On Wednesday afternoon Pro Football Talk named Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s linebacker Shaquil Barrett their 2020 Defensive Player of the Year. In the piece (seen here) it is mentioned how Barrett’s outstanding year included breaking Warren Sapp’s Buccaneer record, as well as leading the NFL in sacks with 19.5 of them. Other candidates for the recognition were New England Patriots’ cornerback Stephen Gilmore, Pittsburg Steelers’ linebacker T.J. Watt and Arizona Cardinal’s linebacker Chandler Jones.
What set Barrett apart from the others was not just the incredible numbers he had this season. His 2019 body of work included 19.5 sacks, 58 tackles, six forced fumbles and one interception. What really caught the imagination of PFT and the NFL was that with only 14 sacks in five seasons with the Denver Broncos, 2019 saw Barrett take it to an entirely new level.
In Orlando for the Pro Bowl this week, Barrett told PFT;
“I don’t know where it’s going to end up at but I’m confident that I’m going to be where I should be, which I think is Tampa,”. The article, seen (here) includes the declaration from Bruce Arians that Shaq “ain’t going anywhere,”.
It must have been a huge change in climate for Barrett to go from the Rocky Mountains to the Florida peninsula. Also huge was the change in the climate and what Barrett meant to the Buccaneer defense. Fortunately, it sounds like both will continue to evolve together in the coming seasons.
Photo credit: buccaneers.com