Even with the roster cuts this week the Buccaneers still have several players to go before reaching the 53-man NFL roster limit. With one preseason game left Mark Cook takes a look at five defensive players that could be on the bubble heading into the Redskins game. Wednesday Cook looks at the offensive side of the ball.
With the final preseason game set for Wednesday night against the Redskins on the road, time is running out for several players to make their case for a roster spot.
PewterReport.com editor-in-chief Mark Cook takes a look at five players who he feels is on the bubble and will need a strong game against Washington in order to make the final 53-man roster.
Today Cook focuses on defense and Wednesday he will take a look at the offensive side of the ball. Safety Cody Grimm
People have been trying to end Grimm’s football career going all the way back to high school where after a stellar career the future Buccaneer received just one scholarship offer – to William & Mary. Grimm walked on at Virginia Tech and ended up a star for the Hokies. Once again his football career was in jeopardy, but Tampa Bay took a chance on the undersized linebacker/safety in the seventh round. With little chance of making the Buccaneers in the minds of most, Grimm showed enough to then head coach Raheem Morris to earn a roster spot and eventually work himself into the starting lineup. But after two serious injuries (broken leg in 2010, MCL in 2011) Grimm may be on his last leg. With the selection of Mark Barron in the first round this spring and the move of Ronde Barber to safety from cornerback, Grimm may be the odd man out. Add in the emergence of Ahmad Black and Larry Asante – in addition to 2012 draftee Keith Tandy who has been playing both corner and safety, and Grimm will need a strong game against Washington to once again defy the odds.Cornerback Myron Lewis
When Myron Lewis and Aqib Talib stand next to each other it is hard to tell them apart from a physical standpoint. Both possess tall lanky physiques, and also share similar speed. But that is where the comparisons stop. While Talib has had his share of issues, no one will argue his on field play hasn’t been worthy of the 2008 first-round draft selection when healthy. Lewis, on the other hand, has been a huge disappointment. This training camp many, PewterReport.com included, raved about Lewis who seemed to finally be putting it all together. Even at the annual night practice a couple weeks ago, Lewis looked solid, giving fans hope of a turnaround. But through three preseason games it has been much of the same and Lewis needs to show the so-called improvement on the field. Injuries to E. J. Biggers and Anthony Gaitor could play in Lewis’ favor, but the former Vandy cornerback could really help his cause with a solid outing Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Frank Okam
Okam was the surprise of camp and the preseason in 2011, looking like a tremendous force that would push Brian Price for playing time. But once the season began Okam disappeared and made little, if any, impact. With just 12 tackles and no sacks, Okam was the complete opposite of what everyone saw in the preseason. This year Okam has been ineffective for the most part and hasn’t done anything to stand out in particular. Okam could find himself back on the unemployment market without a good showing against the Redskins.Defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry
Brought in late this offseason (June 4) Gilberry has been playing catch up to a degree. With 14 sacks over the last four years Gilberry certainly has some skills, but so far this preseason Gilberry has notched just two tackles, with one for loss. Gilberry is listed third on the depth chart behind Gerald McCoy and Amobi Okoye, but with those two most likely not seeing much, if any action Wednesday night, the opportunity to shine will be there for Gilberry to prove he has picked up the defense and can contribute in 2012. The fact that depth is crucial at that position is in Gilberry’s favor but a great game Wednesday night would go a long way in securing a roster spot.Linebacker Jacob Cutrera
Cutrera status with the Buccaneers is hard to figure out. During mini-camps and OTAs Cutrera played every linebacker position and at times was running ahead of Najee Goode and even Adam Hayward at times. But on the field Cutrera has done little to make people stand up and take notice, tallying just four stops and one pass defensed. The Buccaneers new regime appears inclined to cross train their linebackers which after watching the group last season, makes perfect sense. Cutera could have one advantage over other fringe linebackers and that is his contributions to special teams. So far this preseason he leads the Bucs’ special teams with three solo stops.
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