As it’s been stated before, the Bucs secondary is going through a trial by fire.
Because of injuries, Tampa Bay has had to rely on three rookie defensive backs to play important snaps this season. That would be cornerback’s M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, and Jordan Whitehead at the safety position.
Through four games, it’s been a rough go of it for the entire unit, including a disastrous showing against the Chicago Bears in a 48-10 loss.
Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke gave his thoughts on the young core and believes that they have been progressing from game to game. There is still plenty to learn.
“They’re getting better,” Hoke said. “Some of the good plays we saw versus Philly, some of the good plays we saw versus Pittsburgh, they’re still there. It’s unfortunate that a lot of things happened poor in one game, but they’ll get better.”
Hoke has dealt with rookie players before now in his third year with the Bucs.
“I’ve seen it happen to a lot of young guys,” Hoke said. “I’ve had a lot of young guys keep getting better and these guys will keep getting better. They’re good guys, they want do it right, they ask great questions, and they work, so all those things are good.”
Unfortunately, the secondary’s worst performance came in that dismantling from the Bears in week four. If there’s any positive to find, it’s that many of the wide open passes let up were communication issues, which is something that can be corrected.
“For the most part, most of the time it’s miscommunication,” Hoke said. “It’s a breakdown somewhere in the coverages as far as it should be used and worked.”
Hoke has been trying to preach a message that every young defensive back should know.
“There’s four things that I always tell these young guys: assignment, alignment, technique, and key.” said Hoke. “Those four things will drive you on every play, it’s easy to say and hard to do, but if you do those four things, you have a chance to be successful on every play.”