Tumultuous is a term that is barely even strong enough to describe the season Eric Wright had in his inaugural year in Tampa Bay. Wright was suspended for four games for substance abuse, injured for a good portion of the year, and was even benched in Week 17.
Much has been made of the Buccaneers’ decision to retain Wright, despite cutting his pay substantially, but recently it’s been Wright who’s been doing all the talking.
At a recent media session Wright claimed he is an “exceptional player,” said his one interception should have been “play of the year,” and announced, “as long as I’m healthy, there’s no way I don’t contribute on this team.”
So there you have it, Eric Wright is not going to let his little pay cut, or the addition of 3 DB’s deflate his confidence at all.
But all these moves have done something to Wright. They’ve made it to where he’s going to be the man under fire a lot of the time. If (when) Revis returns to form, and with the punishing safeties over the top, opposing QB’s are going to challenge Wright. So it’s up to Eric to prove himself over and over again.
Wright is expected to play a lot at CB across from Darrelle Revis, meaning he’ll have some high quality receivers to handle. Just in the NFC South he’ll have to deal with Julio Jones, Lance Moore, and Brandon LaFell twice each.
This gives Wright an exceptional opportunity. CB’s are always begging QB’s to throw the ball their way. They want to knock the ball away, bottle up their receiver, and maybe even cause a turnover here or there. Well, Wright’s going to get his wish. Now he just needs to prove that he’s up to the task.
Eric Wright’s stat line was underwhelming a year ago, but with the dismal state the Buc defense was in, it’s hard to put too much blame on him. The Buccaneers were 0-4 in the games in which Wright was suspended, so clearly his presence was needed on the field.
This year, he will be crucial. The Tampa Bay defense will likely sink or swim on the shoulders of Wright. And Wright knows it. That’s why he wasn’t afraid to restructure his deal to not only take a pay cut but also put himself on a one-year deal. He trusts himself, he believes he’s good enough to shut down anyone they put in front of him.
Now he just needs to prove it. And with a one-year deal, he’s given himself just one chance.