Don't be surprised to see Brian Price play some 3-technique
The Bucs embarked on something of an experiment when they decided to play rookie defensive tackle Brian Price at nose tackle.
As you might know, at UCLA, the second-round pick played more of a pass-rushing, gap-oriented position, referred to as the 3-technique (because the player lines up in the 3 gap). That allowed Price to take advantage of his rare quickness and explosion to shoot the gap and create havoc in the backfield.
What the Bucs are doing by using him as nose tackle is quite different. While first-round pick Gerald McCoy plays the 3-technique, Price is learning to play opposite the center and take on double teams, which is the role of the less-glamorous nose tackle.
It all makes you wonder whether Price's talents aren't being best utilized. We put the question to coach Raheem Morris today, and he acknowledged that Price can in fact be an effective 3-technique, and it turns out the team plans to use him there from time to time.
"He’s prepared and ready to do all those things," Morris said of Price. "Any time you play those inside positions, you have to be willing to move around a little bit. He plays some nose tackle for us to spell Roy (Miller). He can play some three-technique to spell Gerald. We also have Ryan Sims who is able to play those inside positions as well and have those guys in different packages to exploit their best talents. That’s what we’re trying to set those guys up in those positions to do."
Of course, Sims is listed as the backup to McCoy. Does that mean anything?
"If you write it down on paper, you'd say Sims is the backup three-technique and (Price) is the backup nose. But I think when you play a football game. . . those guys are interchangeable and that provides great depth for our roster."
The bottom line is the Bucs have to be better up front, so they need to use their personnel as wisely as possible. An example of that is the usage of Price in pass-rushing situations, when even the nose tackle can sell out against the pass.
We'll see how all this plays out, but Morris has high expectations for his interior linemen. And given the high draft picks invested, he probably should.
"We're excited about these young players," he said. "If these guys can get out there and be able to provide for us what they’ve been able to provide in the preseason – a great push – hopefully we can get some results out of this and get to some quarterbacks and put some people on the ground. We're looking for that next step."