Spence is Learning How to Play Chess


It has been a long time since the Bucs have a had a player reach 10 sacks or more as the last player to do it was future hall of framer Simeon Rice with 14 sacks in 2005. Well that drought might come to an end this season, but who is it going to be? Now obvious choice is Gerald McCoy as he finally has the help he needs next to him, but sacks is not really his job as it is to disrupt plays through penetration. The guy in my eyes is Noah Spence who is coming off a impressive rookie season with 5.5 sacks and is poised for a big 2nd year in 2017.

Spence is excellent with the speed rush and the ability to pull off the rip and under move consistently is very impressive. For the Bucs to get this guy in the second round is unbelievable as he should have been a top 15 pick.

Now as good as Spence is with the outside rush, he needs to learn how to counter offensive tackles with other moves specifically inside moves to help keep them off balance. Spence has been working on this throughout the off-season and it looks like the hard work is paying off.

Understanding the mental aspect of the game is huge as it’s what separates the great players to the good ones. It looks like Noah Spence is starting to understand that it is not about winning every rep and that he must always be thinking ahead when facing opposing offensive tackles. It is a chess game when it comes to rushing the passer as you have to be able to set up moves for later in the game.  Simeon Rice summed it up best on what his key to success was per nflenestadopuro.blogspot.com.

“My favorite move to the quarterback was any move that would freed me up and allowed me to become one of the best to ever don a helmet and pads. However, my ‘go to’ move was a speed rush up the field coupled with an inside move as a change up. I call it the art of deception. “

The art of deception is what Spence is trying to learn and so far in camp it looks like he is applying it to his game.

Ability to be able to win inside or outside is what makes the great pass rushers in this game and why they are able to win consistently week in and week out. Noah is certainly on his way as he is in great shape, looks faster, and now is learning how to win the chess match. Barring injury, expect Noah Spence to become a more consistent edge rusher this season.

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