Under Attack

Nate Webster throws his hat in the mix in the "who wants to be a starter" sweepstakes. Webster is no stranger to bucs coaches or fans, especially those who wished they could play Quarles more often. Now their wish has been granted. There must be a reason for the old saying, "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it."

The Buccaneers have been weakened by the injuries incurred by Rickey Dudley and Shelton Quarles. The defensive line had practice picking up the slack when the now healthy Warren Sapp was out with his sore knee. The tight ends, where the Buccaneers are still solid, got help in there struggle with injuries when the Bucs signed Tony McGee. The linebackers have the kind of depth that has Dwayne Rudd sitting the bench, so they can take it.

The Bucs have the depth to survive this injury attack, but not for much longer. Injury has struck in areas where the Bucs can endure them, but other areas are not as loaded. The offensive line must stay injury free for the Bucs to win football games. The rest of the team, Brad Johnson aside, can take a hit or two before the team starts to decline.

It is nearly impossible to be bitten by injury and win it all, much less repeat. Anthony McFarland went down last season, but the Bucs had the personnel to cover it. Brad Johnson was hurt, but he was back in time to make the championship run. The last two defending champs had their repeat hopes dashed by injury. The Ravens were without Ray Lewis when they made a run at their second title in a row, and ended up missing the playoffs. The Patriots started strong but disappeared when they lost any sense of a running game when Antowain Smith went down in their title defense.

It has become the trend to blame injury for dashing repeat dreams, in Baltimore's cases it is a reason not an excuse. It would be disappointing to see the Bucs' season hampered by injury; but the fact remains, its football and people get hurt. When a team goes out and consciously tries to avoid being hurt they hesitate and end up getting hurt. It is a dangerous time now and the Bucs have to stay full tilt and keep their fingers crossed to avoid any more injuries.

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