Photo credit: Buccaneers.com
There has been no official designation set yet, but signs point to edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul being sidelined on Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Los Angeles Rams.
According to an NFL Network report, Pierre-Paul received a second opinion on a shoulder injury that first popped up on Wednesday's injury report. The opinion: Don't play this week.
A starter opposite of Shaquil Barrett on the Buccaneers' defensive front, losing Pierre-Paul against one of the league's top passing offenses surely would sting. Tampa Bay's leader in sacks last year, Pierre-Paul has yet to record one through two games this season but has accumulated four pressures and a quarterback hit thus far, per Pro Football Focus.
However, this instance is a perfect reason why the Bucs spent the No. 32 pick in this summer's NFL Draft on Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.
Despite owning one of the most disruptive pass-rushes in the NFL a year ago and a starting duo of Barrett and Pierre-Paul, the Bucs as Super Bowl champions had the luxury of taking the best players available through the draft instead of focusing on needs. Tryon-Shoyinka was that player at No. 32, and he's looked like it in his limited showing thus far as a rookie.
Tryon-Shoyinka has posted four tackles, a quarterback hit, and two quarterback pressures on 40 defensive snaps through two games. In the preseason, Tryon-Shoyinka recorded three tackles, two sacks, and six quarterback pressures.
The rookie edge rusher has looked solid in a limited role to start the regular season, but should Pierre-Paul miss Sunday's game, the Bucs would hope for Tryon-Shoyinka to put quarterback Matthew Stafford in the dirt as he did opposing passers in the preseason.
That could be a challenge for Tryon-Shoyinka and the Buccaneers' pass rush as a whole, though. Stafford has been sacked just twice to start the year and has a knack for extending plays with both his legs and durability within the pocket. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has posted just two sacks on the year defensively, despite putting together an incredible 44 quarterback pressures.
The pass rush will need to do more than get Stafford off his spot to beat the Rams in Los Angeles on Sunday, they'll need to put him in the ground and shorten drives as such. Stafford has proven capable of making plays well beyond his first read despite being so new to Sean McVay's offense, meaning the Bucs must get to him before he can move from one receiver to the next. Play-action boots have also worked extremely well with Stafford under center, which will require the Bucs' defensive front to be on its Ps and Qs.
It sounds like a bit of a daunting task if Pierre-Paul is unavailable, but again, this is why Tampa Bay drafted Tryon-Shoyinka in the first round this year.
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