Pierre-Paul closer to returning to Bucs

by Gary Shelton on October 10, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Pierre-Paul finished with 12 1/2 sacks last season./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 3 a.m.

You remember his smile. You remember his bearing. Most of all, you remember the way he got after the opposing quarterback.

Don't look now, but Jason Pierre-Paul is about to take another stride toward getting back into the Bucs' lineup.

Pierre-Paul, out all season because of a car crash, will start practicing next week. There is no set date for his return, but the thought of him joining the pass rush has to be a good thought for coach Bruce Arians.

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"He can start practicing next week and we have a schedule set up for him, and (we’ll) see how it goes," Arians said. "It’s huge – just leadership alone, but then a great player also. It’ll be a lot of fun with he and Shaq (Barrett) and Carl (Nassib) and all those guys rushing the passer."

Arians was asked how much he relies on sports science as opposed to a gut feeling when it comes to the way to handle travel to London.

"Sports science all the way – my gut stinks," Arians said. "It doesn’t know anything. We’ve got outstanding people and the plan has been set in stone for months and I think our guys are following the plan pretty well.”

So what does Arians' gut say about why the tight ends haven't been used more?

"We’ve had five to eight plays scheduled to go that didn’t look good so we didn’t call them because of what we’re seeing, and areas of the field where they can be heavily used," Arians sad. "We’ve got three wide receivers, two tight end sets (with) no backs we’ve been using to try to get those guys involved. It’s just a matter of where the ball goes. They’re not doing anything wrong, that’s for sure.”

Arians coached in London with the Cardinals in 2017, but he said this was different.

"We’re doing this one totally different because we left Monday, but it was a 13-hour flight from Phoenix," Arians said. "We practiced there the entire week rather than play on the east coast, lay around the stadium for four hours somewhere if you played a game before you can get into Heathrow. We’re not going into Heathrow. We’re doing a lot of things differently than some teams have done.”

The Bucs have already played Carolina this year, but since then, the Panthers have changed quarterbacks to Kyle Allen.

"Some of the things they’re doing – they’re doing a lot more motions, a lot more screens (and) a lot more quick passing than they were doing," Arians said. "The jet motions and the sweeps and things, getting [Christian] McCaffrey out in space – which they had done a little bit against the Rams when we broke them down – but he (Kyle Allen) is an accurate passer. He’s playing really well.”

The Saints gave extra help on outside linebacker Shaq Barrett last week. Arians said that other linemen have to step it up.

"Other guys have got to get home," Arians said. "Carl (Nassib) was close three times and had him wrapped up one time and just didn’t get him down. Vita (Vea) – (Ndamukong) Suh came through (and) got clipped but it wasn’t called, but he got some pressure. We moved him off the spot enough. We’ve just got to tighten up on the back end.”

The Bucs play the Panthers at 9:30 a.m. in London.

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