The veteran safety drew even with Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder) for second on the team in tackles behind the prolific linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. Conte is expected to once again play a key coverage role this season while also providing valuable support against the run from the secondary. The 29-year-old particularly did a good job in the latter function last season, compiling 77 stops and forcing three fumbles over 16 games.
Conte intercepted a pass intended for DeSean Jackson in Thursday's "mock game" and recorded a pick during Wednesday's practice as well, Carmen Vitali of the team's official site reports.
The veteran safety saw his team option exercised after the 2017 season, despite the secondary's overall struggles. He's opened camp in good form, and he still slots in as the starting strong safety as preseason approaches. However, Justin Evans (ankle), a 2017 second-round pick who posted 66 tackles, six passes defensed and three interceptions in his rookie year, figures to push Conte throughout the remainder of the summer.
Conte started 14 of 16 games during the 2017 season but was also one of the main culprits in Tampa Bay having allowed the fourth-most yards per pass attempt. With 2017 second-rounder Justin Evans on the rise coupled with the non-zero chance Tampa Bay adds more talent to its stable of safeties this offseason, Conte could be in store for a decreased role in 2018.
Conte totaled 77 tackles (62 solo), three forced fumbles, one interception and eight passes defensed over 16 games in the 2017 season.
The veteran safety's tackle total was the third-highest of his career, while the trio of forced fumbles was a personal best. Conte extended a career-long streak of notching at least one interception a season to seven campaigns as well, but he was also a pivotal part of a Buccaneers secondary that surrendered the most total passing yards (4,169) and yards per game (261) in 2017. On the books for a reasonable $2.25 million in 2018, Conte is a likely candidate to return, although the emergence of 2017 second-round pick Justin Evans and the likelihood that the team looks to upgrade the position overall in both free agency and the draft could certainly leave Conte with an uphill battle for playing time.
Conte posted nine tackles (eight solo) and a pass defensed in Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Panthers.
The veteran safety enjoyed a productive outing from an IDP standpoint for the third consecutive week, with his tackle total equaling a season high. Conte has posted between six and nine stops in his last three contests, his best multigame stretch of the campaign. His hold on the starting strong safety job makes him an appealing fantasy option in Week 17 against a Saints team that places a lot more emphasis on the run than in previous seasons.
|4||9/30/18||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 5|
|6||10/14/18||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|9||11/4/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|11||11/18/18||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|15||12/16/18||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ DAL||1:00 pm|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||79||59.0||20||0||2||-4||-2.0||-2||0||6|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||69||59.0||10||0||2||73||36.5||53||1||5|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||77||62.0||15||0||1||0||0.0||0||0||8|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||14||10.0||4||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||0||0||0||0||1||10||1||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|