Bucs RB Mike James will be back with the team to start the season. - (Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR)
News and updates about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ final cuts to trim the roster down to 53 players came out yesterday, but the team had to make it official by 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Fans finally got answers (for now) to a number of burning preseason questions.
Who would be the No. 3 running back? Familiar face Mike James.
Who would be the No. 5 wide receiver? A late-season holdover from 2015, Evan Spencer.
How many tight ends would the team retain? A lot. Five, to be exact.
Who’s providing depth at linebacker behind Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Daryl Smith? Rookie Devonte Bond and another guy who contributed late last year, Adarius Glanton.
Another year with Johnthan Banks at cornerback? Yes.
Here’s a full look at the Bucs roster, position by position as it stands now. With the other 31 teams also announcing their cuts, there could be some available players claimed by Tampa Bay, and a few of the players on the current roster could still be released.
Quarterback (3) – Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon, Ryan Griffin
Head coach Dirk Koetter let it be known late in training camp that the team planned to open the year with three quarterbacks on the active roster. Despite a rough looking preseason, the Bucs still feel comfortable rolling with Glennon in the worst-case-scenario event of Winston going down. Glennon is on the final year of his contract and may be an attractive option around the league. Griffin didn’t perform particularly well this preseason, either, but Koetter and the offensive staff have invested time and effort teaching the third-year quarterback their system and don’t want to risk placing him on the practice squad.
Running Back (3) – Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Mike James
James beat out his young competition to remain a Buccaneer. Peyton Barber, Russell Hansbrough were his final two challengers but the team went with the experienced option. Running backs not named Martin or Sims received six total carries last year and caught five total passes, so James’ role on the team will be spent primarily as a special teamer.
Wide Reciever (5) – Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Adam Humphries, Russell Shepard, Evan Spencer
This battle for the final receiver spot was one of the most watched throughout training camp and the preseason. Spencer is back for the moment after spending much of last year on the practice squad before getting activated in late December. Spencer was taken over the other young options of Jonathan Krause, Bernard Reedy, Freddie Martino and Kenny Bell. It was thought that the fifth receiver would go to the player that proved he could be a serviceable return man, but Bell, Reedy and Krause failed to take advantage of their opportunities. Shepard is the team’s special teams specialist and may also see a few more snaps with the offense this year. Louis Murphy, who begins the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, had surgery on his torn ACL last November and most players tend to need about a year to recover from the procedure.
Tight End (5) – Cameron Brate, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Luke Stocker, Brandon Myers, Alan Cross
Five tight ends seems like a lot and unheralded rookie Alan Cross did enough to earn a spot on the 53 despite playing only 58 total preseason snaps. The undrafted 23-year-old out of Memphis beat out sixth-round pick Danny Vitale. Stocker and Myers have been retained again, mostly for their ability to block as opposed to affecting the passing attack. The battle for playing time between Brate and Seferian-Jenkins will play itself out into the season.
Offensive Line (9) – Donovan Smith, Kevin Pamphile, Joe Hawley, Ali Marpet, Demar Dotson, Evan Smith, Gosder Cherilus, Caleb Benenoch, Leonard Wester
The only question on the starting line throughout the preseason was who would be named starting center. That job appears to go back to Hawley, leaving Evan Smith as a primary backup at center and guard. The line’s elder statesman, 32-year-old Gosder Cherilus, is on the second of his two-year deal and is back to provide veteran depth. The team chose fifth-round draft pick Caleb Benenoch and undrafted rookie Leonard Wester over Josh Allen, Kyler Kerbyson, Kelvin Palmer and Ben Gottschalk. Free-agent guard J.R. Sweezy joins WR Murphy on the PUP list to start the year.
Kicker (1) – Roberto Aguayo
No player experienced more of a roller coaster preseason than the Bucs’ rookie kicker. The sky-is-falling reaction to a few missed kicks during games and practice were probably a little premature. Assuming that was the last of it because of a few converted kicks is probably wishful thinking, too. But Aguayo is the man in 2016 and beyond.
Defensive Line (10) – Robert Ayers Jr., Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Jacquies Smith, Akeem Spence, Howard Jones, William Gholston, Noah Spence, Channing Ward, DaVonte Lambert
There were no big surprises here. Rookie DT Lambert and DE Ward are sticking around, as the team will take a look at some fresh options instead of A.J. Francis, Cliff Matthews and Kourtnei Brown. George Johnson was expected to be on this list as another veteran presence coming off the edge, but an offseason hip injury landed him on injured reserve.
Linebackers (5) – Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Daryl Smith, Adarius Glanton, Devante Bond
Tampa Bay went through most of last season with six active-roster linebackers, but will start 2016 with one fewer. Extra bodies at other positions means fewer at others, and linebacker is one of these areas. Bond, a sixth-round pick this year, and Glanton, who finished last year with team, are in as backups. The final pair were selected over Luke Rhodes, Micah Awe and Josh Keyes.
Cornerbacks (6) – Brent Grimes, Alterraun Verner, Vernon Hargreaves III, Jude Adjei-Barimah, Johnthan Banks, Josh Robinson
Banks is trying to recover from last year’s nosedive. He fell out of favor with the former regime but will be back to start 2016. Robinson, an offseason free agent acquisition, will join him in providing depth behind the four others who are expected to see the bulk of defensive snaps to start the season.
Safety (4) – Bradley McDougald, Chris Conte, Ryan Smith, Keith Tandy
Smith, selected in the fourth round this spring, joins this group of veterans. Boosting the North Carolina Central product’s stock is that the coaching staff likes him as an option returning kicks. On defense, he’ll join Tandy in spelling the starters. The new defensive staff led by coordinator Mike Smith is going with McDougald at free safety and Conte and strong safety for another year.
Punter (1) – Bryan Anger
The Bucs cut Jacob Schum late last month, ending the competition with Tampa Bay’s free agent pickup out of Jacksonville. Anger performed well this preseason, averaging 48.1 yards on 15 punts, including a long of 55. Anger’s 44.6-yard net average tied him with two others for second best in the league this preseason.
Long Snapper (1) – Andrew DePaola
The third-year pro is back for another year with the Bucs. As is the case with all starting long snappers, the less you hear his name the better.
Luke Stocker continues to be a complete waste of a roster spot.
Lol. Based on what? Do you not think the Bucs need someone to block? Is this jongrudens alter ego account?
You must be jongruden’s doppelganger Gerardski.
Can’t see us go with only 3 RBs…hopefully we have our eye on Bishop Sankey (been a fan of his since his Wash days).
I think Geradski is jongrudens little brother.
I can think of at least two splash plays Luke Stocker has made in the last few years but couldn’t remember one from some of our other so called “stars” who were brought in here over the last few years.
It’s players like Stocker who do all the dirty work so guys like Evans, Martin, Jackson and Winston can shine and they are glad to do it.
Also Geradski, Stocker has been through I think four coaching regime changes. But you, in all of your infinite wisdom in cyberspace, no better. Go put your fantasy team together junior and let the professional grown ups who do this for real money and a living do the roster selection.
I’m surprised Myers made the cut. Stocker’s value I see, but two blocking tight ends?
I agree suferdudes. For the life of me, I don’t see what Brandon Myers brings to the party. Also, Luke Rhodes outplayed all the LBs and still gets cut. I don’t think he will make it to the practice squad because some team will snatch him up. I hope J. Allen makes it to the practice squad but I doubt it.
Dr. D: Folks don’t ever notice the players doing “the dirty work”. Too busy watching the ball. Too caught up with the splash players to see the work being done by those unsung types. No, Stocker isn’t used much as a pass catching threat, but as you said, four different regimes saw his worth. Haven’t heard much from jonnyg lately. He might be devastated by the Mike Jenkins injury.
I did fairly well with my personal roster prediction, but I must say a few surprised me. DT DaVonte Lambert, DE Channing Ward kept over LB Luke Rhodes and DE Kourtnie Brown were my misses. I think Brown lost out for his inability to hold up against the run. I thought we’d keep 6 LB’s . Rhodes is probably returning to the Practice Squad. Guess I should have paid more attention to Ward and Lambert.
As it is every year, there will be a few changes before the opener against the Falcons. Even though WR Russell Shepard had a better Training Camp, I still don’t see him as a legitimate #4 receiver. Likewise, Evan Spencer had his moments, but he shouldn’t buy a house just yet.
When Sweezy and Murphy are ready to return I suspect Benenoch or Wester and Spencer go to the Practice Squad.
Sure is more fun to discuss the team than society’s ills.
I hope the Bucs keep Peyton Barber on the practice squad. He is a nasty interior runner. The Bucs were lucky last year that Martin held up. Chances are he will be injured this year and I cant see Sims as a full time option (nor James).
Peyton Barber didn’t impress me. I like Mike James a s a runner. I think he is a solid option for backup who has proven success when given his chance. All one has to do is look back a few years ago when he got the chance to start in the Seattle game where he rushed for over a 100 yards against that stiff Seattle defense, and he did it with an average at best offensive line.
Yes James got 158 in one game and the next week got injured. That is why I say that neither James or Sims can be an ever down back. Too Fragile.
Roster looks good, I look forward to seeing what Koetter comes up with using all these TEs. Hoping the Dougernaught holds up all year but if not, we have viable options to take his place. Our QB and WR depth has me a little worried but I think with more time and continuity things should improve
Griffin is a waste and like others I’m not sure about Myers. Nobody wants Glennon; not sure if he would be picked up if he was just released? I know i have been wrong on these views before.
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