Secondary Evaluation

July 31st, 2009
Joe hopes Ronde Barber can master Jim Bates bump-and-run scheme.

Joe hopes Ronde Barber can master Jim Bates' bump-and-run scheme.

Now that Jermaine Phillips will be the next Derrick Brooks, Phillip Buchanon has left for greener pastures with the juggernaut of the north known as the Detroit Lions, and NFL senior citizen Ronde Barber will have to master bump-and-run, the Bucs secondary, which last year was probably the defense’s strongest element, may not be stellar any longer.

The Sports Xchange, via, previews Bucs training camp and in this instance, breaks down the Bucs secondary.

The Bucs will utilize more bump-and-run, man-to-man coverage under Bates. It’ll be interesting to see how Barber adapts after spending his career in the Tampa Two zone scheme. Talib, who played part-time in nickel passing situations, shared the team interceptions lead with Barber last season with four. They will be the Bucs’ starting corners this season and Morris believes Talib could lead the NFL in picks. He is a perfect fit for Bates’ bump-and-run scheme. But Barber, who turned 34, could struggle trying to reroute more physical receivers. Seventh-round pick Biggers from Michigan State and second-year pro Mack will battle it out for the nickel spot. At safety, Piscitelli takes over for Phillips, who is making the transition to linebacker. He covers a lot of grass and is a ball hawk but a suspect tackler who takes bad angles. Jackson slumped as a sophomore and need to step it up in ’09. Barber still excels in the slot during passing downs. But he got burned often when the Bucs were in their base defense.

Three keys that Joe sees for this secondary are Barber adjusting to bump-and-run, consistency from Piscitelli and helmet-wielding  Talib keeping his chin strap buckled.

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