Most of us have that stupid, annoying alarm clock that blares an ungodly, high-pitched sound to snap us out of our nightly slumber.
That’s not the case for the newest members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary. Their alarm clock is cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross.
According to Sean Murphy-Bunting, the Bucs’ second-round draft pick out of Central Michigan, Ross has been calling him early in the morning to quiz him on the playbook.
Ross has been doing the same with Jamel Dean, the Bucs’ third-round pick out of Auburn, per Jenna Laine of ESPN. Whether it’s 6AM, 6:30AM - it doesn’t matter. Ross wants these kids on top of everything at all times.
Savage move by Bucs cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross, calling rookie @MrSeanyB1 at 6 a.m. every morning to quiz him on the playbook . This started right after the draft. “He’s my alarm clock,” Murphy-Bunting said. He’s been doing the same with @jmd0074. pic.twitter.com/D7BB1oJ1Lz— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) May 11, 2019
It’s a smart move by Ross, who has an abundance of youth - but not much experience - at the cornerback position. Vernon Hargreaves III would be considered the veteran, but he is entering his fourth season and has played in just 10 games over the past two years due to injury.
It’s going to be crucial that Murphy-Bunting and Dean have their heads on straight when it comes to the defensive playbook. Todd Bowles’ defense is very reliant on defensive backs and both players will likely play a big role in 2019.
The early-morning quizzes appear to have paid off so far, as the rookie duo were able to each return an interception for a touchdown during Friday’s rookie minicamp.
Ross’ intensity is very similar to that of Brenson Buckner’s - the Bucs’ defensive line coach in 2018 - and that is a good thing. Although Buckner’s line wasn’t the model of perfection last year, he was able to bring the sack total up from 22 in 2017 to 38 in 2018, so there were some positive effects.
That was good enough to jump the Bucs from dead last in 2017 to 19th in the league in sacks in 2018. If Ross can get that type of improvement from arguably the NFL’s worst secondary in 2018, then that would be considered a major win.
Be sure to check back in throughout the weekend as we provide more updates!