Last week, we talked about how the Bucs needed to contain the edge with their run defense against the Bears, and they did just that holding them to 20 yards rushing. One player that had a big hand in that effort is DE William Gholston who is just a beast against the run due to his ability to control the C gap which is the space between the T and TE. Gholston had 5 tackles including a tackle for loss, and will need to repeat his performance today against the Vikings running attack led by Dalvin Cook. Cook is excellent at bouncing runs to the outside and can hit seams quickly leading to big chunks. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith talked about how important Gholston is for their run defense on Wednesday per Buccaneers.com.
“Last year I believe he led, according to Pro Football Focus, he led the league in stuffs behind the line of scrimmage. He is a big, strong man and he is a penetrating guy and when we get good knock-back and we get the linebackers coming downhill, we are going to have a chance to be successful and Will is an integral part of it. He should win that C gap for us the majority of the time and that’s what we are counting on. When he wins that C gap, it allows us to do some other things in terms of how we’re figuring our linebacker fits and our secondary fits.”
If the Bucs run defense can contain the edge and can make Cook stay inside then the defense should have success today. Gholston does an excellent job using his size and strength to hold the edge along with Robert Ayers as it allows the Bucs linebackers to get in the backfield more often to make plays. Keep an eye out for this today and see if the Bucs defense is winning the C gap, and if they are then it should be a pretty good day for the run defense.