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Who are those guys?

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell dropped back to pass and barely got the ball off while under duress.

He paid for it: He was decked by Bucs defensive end Charles Bennett the moment he released the pass during Tampa Bay's victory on Nov. 19.

"It felt good," said Bennett, a rookie seventh-round pick from Clemson. "I hadn't hit a quarterback like that since college. It was a nice, clean shot."

If your initial reaction is "Charles who?" you're not alone.

Even the most religious followers of the Bucs need a roster to keep up with the revolving door on defense. Injuries and personnel moves have reduced a front line that once was one of the league's best to one that might now be its most anonymous.

There's Bennett, the practice-squad call-up. There's Julian Jenkins, the fifth-rounder from Stanford who, until recently, had been relegated to special teams. There's Jovan Haye, a defensive tackle plucked from the Browns practice squad. Finally, there's Jon Bradley, a journeyman defensive tackle who was cut by the Bucs in training camp but now has started three straight games.

Outside of nose tackle Chris Hovan, end Greg Spires and backup defensive end turned starter Dewayne White, the aforementioned quartet make up most of the defensive line rotation.

Can't believe it? Neither can they.

"You sit around over the weekend talking to family, and people are just floored by the fact that they were sitting there on Thanksgiving watching you play," said Jenkins, who spent the weekend with family in Atlanta. "It brought such a joy to people. I really, really relish the opportunity."

Jenkins and Bennett have seen increased action in the wake of Simeon Rice's shoulder injury. Rice will miss the rest of the season. That leaves Bennett and Jenkins as the only ends available off the bench.

In the interior, the Bucs are reeling from sack leader Ellis Wyms' slow-healing ankle injury that has sidelined him the past three games and could prevent him from playing Sunday in Pittsburgh. The depth at tackle already was depleted by the departure of Anthony McFarland, traded to the Colts in October.

So, there you have it. These are the guys charged with bringing back the pass rush: a couple of second-day draft picks and two guys who had been waiting by the phone.

None of them has much of a resume or much of a paycheck either. Combined, they will make $1.325-million in base salary this season. When compared to Rice's $6-million in base salary this fall, it's a startling contrast.

Still, they are the ones who must help energize a defense that used to pile up sacks but can't seem to get a fingernail on quarterbacks these days (see Tony Romo's five-touchdown, one-sack performance on Thanksgiving). Tampa Bay's 14 sacks match Washington for the fewest in the NFL.

Knowing the standard set by those who came before them - Warren Sapp, Rice and others - these guys know the current level of production falls woefully short.

"You look at the tradition that's been around here and you have to try to live up to it," Bradley said. "The bar is set high. You have to go out there and try to maintain the prestige of this defensive line."

Said Haye: "It's pretty amazing to think you had guys around here like Sapp, Booger (McFarland), guys like that. ... We're struggling right now, but we have five games left and we have to finish off strong."

That's a tall order for four guys short on experience, but it's a must if this dreadful season is going to end positively.

"That's our defense: get to the quarterback, get great coverage, get turnovers, and we win ballgames," Jenkins said. "That's got to happen these last five games."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3377.

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