-technique defensive sort out on the College of Cincinnati at 275 kilos. Now, he’s making an attempt to make the crew as a 240-pound exterior linebacker. The Bucs like his physicality and his potential. He’s one to maintain a watch in camp as he battles Cam Gill and others for a roster spot.

QUESTION: Do the Bucs add yet another move rusher?

I feel the Bucs will wait till the beginning of the season to contemplate including one other veteran move rusher. The Bucs have some younger, proficient move rushers who they need to see in camp and the preseason first. Two-time Professional Bowler Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will begin at exterior linebacker. Anthony Nelson made strides final yr and is getting into a contract yr. He’s the primary edge rusher off the bench.

Bucs OLB Cam Gill

Bucs OLB Cam Gill – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

As I discussed above, Cam Gill will compete will observe squader Elijah Ponder for the fourth OLB spot. Ponder is one in all my Bucs coaching camp sleepers, and I featured him in final week’s SR’s Fab 5. Gill, who’s a worthwhile contributor on particular groups, made some strides final yr as a situational move rusher and completed with a career-high 1.5 sacks.

Former Bucs exterior linebacker Carl Nassib, Justin Houston, Carlos Dunlap and Anthony Barr are a number of the higher veteran free brokers who’re nonetheless obtainable. Bucs basic supervisor Jason Licht has waited till after the preseason to bolster the move rush earlier than. He claimed Jacquies Smith off waivers proper earlier than the beginning of the season in 2014. Licht did the identical factor in 2018, claiming Nassib off waivers in early September.

If Gill and/or Ponder don’t emerge as viable threats to constantly strain the quarterback this August, then I may see Tampa Bay including one other move rusher. Rookies Andre Anthony, the crew’s seventh-round choose, JoJo Ozougwu and Jordan Younger are additionally within the combine. However Gill and Ponder know the protection higher and have the sting heading into camp.

QUESTION: I’ve a question about “strain” statistics for NFL groups. We all know what constitutes a sack, however how is a strain decided? Is it merely within the eye of the beholder, or is there a statistical measure (akin to one yard from the QB when the move is thrown?) And who makes the choice?

ANSWER: It’s a fully subjective statistic. And never all pressures are created equal. Some pressures lead to incompletions. But, it’s attainable to strain the QB and he nonetheless completes the move. Some analytics people assume pressures are the end-all, be-all stat and even maintain them in increased regard than sacks. Pressures are vital, as they’ll result in incompletion and even an interception. However once more, a quarterback may be pressured and nonetheless full a move and even throw a landing.

Ndamukong Suh pressured Matthew Stafford on his 44-yard strike to Cooper Kupp within the ultimate seconds of the NFC Divisional Playoffs. However Stafford nonetheless made the play.

A sack will not be subjective. It’s definitive. A quarterback can not full a move when sacked. And generally, sacks can lead to fumbles. Sacks on third downs depend extra as a result of they usually result in punts, which change possession. For that motive, I consider sacks trump pressures.

By way of how pressures are measured, effectively, that varies. Professional Soccer Reference defines pressures as “hurries + knockdowns + sack performs.” Identical to a sort out for loss can also be counted as a sort out, PFR consists of sacks as pressures.

Professional Soccer Focus has this to say about the way it measures pressures: “Coping with strain is a large a part of enjoying quarterback, particularly with the pass-rushers within the NFL and faculty these days and the pass-happy nature of the league. Beneath strain passing is any time the quarterback is disturbed from his regular throwing movement from set as much as launch, or anytime a strain is registered on a given passing play. Very like deep passing statistics, we then develop particular person statistics off of simply pressured passing. Along with the same old suspects of yards, completions, makes an attempt, passer score and adjusted completion proportion, we even have strain proportion (the quantity of instances a QB is pressured in comparison with whole dropbacks) and sack proportion (the period of time when below strain a QB is sacked).”

QUESTION: In a worst case state of affairs if Rob Gronkowski doesn’t return what would the tight finish room appear to be? Is there any tight finish the Bucs can commerce for or signal from the free agent market?

ANSWER: Effectively, Tampa Bay’s tight finish room with out Rob Gronkowski would appear to be one getting older veteran and a bunch of rookies. Cam Brate will flip 31 in July and his abilities are diminishing. The Bucs drafted a pair of tight ends in Cade Otton and Ko Kieft, they usually signed a pair of undrafted free brokers in Ben Beise and J.J. Howland. Observe squader Codey McElroy is technically thought-about a veteran, however he hardly has any NFL recreation expertise. The 29-year outdated is extra like a rookie than a veteran.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Picture by Cliff Welch/PR

I nonetheless stay satisfied that Gronkowski will re-sign with the Bucs in July – possible proper earlier than coaching camp. If he actually was going to retire this offseason, he would have knowledgeable Tom Brady and basic supervisor Jason Licht so the Bucs may put together. As a substitute, the Bucs didn’t signal any veteran tight ends and solely spent a fourth-round draft choose on Otton. If Gronk wasn’t going to return, Tampa Bay would have been rather more aggressive find a veteran alternative.

There are nonetheless some veteran tight ends who might be signed if Gronk doesn’t return. Jimmy Graham, Kyle Rudolph and Jared Prepare dinner are a number of the larger names. They’re all around the age of 30 and never the weapons they have been of their prime, although. Eric Ebron can also be obtainable and is 29, however his play actually went downhill final yr in Pittsburgh.

QUESTION: If the Saints can get new black helmets what provide chain points are holding up the Bucs throwback unis? Restricted orange thread?

ANSWER: That’s a superb query. I used to be questioning the identical factor once I noticed the Saints unveil their black helmets on social media final week. I feel the distinction is that getting 53 black helmets is totally different from getting 53 orange and white throwback uniforms, which comprise of jerseys and pants. Completely different supplies are used to make soccer uniforms versus the helmets.

There are provide chain points clearly affecting totally different sectors. The infant system scarcity is definitely the extra urgent and vital one throughout the nation. However apparently the Bucs throwback uniforms might be prepared for the 2023 season. Maybe that would be the lure to get Tom Brady to return again and play yet another season in Tampa Bay.

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