“He’s Going To Be Very Difficult To Dislodge”

June 6th, 2017

Locked in

The sage of Tampa Bay sports, JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman, has the best Bucs sources in town.

But that doesn’t mean eye-RAH! always shares his wisdom. On the contrary, eye-RAH! is typically an ultra-tight-lipped hombre.

But Ira does share goodies, “nuggets,” as he calls them, during his Tuesday and Thursday podcasts. And one was dropped today.

During an intense segment on safeties, Ira explained that despite drafting rookie safety Justin Evans in Round 2, and despite paying Chris Conte and J.J. Wilcox significant cash in free agency, it’s inexpensive veteran Keith Tandy who nearly has an insurmountable lead in the safety battle.

“I have been told that in this competition, maybe a four-way competition at safety when you add in the newcomer Evans and Wilcox to Conte and Tandy, I’ve been told that Tandy basically has a starting job secured. He’s going to be very, very difficult to dislodge this fall, unless Evans is just lights out and Wilcox is better than they even think. So that’s three guys fighting for one spot if that information is correct; I’ve got no reason to doubt it.”

Tandy, 28, will earn less than $1 million this season, the last year of his second contract since being drafted in Roby Tampa Bay in Round 5 of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Tandy was lights out in the final five games 2016, with four interceptions, nine passes defensed and 40+ tackles. He was the complete opposite of what he was early in the season in limited action.

Ira’s take is intriguing. It sounds like Mike Smith saw enough of the veteran to let him ride out that spectacular close to the season. And why not? The only way to learn whether Tandy completely turned a corner on the field is to, well, put him on the field.

Also playing in Tandy’s favor is his mentality.

Tandy is very quick to say he’s interested in being an NFL coach one day. And there aren’t many millionaires in the game like Tandy who smile at the thought of the 80-hour-work-week life on an NFL coach.

39 Responses to ““He’s Going To Be Very Difficult To Dislodge””

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    This can only be good news. May the best man win!
    If Tandy plays the way he did toward the end of the season consistently, we’re in decent shape.

  2. Lou. Says:

    There is a trend of turning slower/larger cornerbacks into safeties, given the current emphasis on coverage skills over headhunting. Isaiah Johnson IIRC fits that storyline. The knock on Tandy has been that he is too slow-footed; the book on Tandy is that he is very fast-witted. We shall see how all this works out.

  3. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Free Safety or Strong Safety? He should be starting at FS, JJ Wilcox lost his starting FS job in Dallas. Chris Conte is totally trash at FS, Justin Evans natural position is SS.

  4. JimmyJack Says:

    Tandy has to be the frontrunner to play as one of our starting S. Why shouldn’t he be? He showed more in those 5 games then the rest of our Safeties combined. He showed us what’s he’s capable of in those games and no reason to think he’s not capable of playing the same way all year in 2018.

    Do you believe in the Tandyman?

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Tandy was playing like one of the better safeties in the league end of last season. We need to see if that small sample size translates to this season though. If so then the Bucs are in better shape at Safety this year than most of us assumed. And the beauty of it is that we’ve got Tandy locked in for cheap this year and he’s got to ball out to get a nice contract next year.

    Feeling hopeful regarding a position that has been a problem basically since Lynch was let go too soon 13 years ago. TJax gave us hope for a minute there but couldn’t lay off the bong in order to have an NFL career so that was short lived…

    Dom tried to fix the problem by drafting Barron #7 overall, but of course that was a failure as Dom’s abilities to spot and draft young talent were about as good as Yogi Bear’s…

    Let’s hope a more accomplished GM like Licht’s eye for safeties is better. #50 overall pick spent on a safety should yield a good one. We shall see how Justin Evans fares over the next 2-3 years.

  6. JimmyJack Says:

    Lakeland I’ve read analysis of Justin Evans suggesting he has better skill set to be used as FS. We seem to have a logjam at FS and not enough competition at SS. I Ccould see use play 3 corners a lot. Evans brings some ability in coverage and maybe finds some reps as a corner.

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    tandy and evans…..GO BUCS!!!!

  8. Lord Cornelius Says:

    If Tandy can play at just 75% of the level he played at to close the year it’ll be the best S play we’ve had in a long time.

    In regards to FS/SS – what I’ve read is that we don’t even label our safeties and expect both starters to be able to play both roles. That way pre-snap there is less to tip to the QB / other team in terms of alignments.

    Tandy is more of a FS imo than SS; but he can tackle (although he isn’t a big hitter / big guy).

    Evans is probably the best mix of FS/SS potentially if he can clean up his tackling technique. Dude can lay the damn wood when he wants and had some of the best hits in college football; but he also has great range/hands/instincts for coverage. It’s rare to have both attributes.

    Conte isn’t terrible as a backup and is great insurance but I hope Wilcox or Evans can win the job opposite Tandy as they have more upside and can bring more of a physical hitting presence

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    JimmyJack Says:

    June 6th, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Lakeland I’ve read analysis of Justin Evans suggesting he has better skill set to be used as FS.

    I agree with your assessment on evans, but our scheme requires our safeties to be interchangeable….one play evans could be a strong and the next he could be the free safety….but your right…I would like to see evans be that ball hawking safety in the middle of the field….GO BUCS!!!!

  10. DBS Says:

    The good old “I have been told”. The unnamed source. Word on the street. My drinking buddy. These kind of stories told us Cook was being drafted by the Bucs. When the coach says it I may half way believe it. But then again I won’t. I will believe the opening day lineup.

  11. ForgotAboutDre Says:

    @813bucboi I’ve mostly been reading the same, that he can miss some tackles but he was actually really good at coverage.

  12. Pepsi Says:

    I just pray that they dont start the rookie just because of his drafted status. Hes way too raw and this season were primed to make a serious run.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    JimmyJack I’ve read the same stuff about Justin Evans. His skill set seems more appropriate for FS rather than SS (supposedly has excellent range). Scares me though when I read stuff like ‘misses tackles’ and ‘gambles a lot’ … not what you want as ‘the last man standing’. Personally don’t think he’ll be one of our starting safeties, but should get playing time as the year rolls along. Right now I’d put my money on Tandy as being the FS and JJ Wilcox as the SS, but Conte might just surprise folks. After the last game, I thought for sure he was a goner, and yet he was one of the first signed to a new contract. Smitty must see something there that he likes.

  14. BCoburn Says:

    Agree with defense rules. Don’t think Evans starts, at least not until at least halfway through the season, depending on how he’s coming along, injuries, etc. Tandy at FS, hopefully Wilcox at SS (heard he’s a thumper), but could be Conte or maybe a 3 man rotation of those guys.

  15. BCoburn Says:

    And by those 3 guys I mean Tandy, Conte, Wilcox, with Tandy getting the most snaps

  16. The Buc Realist Says:


    Did you watch any games last year????? First you are worried about a retired player maybe not get out played in TC, Now you are worried about a position that is phasing out in the NFL!!!!!! Worrying about SS is like worrying about who the starting FB will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its a passing league!!!!!!!!!

    JimmyJack Says:
    June 1st, 2017 at 7:19 pm
    The best thing I’d like to see is somebody step up and outplay Cherilous during TC.

  17. tnew Says:

    You guys are spot on regarding Evans.. I think Mayock has this one right for a change.

    “He’ll hit you, but he’ll also miss some tackles. He’s a very aggressive guy. It’s all-or-nothing when he comes to tackle and he also has good range on the back end. When you look at Tampa Bay, Justin Evans comes in, competes day one and ends up being their starting free safety.” — Mike Mayock

    Just because he is known to be a “big hitter” doesn’t have him at SS. His skill set is more of the ball hawking center fielder. Him at SS exposes him to his tackling flaws. Think of him as an Earl Thomas (who also misses a ton of tackles) centerfielder. Evan’s ball skills are nice tho. I have to admit, Evans is still the least excited I am about any of our draft picks. I am way more excited about the possibilities of Tandy being a good player for the next 3-5 seasons and then as a coach for us for a while after that.

  18. JimmyJack Says:

    Realist I have no idea why your asking me if I watched the games; only to proceed by saying we don’t have to worry about the second safety position. Reguardles of how you want to define today’s SS position across the league the fact is this defense runs with 2 safety’s as there base set. It would be moronic not to worry about one of of our 11 starters.

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    Justin Evans is in a good place with the fans because none of us really seem to expect that much of him this year from most comments I’ve read about him.

    Now if OJ or Godwin were to have a hard time cracking the lineup this year we’ll all probably be up in arms about their “disappointing rookie year”. But if Evans doesn’t see much playing time in 2017 it sounds like we will mostly be in the “he’ll get there – he’s still developing” mindset.

    Just thought I’d point out that interesting observation.

    I think its a result of Evans being off most everybody’s radar when it came to Safeties that we thought the Bucs were looking at to draft. I for one was very focused on Budda Baker as the Safety I really wanted for us and many were clamoring for Obi as well. So when the pick was made, I think most of us went who? – looked it up – Oh yea him – I guess he was pretty highly rated too…

    Obi was still on the board when we selected Evans so it feels like we’re mostly all kinda going – “well I guess we just have to trust the GM on this one…”

    Hope Licht was right. If this J. Evans kid turns into a for real safety for the Buccaneers – then Jason is da MAN!! with this draft.

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Basically Tampa will be employing 2 FS’s if we want to try to label them as a FS/SS role. Even Wilcox showed some good coverage ability – but is the closest guy to being a SS of the group.

    I’d much rather have 2 FS’s on the back end than 2 SS’s in today’s league.

  21. Bucamania Says:

    I believe the Tandyman can. He and Evans are the future. Hoping Wilcox makes it interesting.

  22. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “The good old “I have been told”. The unnamed source. Word on the street. My drinking buddy. These kind of stories told us Cook was being drafted by the Bucs. When the coach says it I may half way believe it. But then again I won’t. I will believe the opening day lineup.”


    That’s the way it works. No coach or GM is going to put his name on something like that, especially before training camp. This team is all about competition, so to end the competition in June would be beyond stupid. The Joes and Ira are actually in the building talking to people, unlike you and me. They know what’s going on. That doesn’t mean things can’t change, but they aren’t just making stuff up.

  23. JimmyJack Says:

    Pickgrin, that summary summa up the masses from this site pretty well. Personally I don’t expect Godwin to put up big numbers this year. I also think OJ will be wrongfully judged based mostly on numbers. Its my belief he was picked in round one because of his blocking ability foremost. This offense is setup nicely to exploit the TE in the passing game so OJ could be a key weapon for Winston. Really looking forward to seeing what OJ is gonna bring to the table.

  24. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    NFL, Welcome to Tandyland

  25. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    Loved tandys play at the end he was that robber safety who came down hard on that flats coverage and jumped those quick routes like an all pro, pretty sure bucs played a ton of 4-2-5 defense towards the end of the season, and if the rumors of the 3-3-5 or 3-4 hybrid are true bucs amping up to stop the sainta, falcons, panthers spread attack… saints only worry me if AP is AP again

  26. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Dang Joe I was waiting for “fan-favorite Chris Conte”

  27. PRBucFan Says:

    I would just like to tell the Tandy haters on these here boards that I TOLD U SO.

    The way he finished last season as on of the better safeties in the league was not something to scoff at. He will be starting day 1 barring injury.

  28. Pickgrin Says:

    JimmyJack Says:
    “Really looking forward to seeing what OJ is gonna bring to the table.”

    That makes ALL of us… I was super high on OJ pre-draft and considered him a generational prospect at TE. Will be interesting to see how quickly that talent shines through despite the kid just starting to get his toes wet in the NFL. I expect it will be like when Winston was a rookie. Where from pretty much day 1 the rook likes great and that high 1st round level talent is just blatantly apparent.

    ingers Crossed that OJ is a fast learner and hard worker. All indications coming out were that he was exactly that.

    Howard excelled as a blocker at Bama and should pay big dividends for the run game – but the belief is strong that OJ was also a lot more prolific of a weapon downfield than he ever got to show on the field in College. If Saban had featured him in the passing game – he’d have been a top 5 pick. Which is exactly where many (including the Bucs) had him rated on their big board.


  29. Pickgrin Says:

    Finger crossed

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    OJ excelled at Bama as a blocker because that’s how Saban chose to use him. We all know that he’s got excellent speed, runs great routes and catches just about everything thrown near him. But just like at Bama, how he does this year depends mostly on how the Bucs choose to use him. Can see lots of scenarios where Koetter keeps him in to help protect Jameis IF it ends up that our OLine needs the help. If not, defenses will have a really tough time accounting for him (can just see SAM LBs trying to keep up with him out on the flats or the MLBs backpedaling like mad tring to defend the seam). This will be exciting.

  31. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    WR’s who can get open…including now downfield…and a ton of safety valves if we need them…TE’s who can block and then catch…RB’s who can catch out of the backfield….Koetter can turn his inner Madden player loose with this offense.

  32. Locked In Says:

    Keith Tandy may be locked in, but Locked In is not Keith Tandy

  33. briandorry55 Says:

    No doubt he earned his chance as long as he doesn’t get vastly outperformed in training camp and preseason. We will have a rotation back there anyway I’m sure…but Tandy was THE difference maker for the defense down the stretch.

  34. Brandon Says:

    LakeLandBuc Says:
    June 6th, 2017 at 3:10 pm
    Free Safety or Strong Safety? He should be starting at FS, JJ Wilcox lost his starting FS job in Dallas. Chris Conte is totally trash at FS, Justin Evans natural position is SS.


    Your analysis is trash. Evans is anything but a natural SS. He can’t tackle… how does that make him a natural at a position where tackling is almost as important as coverage?

  35. SOEbuc Says:

    I didn’t need eye-rah to tell me that Joe. I watched his play the second half of last season also.

  36. SOEbuc Says:

    Wilcox and Conte aren’t to extremely difficult names to beat out. But I also think Tandy really caught on to Smitty’s D. Like I always say, Smitty said it would take about 6-7 weeks for them to catch on, and that’s what most did.

  37. SOEbuc Says:

    Aren’t two extremely*

  38. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    Glad everyone has caught on to what I have been telling you about Tandy. He’s a winner and will be a very productive Safety for the Bucs! See bigger and better things this year for Tampa Bay!!!! Can’t wait to get this party started!!!

  39. shouldhavedraftedeifert Says:

    As long as Ayers stays healthy doesn’t matter whos back there, QB’s will be rushing passes all year muahahahaha