By the end of this month, cornerback could become a position of serious need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Veteran CB Aqib Talib will be heading to trial on June 25 and rookie head coach Greg Schiano tells reporters he’s “concerned”. This week, the PewterReport.com reported that free agent acquisition CB Eric Wright suffered a non-football related injury but Schiano refused to get into the details of the injury.
The problems surrounding Talib stem from an incident in Texas last spring when reports suggest Talib brandished a firearm in an altercation. If Talib is found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison. Even if he is found not guilty in his court case, the NFL could issue a suspension for Talib. The league has already handed down a suspension for Talib as a result of an altercation he had with a Tampa area taxi driver.
Schiano told reporters on Thursday that Talib has been very focused since the coach has been with the team, stating that the veteran corner has done everything asked by the Buccaneers coaching staff. The head coach said that the team has a plan in place if the club will be without Talib in 2012 but refused to reveal the exact details of what the plan is.
There is always the possibility of moving veteran Ronde Barber into the starting cornerback position. Barber was switched to safety this offseason and showed last season that his age is starting to catch up with him. The options after moving Barber back to his traditional position become more questionable. E.J Biggars has shown flashes of talent but is susceptible to the big play. Third-year CB Myron Lewis has struggled to get on the field after a string on injuries. Anthony Gaitor is entering his second season and rarely found his way on to the field last season. Keith Tandy is a rookie.
Tampa Bay will face some of the top quarterbacks in the league this season. The Buccaneers will see Cam Newton, Eli Manning and Tony Romo in the first three weeks of the season.
Tampa will now have six weeks to evaluate the situation in their defensive backfield and will be awaiting the outcome of Talib’s trial later this month.There a very few experienced veteran corners remaining on the free agent market. Dallas Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins could have been a possibility for Tampa but it was discovered this week that he has suffered a shoulder injury and according to multiple reports, he will likely start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.