Bucs CB Johnthan Banks – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
One of Tampa Bay’s healthiest position groups in 2015 has also been its most volatile.
Cornerbacks have been shuffled in and out of the rotation for 15 straight weeks as the search for a consistent combination failed to produce up to coaches’ expectations.
Sterling Moore (692 total snaps), Alterraun Verner (547), Jude Adjei-Barimah (433), Johnthan Banks (382), Mike Jenkins (305) and Tim Jennings (282) – they’ve all taken their turns starting or coming on in relief.
The year’s biggest letdown/curiosity/disappointment has to be Banks, a second-round draft pick out of Mississippi State in 2013 who entered the year as the team’s top corner. After starting five of the Bucs’ first seven games (he missed Weeks 4 and 5 with a knee injury) Banks suddenly fell out of favor. Undrafted rookie Jude Adjei-Barimah slid into his outside corner spot Week 9 against the New York Giants opposite Moore.
At the time of the switch, coaches stuck with standard coach-speak responses when asked about Banks’ demotion. From the Week 9 Giants game to Week 14 against New Orleans, Banks existed almost exclusively as a special teamer. He failed to see a single snap at corner three times and played just 25 of 220 snaps in the three games he did appear.
Head coach Lovie Smith the day after losing to New York: “Yes, coach’s decision. Jude [Adjei-Barimah] and Sterling [Moore] both played, started the game yesterday. I feel like they both played well. We have looked for different combinations back there. I like some of the things both of those guys did yesterday.”
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier that same week: “Whoever is in there has to step up and do what the last guy was doing, if not better. It’s just all about understanding our defense.”
Tampa Bay stuck with Moore and Adjei-Barimah on the outside and Verner in the slot at nickelback until recently. Adjei-Barimah’s declining play hit its nadir in St. Louis when he was burned for a 60-yard, first-quarter touchdown that propelled the Rams to an easy 31-23 Thursday night victory. Banks relieved the rookie after that score and returned to his starting role last Sunday against Chicago, playing 63 of 71 snaps.
When asked about Banks’ increased defensive visibility, Frazier didn’t exactly lay the praise on thick. “He did some good things at times. [We’re] always looking for the consistency in his play, but at times he was out there, he did some positive things that will allow him to get back on the field again this Sunday as well.”
Although Bears quarterback Jay Cutler completed 20 of his 27 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, he rarely went Banks’ way and the corner finished with three tackles.
The most significant play in which he was involved last week came on the first snap of the fourth quarter. With the Bucs clinging to a 14-13 lead, Culter hit a wide-open Ka’Deem Carey in the left flat for a 1-yard touchdown that gave Chicago the lead for good. The Bears lined up in a three-tight, two-back set and Banks was Tampa Bay’s outside man on its right side. Tight end Rob Housler came in motion to Banks’ side and the corner covered him into the end zone while no one – notably linebacker Danny Lansanah – slid out to account for Carey.
Banks, a first-team All-American and Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back in 2012, is in line to start Tampa Bay’s final game Sunday against the NFC South-leading Panthers. He enters 2016 on the fourth and final year of his rookie contract and his role moving forward will be a hot topic in the offseason.
“I think there have been a number of different things” leading to Banks’ reduced playing time this season,” Frazier said Thursday. “He’s done some good things for us and has had an opportunity to show why he deserves to be in the mix in 2016. He’s done some good things at times. [He] just has to keep giving himself opportunities and keep getting opportunities to make plays for us.”
This makes no sense – so let me get this straight, a dead man walking will be able to completely devoid the roster remaining young talent because the defense secondary coaches can’t adjust the scheme to fit the strengths of the players??
We have run off Michael Bennett and Revis and others who are on winning teams logging meaningful snaps and the clown show defense remains in flux. Cmon Glazers please end is of this misery that will end sooner than later.
Ok Belichick, come and get him! Banks will probably go to New England and be one of the best in the league. Guy will just be another rejected Buc.
What’s your take Pinkstob? You called it in Training Camp.
My take is I don’t like Banks as a football player and never have dating back to his days at Mississippi State because he hasn’t demonstrated good instincts against the pass or run since his junior year ended. He has pretty good ball skills and size but when you have poor instincts (on top of run a 4.6 40) it leads to the type of career he’s had here. He hasn’t played close to consistently well in Schiano’s or Lovie’s defense and between those two defenses he’s been assigned every type of coverage possible in various situations. Jerry Jones is a bad GM, but for once he had it right by having Banks on his board in the 6th round. Banks will have no more success on another team than he found here where he has been a big part of a pass defense that has never ranked in the top half of the league since he’s been here. He has also never ended a season with good rankings on Pro Football Focus.
Ol Miss corners looked good last night. Banks is a second round pick. Barron was a first round pick. Revis has more interceptions then our entire secondary, playing for a first time head coach. These guys aren’t good enough for this scheme. Me thinks it’s Lovie.
And the word on the street is that Alterraun Verner will not be back at 6.75mil in 2016. Here is an excerpt from a comment I made on Oct. 9, 2015 in response to the SR Fab 5 – Smith should be fired if Jags beat Bucs. I said “I rarely make predictions because……..well, I’m not very good good at it. But I am accustomed to going out on the proverbial limb. And I’m going to predict that giving final say over the 53 man roster (written into Lovie’s contract) is going to be the death knell for Lovie Smith and Chip Kelly – two otherwise men that have had some success in the NFL. If Lovie is fired, it will not be because of the much maligned Cover 2 defense, it will be his dismal failures in selecting the right man for the job. And most importantly QB Winston’s perceived success or failure”.
I still believe that and there is irrefutable proof that major personnel moves have simply not worked. And some of you may have noticed, Chip is gone!
Before we have any discussion about Banks, there are two question we have to ask:
1. How is Mike Jenkens still a Buc?
2. Who coaches these guys?
And the band plays on… An All-Pro team could be fielded damn near with who we have kicked to the curb. Not saying Lovie needs to go, but something needs to happen to stop the bleeding. I hope we draft well again, and be cautious in Free Agency. It’s time to shit or get off the pot for Lovie. Go Bucs!
My bad sorry for the duplicate
So I won’t be called a hater; the problem from my none coaching experience is a pass rush need and the continual playing of our DB’s off the LOS by 5-15 yards. Banks is a starting CB; not a great one, but a decent one. It is troubling to me that no matter who the DB is playing, the receiver is usually wide open.
He’ll be gone next year. Another outcast of Lovies soft as tissue defensive scheme. He’ll go on to be successful elsewhere. I don’t care how skinny his legs are. haha.
Nnice post Horse.
Macabe, do you think the Bucs should bring back Verner?
Please get off Bennett fiasco in regards to Lovie. This regime had nothing to do with that. Shows peoples stupidity when trying to connect invisible dots.
Also, all you Reavis lovers always fail to mention his hefty 16 mill salary. He hasn’t even come close to making that kind of money since being waived
It was just a bad trade from the beginning made by the previous regime that made many bad moves and drafts.
But lets punish Lovie for their sins.
Like invading Iraq because a bunch of Saudi’s flew planes into buildings.
All of you Lovie haters think every player waived here becomes an All Pro or Hall of Fame player elsewhere.
Could you please provide a list of all these great players because the names allude me.
Here is a simple reason why the Bucs are on a three game losing streak.
The Bucs have lost two of their top three DT’s. The best one might as well be playing in a straight jacket due to his injuries.
But all of you characters calling for Lovie’s heads are the same ones saying Moy is to nice, McCoy is to soft, McCoy is overrated.
Are MLB has also been suspended due to drinking high powered milk shakes for the last three games and his backup was injured and MIA in one of those games.
On offense, the loss of Ajax has hurt the team significantly.
Now I’m not saying he is Odell Beckham Jr., but did any of you see what the loss of that player did to the Giants offense last week.
Did anyone notice how much the Bucs offense improved when he returned after being injured the last time.
Did anyone notice the Bucs scored 24 points in the first half and six in the second when we lost him in the Washington game.
But lets not use those facts, they just get in the way of hate.
Lets not use the fact that the Bucs had the lousiest drafts in the NFL for the last dozen years.
I have wondered where all these Lovie haters have come from recently and I think I have it figured out.
Part of it is, of course, the three game skid that doesn’t consider rationally the facts I mentioned above.
But the other is a well known Bucs site named after an ignorant plumber is so clogged up and impossible to post on or even read their ill informed readers have migrated here to spew their hate and ignorance.
Where is Donald Trump when you need him to end this hate filled immigration.
or maybe the fact that he is terrible game manager, terrible in game adjuster, terrible talent evaluator, terrible disciplinarian as the penalties show, has dbs line up of line a scrimmage and cant diagnose on game film how that kills the team , doeskin know how to work the refs, doesn’t get the best out of the talent he has because he doesn’t change his outdated system
Hard question to answer! Verner has not played up to expectations, for sure. Coming into the start of the 2015 season, Football Outsiders rated him as one of the worst CBs in the NFL. But who’s at fault here? The Bucs are damned either way – if he was a bad scheme fit, they picked him. If he is the pro bowl player that he came in as, they ruined him.
At his present level of performance, he got burned too often outside. I’d be hesitant to pay a slot corner 6.75mil unless he’s Ronde Barber! So my half-hearted answer is no, I wouldn’t bring him back, but I’m torn because I don’t think It’s all his fault. Pro bowl corners don’t fall off of a truck!
Respect your opinion but disagree with it somewhat.
I see Pro Bowl players play digress all the time in the NFL, especially when they get a fat contract and guaranteed money.
See Michael Johnson.
Also how many times have you seen players performance excel in the year their current contract is ending.
See Marcus Jones.
Even Verner said his play wasn’t up to snuff last year and would be better this year. He didn’t blame the defensive scheme then.
Besides I’m getting tired of all this talk about the scheme. It has been noted in the past that this scheme allows average CB’s to be good because of the coverage responsibilities.
And Likewise I respect your opinion too, But I don’t know what you’re disagreeing with. Are you saying you would bring him back as an outside corner or a slot corner at 6.5mil? Please be clear. It’s ok to disagree. As opinions go, I could be wrong, I often am . But the facts stated are accurate. Besides, what I think is of no consequence. It’s what the Bucs will do that matters!
The Tampa 2 defense requires that you get pressure with your front 4 ideally with a dominant 3 technique DT. McCoy is not Sapp but he is the most dominant 3 technique DT in the league. He also does not have anywhere close to the supporting cast that Sapp had. I know the Lovie haters want to blame the scheme but I don’t think that they should change the scheme yet. Without the proper pressure from the front 4 the job of the DB’s is almost impossible. There is no doubt that they will be drafting d-line help early in the draft. I hope they give Banks a chance and hold off selecting a DB until later in the draft. I know the Lovie haters will still not be patient but we need to see how this defense looks at the end of next year.
you ever see donald play it is night and day between him and mccoy
It seems that all our DBs have failed to live up to expectations. Could it be that we are void of talent? Perhaps…but I tend to lean more toward the absence of a pass rush. You can’t expect even Revis, Norman, or Sherman to cover all day with no pressure on the QB.
I believe our defense improves with a decent pass rush. If we can find a Simeon Rice in FA or the draft, our defense will be much improved. Once that need is addressed, we can start looking for a shutdown corner (very hard to find)
Macabee, I am ambivalent about Banks’ future here.
I know good corners are hard to find, I just don’t know if he is a good corner. He was our best corner last year but his play has regressed this year in the same defense.
How much did his knee injury affect his play.
I agree with the last two posters though. A pass rush is tantamount to the success of
Until we find a consistent rush, the defense will continue to have problems.
drdneast; No matter who the coach is, we need DE’s. I think we are good enough at the DT spots. I’m going for at least one DE in Free Agency and a DE in either Rounds 1 or 2; to be followed up with another selection in rounds 3 or 4. No question we need two new starting DE’s.
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