I wrote the other day about Jacquies Smith having a good game against Cleveland this past Sunday. That was encouraging because the Bucs have struggled to develop a decent defensive line this year. The Bucs should be in evaluation mode from here on out. Sure you want to win games but the team needs to find out who can play and who can't. Another player who stood out on Sunday was cornerback Johnthan Banks.
Banks had an interception against Cleveland and played maybe his best game as a Buc. He also had two passes defended. As Lovie Smith said at his press conference on Monday, Banks is playing some really good football as of late.
"It’s not only the interception – which was a great play – but I think there was about three third-down plays he made by himself. He tackled well. Just good overall play by him, which we needed to see that from him," Smith said. "Cornerbacks, it’s always, ‘What have you done lately?’ We know who’s coming back into town this week. So yes, it was good to see that and we need him to continue to play like that.”
Banks had a decent first year but that wasn't good enough for the organization. Mike Jenkins was signed in the offseason to start opposite Alterraun Verner. Had he not gotten injured in game one he probably would still be the starter. Nonetheless, Banks has taken advantage of the opportunity and has started to play well. The confidence is starting to grow for the second year corner.
"I’m still learning and growing and I’m getting better each week," Banks said. "I’m getting more confident in going out there and doing my job, not just doing my job, but trying to make plays on the ball.”
There hasn't been many bright spots for the Bucs this year. Many changes will have to be made in the offseason for this team to improve. If Banks keeps improving at cornerback, that might be a position the Bucs won't have to address.
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