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Arians: Buccaneers Will Look to Desir, Robinson at Cornerback

The Buccaneers appear content with their options at cornerback.

Richard Sherman remains an option for the Buccaneers given his free-agent status. But if you speak to Bruce Arians about the Bucs cornerback situation, he appears content with their options currently in-house.

The loss to Los Angeles marked the third week in a row that Tampa Bay saw a starting cornerback get injured, that being Jamel Dean who left the game with a hurt knee. Dean was in-and-out of the Week 2 game against Atlanta, alongside Carlton Davis III at one point, while nickel corner Sean Murphy-Bunting went on injured reserve with a dislocated elbow after Week 1.

These injuries provoked the Buccaneers to reach out to Sherman and gauge the cornerback's interest in potentially signing with the team. However, since that report emerged, Arians has vocalized that he's simply going to coach the players he has and not worry about others.

That mindset prompted Arians, asked about Sherman and outside help at cornerback once again after the Rams loss, to prop up two cornerbacks who recently signed with Tampa Bay's practice squad.

"We brought a couple of guys in [over] the last couple weeks that have experience, are long and tall corners," Arians said, referring to Rashard Robinson and Pierre Desir. "They both can play man-to-man and are good corners. So, we'll see what we're going to do."

If the Buccaneers' plan opposite from Davis solely includes Robinson and Desir, in the event that Dean's injury keeps him out of games moving forward, the position could be in trouble.

Since entering the league in 2016, Robinson has spent time with three different teams prior to joining Tampa Bay and did not play during the 2019 season as he suffered the consequences of suspension. 

When he has played throughout his career, Robinson's coverage numbers haven't been terrible: He's intercepted two passes, broken up 15, and allowed a completion percentage in coverage of 56.5, per Pro Football Focus. However, he has a knack for allowing scores, giving up ten touchdowns in 32 games where he took the field defensively - far from ideal.

Desir is a journeyman as well, making stops in Cleveland, San Diego, Seattle (twice), Indianapolis, New York (Jets), and Baltimore before joining the Bucs. He's certainly experienced having made 44 starts and 73 appearances, recording 259 tackles, eight interceptions, and 42 pass breakups in that span. However, his completion percentage allowed stands at 63.4, per PFF, and he's allowed a troubling 14 yards per catch to this point in his career.

Whether Dean's injury is serious or not, the Buccaneers clearly need help at cornerback. Tampa Bay ranks 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game allowed (before No. 32 Dallas and No. 4 Philadelphia play on Monday night), and the team's depth has been shaky through three games - Ross Cockrell has allowed 71.4% of his targets in coverage to be caught; Dee Delaney allowed all four of his targets to be caught for 53 yards against the Rams on Sunday.

Signing Sherman seems like an obvious move for Tampa Bay to make, particularly after the team created cap room late last week by restructuring guard Ali Marpet's contract. We'll see if Arians ends up feeling the same way, but as things stand, he appears content with who he's got. 

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