Bucs expect Shoyinka to be a better player

by Gary Shelton on April 8, 2022

in general

Will Shoyinka be more of a factor this season?/TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

The very best kind of impact, you will agree, is instant.

We want a force, and we want it now. We want someone to kick in the saloon doors and announce that there is a new sheriff in town. We want microwave success, hot and fast.

And so it is that we wait, and we wonder what the future will hold for the Bucs' Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, would-be success.

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)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Shoyinka, as you might recall, was a rookie last year, and he had the audacity to not be a star.

Hey, it happens. Every star doesn't arrive fresh out of the can. Defensive end is a demanding position, and offensive tackles have spent years crafting ways to slow down a good rush. They will grab and hold and wrestle and get help.

And so Shoyinka finished his rookie season -- a season in which the Bucs could have used a little more rush because of the injury to Jason Pierre-Paul -- with all of four sacks. Frankly, the team could have used more. Heck, Eric Curry -- noted Bucs' bust -- had five sacks as a rookie. Noah Spence, best forgotten, had 5.5 of his career's 7.5 as a rookie.

But know this: A lot of pass rushers who turned out to be great, devastating forces, were almost invisible in their first seasons.

Buffalo's Bruce Smith, the all-time sack leader, had 6 1/2 as a rookie. He had 15 in his second season.

New York's Michael Strahan, who held the single-season sack record for a while, had one sack as a rookie. He ended up in the Hall of Fame with 141 1/2. sacks.

Kevin Greene, a Hall of Famer with 160 sacks, didn't have any as a rookie. None.

Calais Campbell, a sold pass-rusher, didn't have a sack as a rookie.

Pierre-Paul, as a Giant, had 4 1/2 sacks.

Warren Sapp had three sacks in a disappointing rookie season.

It goes on. Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea had half a sack as a rookie. Hall of Famer Fred Dean had 5.5. Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood had three. Hall of Famer John Randle had one.

Granted, it isn't always this way. Reggie White was good from his first down. So was Von Miller. And Joey Bosa. Simeon Rice. Bubba Baker. Some defensive ends are born in the backfield.

But the key here is relentlessness, in a game and in a player's career. A man has to craft his career, and he has to make adjustments, and he has to take advantage of what time on the field he is given.

So the truth is this: We don't know about Shoyinka yet. His career has still to get to the good part. The coaches praise his ability, and he's evidently working at it.

Could his progress lead the team to bypass re-signing Pierre-Paul? Who knows? The Bucs don't have a lot of change left, and they have other holes. But it's clear that the team needs a more consistent rush than it had a year ago.

Could Shoyinka be the solution?

If so, Year Two is the time.

Previous post:

Next post: