Arians Points To Crushing Blow, Identifies A Soft Play

October 9th, 2019

A light was shed yesterday on the soft secondary, as labeled by head coach Bucco Bruce Arians.

So who are the softees? That’s easy to determine, but it’s always nice to have hard detail from the head coach.

Arians was talking about third-down struggles and identified a play that exemplified soft.

“Just our back end coverage was just a little bit too soft. We got beat in man-to-man. We got beat in zone twice. Huge third down was 3rd-and-10 [near the start of] the fourth quarter down on their 10 yard line and we give up a deep corner route,” Arians told Buccaneers Radio. “That’s just two young guys playing the guys in front of them instead of playing the guys behind them.”

The specific play Arians referred to was with the Bucs trailing 24-17 and the Saints on their own 10 yard line with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.

On 3rd-and-10, the Bucs rushed four and there was no running back in to help block. The pressure was non-existent (Ndamukong Suh drew the lone double team) and Teddy Bridgewater hit Michael Thomas on the out route for 20 yards. Rookie corner Sean Murphy-Bunting was very focused on covering Alvin Kamary on the 2-yard checkdown route despite linebacker Kevin Minter being there. When Bridgewater starts to throw, Thomas is seven yards behind Murphy-Bunting and rookie safety Mike Edwards broke late and was giving a huge cushion.

The play sparked what became a crushing touchdown drive.

Arians went on to say Murphy-Bunting played “really, really well” Sunday except for that play.

59 Responses to “Arians Points To Crushing Blow, Identifies A Soft Play”

  1. Pewter power Says:

    Fail to understand how that relates to “some guys are just soft” that seems to be more about knowing you’re assignments

  2. Colonel Angus Says:

    Growing pains of a young secondary. Learn from it and move on.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Rookie mistakes…….two rookies on the play….I really don’t quite understand the “soft”…….maybe he means lacking aggression……Carlton Davis wasn’t “soft” and he was booted….

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Hmmm, 2 rookies … SMB and Edwards … make rookie mistakes against 2 fantastic receivers named Thomas & Kamara. Whodathought that was even possible?

    On another note, good to hear BA say that SMB “played really, really well Sunday”. HOPEFULLY either SMB or Dean or Ryan Smith can step in to the other outside corner spot in the Panthers game Sunday. I’ve seen more than enough of VHIII. He’s NOT the future for sure. Neither is MJ Stewart.

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    These guys in our secondary are learning. And will be good some day. But its costing us dearly. Perhaps if we had a mean A** daunting Defensive front 4 more pressure could be applied without relying so much on blitzes. Good teams will burn you with those blitzes. And we are on tape now blitzcraiging our A’s off. Hopefully in next yrs draft and free agency we concentrate on the O and D lines exclusively.

  6. LordCornelius Says:

    @Defense Rules

    Agree on VHIII. He is maybe a decent #2 or nickle but he can’t shadow #1 WRs. Thomas destroyed him Sunday.

    If only JL listened to JBF, and drafted mostly trench warfare every year, and paid for proven CBs, vs doing it backwards, but what can you do.

  7. JimmyJack Says:

    Thank you Joe for making me ralph in my mouth a little bit there. I had all but forgotten about that series.

    At the time it felt like a golden opportunity to have our defense come up with a big stop and help lead us to victory. Being the everloving cockeyed optimist I am I rose to my feet in anticipation of seeing a well determined defense stomp down and give our offense good field possession………..Then in the blink of an eye something snunk up from behind and laid down a cheap shot. Another wide ass open reciever.

    Sat me back down.

  8. JimmyJack Says:

    I actually did focus on Bunting quite a few times and did thought he had some nice plays.

    I wanna say he did have one pass breakup which if true probably led the team. It would be nice to see him come on and start learning this defense and make some plays.

    More importantly I gotta see Devin White out there. Plently of the plays we are giving up he could put an end to if he plays as advertised…….I’m also noticing a lot of communication breakdown(or assignment breakdowns) especially in coverage……..If White come back and these breakdown are sudden fixed I will not consider it a considence.

  9. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I understand that explanation and I’ll give coach swaggy that. the ball was still at their 30. what about the other 70 yards?

  10. Sydney Says:

    Oh come on Gator fans, admit it, VHIII is total BUST for where and what he was drafted to be.

    And his contract will assure he’s not on the team next season regardless.

    Since this is another lost-losing season anyway, just let all the young guys play and take their lumps.

    Truth be told, they need more pass rushers than corners right now.

  11. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    When he says playing soft he means their coverage is to soft giving too much cushion. Weve heard players say coach just let’s us play. That to me sounds like the sit in a position of distance they feel comfortable with from the reciever they r covering. I could be wrong just a thought.

  12. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    After seeing three seasons of VHIII, I have seen enough and would like to to see Sean Murphy-Bunting or Dean replace him. Hopefully this comes to fore-wishing after the bye week.

  13. Buc50 Says:

    He looks like Allen Iverson…too bad he doesn’t play like Iverson.

  14. unbelievable Says:

    Watched a replay of that exact play earlier this morning.

    SMB had a pretty decent game overall, but yea he blew it big time on that one. Safety was too far away to make up the ground. Thomas was wide open… yet again.

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Key turning point in the game…

  16. 813bucboi Says:

    so one rookie screws up and folks want to see another rookie dean pressed into action…lol…

    and when he screws up, folks will call him a bust…lol…

    look at that pocket….no pressure at all….

    pass rush and secondary go hand and hand….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  17. Tbbucs3 Says:

    This secondary is disappointing. I know these DBs are betting than Tim Jennings and Mike Jenkins but yet they are playing like Tim Jennings and Mike Jenkins and with a solid front 7 too. Disappointing.

  18. Pewter power Says:

    I understand the growing pains but this can easily be remedied by going to get a guy like Patrick Peterson. He’s a coach on the field and can track trucks the coaches apparently cannot. How much film teaching before saying VH3 you are what you gave always been and that’s to small tip play outside corner. Small and extremely skinny, why did they think that would work out?

  19. tnew Says:

    No pressure on the QB, no pressure on the WR’s isn’t a great strategy,

  20. tnew Says:

    The thing about this play is that two other players are also set up for first down throws.. This one is just the easiest. Easy 20 yard gains.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    No 813… we call someone a bust when they were drafted in the top-10 of the 1st round, have been in the league for 4 years, and still get routinely abused by #1 WRs…

  22. Tbbucs3 Says:

    And cant blame the soft cushions that the Bucs DBs gave pre snap either because next gen stats said that Michael Thomas caught a perfect 9-9 targets against “Press Man”

    So essentially wherever Bucs DBs line you pre snap they are still gonna get exposed post snap.

  23. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I think BA is walking back his statement without actually walking back his statement

  24. tmaxcon Says:

    if the ladies get embarrassed by the panthers on Sunday the meltdown will be epic and far more entertaining the on field product for nearly the last two decades.

  25. Reach87 Says:

    Rodney, I take it that way as well. Soft coverage. Too much cushion. On that play AND on a few slants (there was one to #87 that anyone could call) AND on the touchdown to the left side. I think we’ll make the correction. I don’t think its about hitting or playing hard, but picking your spots on when to close the distance and even get handsy if you have to. They did this earlier in the year and they will do it again this year. We will correct it. Go Bucs!

  26. tmaxcon Says:


    BA’s BS has him confused he doesn’t know what was said or not said… BA’s words are similar to his nonexistent game day management skills completely lacking and irrelevant.

  27. Buccfan37 Says:

    As a lifelong Gator fan since at least the mid 60’s I must confess Hargreaves is too damn short to man the position. The mini Bucs.

  28. 813bucboi Says:

    unbelievable Says:
    October 9th, 2019 at 1:10 pm
    No 813… we call someone a bust when they were drafted in the top-10

    OK FAT MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!

    so according to you, VHG isnt a “bust” because he was drafted #11!!!!!!!!!

    i wonder what you call a QB THAT WAS DRAFTED #1 OVERALL, on his 3rd HC and has yet to sniff the playoffs?……a franchise QB?…lol…

    yeah ok…….

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!

  29. Brian Says:

    How bout Whitehead actually catches a ball that goes through his hands and bucs have ball on NO 20?!

  30. 813bucboi Says:

    doesnt matter if all our DBs were 6’3 and ran a 4.1….

    they’ll get beat like they were 5’10 4.6 Dbs with no pressure on the QB….

    pass rush and secondary go hand in hand….

    no pressure=exposed DBs…..

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  31. Petty Officer Buc Says:

    This team is in dire need of a Veteran voice in the DB room. I’m losing my mind because they haven’t had one for years (I don’t count Grimes because he was mentally checked out a while ago).

  32. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Think I’ll start a rumor. A new player is probably coming in. And I’m not just saying that.

  33. BucEmUp Says:

    The word Cushion is starting to haunt my dreams now.

  34. unbelievable Says:

    lol are you actually vh3? If not you must be a relative. I’ve never seen someone so desperate to defend a bad player.

    At least Jameis has had more than 2 good games in his entire career. (And BTW if Jamies doesn’t show more consistency, he won’t be on this team either and would in fact be considered a bust.)

    I said this yesterday but I’ll repeat it for you again: I don’t give a single chit where a player went to college once he’s on the Bucs. All that matters is production. Either step up or GTFO.

  35. doctor_berto Says:

    813=Hargreaves LOL

  36. doctor_berto Says:

    Cant believe they drafted SMB over Greedy

  37. Billy-43 Says:

    VHIII shouldn’t even be on this team.
    I’m thinking the soft applies direc8 to him.

    Always too concerned with getting beat deep.

    On one play to Thomas he was standing 2 yards behind him and didnt even realize the ball was on its way.

    I mean he had enough time to run around him and intercept it and he didn’t even make a good tackle.

    This dude is worthless and I’m a Gator fan.

  38. Bucfan33 Says:

    Joe, Nothing about the cut player?

  39. 813bucboi Says:


    dont back track now!!!!….lol…

    you never seen someone so desperate to defend a bad player.


    JW ring a bell?…..

    fans still want him…..

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  40. jmarkbuc Says:


    It’s over for Vern. Can’t play. Can’t trade him.

    Just depends on how much face Licht is trying to save, that’s gotta be the holdup.

  41. 813bucboi Says:


    we’ll see….

    VHG aint the only player licht is trying to save face with….

    JW ring a bell?

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  42. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Alvin Kamary?

  43. ATrain Says:

    [You are not on some watch list — but Joe could do that very easily. You’ve been told a couple of times already what’s going on. If Joe had an agenda against you, you would have been run long ago. Sadly, Joe doesn’t have 24-hours a day of free time where he can stare at the moderation queue all day like a mental patient and wait for a comment to pop up so he can click “approve.” Again, if you want to be on the sh!t list, Joe can easily do that with one click of the mouse. — Joe]

  44. DB55 Says:

    Don’t look now but JW is a top ten qb. See nfl leader board, pick your poison yards or TDs or qbr which ever floats your boat.

    Bucs even got a third round pick to draft their new qb who will be top 5 nfl qb.


  45. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … I know that today is ‘Pick on the Defense Day Because We Lost to the #2 Ranked Saints’ BUT … for a change of pace check out this article on Yahoo Sports today:

    “Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is struggling, but how much of it is his fault?”

    What’s hilarious is that you could substitute Jameis’ name for Mayfield’s and the article would make perfect sense.

    And yes, I know this is going to moderation and won’t show up on because of the ‘outside link’ but that’s OK. It’s for you anyways.

  46. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Dr Berto you may want to go check Greedy’s stats. He isn’t doing much of anything in Cleveland.

  47. gracelivin Says:

    When a coach says the secondary is playing soft, he does not mean not hitting or tackling hard, he means we and not tight enough to the receiver, even in zone you must find/know where the receiver in your zone is and close the gap/area between the two zones so that the QB has to throw to a tight window thus giving the defense an opportunity to make a play on the ball. Our safeties do not help the corners due to lack of recognition to where help is needed and not being able to make up the distance to receiver when ball is delivered. The rush and secondary must work cohesively the less time a QB has to throw the less time a receiver has to complete a pattern or break open, also the tighter the coverage the longer a QB must hold the ball so rush can get to him. It was a matter of a few steps that kept us out of position most of this game as I looked over the film.

  48. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We simply have to face the fact that this is a rebuild with a very young team…..we have some older vets on 1 year contracts……
    BA didn’t describe it as a rebuild but that’s exactly what it is.
    Hopefully we will finally receive some comp picks next year…..and some of our younger players, especially secondary….will start progressing.
    You just can’t expect more out of this team.
    Any team that can go out to LA and win after a humiliating loss has promise.

    Some of the “busts” from previous drafts….Rojo, Cappa….are playing well….we have Whitehead looking good.
    We will likely let VH3 go…..resign some bridge players…..continue to work on putting a defense together.

  49. unbelievable Says:

    Fans still want him because he’s shown far more ability. In case you didn’t know Jameis is a top-10 or maybe top-12 QB so far this season.

    VH3 isn’t even a top-50 cornerback lol.

    In fact, there are 91 defensive backs with MORE passes defended than VH3 so far this year. And that’s not because of lack of opportunities…

    He’s a liability, plain and simple. If he miraculously plays better for the rest of the season, I will GLADLY eat my crow 🙂

  50. Jmarkbuc Says:


    You won’t get a lot of argument from me on JW. This years jury is still out on him.

    VHIII is done, if there are any brain cells left at OBP. Just get him off the field.

  51. tmaxcon Says:


    bucs have been rebuilding since sapp walked out the door so how long is this rebuild supposed to take????

    glazers rebuild time frame makes the department of transportation road work schedule look efficient and fast….

  52. doctor_berto Says:

    Touchdowntampabay, he’s been out with a hammy issue but he earned a starter spot and sure looked good when he was playing. Something SMB has not shown!

  53. unbelievable Says:

    @DR that’s an interesting article and pretty spot on about substituting the QB names. The difference is most national media hates Jameis, and absolutely loves Mayfield.

  54. TDTB Says:

    VHIII is done as outside CB, but he is salvageable as a nickel…if Coach Bowles is willing to modify his thinking about nickel corners in favor of a more traditional view. Need Dean to takeover the outside.

  55. Joe in Michigan Says:

    For the people crying about us not drafting Greedy Williams…The Browns first game, Marcus Mariota had a QB rating of 142.4, the second game Luke Falk of the Jets had a 107.9 QB rating…Greedy has been out for the last 3 games with a hammy. It’s only 5 games, time will tell, but there had to be reasons why Greedy fell in the draft, besides him not wanting to tackle.

  56. ATrain Says:

    No Joe I don’t want to be on a bad list

    I enjoy this site and the BUCS fans I here
    However Can’t contribute to conversion because every post goes to

    I use to post and it was automatic

    I have post simple post but ALL post go to

    This obviously takes away from the point of posting on the form

  57. AwShbucs Says:


    Dude. Stop. You’re making yourself look just as silly as Realist does when he defends Koetter and Smitty.

    You keep trying to make excuses for him like “cant cover for 12 seconds with no pass rush” and “hes not the only one giving up receptions, yards and touchdowns.”

    And to the first one I say, what about the Panthers and Giants and Rams games? All 3 of those games we were getting fairly consistent pressure and Shaq Barrett was playing with his hair on fire. Sure in the Panthers game he made a game saving tackle, he also gave up around 12 catches…

    And to the 2nd one I say, who cares? Even if others are struggling, that doesnt make Vernons own deficiencies disappear. And further to the point, his struggles are exacerbated by the very real fact that he is supposed to be the #1 corner and still cant cover anyone.

    The dude got exposed by Sterling Shepherd and Robert Woods. He is playing terribly in his current role. He is much better suited to playing on the inside. We need to trade for a legit starting corner.

  58. GetOverIt Says:

    Young players make mistakes. The secondary is very young.

  59. BucsFan727 Says:

    BA wants them to be more physical. Some more than others