TAMPA — While we are still left in suspense on whether or not the Bucs will be without Aqib Talib for a portion of the season, the Bucs are already throwing together their worst case scenario package.
While Talib and Tennessee Titans wideout Kenny Britt meet with Roger Goodell, Raheem Morris and the Bucs are getting ready for the Detroit Lions with a defense that has E.J. Biggers, or someone to the effect, in place of Talib. Morris isn’t letting the Talib distraction be one that hinders the Bucs preperation.
“It is like an injury for me,” Morris said. “It’s next man up. I don’t even look at it that way. Next guy out of the box. It’s the reason you practice, the reason you practice for depth. Reason Mark Dominik drafts and steals corners from people. You know we prepare for anything. We want to be the deepest team in the league. The youngest team in the league. Hungry –go out and play –next man up theory.”
Morris still stops short of announcing who would be the one to fill Talib’s shoes despite the fact many view E.J. as the most talented of the Bucs secondary corners. According to Morris, the job is still wide open as guys like Elbert Mack, D.J. Johnson and rookie Anthony Gaitor are impressing the staff in practices and in preseason games.
Biggers is the popular choice among fans as he stepped in for Talib when he missed the last five games of last season with an injury. The fact the Bucs went 4-1 in that span where Biggers was the starter. The gaping hole in Biggers time as a starter was when Detroit Lions pro Bowl receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson blew Biggers up for 10 catches and 152 yards. Had Biggers been able to contain the Motor City Kittie’s superstar, the Bucs might have won the 23-20 game.
Should Bigger be the starter week one, his matchup will be with Megatron again.
However massive the attack coming at him is, Bigger maintains that he isn’t going to shy away from big names and top tier talent, just because no one outside of Tampa knows who he is.
“Just being on the grass and being out there playing with some of the best receivers in the NFL with some of the greatest of all time, competing and getting better [was great],” Biggers said. “Just learning from your mistakes in the offseason and watching film of some of the things I did last year with concept routes and learning and being more patient. The first year going out there, everything is kind of moving fast. Now things have slowed down a bit and you kind of see things a little different.”
He also realizes that just because he filled in for Talib last year, doesn’t by any means give him the job unchallenged.
“Whatever the coaches decide, everybody is going to be ready whoever it is,” Biggers said. “I’m just trying to do anything I can to help this team in anyway they need me. The coach has the utmost confident in me; the players, the staff, the general manager, the entire organization has the utmost confidence in me. That just makes it that much easier when I go out there and play each Sunday.”