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August 30, 2011 @ 2:47 pm
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/1 Votes

Position Battles Ongoing With One Tune-Up Left

Written by Victoria
Victoria Horchak 


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Time is almost up for several young Buccaneers to make an impression on the coaching staff. The Bucs take on Washington Thursday night, with cutdowns to follow Saturday by 4 p.m.

With only one warm-up game remaining before the Detroit Lions come to Raymond James Stadium to kick off the 2011 season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said Tuesday that plenty of position battles remain in competition. Morris knows just how hard players have worked to be named to the 2011 roster and he delivered a brief, opening statement of appreciation to each one of them before taking his standard post-practice questions.

A potential third-string quarterback position is one that is still up for grabs in regards to Rudy Carpenter and Jonathan Crompton. Having three quarterbacks on a team roster may not be the new norm, Morris said, but he is not sure where the team will end up on that decision.

“It’s definitely an option to keep three,” Morris said. “I know with a lot of people the new wave is going to go with maybe two. Rudy’s done a nice job for us and I’m going to let him go out there and battle it and kind of play that way, play for that and let us make those tough decision in how we’ve got to do it. He and Crompton will get a chance to go out there this week and compete. I look forward to this battle, it’s nice.”

Many position battles that Morris and the Bucs will have to consider are on the defensive line and he said he likes how the unit has improved, especially in the sacks department.

“Defensive line, I’ll mention those guys first,” Morris said. “To have the guys we’ve got battling there now compared to where we’ve been has been amazing. I’ve loved watching the commitment, the work, the effort. I don’t know how many sacks we’ve got but I know they’re high. I know stats are for losers, but that stat in particular is one we need to improve and it’s certainly something that has improved in this preseason.”

Tampa Bay’s 26 total sacks last year tied the team with Jacksonville for the second lowest total in the league. Through three preseason games, the Bucs have racked up 13 and are one sack behind three other teams leading the league.

“Right now we’re somewhere in the double digits in sacks,” Morris continued. “That’s just been awesome. We’ve opened two games with sacks. I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve seen that, not since guys wearing Nos. 99 and No. 97 were running around here. That’s been a definite improvement and a definite battle and certainly that will be a hard position to turn down.”

Wide receivers, as well as many other positions, are still up for grabs with this team.

“Last year we were wide receiver heavy and it could certainly happen again,” Morris said while transitioning his comments to the offense. “Then you’ve got other kids in there battling that just showed up on the scene – the Ed Gants, the [Maurice] Prices of the world – those guys showing up and making plays in the games and also competing every day at a high level in practice. Those guys certainly make it tough on you.

“We got some position battles all across the board. It’s a good thing that it’s getting harder to cut down your team. I can go on and on with the positions but it’s certainly getting tougher.

Just as the Buccaneers were not very busy in adding through free agency after the offseason lockout ended, Morris said he does not expect the team to be especially active pulling in many players who have been cut from other rosters.

One reason for the team not being as active in making any additions is that there is not as much room for improvement on the roster as last year. The Bucs currently have 19 players on their roster that were picked up as free agents or off the waiver wire last season. Some of those names include projected starters or contributors, such as: RB LeGarrette Blount, LG Ted Larsen, DT Frank Okam, WR Dezmon Briscoe, CB D.J. Johnson, DE George Johnson, RB Kregg Lumpkin and LB Tyrone McKenzie.

Another reason is that Morris and the Bucs are confident in the group that has been put in place already.

“We obviously won’t be as active,” Morris said. “Mark Dominik is up there looking at people right now; he’s evaluating everybody’s roster. We really don’t have as much room to do that as we did last year, but that’s a sign that we’re getting better as a team as well. You may see some transactions, claims and things of that nature, but for the most part, we don’t have as much room as we did last year. We feel good about a lot of our football team and that’s good. I like my guys.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 30 August 2011 21:20

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  • avatar

    I see that tyhe coach has to make some very important decision. RB I see is a thorn in Bucs back. They need another Caddy to emerge from the cut down list. I think that Tampa should trade Josh Johnson to SF for something. I think Carpender would be a great b/up ready to show what he has, and keep that young QB from Tenn. If Tampa could pickup a sure fire RB and trade qb Josh Johnson Tampa would be alright. There Defensive Line will be one of the best this year because Detroit and SUH will be shown that Tampa is a better team than Detroit. If Tampa can start off Fast. And Win over Detroit,Minn,Atlanta and beat big boy Indy Colts and sack Manning a couple of times maybe the rest of the league will change it prediction of 3rd in the division. I think Tampa will win their Division period. GO BUCS
  • avatar

    The wisdom when there was a lockout was that could really benefit the Bucs because there would not be eonough time for new players to really learn the system so established teams would go with veterans over newbies, which would mean an inordinate number of good players would be cut this year that would not happen in a normal year. If there are some new players out there with more potential than we have now, by all means we need to at least get them into our practice squad and develop them. We do need right now the best LG and RT prospects. DOM will come up with them for Raheem's consideration. Raheem needs to at least grab the LG and RT prospects. We also need to sign Taylor and Saunders, who were on our first cut list, to our practice squad right away. Outside of LG and RT, I am very pleased with the talent the Bucs have lined up right now, so I know where Raheem is coming from! We are in great shape overall.
  • avatar

    Stanglassman - I saw your post and believe that the term is grade as in flatten. When you grade a yard you are leveling it. So a road grader is someone that flattens the road or path for the rb. at least that is my understanding of the term.
  • avatar

    Thanks cblack, It was just an analogy, the road grader flattens the road like we would like to see our OLine flatten the DLine. From Wikipedia: A grader, also commonly referred to as a road grader, a blade, a maintainer, or a motor grader, is a construction machine with a long blade used to create a flat surface. Typical models have three axles, with the engine and cab situated above the rear axles at one end of the vehicle and a third axle at the front end of the vehicle, with the blade in between. In certain countries, for example in Finland, almost every grader is equipped with a second blade that is placed in front of the front axle. Some construction personnel refer to the entire machine as "the blade."
  • avatar

    Think about it Buctebow do you want an offensive G or T to look and pontificate at a road and give it a grade? Or grate the road like one would grate cheese. It's always the people who know more than the coach who make these kind of mistakes.
  • avatar

    I dont beleive you guys are actually mentioning sean mahan in this discussion. When was he ever an upgrade over anyone? When was he ever even good? No sean mahan you stay right where you are.
  • avatar

    I wouldn't be upset if they went with 2 QB's this year. Carpenter knows the offense and seems to execute it reasonably well, but doesn't really have the arm to make all of the NFL throws. I saw one throw in the last game that seemed to go in slow motion to the left sideline. I was going oh no, that's trouble. If the defender had not been so far off in coverage, it would have been a pick 6. It didn't seem like there was a reason that the throw was weak either, it just was. In my opinion he is not a guy that could take over and win games against the first stringers, so where is the real value in keeping him? I say let him go and keep someone that has a specialty that can platoon into the games to shore up the weaker position players.
  • avatar

    I disagree with Morris claim. We need RT, LG help if there is a good one out there. They don't even have to be an all around player, maybe a guy who is better as a road grader, or one who is way better at pass protection than run blocking that could platoon to an extent. Those are real weaknesses they should try to search for at least. Mahan? Senile?
  • avatar

    Mahan? Is he even on a team? He's certainly not going to be on this one. It is somewhat refreshing that Dominik no longer has to scan the waiver wires to bring in a dozen players to improve the roster. Be nice to find a few more gems like last season.
  • avatar

    There are some out there that play center/guard, we should look at. If Mahan plays left guard for Larsen, we need a backup for both positions.
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