Without linebacker Lavonte David in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 27-14 loss to the 49ers, the Bucs turned to rookie Sarvosia Dennis to hold the fort. Despite David’s groin injury, Dennis played 17 snaps on defense and recorded two tackles, more than veteran backup linebacker KJ Britt. If David does not return for Sunday’s game against the Colts in Indianapolis, Dennis, one of the team’s fifth-round picks, could make his first career start playing next to Devin White.
Second-year player Zion McCollum replaced Jamel Dean with an ankle injury, but rookie Josh Hayes stepped in at cornerback after Carlton Davis III left with a hip injury. Ta. Hayes, a sixth-round pick, made his first NFL appearance on defense after serving as a gunner and mainstay on special teams during the first half of his rookie season.
Undrafted free agent Kayvon Meriweather also played in the NFL for the first time as a defenseman and had the most responsibility of any rookie, playing 57%. Snap’s He replaced the injured Ryan Neal. Each rookie played well considering the circumstances they were placed in.
“I think he did a good job,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said of Merriweather. “You know, he was flying around, [and] He created several plays. We know he’s a very physical guy. He can run, he can hit, he had his first chance to play and he didn’t hurt us. ”
Tampa Bay has been seeing some great rookie play on defense recently. Kariya Kansi, the team’s first-round pick, has been impressive at defensive tackle even after missing all of training camp.
And outside linebacker Yahya Diaby has recently exploded onto the scene, recording four sacks in the past five games.
It’s no surprise that the rookie edge rusher will see more play as he gets more playing time. That makes it even more confusing why JTS took more snaps against the 49ers despite not recording a single stat after recording a sack against Joe Tryon-Soyinka against the Titans. . Diaby, on the other hand, had four tackles, two sacks, and two QB hits in 21 snaps, which was 13 fewer than JTS.
“He didn’t understand [his sacks] It’s all in the first quarter, like in basketball, you say, ‘Let’s stay with him, he’s on a 50-point night,”’ Bowles said. “He’s earned them throughout the game, and he’s earned them. Week in and week out, he’s making some splash plays, but figuring out the scheme is more of what we have to do. is much more important and he’s working on it. We’re fine with his pace and we have a plan for him.”
— Pewter Report 🏴☠️ (@PewterReport) November 20, 2023
Where was Bucs rookie pass rusher Marquise Watts vs. 49ers?
There was another rookie outside linebacker who was credited with getting more snaps based on his performance against the Titans, but Marquise Watts was given only three defensive snaps against San Francisco. Remember, this was a game against the 49ers, where quarterback Brock Purdy posted a perfect 158.3 pass rating against the Tampa Bay defense.
“It’s just the outline of the personnel package that we were looking for,” Bucks head coach Todd Bowles said of Watts, who played three defensive snaps compared to 11 the previous week. Told. “He’s going to take more snaps.”
Watts was pressured on one of his three snaps against the 49ers. In two games, Watts generated three QB pressures on seven pass rush snaps. That’s an outrageous ratio for a young, up-and-coming pass rusher from Charlotte.