Buccaneers defensive end Gaines Adams might not be the only rookie starting on Tampa Bay’s defense when the team faces Seattle on Sunday.
PewterReport.com has learned that Bucs fourth-round draft pick, rookie safety Tanard Jackson, has been splitting reps with Will Allen in practice and could start at free safety on Sunday.
“They actually have me and Will rotating right now, so it isn’t slated in stone yet,” Jackson said. “But it is a possibility that I could be starting. I really don’t know. I hope so. They have me running with the ones right now. Sometimes I will running with the twos and Will will be going in with the ones.”
If Jackson does start, it would be quite an impressive feat, especially when considering the fact that he’s been making the transition from cornerback, which he played at Syracuse, to safety with the Bucs.
“I always thought I was the type of athlete and competitor where I would come in and play early,” Allen said. “But the reality of that situation is that it wasn’t likely with two veteran safeties that have been here.”
Allen has started 24 games for the Bucs since entering the league as a fourth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2004. However, both he and starting strong safety Jermaine Phillips struggled mightily in 2006, which prompted the Bucs to draft Jackson and S Sabby Piscitelli in April.
Jackson and Piscitelli, who recently switched their jersey numbers to 28 and 21, respectively, have developed quite the bond off the field since becoming teammates in April. Jackson said he’s looking forward to having that chemistry carry over onto the football field.
“We’ve been roommates since the OTAs days and even in training camp, so we’ve definitely bonded,” Jackson said. “We’re cross-training, so we are both learning the same positions. We’ve learned from each other. We’ve taught each other certain things. He’s helping me on my transition from corner to safety. He’s been there, even though it hasn’t been on the professional level.”
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