Ayers, who described the state of the defensive line unit as "terrible" eary in the offseason, sees improvement as the offseason progresses, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "We're a little less terrible," Ayers said. "We're getting better and that's all we can ask for. We're trying to get to the end of the tunnel, so each day is a day to get better, a day to prepare, a day for me and my guys to get to know each other better and grow as a unit and build a chemistry." The offseason acquistion had made his initial assessment in the very early stages of his unit being introduced to new defensive coordinator Mike Smith's scheme, but continued reps have served to kick-start the gelling process. Ayers had been highly complimentary of the talent he already saw on the line before he came on board, and his every-day exposure to those players has only boosted his opinion of them. "I feel like we can compete," Ayers said Wednesday. "I'm not just saying that because I'm here now, but from the outside looking in, I always thought Tampa (Bay) man, they're right there. We've got some guys. The big three on offense, one of the best defensive tackles in the game with Gerald, Clinton (McDonald) who's been and underrated dog, Jacquies (Smith), who got hurt last year, but talking about pass rush, that guy was beasting until he got hurt. Noah (Spence) can play. Howard (Jones) is super-fast out there. Kourtnei Brown. Akeem (Spence). There's some talent, man." The 30-year-old pass rusher notched a career-high nine sacks in 2015 while with the Giants, and has seen time at both end spots and inside at tackle during the offseason.
Ayers could see significant time at tackle with the addition of rookie defensive end Noah Spence in the draft, Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune reports. The soon-to-be nine-year veteran, a free-agent acquisition from the Giants, saw 2.5 of his 9.5 sacks in 2015 come when he was shifted inside, a strategy that he commends his former coaches for implementing. With the addition of Spence, considered by some to be the most gifted pass rusher in the draft, Ayers can foresee opportunities at tackle in his first Bucs season as well, particularly after what he put on film last season. "I think that's something that (the Bucs) saw that I do extremely well,'' Ayers said of kicking inside. "And I definitely think I'm in a situation here where they're going to try to utilize me the way Coach Nunn and Coach Spags did. I think they're going to put me in position to be successful.''
Ayers has agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Buccaneers, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports. Ayers' deal reportedly includes $10.5 million guaranteed. His addition bolsters Tampa Bay's defensive front, an area of need this offseason. In 11 starts last season, Ayers registered a career-high 41 tackles and 9.5 sacks, while also forcing two fumbles along the way.
Ayers notched six tackles (five solo) and 1.5 sacks in Sunday's loss to the Vikings. Despite the fact that the Giants gave up 49 points to the Vikings, Ayers was one of the few bright spots on defense as he recorded 1.5 sacks for the second straight week. The veteran pass-rusher now has eight sacks on the year which marks a new career-high for him. He'll be a solid IDP play next week against the Eagles at home.
Ayers notched six tackles (five solo), adding 1.5 sacks in Sunday's loss to the Panthers. Ayers was in Cam Newton's face from start to finish on Sunday as he recorded 1.5 sacks to give him 6.5 on the year. The Giants have given up big plays and a lot of points throughout much of the year, but Ayers has been one of the bright spots along the defensive front. Ayers holds solid IDP value as a pass-rusher from week-to-week.
|3||09/25||Los Angeles Rams||30|
|7||10/23||@San Francisco 49ers||15|
|11||11/20||@Kansas City Chiefs||4|
|13||12/04||@San Diego Chargers||8|
|14||12/11||New Orleans Saints||22|
|16||12/24||@New Orleans Saints||22|