Murphy-Bunting’s Struggle

October 27th, 2019

Waiting his turn.

Though he wasn’t drafted to be a nickel corner, that’s the job second-round pick rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting has had the past two games.

He’s logged enough snaps to be called a full-time nickel. And Joe knows of no team that drafts a guy high in the second round to be a full-time player at a part-time job.

With Vernon Hargreaves struggling terribly (it’s a safe bet he won’t be on the roster next year), it speaks volumes to Joe that SMB and fellow rookie corner, third-round pick Jamel Dean, have not been starting for Hargreaves.

Remember, the Bucs have the worst pass defense in the league, which gets worse and worse despite the immense draft capital spent on defensive backs.

So last week Joe asked SMB what was up with him not getting starting snaps.

“I am just waiting my turn,” SMB said. “I take it day by day and do what I can. At the moment, I do what my coaches want me to do and I will be ready.”

Of course, being a rookie, he’s learning a lot. It’s a significant jump coming from the MAC to the NFL.

“Absolutely, I think I am learning new things every day,” SMB said. “I learn about myself and about the league. I am taking it day by day figuring it out what I can figure out. What works and what I need to do to prepare myself mentally and physically for the road ahead.”

And the weird thing to hear from SMB is he admitted he sometimes struggles with confidence. Though he has coached on this all through high school and college, he sometimes wonders if he can forget bad plays. SMB told Joe he struggles with this, even though he knows the very next play after a bad play, he could have a pick.

“I have to believe in myself,” SMB said. “Keep my confidence high. Never get down on myself. That’s a message I learned early on as a kid and as a player. I need to buy into that and keep a straight focus into what is going on. Not let outside things detour any of my thoughts.”

Joe senses the NFL is just an adjustment for SMB. Think about it: This time last year he just had to worry about stopping dudes from Akron and Kent State. Now, he has to worry about Julio Jones and Michael Thomas and Curtis Samuel.

Once he takes care of that confidence and does his job as a nickel corner, he likely will get more snaps at outside corner.

Thus far, SMB seems to be getting a passing grade from Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians.

“He’s done really well,” Arians said last week. “He’s played as solid – he’s given up a play or two – but he’s playing really solid.”

If the Bucs lose today, Joe is of the mind to bench Hargreaves or put him at slot and let SMB and/or Jamel Dean be baptized by fire and let them start.

The sooner these two get past the learning curve, the better it will be for the Bucs. No, Joe doesn’t believe Hargreaves has any future in Tampa Bay as a defensive back.

26 Responses to “Murphy-Bunting’s Struggle”

  1. Clean House Says:

    VH3 had a pic six and a game saving goalline tackle
    Sometimes he is good.
    Would like to see that version again but I do agree he mostly sucks

  2. Todd Says:

    Back from the future!

    “VH3 earned a game ball today! He was Defensive Player of the Game.”

    I miss the days when my dreams were wet ones. Now I dream these odd football fantasies.

  3. Says:

    U heard it here first – Bucs win! Bucs win! Bucs have no choice.
    What does a rat do when it’s backed into a corner?
    GO BUCS!!!

  4. Jean Lafitte Says:

    These 1st and 2nd year corners need time to develop before we toss them out like trash. They deserve some time. Christ, we given JW five seasons

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    SMB will be fine, in time. Small school players, like SMB & Marpet, surely must have more of an adjustment coming to the NFL than guys who played for teams like Bama, LSU or Clemson. CB, and especially outside CB, as probably more of a skill position than Guard. Besides, Marpet probably made the transition faster because he had an All-Pro named Logan Mankins to learn from & guide him on the field. Who’s SMB got? Vernon Hargreaves?

    Physical talent can only take you so far as an outside CB; after that, coverage skills at the NFL level just take time to perfect. Ronde Barber has told folks that any number of times. Getting an opportunity to perfect those skills starting as a Nickel CB ain’t all that bad. Both SMB & Dean have talent. I just HOPE that TB let’s both of them start today & sits VHIII and MJ.

    Vernon is who he is, and what he’s NOT is a starting outside corner in the NFL. Which means that yes, with a pricetag of $9 mil next year, he’s gone. VHIII has had his chance to prove everyone wrong for these first 6 games, but he’s actually gotten worse instead of better. And it’s hurt the Bucs; time to sit. Don’t waste any more snaps on him. Or if he must play, put him at nickel.

    Through 6 games he has exactly TWO PDs. ONE in Game 1, ONE in Game 2, NONE since. And he’s been targeted how many times? (Too many to count). In that span he has 28 tackles, 26 of them solo. Uhhh, hello, maybe there’s something wrong when you’ve been on the field a a starting outside corner for OVER 400 snaps but have only TWO passes defensed and 26 solo tackles? Other teams figured out who Vernon is a LONG TIME AGO. How come it’s taken the Bucs so long to come to the same conclusion?

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We often blame the players for their slow development or even lack of talent when it is the fault of the coaches & GM…..
    In SMB’s case, here again like MJ Stewart is another no-name DB selected in the second round when many consensus picks were available….Jason Licht getting cute with his picks.
    Let’s hope it works out…..but don’t blame the player, I’m sure he is trying as hard as he can.

  7. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Jason Lite swinging for the fences again…walking back to the dugout again

  8. Jean Lafitte Says:

    This is what the editors Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice, and Dan Parr think of Jameis in week 8

    QB Index, Week 8
    1 Russell Wilson
    2 Aaron Rodgers
    T-3 Lamar Jackson
    T-3 Deshaun Watson
    5 Matthew Stafford
    6 Tom Brady
    7 Carson Wentz
    8 Dak Prescott
    9 Kirk Cousins
    10 Matt Ryan
    11 Phillip Rivers
    12 Derek Carr
    13 Jacoby Brissett
    14 Jim Garoppolo
    15 Kyler Murray
    16 Teddy Bridgewater
    17 Gardner Minshew
    18 Jared Goff
    19 Baker Mayfield
    T-20 Kyle Allen
    T-20 Josh Allen
    22 Ryan Tannehill
    23 Sam Darnold
    24 Jameis Winston …they have him ranked behind a guy who’s coming off a five-turnover day, this give you an idea of where they think JW ranks. pathetic

    which Jameis will play today? BAD/GOOD

  9. Hodad Says:

    Bunt cake is right in line with most of Licht’s high second round busts, I mean picks. Let’s face it, year, after year, we wait to see who the Bucs will pick in the second round. Is it an edge rusher, a right tackle, someone good? No! It’s a corner from another small school not ready for prime time. When Licht blows picks on DB’s the best we can hope for is they can at least play nickle. Fire Jason Licht.

  10. Buc believer Says:

    Second round pick for Captain Sparrow, another great job by Jason Licht!

  11. Anonymous Says:

    All players need time to develop. Some come in their rookie season an light the league on fire then have a sophomore slump or have a horrible rookie season to come back an do great the next coming years. It happens all the time. I’d personally like them to get the slump out the way

  12. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    As I said before, Licht needs to be band from drafting in the second round and picking CBs.

  13. DooshLaRue Says:

    Th kid sounds pretty smart and he seemed really confident when he got here.
    I’m holding out hope that he gets a handle on it soon and is given chances to start at CB.

    Go Bucs!

  14. bucnole Says:

    Not sold on the guy myself – if ur revealed and drafted that high in the draft – you should be starting (especially with the guys we have back there)
    I hate to think it but this might just be another high round busted/misevaluated/underperforming/maddening/frustrating/teamkilling draft pick whiff.
    IMO this is the kind of thing that keeps this team from competing – oh and a losing culture and a scouting department that should have been swept clean several years ago. GO BUCS!!!

    PS – JOE – maybe you could do a little research article about who our scouting department guys really are, backgrounds, who reports to who – might be an interesting look into our Bucs organization – just one man’s thought. 🙂

  15. orlbucfan Says:

    Be nice if this first year head coaching staff will get on the same page as the players. We might finally get a win. This goes for BA who has been looking like BS lately.

  16. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    I hope both the rookies work out but it’s way too soon to make any kind of a judgment. I will say that it is concerning to hear about a lack of confidence from the player himself and Dean has an extensive injury history and he’s been hurt practically all season here. Hargreaves is the worst CB in the league. Get him off the field please.

  17. Hodad Says:

    We end up waiting for to many of Licht’s high picks to develop.

  18. Joe Says:

    Sometimes he is good.

    It’s nice that Vernon can make a splash play or two. Yes, that tackle won a game.

    Sad thing is, most of the time he struggles. For what he is to be paid on the fifth year of his contract (not guaranteed), would be very surprised if he’s back.

  19. The Coroner Says:

    Curse of the Licht Second Round Pick.

  20. Pelbuc61 Says:

    Just fire Jasón Licht!

  21. MadMax Says:

    At this point screw it! put vh3 in the slot and start the rooks from here on out….learning the hard way is sometimes the best way. What do we have to lose? Beat ourselves for the last ranked secondary? stay last ranked? lol

  22. SteelStudBuc Says:

    Someone needs to get VH3 some new cleats. That dude slips if anybody runs near him.

  23. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Some of you people are ridiculous, quit hating so much, I know it’s hard to be a bucs fan I’ve been one my whole life, I was born the same time the bucs where born in 76, some of you that don’t know anything about football, cornerback is the hardest position to play outside of quarterback. give that kid a break he’s tall, fast and smart. I think he will be starting on the outside by mid season, and he will be a good corner in this league.

  24. SteelStudBuc Says:

    Maybe one day SMB will be in CFL.
    His nickname will be Jesus Murphy-Bunting. Every Canadian would love him.

  25. ElBajito43 Says:

    Thanks Jason “Trash “ Licht

    All your fault you FAT SLOB. FB GROUP IS UP search “FIRE JASON LICHT”


  26. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Steel stud

    Not new cleats… new pair of balls.