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Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib has another tough challenge Sunday

Cornerback Aqib Talib likely will be matched up against Green Bay’s Greg Jennings.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Cornerback Aqib Talib likely will be matched up against Green Bay’s Greg Jennings.

TAMPA — Bucs CB Aqib Talib has been a newsmaker for many reasons other than his performance on the field, most recently for an exchange of words with coach Raheem Morris after missing curfew following the loss to the Patriots in London on Oct. 25.

As for his activities on the field, he continues to be matched in one-on-one battles with the opponents' premier receivers.

Next up: Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, the primary pieces of Green Bay's potent passing attack.

Talib, the team leader with four interceptions, is in the midst of a string of five games in which he will defend against an elite receiver.

The stretch began with the Oct. 4 game at Washington in which he went against Santana Moss. That was followed by matchups with the Eagles' DeSean Jackson, Carolina's Steve Smith and New England's Randy Moss.

Sunday against the Packers, Talib figures he'll be paired against Jennings for most of the snaps.

"It's a challenge every week," he said. "It's what I dreamed of doing coming into the NFL, playing against the best receiver on the other team week in and week out.

(Jennings is) … a premier receiver in the league. He gets a lot of balls and scores a lot of touchdowns. So I'll have my hands full again."

Talib has been mostly stellar despite getting little or no safety help.

Moss scored a pivotal touchdown in Washington's victory, but Talib shut down Jackson and Smith (one catch apiece) and held his own against Moss (five catches for 69 yards).

"Moss might be the best guy I went against all year," Talib said. "I did my best against him."

Talib also intercepted a pass intended for Moss. His effort came one week after Moss caught three touchdown passes in a blowout of the Titans.

Plastering: One of the keys Sunday will be containing Jennings even when QB Aaron Rodgers starts to scramble. Some of the Packers' biggest gains have come when plays break down.

"We've been practicing all week," Talib said. "We call it plastering. We have to keep our eyes on our receivers, getting ready for them to run the playground routes once (Rodgers) starts scrambling.

"(Rodgers) doesn't throw a lot of picks. He's smart. He'll take a sack before he throws an interception. We just have to come up with a smart game plan and try to make some plays on him."

BRYANT SETBACK? WR Antonio Bryant was limited during Thursday's practice, a result of discomfort in his lingering knee injury, Morris said. Bryant has been dealing with pain since arthroscopic surgery in the preseason. It was believed last week's bye week would help.

"(Bryant) tried to go out there and go, but we always have to look at this thing week to week and game by game," Morris said. "We just have to stay on that schedule until we have a chance to find out what's going on."

CB Elbert Mack suffered an ankle injury Thursday. His status hadn't been determined.

NO BLACKOUT: The Bucs confirmed that Sunday's game will be shown on local television, saying it is sellout. However, they said, a limited number of tickets remain available.

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

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib has another tough challenge Sunday 11/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 7:46am]
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