If there were any questions to how valuable Vita Vea is to this Bucs defense they should’ve been answered by his return in the playoffs. Just in case they weren’t, Vea put on a clinic in Tampa Bay’s season opening win against the Dallas Cowboys. Constantly pressuring the quarterback to a team high of six total pressures. His 18.2 percent pressure rate on his 33 rushes was also the highest on the team.

Vea told the media just days before the opener that getting after the quarterback consistently is something he and his teammates have been working on all summer.

“This past two months that’s the number one thing coach Kacy[Rodgers] has been harping on us, and the the number one thing we’ve been working on all training camp,” Vea said. “Working moves and trying to rush the passer. We’ve been trying to just take steps and doing better in rushing. Kacy has been on us for trying to get better at doing that and we’ve been improving but still got a lot more work to do.”

Clearly it has been working for Vea.

Vea is a pivotal part of the Bucs run defense, one that held Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott to only 33 yards. He is showing that he is more than just a big run stuffing nose tackle. Head coach Bruce Arians had high praise for Vea, who had two sacks in an injury-shortened 2020 season, after the game.

“Obviously, everybody thinks of him as a run-stuffer but he’s a hell of a pass-rusher”, Arians said. “He got the one holding; it should have been back-to-back holding penalties. He crushed that guard both times. They called the first one, but they wouldn’t call two in a row. He had a hell of a night.”

Vea’s night on national television is starting to bring him more attention around the league as well. Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner called him, “The best pure nose tackle in the league.” With NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger saying, “No one man can stop his force.”  With more games like the one he had to start the season Vea will cement himself as not just the best nose tackle, but as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL today.

Share On Socials

About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
Subscribe
Notify of
22 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
76bucsfan46
1 month ago

You got some falcon buffet this week big dog, let’s eat.

fredster
1 month ago

He played great! He also was held (tackled one play) badly minimum 2-3 times and not called.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

Minimum is right Fred. He is too big and strong for any of those o linemen not to hold him. Penalties could have been called the entire game for holding Vita Vea.

Dman
Reply to  fredster
1 month ago

Absolutely right. That film has to be giving o lineman around the league nightmares.

NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

I guess I can officially go on the record and say I was wrong about this draft pick. I wanted Derwin James the entire time, but that’s why Licht gets paid by an NFL team, and I work elsewhere lol. There is no NT better than Vita Vea in the entire NFL. Kudos Mr. Licht.

scubog
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

Nice to see you come around NF2.0. Many here are too quick to judge. There are a lot more safeties like James than there are nose tackles like Vita Vea.

SenileSenior
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

I, for one, appreciate your honesty regarding your change of mind, NaplesFan. When Jason Licht took Vita Vea, a nose tackle, with our first pick in the spring of 2018 what was he thinking? Could he see into the future that he would be able to lure Bruce Arians out of retirement in 2019? Could he have counted on the hire of a defensive coordinator such as Todd Bowls and the subsequent revamping of our entire defense. Not once have I seen any of the pundits at Pewter Report or their competitors at JBF (or anyone else) ever supply any insight as to… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  SenileSenior
1 month ago

He was probably thinking, Vea is the best guy to draft. And he was right.

bedford20
Reply to  SenileSenior
1 month ago

He was probably thinking we have to get rid of Gerald McCoy!!!

SenileSenior
Reply to  bedford20
1 month ago

The other side of the coin is the question of replacing GMC as a 3 technique DT under a 4-3 scheme. If that is what the decision was based on then it was just a coincidence that Vea was superbly qualified to be a NT under the 3-4!
Maybe the thinking was that Vea was so talented he could adapt easily to the role and be that replacement for the aging McCoy. A strange pick in that situation from that point of view.
I sure wish somebody could enlighten me.

scubog
Reply to  SenileSenior
1 month ago

At the time Vita Vea was drafted the Bucs played a 4-3 defense with McCoy playing the old Warren Sapp “3 Technique” position, which is supposed to be a pass rushing role with a nose tackle beside him. In that scheme, Vea would have lined up next to McCoy, not replace him. Vita Vea is a true 3-4 Nose Tackle which is the scheme employed by the Bucs now. Maybe Licht was a bit prophetic and envisioned the Bucs defensive alignment change, but I think he just took the best player.

Captain Sly
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

I remember some of those comments, Lol! Is that why you change your name from “Fire Licht Movement “ just kidding… Someone else may find themselves eating crow in a few years when one Kyle Trask is leading this team to the playoffs. Ahem! Anyway it’s refreshing when you’re man enough to admit when you’re wrong.

TBChucky
1 month ago

Big man played great. Loved when he was drafted, still do now. He’s one of my favorite Bucs!

thewbacca
1 month ago

Loved him in there as a fullback too for that short yardage play. Lenny behind him was the most automatic 3 yards since the A-Train.

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  thewbacca
1 month ago

The short yardage play on offense was awesome. Vea pushed the line 2-3 yards all on his own, made it an easy run. Wow, hopefully we can keep him healthy all year.

Buc76
1 month ago

The modern day Fridge! Let’s hope he’s healthy at the end like last year

bucballer
Reply to  Buc76
1 month ago

No u didn’t just drop the “”Refrigerator” Perry reference! It’s a great call to put him in on short yardage and goal line plays. Unstoppable! When I was in college they were trying to hype Perry out of Clemson for the Heisman. They mass produced theses posters of Perry standing with him holding his helmet at his side while standing in front of refrigerator. U couldn’t see any of the refrigerator illustrating just how wide and big he was! I believe Vita could properly reproduce that poster as well! Vita is a beast! If he stays healthy this defense will… Read more »

SenileSenior
Reply to  Buc76
1 month ago

I am also old enough to remember the Fridge. I loved him but this guy is much more talented. He may well end his career among the all time top five nose tackles.

seat26
1 month ago

That play was a thing of beauty. He just completely jammed that center.

Spitfire
1 month ago

Didn’t we have a ton of people on here hate on the Vea pick too originally? Claiming he was a bust and Licht should be fired for picks like his? It’s funny how many armchair GMs we got on this page only to be proven ridiculously wrong later on…

SenileSenior
1 month ago

I wanted Vea over James initially. I was intrigued with what little I knew of him. I think I had the thought of a change to the 3-4 base on our defense in the back of my mind at that time.

I know I was looking for a DE but, I don’t recall there being any who I strongly wanted being available when our pick came up. I loved the pick!

Buc-Up
1 month ago

Most DT taken I the 1st round take at least 2-3yrs to develope before they become impact players. He was kicking butt last year but got. Then came back and picked back up where he left off in the Postseason. Now he’s stepped it up again!