Your New Bucs Nickel Corner

November 22nd, 2019

New nickel corner?

Joe doesn’t know where to begin with this but Joe’s head is hurting as it looks like Bucs fans are in a perpetual loop of the movie “Groundhog Day” when it comes to the secondary.

In sort of a “Twilight Zone” comedy spinoff, each year it seems this team monkeys with a player in the defensive backfield, unable to figure out where he is supposed to play.

It started out with poor Ryan Smith. Drafted as a corner in 2016, after a few weeks with the Bucs, the coaching staff had a brainstorm and tried to turn him into a safety. When it became clear he couldn’t play safety the Bucs tried to move him back to corner (after he failed at kicker returner).

Joe isn’t sure Smith, the only survivor of the 2016 draft, has recovered.

Then last year it was M.J. Stewart. Drafted as a corner, the Bucs tried him at various spots in the secondary and that too has blown up in their faces. Often this fall, Stewart has been on the gameday inactive list.

Now add rookie safety Mike Edwards to the tradition of bouncing rookies back and forth between positions. Last week against the Saints, Edwards, who has struggled in pass coverage, was given a test drive at nickel corner.

“He did some good things at the spot – just putting him back in there,” Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said yesterday. “He did some good things at the spot. He’s got some things he can get better on playing for the first time, but we were pleased with some of the things that he did and a lot of things we’ve just got to clean up.”

Joe has one word about all of this.


How about keeping a rookie at the spot he was drafted for? Going from college to the NFL is hard enough as it is. Why add a monstrous extra burden where he has to learn a new position in addition to learning how to be a pro.

Of course, if the Bucs would have added a decent defensive back at or before the trade deadline, perhaps the team wouldn’t be indirectly turning Edwards into its next headcase.

After all, the last two defensive backs that had their heads played with as rookies — trying to find a new position for them instead of leaving well enough alone — sure worked out swell for the team, not to mention the player.

19 Responses to “Your New Bucs Nickel Corner”

  1. Cometowin2 Says:

    I thought Edwards played well for a large portion of that game. I think some of these guys can play they more than anything else need to eliminate all the mistakes and blown coverages. Play for the draft pick at this point. Why not experiment a little?

  2. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Yes Joe one cheap defensive back would have completely turned this team around. cause that’s what a bad football team is supposed to do at the deadline BUY

  3. DB55 Says:

    Davis and Dean at corner. Bunting at nickel. Edwards and Whitehead at Safety. It’s really not that hard.

    Players that licht passed on:
    Peters (5th rnd pick and back-up lb),
    Talib (7th rnd pick),
    Bennett (7th rnd pick),
    Kenyan Drake (6th rnd pick),
    Josh Gordon (2 million)
    Jaylen Ramsey (Two 1st rnd picks)
    Micah Fitzpatrick (1st and 5th rnd pick)

    Talib, Bennett, Drake and Gordon would have transformed this team but wtfdik. At least we have Snotty Miller improving, lol.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    You could ask the question WHY about many of the things that go on with the Bucs. Year after year there just seem to be a LOT of questionable decisions, and especially in the Bucs’ Secondary for some reason. IMO that’s not on the players; that’s on the COACHES and that’s on MANAGEMENT.

    Secondary guys are a unique breed of cat IMO. Whereas the guys in front of them (the DLine & to an extent the LBs) can make the opponent react to them to an extent, the Secondary is reactive by design … they must react to the opponent. And they have to do that playing against some of the most skilled players in the NFL … WRs like Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald & Robert Woods, as well as TEs like George Kittle, Austin Hooper & Jared Cook.

    When ONE rookie DB is plugged into an experienced Secondary it’s undoubtedly a challenge. He’s the one opponents will normally pick on to see what he’s made out of (see Carlton Davis or VHIII in past years). But when you have multiple rookies & 2nd year guys making up your Secondary, with NO senior LEADERSHIP to guide them on the field, THAT’S a prescription for disaster just like we’ve seen. And THAT’S on MANAGEMENT for not manning the team appropriately.

    But when players are constantly jerked around into various positions and NOT being given a chance to develop the necessary CHEMISTRY & COMMUNICATION SKILLS to operate as a viable position group then THAT’S on COACHING IMO. Bucs go through this every single year it seems, and the results are always the same. And those results are catastrophic. This coaching staff had from May through August, 4 months, plus half our season, 2 months, to figure this out. That’s SIX MONTHS of intensive practices almost every single day to figure out who should be playing where & who gives you the best chance at winning. This is not rocket science. DO YOUR JOBS.

  5. JAB83 Says:

    Mark Baron anyone???

    Thats the “why” anuways.

  6. FairMinded Says:

    What a non-quote by Bowles…whole lot of nothing said there. Agree…draft guys for the position they played in college and draft them from D1 WINNING teams and watch this team transform. Won’t happen under Licht

  7. FortMyersDave Says:

    Joe. Once upon a time fans who came here were carriers of sticks and then we were a mob but I think you coined the excellent name for those of us, who year after year, simply want what most football fans get: a fun team to watch, if lucky in contention for a playoff spot or if a college fan then a bowl which is relevant (ie not in places like Mobile, Shreveport, Boise and yes sadly Tampa….. We are groundhogs. Every ****ing year we hope for relevance, we want games in December (heck November) to count. Yet season after season we see 5-11like years with a one in 5 chance of actually winning 9 or 10 but getting boned on a tie breaker from a chance to lose a road playoff game. We are conditioned to accept losing and I think OBP knows they still rip a profit with 48K in the stands with half of them cheering for the favored opponent as was witnessed when da Saints came marching in. Yes Joe we are groundhogs, year after year running on the wheel as one Joe rightfully has said numerous times in why he feels 4 wins would be better then 6 this year just for the draft. I agree but Licht is the fly in the pudding, his overall resume is below average at best…… Love the website Joes. Ira is great as is Bobby F and Old school Ozzie.

  8. Rayjay1122 Says:

    Great. Now the secondary is totally fixed…………again.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The DBs in college are not always fully developed in their positions……there are thin lines between good Safeties & Cornerbacks…….it’s possible this is the case with Edwards…….he was a. good S at Kentucky.

    Let’s let things play out a bit……

    Here’s the question….how do we get SMB, Davis & Dean on the field at the same time if Edwards is at nickel?

  10. lambchop Says:

    If you’re asking a young player to switch positions, it means you drafted wrong and you evaluated wrong.

    So, let’s tank the rest of the season for more wrong decisions!! Yay!!!

    I have FULL FAITH, this team does not need to try to tank; they just have to show up.

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    dean and davis on the outside….

    SMB or ryan smith at nickle….

    SMB has played very well on the outside tho….might not want to mess with his development….

    rotate dean davis and SMB on the outside and rotate ryan smith and SMB at nickle….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  12. Pewter power Says:

    Damn everyone on this site overreacts and the genius that is media that knows more football than anyone especially the coaches watching the players in their scheme and says dont do something because it failed with other coaches so by that logic why draft a quarterback, lovie drafted Winston and its failed why try again?

    Ryan smith and MJ Stewart were never was guys, mike Edwards has been a big contributor since day one and went out and proved he can play well in the slot. Let them do what they gotta do to fix the secondary because any change is good right now, stop b!tching about everything. Edwards is no Smith or Stewart, must you exaggerate everything for effect?

  13. Pewter power Says:

    Some of you really are sheep and dont really watch the league play. Tyrann Mathieu played safety and nickel for Arizona and the Texans but we are the only ones that move players I guess. MJ Stewart had to be moved because he is slow as dirt and ryan Smith only excels at special teams, no one ruined him he is a below average corner. Since Edwards looks up to Tyrann Mathieu I’m sure hes looking forward to this added responsibility. Stop being so negative theres plenty of that to go around on Sundays

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t have an issue with this. Why?

    Because if they really are going to flip the roster this off season, there is no point in overpaying now when the season is lost. Who knows? Just because it hasn’t worked on the Smith doesn’t mean it won’t work on Edwards.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The way I see it, try everything at this point, just to see who is worth keeping.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Heck, I would love to see Vea run at least once.

  17. Dwe Says:

    I’d rather see them move people around rather than keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. We’ve seen the Bucs keep a player at safety only to allow another team to move him to linebacker where he became productive. See what happens. As a Bucs fan since 1976 I’ve learned to make each game a one game season anyway. So let’s make some changes and see if we can win the next game.

  18. unbelievable Says:

    The problem is these are all 1st and 2nd year guys. So when you’re changing their position every other week, they never get a chance to grow into their role and understand how they work as one piece within the larger defense.

    So we keep seeing guys take the wrong coverage, leaving giant holes in zone. Or the safety help doesn’t come over until it’s too late, etc.

    Also, our linebackers continue to be a huge liability in pass coverage, STILL! This has been a problem for years, outside of LVD making a splash play / fumble once or twice a year. Shallow crossing routes and slants continue to kill us and turn into big gains for opponents.

    Add to that getting burnt on long bombs, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    The players aren’t consistent b/c they’re being moved around every other week, and there’s no veteran presence.

  19. Aaron Says:

    At 3 and 7 I’m ok with us checking in to see if he can play the slot as a backup…

    Wasn’t he playing safety ok?