Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone has more trust in Mike Edwards, but team plans competition

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Safety Mike Edwards showed a knack for coming up with the ball last season as he recorded four interceptions between the regular season and playoffs last year and he took a pair of them back for touchdowns, but that didn’t stop the Bucs from addressing the position in free agency.

With Jordan Whitehead leaving for a contract with the Jets, the Bucs brought in Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal to go with Edwards and Antoine Winfield at safety. Safeties coach Nick Rapone said on Tuesday that the team is planning to have a competition and outlined what Edwards needs to do to come out on top.

“I trust Mike more now,” Rapone said, via PewterReport.com. “If you look at it, Mike’s had five interceptions in the last two years, probably playing a fourth of the reps a starter would get. I trust Mike more now. Each safety has some certain areas he has to improve on. . . . With Michael, it’s going to consistently be being able to make that open-field tackle. He improved last year, he made more tackles in the open field than he had the year earlier. Ball-wise, Mike can play the football, so Mike just has to keep maturing and it’s going to be a great challenge for him.”

Neal played linebacker with the Cowboys last year and Ryan played cornerback for many years, so there will be ways for the Bucs to get creative about how they use their safeties regardless of who is on the field for the first snap.

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