Melvin Likes The “Menu”June 12th, 2014
It’s lunchtime and Day 3 of Bucs minicamp practice is about to kick off. So Joe thought this would be a great time to talk about today’s menu.
Sadly, Joe’s not referring to Hooters wings and beers; Joe’s talking about the new menu for Bucs cornerbacks.
The star of the secondary yesterday was Rashaan Melvin with two interceptions, one of the spectacular variety, ripping the ball out of the air and hands of Chris Owusu. Both picks came from Josh McCown throws.
Don’t remember Melvin? He the long (6-2, 194 pounds) undrafted Schiano-Dominik cornerback who landed on injured reserve after a preseason injury. The Lovie Smith regime is high on the kid, too, and he’s been working with the second-team corners and got first team work yesterday.
Joe actually talked to Melvin two days ago, before his breakout practice. Melvin already was showing signs, per Joe’s eyes, of playing at a solid NFL level.
Coach is making a huge difference, Melvin said.
“The big difference from this year and last year is learning the techniques and the techniques themselves,” Melvin said. “The defense is new but pretty easy to pick up. It’s just being consistent on your techniques and being in position to make a play on the ball.
“When Coach Byrd talks about the menu, it’s a menu of the technique options tailored to each player to use on specific down and distance, depending on the receiver, as well. So we try to understand the situation in the game and pick off the menu that way. When you look at film, I mean you learn receivers, the plays, and the concepts we use on certain down and distances. So when you see that stuff, you want to try to try and apply it in your head first and then on the field.”
Joe previously talked to cornerbacks coach Byrd about “the menu.” You can read about it here.
It sure seems like the secondary coaching has improved dramatically. Byrd was a Pro Bowler. Leslie Frazier has a Super Bowl ring as a cornerback, and he coached the position. Lovie Smith was a defensive backs coach. Father Dungy, a defensive back with the Steelers dynasty, is lending his expertise now at One Buc Palace. Plus, Pro Bowl addition Alterraun Verner is one of the more cerebral players in the NFL and is eager to share knowledge.
Joe has very high hopes for the Bucs defense. But will it jell fast enough to cover for a brand new offense with a lot of new parts some glaring holes?