Chris Conte: Safety in Numbers

Conte's addition means the Bucs are playing it safe at safety.

Conte’s addition means the Bucs are playing it safe at safety.

The Bucs recently inked Conte, a former Cal Golden Bear and third round pick of the Bears in 2011. If you Google his name you’ll find a lot of unflattering comments concerning his allegedly poor play in Chicago. Are those comments valid? Well, first you must consider that the disparaging remarks were made by Bears fans, a group notorious for inbreeding. That said, Conte has certainly not justified his 3rd-round pedigree, and film of the guy reveals that he has struggled mightily at times versus both the pass and the run. But here’s the deal: if you’ve studied Tampa2 defenses for any amount of time you know that young DBs struggle to find their feet within it. Even Buc greats like Kelly and Lynch and Barber experienced considerable growing pains as they adjusted to their responsibilities within the scheme. Simply put, it takes time to be a consistently good DB in the Tampa 2.

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Henry Melton: Impact and Insurance at DT

Melton-Cowboys

The Bucs finally have legit redundancy at the vital 3-tech DT spot.

 

We’re going to take a look at the free agents the Bucs have signed so far this off-season, starting with former Bears and Cowboys DT Henry Melton:

Melton is a former Texas Longhorn and 4th round pick of the Bears in 2009. A college DT, his functional strength, quickness and thick frame led the Bears to move him inside—much like former Sooner and current Buc Gerald McCoy. Melton played very well in Chicago and was an impact player and rising star until he tore his ACL in 2013. He ended up in Dallas last season and many wondered how well he’d recover from his injury. He played well, racking 5 sacks, 15 or so tackles and considerably more havoc than those numbers might imply.

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Goodbye, Great One

Hall of Famer Selmon was a man among men.

I remember seeing him take the field at Tampa Stadium, his big orange jersey brilliant under a merciless sun. His college coach, Barry Switzer, said he was the best player he’d ever seen, and claimed he’d never had a bad game. Expectations were high. That was in the mid-to-late 70s, back when life was ageless and verdant, and back when a hint of the Old South still lingered in the crannies of my small Florida town. The Bucs were to be a ready-made punchline for every comic running low on late-night fodder, but the heralded first-round pick proved a soothing balm on that lingering wound. Sitting high up in the Big Sombrero—resigned to wilting heat and losing ways—I watched an orange-clad titan single-handedly defy his team’s blundering profile with superhuman play.

He was a revelation, a wonder. At the snap he morphed into a whirling orange blur, an unstoppable force who obliterated blockers and mauled hapless passers. Opponents would double-team him on practically every play, but all for naught. They ran at him and he stacked their futile bodies like cord-wood, they ran away from him he closed on their tailbacks like a missile. Given the dearth of talent on those early Buccaneer teams he saw more devoted blockers than any player of his era—or possibly any era—with no noticeable effect, save the dejected faces of opposing coordinators. Scores of NFL coaches, players and analysts attest that he was the best ever at his position. I confess brimming levels of bias, but I certainly agree…

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