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Saturday, December 24, 2011
Bucs thin at defensive tackle

By Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled against the run most of the year, particularly after losing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a season-ending injury.

That could be even more of a problem Saturday as the Bucs play the Carolina Panthers with a very thin group of defensive linemen.

Defensive tackles Brian Price and Albert Haynesworth have been declared inactive for this game. Price has been dealing with an ankle injury. Haynesworth has been listed with a knee injury, but the fact he’s inactive comes as a bit of a surprise. The Bucs had been listing Haynesworth on the injury report since acquiring him. They frequently give him days off from practice, but he had always been active for games.

That leaves the Bucs with Roy Miller and Frank Okam as their only two defensive tackles. Like most teams, the Bucs like to rotate defensive tackles. That means they’ll have to get creative.

Defensive ends Michael Bennett and Jovan Haye also can play inside. The Bucs also may elect to abandon their 4-3 front at times and go with a 3-4 defense.