Bucs' William Gholston: 'No excuse' for crappy 2017 campaign

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upgraded the defensive line as much as any unit in the NFL. The swashbuckling Floridians imported Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, first-round pick Vita Vea, Beau Allen, and Mitch Unrein.

It's not just the imports who could help a previously disappointing group improve. Defensive end William Gholston admitted last week he's ready to bounce back from the crappy 2017 campaign he authored.

"I just played [crappy], completely. That's just being real," Gholston said, via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. "There's no excuse for it. It was awful, crappy. If I said it once, I said it a million times: It was a [crappy] year. I openly admit to it."

The 26-year-old will get no argument on that assessment. After signing a five-year, $27.5 million contract last offseason, Gholston earned exactly zero sacks with a piddling 36 tackles in 14 games.

"It's something you can't not think about," Gholston said. "When you play football, you can see and feel it. It's not a good image to have in your head."

Gholston's struggles underscored the Bucs' front-line problems in 2017. Tampa was a sieve against the run and finished dead last in the NFL with 22 total sacks.

Gholston pointed to his weight as a reason for some of his problems last season.

"Biggest I was, I was in the 3(00)s, for sure. It got to the 3(00)s and it was all bad weight," Gholston said. "I dropped down coming into camp, but I came in out of shape last year ... I didn't want to be bad big, too much body fat."

With the additions, Gholston will battle for his long-term future in Tampa -- the Bucs can get of out his contract scot-free next season. The pass rusher hopes slimming down and being part of a rotation could help that endeavor.

The Bucs not counting heavily on a player who started 10 games last season underscores just how much the team enhanced its defensive line this offseason.