Crowell another piece in Bucs' puzzle

March, 18, 2009
3/18/09
5:43
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Just posted an item over in our breaking news area on Tampa Bay's signing of linebacker Angelo Crowell, but wanted to expand upon that a bit here.

 
  Rich Kane/US Presswire
  Ex-Bill Angelo Crowell should take Cato June's place at strongside LB.

First impression? Nice move by the Bucs and it starts to clear up some of the clouds on their defense. Crowell was a productive strongside linebacker in Buffalo and the Bucs presumably will play him at the same spot. This also comes on a day when it became public the Bucs are going to take a look at strong safety Jermaine Phillips moving to weakside linebacker.

Barrett Ruud stays in the middle. Essentially, what the Bucs are doing is replacing Cato June with Crowell and Derrick Brooks with Phillips, although there are fallback options like Quincy Black, Adam Hayward and Geno Hayes. But those guys likely will end up as backups.

There was outrage when the Bucs let Brooks, the best player in their history, go on Feb. 25. They let June go that same day and there were at least some raised eyebrows on that move.

Well, now, the other shoes have fallen. I think Crowell can be a slight upgrade over June. As far as Phillips, it's impossible to know how he'll fare in a new spot, but he has the potential to do some good things. He'll never be the Brooks of four or five years ago, but he might be able to become as good as Brooks was the last year or two.

The Phillips move also means the Bucs can get Sabby Piscitelli onto the field as the starting strong safety. At times this offseason, it's looked like the Bucs didn't really have a plan. But, gradually, it's coming together and they're filling their needs.

They still could use a cornerback and at least one defensive tackle, but there's still time to work on that. There's also a chance the Bucs will re-sign veteran defensive end Kevin Carter. Take care of all that and that basically leaves quarterback as the only glaring need.

Anybody want to talk some more about Jay Cutler?

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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