Will Verner Start?

July 7th, 2016
Start or bust?

Start or bust?

If there is an area in which Joe expects a significant improvement, it is the secondary.

And to be precise, the cornerbacks.

Last year, the Bucs’ cornerback play was wretched. Previous starters Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner were benched. Verner, in fact ,found himself so deep in Lovie Smith’s doghouse that he found himself in the penthouse, relegated to scout team duties. What a fall from 2014 Pro Bowler.

This year’s additions of Brent Grimes and first round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves has to make the secondary better.

In fact, Joe Kania of Buccaneers.com seems to agree. So much so that Kania believes Verner not only will win his starting job back, he will keep it through the season.

Throughout spring workouts, Verner has worked with the starters at corner alongside Brent Grimes, with Jude-Adjei Barimah working as the nickel back. These workouts don’t tell us much, but the fact that Verner has been working with the ones throughout the spring lets us know that the new defensive coaching staff believes in Verner’s skill set.

Well, what Joe is hearing is that Verner better hope he can start. That $6.5 million price tag of his might just lead to his demise if he is not starting. In other words, it’s going to be a helluva sales pitch to Team Glazer why they should pay top-shelf cash to a backup.

Joe is optimistic. And if, as Kania suggests, Verner keeps the starting gig all season, that just proves Lovie and his cronies had no clue how to coach up cornerbacks.

36 Responses to “Will Verner Start?”

  1. Fred McNeil Says:

    The whole secondary was confused and disorganized last year. Nobody seemed to know where to line up half the time. I don’t think we can fairly judge anybody back there from last year’s flustercluck.
    This year I’m not too sure Grimes will work out as advertised.

  2. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    This is without a doubt one of the biggest question marks heading into the season. It will be very interesting to see how the cornerback depth chart unfolds. I can see Verner returning to form and gaining his job back, but where does that leave the young n Talented Banks? That is even more Intriguing than Verner really. U got Grimes as your no. 1, then Verner and VH3 in the slot. So where does that leave Banks? Not to mention JAB getting plenty of playing time in camp so far as well. I hope Banks sticks around because we will surely need his services after the season with Grimes more than likely retiring. Plus he’s the only CB we have that’s over 6 ft. Wich is helpful when playing against guys like Jones & Benjamin twice a year.

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    @ Joe

    Not only did he not know how to “coach up” But they isolated and put the secondary in positions to fail!!! And not only did it fail, it fail repeatedly!!! Watching the defense last year was like watching someone walk right into a glass door, repeatedly over and over for 3 hours straight!!!! It was embarrassing and should have been ended halfway thru the year!!!!

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    cant read to much into spring ball because last jameis practiced with the 2’s during spring…first day of training camp he was with the ones….VHG ‘s has been practicing with the 2’s during spring but once training camp roles around im willing to bet he will be with the starters….im leaning towards what @fred suggested and grimes shows his age and has somewhat of a down year….I believe banks and verner will bounce back….lets see what the great mike smith has in store for bucnation….GO BUCS!!!!

  5. Buccaneers Says:

    I really don’t like being reminded about that secondary. What a joke wewere. A lot was invested to fix it and if they don’t show a marked improvement it’s gonna get real ugly.

    I too expect the competition to be fierce. Can’t wait to see these guys on the field. Id like to see somebody at corner show some passion and realize we are better off with one of them playing free safety……..We would be better off if Conte doesn’t need to play 40 downs each game. Sorry that dude is dogawful.

  6. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    I agree with a few of you here. Its possible after a few games we see banks, verner, and VH3 as the starting 3 with grimes working in relief. That will not only keep him fresh but also allow the rook, banks, and verner some needed spells as well

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    If the DB play can become merely “bad”, that would be a significant improvement over that abysmal trainwreck disaster of 2015.

    An upgrade to “mediocre” would be worth 3 wins alone.

    “Decent” would make the playoffs.

    I’m hoping for “complete turnaround.” 🙂

    What a mess Lovie made of that defense, especially the DBs. No doubt Verner and Banks feel like they got a call from the gubernator’s office with a stay of execution & pardon…

  8. Cobraboy Says:

    Buccaneers Says:

    We would be better off if Conte doesn’t need to play 40 downs each game. Sorry that dude is dogawful.

    Maybe we were watching different teams.

    I thought Conte was the lone bright spot on that trainwreck. He’s the only guy who “brought it” with any consistency. But got hurt.

  9. Buccaneers Says:

    Maybe I just have selective memory. But Conte got caught lining up in the wrong spot several times last year……..Twice in the Washington game in the Redzone. His angles are horrendous also IMO.

    He may have had his bright moment but that dude misses a lot of plays……Personally, I think he’s a backup at best.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    Buccaneers Says:

    Maybe I just have selective memory. But Conte got caught lining up in the wrong spot several times last year……..Twice in the Washington game in the Redzone. His angles are horrendous also IMO.

    He may have had his bright moment but that dude misses a lot of plays……Personally, I think he’s a backup at best.

    Hard to blame players for that complete defensive CF coached by possibly the worst defensive coaching staff in NFL history.

    I saw Conte as about the only one who brought any wood. The rest were as soft as Hillary’s rather prodigious cankles…

  11. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    Would hate to see Banks be the odd man out. I thought he flashed some potential earlier.

  12. Buccaneers Says:

    Sorry Cobra, players don’t get no excuses in my book. The coaching doesn’t either. But I can’t watch Katanga David miss tackles in his first three games and blame only coaching. Verner can’t drop InTs and get a pass. If we need Lansanna to come in its on him, and yes coaching too, to know what the F hes doing and not run into his own players. If Jack Smith is gonna suck wind and slow down after two plays he need to work on his cardio. If our other DEs can’t get a pressure they need to beef up.

    Coaching is responsible for all this too, but there’s no way the players aren’t accountable for their own play.

  13. Buccaneers Says:

    Lavonte* MB

  14. Buc Lives Matter! Says:

    We need to retain Banks for all of the aforementioned statements / comments. Yes, I think we all feel this year’s secondary will be much improved. Let’s wait to see how we look in pads and at full speed. Looking forward to seeing how we match up against our own receivers as if we can go up and make plays against these guys we should be able to do the same against our opponents with equally tall / talented WRs. Go Bucs!!

  15. DB55 Says:

    Jude-Adjei Barimah would seem to be the odd man out imo. His skills don’t match up against anyone else on the roster. His man wasn’t just open they had their own area codes.

    Btw demboys, bob and lord C I replied to you on the other article. PEACE!

  16. DB55 Says:

    Our biggest need is safety!

  17. grafikdetail Says:

    i’ve heard former bucs say the Tampa 2 takes a year or two to learn especially for DBs but given the fact that former Tampa 2 DBs were brought in and still stunk it up shows how bad a job Lovie & his staff were doing and i was a Lovie supporter but just can’t defend his performance

  18. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Buccaneers- I’m glad you said it. Too many people have let the players off the hook for last years debacle (It makes me throw up in my mouth thinking about it!!!). It wasn’t just coaching. That’s why I remain cautiously optimistic.
    In my mind, everyone on defense has to prove themselves, no exceptions! On paper, we have upgraded many positions. The “cream” will rise to the top and we’ll see whether Verner Banks, Conte, Jude, and company can play. DB play cannot possibly be worse than last year!

  19. The Buc Realist Says:


    First of congrads on taking off the sheep clothing and standing tall my friend!!! As for what the Tampa2 mafia says, what players don’t say that after a year that they know the defense better!!!! That is as much of a farce as the incompetent one was a players coach!!!!! The simple fact is that the old Tampa 2 is a vanilla, prevent lite defense that works with overwhelming very elite talent. There is a reason that Rod M. is now the last hold out old defense. And from some rumors who know who much longer they will run it!!!

  20. Kevin Says:

    Verner will do just fine, this team is loaded at cornerback now

  21. Waterboy Says:

    I said it last year and I’ll say it again, I see Banks moving to FS. I don’t have time to verify it at the moment but if I’m not mistaking he started off as a FS early on in his college career and he has a long body frame, fairly decent speed and good ball skills this are perfect measurables for that position.

  22. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Or maybe the players couldn’t pick up the concepts: Simple as that!

  23. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    “BigHogHaynes Says:
    July 7th, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Or maybe the players couldn’t pick up the concepts: Simple as that!”

    1. If the point is to win, why use a scheme that players couldn’t pick up?

    2. There were quite a few players who were brought in who have experience in the T2, who struggled as well.

  24. Owlykat Says:

    Yes, Banks is our biggest DB, but he also is the slowest, and at Missisippi State he played in a zone defense, so he would have a tougher job adjusting to Smith’s variable defenses. He had trouble when he had to stay with fast receivers; however, if he had a fast safety to cover territory quickly, he has the skill and size to be a strong safety and could covèr Wide Receivers running deep if he was already back there, and with his size and length he could cover TEs running down the seam.

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    I think they are going to have a hard time keeping Hargreaves off the field.

    VH3 and Grimes will likely be the starters outside and I can see Hargreaves sliding into the slot with Verner coming in to cover the outside when they bring in the nickle package.

    This may not be the pecking order to start the season – but I bet it will wind up that way by the end if all stay healthy.

    And to those doubting Grimes – you are all going to be impressed with his play. The comment about him retiring after this year seems like some pretty misplaced speculation.

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    I personally don’t think last year told us anything about the quality of our secondary. Defensive strategy was abysmal, and our CBs and Safeties were constantly put in a position to fail.

    Personally think that 3 CBs will be on the field the majority of the plays against most teams. Mike Smith has Grimes, Verner, Hargreaves, Banks, Jude, Robinson and possibly Ryan Smith to choose from to fill those 3 positions. Lots of talent there far as I’m concerned; just a function of who matches up best with whom from a chemistry standpoint.

    Much more concerned about our safeties. Wish we’d added one in the draft (still have trouble seeing Ryan Smith as an NFL safety but hope I’m wrong). Conte, Wright, McDougald, Tandy and the rest just don’t do it for me at this point. Hope I’m wrong though. Would feel much better if we add a quality safety before the season starts.

  27. Fred McNeil Says:

    They say Ryan Smith (So many Smiths) is destined to play safety.

  28. Cobraboy Says:

    Defense Rules Says:

    I personally don’t think last year told us anything about the quality of our secondary. Defensive strategy was abysmal, and our CBs and Safeties were constantly put in a position to fail.


    No way can they be judged with that septic tank defense.

  29. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @DB55 you da man! responded with a few other thoughts also.I agree with your take at safety,but I did think that Keith Tandy was one of the few players that put it all out there the last couple of games.Conte has battled through some injuries ,including concussions and not sure if his luck will hold out. Macdougald failed to shine as expected.Hope the bucs get some help from Ryan Smith

  30. Bob in Valrico Says:

    When I think of a good corner play I think of ronde.He had instincts that
    it would be a mistake to suppress.If you are overcoaching and telling your players
    where to line up and to not cover the man in front of them unless they come your way they will be standing there flatfooted too much of the time.Swarming to the football was a lost art the last few years.

  31. Defense Rules Says:

    @Fred McNeil … “They say Ryan Smith (So many Smiths) is destined to play safety.”

    I know that’s what Bucs are saying Fred, but everything about him says ‘CB’ (and specifically ‘Nickel’) to me. He’s 5’11” – 6’0″ and weighs 190 lbs … light for a safety but excellent size for a CB. Supposed to be quick as a cat, sticks like glue in man-to-man and have great instincts … still sounds like a CB to me. Oh ya, and loves to hit … sounds even more like a Nickel CB to me.

  32. Kevin Says:

    Ryan smith is playing saftey and will stay there unless he struggles.

  33. SB with Jameis Says:

    Call me whatever you want but I believe we fans are in for a Treat when we watch this defense compared to the last two years.

  34. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    I like me some Keith Tandy…I’m not saying he’s a superstar but I just like the way he plays and he seems to get a little better every year. I’ll be watching him closely in the preseason, as well as the rest of these guys.

  35. godzilla13 Says:

    I can see Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves on the outside with Alterraun Verner inside. At Safety the player to watch is Keith Tandy. He started the last two games and had 21 tackles. Tandy is entering his fifth year and has four INT. Anyone heard how Josh Robinson is playing? I can see him and Chris Conte starting. Conte played well in coverage last year allowing a passer rating of just 52.5 when targeted.

  36. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Love & W D; I believe it was lack of talent, you have s right to whatever you believe! But hear this more big names to fall during training camp!