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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' nickel cornerback job a battle to watch



The Bucs don't have many position battles during this training camp, but one position to watch is the nickel corner spot.

That's where third-year veteran E.J. Biggers and second-year man Myron Lewis will fight it out for the right to be the team's third cornerback. The Bucs, like many teams, use the nickel package extensively, with an extra defensive back replacing an outside linebacker in passing situations.

Biggers is probably a bit ahead of Lewis, but Lewis closed the gap with his strong performance late last season. While Biggers took over as a starter when left cornerback Aqib Talib was lost to a hip injury, Lewis became the nickel back and was impressive. With the pads coming on for the first time in today's late practice, coach Raheem Morris will start to pay particular attention to positions where there's competition.

"In the secondary, we’re pretty clear-cut, but we do have Biggers and Myron Lewis," Morris said. "They’re battling. Biggers had a great season but Myron Lewis really came on at the end played well for us down the stretch.

"It’s really (about) trying to define (Lewis') role: How much do we play dime? How much do we play nickel and does he factor in? Who’s he covering? Is he going to be a guy who follows somebody? All those things are really intriguing to me."

Biggers, a 2009 seventh-round pick, has shown himself to be a reliable tackler, finishing eighth on the defense last season with 53 total tackles. But the team has a third-round pick invested in Lewis, meaning he'll get a legitimate shot, too.

It's just one of the several positions to keep an eye on as training camp rolls on.

[Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 2:12pm]


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