How much will Bucs RT Wirfs see burns?
Good on good. Everyone likes to see it. The NFL is all about the very best competing against each other to see which super athlete is truly at the top of the sport. In the Bucs vs. Tomorrow’s Panthers NFL fans have a chance to see such a matchup. But will they?
Tristan Wirfs, Buc’s right tackle, has publicly announced that he will nevertheless play on Sunday worsening an ankle sprain against Arizona last week. Wirfs is undoubtedly one of the top five offensive tackles in the game, and comfortably battling for the top-two right tackles with Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson. The Panthers have one of the most exciting young pass rushers in the game on the defensive side of the ball in the form of Brian Burns. Burns vs Wirfs is exactly the type of matchup fans spend their hard earned dollars to watch. It was a matchup that was recently talked about by Cat Scratch Blog’s Jared Feinberg while appearing on the Pewter Report Podcast.
But will the fans get what they came for? If the first matchup between these two teams is any indication, the answer might be no. During the two teams’ seven matchup, Burns played the majority of his snaps on the right side of the defense against Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith. Panthers head coach Steve Wilks (who was making his first appearance in that role with the team) chose to keep Burns on the right side 51 times, compared to only 12 times on the left.
This isn’t completely out-of-the-box for the Panthers to do with Burns, either. For the season he
has shot 546 of his 854 shots as right defensive end or right outside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. This amounts to 64% of his total snaps. Conversely, he has been on the left 304 times or about 36% of the time.
Before the game, neither player had a standout performance from a rating perspective. Burns posted a PFF defense rating of 64.4 with a strong mark in running defense (81.2) and a rather pedestrian pass rush rating of 57.9. He recorded four pressures on 45 pass rush snaps and had a sack of Bucs quarterback Tom Brady as he rushed against Smith.
Meanwhile, Wirfs had his second-lowest game of the season (behind his injury-plagued performance against Arizona) with an overall mark of 65.8. He still got high marks in pass protection, although he fell out in that area with a very high score of 84.1.
Even though they didn’t face each other very often, they still had a few reruns that were fun to watch.
Bucs RT Wirfs is not afraid of burns
Burns’ 6-foot-5 frame and blazing speed are a formidable match for any offensive tackle. But Wirfs is a physical specimen in itself. This led to Bucs offensive tackle being unafraid of Burns’ physical attack.
You can see Burns trying to use a wide nine alignment to give him enough orbit to build his speed up to maximum speed before taking it to Wirfs’ core through his long arms. But Wirfs is able to counter with a strong base and great leg stance to absorb the first blow and quickly return to Stone Burns in his tracks.
If Speed-To-Power doesn’t work, what about just speed?
Later in the game, after seeing that he couldn’t just drive through Wirfs, Burns tried to use his quick feet to get around him. The results were pretty much the same.
Wirfs wasn’t fooled by the stuttering in, stayed with Burns until the final outside move, got a hand in Burns’s chest and kept him completely out of play.
The two are great competitors
Little comment here. Just look at the battle. Movement. Counter. Against again.
Burns once won the game of cat and mouse
Sometimes in football you win with talent. And sometimes you win with common sense. And in their first matchup, Burns was able to get the best out of Wirfs when he unexpectedly jumped into a Bucs run play that sent the All-Pro Wirfs scrambling to get a hat on him.
Burns immediately catches Wirfs off guard with the inward move and forces Wirfs to try to work back to get a hat on him until center Robert Hainsey can pull across in an attempt to sweep Burns down the line with the flow of the run . None of this works because Burns is too fast. He immediately penetrates the line, locates the running back Rachaad White and blows up the game for a six-yard loss.
Let’s hope this matchup lives up to the second round billing
As mentioned earlier, Wirfs is still dealing with an ankle injury that left him looking like a shell of himself last week. And while he’s the ultimate competitor and going to play, it’s anyone’s guess how effective he’ll be compared to the normal All-Pro level people have come to expect from him. Burns doesn’t need much of an advantage to take over a game and the Bucs need to be aware of that.
Given that Smith is also dealing with an injury, Burns should continue to maintain about a 2-1 time share in terms of right to left of the field. But watch out for the dozens of snaps where these two titans match. Because it’s fun to watch.
#Bucs #Wirfs #burns