COMMENTARY | The Tampa Bay Bucs need a spark. After the fifth consecutive loss to begin the season, it's clear that the starting lineup isn't getting the job done. It's time to shake up the roster.
To be fair, Tampa Bay has made its share of roster moves already. Quarterback Josh Freeman was released, and shortly after that, the Buccaneers waived No. 3 wide receiver Kevin Ogletree and backup safety Ahmad Black.
The three players that were cut all struggled with the same problem -- consistency, or lack thereof. It's a trait that has been absent from this organization for quite some time.
The Bucs need stability. They need something diverse. Trevor Scott is that difference maker.
Who is Trevor Scott -- He's a former tight end who switched to the defensive line after his sophomore season at the University of Buffalo. His shifty feet and quick first step made him an ideal pass rusher. He excelled in his final two seasons at Buffalo, compiling 28 tackles for loss and 19 sacks.
Scott has been relegated to a transitional role during his six seasons in the NFL. However, he's made the most of his opportunities. According to Pro Football Reference, despite just 17 career starts, Scott has amassed an impressive 16.5 sacks. He's fast too. During his Pro Day, the 256-pound lineman ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds. In comparison, fellow Buccaneers defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 and 4.92 seconds, respectively.
Why He Should Start -- Tampa Bay needs help on its defensive line. Gerald McCoy and Clayborn attract most of the attention, but the Bucs are not generating enough pass rush upfront. Much of that blame must fall on defensive end Te'o-Nesheim. He's the Achilles heel of the defense and it's not close.
There's talk that he has fantastic work ethic, and that he's a film room junkie. But, there comes a point when characteristics only take you so far. Talent needs to be present. And for Te'o-Nesheim, his lack of talent in the system is showing, and it's crippling the team.
According to Pro Football Focus, he has the worst overall rating for any defensive end in the league. His minus-6.1 pass rush rating is fifth-worst and his negative-7.5 run defense is second-worst among defensive lineman. Tampa Bay's run defense is its strength. How would this defense be impacted if they benched Te'o-Nesheim?
Any player who fills in for him can't do worse. In five games, he has totaled five tackles. In contrast, Trevor Scott has made two tackles in 46 snaps -- which is less than one game's worth. Te'o-Nesheim has played 252 snaps.
He may be a great teammate and a positive motivator to younger players, but he isn't helping anyone with his play on the field. He is a liability. The Tampa Bay defensive line needs a jump start. The flame has burned out on Te'o-Nesheim.
James LoPresti lives in Tampa and has a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. He has eight years experience working in print media with the Tampa Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @JLoPresti3114.
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