The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their first training camp practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on July 26 and will kick off their 2008 preseason against the Dolphins in Miami on Saturday.
Pewter Report offers up a 53-man roster based on how the Bucs have fared during the first two weeks of training camp. It's important to note that a lot can change between now and the start of the regular season based on how players perform in the preseason games.
TAMPA BAY'S PROJECTED 53-MAN ROSTER
QUARTERBACKS (4) Jeff Garcia Needs to get healthy and return to the form that helped him make the Pro Bowl in 2007. Luke McCown Has clearly been the best quarterback for the Bucs since camp started, but needs to make decisions in a more timely manner. Brian Griese Still getting reacquainted with Gruden's playbook. Needs to show more consistency. Josh Johnson Could make the 53-man roster initially with TE Jerramy Stevens' two-game suspension, but appears to be destined for the practice squad.
RUNNING BACKS (3*) Earnest Graham Skipped voluntary workouts in the offseason, but hasn't shown it in his play. Michael Bennett Strong perimeter runner and has speed to make plays in running an passing games as a situational-type back. Warrick Dunn Doesn't play like he's 33. Likely will see most of his action as a pass catcher on swing and screen passes. *Cadillac Williams Making progress, but depth at running back could allow Bucs to justify placing Williams on injured reserve once he's eligible to return from the PUP list after Week 6.
FULLBACKS (2) B.J. Askew Strong lead blocker and pass catcher, but needs to find a way to stay healthy. Byron Storer Bucs RBs coach Rich Bisaccia loves the high-effort Storer, who is a strong run blocker and special teams player.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6) Joey Galloway Should still be Tampa Bay's No. 1 receiver if and when he fully recovers from a groin injury that has kept him out of camp thus far. Michael Clayton Has returned to rookie form and might even be beyond it. Should be the starting flanker if he can show consistency and stay healthy. Ike Hilliard Jon Gruden loves Hilliard, who is clutch on third downs, but the 32-year-old WR hasn't stood out in camp. Maurice Stovall Has shown flashes in camp, but like Clayton, needs to be more consistent and physical on offense. Micheal Spurlock Still eligible for the practice squad, but reliable hands, speed and versatility on special teams could make him more worthy of a 53-man roster spot over WR Antonio Bryant and Paris Warren. Dexter Jackson Raw receiver has shown some flashes, but will make the active roster as a return specialist. Hamstring is only 90 percent healthy.
TIGHT ENDS (3*) Ben Troupe Much better pass catcher than a blocker. Is getting better everyday in Gruden's system. John Gilmore Easily the best blocker on Tampa Bay's roster. Needs to show more consistent hands. Alex Smith Reliable player, but hasn't flashed enough in camp. Needs a strong preseason. *Jerramy Stevens Faces a two-game suspension to start the season, but camp performance suggests he could be Tampa Bay's starting tight end when he returns.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8) Donald Penn Benefited from Luke Petitgout's absence. Could be starter if Petitgout doesn't get healthy soon. Arron Sears Appears to be poised to build on his impressive rookie campaign. Jeff Faine Packs a solid punch and is much more athletic and physical than John Wade. Should be a huge upgrade at center. Davin Joseph Appears to be focused and determined to turn in a Pro Bowl-caliber year. Solid run blocker, but pass protection is improving. Jeremy Trueblood Becoming a well balanced offensive lineman, but needs to avoid false start penalties. Jeremy Zuttah Third-round draft pick has shined at guard and center. Will only get better and should be a future starter. Luke Petitgout Sidelined while he recovers from knee surgery. Could be close to returning. Needs to return in order to get off of the PUP list and make the team. If he's released, either Dennis Roland or Anthony Davis will benefit. Dan Buenning Seems to be healthy and getting a good grasp on the center position. Gives the Bucs a reliable backup behind Faine.
DEFENSVISE LINEMEN (8) Gaines Adams Quick pass rusher appears to be poised to avoid sophomore slump. Jovan Haye Was having a good camp until a groin injury sidelined him. Chris Hovan Still active at the line of scrimmage. Good team leader. Kevin Carter Surprisingly could earn starting job at left end. Good run blocker, but pass-rushing skills are declining. Greg White Transitioning well from right end to left end. Should get significant playing time even if he doesn't start. Ryan Sims One of the top performers in training camp. Could push Hovan for playing time at nose tackle or replace Haye at under tackle should his groin injury not heal in a timely manner. Dre' Moore Still getting acclimated to the Florida heat and life in the NFL, but has shown flashes of playmaking ability. Jimmy Wilkerson Versatile defensive lineman has the edge over Marques Douglas, who was also signed in free agency.
LINEBACKERS (7) Derrick Brooks Even at 35, Brooks still is assignment sound and quick enough to make plays as a top performer on defense. Barrett Ruud Hasn't made a lot of splash plays, but has been solid in the middle. Cato June Probably Tampa Bay's best linebacker in coverage. Appears to be fully recovered from the foot injury. Adam Hayward Has made splash plays throughout training camp. Should be a solid special teams contributor. Quincy Black Needs to make more plays, but still good enough to make the team and groom to eventually become a starter on the strong side. Matt McCoy Bucs thought enough of McCoy as a backup Mike linebacker to release Teddy Lehman as camp started. Ryan Nece Appeared to be the odd man out, but has made enough plays in camp and is valuable enough on STs to stick.
CORNERBACKS (5) Ronde Barber Hasn't made a lot of plays in camp. Needs to flip the switch before the regular season begins. Still Tampa Bay's best cornerback. Phillip Buchanon Proven playmaker in camp and should start, but needs to make more of interception opportunities. Aqib Talib Leads the Bucs defense in interceptions with four. Freakish athlete should win nickel corner job as a rookie. Eugene Wilson Physical player has stepped up since the pads came on, but caught out of position too many times. He also needs to embrace a role on special teams if he isn't one of the top three CBs. Elbert Mack Might sneak onto the active roster if Sammy Davis can't recover from a hip injury soon. Has really stood out in training camp by making plays on the ball.
SAFETIES (4) Jermaine Phillips Consistent performer at strong safety. Looks poised to capitalize on contract year. Tanard Jackson Has shown good closing speed and instincts. Hasn't displayed ballhawk skills, though. Sabby Piscitelli Knee injury hindered him early, but has shown some impressive ball skills when on the field. Should be a solid backup safety and special teams contributor. Donte Nicholson Pleasant surprise in Bucs camp. Has created four turnovers on defense. If he proves to be solid on special teams, Nicholson could beat out Will Allen for a roster spot.
KICKER (1) Matt Bryant Has been impressively accurate on field goal attempts. Needs to improve kickoffs.
PUNTER (1) Josh Bidwell Hasn't punted much, but still displays a strong leg when he does.
LONG SNAPPER (1) Andrew Economos Good enough for the Bucs to dedicate a 53-man roster spot to him.
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