The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not have made the high-profile free agent signings that others around the league did, but Josh Freeman is confident that the Bucs’ roster is in good shape on both sides of the ball. The Buccaneers made a move by signing cornerback Aston Youboty to a two-year deal.
The 27-year old Youboty, who has played all five of his NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, could turn out to be a great acquisition. He’s smack dab in the middle of his physical prime, and perhaps most importantly, he’ll be back in the Tampa-2 system that he’s most comfortable playing in (Buffalo abandoned the scheme after Youboty began to grasp its concepts several years into his career). His familiarity with the scheme is the main reason why he’s not concerned about acclimating himself to a new defense quickly prior to the start of the 2011 season.
“There’s no urgency,” Youboty said Tuesday after intercepting a pass in his second day of practice with the Bucs. “I think It’s more about responsibility and knowing what you’re trying to do, where they need you and playing within the scheme of a defense.
“Football is like chess. They teach you about the pieces and you know where they’ve got to be. They just do their jobs and the guys who make plays turn into rooks, pawns or whatever.”
Like any good coach would, Raheem Morris has not yet made any promises or declarations to Youboty about what his specific role will be. The Bucs situation at cornerback certainly is interesting and potentially volatile. Ronde Barber is well into his 30s, Aqib Talib’s off-field antics could reappear at any time, and the stable of young reserves is good but not great — or at least not proven just yet.
It’s not clear if Bucs’ fans will get their first good look at Youboty on Thursday night when Tampa Bay takes on the New England Patriots in the second of four preseason games. He did make his training camp debut on Tuesday, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him sidelined for another week while he gets his feet underneath him. We’ll probably get an answer on that front by tomorrow.
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