SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:FAB 1. BUCS’ NEW UNIFORMS UNVEILING WAS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT
When I heard that the Bucs were going to change their uniforms this year my first thought was of the fact that I had just bought my sons new Lavonte David jerseys for Christmas, which is what they wanted. As many of you know, even youth replica jerseys sold on NFL.com aren’t cheap, so I immediately fretted over the prospects of having to buy them new David jerseys for the 2014 season.
Well I was wrong. Once I saw the new jerseys, which I – and a great deal of Buccaneers fans – think aren’t too attractive, I was thankful that I purchased the red jerseys when I did last December, realizing there was no way I would buy them the new ones – even if they asked.
Thankfully, they didn’t – once they saw the new uniforms. My sons, who are both elementary school age, asked me, “Why did they change the uniforms?”
That’s a great question, and one the Glazers probably didn’t ask themselves and others within the organization when they were contemplating the idea of updating the team’s look.
Have you ever heard that old adage that says don’t change just for the sake of change? That’s what this uniform and logo change feels like. Changing for the sake of change, and that’s not good.
The last time the Bucs changed their look was in 1997, and at that time, change was needed. Change was welcomed by the Bucs fan base with open arms because Tampa Bay’s dismal history consisted of a glory year in 1979 and a couple of winning seasons and early playoff exits in 1981 and 1982 – that’s it.
No playoffs or even a winning record in 13 years from 1983-1996, some really bad football, and some truly forgettable coaches and players is what Bucco Bruce and the creamsicle look had come to represent. The Buccaneers, who were dubiously nicknamed the “Yuccaneers,” played soft and looked soft in those orange and white uniforms with the winking pirate on the helmet.
When the new, fiercer pirate flag logo was unveiled and the team’s colors switched to red and pewter there was a great deal of positive fanfare. The Bucs looked bad-*censored* and began to play like it.
The new look was an immediate hit with a majority of Tampa Bay fans, and the new logo and colors were a hit nationally with the media, too. Only a small fraction of die-hard fans that were there from the 1970s resisted the change initially.
If the Glazers were hoping to recapture the glory and excitement of the 1997 season, which is when the team ditched Bucco Bruce and the creamsicle look for the red pirate flag logo and pewter helmet and pants, they’ve failed initially. The new look back then was met with so much celebration at the Tampa Convention Center as Hardy Nickerson, Mike Alstott, Trent Dilfer and Warren Sapp (if my memory serves me correctly) modeled the new uniforms in front of hundreds of adoring, applauding Bucs fans and the media at a big, public unveiling ceremony.
Curiously, the team didn’t do that this time around. There was supposed to be a public unveiling on Wednesday, March 5, but those plans were apparently scrapped when an awful lot of Bucs fans took to Twitter and Facebook and savaged the team’s decision to change the uniforms and unveil the new look on Monday after it had been released by the team on Buccaneers.com and through social media. Yeah, that worked out well.
I don’t care what your political persuasion is, the rollout of the Affordable Heathcare Act and the new government health care exchange website has been an absolute debacle. Right from the start the website crashed and was incredibly buggy, making it extremely difficult or impossible for Americans to sign up online for health care. Even the government admits that.
The Bucs’ rollout of their new helmet and uniforms unfortunately has been much the same way. The new helmets were debuted first, last week on NFL Network, and the picture of the helmet circulated to the media and fans on social media portrayed the helmet as black – perhaps because the picture was shot against a black background for some odd reason.
Immediately, PewterReport.com was flooded with questions via e-mail and Twitter interactions about the Bucs’ new black helmet and asking, “Are y’all going to change your name to the Black Report and BlackReport.com?”
Yet when Sapp and Gerald McCoy debuted the actual helmet on television, it looked pewter. Why the Bucs would even allow the initial look of their new helmet to be misconstrued and wrongly portrayed as black is beyond me.
Then the new uniforms, which were supposed to debut on Wednesday, are suddenly rolled out on Monday without any press conference or live modeling show. Once again, some genius decided to shoot the dark pewter helmet and dark pewter jerseys against a black background instead, making the uniform look black.
The words “epic fail” come to mind. A white background would have made the metallic pewter and the other vibrant colors really pop instead.
So once again, the fans were confused over the fact that the Bucs were incorporating black into their color scheme. Confusion is the last thing a company wants when it has a major rollout of any kind. Before the pics were released, didn’t somebody at One Buccaneer Place say, “Hey, these pics make the helmet and uniform look black?”
So once they debuted there was an initial, collective groan from the majority of Bucs fans on social media. To have the new Buccaneers uniforms bring the XFL pro football league back from the grave and have it trend in the top 10 on Twitter for a couple of hours on Monday was downright embarrassing.
Aside from the confusion over whether the uniforms were black or dark pewter, most fans hated the numbers, which look like a digital alarm clock and downright stupid. 98.7 The Fan’s Justin Pawlowski, host of the Fan Interference Show with Jim Lighthall, absolutely cracked me up on Monday when he took the Bucs’ #ItsABucsLife slogan and put his own twist on it with #ItsAnAlarmClocksLife.
For those that may be unaware, a Buccaneer is a pirate, specifically a pirate from the past … when there were no digital alarm clocks or likely any clocks of any kind. Trying to make the Buccaneers look futuristic and industrial, which was the stated goal of Nike and the Glazers, just doesn’t make sense. If anything, make the number font look more antiquated and lore-filled, as the only space pirate I know of is Han Solo from Star Wars.
Whoever thought pewter and orange looked good together side-by-side is mistaken in my humble opinion. Trying to merge two distinctly different looks – the creamsicle, Bucco Bruce look with the modern red and pewter pirate look – was a mistake.
Ditch the orange and keep the colors pewter, red, white and black, and change the number font and I’m guessing the new look would probably be more tolerated by fans. The Glazers should take the fans’ input and make those changes prior to the start of this season.
The result of a few tweaks between now and August could help increase the acceptance of the new look by the fan base and likely mean more jerseys sold by team. Or better yet, keep the new, redesigned helmet and pair it with the same uniforms the team has worn from 1997-2013 for an updated look. But don’t hold your breath, as the wheels are already in motion and millions of dollars have already been spent on the new uniform designs to turn back now.
There is a perception out there that the Glazers are out of touch with the Bucs fan base and have been for years, evidenced by overpriced tickets that have resulted in less than capacity crowds and only a handful of sold out games since 2009. They should have known that the vast majority of Bucs fans weren’t clamoring for, asking for or even hinting for this logo and uniform change.
The Glazers had a huge success on their hands with the previous logo and uniform change back in 1997. Why screw up a good thing? Just because Nike wanted to?
If that’s the case, the Glazers should have stood up to Nike and said, “No,” but that’s not the case. Ed Glazer, obviously the one at the forefront of the logo change, was a willing participant and accomplice. Were the fans even brought into this logo and uniform change?
Were there focus groups of season ticket holders – you know, the folks that would be expected to buy the new jersey and logo gear – even given the chance to preview the new helmet and uniform and offer constructive criticism and feedback? Probably not because keeping it a secret was apparently more important than getting it right.
Why didn’t they have a pick-the-new-uniform contest on Buccaneers.com and solicit feedback from the fan base? You want to talk about a real web traffic driver to Buccaneers.com or the team’s Facebook page where fans could have viewed multiple versions of proposed uniform changes and provided their feedback. That would have done it.
For Glazer to have to even say on a conference call with the Nike official responsible for this debacle, “The fans will love it once they see it in person” tells you two things. First, the team knows they screwed up given the immediate backlash, which certainly wasn’t present in 1997. And second, the Glazers are hoping and praying it will grow on Bucs fans over time as the team returns to its winning ways.
Yet to think that new uniforms will wash away the stink of the Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano years and will automatically trigger a playoff run as it did in 1997 is foolish. The Bucs didn’t win in 1997 because of the new uniforms. They won because Alstott, Sapp, Dilfer, Nickerson and linebacker Derrick Brooks and running back Warrick Dunn developed into very good players and it was Year 2 in Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense.
Over the past couple of years, the Bucs have made some big splashes with regards to player acquisition. They’ve signed Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson and Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks. They’ve drafted some Pro Bowlers and All-Pros in McCoy, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David. They made a huge trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis. None of those moves resulted in sellouts or did much to increase the pewter pulse.
The Glazers have switched coaches out twice times in the past three years, but this time it feels better and more legitimate with Lovie Smith at the helm. Yet what the Glazers do not seem to understand is that it’s not about the uniforms or the coach or even the players. It’s about winning. The fans will come back when the team wins again and makes the playoffs.
Landing Smith was a step in the right direction towards that goal, but his hiring alone won’t result in automatic sellouts. The Bucs fan base is too frustrated, disappointed and apathetic with all of the losing over the past few years for that to happen. Angering the fans by messing with something that didn’t need to be messed with – the team’s cool look – doesn’t help, either.
It’s a case of bad timing, too. Sapp made the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year and helped deliver a Super Bowl to the Buccaneers in the red and pewter uniforms. So did Brooks, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. The red and pewter uniforms from 1997-2013 were actually steeped in rich tradition with that Super Bowl win, and three division titles – far more tradition than the old creamsicle uniforms ever produced.
The Glazers have a choice to make. They can listen to the fans and make some necessary aesthetic modifications to get rid of the orange-pewter combination and change the number font in an effort to try to make up for the mistake of listening too much to Nike, whose uniform redesign last year of the Jacksonville Jaguars was met with a similar “ugh” feeling, too. Or they can just ram this unwanted and unnecessary change down the throats of their paying customers and hope the new uniforms eventually “grow” on the fans as the team wins more games, which would be a mistake in my opinion.
What do you think they’ll do?
The multiple uniform combinations at the Nike-powered University of Oregon are actually recruiting tools for some high school football players. But the difference is that the majority of the Ducks’ uniform combinations look cool and appealing to their prospective recruiting targets.
The new Bucs’ uniforms don’t look appealing in the eyes of a lot of fans, and probably some NFL players, too. It would be a downright shame if the new uniforms would be deemed to be ugly by free agents who simply don’t want to look like they have a digital clock on their chest, and opt not to come to Tampa Bay in part because of that reason.
Then the new uniforms would be actually hindering the team’s efforts to win. And that is what Bucs fans really want – wins, not a uniform change.FAB 2. MAJOR OVERHAUL COMING, STARTING WITH BUCS’ OWN ROSTER
So which Buccaneers will be around to put on the off-putting new uniforms next year? For the rest of this edition of SR’s Fab 5 I’ll be revamping Tampa Bay’s roster with my “Rebuilding The Bucs” offseason plan.
Head coach Lovie Smith has already hinted that he plans on overhauling the roster, and I’m guessing about half of the players on the 2013 Tampa Bay squad won’t be around by the start of the 2014 regular season. The reason is because Smith has only mentioned the Bucs’ 4-12 mark about a thousand times this offseason, meaning that there are a lot of players on this roster that contributed mightily towards that dismal record.
The first area the Bucs need to focus on is the offensive line, which was the team’s weakest link in 2013. Smith and general manager Jason Licht have both expressed displeasure with the performance of the offensive line and the corresponding price tag for this expensive unit. With the new salary cap set at $133 million, the Bucs have approximately $18.8 million in salary cap space the team could carve out some more space by demanding some players, such as linemen Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah, to take pay cuts.
Joseph, who has four years left on his deal, is due to make $6 million in 2014. Despite really struggling last year with a staph infection and recovering from a serious knee injury that cost him the entire 2012 season, Joseph should be offered the chance to prove that an offseason’s worth of rest could improve his play. Force the 30-year old Joseph to take a $2 million pay cut to $4 million, free up some extra salary cap space and give him a chance to compete for the starting right guard spot.
The 27-year old Zuttah has had plenty of time to develop, and at age 27, he has likely hit his peak. I can’t figure if he’s better at center or left guard and whether he’s a top-flight NFL starter. He was inconsistent last year and not worth the $4.5 million he’s slated to make in 2014. Demand Zuttah cut his salary by $1.5 million down to $3 million and make him compete for the starting center spot or left guard with Carl Nicks, who is trying to come back from a second toe surgery due to a bout with MRSA last year and can’t be released due to salary cap reasons.
Donald Penn has been a durable fixture at left tackle since he entered the starting lineup in 2007, but at age 30, his played slipped last year despite entering the season in better shape than he was in during the 2012 campaign. Penn’s base pay increases from $5 million to $6.75 million in 2014. That’s too much for a player that struggled with stamina and underachieved in 2013.
The Bucs are said to be interested in Baltimore left tackle Eugene Monroe and Kansas City left tackle Brandon Albert in free agency. If that’s the case, it means they aren’t too interested in keeping Penn around. Releasing him would result in $666,666 worth of dead cap money, but would result in a cap savings of $7,416,667 for Tampa Bay and that seems like a good idea.
Parting ways with Penn saves a lot of money and gives the team three options to find a left tackle. The Bucs have said that right tackle Demar Dotson, who was the best offensive lineman in Tampa Bay last year, could be given the chance to compete at left tackle, and I like that idea. Finding another right tackle to replace Dotson would be easier and much cheaper than trying to find a quality left tackle.
Aside from moving Dotson to left tackle, the Bucs could pursue Monroe or Albert in free agency, or select a franchise-caliber left tackle, such as Auburn’s Greg Robinson or Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
One more player the Bucs might want to release is punter Michael Koenen, who is 31. Koenen also doubles as the team’s kickoff specialist, but pushing the kickoff line of scrimmage up five yards recently has taken away some of his values as touchbacks are now commonplace throughout the league. Koenen is scheduled to receive a $3.25 million base salary in 2014 and that’s too rich for a punter that ranked 25th with a 44.2-yard average and a 38.3-yard net, which ranked 26th in 2014.
The Buccaneers have a host of unrestricted free agents in 2014, but most of them are reserve players. Of linebackers Jonathan Casillas, Adam Hayward, Dekoda Watson, Jacob Cutrera, defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, defensive tackle Gary Gibson, offensive linemen Jamon Meredith and Ted Larsen, running back Brian Leonard, fullbacks Erik Lorig and Spencer Larsen, long snapper Andrew Economos, quarterback Dan Orlovsky, kickers Lawrence Tynes and Rian Lindell, cornerback Danny Gorrer and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood the only ones I would re-sign would be Lorig, Casillas, Economos and possibly Watson if he didn’t fetch more than $2 million per year on the open market.
The Bucs would be happy if Economos signed for less than $1 million per season, Lorig would re-sign for $1 million per year and both Casillas and Watson could each be had for around $1.5 million per season. That’s four key players on special teams, as well as a starting fullback, a starting long snapper and two starting-caliber linebackers on the strongside for under $5 million.
Cutting Penn and Koenen, and forcing Joseph and Zuttah take pay cuts would free up nearly $14.25 million in salary cap room. If Joseph and Zuttah objected to the pay cuts and were to be released, that would free up over $21 million of extra salary cap room (in addition to the $18.8 million) to help find their replacements. Let’s suppose Joseph and Zuttah opted to stay and reduce their salaries and those four free agents were re-signed, the Buccaneers would be entering free agents with approximately $28 million worth of salary cap space.
And the Buccaneers get to keep Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, which is important in the pass-happy NFC South division – even at $16 million per season. FAB 3. THE FREE AGENTS TAMPA BAY SHOULD TARGET IN 2014
When free agency begins on Tuesday, March 11, the Buccaneers should focus on finishing the offensive line for two reasons. First, the line was the weakest link last year for the league’s worst offense.
And second, because it seems like the Bucs are inclined to give second-year quarterback Mike Glennon a chance to see if he can develop into a long-term starter. To accurately gauge Glennon’s abilities in Jeff Tedford’s offense he needs to be upright and have ample time to throw the ball. Without a good performance by the offensive line once again the 2014 season could be wasted if Glennon displays uneven play and the team is no closer to answering the questions about his game.
The team’s top target in my opinion should be Cleveland’s Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who was coached by new Tampa Bay offensive line coach George Warhop last year. Mack was recently hit with the transition tag by the Browns, who have the right to match any offer he receives, but won’t receive any compensation if they opt not to. The transition tag is a one-year contract worth $10,039,000. Going after Mack in free agency would likely cost in excess of $7 million per year with a long-term deal, which the team could afford and have former starting center Jeremy Zuttah battle Carl Nicks or Davin Joseph for one of the guard spots. If the Bucs can’t land Mack, they always have Zuttah to fall back on for 2014.
Tampa Bay also has a hole to fill at either left or right tackle, depending on where Demar Dotson plays. While it may be tempting to make a run at Baltimore’s Eugene Monroe, Kansas City’s Branden Albert or even Oakland’s Jared Velheer, the Bucs may find some value with a player like Cincinnati’s Anthony Collins or Baltimore’s Michael Oher. Collins and Oher would come cheaper – say around $5-6 million per season instead of the $9-10 million per year that Monroe, Albert and Velheer might command on the open market. The Bucs would have the offseason and training camp to find out which tackle spots the versatile Dotson and Collins would best serve the team at.
The Bucs should also prepare themselves for the fact that Nicks may never be able to recover from two toe surgeries and that Joseph, despite a pay cut, may never regain his Pro Bowl form or play better than he did in 2013. Signing a guard in free agency might be wise, especially since Tampa Bay only has five draft picks in May as the result of trades for cornerback Darrelle Revis and offensive tackle Gabe Carimi.
Kansas City has two good ones in Geoff Schwartz, 28, and Jon Asamoah, 26. At 6-foot-6, 340 pounds, Schwartz is a mountain of a man and he played for Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in 2012 when he was the head coach in Minnesota. Schwartz stole Asamoah’s right guard job last year when Asamoah was out with a shoulder injury and never gave it back.
Schwartz played some great football down the stretch in 2013 and the Chiefs want are expected to put the full court press on to keep him over Asamoah. The Bucs should pursue whoever the Chiefs don’t land – likely Asamoah, who will likely come cheaper and could probably be had for around $4 million per year. With him onboard, the Bucs would have four NFL veterans that could vie for two starting jobs in Joseph, Nicks, Asamoah, and Zuttah, who could provide versatility as a backup center to Mack.
Adding Mack, Collins and Asamoah gives Tampa Bay three potentially new starters in 2014 and revamps the Buccaneers offensive line for a combined $18 million in salary. With about $22 million in salary cap room left it’s time to focus on other positions on offense.
New Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht is familiar with Arizona’s speed receiver Andre Roberts would be a nice fit in Tampa Bay with a multi-year contract averaging $1.5 million per year.
Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard, who is fresh off a seven-catch, 75-yard season in which he caught two touchdowns in eight games is an intriguing player who would fit well in well with the Buccaneers. At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, Ballard is a big, multi-dimensional tight end that caught 60 passes for 604 yards (15.9 avg.) and four touchdowns before tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 2011, which caused him to miss the 2012 season and the first part of the 2013 campaign.
The Cardinals will likely offer Ballard, who is a restricted free agent, a one-year tender of $1.431 million, which would come with no draft pick compensation as he entered the league as an undrafted free agent. That could make him an interesting option for the Bucs, who might be able to land his services by offering him a multi-year contact worth $1.5 million per season.
Bears veteran quarterback Josh McCown, who has a history with new Bucs head coach Lovie Smith, would be a nice addition for a deal comparable to that of Jason Campbell (two years, $3.75 million), but if it takes a contract more similar to that of Matt Hasselbeck (two years, $7.25 million) or Matt Cassel (two years, $7.4 million) to provide a legitimate challenger for Glennon and depth at the QB position then so be it. Let’s say the 34-year old McCown gets $3 million per year.
Landing Roberts, Ballard and McCown would leave the Bucs with about $16 million in salary cap space.
Tampa Bay’s rookie class will command approximately $5 million in salary cap space in 2014, and the team will want to head into the season with at least $3 million of salary cap space, so the Bucs will only have about $8 million to spend on defense and special teams.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman made $8 million last year, but at age 33, he won’t be re-signed. Tillman, who has 42 forced fumbles and 36 interceptions in his stellar 12-year career, still has a couple of good years left and could start in Tampa Bay. Signing Tillman to a contract worth $4 million per season seems reasonable and bolsters the Bucs’ cornerback position.
Tampa Bay could re-stock the defensive tackle position with 26-year old Vance Walker from Oakland, who already has five years of NFL experience. Walker has produced eight sacks in the past three years, but is more of a run stuffer who would challenge Akeem Spence for the right to line up next to Gerald McCoy. Walker has some quickness where he could serve as a backup to McCoy, too. Signing Walker for a deal worth $2 million per year seems doable.
The Bucs won’t have money left over to pursue a big-time pass rusher like Minnesota’s Jared Allen or Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson unless the team re-arranges its priorities, or decides to trade cornerback Darrelle Revis and free up $16 million in additional cap room. So the Bucs will have to rely on defensive line coach Joe Cullen to coach up young pass rushers like Adrian Clayborn, William Gholston and Da’Quan Bowers, and find some additional defensive ends in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bears return specialist Devin Hester won’t be re-signed by Chicago after earning $2,940,856 in 2013. The Bucs could probably sign the 31-year old Hester for $2 million per season to spend the rest of the team’s available cap room, leaving $8 million left for the rookie salary pool and emergency signings during the season.FAB 4. FINISHING OFF THE BUCS’ ROSTER WITH THE DRAFT
A lot of salary cap room was spent to address the Buccaneers offense, which ranked 32nd last year, during free agency, and rightly so. So when Tampa Bay is on the clock in May they can round out their roster with some impact players on the defensive side of the ball.
Here’s a look at what the Buccaneers could do in the draft to help address some needs on defense and grab a speed receiver. This is not an official mock draft as these are some of my personal favorites from scouting college players, not necessarily where I think Tampa Bay will go. PewterReport.com will have another official mock draft later in March after the start of free agency.
Here are the five players who would fit into Tampa Bay’s plans and fill some needs. ROUND 1 – Buffalo DE Khalil Mack
Mack played outside linebacker at Buffalo, but he will be a pass-rushing right defensive end in Tampa Bay where the Bucs crave his ability to get to the QB (28.5 sacks) and force fumbles (an NCAA-record 16).ROUND 2 – Wisconsin MLB Chris Borland
Borland uses his strength and instincts to overcome a lack of size (6-foot, 248 pounds) and has made a ton of plays (420 tackles, 17 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, three INTs), which is what Lovie Smith loves on defense.ROUND 3 – No pick (traded to New York Jets for CB Darrelle Revis)ROUND 4 – Oregon State CB Rashaad Reynolds
Reynolds is an ideal fit for the Tampa 2 defense with his ability to play man coverage and zone coverage and his penchant for making plays (29 passes defensed, 10 interceptions and three forced fumbles).ROUND 5 – Princeton DT Caraun Reid
The 6-foot-1, 305-pound Reid can play nose tackle or three-technique in Tampa Bay and has seen his stock climb due to 5.5 sacks as a senior along with two more in the Senior Bowl.ROUND 6 – No pick (traded to Chicago for OT Gabe Carimi)ROUND 7 – Baylor WR Tevin Reese
Reese is an athletic freak with a 41-inch vertical leap, and the Buccaneers could use his 4.46 speed and big-play ability to help juice up a slow, plodding offense.
There’s also a chance the Bucs could trade down in the draft to acquire more picks, but that’s too hard to forecast. So at the end of free agency and the draft, here is what a revamped Tampa Bay roster could look like with 20 new players (in bold
) and nine new starters (in bold italics
) counting return specialist Devin Hester. Quarterbacks – 3
QB Mike Glennon QB Josh McCown
QB Mike KafkaRunning Backs – 4
RB Doug Martin
RB Bobby Rainey
RB Mike James
RB Jeff DempsFullbacks – 2
FB Erik Lorig
FB Lonnie PryorWide Receivers – 6
WR Vincent Jackson
WR Mike WilliamsWR Andre RobertsWR Tevin Reese
WR Russell ShepardWR Undrafted free agentTight Ends – 3
TE Jake Ballard
TE Tim Wright
TE Tom CrabtreeOffensive Line – 8
LT Anthony Collins
LG Jon Asamoah
C Alex Mack
RG Davin Joseph
RT Demar Dotson
G Carl Nicks
C Jeremy Zuttah
OT Undrafted free agentDefensive Line – 8RE Khalil Mack
DT Gerald McCoyDT Vance Walker
LE Adrian Clayborn
DE Will Gholston
NT Akeem SpenceDT Caraun Reid
DE De’Quan BowersLinebackers – 6
WLB Lavonte David
MLB Mason Foster
SLB Jonathan Casillas
OLB Dekoda WatsonMLB Chris Borland
OLB Undrafted free agentDefensive Backs – 9
CB Darrelle RevisCB Charles Tillman
SS Mark Barron
FS Dashon Goldson
CB Johnthan BanksCB Rashaad Reynolds
CB D.J. Moore
FS Keith Tandy
SS Bradley McDougaldReturn Specialist – 1PR-KR Devin HesterKicking Game – 3
K Connor BarthP Jacob Schum
LS Andrew Economos
That’s a look at a possible 53-man roster complete with a few unnamed undrafted free agents that could make the 2014 Buccaneers at wide receiver, outside linebacker and offensive tackle.
If Josh McCown beats out Mike Glennon for the quarterback job and Borland beats out Mason Foster at middle linebacker there could be as many as 11 new starters in Tampa Bay in 2014. This might even be a very conservative take as I wouldn’t be surprised if the total number of new Buccaneers is actually closer to 24-28 new players and 12-13 new starters by the time September rolls around.
You can bet that the uniforms won’t be the only big in change in Tampa Bay this year. The Buccaneers roster will get a brand new look, too.FAB 5.
Here are some things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:
• If you don’t like the Buccaneers new uniforms there is a petition website that has been started. You can click here and add your name to the list,
although I’m not sure how much good it’s going to do as the Glazers have already spent millions with Nike on the new look. The real way Bucs fans can protest the new look is to not buy the jerseys and continue to wear last year’s jerseys, but that’s up to each individual fan.
The Buccaneers are expected to have a private unveiling of the uniforms for season ticket holders later this month at the stadium. Not sure if it’s for all season ticket holders or just those that have club seats and luxury suites. Stay tuned. Maybe I will change my mind about the new uniforms once I see them in person as Bucs co-chair Ed Glazer has suggested.
• The biggest roster overhaul will likely come along the offensive line in Tampa Bay where Gabe Carimi has already been released, free agents Jamon Meredith and Ted Larsen may not be re-signed and veteran starters Donald Penn and Davin Joseph may be released as part of cost-cutting measures as neither 30-year old played up to par last year. Expect half of the offensive linemen from 2013 to be gone and to see at least new players in the starting lineup.
Last year, the Buccaneers had $31.695 million invested in the offensive line. Tampa Bay spent $55.787 million on offense as a whole, so the $31.695 million represents 56.8 percent of that allocated money. No team in 2013 spent more money on the offensive line or had a higher percentage of spending on the offensive line than the Bucs.
• The departure of Dennis Hickey to Miami where he became the Dolphins general manager last month caused a vacancy in the Bucs front office. Hickey was the team’s a director of player personnel and oversaw both the pro and college scouting departments.
Sources tell PewterReport.com that new general manager Jason Licht is now in charge of the pro and college scouting and is giving director of pro scouting Shelton Quarles and director of college scouting Eric Stokes the opportunity to not only prove they are worthy of staying onboard in Tampa Bay, but also getting promoted to Hickey’s old post. The contracts of most personnel staffers and scouts expire after the NFL Draft rather than before it, so don’t expect Licht to make any major changes until May. He may look outside the organization for Hickey’s replacement, but he will also consider how Quarles and Stokes handle the team’s upcoming business in free agency and the NFL Draft, too.
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.