After losing Jason Pierre-Paul one may say it’s no small setback, but a game changer. After coming off a 12.5 sack campaign with the Bucs last year, all signs pointed towards yet another productive season. Unfortunately, Pierre-Paul was injured in a car accident this offseason and would later find out he suffered a broken neck. The earliest he could be back to playing football is sometime in October or as late as December.
With Pierre-Paul no longer in the starting lineup, rookies and “prove it” players will be asked to step up and ease the burden of his loss to the defense. The depth as it stands now is very thin and very inexperienced. Carl Nassib, 26 and fresh off a 6.5 sack season, seems ready to fill the void. As does Anthony Nelson and redemption player Noah Spence. But is it enough? According to Head Coach Bruce Arians, maybe not. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times Arians stated,
“There might be a free agent out there. Right now, I don’t know. We’re always looking on the edge. I mean, defensively, we’re fine. For me, it’s getting Justin Evans healthy. That would be a great free agent for me right now because he’s really smart. Really smart communicator.
That doesn’t sound liked Arians is pleased with boasting a starting edge lineup consisting of Nassib, Nelson, Spence, Gholston. They all have talent, but none are proven. Pierre-Paul was the lone leader and alpha amongst the group. So he will definitely be missed in that locker room. Keep a look out for cap casualties during the preseason and leading up to Week 1. It seems like Arians isn’t done wheeling and dealing. As the Bucs might have their eye on someone as we speak.