All-Twenty Tuesday: Bucs’ Secondary vs. Saints

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Much of this breakdown is going to be highlighting the bad of the Bucs secondary, so I wanted to start out with some good – because for the first part of the game there was a decent amount of good to praise.

The Bucs’ defensive game plan was plenty aggressive to start this one. In the play above, Tampa Bay deployed Cover 1, which is true man coverage on all receiver fronts with one safety on the back end to cover the entire deep part of the field. In such a coverage shell, it’s up to each coverage player to stay close to their man and follow them wherever they go on the field after the snap. They have deep safety help, but they shouldn’t rely on it heavily.

In the play above, the Saints had just four yards to gain for the first down. The part of this play I want to highlight was actually where the ball was thrown. Safety Jordan Whitehead was the coverage player at the bottom of the screen going man-on-man with Saints tight end Jared Cook, who was out wide. The reason the Saints send Cook out wide is to hopefully get a size advantage against a smaller defender with little help available to them.

With only four yards to gain, they knew this would be the case. But Whitehead played the coverage physical and tight from the get-go, and due to how sticky he was to Cook throughout the route, he was able to disrupt the pass on the bigger player and make it so he couldn’t haul it in.

When Arians talks about his players being soft, he’s not talking about that. That rep was a physical, gritty rep from the smaller Whitehead, and one worth praising.

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Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles continued to change up his coverages throughout the first half, and his aggressiveness with some of them really got the better of the Saints in the early portions of the game.

The Bucs played a lot of Cover 3 to open this game up, which calls for the deep portions of the field to be divided into three zones. There are different types of Cover 3, though, as you can have different players used to occupy each zone. For example, if you have two corners and one safety responsible for each deep zone, it’s called “sky” coverage. If you have one corner and two safeties it’s called “cloud.” The Bucs were giving the Saints a heavy dose of Cover 3 looks from both sky and cloud, and that brings us to the play above.

As the Bucs played a lot of Cover 3 to start, they wanted to throw the Saints off. They did so in the play above by calling a Cover 2 look. But it wasn’t just any Cover 2 look. This play was a Cover 2 invert.

In a classic Cover 2, two safeties are the players who are responsible for the deep zone. The two types of Cover 2 are either Cover 2 man, which means the safeties cover deep and the outside cornerbacks play man coverage; or a Tampa 2 style, which has the safeties playing deep and the corners playing short/flat zones near the line of scrimmage. However, in a Cover 2 invert, it’s the corners that play the deep halves of the field and the safeties who are then free to either blitz or play in a “robber” role over the middle of the field against No. 2 or No. 3 receivers.

In order to pull this off, you need to have strong play from your outside corners and also aggressive play from your safeties to keep an eye on the quarterback to jump routes. Rookies safety Mike Edwards was the one who broke on the route over the middle, and he almost sacked Teddy Bridgewater with it. Instead it was a tackle right at the line of scrimmage – still a good result.

I highlighted these two plays and explained them in detail to show that the Bucs haven’t been afraid to call defensive schemes that are aggressive or attacking in nature. They haven’t been vanilla. The “soft” play in the secondary comes from elsewhere.

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I’ve said this before, but context is always key, so I’ll repeat it every time. It is very hard to play in the NFL as a rookie cornerback. It is additionally hard to play against wide receiver Michael Thomas, no matter how many years a corner has been in the league.

I say that as a precursor to the fact that rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting in no way looked like he was ready for regular season action last Sunday. The coaching staff was giving SMB a lot of praise during training camp, and where I liked his tape out of college and thought he could develop into a nice player, I didn’t really understand where the praise was coming from. I saw little flashes from him, but that’s all they were, and they were against guys who weren’t going to make the team.

Fast forward to last Sunday and SMB was the player in the slot at the top of the screen. In that rep, he was in man coverage as part of a Cover 1 shell. He didn’t have help on Thomas, and, as stated before, that’s a tough task for anyone. But he got beat off the line, bullied in the contact window and turned around on the route. He basically lost that rep in every way.

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As expected after getting beat a few times, SMB became hesitant to stay close with Thomas.

On the play above at the bottom of the screen, Thomas initiated the contact, and even after Thomas threw Murphy Bunting’s arm down on the comeback route to confirm the separation, SMB was hesitant to close the distance, as to give himself a cushion if Thomas were to turn up field. But that clearly was not what was going to happen. The thing is that it wasn’t SMB’s instinct to stick with Thomas on his break. He stayed off Thomas and should have given up the catch because of it.

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And then, of course, there’s the touchdown play, a play that can only be described as “soft.”

I give Murphy-Bunting all the credit in the world for owning this play like a man in the locker room, saying that there was no excuse, and they have to bring him down when they have two guys that close. He even put all the blame on himself.

But I can’t give him too much praise because it is on him.

SMB didn’t even get his hands on Thomas at all. Playing around the 10-yard line is the perfect opportunity to jam a receiver in press technique. SMB did what he was supposed to by flipping his hips to show outside leverage as to funnel the receiver towards the middle where he had help. But giving a guy like Thomas a free release with no physical contact at the line of scrimmage at the snap is just asking to get worked – and he did.

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The last play I wanted to point out with Murphy-Bunting is one of the critical plays that Arians himself called out as one they have to defend against better. It was 3rd-and-10 in the clip above. The Bucs had the Saints backed up near their own end zone with score 24-17 in the closing minutes of the third quarter. This could have been the turning point had Tampa made the stop.

The play above is Cover 3 cloud with two safeties and Hargreaves dropping deep at the top of your screen, and Sean Murphy-Bunting playing a short zone/flat zone coverage role to the weak side. Though SMB is playing that zone to help defend against a back side pass to Kamara out of the backfield, he had linebacker help in the flat. He needed to keep sinking on the wide receivers route while staying near the sideline to close the window on the throw to Thomas. That way he could have kept Kamara in front of him on a short pass and also been a player on the out route that ended up being completed. I think he knew that, too. He just wasn’t nearly as confident as he needed to be to defend Thomas, at that point in the game.

Murphy-Bunting is young, and this was his first time getting a lot of action in a starting role when Carlton Davis went out. But he wasn’t ready, and his team needed him to be.

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Now I want to focus on Vernon Hargreaves III.

Hargreaves has been having his best year, but as stated before on the first page, it still isn’t up to what this team need from him.

In the play above, Hargreaves was playing in man coverage in a Cover 0 shell. Before you get mad and yell “there he goes playing eight yards off his guy again,” realize that playing that at the snap is what is called for when he is in Cover 0 with no help. He has to make sure he’s covering deep first.

But as the play went on and Hargreaves was able to trail his man, the part I didn’t like was that he wasn’t on his toes to make contact at the catch point, and after that, he blew right by his guy and had to barely drag him down. Hargreaves should have broken on that ball as it was arriving, and should have contested the catch. But he didn’t, and he doesn’t as much as he should. He’s not a contact-first guy.

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Thomas was so deep into Hargreaves’ head on Sunday. I mean, the play above just cannot happen from your CB1 – watch the top of the screen. Getting turned around like that is something that underclassmen defensive backs do in college. That stuff can’t happen at the NFL level.

I have to think it’s because Hargreaves was mentally bullied. Even after Thomas caught the pass, Hargreaves was shuffling instead of going after Thomas right away. In doing so, his hesitation let Thomas get to the pylon.

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Hargreaves was at the top in man coverage in the play above. Thomas was a step off the line of scrimmage, so there was no chance to jam him up front. But Thomas was constantly the initiator all day when it came to hand fighting in the contact window, and because of this he created consistent separation and was able to convert plays like the one above. Hargreaves is always close to these receivers when they catch the ball and can usually make the tackle to bring them down. But a CB1 needs to disrupt passes and not let them be caught, not just contain them once they are.

Bowles is trying to do what he can to scheme this defense to be aggressive. The problem is the players from the cornerback room aren’t stepping up enough. I think it’s because they’re all being asked to play a step higher than they should be. I think VH3 is a CB2 playing as a CB1. I’m not sure Davis can create the turnovers you need as a CB2. And I think SMB is not quite ready to contribute as a CB3, and I think Stewart can’t keep up to be a starting CB3 in the slot, either.

If they all moved down one level, that might change everything.

The only was I see that as possible, I explain on the next page.

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Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

53 COMMENTS

  1. I appreciate the echo of Bill Clinton’s “It’s the Economy Stupid”, in your “It’s the corners [stupid]”

    We’ve been barking on about this all year – scratch that – for 5 years in the comments on PR. We don’t have anybody close to being a CB1…and you’re spot-on that when you don’t have the CB1, everybody else is going to look bad too.

    Go get Peterson – a 1st rounder as compensation would normally make me gag, but knowing that Licht is likely going be the clown otherwise using that pick, we might as well give it away for “the boat/goat”.

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    • I’m not sure how available Peterson is. i know the Cardinals GM said he wasn’t going to trade him two weeks ago. But if Peterson doesn’t want to be there and the Cardinals keep losing, every man has a price. Peterson changes the season for this team.

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    • Your 1st bad play clip is not SMB it’s VH3 in the slot covering Michael Thomas on that play lmao please correct that don’t put that on the rookie!

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  2. It makes sense to me but I’m not a GM or head coach or cap expert. If the Cards would take a second or even a first for him I’d do it for sure. Like you said are we going to draft a better CB in round 1? History says no. It’s amazing to me how bad Hargreaves stinks when you consider the draft position. I was worried he’s stay healthy but all signs pointed towards him rounding the corner of he could. Doesn’t look like that’s the case but it is still early.

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  3. My opinion is that the Bucs should stick to cover 3 and cover 1 for the young guys. Seattle does this because philosophically the Seahawks organization and Pete Carroll believe that young guys with talent need to play fast, physical and not be thinking too much. After slowly taking apart the Legion of Doom the Seahawks went on a shopping spree to draft loads of defensive back talent and see what sticks.

    Without Richard Sherman on the outside the Seahawks have had to let the young CB’s take their lumps but it has paid off for them. S. Griffin and Flowers have had up/down play the last few years but they are still showing progress. Bottom line is Pete Carroll preaches playing aggressive at the line but don’t get beat downfield. That is what Bowles expects as well given the Bucs haven’t been beat with many bombs downfield this year.

    Bucs have young talented players but they have to play! Bottom line is that VH3 doesn’t have a future with this team. The Bucs should take a page out of what the Seahawks do and let the young physical guys play. Dean and Davis are the future and the most physical CB’s on the roster according to ARians, so they have to play! There is no shortcut to gaining experience as there is no Grimes or Donnie Abraham on the roster to let the young CB’s develop and learn from.

    Many, many NFL teams are forced to start young CB’s that are not ready but the also have the luxury of having a vet CB to show them the ropes. Bucs do not have that luxury and that is where Licht failed as a GM.

    But it is not hopeless as more aggressive play from the CB’s will lead to better success. Dean and Davis are the future at CB.

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    • great post

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  4. Yes.

    Also, solid breakdown of the secondary and the defense. It’s not as obvious as us fans usually think but I think a lot of us knew the secondary was the problem and not Bowles (although Mike Smith was definitely a problem). I actually like Davis, SMB, and Dean and think they have a bright future. Your proposal is exactly what I’ve been thinking/wanting/yearning for. A boat is a boat and a mystery box could only possibly be a boat but could be a canoe or an oar. Take the boat Jason! We beg you.

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  5. Trevor, this is my favorite write up of the week. Putting together film to back your points of view is informative and entertaining. I don’t always agree with you but most times I at least learn something.

    Three things jumped out at me watching this film.
    1) Consistently clean pocket
    2) Multiple receivers creating consistent separation
    3) Route trees that use both vertical and horizontal space on the field of play. (so many times this year it looks like the Bucs have receivers run to the same general area and make different breaks)

    At any case, Peterson would make a huge impact. I’m not sure I would throw a first out there considering you only get him for twelve games this season at best, but anything that would turn Davis into a CB2, VhIII into the slot corner and Stewart into a dime/cover safety I’m down with.

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    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoy these columns.

      The league is just getting the ball out of these quarterbacks hands quicker and quicker. I know some of the Pro Football Focus guys have advocated for cornerbacks to be valued even more than defensive linemen in the draft. I’m not all the way there yet, but it does come down to you have to have cornerbacks who can play press and jam receivers. If you let receivers get clean releases, the ball will get to them too quickly and that early separation will be all they need.

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  6. I’ll all for it. I think we can still salvage this season.

    And I disagree with Mark Cook’s PR Mailbag this week. He doesn’t think the Bucs are itching to trade for a Peterson or Howard from Miami, to make this go from a 6-10 team to 9-7.

    I think it’s totally worth the risk. Trade for the CB who will help get more wins this season. Even though he got an extension, Licht is on the hot seat. A lot of his picks, especially in the secondary are not working out.

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  7. Licht is much better with trades than drafting so hell yes, why not.
    Hargreaves may not be a bust, but he sure has flopped.
    Every moron in the media was calling for the Bucs to draft VH III, including this one.
    Why?
    Well mainly because he was a Gator.
    How inane and provincial.
    I know the Glazers just extended Licht’s contract, mainly because I think he was able to lure Arians out of retirement, but they have to get rid of him.
    His drafts have just been too spotty and weak.
    The Panthers drafted a CB after MJ and Davis, and he ended up intercepting five or six passes his first year,
    Gee whiz.
    That is just terrible drafting.
    The Bucs last three GMs, Bruce Allen, Mark Dominick, and now Jason Licht, have all proven to be poor drafters.
    Allen took a mediocre team and made it worse in Tampa Bay and Washington, Dominick can’t even find a front office job in the NFL and Licht has us stuck in neutral.
    Together, all three GMs have left this team mired in mediocrity at best.
    The Glazers need to make a change in how this organization is run or this team will always be a second tier team.

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  8. So basically the team will be wasting the offensive talent for the next 5 years……holla!

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  9. Buc Ass Bob evaluation of the Gentlemen and ladies coaches
    Shoutout to  Chef – Hamster spitball instead of calling me moron copy names and submit your own grade.
    The Stars aligned 5 game evaluation!!
     Bruce Arians Grade D
    Todd Bowles  DC   Grade  F Defense has allowed 148 points in 5 games 29Th in NFL
     Todd McNair.RB Grade c-
    Joe Gilbert.  OL Grade F
    Lori Locust  DL  Grade F
    Kacy Rodgers  DL Grade F
    Maral Javadifar  Strength  and Conditioning Grade F
    Kevin Ross DB Grade F

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    • I see your posts and just dislike them immediately and scroll on. Your act is tired homie

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      • SappAtack likes the coaching homie

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      • SappAttack I thought maybe it is me that has it wrong, So I asked an eleven-year-old girl, Quote if there are 32 students and this student names Bowles under test scored worse than 28 other students and had only three students that scored worse.
        Her answer was he would get an “F”
        So maybe I am not wrong thinking Bowles 28th place defense deserves an F

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        • Trying too hard to be smart the buc ass. Might want to leave that to someone who can form a coherant sentence.

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  10. Secondary is abysmal might be the worst secondary I have seen since i have been watching them in 1985, corners play soft and get roasted watching Bridgewater look like Tom Brady last week was painful

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  11. Maybe this secondary needs a little help but it seems like way too early to hit the panic button. Ariens seems to be doing a pretty good job all in all.

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  12. Trevor good article and you are correct the CBs but more importantly Licht has doomed this team. He’s been flagrantly wrong about the secondary and their actual talent for years going back to oking the release of Revis, to watching McDougald walk for Chris Conte and lastly these 5 failed first and second round picks. Anyone with a brain knew Arians’ offenses don’t utilize the TE yet he thought it would be wise to keep Brate at that price when our roster needed improvement in other areas. As a Gators fan I was absolutely pissed when we drafted Vernon Bc I saw him routinely roasted when we played big name WRs so I’m not sure how the guy paid to scout him didn’t. You draft a guy Julio jones absolutely roasted in college, and I get Julio is supremely talented, but why draft a guy at 11 who can’t stop a guy we play twice a year? This “culture change” that arians May or may not have brought has resulted in a worse record through 5 games than Dirk. We sit here with more questions than answers again yet we stutter step around the real problem LICHT. How does a 5 win team enter the season with cap problems??? LICHT. Stop giving him credit for stumbling upon Shaq when his track record shows that’s the outlier and not the norm. Mike smith played off coverage Bc NEWSFLASH these guys can’t cover lol. This defensive line has 1 player producing against the pass and the others are flying below the radar due to this misleading stat about or run defense. We have his coaches now so Im so glad the excuses have run out, he must go. Getting Peterson is a good get but a new GM that can focus on the trenches would go along way in turning this team around. We should’ve invested this level of draft capital in the line and just paid one of the many top CBs available each year in FA. Every team can find young secondary guys that produce but we can’t. Ppl keep saying guys need time but Whitehead has balled from day 1. He’s been here as long as the CBs yet he looks ready to play, these guys just don’t have it and even Trevor’s re rankings are generous. Carlton is slow with no playmaking ability, he’s a special teamer on a good team not a CB2. Vernon isn’t a CB2, he’s a slot or car salesman. The rooks have speed and might translate but it’s anybodies guess.

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    • For evidence of the virtue of “drafting in the trenches, and signing a veteran CB to teach young guys”, I give you the resurgent 49ers….now where did their GM come from again??????????????

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      • Lynch understands the game of football well. Licht is still on his tricycle. Sad.

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  13. I completely agree. It’s not the coaches or the schemes. It’s the players. The secondary just isn’t good enough, both at cornerback and at safety. They defend virtually no passes (getting a hand on the football). It amazes me every Sunday how we see opposing receivers, tight ends, and running backs getting wide open on passing plays, yet the Bucs, for all the supposed weapons that they have at the skill positions on offense, seldom have anyone getting wide open. The amount of yardage that the Bucs defense is surrendering, and subsequently the points, is ghastly. The best way to help this secondary is to get quick, consistent pressure on the quarterback. Teddy B had a nice, clean pocket to throw from for the majority of the game on Sunday (Jameis Winston certainly did not). If JPP does indeed return in a few weeks, that would be great, but at this time, that is still a big if. I do like the idea of adding a corner of the caliber of Patrick Peterson. Instant upgrade at the corner position. I highly doubt that the Cardinals would trade him for anything less than a first round pick (completely agree that if they would indeed part with him for less than a first rounder, make that deal!!). But even for a one, it’s probably worth it. A deal may be contingent on Peterson agreeing to a restructured contract. The Bucs have A LOT of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next season. Salary cap considerations have to be factored in.

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  14. Another great article Trevor. The one common thing in a lot of the videos are, other guys throwing their arms in the air out of frustration. To me it comes across as “WTF are you doing???” I really hope we get Dean back and soon. He seems like the best athlete out of the CB’s and can play outside instead of VHIII.

    One last thing on a former 1st round pick. WTH are we not using Howard more as a red zone threat or any threat for that matter. Howard and Evans on the outside in the red zone seems like a nightmare for opposing defenses. Nope never seen that formation once. I dont get his lack of targets at all. If we needed a blocking tight end we could of waited until round 6 or 7 or resigned Luke fricking Stocker. So frustrating! Go BUCS even if its at 9am 😮

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  15. I agree Trevor that this young secondary has to play better, and that will come with experience. However there is another way to solve this issue, Its The Defensive Line. If we are generating consistent pressure to move the QB off of his spot then it doesn’t matter who’s doing the covering Patrick Peterson or Deion Sanders. The difference I’ve see from this game vs the Rams game was the amount of pressures we had on Goff. Bridgewater was never uncomfortable in this game, he stood straight up in the pocket and read his targets and picked on this young secondary. I know we have to blame somebody so I am looking at the most veteran group on the defense, The Defensive Line with Suh, Vea, Barrett having a stellar year, why aren’t we talking about Nassib, Gholston, Allen with nearly zero pressures on the QB even though they are only drawing a single block every snap. Are you telling me that you can’t at least beat a single block “one time” with all of these snaps? To me that’s what I call “Soft”

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  16. Peterson isn’t going to save us from Jason Licht. We’re talking about using our first pick on a corner? Does Licht still not get you need to draft in the trenches? How about drafting a DE, or DT that can rush the passer? How about drafting a RT? Licht has shown he can’t draft. We might even want to use that pick on a QB, and move on from Winston. He hasn’t earned 30 plus million a year from what I’ve seen so far. I can see us saving a boat load of money drafting a 1st round QB, and have Gabbert bride the gap, and let Jameis walk. This secondary was proclaimed fixed. The time to get a vet corner was the off season, not now. We ain’t making the playoffs this year, don’t morgage the future.

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  17. breakdown: Secondary sucks

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  18. It’s pretty simple.

    What is the Bucs league ranking for blitzing downs? 1st
    What happens when you bring the house a lot? You leave corners on an island.
    Do the Bucs currently have corners that are proven on an island? No, not yet. They are young or not good.
    So what would be a good remedy? Stop blitzing so much and double #1 receivers.

    There you go, Todd. Problem solved.

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  19. My concerns are he is 29 years old and is currently suspended for using a league banned substance. What did he take? There is the risk he might do so again. Some players have been stupid enough to do it again. Maybe a 2nd round pick with a 6th but not a 1st for a player who is only going to be around at the best 4 years. Then again I can see the point regarding some of the picks we have made in the 1st.

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    • You forgot to mention that Peterson has NEVER been in trouble before, has no track record of being in trouble and is the top CB in the NFL when he is on the field. Peterson would instantly make the secondary a top 10 unit. Having a true #1 CB allows Davis to be a CB 2, VH3 to be a slot guy where he played very well when he was used there, and it allows us to use SMB at a reserve or CB4 until he develops and it kicks M.J. Stewart back to the bench or dime packages. If the Buc’s get Peterson they will be light years ahead of where this secondary is now.

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  20. I would do a conditional first… as in if he played in the remaining 10 games and the Bucs made the playoffs then ok its a first; otherwise, a first round pick is steep for a player you would have at most 10 games in the first year. He can’t be in football shape so the possibility of injury is increased for this year.

    I wonder if we have the experience at the safety position for it to even matter. All of the players in the secondary are playing tentative and don’t seem to trust each other at all. They need a boss back there. Also, I was highly critical of Devin White, especially vs the run, but he does seem to drop better than Minter. Hopefully his return will help.

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  21. NO. Bucs need an OT in the worst way. Maybe 2.

    How about allowing these mostly 1st and 2nd year DBs some time to develop? Did anyone think that these young players were going to pull it all together this year?

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  22. It’s a tough situation…we have one starting DB that is beyond his 2nd year in the NFL. It takes time to adapt to the league…asking 95% of them to do it all at once was always going to produce growing pains. I still like Bowles system, but I really do think he needs a veteran presence to make it work with any semblance of consistency. Peterson would be a great asset…I just wonder how much draft capital he’s worth. I’d be all for it if they’d trade him for a 2nd round pick and perhaps one of our young CBs. A 1st might be a bit steep, though. We simply aren’t one player away from being even a good defense. Trading a 1st just feels like a reach when it might make us a 9 win team…at best. And for a player who might not be the same guy he once was…and who may not be willing to stick around beyond his contract’s expiration.

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  23. This season…

    Peterson on #1, Davis on #2, VH3 in the slot.

    Bunting, Dean, Stewart and Smith riding the pine.

    Next season….

    Peterson, Davis and Bunting.

    Two/Three seasons from now….

    Davis, Dean and Bunting.

    Sign me up!

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  24. Great article and analysis, Trevor. I agree with the problem, I just don’t see Peterson as the solution. Since he hasn’t played this season it will take a few games to kick the rust off, meaning maybe we get half a season from him on a non-playoff team. So this is really a trade for next season. Peterson is 29 and turns 30 next July. Is he a one year, two year answer before we start talking about him slowing down? Then what. Trading a first round pick for him feels like the Revis trade all over again. We gave up a first round pick and $16 million for one year.

    But here’s where I’ll give it to you Trevor, maybe Peterson is Hardy Nickerson and not Revis. He comes in for a few years, we get some production from him, but he changes the mindset and performance of the whole DB unit – CB’s and safeties. Maybe that’s worth the gamble.

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  25. As I posted yesterday – please stop claiming our corners (the focus of this post) are so young, without posting some data to support that claim.

    To recap, we have 2 starting CBs:
    VHIII = 24 year sold, 4th year in league
    Davis = 22 years old, 2nd year in league

    Plus 1 slot CB:
    MJ Stewart = 24 years old, 2nd year in league.

    Is that young? IDK – post me some data. It’s not younger than the Saints or Browns (the 2 teams I looked up first). It’s not younger than 2 of the QBs to torch us this year (for those who want to claim CB is a hard transition from college – how about QB).

    I think we may be just a bit too quick to pull out the “all is forgiven for being young” card. Lots of young guys are excelling in the NFL (guys younger than our CBs even)…but ours are not.

    Is that because they’re too young….I’m not going to claim experience is irrelevant, but experience doesn’t gain you speed, or height, or ball instincts. I hope experience can turn these guys into competent CB2s or Slot CBs as Trevor suggests might happen in time…but experience (i.e., getting older) is very unlikely to turn any of them into CB1s (commiserate with where they were drafted by Licht).

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    • Great post!

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  26. In recent past it was a physical talent limitation, we kept bringing in under sized slow guys. Now it’s more of a learning curve, so I somewhat disagree with this. One it is still on the coaches but they also need a reasonable amount of time to bring these guys up to speed.

    I’m honestly not concerned with it right now even if I do want them too win. I’m far more concerned with Winston’s lack of consistency even though he continues to prove me right. Signing him to long term deal guarantees disappointment. As a person I have nothing against Winston, he just can’t make quality split second decisions and suffers from analysis paralysis which results in negative plays or turnovers and neither are acceptable consistently.

    In general we are too hungry for win now to be objective about this. Right now this isn’t a good team but we aren’t the shit show we use to be either. Plus this is conflated with disaster that is the NFL rule changes and the legal gambling isn’t helping on that front either.

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  27. I could understand trading away a 1st round pick for a position of need midseason only if we were contenders who were one player away from being a super bowl team, but I can’t say that we are at the moment. Peterson would be a nice player, but I would not give up a 1st for him.

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    • if we win this week we will be .500 at 3-3, 2-1 in the division heading into our bye, with the hardest part of our season mostly behind us. I would pull that trigger.

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      • I would trade for Peterson if it didn’t have to include our 1st round pick. Personally, I just don’t like trading away a 1st for an aging corner.

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  28. The Bucs have historically never been able to pull the cord on players that just aren’t going to work out here. That’s not to say that they can’t play elsewhere it’s just they underperform here and we keep waiting for their “potential” to show up. Dot should have been replaced 2 years ago. Why keep TE Brate and his significant salary if ur system doesn’t throw to the TE very often? He’s a better pass receiver than blocker. I’m not saying he’s not talented it’s just we have OJ and Auclair and the talented young TE Hudson. Should have traded him for O-line or DB help. He makes too much to not throw him the ball. The Center is another overpaid player. We can get his talent for half his salary. DL Goulston should have been let go 2 years ago as well. Again, not saying these guys can’t play it’s just the seem to underperform their contracts. Now we Hargreaves. They should just trade this kid after this year. He makes too much money to be burnt all the time. He is one player who could definitely use a change of scenery. Now we have Jameis. Not saying he’s a bad QB. He’s not. It’s just I can’t see us signing him for excess of 100 mil. He is what we thought he is. Has moments of brightness but he isn’t a .500 QB. U will continue to get the high highs and the low lows because that is what he is. I’d prefer we go in another direction at QB if we end up with 4-6 wins this year. We will never win consistently with Jameis at QB. There I said it. But resigning him for 23-26 mil a year and hoping we get a different kind of Jameis is just wishing… good kid but in the end he is just a sub .500 QB… I’m just saying… Go Bucs!

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  29. A) I’m glad PR is finally focusing on what the problem has been since we got rid of Talib…the CB’s suck.
    B) I think you’re a unit off on all our CB’s. I think they are all at a position TWO levels above where they should be. Hargreaves should be a #3 CB in the slot…he would be great there. Davis should be nothing more than a #4 CB in dime packages. The rest of the CB’s on this team besides Dean should be fighting for the #5 spot. Dean gets an incomplete but based on his scouting report on NFL.com which listed him as injury prone and based on the fact he was drafted by Licht who drafted all these other lousy CB’s I’m not optimistic about Dean.
    C) Since the Jaguars were asking for two 1st round picks for Ramsey (and a team met that offer but the owner vetoed it) I would think Peterson would warrant two 1st round picks as well. That’s too much for either of those guys.

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  30. In todays NFL the Defenses are more than ever a system. So our system of pressure and lots of blitzes works against teams who don’t use Max Protect or have Oline problems like the Rams who do not have the same Super Bowl Oline this season. But against the Saints we didnt see the same pressure and the DBs got carved up because Teddy B. had time.

    Our DBs are ok for a few seconds but not on developing plays so much.

    When he had the chance we should have fired Licht and gotten John Lynch. Just look how he is building the 49ers defense and not a bad offense either.

    We need a good GM who has good scouts. Our scouting is so Hit & Miss. Evans, Godwin, R.Jones 2nd year and our LBs have been the true Hits. But our DBs are mostly Misses, our TEs have been hit & miss, our Oline & Dline hit & miss and for us who knew all along Ja-Miss would not be a true top 10 QB has been a miss. Still not even sold on Mariota as he has been up & down his career too. Some blame our Oline for all the sacks but even JW admits he holds on to the ball too long (trying to make too many big plays?)
    If you watch the Consistent good QBs they use what are called
    Line Checks
    Hot Routes
    Audibles
    Line Protection

    Cant say we see much of that because on many of those 6 sacks there was not a check down, nor was there a Hot Route for say a Hitch, Fast Stop, Slant, Drag or any other short route to give himself a short option. When you have a 400 yrd game you cant fall for the Temptation that you are going to go out and get another 400 yrd game. Call some checkdown routes or Max Protect for crying out loud. Every play can’t be 15-25 yards.

    Sigh.

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  31. I had this dream where Ronde Barber, Donnie Abraham, Brian Kelly, John Lynch, and Dwight Smith walked in OBP and took secondary duties. Then I woke up and read this article…

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  32. Trevor who would be a good fit for us in the draft next year to be a cb1. Just spent some time at The Draft Network and there don’t seem to be a ton of options. It would have to be a first rounder and we will probably not be able to get the first cb off the board picking mid round so it seems like a crapshoot. Might as well get Patrick Peterson otherwise we are playing another rookie who needs a year of seasoning…

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    • We have drafted a couple of corners the last 2 drafts. I think it’s too early to just give up on them. They could very well still develop into solid players.

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  33. Good Article Trevor. I wouldn’t panic and use out 1st Round pick for anybody. Keep bringing in the young guys and lets see what they got.

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  34. Lmao…love it. I had a dream like that Sunday night myself…it was dexter jackson picking off teddy bridgewater and returning it for a game winning td…then my alarm went off at 5am.

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  35. So basically you are saying the Bucs will sign Jameis to a long term deal. If you trade your first round pick you are committing to your QB long term. Don’t know if that is the best plan. Still don’t see a franchise QB in Jameis.

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  36. Trevor,
    Just a shout out to say I appreciate these film breakdowns. I’m a (little) over 50 guy, have been watching football since I was a kid, supporting this team since 1989, and you’ve taught me a lot about the game. Really enjoy your work and all the PR writers and podcasters, including Captain Interruption! Thanks (I think) for keeping me tuned-in to such a terrible team, beloved Yucks…

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  37. Shocker that a gator fan would say that. And i also find it interesting how people think some rookie isngoing to come in here and solve our problems at qb. For every mahomes theres 10 jamarcus russels. Remember when everyone thought dak prescott was better than jameis? Hows that going this year? Or what about jared goff? Point is this team has a lot of holes and one of them isnt qb. And 25 mill for a qb is the going rate now, thats only going to increase.

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  38. I’m a little late in my reading this week but I just can’t skip this.
    I know about Peterson and how perfectly he would fit in Tampa now but that is any other CB you would take in a trade, Trevor?

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