When Tampa Bay brought in Sterling Moore during the offseason, many assumed the former Cowboy would play exclusively at nickel corner, but so far throughout OTAs and minicamp that hasn’t been the case.
Leonard Johnson and Isaiah Frey have been seen rotating at nickel, while Moore is taking the majority of reps on the outside, mainly with the second-team defense.
Bucs CB Sterling Moore Photo: Cliff Welch/PR
And while head coach Lovie Smith claims that Moore is still occasionally being worked in at nickel, he acknowledged the fifth-year pro’s versatility as an advantage and a major reason for bringing him to Tampa.
“We brought him in because he can do both and that’s what he’s been doing for us,” Smith said. “You want guys that can do a few different things, versatility, and he has that.”
With three supposed nickel corners, in addition to Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks and Mike Jenkins – who appear to be locks to make the roster – it seems the Buccaneers will have a tough decisions to make in their secondary.
It’s still early, but given the makeup of the Tampa 2 scheme many would guess that Tampa Bay will keep at least ten defensive backs, a combination of corners and safeties. After Tuesday’s practice Smith said that they would dress five corners most of the time. And with two players who are exclusively nickels – Johnson and Frey – and three corners who play exclusively on the outside – Verner, Banks and Jenkins – Moore’s ability to play both can either be looked at as flexibility the team needs, or the odd man out in a five-cornerback secondary.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
If we go into the season w/ LJ and Frey as our best options at nickel CB than that would be major fail on Licht’s part this offseason.
Are both Johnson and Frey better than Moore at the nickel CB? Why wouldn’t Tampa just dress 4 safeties – McDougald, Conte, Swearinger, and Wright? Then they can dress 6 CB’s.
Iam looking forward to see if any of the undrafted players make the team-Go Bucs
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