The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really shook up their active roster on Tuesday. The Bucs officially placed right guard Davin Joseph, safety Cody Grimm, and defensive end Kyle Moore on injured reserve. Tampa Bay also released veteran safety Sabby Piscitelli.
Piscitelli, 27, was a second-round pick by the Bucs in 2007. In four years with the team, he played in 43 games with 20 starts and tallied 161 tackles, five interceptions, 13 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. This season Piscitelli totaled 15 tackles with one interception that was returned 31 yards. Piscitelli’s interception was a critical play that led to the Bucs late fourth quarter comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The interception set up kicker Connor Barth’s game winning field goal in the Bucs 24-21 road victory. Piscitelli was a core special teams player that was fifth on the team in special teams tackles with nine.
Grimm, one of three seventh-round picks by the Bucs in 2010, started the last nine games at free safety. He recorded 61 tackles and two interceptions, one of which was returned 11 yards for a touchdown against the Bengals.
Joseph has started 67 games, including all 11 games this season. The Bucs selected Joseph in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Moore saw action in seven games this season and was a starter for all of them. He recorded 29 tackles, six quarterback pressures, and two fumble recoveries. Moore was a fourth-round pick in 2009.
To fill their spots on the active roster Tampa Bay made a plethora of moves. They promoted three players from the practice squad – wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, safety Vince Anderson, and guard Brandon Carter. Tampa Bay also signed safety Larry Asante from the Cleveland Browns practice squad.
Anderson was signed by Tampa Bay after being waived by the New York Giants. He entered the NFL in 2009 and spent the 2009 season on the Giants practice squad. Anderson has been on the Bucs practice squad for all of the 2010 season.
Carter was first signed by the New Orleans Saints after going undrafted last April. The Texas Tech product Carter missed the final cut with New Orleans and was signed by Tampa Bay to the practice squad. Carter has been on the Bucs practice squad for the past 11 weeks. He was a first team All Big-12 honoree as a senior. With the Red Raiders, Carter was known for his unique appearance that on game days included face paint, Mohawk, and tattoos on the side of his head.
Asante was a fifth-round pick (160th overall) by the Cleveland Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft. He was cut at the end of the preseason and has been on the Browns practice squad this entire season. In his career at the University of Nebraska, Asante started 36 of 39 games and recorded 224 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions. He was a first-team All Big-12 selection as a senior. Entering the NFL, Asante had the reputation as a hard hitter and a good run defender that was limited athletically.
Tampa Bay also added two players to their practice squad. The team signed wide receiver Ed Gant and defensive end E.J. Wilson. Wilson entered the league as a fourth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in two games before being released on November 23rd. At North Carolina Wilson amassed 150 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. Gant was an undrafted free agent out of North Alabama in 2009. He spent all of last season on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad and this season as well before being released on November 16th.
The Buccaneers had passed over starting Piscitelli twice this year. Once for Sean Jones at strong safety and a second time when Cody Grimm was named the starting free safety after Tanard Jackson was suspended for the season after Week 2. After losing the starting battle to Jones, Piscitelli made public comments that it was not a fair competition, and head coach Raheem Morris answered that it was sad Piscitelli felt that way but nobody cared.
The Buccaneers were faced with the prospects of starting a player who had a run in with coaches and a player that was not part of the long-term plan. Piscitelli was a free agent after the season and the two parties were prepared to mutually part ways after this season.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and Morris have continued to purge the team of veterans that were not players that they initially brought on to the team. Over this year the Bucs released veteran wide receiver Michael Clayton, tight end Jerramy Stevens, defensive tackle Chris Hovan, running back Clifton Smith, and defensive tackle Ryan Sims. Dominik and Morris had re-signed Stevens, Clayton, and Sims in their first free agency period in 2009.
With Piscitelli released the starting free safety will be determined in practice this week. Backup Corey Lynch has been on the roster this year and for part of 2009. Cornerback Ronde Barber is an option to play safety. If Barber is moved to safety E.J. Biggers would most likely start at right corner and rookie Myron Lewis would be the nickel cornerback. Anderson and Lynch are the prime two safety competitors at this time.
- Wolf Heard and Charlie Campbell contributed to this article