Going Out With A Thud

January 31st, 2020

Bad award.

If you happen to wonder why disgraced former Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith failed so miserably with the Bucs, it’s in part because he had what one thinktank believed were two of the worst starting defensive backs of the past decade.

Andrew Potter of FootballOutsiders.com put together a list known as the “All-Chopping Wood” team, which is basically an annual all-star team of worthless losers. Potter and his colleagues decided to cobble together the worst team of the past decade.

Included in the list were two former Bucs starters, cornerback Brent Grimes and safety Chris Conte.

Now Grimes at one time was a helluva corner and a Pro Bowl corner at that. And in his first year with the Bucs (2016), he was damn good, leading the NFL in passes defended.

Grimes battled injuries his final two seasons. In 2018, Grimes had lost whatever motivation he had to play in the NFL. He was just in the game for a paycheck and was living on his reputation.

The 2016 Buccaneers were relatively successful, but in 2017 and 2018 Grimes and the Buccaneers defense were awful, finishing No. 31 and No. 30 against No. 1 receivers in each season while allowing more than 70 yards per game to opponents’ top targets. This culminated in Grimes’ appearance on his wife’s podcast in 2018, during which he complained bitterly that the Buccaneers expected their No. 1 cornerback to do the job of a No. 1 cornerback. Poor performance is one thing, but poor performance while bemoaning as disrespectful the fact that your coaches want you to do the job for which they’re paying you is quite another.

And that, folks, is why Grimes is out of football and his career is likely over.

To be fair, Grimes was solid in 2017 and had a very good game in the Bucs’ last game of the 2018 season. Joe assumes Grimes knew that was his final game and he didn’t want to end an otherwise strong career being known as a bum.

Conte never enjoyed the success Grimes had. A fan favorite, it seemed as if Conte was one of the guys Smith often cited as having communication problems. He may have been one of the players Joe heard about that couldn’t understand the defensive play calls. He sure looked at times like he was lost or freelancing.

Our debate at free safety came down to two players. In the pewter corner is lifetime achievement woodchopper Chris Conte, whose performances for the 2017 and 2018 Buccaneers were the stuff of legend, and who narrowly missed also being named All-KCW in 2015. In the black-and-gold corner is Jairus Byrd, one of the very worst high-profile free agent signings of the 21st Century. …

Conte, meanwhile, started for both the 2017 and 2018 Buccaneers — one of the very few teams to finish in the bottom three against the pass in consecutive seasons. In slight mitigation, he was never paid like Byrd, but he was woeful nonetheless. We could very easily have chosen either player, but in the end we settled on Chris Conte.

Joe will always remember Conte picking off Alex Smith in the end zone off a tipped pass by Gerald McCoy, to save a 2016 game for a monster win over the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium — in a season where it looked as if the Bucs might just make the playoffs.

Of course, most will remember Conte’s final play of his career, stiff-armed into a tailgate party by Vance McDonald of the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

So yeah, if two of the worst players in a decade are starting in your secondary, there’s a good chance your pass defense is worthless.

And Smith’s pass defense was shamefully awful.

26 Responses to “Going Out With A Thud”

  1. LaMarcus Says:

    Both Grimes and Conte were not that good

    Only in Bucs land where a player makes a play then get crowned as ” pro bowler” or when a Bucs player.make a Pro Bowl we think they are HOF bound. Geez

  2. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I liked Conte. I just didn’t feel he should have been starting. The problem was he was the best we had on the team.

  3. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I liked Grimes too, but lost all respect for him after that podcast.

  4. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says: Says:

    Grimes had a nice payday last year…wonder what his 1099’s will so this year 🙂

  5. Craig Says:

    Such are the hazards of free agency. One team sees the start of the downhill slide because they see the player every day. Another team sees only the previous accolades. Combine a few of these and when it falls it really falls.

    The other problem with Mike Smith was that he tried to force players into his mold. Man to man defenders were drafted and expected to play in a zone defense. Add in over the hill players that have slowed down a step or two and disaster ensues.

    Bowles, at least, kept most of those bump and run DBs doing that. Maybe with a high caliber safety a little zone play could be used next season to mess with the opposing QB in some way other than the blitz.

  6. D-Rome Says:

    Conte never enjoyed the success Grimes had. A fan favorite

    Cracks me up every time I read “fan favorite”. 😀

  7. Tbbucs3 Says:

    You start to wonder where Vernon Hargreaves developed this sense of entitlement and tendency to give up. Certainly influenced by Grimes and a lack of culture the Bucs had before BA arrive. BA has certainly changed the culture from where is was.

  8. DBS Says:

    The question for a few yeas was ” why can’t the develop the DB’s” Well now it has taken 2 drafts to get DB’s to even look like they are working. So the real question is did they have anything to develop to start with? If they didn’t who is to blame for that? That that is the old garbage in garbage out.

  9. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Smith’s defensive scheme is to what led to his firing. Players were not good but a back end of pro bowlers would have looked awful playing 10 yards off in that soft, out of date, sorry a$$ scheme.

  10. Buc1987 Says:

    As the King of sarcasm I appreciate “fan favorite”.

    It’s hard to convey sarcasm in print.

    Some don’t ever get the gist of how things are written.

  11. Brandon Says:

    Seems we’re not giving VH3 enough credit. He had to be one of the best of the worst.

  12. westernbuc Says:

    Wait, I was told Gerald McCoy never made a play in the 4th quarter

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Grimes should’ve been cut after the Pittsburgh game, after refusing to cover Antonio Brown. He was VH3’s mentor, and you could tell from lack of effort.
    Conte was terrible, but we kept trotting him out there as the starter. It’s unbelievable he lasted as long as he did. Well, Mike Smith lasted way too long, also.

  14. Joe in Michigan Says:

    In Grimes defense, his wife wears the pants in that family, and probably told him what to say on that podcast.

  15. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    grimes mccoy vh3…at least conte gave some effort

  16. BucEmUp Says:

    Grimes.went from baller to bitch

  17. BigHog Says:

    C Conte …at least he gave effort….just how many pro bowls did C Conte make while he was a BUC…..I ‘m waiting!!

  18. PSL Bob Says:

    “Of course, most will remember Conte’s final play of his career, stiff-armed into a tailgate party by Vance McDonald of the Steelers on Monday Night Football.”

    I’m glad you mentioned that Joe. It brought back vivid memories. That had to be one of the most embarrassing plays for any defensive backs in modern NFL history.

  19. pick6 Says:

    it says alot about the coaching also. both guys did their worst work under Mike Smith DC tenure

  20. Wesley Says:

    Conte was turrible.

  21. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Conte was also the most hated Bears player when he played for Chicago. My friends who are Bears fans made fun of Conte the whole time he was on the Bucs, wondering why he’s still in the NFL.

  22. Joe in Michigan Says:

    *He was*

  23. LiquidAmber Says:

    Wait… Conte was a fan favorite?? Why?

  24. NOLES Says:

    What a Clown… any man who’s wife speaks for him.. & he questions the responsibilities he is being paid for.. is useless.. I have no time for that.

  25. ATLBucs Says:

    Even Grimes’ mom couldn’t defend him after he said that.

  26. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Please, for the love of God, DO NOT draft this guy, Bucs. I can only take one Chris Conte on my team in a lifetime.