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Tampa Bay CB Aqib out, Biggers in..


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Published: September 11, 2010


TAMPA - Buccaneers cornerback E.J. Biggers is no Aqib Talib.


Biggers does not have Talib's outgoing personality. He does not crack jokes in practice. Coach Raheem Morris does not impersonate Biggers' voice during news conferences, as he does Talib's.


"Aqib is missed. There is no doubt about that," Morris said. "He's one of those character guys around here as far as (who) people like and people attract to. He provides the fun you miss about him, and you miss him this week."


Talib is missing as he serves a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy. He will miss Tampa Bay's season opener against Cleveland on Sunday, and be fined an additional game check, because of an August 2009 arrest for striking a cab driver.


With Talib gone, Biggers, a 2009 seventh-round draft pick who has never played a regular-season game, will start.


"I'm just trying to do what the team is asking me to do," Biggers said. "Aqib is a guy I look up to. I just got to go out there and hold down my end of the bargain and do the things he does."


Biggers knows it will be hard to duplicate Talib's efforts on the field.


Talib had 62 tackles and five interceptions last season. Morris said prior to the season he expected Talib to emerge into a leader and many teammates agreed. It is one reason Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber believed Talib's suspension was too excessive, because of how much he has matured.


"Aqib's getting unfairly punished in my mind, but that's just my opinion," Barber said. "He's definitely made amends for his transgressions last preseason. I thought he had done enough. We'll miss him this week but he'll be back. Hopefully, it's just another step in his learning curve."


Bucs safety Tanard Jackson learned last year the lesson Aqib is learning now.


Jackson was suspended for the first four games of 2009 for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Tampa Bay's defense struggled without him and began the season 0-7.


"It's tough (for Talib). Right now, he's probably missing it," Jackson said. "He wants to be out here. It's really going to hit him on Sunday, especially at 1 p.m. when it's time to watch that game on TV and not being able to play. That's the frustrating part and there is nothing you can do.


"It's out of your control. You have to wait until next week. I know I can relate. Mine was a little longer than his. His is a week and hopefully he'll get back and hit the ground rolling."


Until Talib returns, the Bucs are going to roll with Biggers.


Although Biggers (6-foot, 180 pounds) is not a big and physical cornerback like Talib (6-1, 205), Biggers earned the nod after his aggressive play during the preseason.


Biggers expects Cleveland to pick on him this weekend, but nobody on Tampa Bay's defense plans to give him extra help against the Browns' receivers.


"If I was thinking like that, I would be doing him a disservice," Jackson said. "I know he can play. He's capable of playing with these guys in the league. He showed that this preseason. I'm going in with the mentality that Aqib isn't there, but I got a guy who's filling in for Aqib this week who is very capable of making splash plays and playing at a high level."


Biggers understand he is no Talib.


His only goal is to be the best Biggers.


"It will be a lot different from the preseason of course, but you just got to go out there and do your best," Biggers said. "I'm just looking forward to the challenge and going out there and doing what the coaches and team expect for me to do."


Reporter Anwar Richardson can be reached at


(813) 259-8425.


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