Quite simply, he may be the best we have on defense. Sure, Talib has had his off-field troubles that have led to his missing games. But nobody really knows what happened that infamous night. It is his word against an abusing ex-boyfriend of Talib’s sister. Since, it is all just speculation, as Bucs fans, let’s hope the jury rules for his innocence. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. We need Talib on this defense, even if he must sit out the first half of the season. It is better for the Bucs to have one of their brightest stars than have to rely on any of our reserves. I’m not saying our current backups on the roster -- Myron Lewis, EJ Bigger, and Elbert Mack -- are bad. But to go from Aqib Talib to any one of these names is simply not going to cut it.
The Bucs were 7th in pass defense last year. Yes, mostly because our run defense was atrocious. But that low ranking was also because just on our two starting corners we had nine picks; and our team total interceptions was tied for 8th in the league. Talib is our best option at corner back and our best player on the defensive side of the ball. Without him the Bucs give opposing quarterbacks a corner back that will have had little experience and a great drop off in ability when compared to Talib.
The teammates of Aqib Talib think the same way as they have shown great support for their cornerback in his time of need. Recently, according to USA Today, "Barber said he's in awe of Talib's physical talents, and he said he has aided Coach Raheem Morris in trying to get Talib to make better choices… "Some of that upbringing is part of what he is, but that is not who he is. I know him to be a great teammate." Obviously Ronde Barber, who is a man of great character, skill, and one of few veterans on this team, believes in Aqib Talib. Barber thinks that Talib can contribute greatly to the team and should be on the team, despite this recent off-field incident. Maybe Barber knows that the team will be a whole lot worse without Talib suiting up and playing for Bucs.
Another Buccaneer that has come to the aid of Aqib Talib is Kellen Winslow. During a recent interview with the NFL Network, Winslow said, "Talking about Super Bowls -- we need him really more than anyone besides (quarterback Josh) Freeman. He's that good." Now for Winslow, another veteran of the Bucs and a star tight end, to say that this team needs Aqib Talib more than Blount, more than Williams, and any other player for that matter, truly says a lot about the talent and support that Aqib Talib has. I for one think he definitely needs to be punished for simply being involved in this incident, but if the Bucs are to have a chance at winning the Superbowl, they will definitely need their star corner on the field for at least part of the season.