Defensive Tackle, Chris Baker (#90)
Brought in by the Buccaneers after walking away from the Washington Redskins, Baker has yet to wrap up one full sack, and has just 29 total tackles.
He wasn’t expected to be the main source of production, but he was expected to either pull attention away from the often double-teamed McCoy, or take advantage of the fact offensive lines paid so much attention to him.
He’s done neither.
While McCoy is on his way to yet another Pro Bowl, and possibly his second All-Pro selection, Baker has just half a sack and is about to finish with his lowest sack and tackle total since 2013 when he was still a back-up with the Redskins.
His Pro Bowl caliber teammate has a biceps injury he is likely to play through as he tries to lead the Bucs to a strong finish for 2017.
However, now more than ever, he’s going to need guys like Baker to step up and make an impact in order for the front line to be effective.
It’s hard to believe the Bucs aren’t going to look at making some fairly big changes within their defensive line between the end of this season and beginning of the next.
Baker may get a pass due to this being the first of his three-year contract with the team. However, this season was the only guaranteed part of his contract, so the team has the possibility of parting ways with the once prized free-agent addition without penalty. In fact, they’d actually gain nearly $5 Million in cap space for the 2018 off-season.
Strong showings against two division rivals while McCoy is hampered by injury will go a long way towards convincing Jason Licht he brings value moving forward.