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Alterraun Verner: I didn't meet my expectations in '14

Brought to Tampa to replace Darrelle Revis last season, Alterraun Verner was expected to slip right in for the Bucs as a physical, ball-hawking cornerback in Lovie Smith's defense.

That's not how it played out.

After generating an average of five takeaways per campaign over four years with the Titans, Verner notched just two interceptions with the Buccaneers. While struggling with aspects of a Cover 2 scheme that was "more of a learning curve than I anticipated," Verner was lost in the undertow of a Tampa unit that battled injuries and fell off a cliff by midseason.

"The reality is that I came nowhere close to my expectations," Verner said, per Scott Reynolds of "I thought I was going to have at least six or seven interceptions -- minimum. I only had two and dropped three or four. If I did my job better and understood the defense better I could have had more."

Verner wasn't alone. Big-name signing Michael Johnson battled an ankle injury along the defensive line and wound up as one of a handful of expensive free-agents to be dumped after just one year in Tampa.

Injuries to All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and former Bucs end Adrian Clayborn didn't help, but the two-win Bucs were simply outmanned last season. Their putrid offensive line stalled the attack and kept Tampa's worn out defense on the field for a whopping 33:05 minutes per game, second only to the Eagles.

"Our whole defense wasn't able to really get disciplined together due to all the injuries until the end of the season," Verner said. "That's why it's going to be interesting this year."

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