Adding new free agents to any team in the NFL requires an adjustment period not just for the new players, but for the team as a whole cohesive unit.
While Chris Baker and T.J. Ward were acquired at different times, they are both expected to be contributers to a playoff contending team. So far the Buccaneers have yet to show the same play type that had them all the buzz last year.
While Baker has had plenty of playing time, he is currently ranked as the 93rd best Defensive interior lineman only recording ten tackles and 0 sacks while Clinton McDonald has been much more productive recording nine tackles and two sacks in far less playing time. While both play the same positions they are asked to do different things, but Baker was brought in to stop the run, and the Buccaneers are still giving up 113.7 yards per game.
Ward has only been with the Buccaneers going on three weeks now but is currently listed as the best safety on the Buccaneers roster ranking at #45 with a 74.6 grade. Ward is head and shoulders above the other safeties on the Buccaneers as the next closest one is Chris Conte as a 55.4 grade. While Ward doesn’t have any interceptions, he has never been a ball hawk, and we shouldn’t expect that from him. He is here to stop the long ball and help in run support. He already has two passes defended on the season in only his first few games.
In a nutshell, Ward deserves more playing time Baker does not, but both need to think about the team above themselves. The Buccaneers have been a very cohesive unit for the past few years and bringing in these players looks to disrupt that continuity.