Not Conte’s Fault

August 4th, 2018


When it comes to the Bucs defense, there is no target who gets more shade thrown at him from than fan favorite Chris Conte.

The way ConteHate envelops Bucs fans, you would think he is responsible for everything from the nasty red tide bloom off the Sarasota coastline to the Sun Pass debacle.

It seems X’s and O’s guy Andy Benoit of has studied all 2017 Bucs games from has concluded Conte was hung out to dry by Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

Benoit writes that in Mike Smith’s defense, no pressure on quarterbacks means opposing offenses simply attack the safeties with their top receivers. Given the fact that after Noah Spence and Jacquies Smith went down with injuries (again) last year, just about anyone with a white cane could figure out that the Bucs had no pass rush.

Everyone except Mike Smith, Benoit all but says. Benoit wrote that Smith never adjusted.

The downside of running a pure zone defense like Tampa Bay’s is that an offense can easily dictate matchups through formationing. In the most reductive terms, all the offense must do is put its best wide receiver inside of another receiver and run them on vertical routes. That best wideout will be one-on-one against a safety. Offenses last year did this ruthlessly against Chris Conte and Justin Evans. It’s critical a zone defense’s four-man rush gets home before these mismatches can unfold.

If Benoit is correct and the Smith defense requires a good pass rush, then why did the Bucs bank on two guys returning from injury? Jacquies Smith was only active for one game against the Giants and was cut. He had blown out his knee in the opening game of the previous season. Spence was coming off shoulder surgery and in the second game, blew his shoulder out again and was done for the year.

To be fair, the Bucs expected something from Mr. Beasting Robert Ayers, who still is unemployed, and likely didn’t bank on Will Gholston doing his best Ghost Johnson impersonation.

25 Responses to “Not Conte’s Fault”

  1. EA Says:

    Excited for the first preseason game just to see how the D-line plays.

  2. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Robert Ayers said the backend is terrible, I would concur w ayers

  3. Easy Says:

    Conte is a solid starter. Not spectacular but solid. His hate amongst Bucs fans is beyond retarded.

  4. D-Rome Says:

    Conte is not nearly as bad as some of you think he is. It seems there is always one guy on the team that Buc fans cling on to to hate on yet they can never point out exactly why he is bad. Years ago it was Barrett Ruud. Now it’s Conte. I guaran-damn-tee you once Conte is gone the next target is going to be Donovan Smith (yes haters, he will be resigned).

  5. Godeep66 Says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this piece Joe. There is no human being on this planet that can cover a mid-grade wide receiver if the D-Line does not put pressure on the QB.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    @Duthsty … “Robert Ayers said the backend is terrible, I would concur w ayers.” Wow! Mr Unemployed Beasting throwing his ex-teammates under the bus? (BTW, would love to read that article Duthsty; got a link?). If I was a member of last year’s DLine, I wouldn’t be throwing ANY LBs or CBs or Safeties under the bus.

    And Easy, I agree with you … Chris Conte is a solid starter (not spectacular like you said, but solid). Some Bucs fans just hate everything it appears.

    Joe, that’s the first time I’ve heard that analysis from Andy Benoit (or anyone else). It sounds very logical. His last line ( “It’s critical a zone defense’s four-man rush gets home before these mismatches can unfold” ) could explain a LOT of what we were seeing last year. Given how long opposing QBs usually had to analyze the field & release the ball because of our DLine limitations, it kinda sounds like there was no way for Smitty to adjust away from the 4-3 zone defense WITHOUT completely changing the defensive concept. Wonder if it was intentional under those circumstances to have last year’s talent-deficient defense give up yards (they seemed to have little choice) because the defense appeared to perform better on the shorter field (harder for mismatches to evolve maybe?). Strange happenings to be sure.

  7. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    LOL…A Barrett Ruud (clown shoes) comment. And what kind of impact did Ruud have after he left the Bucs? That guy was GREAT making tackles…DOWNFIELD…lol.

  8. K_Bassuka Says:

    Don’t buy it, an average safety would hold it’s own and wouldn’t looked lost on a lot of plays. Conte sucks and that’s that. Hopefully we find a good safety out of this year’s batch.

  9. BucfanBF Says:

    I agree with the comments above. Conte and the rest of our DB’s were left out in the wind and literally had no realistic shot at having decent coverage when the opposing QB had all day knitting blankets in the pocket with no freaking pressure.
    This year should be so much better with the added talent and backups on the D line. I believe teams will be complacent on us this year until we start hurting some QB’s

    Do you all remember that San Fran game back in the Dungy day, I believe it was 1995 when our defense was just starting to get an identity. Our young D harassed and beat up Steve Young and Jerry Rice knocking them both out of the game. That game for me was the turning point of this organization which turned us into winners instead of the normal cellar dwellers which we became accustomed.
    Hopefully this year is our turning point again but this time we actually have an awesome which may be scary good.

    Go Bucs!! NO EXCUSES!!!!!

  10. BucfanBF Says:

    Awesome OFFENSE ^^^^^^

  11. Lamarcus Says:

    Conte sucks wherever he goes. He sucked for the bears too

    No excuse for him Joe. When he is one on one with that Freeman rb from ATL he got ran over a couple of times. How is that Msmith fault?

    I also remember the saints game 2 years in our 9-7 season where he just all over the place and took a poor angle and helmet to helmet Kwon? Yeah his own teammate. Kwon was dazed. Hes a threat to our own players more than the opponent.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Chris Conte “America’s Safety”

  13. SB Says:

    Hey Joe, your massive man crush threw 4 picks last night and was benched in the CFL! Thank God we didn’t take that kid.

  14. SB Says:

    @TBBF…….But can he punt?

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    no doubt that the back end was in a no win situation!!!!!!! There is a reason the whole D-line was over hauled and the secondary had 3 draft picks added!!!! CC23 has the excuse of no pass rush last year!!!!!! But what about the rest of his career?????? He will give you a splash play, But then will also give you 2-3 rookie mistakes!!!!!!!!! The Fact that the GM has brought in so many safeties to upgrade the position is very telling!!!!!!!!!! just sad that nothing brought in has been an upgrade!!!!!!!!!!!!

    funny that joe blames Coach Smitty for not having the right pass rushers????? that is the GM’s job joe!!!!!!!!!!!! This is not lovie handing over his grocery list for terrible players that fit his obsolete scheme!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully the GM has finally fixed all those past mistakes from the incompetent one loser lovie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Conte’s weakness is in run defense.
    Bucs need a more physical presence to go along with Justin Evans at the other safety

  17. Easy Says:

    Anybody notice how the one Joe looks like the guy from the Sonic commercials?

  18. Back2bucball Says:

    Conte will have 5 picks this year with this line rushing the qb

  19. Back2bucball Says:

    Alanbucsfan is right about run support with conte however.. Let’s hope we don’t need run support from him with our 3 linebackers free and clear

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    Obviously the hope is that GM Light struck gold again in the 4th rd and that Jordan Whitehead can develop into a starting caliber safety opposite Justin Evans. It probably won’t happen this year but that’s definitely the ideal scenario.

    Whitehead is “undersized” – especially to play a SS role as is Evans – but the thing is – both play “tough” and can bring the wood for their size. More importantly they both have better than average athleticism and coverage skills. Evans has already shown all this in the NFL – Whitehead did in college – but will have to bring it to the next level – where 70+% of all 4th rd picks ultimately fail.

    If Whitehead CAN develop into the player the Bucs hope he will be – then we have 2 interchangeable starting “hybrid” type safeties that are real assets as pass defenders – yet are still plenty capable of playing closer to the line and getting the job done as run defenders.

    Conte is this type of player as well – but isn’t nearly as athletic nor fast as Evans has shown. Conte’s biggest asset for us right now is his experience.

    If Chris Conte is the starter this year – we have to hope he relies on that experience and consistently plays smart football – which should put him in position to create some turnovers with a good pass rush and great linebackers in front of him.

    Conte was Lovie’s guy all the way – and Jason Licht has been trying to replace him every year since Lovie’s departure. But a clear cut upgrade to fairly reliable and inexpensive Conte has proved illusive for GM Licht thus far…

  21. BringBucsBack Says:

    BucFanBF, that game was the 1997 season opener.

    When my friend and I left the stadium, we knew things had changed, after that beat down our D put on the eventual SB champs. It would indeed be awesome if our D opened up 2018 the same way!

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    Conte is arguably the best safety the Bucs have ever had. He’s like a Pantera version of “You Ligÿht Up My Life”. The Glazers uy should have been in the Pro Bowl every year. He’s fast, athletic and never gets beat. Conte should seriously earn $10Mil a season and become a first ballot HOF’r. He is so so so so great.

  23. BigMacAttack Says:

    My phone literally has a mind of its own.

  24. Brandon Says:

    BringBucsBack Says:
    August 4th, 2018 at 3:04 pm
    BucFanBF, that game was the 1997 season opener.

    When my friend and I left the stadium, we knew things had changed, after that beat down our D put on the eventual SB champs. It would indeed be awesome if our D opened up 2018 the same way

    You’re half right. That was the 97 opener but the Packers won the Super Bowl that year…. no….that was 96. Broncos won it against the Pack that year.

  25. Gino Says:

    Pantera version of YOU LIGYT UP MY LIFE I can’t stop laughing