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The new regime in Tampa Bay has already put Adrian Clayborn on notice, both with words and by not picking up his fifth-year option. Da'Quan Bowers has also been called out by new head coach Lovie Smith.
With both of those young veterans struggling to play up to expectations, the door has been left wide open for another young pass-rusher to make an impact this year, and William Gholston is a prime candidate.
The second-year end out of Michigan State showed marked improvement over his rookie season, especially down the stretch. He also has the frame and length that Smith covets in his defensive ends.
According to The Tampa Tribune's Roy Cummings, new defensive line coach Joe Cullen understands the importance of getting after the opposing quarterback on third downs and is going to give those snaps to the most deserving players:
On third down, you want your best pass rushers on the field, and I’ve told the guys, That’s earned — no matter who it is. If that means an end goes inside and a nose tackle or an under tackle goes to the bench, then so be it. That’s the money down, and we have to get off the field there.
Gholston has the size to be an effective rusher from the inside and could end up wrestling away the starting job across from Michael Johnson. No matter what, don't be shocked if he ends up with better numbers than either Clayborn or Bowers in 2014.