Jason Licht could have revealed what the largest distinction was between the Tremendous Bowl-winning 2020 Bucs and final 12 months’s crew: the well being of the complete secondary.
The Bucs misplaced gamers left and proper as a consequence of harm all around the defensive again room. It began with Sean Murphy-Bunting within the first half of the primary recreation of the season, and continued on all year long.
Tampa Bay misplaced Carlton Davis III, Antoine Winfield Jr, Jamel Dean, Jordan Whitehead, Richard Sherman and others to varied accidents. Additionally they misplaced Mike Edwards for 3 video games due to suspension. In comparison with 2020, the numbers aren’t even shut if you mix the entire missed video games.
Merely put, the Bucs had been at their greatest when that had their high gamers accessible. And that was hardly ever the case. Actually, the complete Bucs beginning secondary performed zero snaps collectively till Week 18 in opposition to Carolina.
“Effectively, we’re wholesome,” Licht mentioned when giving his view of the defensive backs. “Proper now we’re wholesome. We plan to maintain it that approach. We bought numerous these younger guys that performed very properly two years in the past once we gained the Tremendous Bowl. And I don’t suppose that expertise simply went away. So we’re wholesome now.”
#Bucs GM Jason Licht offers his views of the DB room:
“Effectively, we’re wholesome. Proper now we’re wholesome. We wish to plan to maintain it that approach. We had numerous these guys play very properly two years in the past once we gained the Tremendous Bowl. I don’t suppose that expertise simply went away.” pic.twitter.com/x0TNrV1HWe
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) April 19, 2022
The Bucs bought extra assist this offseason with the additions of Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal. The duo will present veteran presences on the again finish that we haven’t seen the previous few years. Whether or not they’ll be major safeties or transfer round in numerous nickel roles is a dialog for an additional day. However the secondary may enhance thanks to 2 gamers that head coach Todd Bowles can get inventive with.
“We’ve added gamers like Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal that we’re enthusiastic about,” Licht mentioned. “Bringing some veteran management again there. I feel we’re in fine condition.”
Do these acquisitions exclude the Bucs from taking a defensive again on this draft? Licht wouldn’t go that far. It is sensible Tampa Bay would draft a defensive again or two contemplating Edwards, Dean and Murphy-Bunting are all on the final 12 months of their offers. Each Logan and Neal are on one-year contracts as properly, and the latter has a major harm historical past.
And that’s precisely what the Bucs try to keep away from this season. Well being would possibly simply be the distinction that separates the protection from getting again to their championship kind.