Buccaneers star returns just in time for key playoff match
By John Paul
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for their first-round playoff game against the Philidelphia Eagles on Sunday, it’s no secret the team won’t be firing at full strength. For the Bucs, this current season has been marred by injury after injury to star and role players alike with very little relief.
So, as one can imagine, the return of any of their players, let alone vital ones, is a major boost to the team’s morale and expected performance, especially as they enter a playoff run hoping to win another Super Bowl.
As of Tuesday, the Bucs activated edge rusher Shaq Barret off of the Covid-19 list. This is a major boost to a defense that has struggled to consistently perform all season, and it should hopefully have a large impact on the Philly game in tandem with the return of Lavonte David.
There is only so much Todd Bowles can do with the secondary, which was the team’s weak spot to begin with, and that issue has only been further exacerbated by injuries. In fact, the Bucs just had to place cornerback Richard Sherman back on the injured reserve for the second time this season, making him ineligible the rest of the year.
But Bowles has to know that and will need to double down on the team’s defensive strengths heading into the playoffs, which are undoubtedly run prevention and QB pressure.
The only way to cover for the issues the team has in the secondary are by giving opposing QBs as little time as possible to throw the ball, so having Shaq Barret return plays right into that game plan and should greatly improve the team’s chances moving forward.
Despite missing multiple games this year due to both Covid protocols and a knee injury, Barret has performed impressively whenever he’s been on the field. He has recorded 10 sacks, 9 tackles for a loss, and 22 quarterback hits. Considering he is coming off multiple weeks of rest, Bucs fans would not be wrong to expect a dominant performance from the edge rusher, especially against a young quarterback in Jalen Hurts.