“I Still Don’t Think Their Secondary Is That Good”

July 5th, 2022

Former Bucs cornerback Richard Sherman.

There’s a big divide among the stat nerds and the eye tests of seasoned observers when it comes to Tampa Bay defensive backs.

Joe noted last week how the PFF Tribe (aka Pro Football Focus) declared the Bucs’ secondary to be the very best in the NFC.

That’s a tough sell when you consider their shaky tackling through much of last season and many injuries, plus the loss of starter and thumper safety Jordan Whitehead to the Jets in free agency.

Speaking this week on FS1, Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe ranted about how excellent the Bucs roster is before coming to a screeching halt at the defensive backfield, “I don’t think their secondary is that good.”

Sharpe sees how much the Bucs rely on pressure and he doesn’t like the results when they don’t get it. One could say that about most teams, but the Bucs lead the NFL in blitzing and teams attacked them through the air regularly because the run defense has been so good.

Joe saw the weaknesses on the back end last season but attributed most of them to injury and weak or inexperienced backups.

Cornerback Pierre Desir (308 snaps for the bottle of cologne) remains unemployed, and remember, Joe was ranting in this space about how Richard Sherman was washed out long before most people had reached that conclusion.

Still, the Bucs have a load of talent in the secondary and newcomer safety/nickel Logan Ryan is a heck of an X-factor. And he adds competition, which has been absent from the Bucs’ defensive backfield for too long. That should make everyone better, and contract years for Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting should add to the urgency.

27 Responses to ““I Still Don’t Think Their Secondary Is That Good””

  1. Robert Says:

    Getting good comes from experience, and we had a lot of guys get more experience last year. They did not cost us the SB run, the TB play call did that in one play….you could throw BA in there as well though. anyone heard of calling a timeout and going to OT?

    I have high hopes for them this year provided we have a pass rush.

  2. Cobraboy Says:

    Oh, puh leeeeeze!

    What secondary does NOT rely on pressure to be effective?

  3. Casual Observer Says:

    There are many astute observers of the Buc scene on this blog. Not me, I’m not that expert. Sone of them may weigh in on this topic. Even so, my view is that the talent is there. But the coaching needs to shape up. I recall an opponent marching down the field with 10 consecutive short pass completions. No adjustment in strategy (that I could discern) by our D. It seems to me that the coaches need to do a better job at adjusting strategy when it isn’t working; both within-game and between games. Maybe wrong, but hat’s how I see the DB situation.

  4. Dooley Says:

    SMB missed 8 games, Carlton Davis missed 7 games, Dean missed 2 games, Edwards missed 3 Games, Whitehead missed 3 games, and Winfield Jr missed 4 games. Those were our top secondary contributors in 2020 missing a combined 27 games in 2021 and all but one are returning for 2022. Subtract Sherman, Adams, Desir then add Ryan, Neal, McCollum and even a UDFA like McMichael we arguably have more talent now than this time last season. IDK how many secondary’s around the league can battle that type of attrition throughout a season and NOT have it result in some sort of collapse of the defense.

  5. Allbuccedup Says:

    Coooooper kupp!

  6. Smashsquatch Says:

    Healthy, more seasoned, and coming into their prime with the addition of Ryan and others, they’ve flipped a weakness into a strength.

  7. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Shannon Sharpe is that clown talking head that thinks because he had a good playing career he can say whatever he wants about anything now and it will be valid.

  8. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    WalkdaPlank he doesn’t say anything. He spouts it.

  9. mark2001 Says:

    So there you are, guys. You in the secondary are being called out. Will you step up and fulfil your potential? Or is it just a mirage?

  10. Its a Bucs Life Says:

    Our defense knows what is coming and yet they are NO WHERE near most passes. Offenses know they can’t run on the Bucs so you would think it gives the team an advantage, but it’s either our scheme or our players when dudes are just running wide open on the majority of plays.

    This defense rarely stops good teams unless they get a turnover

  11. CrossFletcherAngel Says:

    Combine 27 games when the season is only 17 lmao.

  12. emo Says:

    I do not disagree with Sharpe. Our secondary can definitely stand to get better. Unlike a lot of others, I think Jamel Dean will break out this season, so that should give us a strong one-two punch with Carlton Davis and Dean. Antoine Winfield was the best player in our secondary last year, too. Mike Edwards having more picks will be huge, and I am a big fan of what Logan Ryan brings to that young room. Keanu Neal will add competition, along with rookie corner Zyon McCollum. The talent is all there, but the scheme was bad. At times last season, we were just giving up plays. Our scheme allows for passes to be thrown underneath or in space, due to our soft zone coverage. This forces the defensive backs to tackle the ball-carriers in open space, which is not our strength (see: The Rams game). The pressure up front will increase this season, because Akiem Hicks is a better pass rusher than Ndamukong Suh, and Joe Tryon Shoyinka has shown that he can produce in a limited role, more than JPP.

  13. emo Says:

    The secondary will improve due to the better pressure. Don’t forget Anthony Nelson up front. He is a great gal.

  14. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs need one more Bonafide pass rusher

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Dooley … ‘IDK how many secondary’s around the league can battle that type of attrition throughout a season and NOT have it result in some sort of collapse of the defense.’

    Same here. How could our Secondary even begin to develop chemistry when the ‘pieces’ were constantly changing from game to game? No wonder communications suffered.

    And it’s not like everyone was helping the Secondary. Opponents figured out early-on (starting with Dallas) that they’d have a better chance passing against the Bucs’ defense than trying to run against it. Thus opponents passed against us on 2 out of every 3 plays (66.5% of their plays were pass attempts), highest for any team in the NFL. That’s 680 passing attempts, plus 47 sacks, out of 1093 total opponent plays.

    And yet our Net Yards Allowed per Pass Attempt was only 5.6 for the season, ranking us #4 in the NFL. THAT’S quite impressive IMO considering that we had so many defensive injuries last year. What’s even more impressive to me is that we only allowed 20.8 PPG, ranking us #5 in the NFL. That’s a significant improvement from the 28.1 PPG (#29 ranking) that our Bucs’ defense had in 2019 in BA’s & Todd’s first year here.

  16. Eckwood Says:

    Cooper K vs Bucs db s …….. Huge Win Kupp

    Vaughn Miller vs D Smith ……. Huge Win Miller

    Best two players on the field in that game were Kupp and Miller by far !!

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So, we are minus Whitehead & plus Ryan & Neal & Zion…..that’s a plus……in addition, we have one more year’s experience for SMB, Davis, Dean, Edwards & Winfield…..
    We will probably have to cut Cockrel or Delaney……not too bad backups…

    I’d say we are improved….

  18. GOB Says:

    Defense, they certainly had an injury riddled season in the secondary. With full health, they should be better. The pressure the front generated during the superbowl run made them look better than they were, in my opinion. The frustrating thing is bowles continued his inane blitz rate, with a severely diminished secondary. Had bowles adjusted, it could’ve slowed the assault.

    You’re right about teams almost abandoning the run. But, it wasn’t solely about the bucs run defense. The bucs offense scoring 30+ a game was another key factor. If you know you need at least 28 point to have a chance, it’s kinda foolish to run the ball much. Bowles isn’t changing his stripes. Unless the front generates consistent pressure, this secondary isn’t good enough to hold up. Not many groups could.

  19. HC Grover Says:

    Alls it has to be is Good Nuff.

  20. Bojim Says:

    I’m concerned about them too. Would just love to be proven wrong. Go Bucs

  21. Goatfarmer Says:

    Todd – what are you prepared to do so the guys know what they’re supposed to do?

  22. JA Says:

    Fans like Plank are puzzling, yet humorous.
    If someone says something negative about their team the sources automatically become morons or hasbeen players.
    It’s just words, so who cares. The only true definition of a team comes from wins and losses.
    Let it play out and remember these “experts” are paid to be controversial. if they said everybody was great they’d lose their job.

  23. David Says:

    They took a big step backwards last year because of injuries. The secondary was so depleted it was ridiculous. I fully expect them to be much better this year.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    GOB … ‘Unless the front generates consistent pressure, this secondary isn’t good enough to hold up’.

    There-in lies the key to this defense IMO … pressure, and LOTS of it. And it all starts in the center of our DLine in Bowles’ defense. When Hicks plays a whole season (2 in the last 4 seasons), he’s good for 30 pressures, which would include about 6 sacks per season. When Vea plays a whole season, he’s good for about 15 pressures, which would include about 3 sacks per season. On their ‘off’ seasons, both of them contribute roughly a third to a half of what they get in a full season.

    So what are the odds that BOTH of them will make it through 2022 unscathed? Add Suh to the mix however & we end up with a beastly DLine. Suh has contributed 90 pressures & 19 sacks over these past 4 years. Vea has contributed 50 pressures & 11.5 sacks in that same timeframe, and Hicks has 78 pressures & 15.5 sacks in those 4 years. Re-sign him while we can; we need him.

  25. Goatfarmer Says:

    So Todd — prove us wrong. Many of us are rightly skeptical about your defense for akk the reasons listed above.

    Do something about it.

  26. Buczilla Says:

    Sharpe is a race baiting dingbat, but he’s right about our secondary and I’ll be sweating bullets if we start our incredibly difficult (on paper) schedule with our current group. Fire! S.O.S.! Apurate Licht! We need some serious secondary help dude.

  27. View from 132 Says:

    How is any secondary supposed to be great with the current rules? The job is now to tackle downfield, catch deflected passes, and try to not to get a PI every play. I miss great secondary play, but take any of the Hall of Famers – Lynch, Ronnie Lott, Deion, Hayes and Haynes, Darrell Green… NONE of them could be great when you can’t touch the man you are defending. It’s a joke.

    By current standards, the Bucs DBs are serviceable. It’s all about pass rush.