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September 1, 2012 @ 6:35 am
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PR Analysis: Bucs Make Several Questionable Roster Moves

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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The Buccaneers made some mistakes, such as cutting WR Tiquan Underwood, keeping SS Cody Grimm and only having 3 DTs on the roster, on Friday in trimming the roster to 52 players. Scott Reynolds explains why in this Pewter Report article.
The Buccaneers made some questionable roster moves on Friday as the team trimmed its roster down to 52 players – one below the league limit. Actually, some roster moves were very questionable.

Tampa Bay has done a great job of adding more talent this offseason, including signing three veteran starters in wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright in free agency, and adding three more starters via the draft in strong safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David. Those newcomers played a big role in the team’s solid showing in the third preseason game, a 30-28 victory over a playoff-caliber team in the New England Patriots.

But as the team assembled the back end of the depth chart on Friday, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, player personnel director Dennis Hickey and head coach Greg Schiano made some mistakes that could come back to haunt the team in 2012 and deserve to be pointed out.

RELEASING UNDERWOOD WAS STUPID
Tampa Bay’s most surprising roster cut had to be releasing Tiquan Underwood, who routinely made big plays in practice. Underwood was the Bucs’ most productive receiver in the preseason, catching a team-leading nine passes for 158 yards. He led the Bucs in receptions in the preseason opener at Miami with three receptions for 76 yards (25.3 avg.) and in the preseason finale at Washington with six catches for 82 yards (13.7 avg.).

For a team that admittedly wants to take shots down the field and make big plays in the passing game, cutting the team’s fastest receiver and best big-play threat not named Jackson doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact, it could be considered downright stupid as Underwood led all Bucs receivers with four catches of 20 yards or more in the preseason, including a 44-yard reception against the Dolphins that was Tampa Bay's longest offensive play of the exhibition season.

Underwood is the only Bucs receiver that consistently demonstrated the ability to separate from coverage and he a great game against the Redskins on Wednesday night with a sideline toe-tapping 23-yard catch, a 39-yard kickoff return, which showed his special teams value, and a big hustle play tracking down a Washington linebacker who was close to returning an interception for a touchdown.

The Bucs kept just five receivers – Jackson, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter – in order to make room for seven cornerbacks on the roster. But Benn is coming off a torn MCL that sidelined him for the entire preseason. Benn has playmaking ability, but hasn’t caught more than 30 passes in either of his first two NFL seasons and he will be a game-time decision for the season opener against Carolina on September 9. If Benn can’t play, the Bucs will only have four receivers active against the Panthers.

The fact that Underwood was released and the team kept Parker is downright baffling. Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said that Doug Martin “outperformed” LeGarrette Blount to win the starting running back job in the preseason.

“I think – when you watch the tape, and LeGarrette’s a smart guy – when he watches the tape, he sees that he got outperformed,” Schiano said last week.

Blount had only 63 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries (2.9 avg.), and Martin did slightly better with 97 yards and two scores on 27 carries (3.6 avg.). But using that same measuring stick at the receiver position, there is no way Parker outperformed Underwood on tape.

Parker had one catch for seven yards in the preseason opener and two catches for 25 yards against the Patriots. He finished the preseason with three catches for 32 yards (10.7 avg.) and fumbled two punt returns, one of which resulted in a turnover. After a couple muffed punts in 2011, combined with multiple muffed punts in practice and two in the preseason, Parker can’t be trusted as a punt returner due to ball security issues. Isn’t ball security supposed to be a hot button issue for Schiano?

Stroughter, who also made the team over Underwood, had four catches for 53 yards – two for 23 yards and a touchdown against New England, and two for 30 yards against Washington – in the preseason and won the punt return job after Parker fumbled it away. But Stroughter lacks Underwood’s speed, evidenced by the fact that none of his receptions went for 20 yards or more in the preseason.

Newly acquired receiver Jordan Shipley was also released after an unproductive preseason and failing to make a splash in practice.

BUCS SURPRISINGLY KEEP 7 CORNERBACKS
The Bucs will likely keep six cornerbacks on their roster in 2012, but were forced to keep seven initially because E.J. Biggers won’t be ready for the first week or two of the regular season due a broken foot that sidelined him for all of the preseason.

Surprisingly, Lewis made the team despite another inconsistent preseason. In the preseason finale, Lewis had two pass breakups and a tackle for loss, but dropped an interception, had a pass interference penalty in the red zone and was beaten on a couple of plays, including a 46-yard catch by Anthony Armstrong. The team appears to be unwilling to admit a mistake with its 2010 third-round draft pick, who has been a bust thus far in his NFL career.

Teams always use the line of “keeping the best 53 players” when it comes to formulating the 53-man roster, but oftentimes it’s as phony as teams saying they will draft “the best player available” and then drafting for need instead. It rarely happens. Underwood is a better player as a receiver than Lewis is as a cornerback, and when Biggers is ready to play Lewis will likely be released.

Undrafted rookie Leonard Johnson made the Bucs at the cornerback position, and that seemed well deserved after a solid training camp and preseason. Johnson lacks the ball skills to ever develop into a starter, but could provide quality depth behind Aqib Talib, Wright, Anthony Gaitor, Biggers and sixth-year veteran Brandon McDonald, who was recently acquired.

Despite playing in the pass-happy NFC South, the plan of keeping six cornerbacks through the season seems rather excessive when considering that sixth-round draft pick Keith Tandy can play both cornerback and safety.

KEEPING GRIMM WAS A MISTAKE
The Bucs kept five safeties on their 52-man roster, but reserving a spot for third-year veteran Cody Grimm was a mistake. The reason the Bucs did so was because he has 12 games worth of starting experience, which is not a lot, but more than any other Tampa Bay player at the safety position, Ronde Barber, who became the starting free safety this year after spending his first 15 years in the NFL at cornerback.

Barber, rookies Barron and Tandy and second-year player Ahmad Black are on the depth chart ahead of Grimm, but undrafted rookie Sean Baker deserved a roster spot ahead of Grimm in terms of his ability and upside.

Baker has been solid, but not spectacular during training camp, yet stepped up and picked off a couple of passes and recovered a fumble in addition to compiling six tackles at Washington in the preseason finale. Those splash plays were the only bright spot for a pathetic defense that didn’t record a sack and gave up 459 yards, including 228 yards on the ground.

Baker, a 6-foot-1, 209-pound rookie from Ball State, did what he did best in college – create turnovers. Baker had 18 interceptions for the Cardinals in four seasons and also returned a pair of fumble recoveries for touchdowns. In one game against Washington, the rookie proved to be much more opportunistic than Grimm, who finished the preseason with just seven tackles, including four tackles against the Redskins.

Meanwhile, Baker finished the preseason with 10 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Yet apparently Baker didn’t “outperform” Grimm, who still has a penchant for diving at players’ ankles and missing some tackles. In 14 regular season NFL games, Grimm has totaled just two interceptions and one forced fumble during his injury-hit career and it seems he has hit his developmental ceiling. It would have been interesting to see where Baker’s NFL ceiling is, but that is going to be decided by another team, unfortunately.

TAMPA BAY’S DEFENSIVE TACKLE DEBACLE
What in the world are the Buccaneers doing at the defensive tackle position? The starters are Gerald McCoy, who has ended the last two seasons on injured reserve with two biceps tears, and Roy Miller, who is in a contract year after a back injury contributed to him losing his starting nose tackle job to Brian Price a year ago.

Dominik made the right move in trading Price, whose constant hamstring issues and demeanor were becoming a problem in Tampa Bay, prior to the start of training camp. While Price apparently made Chicago’s 53-man roster, he is expected to be released in favor of former Bear Amobi Okoye, who was signed by the Bucs this offseason, hampered by a knee injury, and released on Friday.

So Dominik and the Bucs stole a seventh-round pick for Price, who may wind up out of football this year. What else does Tampa Bay have to show at the defensive tackle position? The team only has three players listed as defensive tackles on its roster. One has to believe that the open roster spot might be used for a fourth defensive tackle.

Behind Miller is offseason acquisition Gary Gibson, a sixth-year veteran who has been battling a sore Achilles tendon throughout training camp and the preseason where he played sparingly and didn’t record a tackle.

Behind McCoy right now is utility man Wallace Gilberry, who could be compared to former versatile Bucs defensive linemen Tyoka Jackson and Ellis Wyms. It should be noted that Gilberry has the most career sacks – 14 – of any Bucs defensive linemen, but at 6-foot-2, 268 pounds, can he hold up inside against the run when McCoy needs a breather?

Gilberry offers up more pass rush than Frank Okam, who was released on Friday, did. But stopping the run was a major issue for Tampa Bay, which ranked dead last in that category in 2011 by surrendering 150 yards per game. If McCoy goes down with another injury, the run-stopping ability at the defensive tackle position goes down, too.

The Bucs kept five players listed as defensive ends in Adrian Clayborn, Michael Bennett, Gilberry, George Johnson and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Keeping Daniel Te’o-Nesheim over Okam seems questionable at this point, especially considering how undersized the Bucs defensive line appears to be in short yardage and goal line situations.

It appeared as if Dominik had bolstered the defensive tackle position in the offseason with the addition of Okoye and Gibson, but now that Okoye and Price are gone and Gibson has a gimpy ankle, the defensive tackle position appears to be on shaky ground in Tampa Bay.

BUCS OFFENSIVE LINE TAKES A HIT
All season long the Bucs will feel the sting of losing right guard Davin Joseph, who had knee surgery on Monday. None of the candidates to replace him – Ted Larsen, Derek Hardman or journeyman Jamon Meredith – shined in the preseason finale at Washington with all three contributing to Tampa Bay giving up five first half sacks. Larsen appears as if he will get the starting nod on opening day due to his experience, but the depth along the offensive line is woeful outside of reserve tackle Demar Dotson.

Meredith has looked bad in the preseason and is only making the roster due to the fact that he has four years worth of experience. Hardman hasn’t stepped up his game this year despite the team needing him to with Joseph’s injury, and rookie Bradley Sowell has some potential, but needs a year or two to develop and should have been placed on the practice squad.

One more injury to any of the team’s remaining starters along the interior of the offensive line – Nicks, Larsen or center Jeremy Zuttah – would be disastrous for Tampa Bay due to the lack of quality depth.

Last modified on Saturday, 01 September 2012 07:53
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    I don't think the release of any of the names that I have seen in any way makes our team any worse. Our backups this preseason have been pathetic. We need to take whatever we can get from the waiver wires. I agree with Coach, the roster should change through Tuesday, and then, even more.
  • avatar


    Arizonajoe's statement about college coaches has been for the most part true with two exceptions being Jimmy Johnson from the Miami Hurricanes to the Dallas Cowboys and more recently Jim Harbaugh from the Stanford Cardinal to the SF 49ers. Schiano's past experience in the NFL is an asset. The big difference is in college the coach has much more power over his players than a coach does in the NFL. Guys like Holtz, Spurrier and Petrino became disenchanted with the players' attitude in the pros vs college. They don't have a union to deal with in college football. Regardless of Amobi Okoye's statement I think Schiano will do fine. The Bucs needed discipline more than any team in the NFL. Some feathers are going to get ruffled in the process. I like the idea of making everyone suffer equally. Once you start making custom practice routines for individuals....Where does it end? The disposal of K2 and Tanard Jackson were absolutely the right decisions. Schiano didn't waste a lot of time putting up with the foolishness that has previously been tolerated. With this guy there is no place to hide. I like it. The players who survive and buy into a team rather than an individual mentality will appreciate the new direction of this team. Because regardless of who the coach is, the NFL is an extremely tough job and it takes tough men to make the grade.
  • avatar


    Also one difference is whether a coach played in the NFL for an extended time, they seems to have a leg up (Jim Harbaugh). But yes I would say Jimmy Johnson is part of the 3%. Coach Schiano does have some past NFL experience and that helps, but he has a long way to go...
  • avatar


    These are not Mark's moves, these are strictly Coach Schiano's moves at this point. The trimming of the roster for the regular season falls on the coach. To put blame on Mark Dominick isn't right. Mark's job is to collect as much talent as he can afford for a particular philosophy/strategy. I think Mark did a good job positioning the talent going into the preseason. I am not sure why everyone is so high on Coach Schiano. How many coaches are successful going from college to NFL head coaching positions? 3%? Coach Schiano is just showing his inexperience, arrogance, whatever. He still has the University mentality. I believe he looks at the roster of "which kid do we like"... Understandable, these hires rarely work. I am rooting for Coach Schiano cause the odds are stacked massively against him.
  • avatar


    Why this love fest for a journeyman receiver? I would expect if anyone got preferential treatment from his former coach it would be Underwood. I guess we'll know if cutting #11 was a mistake if and when he gets picked up by another team and goes on to Hawaii. Perhaps he will be joined by K2, whose release in favor of Luke Stocker must have been deemed stupid by some. But hey, some fans only need to see but a few plays in preseason games to evaluate a player.
  • avatar


    Scott, thanks for keeping it real! Underwood has outproduced our number one receiver this preseason, and cutting him was pure foolishness. Parker was great last season but that should not have been enough to keep him over Underwood. It should have been what have you done for us lately! If Price is cut by Chicago, we would be stupid not to pick him up now, just as long as he can now pass our physical. We've just signed a new DT. I would love to hear what you think about his potential. We sure needed a new OG and we signed one of them too. I hope he gets up to speed fast because Rogers is not the answer at RG. Hardrick woud be better than Rogers. I can understand keeping as many DBs as we did because Schiano likes to use a lot of DBs in some of his defensive schemes. I would be interested in your opinion on our letting both Cutera and the other LB who PR spoke highly of this Preseason, when neither one of them looked very good in the final Preseason game. Good and Brave Article, Scott!
  • avatar


    Sorry Scott but I think you are off the mark on most of these. Tiquan has been under coach since HIGH school days...he recruited him etc. Obviously he knows more than we do about the guy. He has talent but it overlaps with the two starters in front and would be wasted on the sidelines, he doesn't do well on special teams so unless he is doing his one strength he is a liability. As to Grimm......dang dude....when he is healthy he makes plays. Guys who make plays, can be strong on special teams if needed etc. bring a lot to the table. All around performance has to be considered. We dumped Tanard and K2 in time.....give the coaching staff a chance to prove themselves. They seem to know something. Splash plays in pre season against 2nd and 3rd string defenses that have not scouted or schemed against what we do isn't true game situation. Much more goes into the decision to cut or keep. Or it could be a coin toss....... GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we will soon see
  • avatar


    Point JonnnyG was that we, including you in Arizona, don't have anywhere near the evaluation data on these players that the organization does. Think there might be a reason Underwood has bounced around previously?
  • avatar

    I knew you would point out my residence as the indicator of not seeing enough as the bucs even though I have watched the same preseason games as they have, but I will say Scott Reynolds was at the practices as well so I agree with his assesment that this didn't make any sense, what the hell has Stroughter ever done to make this team anyway? We carried Maurice Stovall for 4 yrs also and yes, I have been saying to get rid of his *censored* as well but again they are the ones watching the tape so obviousely they know more than me. (sarcasm)
  • avatar


    i hope we get s. baker back and let the little guys go like strother, black and we need a good center.
  • avatar


    Scubog,and Horse making sense, I just loved Underwood's hair do! Maybe they bring him back when Sammie breaks his foot again.
  • avatar


    I think the anomally that was 2010 put our player personel guys to sleep. We draft defensive players from conferences not known for playing defense. The law of averages had to catch up with us eventually. The Big 12, the Pac 10 and the ACC aren't exactly defensive conferences. For every good defensive player you get from those conferences you get 5 bad ones. I like the SEC, Big 10 and even the Big East over those conferences for defensive players. Watch this Chandler Jones kid from Syracuse this year for the Patriots. I agree with Horse on the skill level of our current team. Schiano has a big job to do and it won't get in 1 year. A comeback by Bowers would be a big plus. Send Dominik packing and hire Butch Davis as GM. The amateur hour is over.
  • avatar


    Poor analysis. Underwood did nothing against first-stringers. Parker was our most dependable third-down receiver. Grimm is a gamer. I trust these coaches. yes, we have weaknesses and lack depth, but so does practically every NFL team, that's why the league is so competitive. Bucs will be 7-9 or better. Benn was awesome on oTAs and has too much potential to cast aside because of an unfortunate injury.
  • avatar


    At no point did the author's analysis suggest that Benn shouldn't have kept a spot. Parker disappeared for the most part and mufffed TWO punt returns just in the preseason. How was he the most dependable 3rd down receiver? He finished the preseason with 3 catches and almost as many fumbles. While Underwood may not have excelled against first stringers, he never played against them! How can he accomplish something he isn't even put in position to attempt? I was at a couple practices, and he shined there, just as he did in the live game action. That isn't to say that I don't trust the coaching staff overall - but trusting an entity and blindly assuming that every decision that entity makes are two very different things. They do have more information than we do, of course, but with the info available to you and I, this decision doesn't make any sense. Forget Preston Parker; even if we ignore that situation, how does Sammie Stroughter beat out Underwood? Straughter hasn't been relevant on this team since he caught a brilliant touchdwon against Green Bay in 2009.
  • avatar


    Man...I understand and agree that the coaches know a lot more than we do, but from my outside perspective, the list of cutdowns is extremely disheartening. The Underwood cut makes 0 sense to me. All that PP showed was a propensity to jeopardize the most valuable asset on the field - the ball. All the while, Underwood made play after play both in games and in practice. As far as we've heard, his makeup is good and he's a hard worker. So what gives? And why not keep 6 WRs? 7 DBs is too many, even if EJ is injured. 3 DT's...everything you touched on was right on, Scott. This baffles me. I'm indifferent to keeping Grimm, but when you consider what we could have done with that roster spot (kept Okoye, kept Underwood, etc.), it just doesn't make sense. I know we'll be making some additions in the next few days, but man...we had better options right in front of us than we chose. Rough day for the team, IMO.
  • avatar


    Well, let's see now.....what's going on? The Seahawks have released Kellen Winslow, the NFL has suspended the Redskins Jackson, indefinately, for substance abuse and Chicago is reporting that Brian Price will be released within 48 hours. Does anyone else have any more doubts about Coach Schiano and his coaching staff??? The BUCS have just added two, young, experienced and "healthy" defensive lineman and an offensive lineman AND THE WEEK-END IS STILL YOUNG. FOR THOSE OF YOU PREDICTING "DOOM AND GLOOM" FOR THE 2012 BUCS.....SHAME ON YOU.
  • avatar

    I'd keep Grimm over Baker, you can always resign Baker to the practice squad and Grimm has plenty of tape you can review when it matters, the regular season. I don't really have a problem with anything else you wrote except I'd have figured out a way to keep Kai Forbath for a couple of weeks and see if you could flip him for a draft choice to someone desperate for a kicker. You 100% know that kid is going to be in the NFL kicking somewhere and other teams know that as well and considering how many players on this them will be cut and released within the next week I think you could have kept for a bit. Remember when the Bucs had John Carney as our kicker in 1987 and cut him (although we did have my favorite all-time Bucs player "Donald Kicker" at the time)?
  • avatar


    Been up in Steelers and Browns country and just catching up a little. My take on final roster make-up over the years has been that we all know very little compared to the GM, coaching staff and scouts. While they have been through OTA's, poured over countless tapes, witnessed every practice, watched every game, observed players in multiple situations and scored how well they know the playbook; we, on the other hand, have seen but a few practices, watched four preseason games and read a few accounts from the media. I hardly think that gives us more credibility than those who actually get paid to make those decisions. I surely don't think there is some secret conspiracy, favoritism or vendetta at work here. Part of the process involves the player's health and Practice Squad eligibility. So before we all rush to judgement let's wait and see how it unfolds on September 9th. We all know this team is no way the final product this year...especially the offensive and defensive lines.
  • avatar


    scubog, I agree with you.
  • avatar

    I disagree on your assesment Scu! Your putting to much faith in this organization and I think Dominick should cut a check to you for the support. I mean the team is seeing the same thing we are in preseason games and practice as PR does and cutting Tiquan for an unproductive Stroughter and Benn is a joke plain and simple!!!!
  • avatar


    billbyrne, I could not agree with you more. You were right on about keeping all the DBs as we will use them to cover all the WRs in the NFC South, and blitz the QBs. We will bring back the youngsters that are still available for the practice squad. I think we have quality starters except for RG. I agree that the DTs should have been released because of poor play or health. My question is if the scouting department is doing their job why were injured players drafted or signed as FAs in the first place? Go bucs!!
  • avatar


    Tampa Trib. is reporting that DT Gilberry and OT Sowell have been replced at practice today by OT #61 and a WR #15 names unknown. The Buc's are still making moves. They need to make a lot of moves to get this team to win more than four games this year!
  • avatar


    It's going to be a long,long very tuff season for Buc fans. Seems to be the norm here.
  • avatar


    As some above, I wasn't surprised that Parker made it over Underwood. Parker was very valuable last year, especially on 3rd down. I WAS, however, surprised Underwood didn't make it over Stroughter, EXCEPT for the fact that he seems to be tabbed as the PR. Parker's inability to hold on to the ball may have been the reason Stroughter was kept and Underwood was cut. I was also surprised at the cut of Asante as I believe he has some upside, however I believe Tandy's versitility and upside may have cost Asante his spot. I DO understand keeping Tandy. I HAVE to believe that they made the decision to cut Oakum because they believe they can get another DT with more upside. That CAN'T be TOO difficult, based on the way he was playing. The difficulty is going to be for the new guys to learn the offensive and defensive systems that the Bucs have been practicing for months.
  • avatar


    Interesting but disappointing article. Underwood is not a starting receiver and does not contribute on special teams..... His release is understandable. Keeping Lewis until Biggers returns is understandable as well. Keeping seven defense backs makes sense for special teams and understanding the other three teams in our division will be throwing the ball over the field is understandable. Releasing the defensive tackles the BUCS did, was based on performance and health. They performed poorly last year and this year in preseason, letting them go is understandable. Many of the younger players will be brought back onto the practice squad and learn over the 2012 season....what is there NOT to understand about that deceision. We have two major issues to address: 1. Offensive right guard and one more "healthy" defensive tackle. 2. Keeping Freeman upright!!! Our year is over if Freeman goes down. The next week in free agency may answer my concerns, however, the real season is about to begin and Coach Schiano and his coaching staff have done a terrific job. GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar


    If there were a worthy guard or DT, I would trade a future draft pick.
  • avatar

    I liked Underwood as well, but seems the lack of playing special teams, except for the last game,caught up with him like it did in New England. Were Okoyes' knee problems a surprise to the Bucs as it appears Prices' hamstring problems were coming out of UCLA? Dom/ Hickey have done a poor job of building this team. Lots of ?????????????? still no answers.
  • avatar


    What's with the posters that keep calling for the return of Josh Johnson? Ideally you'd want a back-up QB that has actually won some games, or has a high upside, etc. At this point seems that Johnson has maxed out his potential. When you can't beat out Scott Tolzien for the #3 spot for a coach who was your HC in college, the writings on the wall. Not a huge fan of Orlovsky, wished the team had brought in a more seasoned vet to actually compete for the #2 spot. Even a rookie with some upside that could've been eligible for the practice squad might've been an option instead of Ratliffe.
  • avatar

    I Have to admit that my initial reaction after seeing our cuts was to scream and my opinions pretty much mirror yours Scott....but in the interests of fairness I will reserve my final opinion for after our "Second Draft"..but have to admit that our D line depth looks at this point to be imitating a block of swiss cheese.
  • avatar


    Trust, Belief, Accountability – you have bought into the Schiano Way. Now is not the time to question the Way. You are in the boat and you’re halfway across the lake. It is the same distance across as it is back to shore. Three NFL teams have now passed on Underwood. Maybe the professionals know something that the posters and prognosticators don’t. Patience is virtue. Trust is the by-word. When I go to my doctor for a prostrate exam, I have to trust that he does not have both hands on my shoulders!
  • avatar


    dirt1066, no way I would do that as our future in our future draft picks.
  • avatar


    macabee; I am right with you.
  • avatar

    I agree, we should have kept Underwood and dropped Parker. Stroughter can run the same routes Parker does. Why we kept so many DB's is beyond me, if they were good, that would be one thing, but most of them aren't even close to starting caliber. We need some offensive line help desperately, it's time to look at the waiver wire. As for defensive tackle, I disagree that we should have cut Price, lets go pick him up if the Bears drop him.
  • avatar

    I was not a surprise Underwood got cut over Parker. Parker is way better in the slot than Underwood is, don't let a good preseason fool you. You could make the argument that Underwood should have made it over Stroughter, but Benn and Parker are way better than Underwood. Also don't give up on Myron, with this coaching staff I think he can thrive, matching up on only bigger receivers. Then we have Wright and Gaitor for the smaller guys. Myron got beat in the Redskins game by a very fast receiver, Anthony Armstrong, the type of player he likely wouldn't be assigned to cover in the regular season.
  • avatar


    On a side note, I'm interested in seeing who the 53rd man turns out to be. I see that Josh Johnson got cut so maybe it will be him. I said earlier this year that JJ is not at starting calibur QB so he should stay here. Now he's not even a backup NFL QB anymore. But if we pick him up we'll probably drop Orlovsky so we'll still be at 52. Maybe Price since the Bears will be dropping him? Price was here for most of the OTA's so he's got to know most of the defense. Price is obviously healthy and maybe his attitude will improve since he knows he is expendable.
  • avatar


    PewterReportSR, I so disagree with your analysis. Where have you been? Underwood is someone that you call for in the middle of the season and your receiving corp has been desimated. It has been very obvious that we have maybe 15-16 actual starters and 15-16 actual backups. I don't blame Coach for dumping most of these guys because they are not in our future. Did you think maybe Scott that by cutting some of these younger ones in the next 48 hours that this may make it easier to the PS because most teams will feel comfortable to what they already have. Have we forgotten how poorly we have drafted since Dominik has been in charge? Please fans do not give up on the Bucs. Coach Schiano is the real deal and will build this team back up. We are still in the foundation building process and have a very long ways to go. We are a 3-5 win team this year and I am being nice about this. I will attend the games and I will support our Bucs because we are getting better. When we start yelling for Freeman's and Coaches head, remember that everything starts with the DL and the the OL. We got to this spot because we didn't do our homework in the past with our drafting due to very poor scouting; we still have a major problem there still. We will have to be a blizting, fast and furious Defense. We will have to run our offense like Oregon or Boise State and hope we can stay in the thick of it. We can beat Carolina; iIf we do, then I feel comfortable that we can win at least five games. We are a work in progress and hang in there as things will get better.
  • avatar

    I missed that we ditched Underwood and kept Preston???? What???? I'm with you. That is an out and out error. Shipley didn't have enough time. Why sign him in the first place? Heard he did well considering... Also, Okam was a better player than thought. A good journeyman. Sorry to see him go. Hope they have someone in mind on the wires....
  • avatar


    I agree with the points made in this article. The problem I really have is that before Price was traded PR claimed we had plenty of depth at DT if Price weren't able to make the team. Even with Okoye I called BS on that one and stated how Price's stats stacked up against Miller, Okam and Gibson. We didn't have depth at DT then and we don't have it now. My disadvantage is that I don't know what else Price has done in the locker room to piss everyone off. All in all, I'll leave by saying that Belichik is still the best HC in the NFL and he's made more questionable player moves than this and still end up playing games in late January. I want to see how they 53..er, 52 players we have perform this season before I'm ready to give up on Dominik.
  • avatar

    Good Article, My take exactly on cuts, I didn't realize we kept 13 defensive backs. Hopefully, we will fill the holes on the line with quality players that can keep our defense and offense in strong contention.
  • avatar

    My God! After reading this again you sound like one of those panicky posters who think every move by the front office is doom and gloom. Scott, you're supposed to be a pro...act like it. The second draft has just arrived and the Bucs are far from done solidifying their roster. Give it a rest bud.
  • avatar

    I liked Underwood too but when you are trying to build depth you can't afford to keep a receiver who isn't a starter that is one dimensional. Totally understand cutting him the same way Jacksonville, who has a terrible receiving corp, cut him. He's a luxury we can't afford right now.
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    Everyobdy is entitled to their opinion but I'll go with the opinions of the Head Coach and his staff every time. Underwood simply did not have the resume of Parker. He's been cut by more teams than the Buccaneers and I didn't see him returning any kicks. I'd have kept Shipley but I was not there at practice. But most importantly, I don't think this roster is complete by any means. It's not like Schiano made these cuts lightly, there are reasons that I have to respect. They certainly were not easy cuts, especially Underwood. Anyway, we'll see but I support Coach.
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    The only real issue I have with these cuts is the DL - the rest were players that only see the field with multiple injuries at their spots. Dom must have known about the weaknesses on the DL (Price, Okam were known to him, McCoy/Bowers/Okoye were obvious injury candidates) and the OL (he knows all of these backups) but didn't do much about it post round 2 of the draft (third string LBs, DBs and TEs) or through trades (see Dallas trade for Ryan Cook). I think we should take one clear message away from these moves - Dom is on the 3 year plan - the DL (DT) and OL (RT and depth) improvements come next year. He's willing to go this year with the starters as far as they take us, and if we get injuries and need our depth then he'll chalk this up to a long-term building process....I think our starters can get us over 500, but if we need more help on the lines at some point then we'll get it high in the draft next year. Hard to take as a fan - I've seen more than my share of rebuilding over the last 34 years of Buc fandom - but I think we're closer to the end of rebuilding than the start if that makes anyone feel better. We'll be competitive this year - other teams will suffer injuries too - but it's our starters that will take us anywhere (the few second stringers that see the field will be fine for a play or two at a time)...let's hope our #1s stay healthy!
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    Agree EastEndBoy. Definitely have to look long term, as it's pretty obvious the teams depth is a glaring weakness. Don't have any playoff expectations for the team this year, but if they can play like they did against Miami & NE, then they should field a pretty competitive team most weeks. Do expect the occasional stinker like they laid against Tennessee as well though.
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    @jrwilson, Don't think Ratliff is eligible for the practice squad. Would expect to see another QB added there though in the next few days. With about 1,200 players released in the last few days, would think there are a few guys out there that could improve the depth on the team. Now just have to see if the team can identify those guys and get them in here ahead of the other 31 teams out there. Having the #5 spot in the waiver claim order should help a little bit at least.
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    Well, the good news is no one else will pick up Underwood, so he'll be available when Parker muffs another punt and Stroughter isn't even one of the 48 to dress for the game. Hopefully they can pick up some other free agents and cut some of the fat still left on the current roster.....BTW Flyboy84 an NFL roster is never set, they change constantly, by the end of the season the Buc's will have made about twenty changes to try to improve the team.
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    Hey PR..I'm shocked by the cuts of Asante, Shipley, and underwood but must trust what the coach wants since we're gonna be a run team first abyway..he was right about cutting Tanard and now look he's gone for another year for substance abuse..any word on us going after OG Deuce letu since ge was cut i I remember you guys saying the bucs should go after him before..also have you heard any rumors of us taking a shot on Chris Cooley as well..think that would be a nice combo with Dallas Clark since sticker can't stay healthy.
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    I think you are jumping to conclusions Scott. I think they took a few risks with their cuts in order to make some deals for players that will help them more. Once the smoke clears, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of these players back on the roster. They actually have less than 53 players on the roster right now. I'll hold up my judgement until they have their final roster set. Okoye has a bad knee and you sure can't fault them for parting ways with him. Our D-line looks like a mash unit. we spent a second on Price in 2010 and a second on Bowers in 2011. These guys were both physical disasters. These were gambles that we lost on. So Greg Schiano is trying to turn lemons into lemonade. I think that Underwood allowing the Washington DB out fight him and get the int. near the sideline didn't bode well for him. With his size and speed he could have at least played DB and stopped the int. Parker and Strougther both have more NFL experience than Underwood. Underwood probably does have more upside and I wouldn't be surprised to see him back on the roster when all is said and done. I think Monday afternoon will serve to clear things up. Sean Baker should make the practice squad. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ratliff there also. I expect to see a trade or two.
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    I understand everyone questioning some of these moves, but to call them "mistakes" is pure speculation. First of all, you have to have some results to measure if you want to determine whether it was a good decision or not. Secondly, the criteria the coaches use to make these decisions are likely not the same criteria fans use. Sure, Underwood had better receiving numbers than Parker in the preseason, but maybe his route running or his blocking was lackluster. From the limited work I saw, he doesn't attack the ball in the air the way coaches (including Fleck) have said they would like. Parker - on the other hand - though undersized and slower than you would expect, is a physical player that uses his fearlessness and effort to make plays. He frequently works his underneath routes toward the line of scrimmage, keeping his body between the quarterback and defender. He may not always be open, but he always gives the QB a chance to make a play. If Underwood's not open - oh well, try again next play. The same goes for Baker and Grimm - who consistently keeps their assignments and fits? It seems Schiano and his staff are more interested in people consistently doing their jobs than showing up on highlight reels. Now, as for Parker returning punts, there's no excuse for that.
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    sorry but exactly as forecast. wafer-thin depth biting us even sooner than expected. the dt-draft pick flushing exercise here last 2 yrs has wounded this team to an extent it won't soon recover from. poor personnel decisions long after allen's departure (tho he needed to go) reinforce what many of us have been saying - every single person involved in personnel decisions must be escorted out of the building. likely 0-3 to start the yr, and while i had started to be encouraged, 8-8 seems a distant dream. had hoped to know whether schi can be a great coach (because pretty good doesn't get you to playoffs with any regularity) by the end of next yr, but the roster is in such bad shape we'll have to rurn over the front office again at yr end and then wait 2 more yrs before we know for sure. very, very disappointing. flying in for the home opener and 4 other games, we'll be better this yr but i fear the worst.
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    Find it funny you think you're more informed than the front office there Scott. With soooo much insight, you should be a GM somewhere. You obviously seemed to miss Schiano's repeated comments during interviews where he said that it wasn't about just training camp & preseason games, but they would look at what the player has done in the past as well. And having the cut-ups and coaches tape to go off of (which you don't), the team obviously felt more comfortable with Stroughter & Parker (who lead the team in 3rd down receptions last year) than Underwood. Granted Parker shouldn't be returning punts, but Stroughter can handle that duty as well. Personally gonna wait to see what the final roster turns out to be, which probably won't be until after Week 1.
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    I'm disappointed in Okoye not making the team more that Underwood not making the team and even though I think Underood outplayed Straughter there has to be a reason this guy has been cut by us and 2 previous teams. If we're this worried over a receiver that would have been 5th best on the depth chart then we have more worries than I thought. With that said it does seem that camp and preseason games are a total waste of time for finding the best 53. I also hope keeping some of these players around isn't just so Dominik doesn't look worse than he already does. The coaching staff has to be surprised by the lack of depth this team is without and that's a direct result of letting some veterans go too soon, bad drafting In the later rounds, and the inability to sign good solid FA for depth only. I have to think Dominik is living on borrowed time and he better make some quick moves to get this roster more balanced. He's responsible for 90% of this mess so he has to clean it up. Another way to look at it.. How does a team add 6 new starters, 3 from FA and 3 from the draft, still have this many holes? That just a GM making a lot of bad moves.
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    Well said. I am not sure what they can do NOW to fix all the holes. Seems like not a bunch. If Coach can get them to play well, it will cover up some of the holes. BUT, some of his draft picks have not been good, or have played up to theit draft possition...
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    Hit it on the button Scott - couldn't agree more. Releasing Underwood in favor of Stroughter/Parker/Benn is a real head-scratcher at best and the moves on D-Line are a total mystery IMO. Might have to lower expectations this year...I had the Bucs around .500 but now not so sure.
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    The Bucs are still 'rebuilding' after 3 failed seasons with Morris. The common link is Dom. He MUST be held accountable for his failures. Mid season we will see that lack of depth will cost the Bucs game after game after game. The NFL is the big boy league not the ivy league. We're in deep kimshi and the season hasn't even started. Sad, very sad.
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    Yout got it Rich. The draft picks have been 50/50 at BEST Price gone, Benn hurt, McCoy always hurt, Myron Lewis ewwww, and the Jurry is still out on #5. You can't keep missing on your top draft pics.
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    Well said. I like Grimm, but Baker should have made the team if they keep 5. The D line was thin to start, now it is VERY bad, stopping the run will not be easy again. I see what you say about Underwood, but to me WR was one of the best battles all camp, that does not bother me as much as Baker, and the D line. The Washington game showed our depth STINKS, and now it's even worse. Coach and GM need to pull a rabbit out of the hat, to fill the HUGE holes on this team, or it will be another long year.
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    WOW! Tell it like it is. Releasing Underwood and Baker was just plain stooopid. Coaches say "put it on tape". Well, those two guys certainly did when the live bullets were flying.
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    Great article. Thanks for pointing out the questionable calls. I think our oline depth and dline depth is a disaster and agree with your call on grimm and underwood
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