Cover Two guru
Monte Kiffin continues to tweak the defense. A year ago, when the unit was
beset by injury, opposing quarterbacks had a lusty 91.0 rating. So Tampa Bay
signed June from Indianapolis to shore up the linebacking unit and drafted
defensive end Gaines Adams of Clemson in the first round to replace Rice.
"I've got a lot on my plate," Adams said during training camp. "Pro
offensive linemen do some intelligent stuff." Barrett Ruud, a second-round
pick in 2005, will start at middle linebacker, and Barber, Philip Buchanon and
Brian Kelly can be a formidable cover trio. "We feel better about our
defense," says Gruden. "Some players who had storied careers are gone,
and we'll miss them. But it's time to get to work and have some fun with the
guys we have now."
How much fun
depends on Garcia holding together in his dotage, a young offensive line
growing up quickly and Kiffin's defense getting much better in a year. It's a
lot to ask--and a long way from 4-12 to respectability.
9 at Seattle
23 ST. LOUIS