Bates Bemoans SecondaryOctober 14th, 2009
Jim Bates seems depressed. So Joe is depressed, too.
There was gloom and doom in Bates’ answer to a question about the Bucs’ woes in the secondary. It was asked during his Wednesday news conference.
The veteran defensive coordinator was asked to explain the greatest challenges for the secondary transitioning from primarily playing zone coverage — Monte Kiffin’s scheme — to Bates’ system.
Bates all but said the Bucs don’t have the talent in place at cornerback or the experience at safety. Here is his response unedited.
“The biggest part is bump corners. As far as the bump corners and the safeties also getting accustomed as far as when they can help. Cause it shouldn’t look like every single snap that it’s the corners all the way and they’re out there on an island. When [safeties] can come off and help especially when there is a lot of airtime on the ball. If it’s an under 20-yard route, then it’s going to be the corner’s play over there when we’re in bump. …The corners got to do a good job. Every place that I’ve been fortunate enough to be at, we’ve had really good corners and really good bump corners. And they really take away the deep ball for the most part in all those places. And we’re going to get there. We’re going to get there. But sometimes it just isn’t the corner. The safety has got to be able to know when he can give help, get the depth, get the break on the ball, and when there’s a lot of airtime on the ball we should be making the plays with the safeties, especially on those deep sideline routes.”
The Bucs gave up six pass completions of 40 or more yards during the 2008 season. Through five games this season, they have already yielded eight. This fun fact comes from the Twitter account of eye!-RAH Kaufman, NFL writer for The Tampa Tribune.
It seems Bates overestimated what he had in the Bucs’ secondary, or his fears have come to fruition. Perhaps both.
But Bates obviously thinks his horses in the secondary are second-rate for his system. So unless the pass rush shows marked improvement, Bucs fans can probably expect to see lots more big plays for the wrong team.