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Raiders’ receivers present huge challenge to Bucs’ cornerbacks

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Think of it as a game within a game. When the Oakland Raiders visit the Bucs on Sunday, there will be a lot of factors that determine the winner. One of them, however, will be the play of Raiders’ receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree against Tampa Bay corners Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes. Cooper is tied for sixth in the NFL in receiving with 40 catches. Crabtree is tied for 11th with 39. “Those two receivers, Cooper and Crabtree,…

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Ranking the Bucs’ top 10 offseason acquisitions going into 2016

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They’re better. Everyone agrees they’re better. They’re faster. They’re deeper. They’re better pass rushers. But are the Tampa Bay Bucs good yet? Ranking the team’s offseason acquisitions (returning players and coaches not included): 1. Vernon Hargreaves, cornerback: In an ideal world, the Bucs have drafted Ronde Barber all over again. He can play outside, he can play in the slot, and he’s instinctive. Yes, you can quibble that he could be a little taller. If he can cover, however, he…

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Bucs sign Brent Grimes, Josh Robinson to help pass defense

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The Tampa Bay Bucs are betting that Brent Grimes can play young. They are also betting that Josh Robinson can stay healthy. Such are the latest gambles on pass coverage for the Bucs, who signed Grimes from Miami and Robinson from Minnesota. The Bucs would like to improve their pass defense, which was 16th in the league a year ago. Tampa Bay also added pass rusher Robert Ayers and safety Chris Conti to help the unit. Grimes, who has made…

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Bucs add Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes to make defense better

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On Thursday, the Bucs tried to refortify their running game. On Friday, they addressed their defense. The Tampa Bay Bucs, who struggled to stop the pass all of 2015, took two steps to get better in free agency. They signed former Giants’ defensive end Robert Ayers and former Dolphins’ cornerback Brent Grimes. “Robert is a versatile pass rusher who can play a variety of positions along the defensive line and has been successful both from the interior as well as…

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Gators’ Vernon Hargreaves thinks he’s the best in the nation

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Who is the top defensive back in college football? If you’re asking Tampa’s Vernon Hargreaves III, well, it’s him. Hargreaves, the cornerback of the University of Florida, said as much Monday in the SEC Media Days. In fact. Hargreaves admitted that he has already begun to think about the NFL. “All the time … all the time,” Hargreaves said. Once he’s there, Hargreaves wants to stay. “To play in the league for 10-plus years, that’s probably my main goal,” Hargreaves…

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