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It didn’t take too many preseason snaps to see that Bucs’ first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was bursting with potential. As the rookie’s role has grown this season, that potential has become even more obvious. Tryon-Shoyinka picked up a pair of sacks in his second career start, working in place of Jason Pierre-Paul at New England in Week 4. It seemed a breakout was on the horizon, but then his role diminished again.

Pierre-Paul returned in Week 5, and Tryon-Shoyinka went back to a supplementary role. Despite the ineffectiveness of the veteran edge rusher, Tryon-Shoyinka only surpassed 19 snaps once – in a blowout win over Chicago. But on Monday night, the University of Washington product was back as a feature contributor. Looking for a pass rush spark with Vita Vea out, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles unleashed Tryon-Shoyinka as a chess piece rusher.

On Monday night, Tryon-Shoyinka moved all around the Bucs defensive front. He played a couple snaps as a hand down interior rusher, a couple snaps as an off-ball rover and even more snaps at each edge rusher spot. Heading into the game, Tryon-Shoyinka had dropped into coverage on almost 15 percent of his snaps, with pretty dismal results. But against the Giants, the first-rounder played 29 snaps and didn’t drop into coverage once. Instead, Bowles had him on the attack from the outset.

Early in the game it was clear Tryon-Shoyinka was going to be a problem. He erupted through the line on an off-ball alignment to pressure Daniel Jones into a hasty and errant third down throw. Sean Murphy-Bunting was flagged for pass interference, but Tryon-Shoyinka’s elite closing speed did exactly what Bowles intended it to do.

All season long, Bowles has relied on Tryon-Shoyinka’s athleticism to make plays. That’s a big reason why Bowles has loved dropping him into coverage. There is no question Tryon-Shoyinka is a great athlete, but coverage movement requires a lot more nuance as you respond to what other players are doing. On Monday night, Bowles had Tryon-Shoyinka moving forward in attack mode. That’s where he’s at his best.

A few plays later on the Giants’ opening drive, Tryon-Shoyinka again wreaked havoc. Lining up as a 3-technique, the rookie noticed Jones rolling out to his right. As Jones scanned his options, there was Tryon-Shoyinka, bursting across the field, long arms raised to force a throwaway. The Giants had to settle for a field goal as a result of the third down failure.

After watching Tryon-Shoyinka for 10 games, I can honestly say he’s in the top percentile for movement ability amongst all defensive linemen in the NFL. His lateral movement and change-of-direction is stunning. The transformation in his body and training he did in his year away from college football is incredible. The lateral cut on the tackle-end twist above is jaw-dropping. Even if the Giants did a better job of passing it off, there just aren’t many guards who can match that type of athleticism. It’s a free run at the quarterback, but it’s bought and paid for because Tryon-Shoyinka is a special athlete.

But not all Tryon-Shoyinka’s pressures were unblocked either. He made a number of quality plays to beat opposing linemen with his pass rush skill. On the play above, Tryon-Shoyinka is a crasher on another T-E twist. He barrels into the left guard, taking him back into the tackle. This frees up Shaq Barrett to loop inside for a hit on Jones. But Tryon-Shoyinka also wins, nearly getting a strip-sack. His long arm causes the ball to flutter out of Jones’ hand. If the Bucs hadn’t been playing soft, prevent coverage in the final seconds of the half, this pass could have been intercepted.

Tryon-Shoyinka just got better as the game went on. With the Giants in pass-heavy mode, his full arsenal was unleashed. The 22-year old hit a nasty stab-snatch-swim combo to beat New York’s left guard clean. The speed to close space to Jones here is impressive. Obviously you’d like to see Tryon-Shoyinka finish the job, but the process here is outstanding and forces another incompletion.

One of the big reasons I’ve wanted to see Tryon-Shoyinka play more snaps is that his elite pass rush skill can’t be fully unlocked until he develops a process against each opponent. He needs reps to figure out what works against certain opponents in the NFL. In this game, Tryon-Shoyinka got his highest number of pass rush snaps (29, which is 50 percent) since his two starts in Weeks 3-4. The result was a dominant fourth quarter once he figured out what worked against the Giants offensive line.

For good measure, here’s one of Tryon-Shoyinka’s last plays of the game. Another stab, but this time he converts it to a rip move to get under the guard. The lineman handles the rush better than the last one, but Tryon-Shoyinka still flashes across Jones’ face and forces the hasty check-down.

Bowles is the blitz-heaviest defensive play-caller in the NFL. That’s no secret. But it hasn’t been as effective for the Bucs this season as in years past. Tryon-Shoyinka is the key to unlocking Tampa Bay’s pass rush. He can line up all over the front, he’s a masterful chess piece for Bowles, he’s outstanding at running games from any alignment and he can win one-on-one too. If you want to blitz, he can help. If you want to rush four, he can line up inside or outside and win. Tryon-Shoyinka is the perfect attack piece for Bowles if the defensive coordinator will simply play him more.

Therein lies the concern. I won’t disparage Pierre-Paul by posting the host of hard-to-watch reps from the veteran on Monday night. He’s playing through immense pain right now and gutting it out for the team. I respect the heck out of that. Pierre-Paul is a warrior.

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

Bucs OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But there is no way any NFL coach can watch Monday night’s tape and believe he’s a better option than Tryon-Shoyinka right now. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Pierre-Paul has a torn rotator cuff and a fractured finger, while Tryon-Shoyinka is one of the most exciting rookies in the NFL. In 159 pass rush snaps this season, the JTS has 21 pressures per PFF. In 282 reps, Pierre-Paul has 17 pressures. The 12-year veteran is having his worst-graded season by far from PFF, and the tape backs it up.

It isn’t a fair fight right now. Pierre-Paul’s play has declined to the point of being detrimental to the Bucs defense. Yet, there he was, out-snapping even Shaq Barrett on Monday night. The madness has to stop.

Tryon-Shoyinka must begin to replace a healthy portion of Pierre-Paul’s snaps. That will help keep the elder pass rusher more fresh for the reps he does get, while also giving Tryon-Shoyinka more opportunities to produce. After Monday night, the Bucs coaching staff should have no doubt about how to proceed.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Pete Wood
Pete Wood(@littlebrownjug)
13 days ago

Why isn’t this guy playing more?

fredster
fredster(@fredster)
Reply to  Pete Wood
13 days ago

That’s the million dollar question. I can only assume they think he will make a big mistake because there is no doubt he is more athletic and better than an injured JPP with one hand and torn rotator cuff.

4girls
4girls(@4girls)
Reply to  fredster
13 days ago

You used the key word, “million”. JPP is making millions, while JTS isn’t. For whatever reason, Buc coaches are playing some substandard players because of their paycheck.
Don’t get me wrong, JPP is a stud. He’s a vet who has seen it all and can bring a lot to the D with his knowledge. But, right now, his body can’t cash those checks. JTS can. But, if the coaches don’t allow it to happen, it won’t. Sigh.

SenileSenior
SenileSenior(@xpfcwintergreen)
Reply to  Pete Wood
12 days ago

At one point during the second half there was a a several second shot of the sideline from the TV while our offense was on the field. At the time time I noted to myself that JTS was breathing heavy and JPP was not. Both had been out here for the previous defensive plays. Joe was doing more “sprints” while Jason was not.
In the years to come JTS will be our star. JPP is nearing the end of what his body can endure. He is past his peak. He is still a tremendous competitor.

fredster
fredster(@fredster)
13 days ago

Well cue up Naples moron to complain, cry, and defend JPP’s poor play and tell everyone how stupid we are and how smart he is. Lol. Laughable. Agree with the fact JPP is tough as nails and admirable to play through the pain but he is not effective and not even average against run or pass right now. He’s just not playing well and that’s the plain simple truth. If Bowles and Arians don’t play Tryon more after this game then I really have to question them both. He’s ready let the kid play!!!!

Last edited 13 days ago by fredster
Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
Reply to  fredster
12 days ago

Cue up the stupid idiot Fredster to whine and cry that I am whining and crying, which obviously to any non-idiot, I never engage in. I simply call out your stupid commentary, along with drd and chefboho, who continuously claim that the Bucs have horrible play callers, that would be the team coaches who produced a Super Bowl championship earlier this year, and have put the Bucs 2 games in front in first place in the NFC South, and produced the number one scoring offense in the league, and the number 11 scoring defense in the league despite being decimated… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27(@cgmaster27)
Reply to  Naplesfan
12 days ago

And cue your ego to post another lecture that makes no sense. JPP has more experience and knowledge? So what. It’s about production nort knowledge for a defensive end. That is a ridiculous argument. Football is mind AND BODY especially on the defensive side of the ball. Then you spew that Tryon cannot get better until he gets more reps? So how exactly is he supposed to do that with an injured JPP taking his snaps? And Tryon is better, and that’s not debatable. You can’t have watched the same game as anyone else in this comment section if you… Read more »

Benjamin
Benjamin(@jammin8519)
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 days ago

Naplesfan You do know that you don’t have to respond right? You could be the bigger person but nope right on cue you act like the fool everyone here knows you are. If you were not so foolish with your opinions no one would say a thing about you but you act like you know everything about the game of football when you show us time and time again you know very little. If you don’t want people talking about you then just stop being soooooo insanely foolish.

a-bomb
a-bomb(@a-bomb)
13 days ago

I firmly believe that Bowles knows what he has with this defense, and that he has intentionally held back certain aspects of what he ultimately wants to do so that teams have less film on the “real” Bucs defense when playoff time comes. JTS is part of that plan as is the insistence on playing soft zone early in the season. While injuries played a part, even when everybody was fully healthy in the Dallas game he was running that soft zone with corners who are clearly better in man coverage. The only thing to me that makes sense is… Read more »

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
Reply to  a-bomb
13 days ago

You make too much sense!

Captain Sly
Captain Sly(@captain-sly)
Reply to  a-bomb
13 days ago

He tipped his hand a little bit because he really needed to win this game but you can only keep a candle under a bushel so long before starting a forest fire. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will be Blazing Soon!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
Reply to  a-bomb
12 days ago

Bowles does not get the credit he deserves, especially from the idiot writers and commenters here at PR. Name me another DC who could have his entire defense completely decimated and riddled with major injuries, not only to the secondary but to other key starters like JPP, Vea, and David …. yet still has the 11th ranked scoring defense in the league! To go along with the obviously dismal performance of our other “stupid, stubborn” OC who has, despite all of his screw ups according to the self-appointed couch sitting experts here at PR, has managed to produce the number… Read more »

Benjamin
Benjamin(@jammin8519)
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 days ago

See here you are acting like a fool then trying to play the victim when people push back on your BS. Using name calling in place of factual evidence makes you sound quite moronic. Yea Byron Leftwich who calls the plays for the HIGHEST SCORING offense is and I quote ” a stupid, stubborn OC.” He’s stupid by what measure? Calling plays that get the ball into his best playmaker hands? By calling an offense that highlights what the Bucs do best and this is throwing the football. He’s stubborn because he wants Evans, Gronk, Godwin, and AB when healthy,… Read more »

compewterpirate
compewterpirate(@compewterpirate)
13 days ago

Great analysis Jon! Backs up what I thought subliminally during the game, that JTS was having a ‘good one’ and putting some real pressure on the QB, but it’s not until you break down the individual snaps that you can really see the athleticism and agility, plus his physicality. Bearing in mind he is a rookie the sky is the limit for this kid. The inescapable conclusion is that Bowles must play him more and reduce JPP’s workload, which in turn should allow him to heal up more quickly. The improved pass rush from the front 4 was noticeable on… Read more »

HomerSimpsonRocks
HomerSimpsonRocks(@homersimpsonrocks)
13 days ago

As usual, astute and incisive analysis.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
Reply to  HomerSimpsonRocks
12 days ago

As usual, wrong analysis. Virtually all of Ledyards critiques against our coaches are utter bullshit, produced by a couch sitter who knows not of what he writes. He thinks film tells the whole story of football .. it doesn’t. Film never tells anyone what a player knows, or how a player will perform in the future, and what the player does not yet know. Tryon Shoyinka will get there … but media morons and fans are constantly doing this … just like all the stupid Bears fans who constantly whined and moaned and complained about not getting their rookie quarterback… Read more »

Horse
Horse(@horse)
Reply to  Naplesfan
12 days ago

Of course it is. In no way is this a coaching issue. They have a plan with jts and it’s working; he will continue to get more snaps.
Go Bucs!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27(@cgmaster27)
Reply to  Naplesfan
12 days ago

The irony of your statement about utter bullshit is clearly lost on you.

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
Reply to  Naplesfan
12 days ago

Naples: You would probably have more credibility with your often valid comments/opinions if you didn’t resort to name-calling. In this case, I think Todd Bowles has a far greater knowledge of the entirety of the situation than any of us who are speculating……..including Jon Ledyard. I certainly don’t think Jon, or any of the PR staffers, have any sort of agenda like some of our fellow commenters. He’s just trying to show some examples of JTS’ play during this last game, not necessarily hoping to cast shade on JPP. It’s been pretty clear to me over the course of this… Read more »

Horse
Horse(@horse)
13 days ago

I believe they had a plan and it’s working, and hopefully we’ll see more JTS.

James Taylor
James Taylor(@jptaylor74)
12 days ago

Based on the production we are seeing from JTS as well as Anthony Nelson, it just doesn’t make sense to keep JPP out there when he is obviously hobbled by injury. The Bucs should consider putting JPP on IR and seeing if some of his injuries can heal before the playoffs. If you want to activate Carlton Davis you are going to have to make a roster move anyway. He’s not a rookie anymore so you can play JTS and let him make plays and learn the NFL game. He’s got plenty of gas in the tank and flashes in… Read more »

Benjamin
Benjamin(@jammin8519)
Reply to  James Taylor
11 days ago

Well JTS is a rookie until he has played 17 regular season games but he’s not playing like one that’s for sure. I hope he gets more playing time and right now he should be playing half the defensive snaps with JPP playing the other half. JPP is not producing when given the chance. I get it he’s hurt but like Shannon Sharpe says if you are healthy enough to play you have no excuses for poor play. He says it much better than I do but that’s how I feel. I don’t care about how hurt you are if… Read more »

Benjamin
Benjamin(@jammin8519)
11 days ago

Yea it’s mind boggling that JPP is playing so many snaps while being soooo ineffective with those snaps. JTS needs to be playing at least half of all defensive snaps from here on out. He’s the most gifted pass rusher on the team and will only get better with more playing time. I wasn’t sure about the pick during the draft but what I saw in pre season made me a believer from then on. He’s going to an absolute monster in the NFL.

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