The Buccaneers’ secondary has been the punching bag of the 2019 season for Bucs fans and it’s not even close. Yes, Jameis Winston has gotten his share of hate and criticism, but the secondary is where the targets land. Their play could have masked some of the offense’s missteps and certainly could have boosted the Bucs’ 2-6 record to something far more respectable.
Instead, the Bucs are the NFL’s worst pass defense. They’ve blown leads in all six losses, four of which ended as one possession games. Sunday was just the latest example where the Bucs had a fourth quarter lead and the defense allowed a late score, and lost the game.
Bruce Arians addressed the media on Wednesday, as he usually does, and he had plenty to say about the secondary;
“It’s basically on the back end, where we thought we’d be very strong. We’ve made errors mentally in technique and judgment and everything else, so [we’ve been] very disappointing in that way. To have a lead – I’m not used to giving up leads in the fourth quarter, and we’ve done it a few times now.
It’s playing on Sunday, not in shorts in spring. You get fooled sometimes in shorts in the spring, because that’s the guys that are out there playing. Big guys, you never know until you put pads on. Some of those guys, when the noise level goes up, it all changes too.
I think the front seven is playing outstanding. It’s the back end – when Vernon is your oldest guy, you’re young. The simplest thing is play ‘Dude’ coverage – you’ve got that dude. You don’t [have] to think. Seattle had a really good plan of picking us and doing some things to get guys loose, but in our zone matchups and stuff, that’s been disappointing. When we played the Giants, for instance, we give up a first play missed tackle, jumping over a route. That’s just dumb and inexperienced.”
During the offseason, Arians said that the secondary was “fixed.” On Wednesday, he was asked about that statement;
“Totally, because of talent, but that talent isn’t showing up and playing that way.”
The secondary has more than enough issues to talk about, but Arians is yet again calling them out publicly. This group has eight games to show up and do something significant or they’re going to be marched out the door just as fast as they were brought in. When you’re the worst in the league, you don’t have a leg to stand on - young or not.