What does Akiem Hicks bring to the Buccaneers?
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers made a move to solidify their defensive front. The club signed defensive lineman Akiem Hicks to a one-year deal. He spent the previous six seasons as a member of the Chicago Bears (2016-21), including a 2018 Pro Bowl berth. During his tenure with the Bears, Hicks posted 247 tackles (51 for loss), 88 quarterback hits, 31.0 sacks, eight passes defensed and five forced fumbles in 77 game starts. Since joining the Bears, Hicks ranks fifth among interior defensive linemen in tackles for loss (51), seventh in quarterback hits (88) and eighth in sacks (31.0). The Bucs had an open spot on the roster after waiving receiver Travis Jonsen and acquired Hicks to fill the vacancy, adding veteran depth while Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon remain unsigned free agents.
Hicks was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Prior to signing with Chicago, Hicks played for the Saints (2021-15) and the New England Patriots (2015). Now he will bolster the Buccaneers defensive front and join the rotation with Vita Vea, rookie Logan Hall, Will Gholston and backup nose tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches. With the 6-4, 335-pound Hicks, the rotation is fortified. The. Bucs had the top run defense in the league in 2019 and 2020, and Hicks will help them regain that esteemed recognition in 2022. Tampa Bay is already viewed as the team to beat in the NFC South and Hicks will help take some of the pressure off Hall in the rotation alongside Vea to reinvigorate the unit in the absence of Suh's contributions.
Hicks is a dominant force, utilizing his agility to disrupt the backfield and is an explosive hitter, wrapping up ballcarriers. With his athleticism in the open field, he will elevate the Bucs' defensive front in 2022. He is a good fit for the Buccaneers aggressive, attack-styled system with his quick first step.
In late heroics, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers win 'The Match.'
Four of the league's premier quarterbacks went from the gridiron to the green on Wednesday in Las Vegas for this year's edition of "The Match" on TNT. At Wynn Golf Club, it was the old versus the young as Bucs' Tom Brady and Packers' Aaron Rodgers joined forced against Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Bills' Josh Allen. Spectators may have feared for their lives on occasion but the banter between the two sides throughout the event was entertaining and engendered laughs from viewers. To keep things interesting, each quarterback was granted a mulligan or do-over shot. In order to obtain the shot, the quarterbacks had to throw a football and hit a giant cardboard cutout of Charles Barkley's head.
Brady and Rodgers came out on top after winning the first two holes, but Mahomes and Allen battled back to cut the deficit. It was tied by the fifth hole and a Brady putt later tied the match with two holes to play. The competition heated up. On the final hole, Allen barely missed a long putt and Brady missed as well. Enter, Aaron Rodgers. He drained a clutch birdie putt, giving him and Brady the victory.
Former Bucs' defensive tackle Warren Sapp made an appearance at OTA practice on Tuesday.
There is a longstanding saying," iron sharpens iron." In order to learn how to be a disruptive force on the defensive line, who better to learn from than the man with a bust in Canton awarded for his achievements on the field? The defensive line players who attended Tuesday's voluntary OTA practice received hands-on instruction from Bucs' legend and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
"[Warren Sapp and I] have a good relationship, and we wanted to bring him in to teach the [defensive] line a few things," head coach Todd Bowles described. "Coach [Kacy] Rodgers and Coach 'Lo' (Lori Locust) were all for it. So, I thought it would be a good idea to learn from a guy that's done it recently, or more recently than the coaches have, and it would be good for the guys to hear and see a different perspective."
Sapp is Tampa Bay's all-time franchise leader with 77 career sacks and knows a thing or two about harassing the quarterback on gamedays. He displayed a variety of pass rush moves to the Bucs' D-line to expand their individual arsenals. Sapp worked with rookie Logan Hall and others during the individual period as they underwent bag drills. As Hall works on his pad level and strength to shed blockers, Sapp was an influential voice for the young player this past week at the AdventHealth Training Center.
Top Photo Galleries of the Week:
View the best photos from the ninth day of Bucs OTAs.
View the best photos from the eighth day of Bucs OTAs.
View photos of the Buccaneers' new defensive lineman, Akiem Hicks.
View the best photos from the seventh day of Bucs OTAs.