FAB 3. Bucs’ Pass Rush Starts With Barrett

Tampa Bay was only able to muster up one sack in its 2019 season opening loss to San Francisco due to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting the ball out of his hand so quickly. Getting only one sack from Todd Bowles’ blitz-happy defense was a bit of a surprise, but it wasn’t a surprise that it came from the team’s quickest pass rusher, new outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett.

Barrett came off the left edge of the defense in the second quarter and dropped Garoppolo for an eight-yard loss to set up second-and-18 at the Tampa Bay 27. Two plays later, 49ers rookie Deebo Samuel would fumble on a wide receiver screen pass and the Bucs would get their second turnover of the game.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“It felt good, I’m not going to lie!” Barrett said. “It felt good to start the season with a sack and get to the quarterback. I just need to keep it up and hopefully create some turnovers to help the team out and get some dubs (wins).”

Listed at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds – perhaps generously – Barrett doesn’t look any bigger than star inside linebacker Lavonte David or rookie Devin White. But size doesn’t matter at linebacker in Bowles’ defense – speed does.

Speed kills.

And without the services of premier pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, who led the team with 12.5 sacks last year in his first season in Tampa Bay, the Bucs are counting on the speedy Barrett to bring some heat off the edge. Barrett was tied for the team lead with two sacks in the preseason, including a sack-fumble in the first quarter of Tampa Bay’s win at Dallas.

“You saw him have two sacks in the preseason and he had a big game in the last one,” said Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson. “He was way better than the guys he was playing against, but that’s what you like to see. He dominated. What I like about Shaq is that he’s going to bring the pass rush. He’s shifty and he’s shaky. He’s been studying under Von Miller for years out in Denver, so he’s going to bring some of that Von Miller to us here. He’s not Von Miller, but he brings some of that slick pass rush to us.

“You see Carl Nassib on one side with straight power, power, power – and effort. Then you see a guy like Shaq who is more shifty and shaky, and will try to beat you inside and outside. We have two different guys on each side, which is good. I think Shaq had a good training camp and I think he’s going to have a really good year.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Barrett, who is 26, has five years of experience playing in Denver’s 3-4 scheme opposite Miller, so he’s well-versed in rushing the passer as a stand-up outside linebacker.

“This defense is similar, but it’s also a lot different,” Barrett said. “It’s a 3-4 defense, but the play-calling is really different. I thought my preseason was okay, but it was nowhere close to where I want to be. I have a lot to build on. I think I did okay, but it’s not the way I wanted to perform. I’m looking forward to having a good season to showcase what I can really do.”

Multiple sources within the walls of the AdventHealth Training Center told me prior to training camp that they believed Barrett would lead the team in sacks with Pierre-Paul’s absence for the first half of the year. Barrett has plenty of believers inside the locker room, too.

“He’s special off that edge,” Bucs inside linebacker Kevin Minter said of Barrett. “He has some moves. His spin move is crazy. He’s got the dip-and-rip. He’s definitely bringing some of that JPP back into this defense. He’s going to be a premier pass rusher. I’m excited for him. Don’t be surprised if he has a great year. I’m talking like 10-15 sacks. He’s capable of that. Coach Bowles is going to dial him up and he can’t miss the lay-ups.

“He’s filling a void and we need him. “B.A. (Bruce Arians) is always talking about the next man up, and that’s Shaq. He has some big shoes to fill with JPP being out, but he’s been in this league long enough to where he knows what it takes. He’s a pro. He’s fairly young, but he’s an older dude, too. He has a family and he has his priorities right. I think he’s focused going into the season and I’m expecting big things from him this year.”

Having Pierre-Paul’s presence on the weak side of the defense last year helped Nassib get a career-high 6.5 sacks. The hope is that Barrett, who now has 15 career sacks, can cause enough pass rush on one side to draw attention and free up Nassib to get some one-on-ones on the other side.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Getty Images

“Shaq is like a seasoned vet,” Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea said. “He knows what he’s doing out there. As camp went on I felt like he and Carl really worked with each other to get that chemistry down. Shaq was up there with Von Miller so he learned a lot under his wing. He brings a lot of knowledge to the game and to this defense. He’s versatile and has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He has some nice moves that he can use and counter off of. He has a nice arsenal of moves.”

Barrett can win with speed off the edge like he did against San Francisco, but he also has a wicked inside spin move that he used in the Miami and Dallas games, too.

“People say that you have to have one really good move, but I have a lot of moves to keep guys guessing,” Barrett said. “I’ve been working on some power moves because I was always finesse growing up my whole life. So I’m just working on power moves to keep them guessing.”

Barrett, who signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with Tampa Bay this offseason, needs to start stringing sacks along to help the team, and that means chasing around Cam Newton on Thursday night in Carolina. While Barrett may be leading the charge he can’t be the only one. It will need to be a team effort to contain the scrambling Newton and bring him down.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“What I like is that there are opportunities for sacks in this defense for everybody,” Barrett said. “The plays will be there to be made, we just have to make sure that we make them. I’m making my plays for sure. We’ve got a bunch of playmakers on this defense, including me.”

As he proved in the preseason and in Week 1, the Bucs’ pass rush starts with Barrett.

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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: [email protected]
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sunshineben

How many years do you give Winston on his play on the field before bucs mgt decide to move . isn’t going on 5 years enough? (not including his personal lapses)

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Spitfire

It’s this year. He has this year. If he doesn’t cut it they’ll be Drafting another QB. If he does cut it then he will stay, especially since there’s been no evidence of personal lapses since entering the NFL.

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niko521

This goes for spitfires comment too… For those who want to give up on winston, we are NOT drafting a QB next year. You draft a QB with the no 1, 2 or 3 spot in the draft. the Bucs, even if they win only 6 games, will be drafting 8-11. Your looking at years of Free Agent Nick Foles, Keenum, Cousins type QBs, not another franchise. you have to go 2-14 to get that. As for Sunshine Ben and all others, lets play a game about Winstons “Personal issues” How many Jameis Winston transactions or problems has he committed… Read more »

JordyNYC

I think you need to add some context to Winston’s interceptions against San Fran. 2 of them were not on Winston as one bounced right out of OJ’s hands and one of the pick 6s was a result of a wrong route by the receiver. The other pick 6 though… yuck.

I’m sick of this crap, too, but not all interceptions are created equally.

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Spitfire

I still think they should add an INT category. If a ball is catchable and bounces off a receiver then it should count against the Receiver, not the QB.

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fredster

You give him this whole year Ben. Dumb question to ask. No 3 1/2 years isn’t enough given the defense was worst in league most that time and no run game. He hasn’t played 5 years or even 4. You think that’s a formula for success or any QB would be much better? If you do then your stupid. The run game needs to be average and it looks like it might but it’s been 1 game. Will see. The defense look ls like it can be average finally too. So if he doesn’t have good year and those two… Read more »

76Buc

fredster you very often make some very astute observations, but you seem to always want to put people down. You can argue successfully without calling fellow buc fans/poster’s questions stupid, retarded, dumb, ect. (except for B-A-B.)

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bucianco

Before you blast someone with such ferocity for stating their opinion, you might want to consider running your comment through a grammar checker, or a friend. I think it will help. If not, maybe try an anger management therapist? Just thinking outside the box here.

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thewbacca

Yeah, I stopped reading after “your stupid”. I don’t need sports comments to have perfect spelling and grammar, but come on now.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

If you go back to the days before they drafted Winston there a lot of experts calling him great and they were a lot of experts give a negative reports on him.
Tampa Bay chose to ignore all the negative information that was out on Winston.For the life of me I can’t imagine what they were thinking but it looks like it’s going to be a seven-year mistake

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Buc stops here

Best article I have seen on Winston – both the hopes and the failures. Can only hope he can turn it around but as is very true, time is running out for him to do it and get a new contract in Tampa.

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FLBoy84

Would’ve liked to see Barrett go for the strip sack when he took down Garoppolo, being that he was cocked to throw the ball. Will take any sack obviously, but turnovers need to become a regular focus.

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MizzouBucs24

I’m going put my #3 jersey on tomorrow night and root for the Bucs to win. I hope Jameis has the game of his life. Then I’m going to do the same thing every week after. Why you say? Because I’m a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!!! At the end of the season if Jameis is gone then I will hang his jersey in my closet right next to the Freeman jersey never to be worn again. Then we will get another QB and I will buy his jersey and wear it for every game he plays for the… Read more »

niko521

you should be writing a blog. Great read (your comment).

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owlykat

Great article again Scott. Three of our former QBs that had bad interception rates with us went to teams with better OLs than us and WON 3 SUPER BOWLS: Williams, Young, and Dilfer. And every QB who has played for us has played behind poor OLs and had bad interception ratios. What does that tell you? Fix our OL and you fix Jameis! BA is working on it by finally cutting Benenoch who can never be developed! As our OL improves this team will WIN!

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Naplesfan

Very good point owlykat. But fixing our O line has never been a priority with Jason Licht. He simply tries to make do and it results in poor offensive line play, year after year after year.

Put any quarterback behind Dallas front five, and he’d look pretty darn good.

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Ron Potter

I think the recent signing to replace Benenoch was just as much to send a message to Dotson as it was to cut Benenoch. Dotson made rookie mistakes/penalties in first game of season that cost us points while actual rookies had zero penalties. BA said penalties cost us game and Dotson was definitely a part of that. Hopefully Dotson feels more urgency to clean up his game now that Benenoch is gone.

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FLBoy84

Vividly remember the Freeman start vs the Jets unfortunately and recall wanting to fly up and smack Freeman around a bit to wake him up. Unreal start to a game, would love to know the real story behind it. And then to have LVD get that phantom personal foul penalty (Smith was still inbounds on the hit) near the end to set up their FG just capped it off.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

The 49ers had four touchdowns taking back with penalties 49ers played very sloppy a real good top team would’ve won that game by 70 points five years is enough send The BUST to another team . Let him be a back up and compete for a job the best thing in the world for him he’s any good he’ll improve their

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BUC-ASS-BOB

I have been screaming for 2 years this team needed serious answers from serious people there answer was to cut 7 good players to make room for a bust QB and fat O lineman Now one of the players they cut is the NFL player of the week and the quarterback they kept had 45percent rating. And Fredster making excuses calling me a moron.

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76Buc

Will Rogers never met fredster(or you).

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BucFan circa76

BAB, you are a moron, always have been, always will be. Oh, and your beloved Broncos are 0-2 and sucking wind…..losing to Oakland (who was horrible last season and besieged by distractions all preseason), and Dah-Beahs (in Denver). The Bucs & Winston will be fine, not sure about your Mile High Morons.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

If you go back to the days before they drafted Winston there a lot of experts calling him great and they were a lot of experts give a negative reports on him.
Tampa Bay chose to ignore all the negative information that was out on Winston.

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Buc-Up

SR, has anyone in the Bucs organization or the media pressured Winston to try wearing his contacts prescription goggles on the field?

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/9941415/jameis-winston-florida-state-seminoles-says-squinting-habit

I still think it’s his actual vision. I think he’s in denial that his his being nearsighted doesn’t affect his play. He’s like an elderly person that refuses to walk with a cane and is always falling down. They letbrheir pride get in the way.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

When you’re watching De Sean Jackson Flapping wings and doing somersaults in NFL highlights after those long TDS Don’t be mad at me you should be mad at Jason licht and the glaziers .

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bucballer

21-34 over career… 6-18 last three years! That is just stunning to this Buc fan! I mean we all lived it but damn! Jameis has led us to 2 wins a year the last 3 years. Wow! I like Jameis. I really do. I know it not ALL Jameis fault. Yes! I know this! But at some point he has to show us that he can win a game too! He needs to make the throws to win the game. How do u even begin to start contract talks for 22-25 mill a year for a $100 mill plus contract?… Read more »

spartan

So what’s the “shocking story” then?

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FinkleisEinhorn

Yeah, sick of PR constantly mentioning these cryptic, obscure remarks about Freeman. But then when readers implore, PR says, “Oh, we can’t discuss it.”

Then just quit mentioning it altogether.

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bucballer

Parnell Dickinson could get the Bucs 6 wins out of 48 games… about the glasses… I think ur right… Kameis seems to squint an awful lot. Surely, the team knows this and has tested him right? I’m a die hard Buc fan from 75! It’s when we were awarded an expansion team and no the owner was NOT Huge Culverhouse! Do u know that Culverhouse was so cheap that he let Doug Williams walk through free agency over about $100,000?!

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scubog

Been there right with you bucballer. It sure hasn’t been easy giving up my hometown Steelers in their mid-70’s heyday for our own expansion team.

“Paydirt” Dickinson was one of the early hopefuls along with “Why Not Minot” Hedberg and countless others. My goodness that list of failed QB’s is a long one. I sure hope Jameis succeeds. I’m getting too old to wait for a 2020 rookie.

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SenileSenior

Fab 1:  Amen to that! Fab2:  Again, Amen. Fab3:  Would it not be great if Barrett had 9 or 10 sacks for the season at least.  Nassib comes in with 8.  David, Suh and Vea all have 6 and others contribute as well.  (JPP is able to come back for the last six or seven games and is able contribute a few sacks also.) Fab 4:  They might play some music in the locker room sometime during the week after a game.  After any losses use selected up tempo music that would appeal to the various players tastes.  For a… Read more »

76Buc

Yes, I want to know what the shock story was!!!! OBT, if Winston throws 13 int’s by game 7 we are doomed and so is he.

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SenileSenior

Bravo, MizzouBucs24! I am rooting for the Bucs no matter what happens. I am pulling for Bruce Arians and his coaching staff to achieve a turnaround here this year and next. I am hoping this year’s draft plus all of the other personnel decisions this year will demonstrate a positive change. I am hoping that together Licht and Arians will make decisions superior to those of LIcht and Koetter or Licht and Smith in the past. I am hoping Licht and Arians together will outperform Arians and his previous GM as well. _________________ Go Bucs!!! Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

surferdudes

I’ve wondered about the glasses thing with Jameis too. Can someone from PR answer that question, does he wear contacts on game day? I’ve been calling for Dotson’s replacement for the last two years now. There’s no way the two new tackles we just signed can’t be any better. If they’re not, why did we sign them? I’m pulling for Jameis, always have, but it’s hard for me to believe he’s all of a sudden going to sop throwing picks. You know where I live on FL’s east coast the game was not shown on T.V.. I had to go… Read more »

Naplesfan

There is not a lot to be gained from comparing Winston’s performance to former Bucs quarterbacks from decades ago when the game was played very differently than it is today. Today’s NFL offenses are much more pass heavy, a lot more short passes that frequently substitutes for a rushing attack, the rules are much more favorable to quarterbacks and receivers than they are for defenders. It is more helpful to compare Winston’s performance with his contemporaries around the league for the last several years, where everybody is playing with the same rule books, and have more or less the same… Read more »

Ron Potter

Did a quick read-thru and surprised not to see Vinny Testaverde’s name in that top 5 list. I guess none of his really bad games were the first game of the season?

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bucianco

Winston, through all of his mistakes, is a pretty decent QB. Not top 5 but still pretty good. Mistakes? Yep! Great throws from time to time? Yep! Will he ever be top 5? Not in my book, but I would rather have him than several others that are currently starting elsewhere. Out of 32 starters I would place him around 20 or so. Matthew Stafford, while not considered a top 10 QB, is still considered to be pretty darn good. Took his team to the playoffs 3 times so far. Compare Winston’s numbers to Matthew Stafford’s for the first 4… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0

What matters in the end are wins. If Bucs have a winning season it is because Winston did enough to contribute. Does that mean he is re-signed? Automatically not necessarily. Then again Winston can play lights out and the Bucs end up with a record below .500. Like I said many times, winning hides a lot of flaws. Bucs win with Jameis and that will allow Jameis to grow confident in playing to live another day instead of looking for the big play. Winston is overthinking things when most plays are very simple. I watched the Falcons and Matt Ryan… Read more »

BucRy

If Winston has another bad game tomorrow night, he needs to be benched.

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bucballer

“Being challenged”… r u serious? BA came here knowing what Jameis is/was. He built this offense around Jameis! He’s being asked to be a distributor of pigskin. We don’t need u to try and win the game just facilitate. Hit ur check downs and use ALL ur talent and attributes. See a “go” route open, then sling it. This offense wasn’t built for the amount of drive killing, touchdown killing, penalties and turnovers. It’s like that. Execute the offense and minimize the negative and costly fumbles and INTs. That’s what BA wants from Jameis… if he didn’t think Jameis could… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0

Agreed.

Bucs have talented skill players on offense. Arians understands what he wants but Winston has to see the bigger picture of orchestrating full drives.

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bculaw

I’d love to see the coach’s film of this game. There weren’t many uncontested catches and JW looked uncomfortable from start to finish. Was he indecisive, or did he just have nowhere to throw the ball. 9ers defensive backs were believed to be soft coming into the game, but they sure seemed like they were blanketing our Wars pretty well.

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bucballer

Only Jameis can control what happens to Jameis!

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bucballer

I’m not sure how of u Buc fans actually live in Tampa, but I’d like to make a comparison with the Rays. Pitcher Chris Archer and QB Jameis Winston. Both had that IT factor. Both showed good stuff at times, in fact, Pro Bowl and All Star fire power. Both were fan favorites and their jerseys were plentiful in the stands. In the end, Archer was dealt for younger players and is still, with the Pirates a sub .500 pitcher with flashes of brilliance. Perhaps that is all Jameis is/will be? At some point you have to live up to… Read more »

BucFan circa76

Thats a lousy comparison. Archer, after all, was not the #1 overall draft pick in baseball, he was a 5th round selection by (not Tampa Bay) Cleveland, then traded to the Cubs, then the Rays. So, he was a journeyman before he even arrived here, and now gone. Winston is not even our worst 1st overall pick, not by a long shot.

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Johnny Cannons

Just watched the game today. Jameis wasn’t good enough, but didn’t have help on offense. Didn’t even think the officiating was that horrible outside of toe questionable calls. Also didn’t think the play calling was horrible, though still kinda vanilla. Offense writ large has a long way to go, though.

Told y’all about Shaq Barrett. This man is the truth, and I hope he gets a multi year contract. In Tampa.

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niko521

Scott, that’s great that you’ve followed the team for 24 years, this is my 40th anniversary as a Bucs die hard. VINNY was brought in an era when ownership was too cheap, and he cut his interceptions down when he got better coaching in New York with Jets under Parcells. Dilfer never shined as a QB, and at best looked like a Game Manager. only QB to get CUT after winning a Super Bowl. Freeman never had his heart in football. Jameis is unlike all of these examples, to give up on a 25 year old QB who is going… Read more »