Patriots Can Grab Statement Win Versus Dolphins

The Patriots kick off their season against the Miami Dolphins for the second year in a row this Sunday. What’s also repeating for the Pats is that they’re introducing a new quarterback to the world. After just one season, Cam Newton was kicked to the curb following a disheartening training camp and pre-season. Thus, rookie quarterback, Mac Jones was handed the reins to the offense. An offense in which has been remodeled to an extreme measure. The tight end stable is now Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, two of the best in the league. Then with the wide receivers, some recognizable names have been added with Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

In McCorkle’s Patriots debut, he’s not only facing a Bill Belichick protege in Brian Flores, but also his predecessor from his days at Alabama in Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. These divisional rivals are all too familiar with one another, and it usually makes for a fun matchup. So without further delay, let’s kick off this season! Set it up, Bailey. Let’s get 2021 underway for real.

Three Keys to The Game

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Key #1: Mac Jones needs to start strong

Mac Jones has some pretty hefty shoes to fill in Foxboro. After a painful season in 2020, Patriots fans are desperate and impatient to return to their winning ways. Being a first-round pick brings great attention to you in the NFL. I doubt that McCorkle gets as much crap from fans as Newton did last season, but the clock is ticking for results. It will be huge for Jones to come out and at least flash his capabilities in this league. I’m not saying he has to be the 2001 Tom Brady miracle kid, but this team is being slept on for the first time in years. It’s time to wake up the rest of the league from a brief moment of peace without Belichickian dominance. A big win against a good divisional rival will go a long way in doing just that.

Key #2: Stuffing the run

The last time these two teams met, the Dolphins had their way on the ground. Rushing the ball for 250 yards and having a 14-minute advantage in the time of possession, winning the game 22-12, and eliminating the Patriots from playoff contention. With the return of Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, this shouldn’t be a major issue. This defense has been revamped for this type of matchup. The pairing of Lawrence Guy and newcomer Davon Godchaux will go a long way in stuffing the team of Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown, and Salvon Ahmed.

Key #3: Surviving without Stephon Gilmore

So the good news is, DeVante Parker won’t be turning Stephon Gilmore into his son for the third season in a row. The bad news is, the Pats don’t have Gilmore until week seven against the Jets at the earliest.

So who pairs up with J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones in the secondary? It looks like it won’t be swiss army knife Jalen Mills, who was a non-participant in practice this week. Could we see JoeJuan Williams in an extended role? Or maybe Shaun Wade gets some real reps after playing a relatively solid game in his Patriots debut two weeks ago in the final pre-season game. If Will Fuller weren’t suspended, the Dolphins air attack would be scary and possibly too much to handle for the Pats thin secondary. It will be interesting to see how Bill and Steve Belichick along with Jerod Mayo compensate for not having much depth in a position where they seemed to often have too much.

X-Factor: Kyle Dugger

LOCAL PRO ROUNDUP: New England's Dugger 'hyped' for 2021 NFL season |  Sports News |

I could very easily just stuff your faces with just how important this game is for Mac Jones and make him the X-Factor, but let’s change it up, shall we? Safety Kyle Dugger has been given the difficult task of replacing Patrick Chung, who retired this past off-season. He will more than likely be given the role to take care of up-and-coming tight end Mike Gesicki. Who will likely serve as Tua’s safety blanket if he’s still not confident in hitting receivers deep downfield. This is the role Chung excelled at, and Rodney Harrison before him. With an already worrying secondary, if Dugger can step up to the challenge, it’s a massive load off of this defense’s shoulders.

I would look towards Adrian Phillips to step up in this role as well. He covered multiple big-time tight ends last season impressively. Dugger and Phillips should make for a strong rotation at the strong safety position.

Closing Thoughts

Bill Belichick's final coaching chapter tied to Mac Jones' performance for  Patriots | Matt Vautour -

The Mac Jones era kicks off effective this Sunday in Gillette Stadium. All eyes will be on him. Well, all nine (two with only half) states that won’t have the Chiefs versus Browns matchup on their local channel. Nevertheless, first impressions are always huge. Good or bad, this is our first look at what’s in store for the New England Patriots for the next 10-15 years if all goes to plan. Belichick isn’t getting any younger, and almost every Patriot from the Super Bowl XLIX championship run has either retired or moved on to other teams. It’s saddening to see my childhood team become unrecognizable, but the veterans of NFL fanbases have seen this at least thrice over.

As far as this game goes, I’m confident in the Patriots starting out on the right foot. McCorkle seems to have the team rallied around him. They’re vastly improved on both sides of the ball. Plus for now, there haven’t been any pesky COVID-19 cases to worry about. I see this game being close, as the Dolphins are pretty close to us as far as team development goes, and it will for sure be a preview of what’s to come for both of these squads. A lot will happen between the aftermath of week one and the next time we see them in January of 2022. Let’s get the upper hand early. We’ll need all the wins we can get if retaking the AFC East is in our plans.

Final Score: 31-27, Patriots win (1-0)

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Must Watch Matchups – Bucs vs Cowboys

Week 1, Dallas Cowboys

photo: Calenna Williams/Dallas Cowboys

The 2021 NFL season kicks off in Tampa with a highly awaited contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys. When America’s best team and America’s Team face-off much will be made about Brady vs. Prescott. This makes no sense to us at PFP because here we believe matchups make fights. The games within the game are going to decide who wins. Here are the must-watch matchups for the Bucs Cowboys 2021 NFL season opener.

Vita Vea vs. Connor McGovern

photo: Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Zack Martin, one of the league’s top guards, will be on Dallas’ COVID list for week 1. If Jerry Jones could’ve picked one week where he could’ve guaranteed you this guy would be to be available to play, he might’ve picked this week. Martin is one of the few interior linemen who stood a fighting chance of blocking Vita Vea 1v1, and this is Dak’s first game back after a major leg injury. In steps Connor McGovern, a third-year backup guard with some big shoes to fill. Without Martin’s dominant presence Vita will see double teams on nearly every play, and Vita may even still drive the pocket back. If McGovern proves to be a liability, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ faithful will be sweating bullets until the final whistle.

Davis/Murphy-Bunting vs. Cooper/Lamb

photo: Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While Zeke and the run game have defined Dallas in the past, I’m not so scared about him lining up against the best run defense in the league two years running. It’s the addition of former Sooner CeeDee Lamb that has me worried about the potential of the Cowboys’ offense. In fact, it’s my opinion that it won’t be long before CeeDee is the number one receiving threat instead of Amari Cooper.

I’m interested in how Todd Bowles will attack the Cowboys’ passing attack in the secondary. Will either corner follow a receiver across either side of the field? Will the Bucs lean more on man or on zone coverages to slow down the receiver duo? In any case, we will have some combination of Davis/Murphy-Bunting vs Cooper/Lamb play out the entire time Dallas is on offense. I think this matchup, not Zeke and the run game, will determine Dallas’ success.

Wirfs/Smith vs. Demarcus Lawrence

photo: Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Even though Demarcus Lawrence hasn’t notched a 10 sack season in the last two years, he is still the straw that stirs the Dallas defense’s drink. The linebacking core, with the additions of Penn State stud Micah Parsons and former Falcon safety Keanu Neal this offseason, may eventually grow to become the most formidable unit on Dallas’ defense, but in week 1 Demarcus is the only established threat to Tom Brady in the pocket.

Lawrence is capable of rushing on both sides of the defensive line, and it will be interesting to see where the Cowboys deploy him. Tristan Wirfs has proven to be a top 100 player in the league as a rookie. It may be wiser to line Lawrence up on Tom’s blindside and against Donovan Smith, but either way, Demarcus makes for a must-watch matchup.

BONUS: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka vs. the Bench

photo: Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In an article earlier this offseason, I predicted that Joe Tryon-Shoyinka may only see the field 35% of the time. I based these numbers off of other #3 pass rush options and how much they played recently.

Ladies and gents, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is here to ruin all that math I did.

After an impressive training camp, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka upped the ante with an equally impressive preseason performance. The first-round selection out of Washington looks blazing fast off the ball. More than just physical tools, he has shown an impressive repertoire of pass rush moves for a rookie. I’m interested in watching how much action he gets in his first game, and where he lines up when he’s in because Tryon-Shoyinka might just become the next great Bucs defender.

Mac Jones Is Ready for Battle

According to cut-down day, Mac Jones does not need a mentor. Late Tuesday morning, the New England Patriots parted ways with former NFL MVP Cam Newton, and in turn, handed the reins to one McCorkle Jones. The rookie out of Alabama had an electric pre-season. He was graded as PFF’s highest rookie quarterback, passing for 388 yards and one touchdown with a 69.2 completion percentage. Also posting a 97.3 passer rating.

When you look at Mac Jones and his performance through camp and pre-season, he passes the eye test with flying colors. He has calm command of the huddle, he throws the ball quickly and accurately, and he protects the football. The offense moved much quicker and just looked more patriot-like with Jones behind center. With no disrespect towards Newton. I have been one of his bigger advocates in Patriots media. I wish that he had gotten a second chance to revive his career. But I trust Bill Belichick’s judgment if the first-round pick is ready to play.

Looking at the Future with Mac Jones

Bill Belichick goes into depth about Mac Jones' work ethic

This is by no means an easy job for the rookie quarterback. Jones is entering a division with two other playoff contenders. Surrounded by an offense surrounded by question marks or inconsistencies. Not to mention, a date with the best to ever do it come week four against quarterback Tom Brady and the Super Bowl LV champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jones will certainly have his hands full in his rookie season. With all of the New England region looking on him with microscopes and prepared with insults in angry accents. I imagine Jones will get more leeway than Newton did last season. The team is certainly better than 7-9 and is certainly improved on the offensive side of the ball, even if there is much to be proven. But Belichick and Josh McDaniels have faith that McCorkle is the man to lead the charge, and he’s ready to take on the NFL’s best competition. He’ll have his chance to do that early and often his rookie campaign. His first start his against his predecessor at Alabama in Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins. Here’s to a delightful 2021 season for McCorkle and a good start to a new era of Patriots football.

If you enjoyed this content, or hate it and want to argue with me, follow me on Twitter @KalebEmcee! Feel free to check out the work I do on Foxboro Beat! Also, read up on the rest of the NFL content PFP has to offer here!

Pats Preview: Pre-Season Week 3 @ New York

We’ve made it, ladies and gentlemen! The pre-season finale is upon us. After six and a half long months of no regular season or playoff action, we are just two weeks away from the beginning of the 2021 season. The Pats have kept themselves busy and currently boast a 2-0 record in the pre-season. Both quarterbacks Cam Newton and Mac Jones have looked excellent. Meanwhile, the running back core has remained second to few, even after trading away 2018 first-round selection Sony Michel this week.

The Pats take on the Giants in the final game of the preseason in MetLife Stadium. After a long week of joint practices, both teams can begin to mold their week one lineups and find out which bubble players are lucky enough to remain on the starting 53-man roster. We’ve said this all pre-season long, there are plenty of things to pay attention to in camp. Even as late as the last week of the preseason slate. So let’s just dive right into it, folks. Kick it off, Bailey! Let’s get this one underway.

Three Things to Watch

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#1: Final Look at Quarterback Competition

Mac Jones vs Cam Newton has been all the rage this summer in Foxboro. The rookie from Alabama has looked excellent thus far in camp. Grading as PFF’s top rookie quarterback so far in the pre-season. Meanwhile, Newton isn’t doing too shabby himself. After a clunky debut against Washington, the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player had a gigantic bounce back against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. While taking most of the starting reps in his limited time at joint practices with the Giants.

I doubt that Newton’s job as the Pats’ starting quarterback is in any jeopardy after the COVID-19 test misunderstanding. I don’t see him going too far into this game, and I don’t expect Jones to get more than maybe a quarter and a half of work. I’m interested to see if there will be any further developments, but I think Newton is the guy until further notice.

#2: Who Steps Up in the Runningback Room?

After trading Sony Michel, there is a gaping hole for Rhamondre Stevenson and J.J. Taylor to take over. Somebody is going to have to compliment Damien Harris and take up Michel’s snaps. With Brandon Bolden and James White already having established roles, it’s time to find what the Pats can do with the other two.

Stevenson and Taylor have both had excellent preseasons. Stevenson has rushed for 193 yards and four touchdowns, while Taylor has 103 yards under his belt and a score. I see a whole lot of potential in both backs, and I think that Stevenson definitely has the edge to take over the bulk of Michel’s carries. But I do think Taylor can take over the Rex Burkhead role. Being a kickstart and secret weapon of sorts for this Patriots offense. We all should be watching intensely at these two and see if we can get a clue as to how they both could fit into this offense’s identity.

#3: Does Shaun Wade Make Immediate Impact?

The Patriots just recently made a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to acquire rookie cornerback Shaun Wade from Ohio State. A fifth-round pick, Wade is an excellent slot corner. He would have been taken much higher had he not been exposed when playing on the outside in 2020. With Jonathan Jones getting injured this week and still no sign of Stephon Gilmore, the Patriots had to act. They were one injury away from calling up Ty Law and offering him a gig.

Who knows if Wade makes an appearance after being on the team less than 96 hours come kickoff. It’s hard to say, but I’d like to see him out there if possible and see if there’s something worth investing in. Not all fifth-round picks have to be bubble players that barely make the team. I’d love to get a solid backup to Jones if that’s possible. All depth is good depth in the current state of the NFL.

Highlight Player: Kristian Wilkerson

Kristian Wilkerson on staying with Pats: 'I just want to be a winner' -

Unfortunately, wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson hasn’t lived up to the early practice hype he had back in July and early August. He’s failed to pop in any of the preseason opportunities he’s had. Wilkerson’s highlight so far has been dropping a perfectly thrown deep ball by Mac Jones against Washington. This game might be Wilkerson’s last stand to make a case for his standing on the 53-man roster.

The Pats are desperate for any production at the wide receiver spot. Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne haven’t done too much to stand out. Jakobi Meyers has picked up where. he left off, but we saw in 2020 just how capable he is of carrying a passing game. I’m not saying Wilkerson is the next unstoppable UDFA legend. But I’ll take any bright spots where I can. Here’s to Wilkerson having one hell of a night come Sunday.

Closing Thoughts

Bill Belichick Has a Season-Altering Decision to Make That Has Nothing to  Do With Choosing Between Mac Jones and Cam Newton

I know we’re all sick of watching the backups and trying to invest in games where the score doesn’t really matter. Personally, I’m getting amped up for week one against Miami. It’s so close yet so far away. But there are still many decisions to be made.

Some were made this week. The trade of Sony Michel is a fantastic example of getting ahead of the ball. I wrote last week that I felt like Belichick had a difficult decision to make when it came to the running back room. He flipped Michel for a fourth and opened up a ton of space for the younger backs. Then getting some much-needed depth in a talented rookie in Shaun Wade.

Overall, it’ll be great to see if some bubble players break out in their last chance. The Patriots are always good for one UDFA to make the roster. Any guesses on who that will be?

If you enjoyed this content, or hate it and want to argue with me, follow me on Twitter @KalebEmcee! Feel free to check out the work I do on Foxboro Beat! Also, read up on the rest of the NFL content PFP has to offer here!

Patriots Preseason Week One Instant Reactions

The New England Patriots picked up a big preseason win against the Washington Football Team Thursday night. In a decisive 22-13 win, the Patriots looked as good as ever with a huge Rhamondre Stevenson toss to the outside to ice it. Completing drives, forcing turnovers, and simply just playing smart football. There are five key moments I’d like to shed some light on. Let’s go over the big takeaways from the first action in Gillette Stadium since December.

#1: Mac Jones Looks Really Good

Mac Jones gets his first completion in his NFL preseason debut

Quarterback Mac Jones performed about as well as I could have hoped. He went 13-19 on his passes in his five drives. Jones could have even had a big touchdown if rookie receiver Kristian Wilkerson was able to haul in a deep ball. He was smart with the ball while being quick and decisive. I don’t want to get too hyped up over a preseason game, but McCorkle showed up when he was called upon. While the fans loved him. When it looked like the game might be tied at 15-15 with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, fans (including myself) roared “WE WANT MAC!”. This is a good sign. He might be putting Newton on the hot seat as we speak. It’s only one preseason game, but the headlines write themselves.

#2: Jalen Mills Is Not That Guy at Corner

Jalen Mills explains why <a rel=

Defensive back Jalen Mills is a swiss army knife for sure. He can do all sorts of different things on the defensive side and I see the appeal. But he can not replace Stephon Gilmore. He played opposite of J.C. Jackson at corner, and he got torched by Terry McLaurin. I’m not saying Mills is a bum, but he can’t be our Gilmore fill-in until he gets healthy and a new contract. JoeJuan Williams had a big interception last night, maybe try him out against the Giants next week. But it’s been known Mills isn’t a great corner. We can’t force the square peg into the round hole with this one.

#3: Offensive Line Needs Some Work

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On the game’s first offensive possession, Cam Newton was strip-sacked because Isaiah Wynn fell asleep and Chase Young blew past him. This wasn’t the only time the offensive line collapsed, but it’s the moment that still sticks out to me. This line has the potential to be a top-five unit in the NFL. There are obviously still some kinks to be worked out, and they have a handful of weeks to do so. But too often the Patriots’ line both starters and depth just got beat for no good reason.

#4: J.J. Taylor Has Potential

Patriots: 3 players who earned Week 1 playing time in preseason opener

I was expecting to see more Rhamondre Stevenson in the Patriots preseason opener, but J.J. Taylor seemed to be more of the man of the night. He caught passes as well as anybody with five receptions for 31 yards. He also showed some potential on the punt returns. I’d like to see more designed runs for him and just get. a look on how useful he could be for the Patriots. The second-year running back could see more use as a James White type if he keeps it up. He’s got me interested in more, that’s for certain.

#5: Quinn Nordin Might Be the Franchise Kicker

Forget Patriots QB battle, rookie Quinn Nordin gunning for kicker job: 10  things we learned from preseason opener vs. Washington -

I’ve never claimed to be an expert on the kicking of football. I likely never will, but Quinn Nordin looked excellent in his Patriots debut. Kicking two field goals (one from 50, another from 40) and missing just one PAT. Again, we don’t want to be dramatic about just one game, but we’ve seen how bad kickers have been around the league. Some teams are already having doubts about their situation. We have Nick Folk on the sideline at the moment. Then having Nordin showing out in preseason? The Patriots are in great shape on special teams heading into 2021. Just as long as we turn down the stupid false start penalties, which were a problem all last year too.

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Pats Preview: Pre-Season Week 1 vs Washington

Football is back in Gillette Stadium folks! After a long year of sadness and disappointment for Pats fans, we can come together once again. Even if it is just pre-season. I’ve been following the Patriots through these previews for the better part of two seasons. You can find my previous work on Brooklyn Beat, as I covered the disappointment of Tom Brady‘s final year in 2019 through the 7-9 disaster of 2020.

We’ve all been waiting impatiently for this moment to arrive, but we’ve made it my friends. Kick it off, Bailey! Let’s get the 2021 pre-season underway against quarterback Cam Newton‘s former coach in riverboat Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team!

Three Things to Watch

Patriots: Mac Jones dominated Rookie Night with Cam Newton impression - Pats Preview

#1: How much does Mac Jones play?

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones was taken with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and has some big shoes to fill in the upcoming years. Winning over Patriots fans isn’t an easy task after 20 years of the GOAT at the helm. We see how Newton is treated in the Boston media all the time. You’d think he was Jamarcus Russell and not a former MVP by the way that he’s discussed in New England.

Though we are unlikely to see Newton or Jones get too many snaps, I would hope McCorkle gets a chance to prove himself a little bit in this matchup. This is the first time he gets to let loose against NFL competition. Where the game actually matters to some extent. It’s a jump from training camp certainly, and fans don’t quite appreciate the value of pre-season. I wonder how much Jones and Newton will play or if it’ll just be the Brian Hoyer show to open up the pre-season. But I can’t imagine that the Pats go all four quarters without Jones or Newton.

#2: Any standouts at wide reciever?

The performance by the receiving core in 2020 was putrid. Jakobi Meyers, an undrafted free agent, was by far the best receiver on this squad last year. As good as it is for Meyers, it’s a damning statement on 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry and Bill Belichick. Sure, Newton wasn’t exactly good at passing the football last year, but his receivers did next to nothing to help. In response, Belichick invested greatly in the core. Adding Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Tre Nixon, and Marvin Hall give some great competition to Harry and others within the Pats depth chart.

I’m sure we all have heard by now that Harry requested a trade a few short weeks ago. It seems as though his frustration has simmered and he’s become a star at training camp. Along with Kristian Wilkerson, an undrafted free agent who has also made some buzz in camp. I’m not expecting anybody to light it up just one week into the preseason like Austin Carr in 2017. But just a nice play or two will go a long way into figuring out what exactly this position on the roster is capable of.

#3: Could anybody help fill the shoes of Stephon Gilmore?

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore suffered a torn quad late last season, and will more than likely miss some time in the regular season. Especially as he sits out awaiting a new contract/pay raise. So who shows up to complement J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones?

We’ve been seeing swiss-army knife Jalen Mills get snaps at corner, and the Patriots have plenty of depth with JoeJuan Williams, Michael Jackson Sr, Dee Virgin, Myles Bryant, and De’Angelo Ross. But the depth needs to turn into answers quickly. The secondary struggled greatly last year when Gilmore was out. Stefon Diggs torched us twice against J.C. Jackson. If the Pats don’t find an answer in the secondary and Gilmore remains sidelined? They could be in deep trouble come week one against Jaylen Waddle and Devante Parker.

Highlight Player: Josh Uche

Patriots linebacker Josh Uche got some high-level tutoring on his pass  rushing technique - The Boston Globe - Pats Preview

2020 third-round pick Josh Uche never really got a chance to boom or bust in his rookie season. The Michigan edge rusher played in just nine games and got one sack with seven quarterback hits last season. Starting off the season on the injury report and never hitting the field. I think he will benefit greatly from a pre-season to develop his game.

He comes into his second season buried on the depth chart. The returns of Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and the signing of Matt Judon don’t exactly hand Uche a starting job. But with the way Belichick uses his edge rushers, he could very well be a very good situational player. He is seriously underrated in coverage and could serve to be a multi-use player nobody really saw coming. Keep your eyes on Uche not only in this matchup but throughout pre-season entirely.

Closing Thoughts

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick watches all NFL preseason games - - Pats Preview

The Pats are finally back in front of fans. It’s great to say that once again. After attending the in-stadium practice on Tuesday, it proved to me that Pats nation is still running strong. It also gave me some great reassurance that fans will rally behind Cam Newton should he be the starter.

I know the preseason isn’t at all flashy. We probably won’t see a lot of the fan favorites or regular team leaders. But it’s more valuable than ever while the Patriots are in an awkward transition period. I’ll be in attendance tomorrow night and I’m not looking for a win or a surprise superstar player. Just give us something to be excited about heading into the regular season. All eyes are on you, New England.

If you enjoyed this content, or hate it and want to argue with me, follow me on Twitter @KalebEmcee! Feel free to check out the work I do on Foxboro Beat! Also, read up on the rest of the NFL content PFP has to offer here!

What to Expect from Rookie Joe Tryon

Joe Tryon has been “whipping a lot of guys’ asses” in training camp week, but what does that mean for the 2021 Buccaneers?

Photo: Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As if there wasn’t already enough to celebrate in Tampa, the 2021 Buccaneers are bringing the band back together. Every single starter and major role player from last years’ team is back on board. For fans of the team, this is an unusual luxury. For 2021 Buccaneer first-round draft pick Joe Tryon, it’s a major hurdle.

Joe Tryon is set to back up two of the stingiest pass rushers in the league. Shaq Barrett played in roughly 82% of the snaps during the 15 games he participated in, and Jason Pierre-Paul was on the field for 89% of all 16 regular-season games last year. This left last year’s third OLB, former 3rd round pick Anthony Nelson, with a measly 30% of the defensive snaps.

No matter how many asses Tryon whips in training camp this summer, it’s going to be difficult to convince newly extended defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to take one of his star pass rushers off the field. Tryon will likely replace Nelson for third on the 2021 depth chart, but that doesn’t guarantee any more snaps than Nelson got last year.

So, we’re benching a first rounder?

Tryon will only see the field for the majority of a game this season due to injury, plain and simple. The 2020 Buccaneers were one of the most fortunate teams in regards to injury, but injury luck is fickle. With no major holes on the roster to fill, General Manager Jason Licht wisely decided to spend his first-round selection on pass rush insurance for 2021. This has the added benefit of allowing Tryon to comfortably grow into his role as a potential starter over the next few years.

This doesn’t mean Jason Licht reached for a pick or that Tryon is terrible if we don’t see much of Tryon this year. If Shaq and JPP are healthy for 16 games they will start all 16 games, and this is a good thing. If Shaq twists an ankle or JPP reaggravates any of his various injuries then Tryon will play full time.

Until then, we should expect to not see much of Joe Tryon in the regular season. My prediction: 35% defensive snap count, barring injury.

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