According to most Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, the secondary has been a problem most of this season. Ask cornerback Johnthan Banks, though, and those fans are far too negative. Even about their last game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"We really had probably one bad game in the secondary," Banks told Andrew Astleford of ESPN. "Everybody is really overreacting. Houston game, maybe. There was a lot of things we could have done better. In the Jacksonville game, we kind of shut those guys out."
I'm not sure what Banks was watching, exactly. Maybe he was talking about the 1995 game, the one that actually ended because a cornerback made a play. You know, something this year's cornerbacks didn't do all game long against the Jaguars -- or ever this season, really.
Blake Bortles completed 23 of 33 passes for a whopping 303 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. And that one interception came on a play where the secondary clearly screwed up and left a man wide open in the middle of the field, one Bortles just didn't see. In fact, all defensive backs had three defensed passes in the entire game. Combined. That's as many as the team's linebackers.
If what the Bucs' defensive backs did against Jacksonville constitutes "kind of" shutting them out, then that defensive backs room needs to get some new standards. And Lovie Smith agrees with me, there.
"We haven't played well enough," Smith said last week on the secondary. "It's as simple as that. No, I'm not pleased at all. Simple as that. We've had opportunities to take ball away more times. A game like yesterday [against the Jaguars], to finish on a note like that was discouraging. [..] So we're not where we need to be on the back end right now, it's as simple as that."
That doesn't sound like a coach telling his players that they "kind of shut those guys out." That sounds like a coach telling them they played like hot garbage. Maybe someone should let Banks know.