Can the Bucs’ defensive line be monstrous?

by Gary Shelton on May 4, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

David thinks the Bucs  defuse will be better./CARMEN MANDATO

David thinks the Bucs defense will be better./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

They haven't shared the same room yet, let alone the same huddle. Already, however, the legend of the rebuilt defensive line of the Tampa Bay Bucs has begun.

The Monsters, anyone?

What it lacks in subtlety, it gains in sheer force. The new defensive line of the Bucs -- Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea and Vinny Curry --promises to be one of the Bucs' better defensive fronts in recent years.

"It's the Monsters over there," said Bucs' offensive tackle Donovan Smith Thursday.  "It’s really just going to make us compete and be better as an O-Line

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Smith has a nickname for the defensive line./CARMEN MANDATO

Smith has a nickname for the defensive line./CARMEN MANDATO

because I don’t think any offensive line is going to go against as great as a defensive line as we are day in and day out. It’s going to make us better.”

Smith has received a lot of criticism outside the building. However, he thinks he's ascending into an elite tackle.

“I’m real close," Smith said. "Obviously, [I’m in] year four. Experience is the best teacher. A lot of guys sometimes take longer than others and sometimes take shorter than others. So, I’m right there and it’s up to me to decide really. I’m right there, I’m pushing forward to be top-three, top-two, number one tackle in the league. So, you know, it’s all up to me.”

Smith praised Pierre-Paul.

“Why would I give you the scouting report on my teammate?" he said, laughing. "Y’all see what he does. He puts pressure on quarterbacks. He’s a great pass rusher. He’s been doing it for years. I’m not going to give you the scouting report so y’all can put it out there. But he’s a great pass rusher. He’s going to get there.”

"His size, his length. He could go power, he could go speed and finesse. He has the total package.”

Smith doesn't know Pierre-Paul the way that, say, linebacker LaVonte David does. David played with Pierre-Paul at Fort Scott Community College before he went to Nebraska and Pierre-Paul went to USF.

"“He was unblockable in junior college," David said. "I played behind him too, so he always went to the close side and me and him basically went behind each other all the time. One of the most amazing things is how long his arms were, how he just bullied the offensive tackle and just reached out and got the quarterback sacked just like that. His work ethic, he’s an athletic guy, a big athletic guy. When we were in JuCo, he used to run with the linebackers and everything. I just know that Jason is going to bring it every play and if he doesn’t, I’ll bring it out of him, I know how to. I just expect big things out of him.”

Smith remembers Pierre-Paul's series of backflips in college.

"The most absurd thing I’ve seen is when he did all of those backflips," David said. "I saw it in person. In junior college, we had a little bet going on and then he did like 25 backflips in a row and I was just amazed by it. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was my first time seeing a guy just do 20-something backflips in a row like that. It was just crazy when I saw it. So, I knew he was special after I saw that.”

Can Pierre-Paul help to improve the Bucs' last-rated defense by juicing its last-rated pass rush?

That's the goal, isn't it?


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