If you have even the slightest morsel of football intellect, then you know how good Tristan Wirfs was for the Buccaneers in 2020.
If you don’t know how good he is/was, let me catch you up real quick: Pro Football Focus ranked him as the NFL’s sixth-best overall tackle after his rookie season.
He was that good.
But there’s a big difference between good and great when it comes to NFL players. Wirfs is already on an exceptional trajectory with the Buccaneers. However, there is no guarantee he will ever reach his ceiling.
There’s one person who knows how he can reach that ceiling and it’s his teammate, Ndamukong Suh. According to Suh, Wirfs needs to add an edge to his game if he wants to be one of the best. That’s all he needs.
“Tristan gonna be mean,” Vea says while sitting on the bench.
Suh responds with his own evaluation. “No. If Tristan can become a @!#%head, he would be great.”
“He’s way too nice,” adds O’Connor.
“Way too nice,” Suh confirms.
If anyone knows about tenacity throughout an NFL career, it’s Suh. Yes, he’s been excessive at times. But there’s little room to argue that his on-field demeanor has been integral to the success he’s had since entering the league in 2010.
But Suh should also know that when it comes to Wirfs’ play, the second-year tackle definitely has a mean streak to him.
“Tristan is a great young man and it’s funny, we got into a little bit of a tussle during camp,” Suh reminisced in the latest episode of In The Current. “He made a move to me and kind of pushed me. And obviously, I’m a little bit of the big dog on campus. So I went back at him and grabbed him and was like, ‘I’m not the one to do that with.'”
“I remember he was lined up, like, head up on me and I kind of sat down on him and he just kept trying to cross my face,” Wirfs said. “So, I just went to wash him down and I guess he didn’t like that. And I remember we kind of tied up a little bit. The next thing I know, he ripped my helmet off.”
Being a “@!#%head” -as Suh so eloquently put it- isn’t a requirement to be successful in the NFL. I mean, just look at Larry Fitzgerald. He’s one of the nicest guys to ever play the game and will go down as one of the best receivers of all-time.
Wirfs does play in the trenches, though. And it can get nasty down there.
Actions speak louder than words. Especially in the NFL. Although Suh’s remarks are nowhere near an indictment, they could still hold value.
And if this is all it takes for Wirfs to get to the next level, then the NFL should be scared.
You can check out the entire episode of buccaneers.com’s six-part series In The Current, here. The Bucs will continue to put out a new episode every Wednesday night at 8PM EST.