Hamstring might keep Bucs' Barron out

TAMPA — The Bucs might be without one of their top tacklers and pass defenders Sunday against the Rams.

S Mark Barron was limited in practice Friday and is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. He is the team's second-leading tackler with 88 and has two interceptions and two sacks. If he can't go, second-year pro Keith Tandy will start.

Also, coach Greg Schiano said that DE Da'Quan Bowers won't play because of a knee injury.

"It's not a recurrence of his previous problem," he said.

On the Rams' side, rookie WR Tavon Austin did not practice for the third day in a row due to a left ankle injury and is questionable. Coach Jeff Fisher said only that Austin, who sat out last week, was "improving."

Season over: G Carl Nicks, out since Sept. 29 due to a recurring bout with MRSA, won't return this season, Schiano said.

BUSY WEEK: Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was reportedly scheduled to interview for the coaching job at Army, his alma mater, on Friday in Tampa.

"When you have good coaches, … that's part of the business," Schiano said. "Mike is a heck of a football coach. But our focus is really on the St. Louis Rams and what we've got to do to win that game."

MORE ATTENTION: Especially since Mike Williams went on injured reserve with a hamstring injury in October, WR Vincent Jackson has been the focus of defenses, which have often kept a second defender around him.

"You see more coverages rolled my way," Jackson said. "It can be tougher, but you can find ways around that. Obviously there's other great receivers in the league that draw a lot of attention. They still find a way to be productive."

Jackson ranks sixth in the league in receiving yards over the past two seasons with 2,475. On Sunday, he can become the first Buc with at least eight touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.

THIS AND THAT: Austin has a history with Schiano. He went 3-0 against Schiano's Rutgers teams while at West Virginia from 2009-11. In the last two meetings, he totaled 330 yards of offense and four touchdowns, including scoring runs of 80 and 46 yards. … Sunday's game features two of the league's leaders in tackles for losses. Rams DE Robert Quinn leads with 18, and Bucs LB Lavonte David is tied for second with 17. Bucs DT Gerald McCoy (14) and DE Adrian Clayborn (13) also rank among the top 12. … One battle of strengths will be fumbles. St. Louis has forced a league-high 22; the Bucs have lost seven, tied for third fewest.

Hamstring might keep Bucs' Barron out 12/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 10:26pm]

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