Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Robert Ayers aims to post big numbers for Bucs

In this Aug. 19, 2015 photo, New York Giants' Robert Ayers Jr. (91) runs during practice at the team's NFL football training camp in East Rutherford, N.J. Ayers has agreed to contracts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

In this Aug. 19, 2015 photo, New York Giants' Robert Ayers Jr. (91) runs during practice at the team's NFL football training camp in East Rutherford, N.J. Ayers has agreed to contracts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

TAMPA — It has been well-documented that the Bucs haven't had a player reach 10 sacks in any season since 2005, and the newest addition signed to end that drought, Robert Ayers, can relate to the goal, having finished with 9 1/2 sacks in a career year with the Giants last year.

"Nine and a half sacks in 12 games is pretty impressive, and if you really study my film, you'll see I could have had a lot more. It takes a lot to get those sacks," said the defensive end, 30, signed to a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Bucs and introduced to the media Wednesday. "I don't think that half a sack cost me anything — I think everybody did their due diligence and looked at what I presented, the way I played. Quite frankly, I think I beat a lot of guys, and I think they saw that."

Ayers had eight sacks in his final seven games, after being limited by a hamstring injury early in the year. The Giants spent big on their defensive line, landing Olivier Vernon with an $85 million deal, giving Damon "Snacks" Harrison $24 million guaranteed and re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul with $8.5 million guaranteed on a one-year deal. Ayers said he'll use that as motivation, asked whether he could have as many sacks as Vernon or Mario Williams, who signed with the Dolphins.

"I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I feel it's going to be me," Ayers said. "That's the way I approach the game. That's the way I feel about myself. I feel I can compete with anyone every year. I go in wanting to win and wanting to be the best player. That's never going to change."

Ayers also visited the free-spending Jaguars, and said while money was a factor, he saw the Bucs as a better fit, with coaches and a defense that gave him a better chance to maximize his contributions.

"It's all about opportunity," he said. "Everybody wants to get paid. I'd be lying if I said the money didn't matter. For me, I want to be a great player, and in this league, you have to be in the right system. You can take more money and go somewhere where you're asked to do things you're not good at. I wanted to be in a situation with a staff that understands what they're getting and that's going to utilize me. … I think they're going to allow me to do the things I do well."

Ayers said part of the allure was the chance to play with talented teammates, starting with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

"(McCoy) is a guy I've studied a lot, watched a lot. He's a tremendous player, one of the better players in the league," he said. "Then they have Lavonte David and the young rookie middle linebacker. They've got DBs and Jameis Winston, to be honest with you. In this league, you can't win without a quarterback. With him, I see a guy that can make that Cam Newton type of rise and can be a star in this league."

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Robert Ayers aims to post big numbers for Bucs 03/16/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.