“He’s Better Than You Think He Is”

August 26th, 2018


Joe has written previously about a phenomenon known locally in the Tampa Bay area as “ConteHate.”

It is a strange occurrence whereby a dedicated man who is about to embark on his fourth season as a Bucs starting safety is roundly feared and loathed by seemingly a majority of Bucs fans. Joe has no idea why that is. Joe has speculated it may be because he married a former Bucs cheerleader, thereby Conte fuels jealousy.

Conte is reliable. He has only missed four games in the past three seasons. For that, one would think Conte would be applauded by fans. But no!

After Conte re-signed with the Bucs prior to last season, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht addressed ConteHate and said that he felt Conte was unfairly criticized by Bucs fans.

Licht is not alone.

Yesterday in his day-after-game press conference, Dirk Koetter was asked what he would say to the legions of Bucs fans who want Conte run from the State of Florida. Koetter strongly came to his safety’s defense.

“He’s better than you think he is, that’s what I’ll say,” Koetter said. “That’s an example right there where most fans watching that from the sideline would think [a busted play in Friday’s game with Detroit] was his play just because he ended up being the deepest guy.

“When you look at the tape and then you know what happened, really what it was was Chris Conte saved us four points right there. His hustle saved us four points. He also had, I think, eight tackles [Friday] night.

“I think Chris Conte’s playing the best football in the four years that I’ve been associated with him. You can’t do anything – there’s plenty of examples of what people think and then what reality is and we can’t do anything about that. But, Chris is a better football player than a lot of people think he is.”

Of course, Joe knows many Bucs fans will point to the Bucs’ heinous defense last year and claim Conte cannot be all that. OK, fair. But couldn’t people also say the same thing about established stars such as Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Brent Grimes and Kwon Alexander? No one is insane enough to suggest those four are not studs.

Look, is Conte the second coming of John Lynch? No. Neither is he Sabby the Goat.

If the Bucs really did believe Conte was as awful as some fans believe, then he wouldn’t be on the cusp of his fourth-straight season as a Bucs starting safety. Have Licht and Koetter ever been gunshy about throwing an underperforming player over the side?

35 Responses to ““He’s Better Than You Think He Is””

  1. Lunchbox Says:

    I agree with this. While I’m not his #1 fan, I don’t hate the guy either. I think for the most part he’s been playing pretty good. I’m fine with him being back there, until someone else proves they deserve the starting spot more. If that happens to start the regular season, so be it. But I feel like Whitehead will continue to progress and perhaps be starting by mid season.

  2. Jeffbuc Says:

    He is last line of defense. I am more worried about all his missed tackles than his coverage. He seems to always bounce of tackles. You see a big run rewind it and it is always Conte who misses the tackle. Broken coverage always seems to be on his side. Him not being as bad as I think still makes him awful. Because I think he is the worst safety in the league. And if we cut him right now he wouldn’t be picked up by another team. So I guess koetter is ok with average. In three years we couldn’t upgrade from him. He is 29 he has peaked at average. I would rather start a rookie so when he makes the same mistakes you can feel like he will learn from it. Or the every time he fills a gap he will wrap up instead of shoulder tackling and boucing off of the dude. He has 100% made more bad plays than good. I watched that deep play over and over. He got sucked in and quickly realized and then started sprinting towards the deep receiver he let go in his zone. No way was that the cbs guy. Even in zone he has deep 3rds. You could see him get sucked up by the inside receiver. Even the announcers Bruce Arians said Conte got sucked up by the inside route. It was Trent green and Bruce Arians calling the game and they would know what they are talking about they said it was Conte fault on that play. So don’t feed us bs koetter. So koetter is saying in zone coverage the cornerwassuppose to run 40 yards back with a receiver when he had a safety over the top. What pics does Conte have of smith or koetter. Something good enough to get a second contract. When the safety market in the nfl is at an all time low. I don’t like the kneeling stuff but I would be all for bringing in Reid. But even that is 3 weeks to late we are stuck with what we have. A safety who bites on to many fakes and can’t wrap up. He gets a lot of tackles in the stat sheet but there always assists that add up. Very rarely do you see him take a man down solo. It’s always cleaning up. Which tells me he is always a step late. Like I am to bed peace out I will have sweet dreams of Conte being ass good as his coach thinks he is.

  3. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Conte will make the team.
    Hopefully, one of the rookies or Tandy will eventually earn a starting safety spot, otherwise defense will continue to be sub-playoff caliber.

  4. BigMacAttack Says:

    I too agree with this. I don’t hate him either and I’ve criticized him for too many bad plays. He’s still not fast, especially for a safety, but he was fast enough to make those key tackles yesterday. He had a really good game last night and I give him props. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Seriously, the whole team has stepped up their game this preseason. Let’s hope they can keep this going. Good Job Conte.

  5. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    If those so called stars are truly studs why have the spent the majority of thier careers in the basement and are unable to close out games… let the excuses flow ladies… gmc lvd have not accomplished a damn thing other basement titles and theft of Glazer coin… scoreboard is all the proof you need

  6. Back2bucball Says:

    I’m not even talking about that play coach is! Go back and look at Friday’s game! There is one play in the first quarter where it was sabby oops I mean contes play to make and he whiffed big time! I counted 5 more on top of that one out of place horrendous non play so if coach wants to say 1 of those plays saved us 4 points what about the other 5 gosh dammit ? All I am saying is I would rather have whitehead play with his possible low floor being higher than conte ceiling! Conte is a good backup that’s it!

  7. Gambelero Says:

    Safety is the hardest position for casual fans to judge. They don’t know the formation or the responsibilities. Conte only played 30 playsand had 8 tackles, but people still claim they saw him six times being “out of position,” not making the play when “it was clearly his play to make.” It’s preseason and there’s no all-22, but some how they know the safeties’ coverage and gap responsibilities…

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    Joe, the same Football Outsiders that you always talk about having fair stats, etc, they literally have Conte on their all-time worst team.

    Conte is terrible. Sure, he’ll make a nice play here or there, but 90% he’s blowing a coverage or can’t keep up with someone.

  9. D-Rome Says:

    Not one person that hates Conte can give credible reasons why he is (allegedly) terrible. He’s been Licht’s better FA signings. If he was so terrible he’d be off this roster just like 100% of his other, terrible FA signings are.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Gambelero hit the nail on the head IMO … “Safety is the hardest position for casual fans to judge. They don’t know the formation or the responsibilities.” Of course, we could say that about virtually every position, but I think it’s especially so for safeties. They have to not only react to what the ‘bad guys’ are doing, but also to what the other Secondary members are doing (clean up messes in other words when the others screw up). Personally think that Chris Conte does a decent job of that. Is he the best safety in the league? Probably not (or else he would’ve been selected All-Pro by now), but he’s not a hamburger either.

    As the ‘last line of defense’ on a Bucs team with a very young, inexperienced (and not supremely talented) Secondary, Conte had a lot on his shoulders last year. This year too IMO. We’ve been playing musical CBs & Safeties for so long that I’d be surprised if our Secondary had any chemistry going for it. Throw in no DLine pressure that allows receivers plenty of time to get open & I wouldn’t want to be the safety trying to clean up the messes that’d surely result. Bucs have to develop some stability in this Secondary if they expect it to perform at a high level.

  11. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    6-3 safety’s that can run are like Bucs fans that know a good player when they see one.

  12. Bob in Valrico Says:

    IMO it was VH3 responsibility to stay with his man the entire play. What else was supposed to do, stop and suck wind ? Just the fact VH3 was lagging the play so
    badly is cause for concern IMO.

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    The biggest knock on Conte was that he was hurt a lot when he came here.
    He has been durable and serviceable since he came here.

  14. K_Bassuka Says:

    I don’t think of any team that would sign Conte if he was to get cut, that’s how good he is.

  15. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Since MacDougald left the team we have had too many safeties best suited for free safety IMO. Whitehead may change that, but penciling him in as a starter
    before he learns the ropes would be a mistake IMO.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We draft safeties, we sign FA safeties…….and Conte still survives to play (and start) another day…..that should tell you something.

  17. JabooBuc Says:

    So many dummies on this site

  18. Buc believer Says:

    Yeah Joe we don’t like him because he married an ex Buc chearleader. It has NOTHING to do with his blown assignments and his always chasing someone to get a tackle or the fact that he is slow. Also if you want to prove your point I wouldn’t add Kwon who has sucked lately or GMC who in a lot of fans perspective has some things to prove this year now that he has line help as examples.

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    Whitehead better make the final cut. I still don’t trust Mike Smith so there’s that.

  20. Horse Liver Says:

    Dirk is addressing the dumbest fans in the NFL. They won’t be able to comprehend the concept. It’s too easy to have a scapegoat. Conte, McCoy, Winston. These morons would have the Bucs dump all three.

  21. Dooshlarue Says:

    After hearing the shameless JW defenders say the reason for all the hate towards him is based in racism…… I gotta believe that anyone who doesn’t fully support Conte, even his mistakes….. is indeed guilty if racism.

    Right webster?

  22. I’m a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    Not a Conte hater. He really is a nice guy but not a nice player. If he is all that then tell me why the articles continue on here trying to defend him. He did get burned Friday Night on that play that everybody is talking about. Don’t care what anybody says including Koetter and Smith. Just saying here now that 2 years ago when he got hurt and Koetter HAD TO START TANDY they won 5 of their last 7 games and he returned and Tandy sit and Weed Whacker Ward and Conte slid right back in the mix and losing began again the entire 2017 Season. IMO Whitehead or Tandy should start the other Safety and if Koetter and Smith are that far up Contes Butt then use him to spell both Safety’s preferably in run situations so he could have help tackling because he isn’t the greatest at that. Start winning or keep losing is the way I see it because it has already been proven when he couldn’t play. One week away to figure it out. Sure hope they do cause I love my Bucs. Sure hate to see someone else on the sidelines and in the booth besides Koetter and Smitty!!!!

  23. Andrew Says:

    DErwin has looked GREAT

  24. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Who is Derwin? Do WE have a player named Derwin? Oh perhaps you’re jacked about an LA safety who picked off a wounded quail tossed by Brees.

    I’m neither an FSU guy nor a Florida guy…when they play I always root for the team with the most on the line…the team that can go farthest or closest to a title.

    Recently FSU seems to have churned out more NFL talent. Fine…enjoy it Noles but stop thinking the rest of us give a rat’s arse about what FSU guys are doing with OTHER teams. I’m not a Chargers fan so why should I care about Derwin?

    I loathe second guessing and hindsight so I get even more upset by people yammering about…we could have had Derwin or Dalvin but we took other players. No team gets their pick of ALL the college players…there are 31 other teams with needs as well who get to pick.

    As for Conte…I think he largely gets a bad rap here. I generally place players into three categories….those who are impact players…those who are simply competent professionals…where I’ve slotted Conte…and those who hurt your team because of their shortcomings…Swaggy immediately comes to mind.

  25. Reach87 Says:

    Fans know best. The play, the scheme, the coverage. Hilarious. Go Bucs!

  26. Bucamania Says:

    Whitehead will take that job soon.

  27. DB55 Says:

    Conte couldn’t be the starting waterboy on 31 other teams.

  28. I’m a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    I’m with you DB 55. I just feel like his instincts are always a step behind, just like Conte. Don’t understand Smith’s and Koetters intrigue with him. I’ve been trying to figure that out now for 3 years and I just don’t understand!!! SOMEBODY HELP ME LAUD!! Lol

  29. Gene Deckehoff is my hero Says:

    Should’ve drafted Derwin James Jr.

  30. Alanbucs Says:

    Another example of how us fans really don’t know as much football as we think. We aren’t out there on the field so we have no clue of the responsibilities on each play.

  31. JimmyJack Says:

    There it is right from the coach. Conte made a good play to catch that receiver yet fans on this very page wrongly blamed Conte for blowing the coverage. Then even after reading it they still hate Conte.

  32. Curry-Winston Says:

    Conte doesn’t suck but honestly Kwon, Gmc, Lavonte all the players y’all complaining about would go to any team and start if we was to cut or trade dem…conte simply wouldn’t bc honestly he isn’t good enough…but somehow is good enough for Mike Smith….ha go figure..we all know Conte is a step below average safety and the only time u see him is when he’s chasing someone from behind or getting burned…we can pay a safety working at Trapp Chevrolet for dat….smh. I remember the winning streak when Tandy started safety breaking on balls intercepting sh!t dats how it’s played…but hey mike smith showing us what he think a real safety should do…right..the time of Whitehead is now

  33. Dre-Day Says:

    You non football playing football fans are hilarious. It was a cover 2 scheme they ran on that play. The reason Vernon stopped covering the outside receiver was because that was not his responsibility (his responsibility was the flat to hashmark). Conte had the deep half of the field, the other safety had the other half. 2 people responsible for covering deep receivers is COVER 2. Conte got caught looking at the underneath coverage which was designed to fool the deep safety into missing his assignment, and it worked against CONTE perfectly. The reason why he was fast enough (lol Conte and fast? that’s funny) was because he realized he blew coverage and was on his way to recovering when the ball was luckily underthrown. This was a classic Piscitellian play on Conte’s part.

  34. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    Dre-Day you are right but bet you he starts against the Saints!!!!! Conte must have something on Smith and Koetter because nothing waivers on their love of the guy. Not even winning when he was hurt in 2016. He heals and comes back to play and they begin losing again. Go figure that shat out!!!!

  35. Tampaspicer Says:

    Conte is a bum!!!!!!!!!!