Weak Spot

July 14th, 2018

Can he turn around career?

The Bucs, one could argue, have two units that are damned strong.

The wide receiver corps could be the strongest in the NFL (Joe never, ever dreamed of typing that sentence). The linebacker unit is damned good if not deep. Defensive line could be a strength.

But Gregg Rosenthal is not concerned with that. The NFL.com columnist looked at each NFC team’s biggest weakness and sees a sieve in the Bucs secondary.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Secondary
Bucs general manager Jason Licht knew the team’s secondary was a problem, so he traded down to select two surprising cornerbacks (M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis) in the second round of this year’s draft. Their ability to make an immediate impact will be crucial for this defense, especially with both safety spots being up for grabs.

Cornerback opposite of Brent Grimes is certainly a weak link. It sure smells like Vernon Hargreaves will not be that corner. Everything Joe sees and hears suggests Hargreaves, a first round pick in 2016, will be a nickel corner. So that position opposite Grimes will be manned by either Ryan Smith or one of two rookies.

And we all know how well rookie corners in the past two years have (not) been developed by the Bucs defensive coaching staff.


24 Responses to “Weak Spot”

  1. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    You can’t develop the wrong guys.
    Rookie corners come in every year and 1 or 2 will make an impact and it’s not because of their coaches.
    Pass rush, scheme, and mental/physical ability play more of a role than coaching.
    I like the size and attitude of Carlton Davis. I hope he lives up to his words and we will have 2 solid corners. I like the depth and youth that has been infused into the secondary. There should be a lot of great competition in camp for those starting spots at CB2 and Safety.

  2. gilhealy Says:

    Davis, Whitehead and Stewart will all play big roles this season. Hargreaves at slot should show his strengths. If the front 7 gets after it, the back end will flourish.

  3. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Go back and look at the games last year when Kwon was out-
    Terrible run defense and virtually ineffective pass rush-
    Smith and Hargreaves were beat, true, with little or no help from Conte and Wilcox, but opponents receivers and qb’s were practically playing pitch and catch like it was a training camp session…

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I have the feeling we haven’t seen the end of VH3 on the outside.

    And, what does the “especially with both safety spots up for grabs” mean?

    Is he saying Justin Evans isn’t a starter or needs to be replaced?……just simply don’t get this.

  5. Not there yet Says:

    Never listen to outsiders who don’t watch games or know anything about the roster beyond this Summers draft. Apparently he doesn’t even know we drafted a rookie safety who ended up playing more snaps than any defensive back or safety.

  6. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I am not sure what the Bucs thinking on safety is. Seems like Evans,Whitehead
    and Tandy are more suited to free safety. I think Conte is serviceable at strong safety ,but the team lacks a bigger,hard hitting safety in the John Lynch mode.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    @Rosenthal … “especially with both safety spots being up for grabs.” Am I missing something? I thought Justin Evans played pretty well last year for a rookie. Why would his safety spot be “up for grabs”?

    He is obviously right about the Secondary being a weakness last year, but the key words in there are ‘last year’ IMO. Without an effective pass rush & strong run defense, ANY Secondary would be hurting & exposed. Plus we effectively started TWO rookies back there much of the year … Evans at Safety & Ryan Smith at CB (effectively his first year at CB).

    Personally looking for a significant improvement in Secondary play this year, although I do still wish that we’d sign a veteran CB (Justin Case?). I don’t buy into your persistent (and negative) argument Joe that this Bucs defensive coaching staff can’t develop young corners, mostly because of the TALENT level they had to work with. Funny to me that you never seem make that same tired argument about the Bucs offensive coaching staff not being able to develop OLine players drafted below the 1st or 2nd round. And IMO, starting Secondary for Saints game will be Grimes, R. Smith, Evans & Conte with VHIII at nickel … BUT they’ll all be on the hot seat to prove themselves (baptism by fire). Davis & Stewart & others will be ‘Next Man Up’.

  8. Bird Says:

    ObViously , He doesn’t watch bucs.

    Pretty sure Justin Evans is going to start at safety. The kid showed signs of being a stud as a rookie. Early reports in preseason is that he has learned the playbook inside and out ; the game has slowed down for him.

    Think he has potential to be great !

  9. Destinjohnny Says:

    After 5 drafts this is our secondary….

  10. Easy Says:

    This young secondary will be top notch in a few years after the next coaching staff uses them properly.

  11. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    The weakest spot on the team is Qb! And if you have a great one you can overcome and hide a ton of crap look at the Packers and several other teams! I know nobody wants to hear it but the truth is the truth…..

  12. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    Biggest weakness on team is mentally weak soft defensive captains who quit after the first big play or bad call. Vh3 is a pop Warner coach or crack dealer certainly not a football player. You cant fix short, slow and stupid.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Joe – how could you leave out TE when mentioning ‘strong’ units for the Bucs?

    Howard and Brate are the best 1-2 punch at TE in the whole league. If Auclair develops as well as the Bucs think he can and becomes another good 2 way TE like OJ already is – then that’s an embarrassment of riches considering that Cross is fairly versatile and reliable and how much they supposedly like Donald Kicker’s cousin as well (UDFA Godwin Igwebuike).

    How are people in the know about football – even many Bucs fans – not seeing how talented this team is??

    Yea – of course there’s a ton to prove on the field because none of these players have won consistently in the NFL yet. But consider this:

    If the DLine (that GM Licht just spent $27M and a #12 overall pick bolstering) is as good on the field as they look on paper, the Bucs are going to have FOUR units among the best in the NFL. Top 3 range.

    TE – Probably best in league (Howard, Brate, Auclair, Cross, Igwebuike)

    WR – Probably best in league (Evans, DJax, Godwin, Humphries, Wilson, Watson)

    LB – Probably best in league – especially with more than legit space eaters up front now (David, Alexander, Godwin, Taylor(Glanton), Lynch, Cichy, Bullough)

    DL – who knows?? – but definitely a top unit on paper – and coach Buckner seems to be a major DL coaching upgrade as well thus far…
    (Pierre-Paul, Vea, McCoy, Curry, Spence, Allen, Unrein, Gholston, Clarke, Stevie T.)

  14. Destinjohnny Says:


  15. Pickgrin Says:

    Just realized Igwebuike is a Safety – not a TE – LOL

    Donnie Ernsberger out of Western Michigan is the rookie UDFA TE they like that I was thinking of…

    As far as weaknesses go – RB certainly was one for the Bucs last year – but the addition of ROJO and subtraction of Martin should get much better results this year – along with the continued development of Barber and possible emergence of UDFA Wilson.

    “Secondary” is the easy choice for biggest weakness on the team based on last year’s results – but how much were last year’s secondary players negatively effected by terrible DL play? A LOT i’m assuming.

    At Safety – Justin Evans looks like a young talent on the rise at FS – Conte and Tandy are both solid experienced players who will do fine with talent around them. Rookie Whitehead is turning some heads thus far – Isaiah Johnson and Igwebuike represent the young talent.

    At CB – we’ve got Grimes and a whole lot of question marks. There’s talent for sure among VH3, Ryan Smith, Davis, Stewart, UDFA Elliott and rookie UDFA Myers – but how well and how quickly can any of those young players get to where they need to be to in order to line up across from Julio Jones and Michael Thomas and be successful?

    Only 2 of those 6 need to “develop” well enough to play this year as long as Grimes stays healthy. But we will also need a 3rd young CB from this group to emerge as a starting quality CB in order to be OK moving forward or perhaps even sooner if Grimes gets hurt.

    The entire secondary is likely to look vastly “improved” if the DL becomes a strength as expected…

  16. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree with your take completely. First out of the chute with a post that saves me from typing much.


    Great points from you as well.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin, right on target. I can’t wait to see how all these changes/upgrades shake out during training camp. There’ll be some interesting cuts this year IMO. Still really hoping that Licht adds a veteran outside corner (injuries happen) as well as 1-2 veteran OLinemen (still don’t like our situation at RG).

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    SMH – Beckwith – not Godwin as 3rd starting LBer. Coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. You all knew who I meant anyway…

    Ready to see the team and all these new pieces back to work full time. Wish the next 2 weeks would hurry up and pass so TC can get started…

    Can’t stomach any more of the Ubergate BS. Time to move on from that. It is what it is. Fitz will give us a fighting chance the 1st 3 games and Winston will come back week 4 with a vengeance.

    The more important question will be how much have the trenches really improved. If the answer is a lot – then this team is going to be a legit contender in 2018.

  19. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Pickgrin, I always thought that Igwebuike was a Kicker. I guess I’m behind the times! lol

  20. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Thanks! LOL I do that all the time. No sweat for you though because your credibility is well established here. You are one of our best posters.

  21. webster Says:

    @ buccaneerscotty

    Show me one qb that has overcome the worst defense, special teams and the 27th rushing attack and still won. Until then stfu.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    It amazes me how Bucs fans give the words of some who has never played the game, and who only watches highlights of Bucs games, any sort of weight.

  23. Trench War Says:

    With all the apparent strengths we have on defense I would risk rolling free safety coverage to help the weak corner on every play. Free safety will no longer be our last line of defense but the ideal is to keep the corner from being abused as much, and could possibly induce turnovers since the offenses will be designed to pick on that corner. Maybe after a few picks they’ll quit targeting him. But our pass rush has to be strong and our linebackers stout for this to work regularly. What do we have to lose?

  24. Tampaspicer Says:

    Several weeks ago on Fox 13 Ronde Barber said his best years as a db were when the Bucs had a good d line.