Heated Fights For Corner Spots

July 17th, 2015
Where does Leonard Johnson factor in with Bucs corners?

Where does Leonard Johnson factor in with Bucs corners?

A few things are locks — assuming health — when the Bucs put toe to leather (thank you, Gene Deckerhoff) to kick off the season in September.

Among the guarantees are Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson starting at wide receiver, and Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks starting at corner.

After Banks and Verner, the cornerback battles become interesting. Some argue there is a dropoff after the starters, and the rest of the corners are about the same. And there are only so many roster spots. Multimedia maven Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com takes a look.

… one can safely assume that Verner will remain at the top of the list at left cornerback, and he’s likely to remain there. Banks, too, deserves the benefit of the doubt on the right side after his second-half surge but it’s hard to ignore that the team re-signed Mike Jenkins, the same player that battled with Banks for that job throughout the last offseason.

Complicating matters (in a good way, as cornerback depth is both critical and hard to acquire) is the signing of former Cowboy Sterling Moore. The Bucs surely envisioned a significant role for Moore when they picked up him after a strong 2014 season in Dallas, but it’s not yet clear what that role will be. If he proves to be the best option at the nickel back spot, that would provide big competition for Johnson and Isaiah Frey, the two players who were running at that spot during the final round of OTAs. If Moore is better suited to the outside, how will that affect the competition between Banks and Jenkins?

The Bucs might also be interested in finding work for Brandon Dixon, the undrafted rookie they picked up just before the season last year after he was released by the Jets. A sixth-round pick out of Northwest Missouri State in 2014, Dixon was thrown into the fire at times last fall during a run of cornerback injuries, and while he sometimes looked just like a rookie, he also showed plenty of promise. As is the case at the receiver spot, the Bucs’ depth at cornerback probably looks more impressive in June than September, but there still seems to be plenty of uncertainty as to how this will shake out.

First, there is no benefit of the doubt with Banks. The guy picked up Lovie Smith’s defense well and led the team in interceptions. He was the team’s best cornerback. He’s not going anywhere.

It is Verner, not Banks, who has something to prove. Banks is not going to get bumped by a journeyman never-been like Mike Jenkins. Let’s just put this to rest right now.

If one believes in the theory that competition breeds success, then the Bucs may have a deep stable of cornerbacks for the first time in a long time.

52 Responses to “Heated Fights For Corner Spots”

  1. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    Pick 6! Hope to see a bunch of those this season!

  2. buc4life1979 Says:


    “There is no benefit of the doubt with Banks.” Lovie Smith IS STILL our HC right Joe, AND Mike Jenkins is STILL on the roster?? Then when it comes to players he wasn’t here to select, REGARDLESS of whether they are clearly the better player on the field or not, Lovie Smith is still our HC….Given his record in Chicago when it came to playing players like Adam Archuletta, Banks can bank on NOTHING.

  3. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Here are the major improvements the Bucs have made heading into this season.

    1.) Franchise QB
    3.) Better talent for the OL after two years of drafting
    4.) DEPTH

    We obviously still have a ways to go in depth. But our CB’s as this piece points out are certainly deeper, our LB’s and DL also deeper. I think this is why the Bucs only went with one d player in the draft. The D is actually starting to shape up.

    The offense also has depth. The big question mark there is our OL. If Pamphile really blossoms and Edwards comes on strong and the two rookie draft picks are as good as advertised then the OL is also building some depth.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ve got three words about this……GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!!!

  5. Newbucsfan Says:

    A little off topic, but does anyone know when Scott Smiths new , “four months on the clock”, will be out. I’ve seen the promo, but am really wanting to see the complete version. Or am I just confused and missing something? 🙁

  6. Bill Byrne Says:

    StPeteBucsFan….IS DEAD ON!!! Great analysis for 2015.

  7. LakelandBuc Says:

    Brandon Dixon has the potential to be the Bucs best cover corner and he’s a good tackler. I’m glad that he has an experienced coach like Gil Byrd teaching him the ropes. You throw in the fact that he’s the Bucs fastest corner, he ran a 4.40 at the combine his 40 low was 4.30. You rarely see a player from Northwest Missouri State get invited to the combine, he has to have special skills. I believe he could be converted to Free Safety.

  8. Bucs54 Says:

    “the undrafted rookie they picked up just before the season last year after he was cut by the Jets. A sixth-round pick out of Northwest Missouri State…” ?

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    Verner, Banks and Moore in the nickle will be the starters. I think Moore was perhaps our best FA pick up depending on how well the Carter at MLB experiment works out.

  10. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Banks is going to have a big season. I’m predicting people will be talking about Banks getting snubbed for the Pro-Bowl.

  11. Fsuking Says:

    With all of this cornerback depth, I will be astonished if Leonard Johnson is still working in the vicinity of Raymond James stadium (unless he signs with the subway down the street). Frey is promising and we wouldn’t have signed Moore if he wasn’t capable of playing the nickel. There will be a lot of push for the 3rd spot on the outside but against Joe’s wishes its Jenkins job to lose.

  12. Danati74 Says:

    Lj was mostly getting beat. He did have some splash plays and recorded a few pick 6s. If he was just a lil bit faster…that is why he wasn’t drafted. Thats why he may not make it. I like the hometown guys, but now when we lose and you can see they were part of the problem.

  13. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I liked LJ too. I was hoping he pan out.

  14. getaclue Says:

    doubt johnson makes the roster over dixon

  15. James Walker Says:

    Who plays special teams might make the difference?

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    Bill Byrne Says:
    July 17th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    “StPeteBucsFan….IS DEAD ON!!! Great analysis for 2015.”

    REALLY? Seeing is believing. In his paragraph analysis he mentions that our defense is better. How so on paper? No one has even seen them play yet as a unit and it’s just better now, just, just because.

  17. Buc1987 Says:

    @Buc Realist wherever you are. I fully comprehend now why you have the attitude that you do towards this team. It comes from reading all these happy thoughts and expectations from the fans on this site year after year after year. They always act as if they got it all figured out and this team is about to take off. Happens every off season. Then what happens? The exact opposite of what they were saying in the offseason.

    Seeing is believing fellas. I was guilty of this too back in the summer of 2013. Kept hyping up the upcoming season and expecting BIG things. I too said the Bucs would win the division that season. I carefully thought everything out before I even posted it on here. I was confident of it and then I got hit with the whammy and we started off 0-4 then went 0-8. Not saying that this season will play out like that one. I sure hope not. Sure teams have rebounded from 2-14 to make the playoffs the next year, but how often does that happen and what happened since last season means squat until we all see it on the field.

    Sorry I’m so cranky again. Found out I need surgery for an inguinal hernia that’s taken these idiot doctors six months and 5 CT scans to figure it out. Had they figured it out 6 months ago I wouldn’t have to go through pain nearly every single day. Today was one of those REALLY bad days. Gotta wait a week to even talk to a surgeon and who knows when he can even do the op.

  18. Buc-A-New Says:

    I think SPBF’s analysis is spot on too. (Should have probably said “Potential Franchise QB” because as you point out about the D, JW has never played a snap in the NFL. Not only that I think he missed a few positives. All he did bro was point out that we have better depth at LB. That is a no brainer. I think that we not only have better depth but our entire D will be in at least its second yr in Lovie’s D. Some of the FA’s have been in it longer. I think that ASJ will be more healthy this yr and it will be ME13’s second yr, no longer a Rook. I see VERY good things for us IF the OL is average or better.

  19. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    @Buc1987 sorry to hear about the hernia and the health system challenge you are facing.
    Hope things improve real quick.

    I am interested in this upcoming preseason, because I want to see whether our defense drops off performance wise after the first team comes off the field. Last couple years, our 2nd teamers couldn’t match up against the 3rd teamers from our opponents. If we still hold our own against the 2nd stringers, it means we finally have some depth.

  20. Buc-A-New Says:

    That post was for you 87. And I am very sorry to hear about your hernia. Best of luck friend.

  21. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    We have disagreed on opinions but I truly hope your health situation improves.

    In life we have few things that TRULY matter. The loves of our life and our health. Here is hoping you feel better soon.

  22. bucsfan85 Says:

    Agree with LakelandBuc, I love the potential of Brandon Dixon. In case we forgot, look at the Cincinnati game (if you can stomach it). That interception of Andy Dalton in the end zone was a great play. He also had other moments that showed he can be a starter (maybe not now), but still has great potential. I say we keep him and mold him into a starting caliber player. Always look to the future.

  23. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Everything posted here, everything written in national pubs, spouted on the NFL net and BSPN is all SPECULATION!!!

    I thought we all agreed to that from the outset. NOBODY can claim anything factual about the 2015 Bucs season until the season is over and we can check the scoreboard.

    But isn’t that the fun of being sports fans? It’s the hope and speculation before the season. I am clearly blog optimist here but it’s not simply because I’m a big Bucs fan. I was NEVER optmistic with JFRO at QB. May be the most overrated QB we’ve ever had. Not the worst, just the most overrated. Yes he was a big dude, hard to bring down and he could throw it through a brick wall IF he could even hit the brick wall.

    It was clear to me that JFRO was a head case from day one. We had plenty of others to join him like Winslow Jr. Talib and others.

    Now I really like the “character” of this team. Lansanah is a great story! Pamphile seems to also be an excellent human being. GMC is a class act.

    We’ve not only assembled some better talent but better human beings. I like going to war with quality people like DB55. People you can trust.

    This is the first group of Bucs that I’ve honestly trusted in quite awhile.

    It’s all speculation. 10-6 baby!

  24. bucsfan85 Says:

    Hernias suck 87 best of wishes to you.

  25. bucsfan85 Says:

    why do all my comments say awaiting moderation?

  26. Buc-A-New Says:

    I am with SPBF. 6 wins should be our Floor this yr if the OL plays better, not our ceiling. I say we should go 8 and 8 in our Div. in the NFCW………not so much.

  27. Buc-A-New Says:

    And I will admit SPBF that I was fooled by JFRO. That hit he laid on Brent Grimes after his questionable INT had me thinking that we could have the real deal. Oh well. It is OK to be wrong sometimes I guess.

  28. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Now that last one was a great post St.Pete. Great post.

  29. Buc-A-New Says:

    Sup Nos Bos!?
    I always feel like your worker after I greet you like that.

  30. bucsfan85 Says:

    Why arent my posts going through? im about to give up.

  31. Capt.Tim Says:

    Great post, and I agree!

  32. Buc1987 Says:

    Yes and I speculated 10-6 in 2013. That was after the team went 7-9 the season before.

    Thanks for the well wishes everyone. I’m just glad my family is out in Seattle so they don’t have be here listening to me whine and moan about the pain. Oh well they’ll be back in 2 more days.

  33. Buc1987 Says:

    I hope the optimists are right. I was once one of those too. Last season sucked that all out of me, but it can be quickly restored. Just win the home opener is all it will take for me. Just 1 game at home. 1-0 and I’m back.

  34. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Thanks guys. When receiving a compliment one should always consider the source. And the posters here are all well informed and make great points. So compliments on this blog are always special.

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    StPeteBucsFan …believe me it’s much easier for you to have optimism than it is for me to be pessimistic. In a way I envy you.

  36. BucsFan85 Says:

    why were my posts awaiting moderation and then deleted? Nothing bad was said

  37. BucsFan85 Says:

    I was saying how I thought that Brandon Dixon was playing great in the Cincinnati game at times and looked promising as a potential starter in the future. Also said best wishes to 87. Hernias are no fun.

  38. Buc-A-New Says:

    Thank You SPBF and I feel the same way about your posts.
    85 I was experiencing the same thing last night and this morning. Then it went away

  39. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Lol Buc. 87 I thought we were in agreement that last season was a tank job. If our theory is correct I can’t understand how you feel awful about last season’s results. Around mid-season it dawned on me what was occurring,watching some of those plays closely for me it was way too evident. I began telling my homeboys say what you wanna about my squad we going after the phenom up there in Tally. They swore me up and down my assessment was incorrect. All my homeboys for some strange reason are very quiet these days. Jamies has the same level of football passion Dez Bryant has for the boys. Once you drop that in you’re locker room it spreads like an infectious disease. We are no longer a losing program my friend.

  40. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I hope your right, Nole/Buc. I’m not sure how deep the tank job was, though. The last game was obvious, but I’m not sure about the games before that. Did Lovie knowingly send 12 men on the field. Did ME13 fake his game ending injury?? How deep are we talking here?

  41. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Wow, I am not sure how in the hell anyone thinks the Bucs defense is “shaping up.” My god we don’t even have legitimate starters at DE and safety. We have a guy starting at middle linebacker and has never played the position before. We have two studs on defense, a couple of mediocre players and a lot of scrubs.

  42. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I think the first 13 or so games was a combination of us being a bad team, and having the worst 4th quarter luck I have ever seen. Or maybe……..

  43. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    TDT, we have A LOT of defensive questions this season. I think best case is 15th-20th in the league. One more draft and FA IMO.

  44. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I know I’m a Banks fan, but I think he’s gonna blow up this season. I was looking at the Mock drafts the year before he came out. He was our Mock first round pick. Then the season was over and the draft came around and he wasn’t even projected in the first round. We got him in round 2 and I was ecstatic!!! He reminds me of Brian Kelly. Not great in Man, but great in Zone.

  45. Harry Says:

    @87 says,
    “…REALLY? Seeing is believing. In his paragraph analysis he mentions that our defense is better. How so on paper? No one has even seen them play yet as a unit and it’s just better now, just, just because…”

    I agree with you and was thinking the same thing while reading StPete’s post. I do think CB and DLine is marginally better thru experience and minor FA pickups. But safety and LB positions are weaker, IMO. Overall I “want to believe” the D is better, and marginally I think it will be. But I think MANY are drinking the Kool Aide.

    OC is the biggest improvement the Bucs made this year, but comparing Arroyo to Mr Koetter is comparing rotten apples to juicy oranges

  46. Harry Says:

    ^^Jamies will also be a big factor, but both good and bad, as you have also said. We will get to see those tantalizing special flashes where he will show us his greatness. But, sigh…, he is a rookie and will have growing pains as well

  47. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    All I know is Lovie never sent a safety or DE outside of Peppers who came a number of years after being HC in the chi and his defense always ranked high in the league regardless. Outside of Urlaquor,Briggs,and Tillman I can’t recall many names from his defense and they were dominant. I left out Peppers because his defence was a top rank defense before his arrival.

  48. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I think many of you get to caught up in what pundits say this team needs in order to be successful next season. I mean who outside of McCorty and Revis would the Pats have sent any other player from they’re defense to the pro bowl had they had they not gone to the superbowl. I don’t think so. I mentioned it the other day the Seahawks entire o line with the exception of Max Unger graded out poorly last season. I imagine those folks in Seattle on similar sites to this one are not crying everyday about O line. Theirs this thing called pride man. Once people play with it results change. WINSton evokes pride. This is not the same team.

  49. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    … I left out pro bowl in the first post….

  50. 1st Bucfan Says:

    I believe the Buc’s will do well. I just want to see a run back for the TD on a kick off. Only one in their history. Lol I still had brown hair.

  51. Trubucfan22 Says:

    The defense got better by not losing players, and gained depth. How could it have gotten worse? We added depth and experience at all 3 levels of the defense. Melton/Johnson on the DL, carter/Kwan at LB, and Moore/DJ at secondary. They might not all start, but they add qaulity depth if nothing else. You honestly can’t believe this defense isn’t getting better, even if it is only on paper.

  52. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    The one thing I like about this offseason is we have increased competition on the defensive side of the ball. I just hope the competition is the same on the OL and at QB. Yes, I said QB. No more gifted spots, even for Winston! Go Bucs