Starting outside backers for the Buccaneers
1. Shaquil Barrett
Shaquil Barrett has become synonymous with sacks since he arrived in Tampa. As one of the best free-agent acquisitions in team history, Barrett has played a massive role in turning the Buccaneer defense around, and 2021 should be an improvement on an already impressive 2020 season.
If you are just looking at numbers, Barrett looks like he took a step back in 2020 after leading the league in sacks in 2019, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
The added attention that Barrett demanded from offensive lines freed up the defensive line, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Devin White to put extra pressure on the quarterback, and that impact doesn’t show up in Barrett’s numbers.
The Bucs were right to pay their star pass-rusher, and he will look to get after the quarterback even more in 2020 after the defensive unit was able to prove how easy it was to shut opposing quarterbacks down in the playoffs last season.
2. Jason Pierre-Paul
JPP may be the one on the defense to get all of the accolades, but Barrett is still the primary concern for opposing offenses.
As previously mentioned, Barrett has been one of the biggest reasons behind the resurgence of the Buccaneer pass rush, but JPP only adds to the mix as a dominant option with plenty of versatility.
JPP is the number two, but he brings plenty to the line with his ability to line up on the inside of Barrett, something the latter couldn’t do.
Regardless of who shows up more on the stat sheet, fans can rest assured that as one of these pass rushers succeeds, a large part of that success is due to their counterpart.