Barrett has kicked in the door for the Bucs

by Gary Shelton on September 25, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

You push. You twist and you turn, and you try to get around the behemoth in front of. you. This guy bumps you. This guy grabs you.

Barrett has been a star for the Bucs/Photo By:© Joe Mestas

And you keep trying, keep leaning, keep driving.

Eventually, you get around a tackle. You push past the running back. You reach out and you grab the quarterback.

Finally, you get him down.

A sack.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)

Short of a turnover -- where the blame is on the offense -- it is the most devastating weapon a defense has. It strips an offense of both down and distance, and it kills drives. It is a rare, and it is golden.

And so far, Shaq Barrett seems to have figured it out.

He has been a force of nature, Barrett. He has a league-leading eight sacks for the Tampa Bay Buc, including seven in the last two weeks. There are other parts of the Bucs' defense that haven't worked as well, but Barrett has packed a season's worth of sacks into three weeks.

"He's amazing," teammate Lavonte David says. "I never seen it before in my life. To be that disruptive on an NFL level against premiere left tackles has been incredible to see.

"I guess he has a variety of moves. He's swift. Clean. It's incredible. I pray he keeps it up."

Face it. The Bucs have had mixed success in the free agent market. Vinny Curry? Anthony Collins? Michael Johnson? They have wasted far too much money. But Barrett has been that rare find who has exceeded expectations.

"No one’s done it – it’s a first," said Bucs' coach Bruce Arians. "To me, when you put that in the history of football, that’s big. What he’s done is big and hopefully he can continue.”

Arians was hopeful that Barrett would make an impact.

"I was hoping, but I don’t think anybody saw it coming – eight (sacks).”

Barrett will be important Sunday against the Rams. So, too, will be the run defense that has controlled Christian McCaffery and Saquon Barkley the last two weeks.

"Yeah, it starts with stopping Todd Gurley or the game’s over for us defensively," Arians said. "([If) we don’t stop him, it’s going to be a long day. Just like the other two, we’ve got to plan for it, rally to the ball, make more than one guy make the tackle and force the quarterback to beat us."

Gurley is a different type of back.

"Todd’s more of a downhill slasher," Arians said. (If) you give him any little crease, it’s to the house. Those other guys are shiftier maybe, and Todd’s also a heck of a receiver. I don’t think he gets credit for how good of a receiver he is out in space. We’re talking about three of probably the top five backs in the league, and they’re all different, but they’re all really outstanding.”

Arians said the defense has to be efficient.

"I think they’ve got a good plan – really good plans," Arians said. Todd (Bowles) has put them in position to stop the run and we’re tackling well. We’re not missing a lot of tackles and we’re not giving up a lot of yards after the catch other than that one the other day. The safeties have tackled well. Jordan (Whitehead’s) done a good job in there, and so have our nickels when they’re coming in to plug gaps. When you have those type of guys tackling, it helps.”

Speaking of the run, quarterback Jameis Winston would like to do a little of it himself.

“Yeah, I’ve taken a couple sacks, but that’s what I do – I try to make plays – and I just haven’t been making a lot of plays," Winston said. "I took a lot of sacks last game, but eventually I’m going to scramble and we’re going to make some big plays.

“That’s what I always do. I’m always trying to make a play downfield, but sometimes when you extend plays, you’ve got a good side – you have big plays – and sometimes you take some sacks.”

The Bucs ran the ball seven consecutive plays Sunday, but Winston doesn't mind.

"I think we were just running the ball effectively, and it really steps on a team’s will when you’re able to run down their throat," Winston said. "You think about that drive we had against Carolina where we just ran that ball. We really were one block away from scoring a touchdown against the Giants, so it’s definitely a team effort. I got my chance at the end of the game and we executed there. We’re going to have some games like that. Now, we’ve just got to bounce back, focus on this game and try to get a victory.”



{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: