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John Wade (6-5, 299) Before he dislocated his knee last season, Wade had been Tampa Bay’s most consistent offensive lineman over the past two seasons. According to the team, Wade was also sorely missed from a leadership standpoint. Although he hasn’t participated in organized team activities this offseason, Wade has been seen jogging up and down the football fields at One Buccaneer Place. The Bucs expect Wade to be ready for the start of training camp. His leadership will definitely be needed for what will likely be a young and inexperienced offensive line.
Sean Mahan (6-3, 301) Mahan replaced Wade as the team’s starting center for the final nine games (eight starts) of the 2004 season, and Tampa Bay was pleased with his improvement during his on-the-job training. While he still needs to work on becoming a polished player, the Bucs expect Mahan to compete for a starting job at right guard, and he will be the starting center if Wade falls behind schedule in his attempt to recover from his knee injury.
Scott Jackson (6-4, 300) The Bucs are “intrigued” by Jackson, who has made steady improvement since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of BYU. While he’s listed as a center, Jackson practically played everywhere but center in practice last season due to injuries suffered by other players. He won’t win a starting job, but don’t be surprised if Jackson earns a 53-man roster spot in training camp and preseason due to his versatility.
Matt Stinchcomb (6-6, 310) Stinchcomb is one of Tampa Bay’s most versatile offensive lineman, but he was inconsistent in 2004, which was his first year as a starting left guard. The Bucs would like Stinchcomb to restructure his contract, which calls for him to have a $1.35 million salary cap value this season. While Stinchcomb has been rumored to be a June 1 cap casualty, Tampa Bay would like to keep him around. Even if he doesn’t win a starting job this year, Stinchcomb’s ability to play all five positions along the offensive line could come in handy.
Jeb Terry (6-5, 311) The loss of Cosey Coleman in free agency has put Terry in position to win Tampa Bay’s starting right guard job. However, the job isn’t his yet. The Bucs were happy with the progression he made last year, although he still needs to work on his pass protection. Tampa Bay likes what it has seen from Terry this offseason, but the Bucs are waiting to anoint him the starting right guard position until they see him in live action in training camp and preseason. As of right now, it certainly looks like it’s Terry’s job to lose.
Dan Buenning (6-4, 320) Bucs offensive line coach Bill Muir has been extremely impressed with Buenning’s learning curve. The Bucs feel Buenning, who is concentrating at left guard but can also play right guard, is fundamentally sound in a lot of ways due in part to his playing days at Wisconsin, which has produced some good O-linemen. He’s just a rookie, but the Bucs feel Buenning could realistically beat out Stinchcomb for the starting left guard job this year.
Jonathan Clinkscale (6-2, 315) Another Wisconsin product, Clinkscale isn’t quite up to Buenning’s speed, but he appears to be a strong practice squad candidate. Clinkscale, who is playing primarily at right guard, chose Tampa Bay over several other teams since the Bucs appear to be thin at the guard position. While that might be true, the Bucs have quite the competition going amongst their young O-linemen, which is why it will be tough for Clinkscale to win an active roster spot.
Doug Buckles (6-5, 311) Buckles is probably another practice squad candidate. Tampa Bay feels it got a quality player from a quality institution when it signed Buckles in free agency. A four-year starter at Ole Miss, Buckles is working on making the transition from college to the pros, which hasn’t been easy for him. The Bucs are working on crosstraining Buckles at both guard positions.
Chris Watton (6-3, 305) Watton was just signed this week, and although he’s spent time with several NFL teams and played in the Arena League, he appears to be hard pressed to win a roster spot. He’ll have to pick up Bucs head coach Jon Gruden’s playbook rather quickly in order to catch up and have a chance. He’ll play at both guard and center.
Derrick Deese (6-3, 289) This could be the final season in Tampa Bay for the 35-year-old Deese, but the Bucs are expecting him to have a good season regardless. Muir suggested that Deese was a bit more banged up in 2004 than people might have realized. The foot injury, which sidelined him for a good portion of training camp and preseason, is healed, and Muir said Deese is having a good offseason. With the infusion of youth on offense, the Bucs expect to get great veteran leadership from Deese this season. While Deese has been mentioned as a possible salary cap casualty this offseason, his $2.137 million cap value appears to be reasonable for a starting left tackle. However, that possibility will still remain until the Bucs clear out the money necessary to sign all 12 of their draft picks.
Kenyatta Walker (6-5, 302) Walker is coming off a knee injury and minor surgery that has kept him off the practice field during OTAs. The Bucs view this year as a make-or-break year for Walker, who is in the final year of his rookie contract with the team. Walker is expected to be ready by training camp, but even when he returns to the field he’ll need to work on getting his timing back. In the meantime, Anthony Davis has been taking a significant amount of reps in his place at right tackle. Walker, who has a whopping $3.4 million cap value in ’05, has also been mentioned as a possible cap casualty this summer.
Anthony Davis (6-4, 329) The Bucs are expecting big things from Davis, who is entering his third year in the NFL. While Davis has been crosstrained to play any one of four positions (left and right tackle, left and right guard), he’s spent most of the offseason working at left and right tackle. Tampa Bay was extremely pleased with Davis’ play in practice throughout the 2004 season, but now they want to see what he can do in games. Muir went on record as saying he’d be “extremely disappointed” if Davis doesn’t challenge for a starting job this year. If he’s going to win a starting job, look for it to be at one of the tackle spots.
Chris Colmer (6-5, 310) The Bucs love Colmer’s physical attributes and believe he could become Deese’s successor as soon as the 2006 season. Colmer, who was one of Tampa Bay’s two third-round picks in April, is working through the transition period from college to the pros. The Bucs have been crossstraining Colmer at left and right tackle, but the majority of his work has come on the left side, which is where he spent his collegiate career playing.
Kevin Fischer (6-5, 275) Last year, Pewter Report labeled Davis Tampa Bay’s sleeper. If you’re looking for another sleeper for the 2005 season, look no further than Fischer, who was signed after Tampa Bay’s rookie mini-camp in May. Fischer appears to be extremely undersized for a left tackle, but he’s competitive and a great athlete. The thing the Bucs really like about Fischer is his ability to deep snap, which is a position currently occupied by Dave Moore. Perhaps the word “project” is more appropriate than “sleeper” when discussing Fischer, who needs to add some more size, but the Bucs feel he has a real chance of sticking around this season. Keep an eye on him in training camp.
Lance Nimmo (6-5, 303) Tampa Bay recently claimed Nimmo off of waivers, and Muir hasn’t seen enough of him to make an evaluation yet. However, the Bucs were pleased to be able to get their 2003 fourth-round pick back on their roster after a two-year hiatus with other teams. When the Bucs released Nimmo just before the ’03 regular season started, they had hoped to sneak him onto their practice squad, but that plan was derailed after the New York Jets claimed him off the waiver wire.
Todd Steussie (6-6, 320), Matt Martin (6-6, 300) and Mitch White (6-4, 311): As PewterReport.com reported on Thursday, all signs suggest Steussie’s days in Tampa Bay are numbered. He’s missed the past two weeks of OTAs.
As first reported in last week’s Flynn’s Focus, White has decided to retire due to a concussion he suffered during Cologne’s NFL Europe training camp.
According to Muir, Martin, who was arrested earlier this offseason, is no longer with the Bucs.
There’s a chance that all three players could be officially removed from Tampa Bay’s offseason roster sometime before the start of the team’s three-day mandatory mini-camp, which will be held next week.
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