Buccaneers defense getting younger great long-term plan

Vita Vea, Shaq Barrett, Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Vita Vea, Shaq Barrett, Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is all of a sudden for spring chickens. This is the best strategy for the Buccaneers to maintain success.

Don’t look now, but suddenly the Bucs’ defense is among the youngest units in the entire NFL. As the cliché goes, offense wins games and sells tickets/brings eyeballs, but at the end of the day, defense wins championships. Of course, we can’t discredit special teams as it is a third of the game as well, but that’s not the point here.

Of course, not everyone subscribes to this notion. That said, there isn’t much denying that having strong defensively down the stretch will at the very least give you a chance to survive. Buccaneers fans don’t even have to look far for proof, as they pummeled Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs into submission during Super Bowl LV, it really doesn’t look like they’ve ever recovered. Heck, just last year, the Los Angeles Rams’ high-powered offense powered them to a championship, but who made the play to seal the game? Aaron Donald and the defense.

If you need more proof, there’s Super Bowl LII, in which Tom Brady was also involved in. It was the game that produced the most yards EVER for an NFL contest, yet Brandon Graham’s strip-sack of Brady was what saved, and ultimately won, the game for the Philadelphia Eagles. There are endless other examples.

The point is, that 2020 Bucs defense featured a lot of aging veterans, who were able to discover the fountain of youth thanks to the young talent around them, and of course the presence of Tom Brady in the locker room. Fast forward to 2022, and all of a sudden this defense, now under head coach Todd Bowles, the mastermind of Super Bowl LV, is full of young studs who should be around for a while.

With Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul’s potential returns to Tampa Bay looking increasingly less likely by the day, rookie Logan Hall and last year’s first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will be penciled in to take over for them in the starting lineup.

With that being the case, the only members of the starting defense that will be over the age of 30 once the 2022 NFL season rolls around will be Shaq Barrett, who will turn 30 in November, William Gholston who turns 31 in July, and of course Lavonte David. David is the captain of the defense, at this point seems like an elder statesman, but he is only 32.

It’s always important to have at least one veteran on a defense comprised of mostly young upstarts, to provide wisdom and mentorship to go with leadership. The fact that David isn’t even THAT north of 30 is a huge blessing for the Bucs.

The Buccaneers are in great shape defensively. Sure they have their weak spots, but those can always be replaced in future drafts with younger replacements since players come and go. That said, the defense is still a solid unit and in the upper echelon of the NFL. That’s great for the short term obviously and given the youth, even better for the long-term.

Brady won’t play forever (we think), and when he finally does hang up the cleats and/or bounce from the Bucs, the defense will have matured together by that point to be even better than they are now, and hopefully will have the Buccaneers avoid going into some sort of limbo state.

The likes of Vita Vea, Devin White, and Antonie Winfield Jr. amongst others will carry the torch into the future, in a way very reminiscent of the legendary late 1990s-early 2000s defense. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers progressively getting younger on the defensive side of the ball is a great strategy, and should pay off in dividends for years to come.

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