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Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
During my weekly chat on Friday, I threw out the possibility that the Bucs' defense has gotten old. It's a debate that's open to argument and I'm well aware the Bucs have some young players on defense.
But my general premise is that linebacker Derrick Brooks and cornerback Ronde Barber (and, to a lesser extent, defensive end Kevin Carter) have gotten old. I don't -- at this moment -- see another superstar stepping up on the defense. It's a good defense with a lot of nice role players, but I'm starting to think it's not the dominating defense of a few years back.
When I say superstar, I mean someone like Brooks, Barber or Warren Sapp in their primes. Yes, I think defensive end Gaines Adams could fit that mold, but he's not there yet. Tanard Jackson had a very nice rookie year last year, but I'm of the belief that safeties are complementary players. If you don't agree, point taken, but then include John Lynch (in his prime) with the list of Brooks, Barber and Sapp.
Linebacker Barrett Ruud is very good and so is linebacker Cato June, but they're not guys you can look at and think of them as the best in the league at their position. I also believe rookie cornerback Aqib Talib has a shot to be great.
Maybe one of those young guys I just mentioned can step up before Brooks and Barber step down. Like I said, this is an argument that's open to debate, so have at it.