Friday, September 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs rookie Carlton Davis got picked on and apart by Drew Brees

TAMPA — The way Bucs rookie cornerback Carlton Davis figures it, nobody can make him look worse than Drew Brees.

The Saints quarterback has been leaving charred marks on defensive backs for 18 seasons and will one day be fitted for a gold Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket.

So it was no surprise that after being pressed into a starting role in his first NFL game due to an injury to Brent Grimes, Davis was picked on and apart in Sunday's 48-40 win over New Orleans.

Toasted, baked, fried, burned — whatever embarrassing culinary description you want to use is probably appropriate for what Brees did to Davis and the rest of the Bucs secondary by throwing for 439 yards and three touchdowns.

That included a 28-yard dime to receiver Ted Ginn, Jr., in the end zone with Davis biting on an out-and-up route.

"It was a learning lesson going against a Hall of Fame quarterback,'' Davis said. "You know, it's part of the game, though. We play in a tough division where there's a lot of good quarterbacks, so it's something that I'll be seeing often and I think it's kind of good that I got to see it early because it kind of established, you know, whoever I'm going to be playing against. It gave me a good wake up call. I think it was good for me.''

Davis was taken out of the game for a stretch. He finished with four tackles, no passes defensed and a better understanding of what the regular season is about.

"It was definitely the speed and the intensity,'' Davis said. "It was way more intense than preseason and you kind of feel when you're on the field, the urgency is way up.

"You know, with a win it's a lot better. But you know, I know I've got to play better, especially being in this division and if I want to accomplish my goals, I've got to get better and learn every day.''

Davis and fellow rookie cornerback M.J. Stewart will have to be quick studies because it appears they both may have even bigger roles Sunday against the Eagles.

Grimes was left home in Tampa last week due to a groin injury. The Bucs other starting cornerback, Vernon Hargreaves, injured his shoulder Sunday. That leaves third year cornerback Ryan Smith and either Davis or Stewart to start Sunday Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and the Eagles.

"If you're a rookie cornerback and your first NFL game is in the Superdome against a Hall of Fame quarterback, I would say that they did about how most rookie cornerbacks would do in that same situation,'' coach Dirk Koetter said of Davis and Stewart. "I thought they both got better as the game went on and I think they both learned some lessons that will carry with them as we move forward."

The first regular season game is often a shock to the system for rookie players. The pace and precision is dialed up more in the regular season and teams are bringing their best game plan to attack any weakness on defense.

Davis said he leaned on the advice of Hargreaves, who was in a similar position as a rookie two years ago. "He's a huge help for me, I'm really happy to have him on my side,'' Davis said. "Having been in that situation, he knows what to do so he gives me a whole bunch of tips.

"He told me that alignment would be a lot different, but as a rookie, you don't want to think too much about things. So the main thing was just relax and play. Just move onto the next one. You're a rookie so you're going to make mistakes. There's things you haven't seen before or people you haven't played against like Drew Brees so you've got to have a next man mentality and you'll give good effort.''

The silver lining is that Davis had all these bad experiences, made his mistakes and the Bucs still won the football game. He'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the Saints.

"You know, going up against (Brees) the first game, I kind of established like, okay, it can get bad, you got to prepare for the worst every game. I'm going to be preparing like I'm playing Drew Brees every game. It was kind of a good thing for me and a good lesson.''

Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] Follow @NFLStroud

Comments
Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

TAMPA — For the first time in seven weeks, Vita Vea played football Thursday.At least it looked like the rookie defensive tackle was playing football when he walked to the Bucs' practice field wearing a helmet and full pads and took a three-poi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tell us: What are you doing to celebrate FitzMagic?

Tell us: What are you doing to celebrate FitzMagic?

Have you fallen under the spell of FitzMagic?Are you growing a beard? Naming your dogs (or your kids) after Ryan Fitzpatrick? We want to hear from you.Let us know what you're doing to celebrate the hottest player in the NFL — Tampa Bay's own Ry...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When might Jameis Winston return under center?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When might Jameis Winston return under center?

Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud on today's podcast to discuss if and when Jameis Winston might regain his job as starting quarterback of the Bucs.Plus, they talk about what Tony Dungy, who is set to be inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor, has met ...
Published: 09/20/18
Jameis Winston’s Uber ride will never be forgotten, and shouldn’t

Jameis Winston’s Uber ride will never be forgotten, and shouldn’t

Just when you thought it was fun to be a Bucs fan again. Just when you were blissfully under the spell of FitzMagic. Just when the Bucs were becoming the cool kids in the NFL with the latest greatest show on turf.Just as the good times have arrived, ...
Published: 09/19/18
Buccaneers-Eagles All-22: Why Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fitzmagic could be real

Buccaneers-Eagles All-22: Why Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fitzmagic could be real

It’s just a mirage.At any moment now, Ryan Fitzpatrick will come crashing back to Earth. He’ll go back to being the Fitzpatrick of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Quarterbacks don’t t...
Published: 09/19/18
Bucs’ Ryan Fitzpatrick is NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week. Again.

Bucs’ Ryan Fitzpatrick is NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week. Again.

It's Ryan Fitzpatrick's world, and the NFL is just living in it.For the second straight week, the Bucs quarterback was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week.Fitzpatrick becomes the first Bucs player to ever to win that award in back-to-back we...
Published: 09/19/18
Derrick Brooks among Hall of Famers backing away from letter demanding benefits

Derrick Brooks among Hall of Famers backing away from letter demanding benefits

Add Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks to the list of players who have publicly disavowed specific demands and threats in a letter published Tuesday listing 21 NFL greats demanding health insurance and pension for all members.The letter threatens a boyco...
Published: 09/19/18
Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

  TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was sued Tuesday by the Arizona Uber driver who has accused him of sexual assault by groping her in March 2016. The woman — identified only as Kate P. in the federal court papers — is seek...
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18
Bucs announce social justice initiative

Bucs announce social justice initiative

TAMPA — Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson stepped out of his cleats and walked in the shoes of a Tampa police officer during a simulation training session Tuesday that was eye-opening."I was a police officer doing a regular (traffic) stop and I got ...
Published: 09/18/18
Lightning’s Alex Killion on his FitzMagic look: ‘None of us’ has his flair

Lightning’s Alex Killion on his FitzMagic look: ‘None of us’ has his flair

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did follow...
Published: 09/18/18