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Linebacker packages in flux for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — The Bucs plan to shuffle the deck at linebacker when they host the Falcons on Sunday.

With strongside LB Quincy Black doubtful with an ankle injury and unable to practice this week, second-year pro Dekoda Watson is expected to make the second start of his career.

Rookie MLB Mason Foster will play in the nickel package on passing downs alongside weakside LB Geno Hayes, similar to his role in the second half of the 24-20 win last weekend at Minnesota.

In the first two games, Black wore the helmet transmitter, called plays on defense and remained on the field in nickel passing situations. Those duties will now fall on Foster.

"Quincy is doubtful right now," coach Raheem Morris said. "We'll have to see. … We want to get him out there and get him active.

"I know I'm looking forward to possibly seeing him move around (today) and hopefully on game day. … Mason will be calling the plays every down if he's out there at (middle) linebacker."

TE Kellen Winslow was listed as questionable for the game with chronic right knee pain, but he had full participation in practice Friday and is expected to play.

DE Tim Crowder (calf) did not practice and is questionable. OT James Lee (knee) and WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) are out.

GOING BOWLING: Morris, also the team's defensive coordinator, has spent so much time scheming against Atlanta All-Pro RB Michael Turner the past couple of years that he has come up with the perfect nickname.

"We have to find a way to get the rolling, bowling ball down," Morris said of the squatty, thick-legged Turner. "We have to put some holes in him and get him in his gutter, find a way to lay him down. We have to gang-tackle him."

Turner has had his share of strikes against the Bucs defense. In two games last season Turner combined for 195 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In 2008 he had a 125-yard performance against the Bucs.

The defense had its hands full with Vikings RB Adrian Peterson last week (25 carries, 120 yards), but Morris said Turner presents a different sort of challenge.

"He's got a different style of running than Adrian Peterson," Morris said. "Adrian Peterson runs angry. (Turner) runs to bounce off you and keep going, and he's got great balance. We have to find a way to get him on the ground. Preferably (with) wrap tackling and (others) coming to cap off at the end."

LEWIS' SEASON DEBUT: CB Myron Lewis, who was out with an ankle injury the past two games, will make his 2011 debut, Morris said.

The 2010 third-round draft choice out of Vanderbilt has been slowed by injuries since the preseason, when he had a hamstring injury.

He'll play, according to Morris, in specific situations.

"We'll get him out there in some of our three-wide receiver sets or four-wide receiver sets," Morris said. "We'll give him a chance to get out and get going."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Linebacker packages in flux for Tampa Bay Buccaneers 09/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 10:33pm]
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