Buccaneers defender has strangely disappeared in 2022

Kadarius Toney, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Kadarius Toney, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Where oh where has Sean Murphy-Bunting gone for the Buccaneers? After coming into the preseason looking like a starter, the defender lives on the bench.

The Buccaneers defense is off to one of its best starts in franchise history.

Giving up just 27 points through the first three games in this modern version of the NFL that prioritizes the pass and generally works against the defense is extremely impressive.

Sure, the competition hasn’t been excellent in the first two games when facing off against the Dallas Cowboys with Dak Prescott having one of the worst games of his career and Jameis Winston in Week 2, but holding Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 14 points shows that this defense is legit.

This unit doesn’t look all that different from what we saw last season schematically, but there is a very different approach in usage:

The Bucs are going through subs slowly on both sides of the ball. If you’re a starter, chances are you’ll play the vast majority of the snaps, and the result has been one of the best secondaries for the Bucs in a long time.

However, we do have to ask: where is Sean Murphy-Bunting?

Anyone who follows the team and looks beyond the box score already knew that SMB was going to play a reduced role in 2022, but zero defensive snaps through three games? Really? That almost feels a little dramatic.

We are more than happy with the current split that keeps Jamel Dean on the field and on his All-Pro pace, but it still comes as a surprise that SMB hasn’t even been able to get on the field with some reps alongside the two other corners that he played well with in 2020 and 2021.

Logan Ryan has looked great, so it makes sense that Murphy-Bunting was going to lose out on all of the reps, but not playing any was not on our Bingo card for the 2022 season.

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