One of the top cornerbacks and wide receivers will have round two of their heated battle this Sunday when the Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons. Tampa Bay’s Aqib Talib and Atlanta’s Roddy White will rematch in a critical game with playoff implications on the line. Bucs head coach and defense coordinator Raheem Morris said he loves to watch the two battle.
“If you watched the matchup the last time we played the Falcons it has been exclusive,” said Morris. “Those guys have been matched up on each other for pretty much the whole day. It is a great battle that I love to watch and they love to go play. Two competitors going against each other, two volatile guys, Roddy will cut him. [Talib will] tackle him. They’ll go at each other all day. It’ll be a wonderful battle.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Talib had the better game in the first contest. While Talib limited the Falcons leading receiver, White caught four passes for 49 yards, the Falcons won the game 27-21 on Nov. 7. The 6-foot, 212-pound White spoke with Tampa Bay reporters on a conference call and discussed his first matchup with Talib.
“He kind of followed me around the first game, which is good,” said White. “It is great when you a guy who wants to follow you around because it is good competition. Especially when he’s their best player. He’s their best player right now on defense. You get yourself geared up and ready to go for competition like that. In our first matchup I felt like he won that one. He got the best of it because I got hurt and had 50 or 60 yards or whatever. He kind of kept me quiet throughout the game, so I think he did a good job and this is round two.
“He did a good job of shadowing me and he did a good job at the line of scrimmage of getting his hands on me. For myself I just have to go out there and use my hands be a little more physical with the guy.”
In the first meeting White was injured during a tackle and was limited throughout the contest. This season White has 84 receptions for 1,066 yards and seven touchdowns. White, 29, is one pace to produce the best season of his NFL career. Talib also is having the best season thus far in his NFL career. Talib, 24, has set a career high of six interceptions. That makes him tied for second in the NFL in interceptions.
Talib and White do plenty of trash-talking before, during, and after the game. Prior to the first matchup White talked down about Talib and praised Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber for being a smart and more studious player. Talib was unavailable for comment as he continues a media boycott that he started earlier in the season due to anger over the report that he violated his suspension by attending the Bucs Week 1 game. While Talib isn’t speaking to the media, White said that he and Talib would be doing plenty of talking on Sunday.
"Oh yeah man. That’s just part of the game. He likes to talk during the game and I’m the same type of guy,” said White. “A lot of players we go back and forth with each other. There are a lot of things said out there that we can’t say over the phone.”
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