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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Signings of Okoye, Gibson add depth, competition to defensive line

The Bucs had a historically poor defense in 2011, but they continue to make efforts to create more competition on the unit.

That endeavor continued on Thursday when the Bucs signed Rams free agent defensive tackle Gary Gibson, who has a chance to become an important part of the rotation at tackle.

Already, the Bucs have added some layers to their linebacker ranks by drafting Lavonte David and Najee Goode last week. Linebacker was a unit that was among the weakest on the defense last season. The interior of the defensive line, mostly because of injuries to Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, also was a weakness.

But the signing of Gibson, taken together with acquisition of talented defensive tackle Amobi Okoye last month, gives the Bucs some competition and depth where those things were sorely lacking last fall.

Now, expect backups like Roy Miller and Frank Okam to be in fights for roster spots. Miller’s roster spot was never in jeopardy last season because of the lack of experience and depth.

If coach Greg Schiano truly intends to assemble a team built on toughness and hard-nosed defense, then one place you cannot cut corners is on the defensive line.

The Bucs’ recent moves there suggest that won’t be happening this season.

[Last modified: Friday, May 4, 2012 10:19am]


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