The Buccaneers hung much of their hopes on an improved defense as they headed into the 2016 season. Faces were changed in the front and along the back of the defense in the hopes of stepping things up from 2015. For the most part, they were rewarded with a 9-7 record.
When is a winning record not a positive?
The pass defense did not improve as much in the overall, ranked 22nd in the league giving up 250.8 yards per game. But, one Buc did receive some individual recognition.
Is everyone familiar with “next-gen” stats? Remember during the games, we would see the broadcasters attach a line to a quarterback, for example, to illustrate how many yards he actually traveled on a scramble? Another example is when they would show how fast a wide receiver ran in miles per hour. Those are just some of the uses of the “next-gen” stats.
Well, the system was used to create a list of the top ten number one cornerbacks in the league for 2016. Xavier Rhodes topped the list, but coming in at number five was our own Brent Grimes. Here is what Matt Harmon had to say about him:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Grimes’ former Falcons head coach Mike Smith installed as defensive coordinator, signed the veteran corner to a two-year deal with just $7 million in guarantees during the free agency period. It turned out to be one of the best bargains of the offseason. Opposing quarterbacks targeted Grimes 73 times in coverage, but he allowed just 47.9 percent of those to be completed, fifth-lowest among No. 1 corners. Grimes allowed four touchdowns but also registered four interceptions, including one pick-six. A revival year by Grimes was a welcome sign for the Bucs, as their first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves struggled on the other side. Another strong season by the veteran corner would be crucial for a defense that finished the 2016 season on a high note.
It wasn’t perfect for Grimes, but he did show a lot in leading the revamped Bucs secondary. A strong performance in 2017 will be crucial in year two of the Dirk Koetter era.