Despite early career struggles, Keith Tandy emerged from Lovie Smith’s doghouse and appears to be on track for the starting safety job for the Buccaneers.
A lot of people aren’t a fan of his, but Keith Tandy showed last season exactly why the Buccaneers have stuck with him so long. He went from playing sparingly, to Lovie Smith’s doghouse, to a force in the Bucs’ secondary last season. And, according to Ira Kauffman, it appears as though Tandy has nearly cemented his place in the starting lineup.
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"“I have been told that in this competition, maybe a four-way competition when you add in Wilcox and the rookie Evans with Conte and Tandy, I’ve been told that Tandy basically has a starting job secured. He’s basically going to be very difficult to dislodge this fall unless Evans is lights out and Wilcox is even better than they think.”"
What that boils down to is it’s a three horse race for the other safety spot between J.J. Wilcox, Chris Conte, and Justin Evans. When it comes to Bucs news and insider information, Kauffman is one of – if not the – best in the industry so hearing that from him means you can pretty much take it to the bank.
One of the other points Ira and the Joes touch on is the fact that Tandy and Conte have had the vast majority of the reps while Wilcox and Evans have been on the sidelines “in the floppy hats.”
Tandy earned the first shot at starting in 2017 with his break out performance in 2016, finishing the season with 58 tackles and four interceptions – most of which coming at critical moments at the end of games.
Like him or not, another year in Mike Smith‘s system should give Buccaneers fans reason for optimism regarding Tandy as he continues to grow and improve off of the best season of his career. Being the full time starter will only help as he gets more reps, gets into more rhythm, and hopefully continues to put himself in position to make more big plays.