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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Geno Hayes talks to Broncos while Bucs LBs still in flux



Bucs free-agent linebacker Geno Hayes is headed to Denver for a visit with the Broncos according to, a development that won't necessarily leave Bucs fans distressed.

It was long thought that Hayes would be allowed to walk away this offseason, the Bucs underwhelmed by his performance last season when he proved consistently inconsistent.

But what is a concern among the fan base is the ultimate plan at linebacker. The Bucs, right now, do not have a starting weak-side linebacker, creating uncertainty at a position that is key to the defense's success. They have put plans to move middle linebacker Mason Foster to the middle on hold, general manager Mark Dominik saying this week that coaches are considering leaving him there.

All of which means the Bucs will have to address the all-important weak side position (unless they sign a middle linebacker and move Foster by default). The only player currently on the roster with legitimate pro experience on the weak side is special-teams ace Adam Hayward. He is capable of playing all three linebacker spots, but the Bucs have not considered him starting caliber in the past and probably do not now.

Obviously, the Bucs' front office knows all of this and has a plan of some kind, even if it doesn't appear that way right now. Those plans could involve next month's draft or a free-agent move that is yet to come (Falcons free agent MLB Curtis Lofton?).

But this much we know for certain: The Bucs can't leave the position unaddressed, especially given the disappointing level of play at linebacker in 2011.

[Last modified: Friday, March 16, 2012 5:22pm]


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