FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• One thing to keep in mind regarding Bucs rookie Vita Vea is that he has only in his fourth season playing defensive tackle at any level. Think about that.
Vea was a running back in high school and came to the University of Washington as an athlete before being moved to defensive tackle where he started as a redshirt freshman. Contrast Vea’s relative inexperience with that of six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who has played the position for nearly 25 years dating back to his Pop Warner days.
“I’ve played defensive tackle I was seven,” the 31-year old McCoy said. “Vita’s a freak of nature. He’s just green. I think he developed with what he was doing based off the scheme. The way he played in college is different then what we play now. We attack now. College was more ‘read’ for him, and he was doing a lot of lateral read. It was ‘I’m gonna take you and move you because I can.’ In the NFL you’ve got to play with technique, and now that he’s starting to get the technique down. I’m happy for him. I’m happy for Vita.”
McCoy believes that Vea has such a high ceiling due to his lack of experience playing the position and having to really learn how to play it at a high level in the pros.
“He’s got a combination of both power and quickness,” McCoy said. “All of us have something. Carl [Nassib] has his length, his motor. Beau [Allen] has his motor and is just a solid guy. JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) is Gumby – he can just bend however it feels like. I’m the quick get-off guy. Vinny [Curry] is a get-off guy. Vita’s the combination of both. He can move and he’s got power behind it. He’s got stop-and-go strength. A lot people have to generate power, he can be in one place, and then just ‘Gggrrrr!’ Ain’t nobody can do that but him. But if you look around the league, it’s rare that anybody can do that. Once he’s able to harness that and do it play-in and play-out, he’s going to really jump.”
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The best part about it is that when you click on the Fanatics.com banners or links on PewterReport.com a portion of the sale goes to PewterReport.com to help pay for operating costs of the website you’ve come to love and trust for your Bucs news. So whether it’s NFL, college football, college basketball, NHL or MLB gear you are looking for, you’ll find it at Fanatics.com where they have the retro Starter pullover jackets now in stock. Click here and shop today.
DRAFT DIAMOND: MIAMI DT GERALD WILLIS
PewterReport.com is the undisputed leader in Bucs draft coverage each year. During the 2018 draft, we accurately forecasted the selection of three Tampa Bay draft picks as defensive tackle Vita Vea, offensive lineman Alex Cappa and wide receiver Justin Watson were all Bucs’ Best Bets.
Draft season for the PewterReport.com staff starts in September as we do a great deal of scouting during college football season. Trevor Sikkema, who also provides content for TheDraftNetwork.com, provides SR’s Fab 5 with a weekly segment called Draft Diamond where we focus on a different draft prospect each week. This week’s Draft Diamond is Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis.
There is a chance that the Buccaneers choose to move on from their long-time defensive tackle Gerald McCoy this offseason, meaning 2019 could be the first year since 2010 that a Bucs defense will not feature him in the middle. If the Bucs do choose to move on from McCoy, they have a few options in the draft.
Tampa Bay could try to address that need in the first round with another defensive tackle one year after selecting Vita Vea in Round 1. if they want to do that, players like Raekwon Davis from Alabama or Jeffery Simmons from Mississippi State could be options. But for the purpose of this section, I’m going to highlight another defensive tackle they could choose a bit later.
Willis, 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, has a interesting story. He committed and attended the University of Florida after earning a 5-star recruiting rating, but was dismissed from the team after his first year there due to multiple transgressions. He ended up at the University of Miami two years later where he has thrived in his senior season. With 18 tackles for loss and four sacks, Willis is a changed man both on and off the field. He is a true pass-rushing disruptor of a defensive tackle that the Bucs might have a shot at in the early second round due to how deep the class is. If they move on from McCoy, look for Willis to be an option.
• PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema, intern Matt Metera and I analyzed this Sunday’s Bucs at Cowboys game in the new Pewter Nation Podcast that was recorded on Thursday at One Buccaneer Place. Be sure to listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 100 Part 21: What To Play For To End 2018 by clicking here.
If you missed Monday’s Pewter Nation Podcast, Episode 100 Part 20, which came out after Tampa Bay’s loss to Baltimore, make sure you listen to it while you are out and about this weekend doing some holiday shopping. You can listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Ep100 Part 20: Sinking Ship by clicking here.
Listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on your drive home from work on Fridays or on Saturdays while doing some chores around the house or running errands this weekend is fun and will bring you holiday joy. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped after the Bucs – Cowboys game on Monday. Don’t miss the post-game thoughts from Sikkema, Cook and yours truly as Tampa Bay tries to improve on last year’s win total and get to 6-9 on the season.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• Dirk Koetter’s first game as Tampa Bay’s head coach came at Atlanta in 2016 when the Bucs upset the Falcons, 31-24, on opening day that year. It could come full circle for Koetter, who was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator from 2012-14 before being fired along with Mike Smith’s entire staff, as his last game as the Bucs’ head coach could come against his former team. Tampa Bay hosts Atlanta in the 2018 season finale, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Koetter fired after that game.
Koetter entered the 2018 campaign on the hot seat after a disappointing 5-11 record last year after a promising 9-7 mark in 2016. The problem for Koetter is the Glazers’ lack of patience and tolerance for back-to-back losing seasons. Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith both had just two years at the helm in Tampa Bay after losing seasons because they each had back-to-back losing seasons and were fired before reaching the third year in their contract.
A 7-9 record would be a two-win improvement over last year’s 5-11 mark, and that might give the Glazers some pause over firing Koetter. But that only happens if the Bucs win at Dallas on Sunday and at home against Atlanta the following week, which looks to be a tall order considering how badly the Cowboys need to win at home to stay ahead of Philadelphia and Washington in the NFC East. However, a 7-9 record would not guarantee Koetter’s return, and a 6-10 or 5-11 finish would almost assuredly seal his fate.
The candidate to fill the Bucs’ possible coaching vacancy that is generating the most buzz is Baltimore’s John Harbaugh, who could be out if the 8-6 Ravens don’t make the playoffs this year. There is some genuine interest in Harbaugh in Tampa Bay if he becomes available, and don’t rule out a possible trade, either. I chronicled Harbaugh’s career with the Ravens in Sunday’s 2-Point Conversion.
• Our @PewterReport Twitter account is almost at 31,000 followers. If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here. To follow us on Facebook please click here. And to follow @PewterReport on Instagram and you can do so by clicking here.
• Bucs linebacker Lavonte David now has 13 fumble recoveries, surpassing the likes of the legendary Ronde Barber (12) and Lee Roy Selmon (10). Since 2012 no NFL player has recovered more fumbles than David’s 13. The next-highest total is 11 from Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.
David’s two sacks last week at Baltimore tied his career high and mark his third multi-sack game (Sept. 8, 2018 at NY Jets and January 1, 2017 vs. Carolina). David is one of four active players with 20 sacks and 10 interceptions, along with linebacker Thomas Davis, linebacker Derrick Johnson and Peppers.
David, who leads the Bucs with 105 tackles and has also forced a fumble, capped off another tremendous year in Tampa Bay by winning the team’s Ed Block Courage Award.
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