Former Buccaneers player doesn't think Tampa Bay will miss Carlton Davis

A former Buccaneers player made it very clear he doesn't think Tampa Bay's defense will miss Carlton Davis.
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

After things didn't work out with Cameron Sutton last season (on the field), the Detroit Lions are hoping Carlton Davis will be the No. 1, lockdown cornerback they need. For his part, Davis is confidence he can be exactly that in a defensive scheme that should allow to him to play a lot more man coverage.

A knock on Davis as he comes to the Lions is consistent availability. He played at least 10 but never more than 14 games in his six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In general, his level of play fell off last year.

Ian Beckles played guard in the NFL for nine seasons (1990-1998), with two years after that where he did not suit up for the New York Jets (1999) and Denver Broncos (2000). The first seven of those seasons were with the Buccaneers. He worked in Tampa sports radio after his career was over, and he now has a podcast called "In The Trenches."

On a recent episode, Beckles weighed in on what Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht did in free agency.

Former Buccaneer rips Lions cornerback Carlton Davis

Beckles had plenty to say about Davis.

"Carlton Davis wasn’t good last year,” Beckles said. “Carlton Davis was on the bad end of a lot of very big offensive plays. The one that comes to mind was Scotty Miller catching a bomb on him. I think Scotty Miller caught two balls last year. And one of them was on Carlton Davis deep against Atlanta.”

"I didn’t think Carlton Davis had a very good year,” Beckles continued. “So Carlton Davis was traded to the Lions. You are also getting rid of a lot of cap space. A lot of cap money. When you bring in a Carlton Davis, are we better with Carlton Davis? I’m not sure. Because there were times last year when Carlton Davis was out and the Buccaneers played better defensively. They did. I saw it.”

Let's see if numbers back up Beckles' assertion that the Buccaneers' defense was better without Davis last season. More specifically, points and passing yards allowed in the five games he missed (he played just 10 snaps in another game).

Week 2 vs. Chicago Bears: 17 points allowed; 169 passing yards allowed
Week 3 vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 25 points allowed, 271 passing yards allowed
Week 10 vs. Tennessee Titans: 6 points allowed, 167 passing yards allowed
Week 15 at Green Bay Packers: 20 points allowed, 261 passing yards allowed
Week 17 vs. New Orleans Saints: 23 points allowed, 202 passing yards allowed

Tampa Bay had the 29th-ranked pass defense in the league last year (248.9 yards allowed per game), and they were seventh in scoring defense (19.1 points allowed per game). Based on the five games he missed, and the one he played very little in, Davis was not really a difference maker overall-positively or negatively, over a large enough sample to be meaningful.

Davis carried a $14.35 million cap hit for this year when he was acquired, on the final year of his contract. The Lions have since restructured that to free up cap space. So the Buccaneers did get rid of some cap money, but to call it "a lot" like Beckles did is a stretch.

Time will tell if Davis performs like the Lions hope he will, and he backs up what he said about being a lockdown corner. But Beckles ripping him this way just comes off as odd. If it was a former teammate of Davis' in Tampa Bay coming out with criticism of him, it would be a lot more meaningful.


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