Safeties Not Safe
Clearly the status quo in the defensive backfield is not sitting well with Jason Licht. Entering 2016, Licht was determined to revamp the Bucs pass defense. Last year, he did it by rebuilding the cornerback position. He acquired Brent Grimes and drafted Vernon Hargreaves. However, the performance still wasn’t consistently where it needed to be. The team ranked 22nd in the league against the pass, allowing 250.8 yards per game.
Now, the attention has been turned to the safety position. Both Keith Tandy and Chris Conte flashed at times in 2016. Tandy posted four interceptions and Conte was responsible for two. However, they simply weren’t consistent enough so the rebuild is on. First was J.J. Wilcox from the Cowboys in free agency. Next was the pick that surprised us, Justin Evans in the second round.
Evans has had problems with missed tackles, but he is known as a “thumper”. Licht wanted to change the tone of the position and make it a bit more physically intimidating. He will be counting on Evans, if he can clean up his tackling, to make that happen. But it also tells us that an incumbent at the position is in some trouble.
Keith Tandy’s days may be numbered. He certainly needs a good showing in training camp. Per Spotrac, Tandy’s salary cap hit is only $840,000, which is a hit that the Bucs could easily take. There could be two new starters at safety, but Tandy might be out of a roster spot. Clearly, the safeties aren’t safe.