Bucs' Alterraun Verner on diminished role: Have to trust coaches' decision

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner has seen his playing time decrease the past two weeks, but he's prepared to do what's best for his team's greater good.

"It's the coaches' decision," Verner said Thursday. "The coaches decided to go a different route in that way. As a competitor, everybody wants to be out there. You want to help the team out as much as we can. But we've got to trust in the coaches, and we do [trust them] to put the best people out there that are going to help the team win."

Verner's decline in time on the field has become a development to follow with the Bucs' defense. On Sunday, Verner played just 29 of the Bucs' 93 defensive snaps during a loss to the Houston Texans. Tim Jennings, Verner's replacement as a starter that day, played 85 snaps.

Verner, signed as a free agent in 2014, started all 14 games in which he played last year, and he started the first two games this season.

Jennings' arrival, however, has presented competition for Verner. The Bucs signed Jennings, a two-time Pro Bowl player, on Sept. 7. Verner played 43 of the Bucs' 59 defensive snaps in Week 1, but he saw just 36 of 78 snaps in Week 2. Jennings played 30 snaps in Week 1 and 53 snaps in Week 2.

"You have to go with your best option as a coaching staff -- the best option we can get to do whatever we want to do that game," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "And that changes. Of course, that can change through the course of a game, and you have to accept that role."

Verner has done so, though he remains motivated. He said coverage issues and a lack of takeaways contributed to Jennings taking the starting role from him.

"Obviously, they've been disappointed in [me] not being able to do certain things here and there, but there's not really been too much of a discussion," Verner said, referring to the coaching staff. "It's more of it just kind of happening. I'm doing what's been told.

"I'm always motivated, regardless of the situation. I always feel like there's something I can work on, something to improve on. So this happening isn't making it more heightened or anything like that. No, I'm still working every day, just like I was in the beginning."