Brandon McDonald's rise could be bad news for Myron Lewis
Perhaps you heard the name Brandon McDonald during Sunday’s Bucs game and wondered, “Who?”
It would be understandable. That would be the sixth-year veteran cornerback the Bucs signed Aug. 20 and who was the team’s first cornerback off the bench against the Panthers. He was so new – McDonald was released and re-signed in the past 10 days – that he had the wrong number listed in the press box program.
Yet McDonald’s familiarity with the Bucs’ scheme helped him be ready to step in with E.J. Biggers and Anthony Gaitor injured.
“I’m a veteran, so everything was pretty much the same for me scheme-wise,” said McDonald, adding that he played a similar style in Detroit last season. “The terminology was a little bit different, so I had to get adjusted to that. I’m still not completely adjusted, but I’m coming along well.”
Playing McDonald as their nickelback probably wasn’t ideal, but under the circumstances, it was what the Bucs considered their best option. And that means that McDonald was seen as a better option than third-year corner Myron Lewis.
Where was Lewis? Well, the 2010 third-round pick was a healthy scratch, left inactive on gameday.
Presuming there’s not some issue we don’t know about, that’s a serious indictment and raises questions about the viability of keeping Lewis on the roster once Gaitor and Biggers return.
Lewis had an encouraging performance in training camp, but as the preseason wore on, his play in games wasn’t up to par. Coach Greg Schiano liked his progress but seemed concerned about some technique flaws that Lewis hasn't fixed. Now, if he can’t get on the field ahead of McDonald and undrafted free agent Leonard Johnson – he was the next corner available, though he didn’t play on defense – then Lewis’ roster spot is, at best, in jeopardy.
It’s worth watching this situation, especially with Gaitor hoping to return soon, potentially even this week.