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Buc secondary deserves props

Posted Apr 26, 2011 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Apr 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM

By IRA KAUFMAN

TAMPA—- The play of Tampa Bay’s secondary becomes more impressive each time you delve into the 2010 season.

The Bucs defensive backfield faced some serious obstacles during a 10-6 finish that almost resulted in the club’s first playoff spot since the 2007 season.

Tampa Bay opponents averaged 4.7 yards per rush, creating favorable down and distance situations and keeping the Buc defense on edge. The pass rush was erratic all season as the Bucs finished with only 26 sacks and failed to apply consistent heat, despite blitzing extensively, according to head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Cornerback Aqib Talib, an emerging standout, was suspended for the season opener and missed the final four games due to a hip injury.

Despite all the challenges, the Bucs yielded an average of only 19.9 points per game. The eight teams that were stingier—the Steelers, Packers, Ravens, Bears, Falcons, Jets, Saints and Patriots—all qualified for the postseason while Tampa Bay was denied an NFC wild-card berth by virtue of a tie-breaker.

In the five games Talib didn’t dress, the Bucs picked off only three passes. In 11 games with Talib shadowing the opposition’s best receiver, Tampa Bay registered 16 interceptions.