Believing In Johnthan Banks

December 3rd, 2014

Mike Jenkins, who?

One of the most curious things Joe’s ever seen came this summer when Bucs overlord of football operations Lovie Smith signed slug cornerback Mike Jenkins.

Signing Jenkins wasn’t a bad move. Joe supposes he could have provided depth.

But as training camp came and the regular season neared, on the Bucs depth chart it was not Johnthan Banks listed as starter, but Jenkins.

Good grief! Banks, as a rookie, showed tremendous potential. Banks held his own at Detroit last season when, after Darrelle Revis got hurt, he shut down Calvin Johnson.

Jenkins, a cowardly tackler who once got roasted time and again like a Thanksgiving turkey by, of all people, Vince Young, was let go by Dallas (whose defense is run by Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin). Then the Raiders let him walk away.

And Lovie wanted this guy to start? Over Banks? Pass the Cuervo.

Well, in a twist of fate (luck?), Jenkins was hurt with a bad hamstring almost all of training camp and preseaon, and tore his pectoral muscle in the first game against the Stinking Panthers. He’s out for the year.

Banks, a second-round pick in 2013, was a bit surprised, too, when he arrived for training camp, seeing Jenkins listed as a starter. So Banks decided this was his chance to shine and prove to his new coach he was making a mistake.

“[Lovie] didn’t draft me,” Banks said. “I know this is a business so I had to go out and perform. Mike, he has been in the league seven years. I could have sat behind him and [Alterraun Verner] and learned. But it worked out for me to be a starter. Just a blessing. Coach stuck with me. It is a blessing and an honor.

“It really did push me a lot. I just came to work. I didn’t care what happened, if they cut me or not. I came here every day to get better. It worked out for me.”

Banks ranks third in the NFL in picks with four, including a pick-six. If not for some butter fingers, he may have had at least one more interception.

“I definitely think competition brings out the best in players,” Lovie said of Banks’ battle this summer.

Whether Lovie was playing mind games with Banks to see how he would respond, or if Lovie really believed Jenkins was starter material, it worked. Banks is having a Pro Bowl-like season and is one reason the Bucs defense has gone from nightmarish to respectable.

To hear more from Banks, click the black arrow below. Audio player courtesy of Joe’s friends at WDAE-AM 620.

20 Responses to “Believing In Johnthan Banks”

  1. RastaMon Says:

    “Lovie is as Lovie does”

  2. Ray Rice Says:

    Banks has been solid. Verner got burnt once again last Sunday. A common theme for him. But overall he played good too. Banks fits the Abraham/Brian Kelly mold. Hard worker. Doesn’t complain or say much. Very under rated but solid CB.

  3. billy buckaroo Says:

    Banks may not have had much of a chance if Jenkins didnt get hurt.
    Lovie sticks with “his” picks a long time,
    regardless of how they play or not.

  4. BucBob1 Says:

    Apparently, Lovie didn’t watch as much tape on last years team as we thought he did. The only reason Johnathan Banks was kept, because he was still in his rookie contract.

    “But we were 4 and 12”

  5. Brandon Says:

    Banks sucked, just like Verner did, up until the bye week. The secondary and linebackers were woeful for the first six games. Maybe THAT is why Jenkins was brought in. It’s not like Banks spent the first six games proving anybody wrong.

  6. W Says:

    Banks was terrible in the first six games because of the style that they were playing. After the bye week, they’ve been much more aggressive at the LOS and not offering that huge cushion constantly. It’s helped.

  7. Kevin Schmidt Says:

    I think Verner is more like L. Johnson, but better. Id have in playing slot corner. Banks and Talib could have been a mean tandem at corner. Oh well, pass the Quervo and pray for yet another better season next year…

  8. Owlykat Says:

    Listen even our first round draft pick, Evans, was not listed as a starter to begin with. It is Lovie’s way of motivating players with great potential to play hard to earn a starting position with their increased production. I like that approach. If dumb Schiano had taken that tactic we never would have let Bennet go and gave his starting job to a second round DE thought to have great ability.

  9. Mr. Patrick Says:

    It shows that Lovie is not a great evaluator of talent, the Free Agent signings show that. The reason the Defense is playing better now is because they are playing with several guys that they didn’t start with that Lovie chose. I like Banks though, good solid guy

  10. Pelbuc Says:

    Good article. That’s why I’m scared of L&L as personnel evaluators. Jenkins gave up the go ahead TD in game one and McCown singlehandedly cost Bucs the first 2 games and the Oline disaster and MJ is well documented. Also, other than Evans, their drafting is also questionable. As for the defense coming around, I’ll reserve judgment until after these last 4 games. Unfortunately, Bucs don’t have passionate owners, but if they lose their last game at home, I would dress down the entire team and coaching staff in the locker room just to leave an impression in the off season.

  11. Gooberville Says:

    Joe you have no idea the reasons . Maybe Banks was being lazy and needed a kick in the arse. I’ve seen this story about Jenkins repeated over and over. If you really want to know why Jenkins was ahead of Banks on the depth chart why don’t you just ask Lovie at the next press conference instead of speculating and trying to make Lovie look bad.

  12. biff barker Says:

    “I definitely think competition brings out the best in players,” Lovie said of Banks’ battle this summer”.
    Just like the battle at QB right?

  13. Dave Pear Says:

    How about the battle at center?

  14. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    get another big corner to play on the left and move verner to the slot then move or trade foster and get another big MLB that can cover in FA or draft. Grab chris conte this off-season from the bears in FA and draft another tall FS in the draft with speed. move EDS over to right guard, replace collins with pamphile at left tackle, and try collins at center or left guard. Draft the biggest o-lineman in the draft and fire warhop. Get a DE in the draft and FA then get a QB in FA and draft a QB who runs to set up the pass not vice versa like mariota. I agree with another poster on here that suggest the Bucs trade back for more picks but only if the deal is right. I think that Winston could be had later in the draft because of off field drama. Could probably get Winston and o-lineman or defensive end in the 1st round.

  15. Joe Says:


    Lovie was asked that question today. Joe included his answer in the story. Thanks for playing.

  16. cmurda Says:

    Look folks it’s pretty simple. The O Line and D Line controls everybody else on the team. This is not rocket science. Tom Brady looks like a sheep in wolf’s clothing when the pressure comes in on him and so does virtually every QB with the exception maybe of A Rod and Brees. It’s no different on defense. No cornerback can be expected to stay with a WR for 7 plus seconds. Since the bye week, the D Line has improved dramatically thanks in large part to a couple guy we hadn’t even heard from before and not coincidentally so has Banks. Banks is getting better but he was never garbage. He played like expected for a rookie last year and our D Line is on last year’s pace. So, if we want to throw darts, Banks shouldn’t be the target. Blame L & L for piss poor FA signings namely M Johnson, EDS, and A Collins. All have underwhelmed and that’s the reason for our failures. Player evaluation is a major concern of mine. I trust in Lovie as a coach but Licht needs to step his game up and find the talent. We need a remarkable draft which better include a QB and lots of linemen in order for us to regain competitiveness.

  17. pick6 Says:

    until i see clear evidence of something actually happen that isn’t the polar opposite of the outcome lovie planned\intended, i will have to continue to assume that good outcomes to his decisions are just a function of probability. the blind squirel\acorn hypothesis.

  18. cmurda Says:

    Well done pick 6. Hard to argue with you

  19. Oveal730 Says:

    I wish ppl stop posting what the bucs should draft and who to replace. The problem is the offensive line stinks and Josh McClown makes to many bad decisions. Verner and Foster is find.

  20. BucIt941 Says:

    I would love for us to grab another big long CB and move ATV to Nickel. ATV would be an all pro at Nickel much like a Barber was in his hay days. ATV has the same body and movement skills barber possessed inside. Personally I think this would be the best case scenario