Bucs right tackle Tristan Wirfs played like a Pro Bowler in his first season in the NFL last year. This season, he wants to become a Pro Bowler.
After accomplishing the ultimate team goal – winning Super Bowl LV – as a rookie, Wirfs is focused on a more personal goal in 2021.
“One of the goals I wrote down – I do the sticky note thing, I’ve done it since high school where I’ll write something down and put it on my mirror so I see it every day – I was back at the Iowa weight room training this offseason and I see all these guys’ Pro Bowl jerseys up on the wall every day,” Wirfs said. “I’ve always wanted to be up on the wall in that building and have my name there. I thought it would be pretty cool to get a Pro Bowl jersey and be able to hang it up there. So to make the Pro Bowl would be one of my goals this year.”
“Rookie offensive linemen aren’t supposed to come into the league and be as good as Wirfs has been in his first season. “His 82.2 overall PFF grade ranks second at the right tackle position behind only Jack Conklin, and Wirfs has earned that by going toe to toe with some of the best edge defenders in the league.”
Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Wirfs showed he could handle different styles of pass-rushers all season — holding each of Cameron Jordan,Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Brian Burns to three or fewer pressures over 15-plus pass-blocking snaps. It’s hard to imagine things breaking better for the Buccaneers, who got what appears to be the top rookie tackle in a talented class as the fourth offensive tackle to come off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft.”
Wirfs isn’t going to rest on his laurels following a sensational rookie season. He’s been working with offensive line coach Joe Gilbert to make 2021 even better.
“I’m trying to stop off my toes when I’m run-blocking so I’m not getting all top heavy, leaning forward and falling over,” Wirfs said. “Coach Gilbert sent me some stuff to try to work on this offseason to help with that.”
Wirfs said that the pressure that comes from trying to keep legendary quarterback Tom Brady upright and healthy was quite the motivating factor during his first NFL season.
“Especially having Tom Brady back there – that’s always in your mind,” said Wirfs, who only gave up one sack as a rookie. “Making sure nobody comes close to him or gets near him. I remember he told us last year, ‘Don’t get beat fast and don’t get beat inside and we’ll be alright.’ I held on to that pretty tightly last year. It’s pretty cool having him back there.
“Tom is a very motivated person. To have him back there, he definitely brings the best out in us. You want to keep him safe. You don’t want anything to happen to him.”
Wirfs and his Bucs teammates aren’t going to let themselves get complacent after winning Super Bowl LV. Head coach Bruce Arians said that he didn’t sense any complacency during the first day of mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday.
“I don’t think nervous is the right word, but it’s always something you think about after you come off something good,” Wirfs said. “For me, something that [Iowa head coach Kirk] Ferentz always used to say that the hay is never in the barn,” Wirfs said. “You’re never there. You’ve never made it. You always have work to do.”
This season Wirfs is working on becoming a Pro Bowl right tackle en route to helping the Bucs defend their Super Bowl championship.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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