Elbert Mack making case as Bucs' third corner
Veteran Ronde Barber and second-year pro Aqib Talib will be the Bucs' starting cornerbacks this fall, and defensive coordinator Jim Bates said another second-year Buc, Elbert Mack, is making a case to be Tampa Bay's third cornerback.
"E-Mack probably has a little bit of a lead right now," Bates said after the team's OTA Wednesday morning. "Torrie Cox has been hurt the last couple of weeks, so that's slowed him down. ... (Mack) has to use what he's given -- he has good quickness, good burst, is tough."
The Bucs need a replacement for veteran Phillip Buchanon, who signed in free agency with Detroit. Mack, who totaled 15 tackles last season in his first year with the Bucs, is listed at 5-foot-10, the same height as Barber, but is the lightest player on the roster at 168 pounds. Bates said his lack of size makes it important that he polish his techniques, especially against bigger receivers.
"He's got to do a good job of adjusting on deep balls. He's got to get up -- these receivers are big, so he has to put that part of the game together," Bates said. "People just throw it up and it'll be a jump ball. It takes practice, getting that timing, running full speed. As long as you're in position and you can sky, then you've got a chance. If you don't, then the big guys are going to take over."
-- Greg Auman, Times staff writer