FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• Part of the reason why Bucs cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross isn’t concerned about having such a young group of corners is because they won’t be exposed or constantly left on an island with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles calling the plays. Bowles and Ross coached together in Arizona from 2013-15 and Bowles is a master at seeing the field as a chess board and making the right moves with his pieces – attacking with strengths and protecting weaknesses.

Bucs DC Todd Bowles

Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Todd does a great job of using his players to their strengths,” Ross said. “He doesn’t try to make them do things they can’t do. It’s our job to put our guys in position to make plays, and not a position to fail.”

Ross was out of coaching last year after Arians left the Cardinals in 2017, but answered the call when Arians wanted him to come coach Tampa Bay’s cornerbacks.

“He makes players and coaches want to run through a wall for you,” Ross said of Arians. “He’s easy to work for. His demands are real simple – teach these guys how to win and put them in the right position to make plays.”

• Keep an eye on rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, the team’s second-round pick. The Bucs’ brass is awfully excited about him, and legendary cornerback Ronde Barber, who is entering the Bucs Ring of Honor this year and will be calling Tampa Bay’s preseason action on WFLA News Channel 8, loves Murphy-Bunting’s quick feet.

The player Murphy-Bunting reminds me of his Barber’s former teammate, Donnie Abraham, who was the starting nickel corner in 1996 and set the franchise’s rookie record with five interceptions that year. At 6-foot, 195 pounds, Murphy-Bunting is slightly bigger and longer than the 5-foot-10, 192-pound Abraham was, and has been watching some of the league’s best cornerbacks to prepare for his NFL debut.

Bucs CB Sean Murphy-Bunting

Bucs CB Sean Murphy-Bunting – Photo by: PewterReport.com

“I used to watch a lot of Darius Slay,” said Murphy-Bunting, who played at Central Michigan. “He was a hometown guy. I actually did a workout with him my sophomore year. He let me come to the field and work out with him. He’s a real technician at the line of scrimmage and he’s a long, lanky guy like me that I could compare my measurables to.

There are other guys across the league like Stephon Gilmore and Marshon Lattimore – there are different guys that I look at and take things from. I feel like I can have the kind of success those guys are having.”

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• The Bucs have already had two players that were likely to make the 53-man roster go down with season-ending shoulder injuries. The first was reserve offensive lineman Michael Liedtke, who was a backup guard that could play left tackle in a pinch. The second is rookie safety D’Cota Dixon, who was having a very impressive training camp and looked like he was on his way to earning a roster spot.

Dixon impressed the coaches with his fast, aggressive playing style that led to several hard hits and interceptions in practice. The 2019 season will end up being a redshirt year for Dixon in Tampa Bay. Here is his highlight film from Wisconsin so you can see what the Bucs will be missing this year.

• Part of the reason why Tampa Bay second-year safety Jordan Whitehead has had a successful training camp and is currently atop the depth chart is because he really hit the weight room and added some needed size this offseason.

“I’m about 195 to 200 now, depending on the day, but I was about 185 or 190 last year,” Whitehead said. “Last year I was in a good scheme, but this year I’m in a great scheme and I feel real comfortable. [Coach Bowles] has a great plan and has put us in some really good spots. He’s going to put you where you’ll make some plays. We need to get more picks this year. That’s what the coaches have been preaching to us in the secondary all the time – make plays. Last year we didn’t have enough interceptions. That’s going to change this year.”

Bucs SS Jordan Whitehead

Bucs SS Jordan Whitehead – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Whitehead will start opposite rookie Mike Edwards, a third-round draft pick from Kentucky, who has also made his share of plays in training camp.

“I’m playing strong safety, but both spots are interchangeable,” Whitehead said. “Mike was a great player in college and he’s picking up on things fast. He’s gotten a lot of interceptions, and that’s a good thing. Mike is learning this defense really quick. I’m impressed. The more reps he gets the better he’ll be.”

• One of the reasons why the Tampa Bay coaches and players love Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is due to his infectious energy and excitement about playing football. This is from a couple of years ago, but if you haven’t seen this edition of Mic’d Up with Hargreaves from Buccaneers.com, it’s a must-watch, and downright hilarious. Glad to see him healthy this year and having a good camp.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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1 year ago

Really enjoyed this Fab5 Scott. Best part was reading about coach Ross and how he’s working with the young secondary. I plan on watching the back 7 real hard on tonight’s game because we played so soft last year.

1 year ago

QB Jameis Winston
QB Blaine Gabbert
A duo for the ages

Right up there with
QB Joe Montana
QB Steve Young

Good new Bucs fan no team could look worse than AZ did last night

1 year ago

I hope they can find two better O lineman then E. Smith, and Benenoch. If those are our best back ups, we’re in trouble. I’ve never been impressed with Bond as a LB, hope someone shows better then him. His biggest problem is staying healthy, and being consistent. I think if Justin Evans doesn’t get his ass on the field soon why keep him? He’s never played a snap in this new defense, and some have him listed as starter. That doesn’t make sense to me, it’s not like he’s ever even come close to living up to the hype… Read more »

1 year ago

What I saw watching the Ogunbowale highlight video: A whole bunch of offensive linemen I wish we had here now!

1 year ago

Cole Gardner, Cole Boozer??? I agree for the most part but need to see some preseason games. There are obvious veterans and FA, but surprised to see only one UDFA. We have a lot of talent we are going to lose when we put them on PR.

1 year ago

I’d be getting worried about Drew Lock if I were you Bob.

1 year ago

I’d be shocked if we only kept 3 TEs, especially without a FB on the roster.

1 year ago

How about your team the Broncos, DumbAssBob. They looked pretty pathetic against the Seahawks with the Broncos old QB, the gangly 6’7 Paxton Lynch loping in and blasting through a Bronco DB for the score.
Hilarious stuff.

1 year ago

Reality check I guess: I find that 53 pretty frustrating TBH. It has the same weak links we’ve had for years – LT, OG (at one point LG now RG), DE/OLB…now our supposed pro bowl-in-waiting safety is not even expected to start the year. Our breakout running back isn’t named Jones (or even Barber) but Ogunbowale…we’re rotating in more young DBs to start alongside VHIII, who having been out is now back in I guess. I am happy that VHIII is being given a chance – I have believed in his talent but somebody needs to get him up on… Read more »

1 year ago

Sucks Vea May miss up to the first 4 games but there is a chance he will be ready Week 1. At least he’s not lost for the season. Can’t wait to see how the Roster falls into place once we see the Youth hitting guys for real over the next few weeks. Hoping for the best and excited as hell! Hopefully Cappa will see a lot of Preseason action and we get to see how he’s progressing. If there is a decent Dlineman released that can be had for $7mil or less before the season starts I think the… Read more »

1 year ago

Excellent analysis. I pray we stay healthy. Seeing so many players sidelined is depressing. But you have to be impressed with the development of Spence, ROJO, Cappa, Perriman, and Whitehead. I hope our OL can stay intact. Winston is going to be a beast this year. GO Bucs!

1 year ago

I subtly remember a Chiefs player named Ross, even Kevin Ross; but, I didn’t realize our new Db coach was the same guy.

1 year ago

Our Starters look pretty good, but Defense gave up way too many big plays. White was a nonfactor in the first half. Our 2nd teams on both sides of the ball look pretty bad. I am not impressed with our new defense at all in the first half of the first game. I am going to say it right now. Matt Gay is the best pick in this draft. Our first two picks look like they have a long way to go.

1 year ago

Looks like our Punter will get a lot of work this year.

Johnny Cannons
1 year ago

I feel like there’s a real battle to be watched between Ogunbowale and Bond on special teams, which could affect whether the team keeps Bond or Tanner Hudson. Recalling that DO was getting some personal protector reps on camp, if he lands that job I think the Bucs may need to keep Hudson. The 3 TE may play a lot and that seems to imply needing a 4th, and Hudson won’t last long if he doesn’t make the 53, I don’t think.

But depth on the back part of the roster is not a bad problem to haves