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Bucs' defense, player by player

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

RONDE BARBER

HT/WT: 5-10, 184.
POSITION: Cornerback.
COLLEGE: Virginia.
HOW ACQ: D3, 1997.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Among the best cover corners in the NFL, Barber's interception total dipped from 10 in 2001 to just two in 2002 because quarterbacks didn't challenge him. He still had 21 passes defensed and 92 tackles.
TOP BACKUP: Corey Ivy is a second-year pro used in some six-defensive-back packages.

DERRICK BROOKS

HT/WT: 6-0, 235.
POSITION: Linebacker.
COLLEGE: Florida State.
HOW ACQUIRED: D1, 1995.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: One of the NFL's premier defensive stars in 2002, Brooks recorded a career-high five interceptions, including four turnover returns for touchdowns, one shy of the league record. His 165 tackles led the team.
TOP BACKUP: Starting middle linebacker Shelton Quarles also backs Brooks up at weakside linebacker.

CHARTRIC DARBY

HT/WT: 6-0, 270.
POSITION: Defensive tackle.
COLLEGE: South Carolina State.
HOW ACQ: Free agent, 2000.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Started six games at nose tackle for injured Anthony McFarland and recorded 31 tackles, 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble. Will start the playoff game and is used primarily on first and second downs.
TOP BACKUP: Buck Gurley, who is in the nose tackle rotation with Darby.

DEXTER JACKSON

HT/WT: 6-1, 203.
POSITION: Free safety.
COLLEGE: Florida State.
HOW ACQUIRED: D4, 1999.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: In only his second season as a starter, Jackson had three interceptions and 10 passes defensed. But his biggest contribution might have come against the run. He finished sixth on the team with 86 tackles.
TOP BACKUP: Georgia rookie Jermaine Phillips ranks sixth on the club with 14 special-teams tackles.

BRIAN KELLY

HT/WT: 5-11, 193.
POSITION: Cornerback.
COLLEGE: Southern Cal.
HOW ACQUIRED: D2, 1998.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Kelly might have been the most improved player in the NFL, tying for first in the league with eight interceptions and leading the team with 23 passes defensed. He also registered 78 tackles, a sack and forced a fumble.
TOP BACKUP: Dwight Smith serves as the nickel back. He recorded four interceptions, 10 passes defensed and 29 tackles.

JOHN LYNCH

HT/WT: 6-2, 220.
POSITION: Strong safety.
COLLEGE: Stanford.
HOW ACQUIRED: D3, 1993.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Named to his fifth Pro Bowl and is a starter at strong safety on the NFC squad. Lynch fell four tackles shy of reaching 100 for the seventh straight season. He also recorded three interceptions, including a game-sealing pick at Carolina.
TOP BACKUP: John Howell started one game at Detroit. He finished the season with 17 tackles and two passes defensed.

SHELTON QUARLES

HT/WT: 6-1, 225.
POSITION: Middle linebacker.
COLLEGE: Vanderbilt.
HOW ACQUIRED: Free agent, 1997.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: In his first season since switching to middle linebacker, Quarles finished second to Brooks in tackles with 159, and had one sack and two interceptions, including a 25-yard return for a touchdown at Cincinnati.
TOP BACKUP: Nate Webster battled through injuries and finished with 33 tackles.

SIMEON RICE

HT/WT: 6-5, 268.
POSITION: Defensive end.
COLLEGE: Illinois.
HOW ACQUIRED: Free agent, 2001.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Rice was named to his second Pro Bowl and first with the Bucs after leading the NFC with 15.5 sacks. He established an NFL record with five straight multiple-sack games. He also proved he could play the run, finishing with 75 tackles, one interception, a team-best six forced fumbles and 11 passes defensed.
TOP BACKUP: Ellis Wyms saw increased playing time in the rotation at tackle and end, recording 5.5 sacks.

WARREN SAPP

HT/WT: 6-2, 303.
POSITION: Defensive tackle.
COLLEGE: Miami.
HOW ACQUIRED: D1, 1995.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Named to his sixth straight Pro Bowl, tying a franchise record held by Lee Roy Selmon. Ranked second on the team with 7.5 sacks, but none in the last eight games.
TOP BACKUP: Chartric Darby or Buck Gurley.

ALSHERMOND SINGLETON

HT/WT: 6-2, 228.
POSITION: Strongside linebacker.
COLLEGE: Temple.
HOW ACQUIRED: D4, 1997.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: In his first year starting at strongside linebacker, he finished fifth on the team with 89 tackles and had one sack.
TOP BACKUP: Jack Golden plays primarily on special teams, where he has 13 tackles and one forced fumble.

GREG SPIRES

HT/WT: 6-1, 265.
POSITION: Defensive end.
COLLEGE: Florida State.
HOW ACQUIRED: Free agent, 2002.
SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Started all 16 games at left end and finished with 3.5 sacks and 47 tackles.
TOP BACKUP: Ellis Wyms or DeVone Claybrooks.


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