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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to trim their roster down to 75 players on Tuesday, August 29. Traditionally, teams had to pare their rosters to 65 after the third preseason game, but that’s not the case due to the rule changes brought forth by the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. Also gone are the exemptions for NFL Europe players, who were traditionally protected until the fourth preseason game.

(Previously, PewterReport.com had erroneously reported that the NFL Europe player exemptions were still in effect this year.)

As usual, PewterReport.com is forecasting the Bucs’ 53-man roster prior to the start of the third preseason game. While there is a chance a player could star in the third and fourth preseason games and make his way onto the roster, our evaluations are based on what we’ve seen from the training camp practices and the first two preseason games, and typically, that is enough to form strong opinions about which players will and won’t be Buccaneers.

Here is PewterReport.com’s 53-man Buccaneers roster forecast:

QUARTERBACKS – 3
QB Chris Simms
QB Bruce Gradkowski
QB Tim Rattay
Who gets cut? It’s tough to keep Jay Fiedler (shoulder) on the active roster sight unseen. A more logical move would be placing him on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list with Luke McCown (knee). That would give the Buccaneers five quarterbacks in their stable for now and down the road. Fiedler and McCown would be forced to miss the first six games of the season, but would give Tampa Bay some options for the second half of the 2006 campaign once they get fully healthy. NFL Europe player Jared Allen is an obvious cut.

RUNNING BACKS – 5
RB Cadillac Williams
RB Michael Pittman
RB Earnest Graham
FB Mike Alstott
FB Rick Razzano
Who gets cut? Unless Carey Davis lights it up in the final two preseason games, he’s likely practice squad material. He has nice potential, and is a decent athlete, but he’s a bit raw. Derek Watson missed the first two preseason games and that will likely cost him a roster spot unless he blows up versus Jacksonville. Jacque Lewis is an NFL Europe player who is just a camp body. For whatever reason, free agent import Jerald Sowell just hasn’t acclimated himself into the offense enough to where he has stood out on regular basis in practice. Rick Razzano has the advantage of being a younger option with a bigger upside, as well a Bucs draft pick (seventh round in 2005). Razzano also serves as the personal protector on punts and was recruited to Ole Miss by Bucs special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, which gives him an edge over Sowell, whose playing days are coming to an end. Robert Douglas, who was waived prior to camp and then brought back at the very end, doesn’t make the cut.

TIGHT ENDS – 4
TE Alex Smith
TE Anthony Becht
TE-LS Dave Moore
TE Mark Anelli
Who gets cut? Seventh-round draft pick Tim Massaquoi doesn’t have the special teams prowess that Mark Anelli does. Anelli can also long snap, which is valuable to the Bucs. Massaquoi could possibly wind up on the Bucs’ practice squad. Matt Kranchick has great size, but hasn’t fully grasped the playbook and doesn’t have ideal athleticism.

WIDE RECEIVERS – 7
WR Joey Galloway
WR Michael Clayton
WR Ike Hilliard
WR Maurice Stovall
WR David Boston
WR Edell Shepherd
WR Mark Jones
Who gets cut? The Bucs have kept five running backs and seven receivers before, and will do so again this season. Although he has remained healthy this summer, David Boston has had two knee injuries knock him out of the past two seasons. Thus, keeping a speedy player like Edell Shepherd around would be wise for the Buccaneers. And aside from last year, Joey Galloway, the team’s best deep threat, hasn’t been a poster boy for staying healthy, either. Paris Warren is a poor man’s Ike Hilliard and may be a practice squad candidate once again. J.R. Russell has good size and can make some spectacular catches occasionally, but his attitude isn’t the best. Chas Gessner had a strong start to training camp, but has had problems with drops. Derek McCoy isn’t an elite receiver.

OFFENSIVE LINE – 9
OT Anthony Davis
OT Kenyatta Walker
OT Jeremy Trueblood
G Dan Buenning
G Jeb Terry
G Davin Joseph
C Sean Mahan
C John Wade
OL Scott Jackson
Who gets cut? Tackle Torrin Tucker is an easy out. It appears as if he’s simply collecting a check as he has rarely practiced since training camp began and will likely miss the first three preseason games. Tackle Sam Lightbody has decent size and skills, but lacks the aggressiveness and consistency needed to play in the NFL. He’s a camp body and a potential practice squader. Jonathan Clinkscale may be destined for the practice squad again. He’s versatile and can play center or guard, which is a plus. Guard Toniu Fonoti has struggled in pass protection and doesn’t have the quickness Bill Muir needs his linemen to have. Guard Daniel Martz hasn’t done enough to impress the Bucs.

DEFENSIVE LINE – 8
DE Simeon Rice
DE Greg Spires
DE Dewayne White
DT Chris Hovan
DT Anthony McFarland
DT Ellis Wyms
DT Jon Bradley
DE Andrew Williams
Who gets cut? If the Bucs keep nine defensive linemen and short another position, rookie Julian Jenkins would make the team. In Pewter Report’s estimation, he’s the 54th player on Tampa Bay’s roster. Jenkins has starred on special teams, which is the primary reason why he might make the roster, but has made a slow adjustment to defensive tackle after playing end in college. The Bucs like Jenkins’ versatility and envision him developing like Ellis Wyms did. If he doesn’t make the active roster, he is certainly on the practice squad. Nose tackle Anthony Bryant doesn’t play on special teams like Jon Bradley does, and although he has improved from a physical conditioning standpoint, he’s not a playmaker. The fact that both Dewayne White and Greg Spires can play defensive tackle in a pinch, and Wyms and Bradley can also play end, allows the Bucs to keep four defensive tackles and four ends. Rookie Charles Bennett deserves a look on the practice squad. Keith Wright, Kevin Lewis and Jordan Hicks are all camp bodies.

LINEBACKERS – 6
LB Derrick Brooks
LB Shelton Quarles
LB Ryan Nece
LB Jamie Winborn
LB Barrett Ruud
LB Marquis Cooper
Who gets cut? Marquis Cooper is vulnerable due to a shoulder injury, but the fact that he’s a former third-round pick and has established himself on special teams should be enough to secure him a roster spot. However, both Antoine Cash and Wesly Mallard have performed well with extended reps due to Coop’s absence and both have played great on special teams. Cash may have the edge and with a great game at Jacksonville, and he could sneak on the active roster. If not, he seems to be a strong candidate for the practice squad once again. Rookie Anthony Trucks has had a slow adjustment to middle linebacker and hasn’t made many plays in the preseason. The same could be said for Jermaine Taylor, who has had a quiet preseason and will not make the team.

CORNERBACKS – 5
CB Ronde Barber
CB Brian Kelly
CB Juran Bolden
CB Alan Zemaitis
CB Torrie Cox
Who gets cut? James Patrick has made a late push for the fifth cornerback position, but it seems like it is Torrie Cox’s job to lose. Cox has proven himself on special teams as a coverage specialist and a possible kick returner, so he has increased his value to the team in those areas. Patrick isn’t as good a special teamer as Cox is, and hasn’t made as many plays from the cornerback position to make a strong case for keeping him. Minnesota defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who was Tampa Bay’s former defensive backs coach, probably can’t wait to gobble up Patrick. Seventh-round draft pick Justin Phinisee, who might miss the Jacksonville preseason game, hasn’t done enough to earn a roster spot yet. He’s an ideal practice squad candidate as he could develop into a good special teamer/return man/cornerback in time. Dwight Ellick appears to be a camp body.

SAFETIES – 4
SS Jermaine Phillips
FS Will Allen
SS Kalvin Pearson
FS Blue Adams
Who gets cut? Adams has made a strong case for making the roster by being extremely active in the preseason and for being a sure tackler. He’s very physical despite his cornerback size, and Adams is a sound special teamer. He beats out Steve Cargile and Donte Nicholson, a fifth-round draft pick from a year ago. Both Cargile and Nicholson have had their moments, but the fact that Adams has come on so strong so quickly only spotlights Nicholson’s slow, yet gradual improvement. Cargile is a physical specimen and could be a practice squad candidate.

KICKING GAME – 2
K Matt Bryant
P Josh Bidwell
Who gets cut? Punter Brian Simjanovski is light years away from being in Josh Bidwell’s class. Bidwell is a Pro Bowler and has had a great preseason. Kicker Xavier Beitia didn’t take advantage of a shaky week by Matt Bryant in training camp. The fact that he missed an extra point in the Bucs’ preseason opening win versus the New York Jets didn’t help matters, either.


This story is intended to be read by Pewter Insider subscribers only. Sharing of the PI content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.



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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 spent six years 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: sr@pewterreport.com
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