The Tampa Bay Buccaneers know who their best edge rusher. After putting up three sacks on Drew Brees today, Jacquies Smith now has 10.5 sacks in the last 11 games -- nearly an impressive one-on-one pace. Smith has four sacks on the season, and looks as explosive as any edge rusher the Bucs have had since Simeon Rice. Luke Easterling was the first to point out Smith's surprising pace today.
#Bucs DE Jacquies Smith now has 9.5 sacks in his last 10 games.— Luke Easterling (@LukeEasterling) September 20, 2015
That's some good sacking, Smith. At this year's pace, he'll hit 32 sacks by the end of the season. That's obviously not realistic, but Smith has a very good chance of becoming the first Buccaneer to put up double-digit sacks since Simeon Rice way back in 2005. The Bucs were looking desperately for a disruptive edge rusher this offseason but couldn't find one -- it seems they had him in town all along.
Meanwhile, one other Buccaneer is on pace for a double-digit sack season too: Gerald McCoy has two sacks in two games this year. It's a lot harder to get sacks from the defensive tackle position than it is as a defensive end, of course, and McCoy's been on a double-digit pace before while falling just short.
Still, we shouldn't forget about McCoy's contribution to Smith's success either. As he told JoeBucsFan, McCoy planned with Smith for the latter to stick with outside speed rushes when McCoy went for the B-gap -- that way, they avoided running into each other's rushing lanes and making it easy for the offensive line, an issue you saw show up repeatedly last week. It worked: Smith got a whole lot of one-on-ones, while the Saints tried to send help to the guard lining up against McCoy all game long. And Smith speed rushing outside the right tackle is exactly how he's gotten each of his four sacks this year.
That's what a disruptive pass rusher does for your team: he makes it just a little easier on everyone else. And when you make an effort to scheme around that, you'll have a lot more success.