Bruce Arians has been perfectly clear that with the long stretch of away games that Tampa has to start fast in September. Starting fast in camp forms habits and habits carry into the season. Arians is pleased with what he is seeing.
Speed and execution are two very important factors when wanting to start fast and the Kangol wearing hipster head coach is loving how practices are going so far, especially with the play of the defensive line. Arians said the defensive linemen are not only working their tails off, but they are showing flexibility, meaning that they can play multiple positions that should wreak havoc upon opposing offensive lines. It also seems that Vita Vea is coming along as 3-technique lineman, nose tackle, and in the 5 technique. With Vita Vea slimming down and tackling multiple positions, I wouldn’t expect him to come out of the game.
*3 technique on the outside shoulder of a guard, and 5 technique on the outside shoulder of a tackle
Praise for Carl Nassib as he takes on the outside linebacker position. He is doing a hell of a job! Nassib played a stand-up DE last season in Mike Smith’s joke of a 4-3 hybrid and did quite well. Nassib’s 6.5 sacks were by no means quiet, and I would expect more this year from the up and coming star. Carl Nassib leading the way and setting the tempo can only cause disruption of opposing offenses and quite frankly could earn him a big fat “C” on his chest.
Arians is still looking for missing pieces as OTAs continue, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be a defensive lineman. There are a couple of spots that Arians will keep his eye on the waiver wire to add to, remembering back to guys like John Abraham and Eric Winston as guys that were picked up in June and worked well for the team. Arians will stay on the constant search for key additions as the summer moves on.
With the younger players stepping up in practice, like Ronald Jones, Tampa will be a youngry team primed to prove the doubters wrong. The hunger to see pads put on is growing.
Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis are looking good in practice, and with the two of them healthy, they will add much-need stability to the secondary. Mike Edwards is shining in practice and has been called a savvy- heady player that would leave the coaches surprised if he doesn’t turn into a ball hawking safety.
Lavonte David has always been a leader on this defense, but it’s newcomer Devin White that is taking over while Carl Nassib is considered by Arians to be the best leader that the defense has.
Running back Shaun Wilson was injured last season, but this year is looking like he could be a real mismatch on the offense and Andre Ellington looks to have regained his rookie mojo. The offense, which was really good last season in Koetter’ vanilla scheme, looks to be much improved.
William Gholston is not going anywhere, and in fact, Arians stated that he is one of the most consistent guys they have at the moment. Returning to his natural position back on the interior line, Gholston should have a great season under Todd Bowles.
The Buccaneers are picking up Bowles’ defense and Arians/ Leftwich’s offense quickly. If everything translates to the field in September, people will need to begin rethinking their season predictions and finally give us the respect we haven’t had in over 20 years.