Why was Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes benched against the Bears?

Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes (24) returns an interception during a 2017 game against the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes (24) returns an interception during a 2017 game against the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published October 9

The Bucs allowed Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky to throw six touchdown passes in their 48-10 loss Sept. 30 at Chicago.

Nobody played well on defense. But only one starter was actually benched for his performance.

Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes was replaced in the second half by cornerback Ryan Smith.

After the game, head coach Dirk Koetter said it was a "coach's decision," indicating no injury was responsible.

Grimes missed the first two games of the season with a groin injury. Grimes had no passes defensed in starts against the Steelers and Bears. He has 10 tackles, including four in the first half vs. Chicago. But many of those were credited to Grimes when he pushed a receiver out of bounds.

Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke confirmed somebody who out-ranked him made the decision to pull Grimes out of that game.

"That was a coach's decision,'' Hoke said. "You know, we have a chain of command, everybody has their input and we decided to give Ryan Smith an opportunity.''

No player wants to have their effort level questioned. But it's hard not to think that Grimes was benched for that reason, real or imagined.

"Oh, I think as a team we were up and down,'' Hoke said. "We weren't as consistent as we needed to be. The unfortunate thing is, you don't ever want to have people questioning your effort. And it was across the board. It wasn't just him. It just wasn't good as a group is the best way to say it.''

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