One bright spot for Tampa Bay on Sunday was the play of safety Keith Tandy, who made his first start since 2013 after Chris Conte injured his knee last Thursday.
(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/PR)
Tandy didn’t miss a beat in the first quarter as far as matching Conte’s physicality and fast pursuit. The fourth-year pro made back-to-back tackles on Bears’ speedy receiver Eddie Royal during the opening series, recognizing screen passes and racing from the other side of the field to make the stop behind the line.
“We were just trying to finish the season out strong, finish the year off strong,” Tandy said on Monday, deflecting credit from his own performance. “We weren’t playing for the playoffs but you always have that pride. When you walk out onto the field you want to win the game, and that’s what I was trying to do.”
While Sunday was his first start of the season, Tandy has been used as a utility player for the Bucs and has seen time in 13 games. Along with safety, the West Virginia product has taken snaps at nickel corner, too, playing fairly well for Tampa Bay at both positions.
“I thought Keith came in and did a nice job,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “He started off strong with a big tackle. Keith has been a guy that when you need him at different areas, whether it’s nickel or either one of the safety positions, he’s come in and had pretty good play.”
In 13 games with one start, Tandy has 31 tackles, nine shy of his mark in 2013 during a season in which he played in all 16 games with five starts. His 10 tackles last Sunday were the most he’s had in a game, looking more like a valuable piece to the Bucs defense and special teams in the future.
On Monday Lovie Smith hinted that there could be overhaul in the Bucs secondary next season, but one wonders if Tandy’s versatility – and reasonable salary – is enough reason to keep him in Tampa.
Tandy is in the last year of his rookie contract, and while he claims he doesn’t focus on that and only worries about what’s in his control, he expressed his desire to return and is optimistic for the Bucs future.
“I definitely like what we have going here,” Tandy said. “You can definitely see that we’re turning in the right direction. We have a lot of good pieces, just a couple small things that we’re messing up that causes us to lose games. But I definitely see we’re going in the right direction and I want to be a part of it.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tandy has played well every time I have seen him on the field. Why is this guy not starting? Oh that’s right, he didn’t play for the Bears last year.
My sentiments exactly cgmaster.
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