The Buccaneers used Sean Murphy-Bunting zero times on defense in the season opener versus this Cowboys. This is not good news for the young corner.
Yes, you read that right. The Buccaneers didn’t use Sean Murphy-Bunting on defense at all in the trouncing of the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
It is almost hard to believe.
We are just a few months removed from Bowles calling SMB the other starter on defense alongside Carlton Davis. Even though everyone knew that Jamel Dean was obviously the better option as the CB2, not using Murphy-Bunting on anything other than special teams is still a bit surprising.
We say a bit surprising, but everyone should’ve known that a snaps reduction was coming SMB’s way. The Buccaneer corner has experienced some great moments, namely en route to the Super Bowl win in the 2020 season, but he has also not always played up to the expected level.
The coverage just hasn’t been there like it has with Dean and Davis, and the Bucs going after Logan Ryan in free agency was going to make matters much more difficult for the younger corner.
Ryan and Antoine Winfield Jr. have been pegged to move into more of those Murphy-Bunting reps for a few weeks now, and we saw last night just how effective those were. Winfield played like a man possessed, and Ryan was a clear upgrade.
While this did work in the moment, we don’t expect the trend of not subbing the entire secondary to continue much longer. A move like this probably means that Sean Murphy-Bunting’s career in Tampa is coming to a close at the end of this season, but he still has a role to play as a quality depth defender on a team that churned through all of their depth at the position last season.
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