Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Bucs' Aqib Talib gets chance for atonement against Saints

Aqib Talib (25) leaps for a pass headed to the Saints’ David Patten on the season opener’s first drive. Talib missed the ball; Patten ended up with a 39-yard scoring reception from Drew Brees.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Aqib Talib (25) leaps for a pass headed to the Saints’ David Patten on the season opener’s first drive. Talib missed the ball; Patten ended up with a 39-yard scoring reception from Drew Brees.

TAMPA — Has there been a more inauspicious start to a career than Aqib Talib's?

On his second play as a pro, the Buccaneers cornerback misjudged a sharply thrown deep ball by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Talib leaped, his elongated right arm inches short of batting down the ball. And when a defender makes a mistake against the hottest passer in the league, the result is predictable:

Six points.

Sunday is the sequel to that season-opening game, and Talib can't wait.

"I'm definitely looking forward to playing these guys again, getting another shot at it," the rookie said of playing the Saints at Raymond James Stadium. "This whole defense feels like we let some things go."

What Talib let go was a touchdown that set the tone for a 24-20 loss, the Saints capping a 76-yard opening drive with that 39-yard touchdown strike to receiver David Patten.

Patten and Brees will see a more mature, confident Talib this time. His experience in the past 12 weeks has made him a different player from the one who sheepishly trotted onto the Superdome turf Sept. 7 in New Orleans.

"It was my first NFL game, in that dome. It was crazy," Talib said. "I was really nervous. This time I'll be home in front of my fans, and I'll be more comfortable.

"A lot of things have happened since then. It's like any other job. You do it for 12 weeks straight and you're a little better at it."

Talib has been a high-impact player despite playing part time as a nickel back. The job has him on the field for fewer than half the defensive snaps, yet the first-round draft pick is tied for the rookie lead with three interceptions.

No one associated with the Bucs holds that missed opportunity against the Saints against him.

"If you go back and look at that play, he just mistimed his jump," coach Jon Gruden said. "I don't know if he was a basket case. He's going to intercept that every time, I think."

After that game, Talib hurried off the team charter plane in Tampa and hurried home. He watched a recording of that play into the morning.

And now?

"I couldn't care less about that play," he said. "It happened 12 weeks ago. … It comes with the position."

That's an attitude instilled by defensive backs coach Raheem Morris.

"When we give up a play, we feel like we provide ourselves with an opportunity to make another one," Morris said. "We looked at it. We love it. That was (Talib's) first intro into the league. He's grown up a little bit since then.

"They'll see a new Aqib."

FAST FACTS

Bucs vs. Saints

1 p.m. Sunday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5 FM

. FAST FACTS

Bucs vs. Saints

1 p.m. Sunday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5 FM

Tampa Bay Bucs' Aqib Talib gets chance for atonement against Saints 11/28/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 29, 2008 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-Louisville

    College

    1. One of the many hard-to-believe stats about FSU's underperforming defense: DE Brian Burns led all freshmen nationally with 9 ½ sacks last year; his first one this season came midway through the second quarter Saturday.

    TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs the ball into the endzone for a touchdown during their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) 775042617
  2. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher didn't have an explanation for the turning point in Saturday's 31-28 last-second loss to Louisville.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  3. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. Nicked-up Lightning vs. Penguins tonight

    Blogs

     

  5. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts

    Bucs

    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]