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Tampa Bay Bucs defense failing to create turnovers

TAMPA — Five injured starters aren't the only thing missing from the Bucs defense. So are the turnovers it used to create.

The defense produced 23 takeaways through the first 12 games. But in the past two games, at Washington and against Detroit, the only turnover was a fumble recovery by Adam Hayward of a muffed kickoff return against the Redskins.

"I talked about it last week with our team. I talked about the missed opportunities we had in one of the games," coach Raheem Morris said. "That's what we can't do. We talk about scoring and getting the ball back, and the only way you get the ball back is you get the turnovers."

The Bucs could have several chances to take the ball away from the Seahawks on Sunday. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck has been intercepted six times in his past three games.

D-LINE ADJUSTMENTS: The Bucs struggled on the defensive line the past two weeks stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback. Morris said the remaining healthy players have to play better.

"I expect Frank Okam to be better this week, and he was decent last week," Morris said. "I expect Al Woods to get a little more playing time and be better. I expect Roy (Miller) to go in there and be better this week. Mike Bennett provides a spark out there. … But really, we are what we are at this point, and we have to get better."

KICK IT AWAY FROM LEON: The Seattle player with the most potential to affect the outcome Sunday might be RB Leon Washington because of his game-changing ability on special teams.

Against the Chargers on Sept. 26, Washington returned kickoffs 101 and 99 yards for touchdowns in a 27-20 win. In a 41-20 loss to the 49ers this month, Washington returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score. He has seven returns of 40 yards or longer, more than any player.

This comes barely a year after he sustained a gruesome compound leg fracture while with the Jets that some thought was career-threatening. Washington labored through rehabilitation, and now Seattle's decision to trade a fifth-round draft pick to the Jets in April to acquire him looks smart.

"Leon has been a great comeback story of his own," coach Pete Carroll said. "He … has just been a great spark for us so many times. When he's back there to return a kick, you think he's going to return every one of them for a touchdown. … It's the attitude and resolve that he brings, so it's exciting."

INJURIES: T James Lee is questionable. His status will be a game-time decision. WR Sammie Stroughter (hamstring) is questionable. CB Myron Lewis (hip), LB Dekota Watson (ankle) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee) are probable. For the Seahawks, LB Will Herring is questionable with a hamstring injury, and CB Marcus Trufant is probable after leaving Sunday's game against Atlanta with back spasms. It's the first time since Seattle's bye week in early October that only one player is listed as questionable, doubtful or out on the final injury report.

Tampa Bay Bucs defense failing to create turnovers 12/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 25, 2010 11:41am]
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