The Battle For Interceptions

June 12th, 2022

More snaps = more picks?

Football coaches preach about takeaways more than Joe preaches about Big Storm Brewing beers.

And with the Bucs it is about interceptions. The team seems determined to increase its interception total. That ties to cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean personifying the football cliché that if corners could catch, they would be wide receivers.

But as Scott Smith of points out, it’s not like the Bucs were awful with picks last year. They finished fifth in the NFL with 17, tied with the Texans.

Better health, Smith believes, will be a big factor in improving pick totals.

… … Davis, who led the team with four interceptions in 2020, missed seven games last year and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who was riding the momentum of a three-interception 2020 postseason, missed eight. If communication within the secondary is key to getting players into position to make plays, more continuity would be helpful in producing that.

Another factor is Mike Edwards. The Bucs’ ballhawk safety played 57 percent of the snaps on defense last season as the No. 3 safety behind Antoine Winfield and Jordan Whitehead.

Whitehead is gone now, and if Edwards can win the starting job, getting him on the field could equate to more picks.

Last year Edwards led the Bucs with three interceptions. Whitehead had two in a full-time role.

15 Responses to “The Battle For Interceptions”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    More INTs would sure be nice, because Tom Brady is exceptional at capitalizing on turnovers. Still, I’ve often wondered if having a defense focus on making INTs might have a negative relationship to the number of times a player gets burned in a season.

    Take Jamel Dean for example. Lowest number of INTs among our starting CBs (5) in his 3 years here, but has only given up 6 TDs total in pass coverage in all games played in. SMB on the other hand has more total INTs (7) in his 3 years here, but has given up 13 TDs total in pass coverage in all games played in. Davis also has more INTs than Dean (6) in the past 3 years, but he’s given up 14 TDs total in pass coverage in all games played in.

    I guess the question that keeps popping up to me is ‘Are some guys taking excessive risks going for INTs to the extent that they get burned?’ I’m sure that it’s a fine line in today’s NFL with so many excellent QBs & receivers.

  2. Bucsnutt Says:

    I totally agree. You consistently make your points with data. Respect!

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Some of the interceptions given up are due to very poor tackling……
    We do have our fair share of dropped interceptions……is there a stat for dropped interception opportunities?

  4. Bird Says:

    I agree with bowles comments in past. One guy i would like to see get some INTs is winfield. Sure he is on smaller side playing against much bigger dudes. But he is super savy and is constantly around the ball. Hope he can step it up in year 3.

    Hopefully all of our secondary has a jugs machine at home this offseason. The football kind 😂

  5. Hodad Says:

    Better pass rush couldn’t hurt either.

  6. Dman Says:

    Looking at the difference between Edward’s and the rest of the DB’s it looks like awareness and hands. Edwards always has an eye out for the opportunity and has good hands to reel in the ball. Davis seems to focus on shutting down his guy and when the ball pops up is surprises him, he’s not ready for it and, yeah needs to spend more time on the jugs machine.

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    DR too true. So much for our defense is when the ball hits your hands, make the catch. Too many drops over the past few years.

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Edwards may have more interceptions than Whitehead, but who is going to make up for Whitehead’s TFL’s and run stopping?

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Alanbucsfan … I fully expect Neal to give Edwards a monstrous challenge for the starting safety spot. But just like Hicks & a bunch of other Bucs, it’ll be a question of IF Neal can stay healthy for the entire season. Logan Ryan will also get a bunch of defensive snaps, but my gut feel is that he’ll get most of them at Nickel.

  10. Alanbucsfan Says:

    DR- I would guess Neal would play mostly on early downs (run stopper) while Edwards and Ryan will play on mostly passing downs.

  11. Austin Lewis Says:

    Best defense in the league next year? I think so. Head and shoulders above the rest? Quite a possibility

  12. orlbucfan Says:

    I printed the schedule and at my age, that’s something. Todd Bowles will now be HC. Wow!!!! He will freak cos he is finishing building this defense. They drafted DL guys—good!!!!!!!! Bucs have always been legend cos of their defense. Gene D has retired rom Bucs Radio so I get used to a new group of announcers. I Hope they are true Bucs fans.

  13. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Bucsnutt Says:
    “DR… You consistently make your points with data. Respect!”


  14. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Build it and they will come !
    Monte Kiffen always said he wanted speed and aggression in def players and they could coach em up on his scheme and get emB to really buy in to his defense
    Shameless Todd Bowles fan here and think We are going take a step up this year
    We have a potentially really F ING good All around D
    Bucs interceptions go way up this year just a gut instinct

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Alanbucsfan … Take a look at Keanu Neal’s stats for those years when he’s been healthy. His 2020 stats (5th year with Atlanta as a FS) are comparable to Winfield’s (completion percentages allowed; tackles; def snaps) BUT … Winfield was credited with allowing 6 TDs that year; Neal gave up 1. I like Free Safeties who don’t give up TDs (it’s that ‘last line of defense’ thingie).