It’s early, in fact the Bucs only play their second preseason game Saturday night in Nashville against the Titans, but already there is a large buzz around one acquisition for Tampa Bay that makes you wonder if he’s the key to their off season.
So far, Jason Pierre-Paul is drawing rave reviews not only for his abilities beyond rushing the passer, but also for his leadership and work ethic.
The Buccaneers acquired Pierre-Paul in March from the Giants in exchange for a third round pick, and have high hopes for the veteran who is entering his 10th season.
A year ago in New York, JPP finished with 8.5 sacks and that gives him 58.5 sacks in his career. He was a first round pick by New York in 2010 (15th overall) out of USF, where in college he had terrorized offensive lines in the Big East for former coach Jim Leavitt’s defense in his lone season 2009. Pierre Paul had 6.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss that year.
We wrote just a few weeks ago at the beginning of Bucs camp that Pierre-Paul was already demonstrating versatility and our Roy Cummings gave his first hand assessment:
#Bucs HC Dirk Koetter had lots of praise for DE JPP today. That's to be expected. What was not expected was all the praise he had for JPP as a run stopper. "A lot of speed rushers can't stop the run, but he can set the edge, it's hard to get into his body and he's powerful."
— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsFHCN) July 28, 2018
Pierre-Paul has continued to show flashes of what Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith and new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner hope to see starting in September. That includes the two practices this week in Nashville against the Titans.
Take a look at this example against Titans LT Taylor Lewan:
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 15, 2018
And it continued during the Thursday workout, when JPP was repeatedly disrupting the Titans backfield to the point that the media continued to take note:
— Dan Lucas (@WFLADan) August 16, 2018
Again, these are practices and it’s only been one preseason game. However, Pierre-Paul has Pro Bowl and even Superbowl caliber play in his background from New York. And if he can bring most or all of that, when the regular season starts?
There will be even bigger smiles in “Bucs-land.”
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