Bucs OL Josh Allen is giving himself a solid shot at making the team. - Photo by: Cliff Welch
An injury just derailed wide receiver Donteea Dye’s ability to stay on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s not the last time the uncontrollable will sabotage a job prospect, either.
But oftentimes it’s just that some guys play themselves onto the roster while others play themselves off of it.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter touched on that reality Tuesday afternoon as he discussed the importance of the fourth preseason game for players trying to make the final roster.
“Obviously we have a handful of spots that are still open between a couple guys,” Koetter said. “There’s a different level of football between practice and we have different tempos in practice and when we joint practice against somebody else and when you play preseason games. Preseason games are real football and some guys can make plays in practice but don’t necessarily make plays in a game and vice versa.”
Bucs RT Gosder Cherlius, 32, is the oldest lineman on the roster. – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
According to Koetter, offensive lineman Josh Allen is one of the guys making plays at the right time lately. “Great example, Josh Allen last week,” the head coach said, citing Allen’s play for the second time in as many days. “He got thrown into a situation where Josh basically comes all the way up from our third team guard to starting and he played very well and that helped his stock. That’s just one example.”
With Kevin Pamphile absent Friday while attending to family matters following the death of his mother, Allen was asked to start at left guard against the Cleveland Browns. The second-year player out of Louisiana-Monroe logged 40 first-team snaps and held his own in pass protection and run blocking. Quarterback Jameis Winston did take a couple shots Friday but no sacks were surrendered the entire night.
“Hats off to George [Warhop] and Butch [Barry], our O-Line coaches, for getting those guys ready,” Koetter said Saturday. “And for those guys – Josh Allen, that was huge what Josh Allen did last night. Josh steps up, plays 40 plays at left guard. The versatility – we talked about this last night – of Evan Smith, who’s in a battle for the starting center job, the team needed him to kick over and play right guard because Ali [Marpet] was out. And then Joe [Hawley] was down for a play, he moves over to center, he goes back to right guard.”
Allen, like Smith, is a center by nature continuing to learn and fine-tune his play at guard. “I was strictly a center in college,” he said. “Shotgun, 100 percent. I had to adjust to that last year so now I’m used to playing both.”
Allen came to Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2014, beginning a two-year cycle of cuts and re-signings that included a brief stint with Green Bay. He played the final three games of 2014 in a Bucs uniform but an injury left him team-less in 2015 until mid-November. Allen spent the final seven games of last year on the practice squad.
The Bucs spent a fifth-round pick on Caleb Benenoch but he’s no lock to be retained. – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Wednesday night will be the second time Allen plays in a preseason finale, missing last year’s because of injury. But since he’s yet to make it through a season without getting released at some point, Allen said he knows this opportunity is an important one for all young players fighting to make the team. A key for Allen to stick around is knowing where to be and what to do at all times so that coaches can turn to him as an option, like on Friday.
“That’s why George Warhop makes sure we all know what to do on every play and every assignment for every position,” Allen said. “Just in case something does happen we’re all ready to fill in whenever we need to.”
Including the still-injured J.R. Sweezy, the Bucs’ anticipated started at left guard, Tampa Bay is carrying 14 offensive linemen. That number will be whittled down to about eight on the active roster by 4 p.m. Saturday and a decision will have to be made regarding which players remain on the practice squad.
The team announced Tuesday evening that Sweezy and receiver Louis Murphy will begin the year on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning there may only be two roster spots up for grabs on the offensive line.
Donovan Smith, Joe Hawley, Evan Smith, Ali Marpet, Demar Dotson and Pamphile are all locks. Leading the discussion to provide depth are Gosder Cherilus, rookie Caleb Benenoch and Allen. The other options are Ben Gottschalk, Leonard Wester, Kyler Kerbyson and Kelvin Palmer.
I’d guess that Allen and the draft pick round out the line if we keep only eight.
Thought I read somewhere that Benenoch had been released?
Benenoch hasn’t been released and I haven’t seen that posted anywhere Gulfstrings.
As for Allen, he did a solid blue collar job last year when he was called on to play center in a preseason game. Not sure which game it was.
Seems like we have some real quality offensive lineman trying to make the team and the cuts will be difficult. Wouldn’t be surprised if one or two were called by the Colts or other teams in need of offensive line help.
Hope we an at least move one or two over to the practice squad for depth purposes.
As far as our WR’s our concerned, they look like a pedestrian lot after Shepherd whose star has also lost a little luster after his Eagles game. I don’t think the Bucs are going to have to worry abut any of them being snatched up before one of them lands on the practice squad.
Just put Benenoch on IR and red shirt the guy like Bell.
What happen to all the people who did not like line coach warhop.
Seems like left guard is difficult for us to fill. Cal Nicks was great until he came over to us.
Played what, 6 or 7 games? Now Sweezy. Hope Allen can get it done. GO BUCS
I didn’t like keeping Warhop but it’s one of those examples of the talent and the head coach being the problem more than the assistant coach. Lovie is the dumbass that blew our O line up his first year with too many changes and made complete mess of things. I’ll admit Warhop wasn’t the problem or at least safe to say wasn’t the whole problem.
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