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Leonard Johnson Stepping up in Aqib Talib’s Absence

November 4th, 2012 at 11:14 PM
By Wolf Heard

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't seem to miss cornerback Aqib Talib at all.

Yes, they gave up 414 passing yards and four touchdowns to Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer on Sunday.

But the Bucs moved to 3-1 without Talib this season and appear to have found his replacement in the process.

Undrafted rookie Leonard Johnson had another solid game against the Raiders and recorded his second interception in as many weeks.

Johnson has been the primary nickel corner the past two games and has put up some very impressive numbers. The 22-year old Johnson, who played his high school locally in Clearwater, has eight tackles, five passes defensed, and two interceptions during that span.

Let's compare those numbers to Talib and the Bucs' other starting cornerback – Eric Wright:

In eight games this season, Wright has eight passes defensed and just one interception, which he did return for a 60-yard touchdown.

Talib, who only played in four games because of a drug suspension, had seven passes defensed and one interception.

The numbers don't lie. Johnson has been more productive in significantly less snaps than Talib or Wright has been this season.

And because of that, he may have earned himself a spot in the starting lineup.

Tags: Aqib Talib, Eric Wright, Football, Leonard Johnson, NFL, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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