As the Aqib Talib situation continues to rear its ugly head, the Buccaneers are preparing for life without their star cornerback. Well, at least three of their defensive backs are, and all at the same place and time for that matter.
Buccaneer cornerbacks Myron Lewis, EJ Biggers, and 7th-round draft pick Anthony Gaitor are working out together in South Florida, according to Lewis. Lewis responded on Twitter to my inquiry about working out by stating that he’s “in South Florida working out with them.”
The Bucs already are one of the youngest teams in the league, so the argument is there that being away from training facility, film room, and coaches could hit them harder. Thus, it’s doubly important not just to stay in shape, but find other ways of digesting the playbooks/schemes and getting prepared for the season.
For a group of young players (Lewis is entering his second season, Biggers his third, and Gaitor his first), it’s vital to be able to share time together and push each other, and their backgrounds in South Florida conveniently allow them to do so. Lewis hails from Pompano Beach, and Biggers and Gaitor from Miami. Biggers and Lewis are prime candidates to replace Talib should he be suspended, with the other most likely to claim the nickel CB spot. Gaitor should obviously benefit from being around two guys who know the playbook well and can help him get familiar with the Bucs’ basic defensive sets and schemes.
Talib was indicted on May 27th for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which means the matter will most likely proceed to trial unless a plea agreement is worked out. Although Talib’s attorneys have maintained his innocence, we know that Roger Goodell does not require a finding of guilt to levy a punishment, or even a formal charge as we saw with Ben Roethlisberger. Thus, it’s a distinct possibility the Bucs will be without their shutdown cornerback for a substantial amount of time if and when the NFL season begins this fall, if they even choose to hang onto him once the lockout is lifted.
However, in keeping with Coach Raheem Morris’ “next man up” mentality, Lewis, Biggers, and Gaitor are keeping themselves ready to be called. Heck, just ask any one of them…once they get done on the practice field together.
Craig Smith is the Buccaneer Insider for ESPN 1040 Tampa Bay. Follow him on Twitter @CraigInTampa or email: email@example.com.