Bucs trying different combinations in secondary after loss to Saints

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had appeared to be settled in the secondary after multiple changes earlier in the season. Sterling Moore and Jude Adjei-Barimah were the corners and Bradley McDougald and Chris Conte the safeties, with Alterraun Verner at nickel. That combination started six games for Tampa Bay.

Now, after a lackluster performance against the New Orleans Saints, it appears the team is switching it up again. Verner has moved back to the mix at corner, while Keith Tandy looks to be the man at nickel. Mike Jenkins also practiced at nickel Tuesday.

Also, Major Wright and Conte took first-team reps at safety as Tampa Bay continues to look for guys to make plays in the secondary.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said the secondary had its ups and downs Sunday.

"We didn't play as well as we would like across the board," Frazier said. "It was just a tough day all the way around.

"We're just trying to look at different combinations and just trying to see what group works best together, even at this point in the year," Frazier said. "[It's] another chance to look at some guys at this stage of the year."

Based on the unit's play against New Orleans, change wouldn't be a surprise. Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 31 of 41 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Tampa Bay had five pass breakups during the game, two by Wright, one by Tandy and two by linebacker Lavonte David.

During the first four weeks of the season, Tampa Bay had at least one change in the secondary each week because of injury or ineffective play. The club changed lineup two more times before settling in with Moore, Adjei-Barimah, Conte, McDougald and Verner.

It could change again. Tampa Bay has the 20th passing defense in the league.

Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said not to read too much into who was practicing where during the Buccaneers' limited media viewing.

"We don't talk about where guys play during practice, as you probably know, or should know," Smith said. "We have some players out there. We'll kind of mix them in and see where we'll go. We like to keep some of those things on where guys line up in our private practice, private."