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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Linebacker Geno Hayes back to the Bucs' starting lineup



Bucs linebacker Geno Hayes has spent most of the past two games anchored to the bench, replaced in the starting lineup by backup Adam Hayward.

But coach Raheem Morris, having determined that Hayes has sufficiently gotten his coach’s message about playing within the scheme and making impactful plays, sees fit to return Hayes to the starting lineup this Sunday.

Hayes said today he expects to be back as the starter on the weak side at Lambeau Field on Sunday, saying that Morris’ decision to bench him had its intended effect.

“It did open my eyes,” Hayes said. “I have to raise my play to help this team win. I feel great. I’m happy to be back and I’m ready to start playing again.”

Still, this move does not suggest that all is well at the linebacker position. Tampa Bay is sorely lacking the kind of splash plays from the position that have become synonymous with Buccaneer linebackers.

Hayes wants to be a part of the solution and thinks he and his linebacking mates have what it takes.

“I saw what (Morris) was trying to pull out of me and it let me see what was going on,” Hayes said. “I have to take advantage of it. I have to take it up to another level. Without question.

“It’s in us. We have the talent level there (at linebacker). We have guys who have all the physical attributes of being a linebacker and having the same characteristics of those linebackers in past days. We can’t be Derrick Brooks. We can’t be Shelton Quarles. But there’s a certain talent level within us that we know we can achieve.”

[Last modified: Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:51pm]


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