Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was a steal at pick No. 32 in the 2021 NFL Draft and this is the season everyone is going to know it.
I already wrote about how a breakout year is coming for the former Washington Husky, given that he is now thrust into a starting role in the Buccaneers’ edge rotation thanks to Jason Pierre-Paul’s absence. While Tryon-Shoyinka was a part of that rotation last year, it was to varying degrees of usage that changed by the game. It wasn’t enough to really establish himself and with the injuries to every level of the defense—it just simply wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
Now, with a new season comes a more familiarity and better understanding for Tryon-Shoyinka.
“I can lock in on the position in the defense as a whole,” he said, now that he knows he’ll be charged with starting reps. “I’m understanding the whole defense at this point; knowing where I’m supposed to be and who’s going to be working with me. It helps me with pre-snap communication and making things go smoother as camp goes on and into the season.”
The burst, explosion and power from Tryon-Shoyinka have been on display—but now so has his technique. He’s got moves upon counter moves in his arsenal and that has a lot to do with his offseason work over the summer.
I ran into him in Dallas, training at The Star facility in Frisco with a pass-rush specialist, Eddy McGilvra. It was a group session but even amongst his peers, Tryon-Shoyinka stood out. That has carried over to Tampa getting to see him and the rest of the defense take on not only their own offense but the Miami Dolphins in joint practices.
Again, Tryon-Shoyinka shined in both one-on-one drills and in team scrimmages. It’s hard to truly evaluate a pass rusher in practice given that whistles will blow as soon as you get close enough to the quarterback. Tryon-Shoyinka didn’t play in the Buccaneers’ preseason opener against the Dolphins, either. But the way he fits in with how much he’s improved individually this offseason just further affirms the notion that a big year is in store.
“We’re just all meshing together, you know?” Tryon-Shoyinka said. “It’s the same defense we had last year, but now just trying to get that in that competitive flow. Practice is competitive so I believe we’re getting better every day.”
And just in case you thought the Super-Bowl-or-Bust mentality was a media-manufactured thing, I can assure you—it’s not.
“Obviously, we need to ring,” Tryon-Shoyinka said when asked what will make this season successful for Tampa Bay. “We need it. We need to lead the league in points per game as a defense, turnovers, sacks, all that.”
Notice there wasn’t even an ‘I’ in there. Tryon-Shoyinka’s success is the team’s success—even when I pressed for a more individual answer.
“For me personally, as long as we bond, I’m happy,” he said. “I want to play in every game and be healthy. I don’t look for stats. That stuff is cool but as long as we win, I’m happy. I want to make those explosive plays and disruptive plays.”
Teams won’t be planning for Tryon-Shoyinka right out of the gate. His rookie season saw just 4.0 sacks, playing in all 17 games and getting six starts. He’s not a bona fide game wrecker (yet) and even if teams wanted to account for him, they’ll have to find someone who isn’t tied up with the Buccaneers’ interior. Their defensive tackle rotation now boasts Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks together, along with Will Gholston, Rakeem Nuñez-Roches, second-round pick Logan Hall and Pat O’Connor. The former two on the field at the same time could potentially eat up an entire offensive line in and of themselves. That means there will be some tough decisions to make—and with Pro Bowler Shaq Barrett on the opposite side from Tryon-Shoyinka, I can tell you there won’t be enough resources to go around.
That’s good news for the Buccaneers and good news for Tryon-Shoyinka, who after a week at Buccaneers’ camp has left me more convinced than ever about my double-digit sack prediction.
- Oct 05, 2022
- Oct 05, 2022