Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier stated Thursday that safety Major Wright won’t be available Sunday, meaning Bradley McDougald is set to see the bulk of Sunday’s snaps at strong safety for a the fourth straight week.
“The injury with Major has played a factor in Bradley’s snaps going up,” Frazier said during his press conference today at One Buccaneer Place. “We’re not going to have Major again this week, so that’s tough, but it also means Bradley gets more snaps and gets more experience and we get more views of what he can and can’t do against a very good offense and against a very good quarterback, so that’s going to help us in the long term.”
McDougald’s status among Bucs defensive backs has steadily risen throughout this year, beginning when the team dealt Mark Barron to St. Louis following Week 8’s overtime loss to Minnesota. A second-year pro out of the University of Kansas, McDougald hadn’t seen more than 12 defensive snaps in a game until Week 9 in Cleveland when he got in for 31.
McDougald’s started the past three games at strong safety and his defensive reps have increased from 59 to 60 to a career-high 71 last week in Carolina. He also recorded his most productive statistical game of his young career against the Panthers, accounting for a game-high 15 total tackles.
Besides starting free safety Dashon Goldson, the only other healthy, active safety on the Tampa Bay roster is Keith Tandy.
I’m glad McDougald is getting more snaps with Wright out. I’m not sold on him yet as our future at SS since he hasn’t made many splash plays, but now we get to see what he can do to finish out the year. He has at least shown that trading Barron was a wise move.
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