After an injury last year, Robert Ayers is ready to make an impact on the Tampa Bay defense.
Injuries are a part of football. Just ask Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. On his way to having a tremendous 2016 season, his campaign was halted due to an ankle injury that caused him to miss four games. Even with the ailment, he still showed he could be a defensive force, specializing in getting to the quarterback.
Ayers recorded 6.5 sacks (good enough for second on the team), as well as 18.5 quarterback hits. The defensive talent spoke on the struggles he faced last year and is ready to overcome any more that may lie ahead, via the Tampa Bay Times:
“Everybody has to fight through something and I was no different,” Ayers said. “If I’m out there, [I’m] expected to perform at a certain level. This year, I plan to be at 100 percent, but I’m pretty sure there are going to be things I’ve got to fight through, just like last year.”
If he stays fully healthy, he could become the anchor of the Buccaneers defensive line. Him combined with Gerald McCoy would be a tremendous pairing for Tampa Bay. One of the things to watch for next season is if he can keep up his level of consistency that he showed last year and if he can continue to explode off the ball.
Following his return from injury, he recorded 5.5 sacks over the final 10 games of the season, including a sack in the final game of the season against Carolina.
For his career Ayers, who also played for the Denver Broncos and New York Giants, has recorded 172 total tackles and 33 sacks. Ayers’ best season came in the 2015 campaign as a member of the Giants. He played in 12 games recording 41 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
Heading into 2017, both Ayers and the Bucs are hoping he can continue his stellar play. He has shown he can be a disruptive pass rusher and a tremendous asset to Tampa Bay. It would not surprise me if he has a career year.