With the news that defensive tackle Mitch Unrein is headed to IR, Bucs Nation’s Alex Salvarezza and Jon Marchant discusse the state of the Bucs’ defensive line depth.
Alex: Unrein move hurts, but I don’t think he was going to play all that much to be honest with you. The big news today will be whether or not Vea is practicing. (He didn’t and coach Koetter didn’t sound to confident on his week one status).
Jon: It hurts a lot to not have Vea or Unrein. That’s two bodies you can’t rotate. That puts a ton of stress on the other players, especially over the course of the season.
Alex: I’m saying, if Vea is fine week 1, you still have 4 DTs to rotate. Plus, let’s be honest, McCoy isn’t coming off the field anyway.
Jon: Right, but they now need him to be ready to go and contribute. That’s asking a lot. In the past I wanna say McCoy has played like 75-80% of snaps, everyone else about 50%. My point is having your top guys play more snaps sucks. It adds up over the season. One reason for Eagles success was their DL rotation was deep.
Alex: Don’t forget they signed Jerel Worthy who wound up making the squad. That’s another body to have.
Alex: For sure, that was the Eagles strength, but in my opinion, Unrein was going to be the fourth defensive tackle. They will miss him, but I think Worthy and even Gholston can be suitable replacements for eight games.
Jon: My thing with Vea is I think he was gonna struggle a lot. Adjusting to NFL life, the Florida humidity, and NFL-level offensive line play. All at 340 pounds. They need those extra bodies to rotate. So either top guys play too much or you end up having to ask Vea to play more than he’s ready to play.
Alex: For sure, it’ll probably take Vea at least a few weeks to even get up to speed. (That’s why signing McDonald) would be a wise move. At least McDonald has been playing all camp long
Jon: Yeah I liked McDonald. Vea’s injury really delays his learning curve. I wonder how many meaningful snaps he can contribute this year. And as we talk about this, the Bucs claimed Carl Nassib off waivers. That helps. Bucs see the same issues we are.
Alex: Yes, Nassib is definitely a upgrade over Clarke. The team needs Vea back ASAP though. Can’t afford him to miss more then a game or two.