“There Is No Doubt There Is Concern About This Secondary”

September 17th, 2021

Reason to worry?

Joe isn’t ready to hit the panic button.

No, the Bucs should not panic (yet) over the loss of starting corner Sean Murphy-Bunting. The main reason is it is not known how long SMB will be out.

(The fact SMB is getting a second opinion is worrisome. One does not seek a second opinion without being uncomfortable with the first opinion.)

Now Sara Walsh of NFL Network filed a piece yesterday from One Buc Palace expressing she gets the vibe there is worry running through the halls and offices of One Buc Palace.

“There is no doubt there is concern about this secondary,” Walsh said.

Last week in the season-opening win over the Cowboys, the secondary got torched for 400 yards by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. And who knows when or even if SMB can play again this season? So yeah, there should be concern.

Given the access Walsh has working for the league’s house organ and her sources, Joe wonders if there is something else at work behind the scenes other than what appears on the surface?

You can see Walsh’s report in the NFL Network video below.

69 Responses to ““There Is No Doubt There Is Concern About This Secondary””

  1. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Either the secondary gets fixed meaning a Consistent Pass Rush + Confident play, not scared conceding first downs by the CB’s, OR it will be a season of “SHOOTOUT games”

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  2. EA Says:

    It’s a pattern with the secondary under BA/Bowels, started slow in 19 finished strong, started slow in 20 finished with a superbowl win.

  3. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Dean and cockrell need to step up.

  4. August 1976 Buc Says:

    The Ram game is going to be 45-42 type game.

    GO B UCS!!!!

  5. Medicated Pete Says:

    Maybe Kyle Trask can play DB

  6. Bucsfanman Says:

    Never has a pass-rush been more important. Teams are not going to run at the strength of this defense. I expect opponents to pass 40-50 times a game at this secondary.

  7. ModHairKen Says:

    For most of last year, the secondary was THE weak spot on the team. Then, every playoff game went the Bucs way. Mahomes was a statue in the SB because of his toe. Brees arm was gone. Rodgers is a head case.

    All of a sudden everyone talked about the secondary like all problems were gone.

    They are not.

  8. TBSwarm Says:

    For most the league, if you ask their QB to throw 50+ times, that will be a good thing. We will get interceptions and turn overs but against elite offenses like KC, Dallas, Rams etc its going to be a shoot out every time.

  9. Casual Observer Says:

    I still suspect it is the DB coaching more than the lack of skilled DBs. Tennis has a saying; “If you aren’t winning, change strategy.” Our DB coaches need that attitude. When a team repeated churns down the field repeatedly with short, quick, passes, the team should not wait to change strategy. Yet, it seems that they continue to play soft coverage. Just the way it seems to me.

  10. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Dean and cockrell need to step up.-
    And Adams , too.
    More QB pressure would seem to be the D’s strategy at this point with SMB out and Whitehead, although playing, is nursing a hamstring.

  11. PassingThru Says:

    They (the front office) should have been concerned from watching a relative nobody named Taylor Heinicke nearly guide an upset during the wild card game. But no, grabbing a backup QB who’ll probably never play a handful of snaps for the next two seasons was deemed more important. Yes it is a sore spot, championship windows are limited, you draft for impact or to shore up weaknesses.

    The CBs the front office should be considering are guys that aren’t world beater but rather decent, possibly playing on the end of a rookie deal so they can fit under the cap, playing for a crappy team that has rebuild on its mind. Those teams won’t trade right now, but they’ll move in a few weeks when they realize they’re trapped in another directionless season.

  12. Gofortheface30 Says:

    I will never ever subscribe to the bend but don’t break BULLSHI. Good defenses get off the field. Period. Giving up yards is the equivalent of spreading your ass cheeks open ok. Why so many people try to justify this is borderline unintelligible. Time of possession is the second most important stat after turnovers. If the Bucs never have the GD football then it puts pressure on the offense to be perfect dang near every time they have it to maximize what little opportunities they have. They need to find a way to get off the field and stop giving up so many first downs. Yards IS important stat, as it is most indicative of how strong a defense really is. It is not points. Points is misleading. Good defenses STONEWALLS people, and GETS OFF THE FIELD. How is this so hard to comprehend

  13. SB~LV Says:

    LOL…. Baiting Atlanta to throw the ball 😍

  14. Youngbucs Says:

    🥱just make sure you score more than the other team. I don’t care if it’s by a point!

  15. Jerry Says:

    Drafting a corner in the 2nd round (one pick away from the 3rd round) instead of Trask would likely not make a whole lot of difference this year as it takes at least a season for a rookie to come on well and adapt to the receivers in this league (and the draft is a crapshoot anyway).

    It’s also not entirely the secondary’s fault. The Dallas game saw a lack of pass rush. And when this defensive scheme can’t pressure the passer, it causes a lot of problems for us. We couldn’t pressure Heinicke in the wild card game and he nearly beat us. But we did pressure Brees, Rodgers, and Mahomes. The pressure made all the difference in the world. So we need that pressure for this scheme to work. We also have our corners lined up way back off the receiver. So yeah, the opponent will take that short pass. It’s a guaranteed 4-5 yards on first down every time. Not sure why Bowles was doing that….it reminded me of the Mike Smith days.

    Everyone wants to blame the players. But I think there are some coaching and scheme issues here they need to iron out first. One player likely wouldn’t make any difference.

  16. Wild Bill Says:

    No surprise. The dbs were our weakness last season. Bucs did not make any significant improvements in draft or trades. Why?

  17. Jerry Says:

    It also is a bit early to hit the panic button. Every defense will have a bad game here and there. Now if Matt Ryan lights it up for 400+ yards in the air…there is a big problem.

    We need to get that pass rush back. There is a TON of money and draft picks invested in our front 7 for them to only pressure Dak once or twice in that game.

  18. Buc4evr Says:

    If the Bucs are so concerned, sign Richard Sherman and be done with it. However, I expect the front 7 to show up this week and put a lot of pressure on Ryan.

  19. Hodad Says:

    First all saying we should’ve drafted a CB in the 2nd instead of Trask, I ask who was that player? Was there even a corner with the last pick in the 2nd worth drafting, and would he have made our secondary top five? I doubt it. We won a S.B. with this very same group of DB’s, drafting another kid wasn’t going to help. Hodad, what about bringing in a vet? Again who, and for how much? We spent our money bringing 22 starters back, there was no money for a good FA corner. So it’s easy sitting here playing GM, but the reality is we spent plenty of draft capital on our secondary. It’s the guys we have, not who we wish we had. They are going to have to do.

  20. PassingThru Says:

    Unfortunately Sherman is very limited. Good smarts and technique but lost a lot on the surgeon’s table following his Achilles tear. He can play zone but not man.

  21. PassingThru Says:

    There were CBs available in the late second Hodad. If you think a CB was an overdraft, then where do you think Trask was projected? People are bringing up guys like Sherman, what round do you think Richard Sherman was drafted? I doubt anyone was taking him until the very late third or fourth round. The pick didn’t make sense then, and this isn’t something that we’re stating after the fact. Some of us were hoping for a CB in the second.

  22. PassingThru Says:

    And I meant Trask was projected at the earliest in the late third round to fourth round.

    FYI Richard Sherman was a fifth round pick. CB should have been a higher priority.

  23. BillyBucoff Says:

    Sherman was a luxury PassingThru.
    If every team could pick sleepers like that then what is the point?

    And saying we won because of a host of issues like turf toe etc. is crap.
    Probably not a Bucs fan. SMB had 3 picks.

    The Secondary came played extremely well in the playoffs.
    This is an overreaction plain and simple.

    And if not, we can still win a shootout.
    I’m seriously not worried in the slightest

    And for those that haven’t seen the stat, Kellen Moore called 29 running plays in the game. Dak audibled out of 17 of them.
    That’s committing too much to the run for Tampa.

  24. PassingThru Says:

    My point was that CB should have been a higher priority. No draft pick, not even in the first round is a sure thing. But the trend is clear, the higher you select a player, the greater the certainty that he’s NFL-ready and/or the player has something that you see as a high ceiling given the risk/reward profile. That’s why a CB should have been taken in the second. And in addition perhaps a sleeper CB pick even later to supplement that second rounder.

    Where did Tampa Bay pick a CB? In the seventh. That’s way too late given the paper-thin quality at the CB position on the roster.

  25. PassingThru Says:

    And Sherman is not a luxury, he’s a worst-case fallback measure. If he’s out there, the team pretty much has to play zone or pay the price. That’s the tail wagging the dog.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    As long as the O outscored the opponent defense, I am not worried.

    I am far more worried about the O turnovers than DB play…

  27. PassingThru Says:


    Overreaction? Well then either the NFL reporter is lying or by your definition the front office is overreacting.

  28. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Medicated Pete, webster, and anyone else who thinks Licht “screwed up” by taking Trask…What CB would you have drafted? Name your choice so we can see if you’re right in 4 or 5 years.

  29. Mike Says:

    Any talk of the draft is water under the bridge at this point. Perhaps they can find a willing trade partner?

  30. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    This secondary was ranked #32 at the start of last season. They did not use their top draft picks to address the situation. They did not pursue any big name free agents. They drafted a edge rusher to keep the bench warm and a 3rd string QB.

    Now we shall see the true genius of Jason Licht…..right?

  31. PassingThru Says:

    That’s the right question Mike. It isn’t necessarily a who at this stage, but the profile would be a CB preferably on the last year or so of a rookie contract (cap constraints) playing on one of those directionless teams that has no realistic shot at the playoffs. That latter point is important because it means there might be a good bargain out there later this season. It’s too early for even the bad teams to throw in the towel.

  32. zzbuc Says:

    I´ve been saying this even after we won the SB, our talent on CB is really questionable, and I don´t care about those interceptions last year, please check the film and pay attention, on MISSISNG TACKLES, how many times WR get separated, how lost they are most of the times on coverage. Last year that could be camouflaged mainly because the front 7 fut the fear of god to QB….if we can´t repeat that this year, our CB will be severly exposed…..

  33. Cobraboy Says:

    Beyond first game jitters, overconfidence, and general lack of true focus, you have to give Dallas some credit. Few teams have the receiver horsepower and depth they do, and fee teams have a QB as slippery as Prescott.

    Add that to a solid game plan, and the Bucs were fortunate to get the win…giving the ball away 4 times, one on a sure-fire TD drive.

    I, for one, and quite happy these guys got a mega wake-up call…and still won.

    Maybe Arian’s “last year’s SB team is not this team” message will finally sink in.

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    Two old sayings: ‘You are where you are’ and ‘Life happens; deal with it’.

    Wishing that we’d used our late 2nd Rnd 2021 draft pick on a CB isn’t a solution; it doesn’t change a thing in terms of our current circumstances. Picking up Richard Sherman wouldn’t help either; he doesn’t know Todd Bowles complex hybrid defensive system (nor our terminology), isn’t the same CB he used to be, and undoubtedly wouldn’t be here next year. Pass. Coaches aren’t the problem; past results (SB winners?) should give everyone a clue on that.

    Our defense needs ALL THREE LEVELS (DLine, LBs and Secondary) functioning with near 100% effectiveness to dominate. And it STARTS AT THE FRONT. If our DLine doesn’t have a good game, our defense will suck. If our LBs (inside AND outside) are ineffective, we’ll get eaten alive in the short & intermediate game. And we’ve all seen what happens when our Secondary plays too loose.

    We’ve got plenty of talent already, at all 3 levels. Our starters are as good as anyone’s in the league. We’re front-loaded with experience though, and our Secondary is still a work in progress. It (maybe by design?) depends on the DLine & LBs dominating, and we flat didn’t do that last Thurs night. Losing SMB wasn’t optimal by any means, but Dean & Cockrell have both played reasonably well in the past, and we still have several others in reserve behind them who could probably help (Delaney for one, Desir for another, and possibly Miller, as well as using Edwards in the Nickel role). We’ve got options; just need to trust in the system & each other. It’ll get worked out eventually.

  35. Mike Johnson Says:

    Our secondary has always been a weakness. If our front 4 does not bring the pressure, teams have a field day against us. I expect it to get worse until we somehow can get the players we need. Better hope we just outscore our opponents. The good thing for us is, our D line tends to get stronger as the season progresses. Lets hope that is the case this year.

  36. Chuck T Says:

    Should have drafted a DB.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    The point is that the secondary was paper-thin in terms of talent, something some people here are ignoring. In the salary cap era, every team will have weaknesses, that’s a given. The Tampa Bay weakness was depth at CB. It is understandable that there wasn’t money available to sign a free agent vet CB, but to buttress CB depth by drafting a CB in the seventh wasn’t good planning.

    As I said before that’s frustrating but it is also water under the bridge. We have to hope that a ring-hunting vet gets released, or a CB under a rookie contract from a hopeless team becomes available. The latter probably won’t happen for a few more weeks.

  38. PassingThru Says:

    The point is that the secondary was paper-thin in terms of talent, something some people here are ignoring. In the salary cap era, every team will have weaknesses, that’s a given. The Tampa Bay weakness was depth at CB. It is understandable that there wasn’t money available to sign a free agent vet CB, but to buttress CB depth by drafting a CB in the seventh wasn’t good planning.

    As I said before that’s frustrating but it is also water under the bridge. We have to hope that a ring-hunting vet gets released, or a CB under a rookie contract from a hopeless team becomes available. The latter probably won’t happen for a few more weeks.

  39. Cobraboy Says:

    There is not a team in the NFL whose DBacks can be totally effective without a pass rush.

    As DR stated, it is a TEAM sport, and ALL parts must work together.

    Again: give the Cowboys some credit. They put together an excellent game plan, and the Bucs still won…with 4 TO’s.

    No time to panic.

    In fact, the coaches prolly loved it: a win along with some excellent reasons to chew butt.

  40. Cobraboy Says:


    The same casuals who were predicting a massive 40-point blowout —and prolly lost $$$ with their short-term investment brokers—are now hitting the panic button over corners.

    The ACTUAL weakness in that game was turnovers, not pass coverage. No turnovers = a 20+ point Buc win.

  41. Bucsfanman Says:

    Cobra- Well said. It’s a completely different game and probably nowhere close to the score it was.

  42. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Cobraboy: Thank you for being the voice of reason. It’s be interesting to see at this time last year who was saying stuff like “The Bucs should’ve drafted an RB instead of Winfield Jr”, or “Davis, Dean, and SMB should all be cut”, etc. because there was a lot of that.

  43. Joe in Michigan Says:

    *It’d be

  44. Ben green Says:

    The only way to attack the bucs is to throw 50 times. Teams with good QBs and talented skill position players will do just that. Teams know they need to get to at least 28 to have a chance. You can’t get to that number running the football. Only stupid teams will even attempt to run on them. The only logical thing to do is attack the weakness, which is the secondary. This tremendous gm you guys pump up is at fault. They should’ve used every pick with the teams weakness in mind. Instead you drafted a qb that you don’t need.

  45. Ben green Says:

    BTW, C.J. Henderson from the jags can be had. It wouldn’t take a kings ransom either.

  46. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Losing Ryan Smith to FA and not drafting a DB instead of Trask was just not a smart move. Bucs have had to re- sign a player (Adams) that both Bucs cut and Eagles cut.if Brady plays past next year – Trask will be riding the pine for at least 3 out of 4 years of his rookie contract – then what? You’re going to give him big money based on one year or less playing time?
    It doesn’t solve the problem now to criticize the draft pick but this decision is biting the Bucs.

  47. TOM Says:

    I’ve been saying all along that the DB’s were the weak link, especially the corners. The only one thats any good is Davis. I think trading Howard for Gilmore might be a way to go. No matter what they need help.

  48. PassingThru Says:


    I was against it at first, but now I think that might be possible, providing that:

    1. One of their two high-priced TEs is lost for the season to injury.

    2. OJ actually does something prior to trade talks.

    3. Gilmore passes a physical. He hasn’t played or practiced since last season. Some of that might be injury, some of that might be anger at not being extended.

    That’s a lot of conditionals. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but part of Gilmore’s salary was rolled forward from this year to last year during a restructure, he probably makes a good $1.5 to $2 million or so more than OJ. He didn’t look like the player he used to be last season, but he’s still a good piece for a one year rental.

  49. Hodad Says:

    Passing Thru, you say there were corners available, but didn’t name any, why? Those DB’s your talking about, how did they play Sunday, and for who? I love when fans make claims about who was available to draft at corner that would’ve made a difference in our secondary, but can’t name, names. The Bucs have a staff of scouts, coaches with years of experience, and are S.B. champs. I think I’ll side with them on last years draft choices.

  50. PassingThru Says:

    Hodad, let’s go through this again since you’re not catching on. I don’t have a name because like everyone else on this board didn’t scout every single CB in the draft. What I am discussing is the lack of prioritization given to drafting a CB. As you go through the draft there is never certainty, but in the late second round there are promising CBs. Ditto in the third round. Ditto in the fourth round. Ditto in the fifth round. Ditto in the sixth round. Where was a CB drafted? In the seventh round. That means that despite the paper-thin depth at CB, it was not prioritized.

    Do you need this to have this explained yet again?

  51. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Hodad made a legitimate point. The point being, if you’re smarter than Licht and his scouts, prove it by telling us who you think would’ve been a better draft pick. It’s not that hard, look at the CB’s taken after Trask, and pick one. I’m sure the Bucs looked at every CB in the draft, yet went with other positions for whatever reason. They know more about the prospects than you or I, so since they do, why should’ve they taken a CB over Trask, Hainsey, Darden, and Britt? Do you really know for sure that Dean didn’t just have a bad game and isn’t chronically terrible? Do you know how long SMB will be out? Do you know that any of the potential draft picks you wanted at CB would be better than Cockrell and Dee Delaney? If it is a chronic problem, the Bucs will trade or pick up a CB. No sense in worrying about it so much.

  52. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Just for the fun of it-
    There were 9 DB’s picked in 3rd round after Trask.
    1 is on PUP list
    4 of them are seeing significant playing time on their D’s.
    The other 4 are used mostly on Special teams and limited D snaps.
    Probably the most impressive so far has been Benjamin St-Juste, WFT- 99 def snaps, 25 ST snaps and 7 tackles in 2 games
    Paulson Adebo of Saints had 57 Def snaps, 3 tackles and an interception in his opening game.

  53. Cobraboy Says:

    @Passing Thru: young casual, a rookie 2nd round DB in his first NFL game would have made NO difference in the outcome of the ‘Boy game…except in some video game.

    I trust Licht and his scouting staff to make the right draft calls several centuries before some casual shooting his mouth off on a blog about “paper-thin” DBackfields.

    The fact is this team has invested very heavily in DBacks the last several drafts with solid results.

  54. PassingThru Says:

    Thanks Alanbucsfan. And of course some of those guys won’t get opportunities because they’re behind experienced vets. I’m ever mindful of time to develop and whomever Tampa Bay could have drafted would have probably been limited in snaps had Murphy-Bunting not been injured. But this will be an ongoing problem as TB will obviously draft a CB after this season, and then give him limited opportunities unless a starter is injured.

  55. PassingThru Says:


    I’m older than you, far better educated, and played this game throughout high school. Didn’t make it as a walk on in college, but roomed with one of our MLBs my first two years of college. Never played any football games on video, but thanks for your interest in me.

  56. Joe in Michigan Says:

    To the people who act like Trask is a “wasted pick”…Does anybody know for sure if Trask will be good or not? Let’s say that Brady does stick around for a few more years. Is there value in a good backup QB behind an aging veteran? For all of the people who complain that the Bucs don’t have a decent backup QB in Gabbert, you’d think there’s some value there. Personally, I think Trask could be a good backup if he progresses. You know, about what you’d expect out of a late 2nd Round pick.

  57. PassingThru Says:

    Paper-thin CB depth, Part 2:

    Carlton Davis is questionable for the Buccaneers with a hamstring injury.

  58. PassingThru Says:

    So let’s hear about our great starters while deflecting the obvious depth problem at CB.

  59. Bucsfanman Says:

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda..hindsight’s 20/20.
    They’re going to have to come up with a gameplan and scheme to protect the DBs we have.
    With Davis potentially being out, I have to assume that the phones are lit up looking for corners.
    We’re not alone with the injury bug. It’s just part of the game.
    Play some clean offensive football with no TOs and run the ball effectively and we should be ok. I still like our chances.

  60. PassingThru Says:

    Of course injuries are part of the game, that’s why you assess the adequacy of your depth. That’s why some of us were unhappy on draft night when the CB position wasn’t addressed until the 7th round. And yes, coulda, shoulda woulda… accountability is so overrated, huh?

  61. Cobraboy Says:

    PassingThru Says:


    I’m older than you, far better educated, and played this game throughout high school. Didn’t make it as a walk on in college, but roomed with one of our MLBs my first two years of college. Never played any football games on video, but thanks for your interest in me.

    Actually, if you had read my posts over the years, you’d know I am older than YOU, played HS, college & pro ball, and coached (grad asst.) at the Div. I level where I earned two Masters, MS-Econ and MBA.

    Remember what happens when you “assume.”

  62. Cobraboy Says:

    Good Lord, “questionable” with no practice DNP is NOT “probably out.”

  63. PassingThru Says:


    I’m an Ivy League MBA, CPA, former management strategy consultant and Wall Streeter. In terms of football In terms of football, I haven’t seen anything uttered by you that registers experience. What little I do know is that someone mentioned that you had to flee the country.

  64. Jerry Says:

    Our depth is not very good at most positions except WR. Look at our preseason. Our backups and 3rd stringers didn’t exactly blow the doors off anyone.

    Bucs were incredibly lucky last year having very few significant injury problems. Vita Vea was the only one that missed significant time (and he was missed big time when he was out). We also lost Barrett and White in the Wild Card game and they were missed BIG TIME too.

    CB was not the only place we have depth problems. But no team has super bowl caliber starting roster AND depth at every position. You just can’t build that kind of team in the NFL with today’s salary cap rules. Look at the Rams roster. If they start racking up injuries, they will be in as much trouble as us. They have depth problems too. This is one of the reasons no team has repeated since 2004.

  65. Cobraboy Says:

    @Passing Thru: don’t believe everything you read. That person is full of Pelosi.

    I stated my bona fides.

    IRL, I was an un-Wall Street type, never wore Brogans or Wing-tips, detested ties and power watches, and would have preferred full-contact arena office politics than the back-stabbing passive-aggressive cesspool. I started businesses, grew them, and sold them to the Wall Street-backed SEC companies. Three times. I retired early and “fled” to the tropical mountains of the Caribbean…while still retaining properties and financial positions in the states, still a Florida resident, voter, and taxpayer.

    I am now ears-deep into another fairly large, interesting project down here. In fact, I missed my first televised Bucs game ever last week because of it. Thank gawd for the NFL Game Pass “wayback” machine…

  66. PassingThru Says:


    No kidding, you’re definitely not Wall Street grade.

    I’m an entrepreneur. That i can respect and it doesn’t take a quant background to pull off. Despite all our differences in that regard it is worthy of respect and I do wish you well.

  67. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    I don’t think people understand bend but don’t break defenses!! The bucs get a lot of yards on them but step up in the RedZone!! They turned the ball over 4 times!! Twice within their own 20 … The bucs should have been blown out and also throw in how long they were on the field and then defense actually didn’t do bad!! … What the bucs need to be concerned about is not benching rojo because he makes one mistake!! Fornette didn’t, Godwin didn’t…. Why take out one of your faster, chain moving, hard hitting, defense wearing down running backs because the other team made a good play on him!! That’s so ignorant!! Rojo is the better runner… RUN THE BALL!!! CONTROL THE CLOCK!! DON’T LET A 44 YEAR OLD THROW THE BALL 40 PLUS TIMES IN THE FIRST DANG GAME!!!!…. This is not all on the secondary!!

  68. Crickett Baker Says:

    Passing and Cobra why don’t you bloom your budding bromance on a different field?

  69. CaptainMorgan Says:

    Take cockrell off the field play winfield in the slot would be a start