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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ex-Buc Brooks says consistency next step for young team

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 11:45 PM
TAMPA -

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks was without a locker or uniform on Wednesday, but still talked football.

Brooks visited One Buc Place and watched practice as Tampa Bay prepared to face Atlanta on Sunday. The Bucs began the season as the NFL's youngest team, to which Brooks attributes to the team's inconsistency.

Tampa Bay has been outscored 37-13 in the first half of two games this season, but outscored opponents 31-10 in the second half.

"People say, 'They got to play better, they got to do this better,' but before you get to better, you got to get consistent," Brooks said. "I think the more consistency they establish, the better football team they'll be. I think that's where they are right now, developing that consistency, getting those (good) habits, and once that consistency and those habits are established, you'll see a better team because you'll see a more consistent team."

Brooks does not see similarities between Tampa Bay's defense and the one he and Warren Sapp developed into a Super Bowl champion, but said the offenses were comparable.

Tampa Bay's defense is led by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, while the Bucs have high hopes for defensive tackle Brian Price, rookie defensive ends Da'Quan Bowers Adrian Clayborn, and rookie linebacker Mason Foster. All were drafted in the first three rounds the past two years but have struggled early.

It will take time for them to develop, Brooks said.

"These young guys are going to see a different offensive line every week, a different mentality, and it's going to be a learning curve in order to do it. But at some point, the rubber has to meet the road," Brooks said. "I'm not saying it's tomorrow, but those expectations are there. They weren't drafted in the positions they were drafted to not be impact players. They weren't drafted to be role players. They were drafted to be impact players and it's going to take time to do that."

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