Talent A Premium On Defensive Line

No one will say that the Tampa Bay defense isn't filled with playmakers. But what's even more impressive than the big plays is the consistency in which the defensive line displays no matter who is playing. Depth is an incredible asset that defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has to work with. The comfort level of a starter to come out when they are tired is due to the fact they also have confidence that their back-ups won't be exploited.

In the fourth quarter, the Bucs outscored their opposition 121-41. There is anything but a letdown as the game progresses in terms of production. Backup defensive linemen Greg Spires chipped in with three sacks throughout the season. Ellis Wyms recorded four and Chartric Darby added two. Combined, these three were also responsible for almost 100 tackles while forcing four fumbles. It's one thing to have the utmost confidence in your starters. It's another thing entirely for the coaching staff to know there isn't a significant drop in performance and intensity when they take the field. Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland are excellent at clogging up holes and taking on double teams. Simeon Rice was second in the NFL in sacks with 15½ while Greg Spires provides better than average run support while still making a name for himself.

Now added to the mix is Dewayne White, a second round draft pick with excellent speed. His upside is huge and he fits into the Bucs defense nicely with his speed. The Buccaneers were tied for first in the league with a +17 turnover ratio. Expect another year of the same. Accepting your role as a backup doesn't mean that the player doesn't want to be a starter. It simply means your "role" is to not only to play when a player is hurt or tired, but also to excel and make the most of your opportunities when they are presented to you. The Buccaneers have exceptional players with a hunger to excel and help their team as role players. Monte Kiffin knows how to put his playmakers in positions to capitalize on mistakes in game situations so expect nothing but the same from his defense in the upcoming campaign.

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