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Brent Grimes' injury opens playing time for prospects

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ryan Smith (29) questions an official after being flagged for pass interference during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ryan Smith (29) questions an official after being flagged for pass interference during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
Published Aug. 15, 2017

JACKSONVILLE — With starting CB Brent Grimes out with a right leg laceration, this week is a great time for the Bucs to take a look at some developing talent at that position.

Second-year pro Ryan Smith, who is at converted safety, has benefitted by Grimes injury and is getting many reps with the first-team defense.

"I think Ryan is very talented," defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. "He needs reps. He's getting a lot with Grimes not practicing, it's giving him an opportunity to get a lot of reps and they're going to be great learning moments for him in very competitive situations. This isn't a situation like when we practice against ourselves. You have to re-route receivers and there are different situations and he's learning. It's a learning curve for him. He hasn't really played a (regular-season) snap (at cornerback). Last week was his first time (in preseason), and he's going to get extended time this week."

But Smith has some competition. Rookies Jonathan Moxey and Fleming are opening some eyes on the coaching staff.

"Both those guys really compete," Koetter said. "We're proud how those guys work out there. So far, Moxie has made a couple plays. He had an interception yesterday. He made a good play on special teams in the game last week. Fleming, he's tough. He'll stand his ground and he definitely likes to compete."

Contact Rick Stroud at stroudbucs@aol.com. Follow @NFLStroud

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