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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Sabby Piscitelli upset over losing starting job

“I just don’t think it was a competition,” says Sabby Piscitelli, above, the backup for Sean Jones. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

EDWARD LINSMIER | Times

“I just don’t think it was a competition,” says Sabby Piscitelli, above, the backup for Sean Jones. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

TAMPA — S Sabby Piscitelli, who lost his starting job to Sean Jones, said he doesn't believe it was a fair fight.

"I just don't think it was a competition," Piscitelli said. "That's all I'm going to say."

Piscitelli also didn't like finding out about his demotion via a text message from defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake on Monday night. Piscitelli said the two met "man to man" the next morning, and he talked to coach Raheem Morris later in the day.

Piscitelli, who started 15 games last season, insinuated Jones, who started nine games for the Eagles last season, became the starter once he signed in March. Morris, however, disagreed.

"That's unfortunate for him," Morris said. "If he felt that way, it's probably why he didn't get it. In general, you go out there and you do your very best in everything you do. That's Sabby's problem at this point, not mine."

Piscitelli, a second-round pick in 2007 who is entering the final season of a four-year deal, struggled last season in run support and pass coverage. On Tuesday, Morris said the 28-year-old Jones, a seventh-year player, was more physical during the offseason and preseason.

When asked to evaluate his own performance, Piscitelli said he's his worst critic and knows he has to improve on "every aspect of the game."

"I'll still just keep coming to work," said Piscitelli, who turned 27 on Tuesday. "I'll still have the same goal in mind, which is to keep on improving. I know my ability. I know what I can do. I can help teams win. I can help this team win, so I'll keep coming out and trying to make plays."

WHO'S NO. 2? While it has been assumed and insinuated before, Morris made it clear Wednesday that Sammie Stroughter is the "lead dog" for the second starting receiver spot.

Maurice Stovall started the first preseason game but hasn't played since injuring his ankle against the Dolphins. Morris said Stovall likely won't play Saturday against the Jaguars and if he doesn't play the rest of the preseason, it will be tough for him to hold off Stroughter and others.

Rookie Mike Williams is set to start. But Morris foreshadowed Stroughter's ascension when discussing his decision to start veteran Reggie Brown last week against the Chiefs and said he had seen enough from Stroughter and knew what he could do.

Stroughter, a seventh-round pick in 2009, caught 31 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown last season.

"He's got the most production in the camp. He has the most production in the (preseason)," Morris said.

Morris added that following Stroughter, it would be Brown and seventh-year veteran Michael Clayton with rookie Arrelious Benn following and Micheal Spurlock in the mix.

"You can never leave out Spurlock (given) what he's been able to do in the preseason," Morris said of Spurlock, who has caught four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. "You just forget about Spurlock sometimes because he … gets lost (in the shuffle). He knows so many things, he can become so valuable to you."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Economy downturn even affects NFL

The average value for NFL teams fell for the first time since Forbes began compiling them in 1998, the magazine reported Wednesday. The average for the 32 teams is $1.022 billion compared with $1.042 billion in 2009. The five most valuable, five least valuable and the Bucs with the change in value from 2009:

Value Change

1. Cowboys $1,805 B 9%

2. Redskins $1,550 B 0%

3. Patriots $1,367 B 0%

4. Giants $1,182 B 0%

5. Texans $1,171 B 2%

13. Bucs $1,032 B-5%

28. Bills $799 M -12%

29. Rams $779 M -15%

30. Vikings $774 M -7%

31. Raiders $758 M -5%

32. Jaguars $725 M -16%

For the full report, go to forbes.com/nfl

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Sabby Piscitelli upset over losing starting job 08/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:46am]

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