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QUARTERBACKS QB Brian Griese QB Chris Simms QB Luke McCown TOTAL: 3 Commentary: Griese enters the season as the starter with Simms serving as his backup. McCown earns the No. 3 job while Jared Allen winds up being the odd man out.
RUNNING BACKS RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams RB Michael Pittman RB Earnest Graham RB Derek Watson TOTAL: 4 Commentary: No surprises with Williams and Pittman making the team. Graham, whose had an impressive training camp and preseason, can play both halfback and fullback, which makes him valuable. Watson is a player with a lot of upside and has shown the ability to lead block for the kickoff returner.
FULLBACKS FB Mike Alstott FB Jameel Cook TOTAL: 2 Commentary: Cook beats out Razzano, who was sidelined for nearly two weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury. The team will likely try sign Razzano to the practice squad.
WIDE RECEIVERS WR Joey Galloway WR Michael Clayton WR Ike Hilliard WR Edell Shepherd WR Paris Warren TOTAL: 5 Commentary: Rookie WR Larry Brackins, who missed a significant amount of time in camp with a hamstring injury, has been slow to recover from that injury, and he’s raw, which means he might not be worthy of an active roster spot right now. That said, the Bucs might lose him to another team if they release him, so don’t be surprised if Brackins winds up on injured reserve. Wide receiver J.R. Russell hasn’t been consistent as a receiver or on special teams. He could be a practice squad candidate. DeAndrew Rubin is eligible for the practice squad, but he could stick on the active roster if he makes a splash as a return man in the next two games. If he doesn’t, look for the Bucs to bring back WR/KR Frank Murphy.
TIGHT ENDS TE Anthony Becht TE Alex Smith TE Nate Lawrie TOTAL: 3 Commentary: Although he’s still eligible for the practice squad, Lawrie has more upside than Will Heller, and the Bucs have a draft pick invested in him whereas Heller entered the league as an undrafted free agent.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN OT Anthony Davis OT Kenyatta Walker OT Todd Steussie OT Chris Colmer OG Matt Stinchcomb OG Dan Buenning OG Sean Mahan OG Jeb Terry C John Wade TOTAL: 9 Commentary: The Bucs love center Scott Jackson, who is able to play multiple positions along the offensive line, but they will probably try to sneak him on the practice squad and keep Stinchcomb instead. Steussie makes the roster after proving to be a capable backup, and Davis starts in place of Derrick Deese, who starts the season on the physically unable to perform list or is released with an injury settlement.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN DE Simeon Rice DE Greg Spires DE Dewayne White DE Bryant McNeal DT Anthony McFarland DT Chris Hovan DT Ellis Wyms DT Jon Bradley DT Anthony Bryant TOTAL: 9 Commentary: There’s a chance Bryant doesn’t make the roster. He’s raw, but defensive line coach Rod Marinelli loves his upside. Bradley beats DT Damian Gregory, who has not been the same since suffering his injury last year. The Bucs could also keep DE Josh Savage, who hasn’t made a huge splash in preseason but has a motor that won’t quit.
LINEBACKERS LB Derrick Brooks LB Shelton Quarles LB Jeff Gooch LB Barrett Ruud LB Ryan Nece LB Marquis Cooper TOTAL: 6 Commentary: There aren’t any surprises here. If the Bucs decide to keep a seventh linebacker, it will be for special teams purposes. Bam Hardmon and Jermaine Taylor are two players who could wind up on Tampa Bay’s eight-man practice squad.
CORNERBACKS CB Ronde Barber CB Brian Kelly CB Torrie Cox CB Juran Bolden CB Blue Adams TOTAL: 5 Commentary: The Bucs could go with four cornerbacks like they did to start the 2004 regular season, but Blue Adams has impressed in training camp and preseason and could convince the team to keep him on the active roster. If not, Adams is certainly a practice squad candidate.
SAFETIES S Jermaine Phillips S Dexter Jackson S Will Allen S Donte Nicholson TOTAL: 4 Commentary: Despite making an interception in preseason, seventh-round pick Hamza Abdullah doesn’t make the active roster. He is, however, a practice squad candidate.
KICKERS K Matt Bryant TOTAL: 1 Commentary: Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal last weekend, but he’s still got a stronger leg than Todd France, whose kickoffs have been short in preseason. If they both struggle in the next two games, there’s a strong chance that the Bucs will turn elsewhere to find their kicker for this season. One kicker the Bucs have had an eye on is former Florida State Seminole Xavier Beitia, who was released Wednesday by the New York Jets. For now, it looks like it will be Bryant.
PUNTERS P Josh Bidwell TOTAL: 1 Commentary: There’s no competition. Bidwell has arguably been Tampa Bay’s most impressive player in preseason. He once again solidifies the punter and holder positions for the Bucs.
LONG SNAPPER LS/TE Dave Moore TOTAL: 1 Commentary: Moore is an excellent long snapper. The Bucs were hoping that a younger player might step up and steal the job from him, which would have saved them some salary cap room, but having Moore, who can also play as an emergency tight end, serve as the team’s long snapper again is a good thing.
PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM RB Charlie Garner (knee) T Derrick Deese (ankle) TOTAL: 2 Commentary: It will be difficult for the Bucs to justify a roster spot for Garner, whose been sidelined since Week 3 of last season with a serious knee injury. He’s done a great job of rehabbing, but Garner probably won’t be ready to go when the regular season starts on Sept. 11. That mean’s he’ll probably wind up on the PUP or he’ll be released. Deese appears to be on the brink or retirement. Doctors haven’t even determined what the cause of his lingering ankle injury is. That said, Deese retires, is released or winds up on the PUP to start the season.
INJURED RESERVE WR Larry Brackins TOTAL: 1 Commentary: Brackins has a lot of upside, but he’s too raw to keep on the active roster. He hasn’t shown a knack for playing on special teams, and he’s still got a ways to go in terms of learning the offensive playbook and how to run routes. With Brackins coming off of a hamstring injury, there’s a good chance he winds up on IR, which would allow the Bucs to keep him while he continues to study the playbook and workout at One Buccaneer Place.
PRACTICE SQUAD CANDIDATES FB Rick Razzano C Scott Jackson WR J.R. Russell LB Bam Hardmon LB Jermaine Taylor S Hamza Abdullah CB James Patrick OG Jonathan Clinkscale
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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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