Can the rookies have a repeat performance?
Last week, the Tampa Bay rookie defensive backs received raving reviews. Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart and Jordan Whitehead stole the show.
The Buccaneers secondary was projected to be one of the team’s weaknesses. After breakout performances by the rookie trio, the expectations have raised.
The microscope will be on Davis in particular. With injuries hitting the cornerback position hard this past week, Davis has gotten nearly all of the first-team reps at outside corner. The opportunity has many penciling him in as the starter.
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While it would be great to see the second-round pick win the job, he needs to continue to perform throughout the preseason. As a rookie, his mistakes will be magnified and he needs to earn defensive coordinator Mike Smith‘s trust to beat out veteran corner Ryan Smith.
For Stewart, his versatility should get him on the field a ton against the Titans. His ability to play both in the slot and outside will give him another chance to provide the coaches with a good look at what he can do.
Similar to Davis, a repeat performance would only improve his chances at seeing meaningful snaps in the regular season.
Whitehead may get the most time on Saturday. He played until the final drive in the first game and performed pretty well with a few terrific pass breakups.
The life of a rookie in training camp isn’t comfortable. If this trio can repeat their performance from last week, it may be the beginning of the transformation of a subpar secondary.