Ryan Smith showed up big in Week 2

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Ryan Smith showed up big in Week 2

Postby liny195 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:36 pm

The 2016 Buccaneers draft class has taken some lumps. This Buccaneers Ali Marpet Jersey , we all know. But Tampa Bay hasn’t given up on the crop just yet, and despite Vernon Hargreaves III being placed on injured reserve, there’s still hope this group will make a positive impact on the 2018 defense. His name is Ryan Smith.Smith, like many members of this class who are still around the team came in with a lot of cold eyes on him. There hasn’t been a lot of patience surrounding his name when viewed on Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever other method you use to converse with other Bucs fans.Still, he was kept. Not just kept, but activated. While second-round pick Ronald Jones stands on the sidelines inactive, Smith is playing and playing significant snaps.In his first two years the North Carolina Central University product saw his rookie snap count on defense jump from under 250 to nearly 600 in 2017. Two weeks into 2018, he’s already played over 100 snaps on defense alone.His playing time has certainly been boosted by the absence of veteran Brent Grimes for the first two games, and also by the aforementioned injury to Hargreaves. Evidenced by the facthis snap count jumped nearly 30 from Week 1 to Week 2. So, while the team chose to keep him active Cheap Donovan Smith Jersey , it wasn’t necessarily the plan for him to be a featured member of the defense. Rather, most of his participation was expected to be on special teams where he and Josh Robinson formed one of the better gunner duos in the league until Robinson was released this pre-season.And while Smith hasn’t necessarily earned his increase, it appeared against Philadelphia he was ready for it.There’s never been any question the 25-year old has athletic talent. He’s fast and has shown flashes of the range the Bucs likely saw when they tried to make him a safety coming out of college.What was missing was production and the conversion of athleticism into ability. And fans of the team spent much of last season on edge waiting for opposing quarterbacks to target him, fearing he was the weakest link in one of the worst past defenses in the league.In Week 1, Smith had three tackles on defense and one on special teams. In Week 2, he walked away with seven and two respectfully. Doubling his previous week’s totals. He had one pass defended in New Orleans. At home against Philly, he broke up three, including one intended for tight end Zach Ertz as the Eagles tried to pull closer with the score at 27-7.The Eagles did end up scoring on the same drive. However, following the pass breakup by Smith, another two minutes ticked off the clock before they found the end zone. Obviously we’d all prefer they don’t score at all, but we can’t deny how important those two minutes coming off the clock turned out to be.After two games this season, and with the unexpected increase in workload Peyton Barber Jersey , Smith is on pace to collect over 100 combined tackles and has three passes defended. His previous career highs are 62 and five, both from last season.More importantly than the numbers are the values in those numbers. Like the pass defended in the end zone, Smith made some important tackles. The one most fans will remember came against punt returner Nelson Agholor.His chances of reaching those numbers will depend in large part on the recovery of Grimes. Once he returns, Smith’s snaps will likely drop again, but not quite as low as they once were. On his Week 2 performance, Smith had this to say,Pretty humble considering he just had the best game of his still young career. This according to his own head coach. I don’t know how many press conferences you watch, but normally if coach Koetter gets emotional, it’s either in a joking manner or in a bit of anger.This is not the emotion we saw when speaking about Smith. It shows just how much the coaches believe in Smith and how much they’ve invested into him. To see him come up big when they needed him most this season is a big step in the right direction. However, careers are not made with steps. They’re made with strides.If Grimes can’t go again for a big Week 3 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night, not only is Smith going to have another increased role on the defense, he’s going to have all of the lights and sounds of prime-time football to deal with.Oh Cheap Justin Evans Jersey , and then there’s Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster to deal with as well.Here’s hoping the solid start to this season is a sign of better things to come. We have to imagine there will be setbacks. Smith is not a finished product. But if we saw anything out of him on the field in Tampa Bay this weekend, it was justification as to why the team has kept him around.And people are taking notice. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-2 and are on their bye week this week before facing the Atlanta Falcons in week 6. While many fans would have taken a 2-2 record going into the bye week, there’s a sour taste around the team after their play the last two weeks. While the negatives are obvious, there are some things with this team to be positive about moving forward. 1.Mike Evans and DeSean JacksonCurrently, the Buccaneers have the best 1-2 punch in the NFL this season at the wide receiver position. Evans is ranked 6th with 426 yards receiving, while Jackson is ranked 7th with 424. No other team has two receivers ranked in the top 10 in that category. Since week one, Evans and Jackson have arguably been Tampa Bay’s most consistent players week in and week out. Jackson still has top notch speed at his position and Evans has been a man on a mission ever since training camp began. The return of Jameis Winston will bode well for these two moving forward and I expect both to easily exceed the 1,000 yard mark this season. In fact, both are on pace for 1,600 yards. 2. The return of Vita Vea and Beau Allen as well as Mitch Unrein. The team will have to wait a few more weeks on Unrein, but all signs point to Vea and Allen returning after the bye week fully healthy and ready to go. All three being healthy will give the Buccaneers exactly what they envisioned back when training camp began in July. As the season goes on, Vea will only get better and will help free up other players on the defensive line. Since Allen went down in week 2 Buccaneers Caleb Benenoch Jersey , the run defense hasn’t been the same. He will improve that area for sure. We haven’t seen Unrein, but he is a veteran and will undoubtedly add another body to the defensive rotation. 3. The return of starter Kendell Beckwith.Yeah, this is big and seems to have been forgotten amongst many of us. Beckwith was spectacular last year as a rookie, but the injury he sustained in the off season was unfortunate and has kept him out through the first 4 games. He is eligible to return week 7 against the Cleveland Browns and if he’s healthy, he needs to be inserted right away. The defense needs a spark and Beckwith is their best coverage linebacker and should help in that department. 4. Jason Pierre Paul is off to a hot startPierre Paul is on pace for a 16 sack season and has been the team’s best defensive lineman through four games, by far. With the return of Vita Vea, JPP is going to get even more one on one looks than he has early in the season and I expect him to take full advantage of those opportunities. At this current pace, JPP would be the first Buccaneers defensive end to reach 10+ sacks since Simeon Rice did it in 2005. JPP has been a much needed boosts to this defensive line and is just another shrewd move by general manager Jason Licht that has paid dividends for this Buccaneers football team. 5. Jameis Winston is officially BACK. Don’t put any stock into last week. Winston was just average in Week 4, but the Bears knew every play would be a pass and it was easy for them to defend the Buccaneers in that case. Whether fans believe it or not, Winston is clearly the better quarterback than Fitzpatrick and will give this team a chance to win week in and week out. Everything on the offensive side of the ball is set up for him. He has all the weapons in the world, an improved offensive line and a play caller in Todd Monken who seems to have a good idea on what he’s doing. It’s all on Winston and people should expect Winston to rise to the challenge for the rest of the season.
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