Sterling Moore might have edge for Bucs at nickelback

Sterling Moore, right, was the nickelback for Dallas last season in a scheme similar to Tampa Bay's. Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. -- With Tuesday’s release of Leonard Johnson, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suddenly have an opening at nickelback.

Johnson held that position last season, but he did not have a good preseason and that prompted his departure. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was not ready to anoint a replacement and said the Bucs have several options.

"Some other guys have to step up," Frazier said. "That gives Isaiah Frey a chance. That gives Sterling Moore a chance. So those guys will be the primary guys to compete for the job. We have some options. Hopefully one of those guys will step up and be the guy."

Moore might have the edge. He was the nickelback for Dallas last season in a defensive system that is very similar to what Tampa Bay runs. Moore began training camp at cornerback but moved to nickelback midway through the preseason.

"It is a critical position," Frazier said. "In a lot of ways, that guy is a starter on your defense with all the multiple wide receiver sets you get to face for an extended period of time."