Make us your home page

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 near decision on starting strong safety

BREAKING FREE: Bucs running back Cadillac Williams cuts through defenders during training camp. He will run behind a line that is still unsettled on Saturday against the Chiefs.


BREAKING FREE: Bucs running back Cadillac Williams cuts through defenders during training camp. He will run behind a line that is still unsettled on Saturday against the Chiefs.

TAMPA — Bucs coach Raheem Morris said the battle for the starting strong safety job will be decided soon.

Sean Jones will start alongside three-year starting FS Tanard Jackson on Saturday against Kansas City. Sabby Piscitelli started last week against the Dolphins. After the Chiefs game, coaches are expected to decide between incumbent Piscitelli and newcomer Jones.

"By the third game, hopefully some things sort out," Morris said.

Playing the pair together against Miami enabled coaches to make a comparison. Morris did not offer the results of that comparison Monday, but both players showed promise while making mild mistakes.

"I did like the competition," Morris said. "They both made some solid tackles."

Jones said he placed a lot of emphasis on showing his physical side Saturday. He played free safety after Jackson left following a single defensive series.

"We were running around playing fast," Jones said. "There were a few minute details we need to fix here and there, but for the most part, the coaches wanted to see us run and be physical and hit, and I think that's what we did."

Jones said he has a comfort level at free and strong safety and has become well-versed in the Bucs' system since joining the club as a free agent from the Eagles in March.

Piscitelli said he saw the results of some of his offseason work on taking better angles and being a sure-handed tackler. He expressed hope that coaches would take the pair's preseason body of work into account when deciding on a starter rather than making a snap decision based on his struggles in 2009.

"If it's going to be a competition, you can't evaluate 12 plays or 15 plays or a quarter of whatever," he said. "So, it's one of those things where, if that's what they say it is, there's no quick decisions."

Whoever is named the starter, Morris has said the team will use a trio of safeties in a rotation, taking advantage of the experience at the position and keeping the starters fresh.

STOVALL SETBACK: WR Maurice Stovall's ankle injury will keep him out of the lineup Saturday night, Morris said.

Stovall was injured against the Dolphins and left the game, another disappointing setback for the fifth-year Buc. Stovall has been beset by injuries throughout his career. He is fighting for a starting job and/or increased playing time.

Morris indicated Stovall's absence is not expected to last beyond this week, meaning he might participate in the preseason competition before things are decided.

Morris didn't specify who would start in Stovall's place, but Sammie Stroughter is a reasonable guess. Veteran Reggie Brown is a possibility, too.

NO CHANGE AT LG: Jeremy Zuttah remains the starter at left guard this week, with Keydrick Vincent relieving him once the starting line leaves the game. At that point, Morris said, Zuttah will move to center with the second unit, as he did against the Dolphins.

Morris indicated the job is still up for grabs.

IS PRICE RIGHT?: Rookie DT Brian Price said he is encouraged by the improvement of his hamstring injury. His absence has been one of the story lines of this training camp as coaches are anxious to watch Price play with rookie DT Gerald McCoy. Price missed the Miami game but could play this week.

"I'm still going to meetings and running plays and getting mental reps, so I'm not really behind at all," he said. "I haven't been out here every day, so it felt good to get back out there."

Regarding his disappointment at missing the past week of practice and the preseason opener, Price said, "I love playing the game, so when you're stripped of something you love, it hurts."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Tampa Bay Bucs near decision on starting strong safety 08/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Buc Mike Glennon says right things about Bears QB situation


    Mike Glennon's go-to line about being recognized around town since becoming a Bear worked as well as ever, producing laughs.

    Quarterback Mike Glennon, shown last season with the Bucs before signing in the offseason with the Bears, is showing good humor about a looming competition in Chicago. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  5. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.