1. Archive

Wyms is okay with the bench

Talk about instant defense.

End Ellis Wyms turned heads all summer and opened the season with a memorable effort against the Redskins. Barring an injury, Wyms said he thinks he'll continue to come off the bench.

"I expect things to be how they are," he said. "When I get in the game, I'm going to go out there and play like a starter. In my mind, I can start anywhere else in this league. I don't think there are too many defensive tackles capable of doing the things I do."

Wyms began his career playing end and tackle, but he spent most of training camp concentrating on the undertackle position. Wyms had three tackles and two bone-jarring hits on Washington quarterback Mark Brunell on Sunday.

"I'm in a situation where it's better for the team if I'm not starting," he said. " I'm not really a true nose guard, so I don't want to go in there and play nose guard every down. To be able to come in and bring some energy off the bench, and in some specific situations be able to help the defense get off the field on third downs, is very important."

DON'T THROW HERE: Even if running back Shaun Alexander is out of action, the Bucs don't expect the Seahawks to sling the ball around the field using three-receiver sets.

"I don't expect them to come out with three," safety Dwight Smith said. "The way that people have tried to beat the Tampa Bay Bucs has been to line up with two tight ends and two backs. When you come out here and try to throw the ball, you're not going to have too much success."

HIGH PRAISE: Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck won't be sneaking up on the Bucs defense. In fact, the players insist he reminds them of a certain future Hall of Famer.

"Their quarterback reminds me of Brett Favre a lot," defensive end Greg Spires said. "He can escape (and) the way he escapes lets him buy time for himself to get the ball off. All I'm saying is he knows how to buy time, time to get the ball off, and that's what Brett does. I'm sure he did (learn from Favre). He did back him up (in Green Bay). There it is."

INJURY REPORT: Smith (bruised ribs) and defensive tackle Anthony McFarland (shoulder) practiced and are expected to play Sunday.

_ ROGER MILLS, Times staff writer