Sterling Moore had the most productive season of his five year career in 2014, playing in all 16 games for the first time while contributing with 46 tackles and 12 pass deflections. Much of his newfound success was attributed to the Tampa 2 defense that Rod Marinelli ran last year in Dallas, and much of the reason he was brought to Tampa was because of that familiarity with the system.
While Moore played the majority of snaps at nickel corner, a player that rarely comes off the field for the Bucs, the sixth-year pro believes he has the experience and versatility to play multiple roles in the secondary.
“I plan on doing both,” Moore said during his press conference on Tuesday. “I pride myself on doing that throughout my career. I played a lot of outside last year as well as inside. That’s what I pride myself on is being versatile, and I want to bring that to this team.”
That said, Moore claimed that he spends the majority of his time with Bucs’ specialized nickel cornerback coach, Mikal Smith.
“Right now I’m three days with (Smith) and a day in the corner room.”
Nickelback is a key element to the defense and one that requires intelligence just as much, or even more so, than athleticism. Moore talked about the needed on-field awareness and understanding, and what it takes to be successful in the position.
“I would say vision on the quarterback,” Moore said. “That allows you to play fast. That allows you to break and make a lot of plays on the ball. Knowing route combinations is always helpful because a lot of times your back is to the No. 1 receiver and you need to know what is going on behind you. You know what is going on behind you from what No. 2 does. Just knowing route concepts and seeing the quarterback.”
Learning a defensive system built on trust and hitting specific marks is no simple task, evidenced by two 40-point blowouts through the first six weeks of last season. That’s why the Buccaneers made it a point to sign free agents – Moore, Conte and Carter – who had experience in the scheme. And while he admits that the system takes time to adjust to, Moore, like Conte and Carter, believes that his transition will be easy given his overall familiarity.
“It definitely takes a bit,” Moore said. “The techniques are so pinpointed and the schemes and things like that. It’s always a transition.
“It’s just a system I am familiar with. Obviously there are some coaches here and some players here that I’m familiar with, but the biggest thing was just the system. I’ve been in this system the last two years in Dallas, so it should be an easy crossover and that’s something you are always looking for when you are headed to a new team.”
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.
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