With CB Aqib Talib being placed on the injured reserve list on Monday due to a hamstring injury, the Buccaneers defense suffered a big loss head coach Raheem Morris said Tuesday afternoon from the media room at One Buccaneer Place.
Morris praised Aqib Talib on Tuesday for his ability to stop opponents such as Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings.
“Obviously it’s huge,” Morris said. “Aqib, gives you the luxury of letting him track the best wide out. He did a nice job of doing that throughout the season for us. He was able to go to Calvin Johnson, at the time it didn’t seem like he had a great day. But to give Calvin Johnson two touchdowns and 40 yards was pretty good. Especially one of those touchdowns being a one-yard catch that I don’t think anyone could have stopped.
“The other ones he went up against Jennings and did a nice job, went up against a bunch of wide outs and had a couple of good days. He scored two touchdowns this year, ended up with a couple of interceptions – would have liked to have a couple of more. He dropped a few he got upset about.
“He actually had his best tackling season,” Morris continued. “He was more physical than he had been throughout his career. He was really starting to develop on that side of the ball and really getting those guys going with that new man-to-man mentality they have going over there. He was the driving force of that.
“To lose that, obviously to the team and for the guys, is tough. I know it hurts him more than anything. He’s one of those guys who tried to fight through the hamstring and go out there and finish the season because he has no quit in him. But unfortunately he wasn’t able to do it.”
Talib started 13 of the team's 14 games this season and was inactive for one other. On the year, he recorded 42 tackles (41 solo), two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, 13 passes defensed and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. Since entering the league in 2008, Talib has 17 interceptions, which is tied for the seventh-most in the NFL during that span.
Morris would like to see Talib back in Tampa next season.
“Aqib (Talib) is a really good football player. If we can get Aqib back healthy, get him going, get him stronger, get him faster, get him better, all those things he’ll do this offseason, then we can’t wait to go back to war with him and get him back on our football team. He’s always one of those guys like that.
“Obviously that’s going to come up in time. The league will put their part in that and do their due diligence as well as us. We’ll have to let that play out a little bit and be ready to deal.”