Simply months after signing a four-year contract value a median of $17 million per season, Bucs exterior linebacker Shaquil Barrett promised to have a giant 2021 season.
“I do agree that my sack numbers have been down,” Barrett stated over the summer season previous to the beginning of Bucs coaching camp. “My stress charge was good, however I believe stress solely issues if you’re getting sacks. I’m attempting to get my sack numbers again up.”
With a team-leading 5.5 sacks by means of seven video games, Barrett is doing simply that. He’s on tempo to submit 13 sacks this season, which might be a giant enchancment over final yr.
After notching a career-high 19.5 sacks in 2019, which led the NFL, his sack complete fell to simply eight final yr throughout a season by which Tampa Bay used the franchise tag on him. Barrett has been extra constant this season, with at the very least one sack in 5 of the Bucs’ seven video games this season.
What’s lacking is the multi-sack video games, though Barrett did have 1.5 sacks within the group’s 45-17 win in opposition to Miami. He had two multi-sack video games final yr throughout the common season, notching two sacks and a security at Denver, and a pair of sacks in opposition to Minnesota. Barrett additionally had three sacks at Inexperienced Bay within the NFC Championship Recreation.
But, in his Professional Bowl season in 2019, Barrett had 4 video games with a number of sacks within the common season.
“I’m engaged on being constant sport in, sport out,” Barrett stated. “There have been some video games the place I may need performed good, however in my head I didn’t play the way in which I used to be purported to play. I wish to enhance on that. I wish to have one of the best season potential that you simply all have ever seen from a defensive finish/exterior linebacker.”
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has been happy with Barrett’s play this season.
“He’s enjoying properly,” Arians stated. “He’s speeding the quarterback properly, enjoying the run properly. He’s enjoying Shaq soccer proper now.”
Along with accounting for one-third of Tampa Bay’s 16 sacks this season, Barrett is tied for fourth on the group with 26 tackles, together with a team-high 5 tackles-for-loss. Barrett has additionally compelled two fumbles, recovered a fumble and picked off a go.
His numbers ought to be even higher. Barrett was robbed of a sack-fumble in Week 2 in opposition to Atlanta and was penalized for being offsides. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder really timed the snap rely completely and the refs blew it. Barrett additionally had a compelled fumble at New England that was known as again by a really questionable prompt replay choice.
Add up these stolen stats and Barrett ought to have 6.5 sacks with 4 compelled fumbles in 2021. With or with out these numbers, Barrett is having an excellent begin to the season.
“I’m coming with a vengeance this yr – despite the fact that we gained the Tremendous Bowl,” Barrett famously stated previous to the beginning of the season. “I’m nonetheless hungry. I wish to present my supporters that they’re proper to assist me and present the doubters that they have been fallacious for doubting me.
“I wish to be individually the Defensive Participant of the Yr. In the event that they wish to give me the MVP, as a result of my season that I’ll have ought to be MVP stage. I’m coming, man. I gained’t be denied this yr. I’m so excited to have this time without work so after we get again I’ll be able to go. This yr goes to be actual huge for me.”
Thus far, so good, Shaq.