Who was more surprising this past season than Keith Tandy? He had spent four-plus seasons with the Bucs, mostly in a backup role. His performance was never really anything special, but he really turned it on late in the 2016 season. Initially filling in for an injured Chris Conte, he turned into a consistent playmaker for the Tampa Bay defense.
On the season, he made 57 tackles (46 solo), with a fumble recovery, four interceptions and nine passes defended. All four of his interceptions were game-changers. He had game-clinching picks in back-to-back weeks, helping the Bucs defeat the Chargers and Saints. Then, in week 17, he picked off Cam Newton twice as Tampa Bay came away with a season-ending win.
Now, after his pleasantly surprising 2016 season, Tandy could have a starting spot on the Buccaneer defense when next season gets underway. He certainly has given the front office and his coaches plenty to think about. Even if he doesn’t start at safety in the 2017 season opener, he’ll surely fit into the team’s plans. There were ups and downs for the defense as a whole, but Tandy was a big surprise for Tampa Bay.