Playing With Matches

July 15th, 2014
Mike Tanier of "Sports on Earth" believes swapping Darrelle Revis for Alterraun Verner is a major risk. Sort of like kids playing with matches.

Mike Tanier of “Sports on Earth” believes swapping Darrelle Revis for Alterraun Verner is a major risk. Sort of like kids playing with matches.

Joe is not much into psychobabble, or shrinks for that matter. In some ways Joe gets the hunch it’s witch-doctoring.

How else to describe a profession in which a client/patient must keep coming back again and again and again and maybe it might work and maybe it won’t, but like snook moving in the Gulf, they keep coming back.

Joe was not a happy camper when the Bucs let All World cornerback Darrelle Revis walk. Yes, yes, yes, Joe knows all the reasons why. Still, it was — and is — hard to see the best cornerback of his generation in his prime walk. No compensation. Just gone.

The anti-Revis crowd (yes, inexplicably, there is an anti-Revis crowd) will argue the Bucs would not have Alterraun Verner if they didn’t let Revis walk. Of course, if the Bucs didn’t wave goodbye to Revis, they wouldn’t need Verner, would they?

Over time and untold number of beers, Joe has nearly moved on. Maybe a shrink would call this “self-medicating?” Joe has learned to cope with no Revis. However, if by some chance Verner’s play slips, then what?

In a Bucs season preview, Mike Tanier of the very underrated “Sports on Earth,” which Joe finds much better than “Grantland,” wrote an entertaining yet informative piece on Verner. He believes he is one of the key elements in making Lovie Smith’s makeover of the defense work.

Biggest Risk: Alterraun blows up, causes disturbance in The Force

Replacing Revis with Verner was an understandable move, which does not make it any less risky. Revis was a bad system fit with bad vibes. Verner is cheaper, more eager to be around, and is more of a Lovie Smith-type defender. Still, the Bucs sent a perennial All-Pro packing and replaced him with a guy no one had heard of before last September. This move has backfire potential.

I wrote an extensive scouting report on Verner before the start of free agency. The short version: Verner is great in space, anticipates route combinations well, knows his role in zone coverage and excels in “bail technique,” which involves a deep drop at the snap to take away longer routes and give the cornerback a clear view of the field. On the downside, Verner does not press much, is not much of a run defender and can be beaten by quarterback-receiver combinations with excellent timing.

Verner’s run stopping may be a problem in Lovie’s defense, though great safeties and linebackers will cushion the blow. The zone comprehension, anticipation and willingness to play in space will all serve Verner well. Keep in mind that Lovie’s “Tampa-2″ roots do not mean the Bucs will play a Cover-2 zone for 70 snaps per game. It’s more of a philosophy, like “progressive rock” or “Thai cuisine.” Verner fits the philosophy, even if jamming a receiver and trading him to the safety while waiting for a dump-off pass is his best thing. Revis was more of a thick cut of prime rib on the Thai menu, one that cost $50. Verner will be good. But with the Falcons and Saints receiving corps in the division, the Bucs need him to be great.

That’s a helluva point Tanier made. With the receivers Verner will face in this division, he has to play great. Otherwise, do the blocks come tumbling down?

The good news here is that Lovie has really amped up the depth at cornerback. Joe is just going to guess that if any cornerback struggles, then Lovie isn’t going to keep him on the field for long,  barring injuries.

Before you starting banging your keyboard in anger, Joe has nothing against Verner at all. Really good dude. But Revis is Revis. So long as the Bucs win, and the beers stay cold, Joe can forget about that move.

For now.

37 Responses to “Playing With Matches”

  1. Stanglassman Says:

    If Verner was a no name and not a pro bowl cornerback and we didn’t beef up our D-line with two great players and get a good TE then I would agree. It helps to tell the whole story to make a fair comparison.

  2. Harry Says:

    I know some will call me crazy. But let us not forget that Johnthan Banks might take the next step too. He did a hell of a job on Calvin Johnson last year when Revis went out. I really like what we have in our 2 starting CBs.

  3. Ghost Says:

    The bucs had too many holes to fill they couldn’t afford Revis. I guess Shiano may have been to inept to realize that when they signed him.

  4. biff barker Says:

    Our secondary will only be as good as the pressure from the front 4. We get consistent disruption and the back 4 will be just fine.

  5. Joe Says:

    Our secondary will only be as good as the pressure from the front 4. We get consistent disruption and the back 4 will be just fine.

    Pretty much spot on.

  6. Joe Says:

    I know some will call me crazy. But let us not forget that Johnthan Banks might take the next step too. He did a hell of a job on Calvin Johnson last year when Revis went out. I really like what we have in our 2 starting CBs.

    Totally agree!

    And remember: Banks too had the MRSA. Who knows how much (if at all) that may have set him back?

  7. biff barker Says:

    Harry, agree, Banks did a great job on Megatron but let’s see how he does in a zone scheme. We’ve got a number one and two pick and two all pro’s now, but it’s still all new,

  8. BrianDorry55 Says:

    Verner is going to be a pro bowler in this defense.

  9. MadMax Says:

    Banks will be our press man.

  10. biff barker Says:

    Joe, remember one of the side effects of the MRSA treatments is fatigue. That and the mental baggage of being infected had to affect Banks.
    Remember when the Falcons staff had clean out the Bucs locker room in biohazard suits?

  11. Buccfan37 Says:

    I think Schiano wanted Revis after watching him play for Pitt vs Rutgers. He finally got what he wanted. Now they are both history for the Bucs. That’s the best part.

  12. Harry Says:

    I know I have a lot of “offseason endorphins” floating around in me bc the Bucs are still “undefeated”, but I really don’t see a lot of holes in this defense. Especially with the LBs and DBs. Some question marks on the Dline, but IF IF IF they perform, we could have a really great defense.

    This is where Tedford could get into trouble. If the D does perform in this manner and his offense struggles, his honeymoon period will be over QUICKLY.

  13. Bill Says:

    Well, I mean, if the famous Sports on Earth wrote it, I’ll go to church on that word every Sunday.

  14. mpmalloy Says:

    Y do u h8 Verner, bru?

    (Lol, just joking)

  15. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Ghost- Or maybe he was piecing together a formidable defense for the future, one that desperately needed a corner. No one could’ve foreseen what happened last year. AND, you don’t pass on what can be argued the best corner in football, especially when you have the money.
    I have also come to grips with the decision to let Revis go. However, Verner will be scrutinized and he better play well. It may not be fair, and it’s not the same system or player type, but he will be measured against a future HOF’er until he proves otherwise.
    Defense, in my opinion, will be our strength this year. I’m excited to see what we can do. Go Bucs!

  16. fb Says:

    Joe,

    Your argument states that “we wouldn’t need Verner, if we still had Revis”. But that is the wrong take. We wouldn’t have Johnson if we still had Revis. While Revis is great, Johnson and Verner are better. If Revis is your favorite steak, Verner and Johnson are your second favorite steak and a lobster tail.

    On top of that, if your line is better, the difference between Verner and Revis on the field is much smaller than comparing them one on one.

  17. RachelWatson'sthong Says:

    I take no joy in Greg’s failure as our coach, Nor Raheem’s. All that did was waste years that we could have enjoyed football. I also put the signing of Revis on Dominick. All he had to do was say No! Another in the long line of wasted 1st round picks. I like what I read about our Defensive team so far. Our offense as well. Time will tell..Everybody needs to gel fast and stay healthy.

  18. buc4lyfe Says:

    Who is mike tanier. Article written like someone who knows nothing about the history of cornerbacks to play in this Tampa. What was the risk again? We paid 16mil to make other teams attack our rookie cornerback. Revised knows absolutely nothing about Tampa two or any kind of zone which he proved last year by being out of position more than once. His name for him into the pro bowl

  19. tampamac Says:

    Trust me, I like Revis but it’s not like we got ‘Revis Island’ Darrelle Revis last year. 50 tackles, 11 passes defensed, 1 sack, 2 INT in 16 games are decent numbers, but not “All World CB” numbers. If Verner can put up similar or better numbers and Johnson can produce 8 or more sacks, it’s well worth the tradeoff to me.

  20. kevin Says:

    Our corners are not at the top of my list for concerns. I think our safety position needs to prove it worth more than our cbs

  21. Orca Says:

    We learned in the Dungy days that great CBs aren’t necessary in this type of defense. The descriptions of Verner have all said he’s a perfect scheme fit. He wants to be in Tampa, playing for Lovie in this D. He seems like a mature guy who wants to put in the work to master the defense. I think the risk on him is low. It’s a less risky signing than, say, Michael Johnson. I also think Johnson will be fine by the way.

    People don’t like Revis because he’s perceived as a mercenary. I think that’s pretty accurate.

    I’m not sure how Joe’s comments regarding psychotherapy are relevant to the article. It’s unnecessary to share your ignorance in this context.

  22. Orca Says:

    Revis is a mercenary. That’s why many people don’t like him.

  23. Orca Says:

    In the Tampa 2, great CBs aren’t necessary. The descriptions of Verner have all said he’s a perfect scheme fit. He wants to be in Tampa, playing for Lovie in this D. He seems like a mature guy who wants to put in the work to master the defense. I think the risk on him is low. It’s a less risky signing than, say, Michael Johnson. I also think Johnson will be fine by the way.

  24. Orca Says:

    The reviews I’ve read on Verner’s fit in this defense are overwhelmingly positive. He’s a mature guy who will master the defense, he wants to be in Tampa playing for Lovie. It strikes me as a low risk signing, lower than Michael Johnson, who I also expect to succeed as a Buccaneer.

  25. SAMCRO Says:

    Why Joe was so enamored by Revis last year is beyond me. He did nothing extraordinary for the amount of money we paid him. Personally I’m not in the business of propping up a player who only gave us a mediocre performance just because of the success he had in the past. He didn’t earn his one million dollars a game salary and that’s how Smith and Licht saw it too. He should have never made the pro-bowl on his stats. He was viral, and unhappy. Too many times he opened his mouth and indirectly questioned the teams leadership, in essence undermining the unity that Schiano tried so desperately to achieve. Being paid a record breaking amount of mula does not give a player immunity just to say whatever they feel like, and that’s another thing I’m sure L&L had to take into consideration. Let’s face it. I would rather McCoy be our team ambassador than Revis anyday. Bet he plays better for Belicheat or he’s gone next year also.

  26. BucsFan47 Says:

    Revis who? That guy wasn’t Revis island at all. Remember when Ted Ginn Jr beat him on a double move? WERE TALKING ABOUT A #3 RECIEVER LEAVING HIM IN THE DUST!

    He is a has been, not in his prime anymore and only thinks of himself. He is 1 injury away from being out of the NFL. I’am glad we got rid of that headache and got new young studs. Michael Johnson is going to break out, McDonald is going to be an upgrade over Spence, and Verner is going to be the biggest headache for oppsing NFC South QB’s.

    GO BUCS!

  27. Buc the Haters Says:

    I think our D is way more stacked this year, even though Revis is gone. I think we’ll have at least 6 probowlers this year from that side of the ball & another 4-5 from the offensive side… Yes, I’m saying that we’ll have the most probowlers of any team in the league when it’s all said & done this year. Here’s my picks… Defense: GMC, Michael Johnson, Verner, LVD, Foster, & either Hawk or Barron…. Offense: VJax, Evans, ASJ, Doug Martin, & possibly: Charles Sims, TWright, EDS, Demar Dotson

  28. Buc the Haters Says:

    Oh, and also possibly McCown.

  29. Bucsfanman Says:

    So what? Revis is a mercenary! So was Deion and thousands of other free-agents. He filled a huge hole for us last year. We should thank him and the defense for actually keeping us in some games.
    That being said, that was 2013. Now we roll out the real “Tampa 2″! I like your optimism Haters, It would be nice to see all those Bucs eating pineapple!
    Go Bucs!

  30. tiny tim Says:

    Some of you have no clue of what you are talking about. Just because Revis questioned what Shiano was doing does not mean he was a bad apple or a cancer to the locker room. GMC questioned the Shiano stunts for two years. Does that make him a bad apple or a cancer? Some of you buc fans need to stop ripping a player once he leaves the team. Everytime a player leaves the bucs, it does not mean he was some kind of a jerk or not classy enough for the buccaneer organization so “good riddance” as one poster said.

    Would I have like to see Revis lining up in a Lovie smith defense? Hell yea!!!! But I will support my team and the decision they made. I can support my team without fabricating lies on Revis in order to justify the move in my head. Get a grip some of you!!!!

  31. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Ghost Says
    “The bucs had too many holes to fill they couldn’t afford Revis. I guess Shiano may have been to inept to realize that when they signed him.”

    Except that Mark Dominick not only signed him, but worked out the contract as well. Schiano was coach, not GM. A coach takes the players given him and does what he is able to.

  32. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I might also add that if Revis was expected to stay more than a year, he would have had a guaranteed contract.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Alterraun was the best we could get in place of Revis at the time.

    As to Banks, the MRSA did hold him back a little, so he did very well considering.

    That said, fans were ready to give up on Ronde Barber during his first 4 years. It wasn’t until year 5 (I believe) that he finally caught on.

    The reason that I bring it up is because tampa fans give up on players very quickly. In some cases, I suppose it it justified. In others it is not. Maybe a combination of position and player makes the difference.

    We Tampa fans tend to hold onto QBs too long, and other positions not long enough.

  34. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    So if Banks does have a down year, don’t give up on him.

  35. Ghost Says:

    @ Bonzai
    That’s why I used the plural “they”. If you think coaches don’t make or participate in personnel decisions your sadly mistaken just ask Chucky.

  36. Brandon Says:

    Revis was not Revis last season and there is no guarantee he ever will be. Bad contract, wasted draft picks to trade for him, damaged goods. Move on.

  37. Brandon Says:

    biff barker Says:
    July 15th, 2014 at 9:48 am
    Joe, remember one of the side effects of the MRSA treatments is fatigue. That and the mental baggage of being infected had to affect Banks.
    Remember when the Falcons staff had clean out the Bucs locker room in biohazard suits?
    ——————

    Brother, wtf are you talking about? I had MRSA and I never heard anything like this. Yeah, I was fatigued…when I had it for a week and was receiving the WRONG treatment. But once I went to a doc that didn’t have his head up his arse i recovered fairly quickly. There have been numerous cases of players acquiring MRSA in both college and pros and as long as the MRSA is not in debilitating area (I’ve seen numerous guys running around with MRSA wraps on their forearms in practice and games), it’s like any other infection.

 
 

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