2021 has been full of surprises for the Buccaneers.
If you were making a bingo card for the Buccaneers in 2021, it is extremely unlikely that anyone would have much right from a defensive standpoint.
The Buccaneer defense was supposed to be one of the best in the NFL this season, yet multiple key injuries, such as those to all of the starting corners, have put this unit in a tough position.
Opposing quarterbacks have had their way against this group, which led to the Buccaneers signing free agent Richard Sherman. Now, Sherman is one of the two starters after playing very few reps in practice on a team that is searching for another Super Bowl.
Sherman obviously had some struggles last week. Anyone in that position would face an uphill battle, but the Bucs needed someone to step in with Jamel Dean ruled out and Carlton Davis missing half of the game.
The unit had its moments, but it is hard for any secondary to shine with so many injuries. There is still an upside with Sherman, though, and playing with one of the established starters longer in his second game with the Bucs should help plenty.
The starting duo for Tampa against Jacoby Brissett and the Miami Dolphins is Dean and Sherman. Unconventional, but this pair will be the starters for the foreseeable future with Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting out for an extended period.
The good news for the Bucs is that both of these corners have very high upsides. Dean is the most athletic member of the secondary from a speed and physical standpoint, and Sherman is one full season removed from being the best corner in the league. There may still be some rust for each player, with Dean coming off an injury and Sherman getting back in shape and learning the scheme, but these two have all of the tools to succeed when it counts.
This is very different than what the Buccaneers started the season with in their secondary, but it is a substantially better duo than the last one to take the field for the Bucs against the Patriots.
Hopefully, the woes in the secondary start turning around this week against a weak quarterback and a young team at home.
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