Will Bucs go with veteran Piscitelli or a youngster safety?
My immediate reaction to the news that the Bucs will lose Tanard Jackson for the season for a violation of the substance-abuse policy was that Tampa Bay has to hope backup safety Sabby Piscitelli has improved after a rough season in 2009.
But after some thought, it became clear that it isn't a given Piscitelli gets the nod. The Bucs are intrigued by special-teams ace Corey Lynch and rookie prospect Cody Grimm, both of whom had bright moments in the preseason and will likely garner consideration to start in place of Jackson.
Piscitelli seems the likeliest option given his experience and ability to play both strong and free safety. But the potential of both Lynch and Grimm is hard to ignore, and the Bucs saw playmaking ability from both of them during the preseason. Grimm has risen to second on the depth chart behind Jackson at free safety and continues to make quite the impression on special teams. Lynch has shown he has a nose for the football with his adeptness at blocking kicks and his two-interception performance in the preseason.
General manager Mark Dominik, during his announcement of the Jackson suspension, said coach Raheem Morris would use the next couple of days to mull a decision on who will start in place of Jackson.
And truthfully, maybe that's the right course of action. Because the more you think about, the more you realize the answer here is not at all obvious.
But here's something that isn't debatable: Jackson, a tremendous safety, has put his team in a very tough position with what are, frankly, very selfish actions. We'll soon see whether the Bucs they can overcome it all.