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Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Kyle Moore could see first action Sunday

TAMPA — Defensive coordinator Jim Bates said putting pressure on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on Sunday will be "as important as anything we do."

Bates believes the line is coming off one of its better pass-rush performances. And as it prepares to face the league's highest-rated — and most-sacked — passer, it might be helped by new blood.

Rookie DE Kyle Moore, who hasn't played this season because of a groin injury then surgery for a torn meniscus on Sept. 25, has impressed coaches with his best two weeks of practice.

"It's been really hard for me to keep a helmet off of him," coach Raheem Morris said. "He's pushing my buttons every week, and he'll push it again this week."

Morris said the decision to play Michael Bennett over Moore against the Patriots on Oct. 25 was made after staying up late in his hotel room with defensive line coach Robert Nunn going over film from practice.

Morris chose Bennett because he had more reps in practice but said it has been a healthy competition among Moore, Bennett, DE Tim Crowder and DT Dre Moore to be on the game-day roster.

As far as rookie DT Roy Miller, Morris said he won't necessarily play more than the approximately 35 snaps he has been getting.

"They've got a nice rotation going," Morris said of the group that includes Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan.

The line will have opportunities to get to Rodgers, who has been sacked 31 times.

"It's a combination of, at times, holding the ball too long, at times not winning the one-on-one matchups, and, at times, missed communication," Rodgers said. "And when you have those things combined, there are going to be sacks."

FRESH LEG: K Connor Barth, who recently secured his insurance license before signing Tuesday, said, "This is a chance of a lifetime."

Barth, 23, said he has learned from his experience with the Chiefs last season, his first, when he made 10 of 12 field goals. The Bucs have made 2 of 7 this season.

"It's the NFL," Barth said. "The bottom line, you've got to make your kick, or, a lot of times, they're not going to be happy."

READY TO GO: RB/KR Clifton Smith said he has no lingering effects from a concussion sustained Oct 18.

"I feel perfectly fine," said Smith, who was hit in the head by the Panthers' Dante Wesley while waiting to field a punt. "I'm back to normal."

Smith initially was perturbed by the team's decision to sit him against the Patriots but now concedes it was the right call. And he hasn't shied away from reliving the hit, which earned Wesley a one-game suspension.

"I watch it all the time," he said. "There was a big picture in the paper the next day of me laying on the ground. I posted it on my bedroom wall so I'll never forget."

MISCELLANY: CB Aqib Talib (ankle) and G Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder) were limited at practice. … Talib has entered a written not guilty plea to his misdemeanor battery charge and waived his right to appear at Monday's arraignment.

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Kyle Moore could see first action Sunday 11/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 10:18pm]

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