Buccaneer Defensive Backs
If your kid wants to play defensive back, do not let them see the tape of this Buccaneers-Saints game. While it may have been one of the sharpest offensive performances I’ve ever seen, it was conversely one of the ugliest defensive performances (funny how that works, right?). There were a few positives from Vernon Hargreaves, Ryan Smith and Justin Evans, which included one of the biggest plays of the entire game, but the overwhelming picture was not a pretty one.
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With Brent Grimes out of the lineup, Tampa Bay was forced to put rookies Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart into major action a bit quicker than perhaps they would have liked. Davis and Hargreaves started as the boundary corners, with Stewart getting action at nickel and occasionally outside. The result was a genuinely effortless sixteen catches by receiver Michael Thomas, along with Tedd Ginn’s five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Alvin Kamara put in a dominant effort through the air as well, but that falls on the entirety of the defense more than the secondary specifically.
In fairness to the Buccaneer secondary, they weren’t shredded by scrubs this week. New Orleans will be among the best offenses in all of football throughout this season, and the Bucs will play few units better than them. The continued growth of rookies Davis and Stewart, along with the eventual return of Brent Grimes, should lead to some fundamental improvement in this group, but the injury to Hargreaves can potentially complicate things even more.
Blame is often a two way game in the NFL. While the Buccaneer defensive backs weren’t nearly good enough for a professional contest, the man in charge deserves blame as well. Aside from their late-season run two years ago, the majority of Mike Smith’s Buccaneer tenure has been less than adequate. Honestly, how surprised were you as you watched Drew Brees effortlessly dissect the Buccaneer secondary? If I’d told you before the game that Mike Thomas would break a receiving record against the Bucs, would you have argued against it?
Being predictably bad on defense – even against quality opponents like the Saints – is an awful sign for the coordinator in charge, and that’s very much the case for the Bucs. Smith’s newly built pass rush will likely be better next week, but do we have any doubts that Nick Foles will have a productive afternoon?
Another nasty habit from Mike Smith’s defense that showed up against the Saints was bad tackling. Alvin Kamara and Mike Thomas shook tackle after tackle in the Superdome, and while this certainly reflects poorly on the players more than anyone, I’ve never seen a good defensive coordinator with undisciplined tackling like the Bucs have shown.
We’ll be back again next week with another update on the Buccaneers’ stock portfolio. Here’s hoping it’s as positively filled as this weeks’. Until then, stay tuned to the website for more coverage of the Buccaneers all throughout the week. Hopefully, the Philly stock report will be as positively balanced as this weeks’!