Brady schools Bucs’ defensive backs

by Gary Shelton on August 26, 2020

in general

Brady can improve the secondary./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

For a group who is supposed to be better, their jobs have gotten harder.

And, as the days grow shorter, the secondary of the Tampa Bay Bucs continues to strive toward being a competitive unit.

The Bucs' secondary, 19th in the NFL last year, faces a precise quarterback in Tom Brady these days. Say what you will about the departed Jameis Winston, but ball protection was never exactly his strong suit. And Brady's care means it's harder for a secondary to show its improvement during these practices.

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Barrett has had a good camp./STEVEN MUNCIE

Still, head coach Bruce Arians is unconcerned.

“No, because they’re going against a different quarterback (Tom Brady) most of the time and he’s putting balls in places that you can’t intercept," Arians said. "You really can’t cover much better than they’re doing. I’m happy with where they’re at. (Parnell) Motley has done a good job catching balls that have been thrown to him. He’s making most of his balls down the field or on overthrown balls. I’m not concerned at all with where our corners are.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles pays Brady an unusual compliment.

?The biggest compliment I can give him is that he throws great incompletions," Bowles said. "Meaning that if his guy doesn’t get the ball, he puts it in a place where you really can’t. He’s really like a pitcher – he can paint the outside part of the plate, he can throw it down and away, he can throw it high and tight. It’s very understated, but it’s very important as a quarterback. That’s probably the biggest compliment I can give him. It’s easy to complete them, but to throw a great incompletion is very hard to do and I think he does that well.”

Bowles praised several members of his defense.

-- On the possible improvement of Vita Vea's pass rush: “I think he just has to use his hands more. We know he’s big and powerful, but he’s also fast and athletic, as well. He’s just got to get his hand placement down, use his hands more and not settle for the first time when he puts his hands on him and then try to bull [rush] him after that. He’s just got to swipe and rip and do all those things that Coach [Kacy] Rodgers is asking him to do. He does that more [and] he’ll be a little more effective.”

-- On the return of defensive end Shaq Barrett: "He came in great shape, number one. So far, he’s having a very good camp. I don’t know what he can do for an encore, but he has to be himself and we’re going to give him some chances to rush the passer along with JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and a lot of other guys up there. Just him drawing attention would help us, but we have to move him around some – we understand that. We know they’re going to be keying on him a lot as well as some of our other guys. We just have to put him in a position to make more plays and I think he’ll be able to do that.”

-- On the improvement of Devin White “I think it’s the maturity in the defense, as well as leadership. I think he’s a natural leader, guys gravitate to him. He’s the first one up to bring everybody into the huddle and his command of the defense this year coming back in has had a lot of recall. I think that will make him play faster.”

-- On defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches: “Right now, in a week and a half, he’s been the most improved player. I think he’s changed his upper body – he looks more stout and he looks quicker. He’s more explosive, he looks more powerful right now and he’s adapted to the scheme and understanding things well. He’s taking advantage of the situation – he’s always the first one out stretching, he’s always the loudest one in practice on the field. He gets the other guys going [and] he’s been a joy to be around. He’s been great – I can’t say enough good things about him.”

The Bucs are scheduled to open their season Sept. 13 against the Saints in New Orleans. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:25 p.m.

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