Bucs, Redskins just outside the top 10
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The Bucs should remain strong on the back end again, after few offseason changes. CB Brian Kelly will not be back but Phillip Buchanon is ready to step in after starting 13 games in 2007. Fellow CB Ronde Barber provided veteran leadership and playmaking ability, and starters Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips return at safety. This is a tough, aggressive group that understands route concepts and it uses good technique. Newcomers Eugene Wilson and rookie first-round pick Aqib Talib will provide competition and depth. Wilson is a versatile player who can contribute at either safety or corner and Talib brings youth and athletic ability. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and his scheme, will continue to put players in position to succeed.
The Redskins have a good blend of youth and experience. Starting LCB Shawn Springs is the veteran of the group and still functions well for his age, but is starting to lose some speed and mirror skills. On the opposite side Carlos Rogers is coming off a torn ACL/MCL, and while he has very good quickness and athletic ability when healthy, it remains to be seen how quickly he will regain the burst and closing skills he showed last season. If Rogers is not ready to go, experienced backup in Fred Smoot will be ready. LaRon Landry is one of the better young safeties in the league and is complemented nicely by Reed Doughty, who showed signs of being a solid starter last season after the loss of Sean Taylor. This is a good group when healthy, but there are some question marks due to age and injury.
12. Washington Redskins
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• Nos. 11-32: Rams and Vikes just out of top 10