Yardbarker Horiz

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mirror, Mirror for Bucs and Jags

Last week we compared the rebuilding process done by General Manager Scott Pioli with the Kansas City Chiefs to the rebuilding done by General Manager Mark Dominik with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  This week, we'll compare Dominik to Gene Smith and his rebuild-in-progress in Jacksonville.  As you'll see, the two teams as well as the philosophies of their General Managers are mirror reflections.

As previously noted, Gene Smith inherited some valuable players at key positions, such as Quarterback and Running Back.  With these pieces in place, the Jaguars have spent their draft picks up front on both sides of the football:  in 2009, the Jaguars drafted offensive tackles with their first two picks, then added a defensive tackle in the second round.  In 2010, Jacksonville spent their first four picks on defensive linemen (another tackle and three defensive ends).  The results of this approach are, as all second year plans in the NFL seem to be, inconclusive at this point.

Let's compare: 

2009 First Round Picks:
Buccaneers:  Josh Freeman, QB
Jaguars:  Eugene Monroe, OT
Quarterback in Tampa had been a revolving door since the SuperBowl victory in 2002.  While Josh Freeman is the designated starter in his second year, he will not play for the rest of the preseason to nurse a broken bone in the thumb of his throwing hand.  Meanwhile, Jacksonville already had an established veteran in David Gerrard and so was able to select elsewhere.  Monroe started the Jaguars second and third preseason games in 2010.

2009 Second Round:
Buccaneers:  No Pick
Jaguars: Eben Britton, OT
Britton has been inactive for both the Jaguars preseason games this season but started opposite of Monroe against Tampa Bay 

2009 Third Round:
Buccaneers:  R Miller, DT, starter for all 2010 preseason games
Jaguars:  T. Knighton, DT, starter for all 2010 preseason games, and Derek Cox, DB, currently at the top of the depth chart at one cornerback position after a promising rookie season.

2010 First Round:
Buccaneers:  Gerald McCoy, DT, starter for all 2010 preseason games
Jaguars:  Tyson Alualu, DE, not active for the first preseason game but started the second and third.  Are you noticing the defensive draft patterns here?  Did I mention that these two francises have proud defensive histories?  Hold on, more on the way.

2010 Second Round:
Buccaneers:  Brian Price, DT,  not active for the first preseason game but started the second and third; Arrelious Benn, WR, currently mired in a suddenly deep receiver group.
Jaguars:  No pick.
This flips the 2nd round from 2009. 

2010 Third Round:
Buccaneers:  Myron Lewis, CB, hampered by injuries saw his first time in the 2nd 2010 preseason game and played in the third.
Jaguars:  D'Anthony Smith, DT, has not played in the preseason in 2010.

Some common attributes for new General Managers are starting to become apparent.  The first is getting a talented QB in position.  As evidenced by Dominik and Holmgren this past offseason, continuing with Pioli in KC and Smith in Jacksonville, all the newly appointed General Managers have either inherited a competent starting quarterback (Smith), gotten one from free agency (Holmgren, Pioli), or sought one through an early draft pick (Dominik, Holmgren again).  Other Class of 2009 General Managers are doing the same thing:  Denver traded for Kyle Orton and drafted Tim Tebow; Detroit drafted Matthew Stafford; St. Louis drafted Sam Bradford (QB).  Settling the Quarterback position seems to be job #1.  In many cases, these men are living up to the job (though not all, yet).

For the Buccaneers and the Jaguars, the next step was upgrading the defense.  Both teams have spent a great deal of draft picks up front on defense, and likewise you saw two young defenses play strong last Saturday night to a 10-6 at half, 19-16 final score.

In fact, these two teams specifically are starting to look very similar, with youth up front on defense, at the corner, and at the wide receiver positions.

Will these teams have similar success this season?  In less than two weeks we'll start to see the answer unfold!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bucs vs Jaguars: Dominik facing another GM Classmate

Gene Smith of the Jacksonville Jaguars is not only the General Manager, he is the first General Manager ever in Jacksonville.  Mark Dominik is the fourth General Manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The two men have very similar backgrounds, as well as paths to their current positions.

Both started in the NFL in 1994 -- Dominik with the Kansas City Chiefs and Smith with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Dominik moved to the Buccaneers in 1995 after a year and a half of college scouting. 

Smith has only ever worked for Jacksonville, becoming director of college scouting in 2000 and director of College and pro scouting in 2008 before becoming General Manager in 2009.

Dominik started with Tampa Bay as a Pro Personnel Assistant and was promoted to Pro Scout in 1998, then to Pro Personnel Coordinator in 2000.  In 2001, Dominik became Director of Pro Personnel -- a role he maintained until 2009 when he became the fourth General Manager of Tampa Bay.

The common career paths, though, had nothing to do with what the men were handed when they got to the top of the ladder. 

Smith inherited Gavid Garrard, an established NFL quarterback who threw for nearly 3,600 yards and 15 TDs vs 10 INTs in Smiths first year.  Add in an established running game which garnered Maurice Jones-Drew almost 1,400 yards rushing and 15 TDs and you have something to build around.  Yet Jacksonville had a roller-coaster ride last year to 7-9, including a thrilling 24-22 win over the Jets (who went on to the AFC title game), but also including a 41-0 loss to Seattle, one of only five wins for the Seahawks in 2009.

Dominik used his first pick in the 2009 draft to stabilize his quarterback position.  Although he inherited running back Cadillac Williams, Williams was coming off two consecutive seasons of knee injuries and the associated surgury.  Dominik went to free agency to get Derrick Ward to solidify the running back position.  The Buccaneers suffered through a youth movement and 3-13 record in 2009, with a signature win over the SuperBowl champion New Orleans Saints on the road as the high point of the season, and a Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills, 33-20, as the low point.

So although these two GMs have much in common, they are at different points in shaping their teams.  Dominik released veterans and has built through the draft around a young core.  Smith inherited a veteran core, but needs to quickly build depth before the veterans start to decline.  One thing to watch during the preseason contest tonight is the mental toughness -- do the Buccaneers play mature?  Do the Jaguars play old?  Finally, both franchises (and both GMs as well) emphasize excellence on defense and physical play, so it should be a very rugged and fast game -- the best kind of NFL football!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Offensive Line Showing Strength

If there is one thing we now know about the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is the offensive line is ready to go.

Facing a blitz on nearly every down last Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium, the quarterbacks and offensive line worked in tandem to audible out to quick hit pass plays and slowly dissected the Chiefs.  How good was it?

Zero sacks.  None, nada, zip, zilch, zero.  Granted the Chiefs were a 4-12 team last year and gave up the most yards in team history against the Cleveland Browns last year.  But still it was mostly 6-8 versus the Buccaneer's front 5 for most of the night.  And zero sacks against anyone in the NFL is not easy to do.

The Buccaneers 53-yard touchdown from Josh Johnson to Micheal Spurlock was a prime example:  facing an all out  blitz (including the Cheifs top draft choice Eric Berry from the safety position) the offensive line reacted correctly and accounted for all the defenders, Spurlock evaded one-on-one coverage from Kansas City corner Brandon Flowers, and Josh Johnson laid in a quick but accurate throw.  Touchdown!

I think, looking at both games so far this preseason, it's becoming obvious that the offense is quite a bit ahead of the defense so far.  It should not be a surprise -- rookies on the defensive line take time to adjust to NFL schemes and trickery.  If it is the case the defense needs more time to jell, then it will be up to the offensive line to move the chains and win time of possession which will limit the number of opportunities for the opposing team.  It appears the offensive line is up to the task.

The same unit has started both preseason games so far in 2010 and is the same group that started most of the 2009 season:
Left Tackle:  #70 Donald Penn
Left Guard:  #76 Jeremy Zuttah
Center:  #52 Jeff Faine
Right Guard:  #75 Davin Joseph
Right Tackle:  #65 Jeremy Trueblood

Coach Morris has already announced the Keydrick Vincent, a 10 year pro and 2010 free agent signing, will replace 3rd year pro Jeremy Zuttah at Left Guard this Saturday night against Jacksonville.  Zuttah was pressed into service with the unexpected departure of Aaron Sears during the 2008 offseason.  Zuttah has shown some versatility this preseason:  when Vincent entered the game Zuttah moved inside and took snaps at center.  This is an important need for this team -- when Center Jeff Faine went down with an injury for a few weeks last season the offense sputtered and the team had to go to the waiver wire to find a suitable replacement.  Was it actually because there was no suitable backup for Zuttah?  It would explain the offseason signing of Vincent, but only the GM knows for sure.  Nonetheless, if Zuttah can back up both Left Guard and Center his value to this team skyrockets, and anything he learns from Vincent is icing on the cake.

The opponent this Saturday night is the Jacksonville Jaguars, well known for their defensive-minded coach and recent efforts to rebuild a defense which has been very stout in the past.  If the offensive line can continue to protect the quarterback in passing situations and furthur develop the running game this week it could establish itself as the strongest unit on the team going into Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns.  It may even be possible to control and win some of the early season games with ball control, giving the youthful defense more time to develop.

A strong showing by the offensive line this week will set a strong tone for early part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season.  If it gets contagious for this young team big things could happen this year!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bucs vs Chiefs is Dominik vs Pioli . . . Philosophically

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers square off against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game where the score does not matter this Saturday night, there will be more than players competing on the field.  The philosophies of the General Managers, Mark Dominik of the Buccaneers and Scott Pioli of the Chiefs, will also be on display.

Mark Dominik and Scott Pioli are members of the NFL General Manager class of 2009.  Both men inherited teams struggling with identity, direction, and results.  They have both turned over their rosters and are now one year down the road of rebuilding their respective franchises in their own images.  Saturday will be a chance to watch these rebuilding projects in action.

A comparison shows the two men have made some different choices but have also had some common experiences in their first seasons at the top of their personnel departments:


3-13 record4-12 record

Drafted quarterback Josh Freeman with his first ever draft pick (first round of his first draft)Traded for then-Patriot Matt Cassel, who was coming off his first full season as a starting quarterback.

Freeman did not start until 2009 Week 9Cassel has started since 2009 Week 1

Traded 2010 2nd round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for TE Kellen Winslow (lead team in receptions in 2009)Traded away TE Tony Gonzalez (led team in receptions in 2008) to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2010 2nd round draft pick

The Browns used the Winslow 2nd Round Pick to trade downThe Chiefs used the Gonzalez 2nd Round Pick to get CB Javier Arenas

Fired their offensive coordinator the week before the start of the 2009 seasonFired their offensive coordinator the week before the start of the 2009 season

Fired their defensive coordinator during the season with head coach Raheem Morris taking over defensive coordinator dutiesFired their wide receivers coach during the 2009 season and their defensive coordinator after the 2009 season

No coordinators changed during 2010 offseasonTwo new coordinators for 2010: Romeo Crenell on defense and Charlie Weiss on offense

Has drafted 9 defensive players, 5 offensive players, and 1 specialist since becoming GMHas drafted 7 defensive players, 7 offensive players, and one specialist since becoming GM

Has retained 4 of 5 offensive lines starters from prior GMHas retained 3 of 5 offensive line starters from prior GM

Has retained none of the starting defensive linemen left by the prior GM (selected a defensive tackle with his first pick in 2010)Has retained neither of the starting safeties left by the prior GM (selected a safety with his first pick in 2010)

Dominik finished 2009 with a player he inherited at tailback:  Cadillac Williams, who rushed 211 times for 823 yards and 4 tds.Pioli finished 2010 with a player he inherited at tailback:  Jamaal Charles, who rushed 190 times for 1120 yards and 7 tds.

Continue to run the Tampa-2 version of the 4-3 on defenseHave converted from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense

Had only one rookie starter by the end of 2009 (QB Josh Freeman)Had only one rookie starter by the end of 2009 (DE Tyson Jackson)

Has two players with more than 10 years NFL experience on his roster:  CB Ronde Barber and OG Keydrick Vincent.Has six players with more than 10 years NFL experience on his roster:  LB Mike Vrabel, C Casey Wiegmann, RB Thomas Jones, G Brian Waters, WR Chris Chambers, and DT Ron Edwards.

Seems both men have had their share of difficult decisions to make since taking on their new role and responsibilities.

Clearly both men have not had much time to make grand changes to the personnel on their squads. It appears this is by design, as both men are dedicated to building through the draft with all 2009 (and 2010) draft picks still on their respective rosters. The build-through-youth philosophy also shows in the 80-man camp rosters for both clubs: the Chiefs have 41 players on their 80-man camp roster with 2 or fewer years of NFL experience (i.e. youth added by Pioli) while the Buccaneers have 43 players with two or fewer years of experience (i.e., youth added by Dominik).   Clearly both teams will have a significant number of young players on the opening day 53-man roster.

But the last point of comparison in the chart above shows a significant, early difference in philosophy of the two men:  Dominik quickly purged a group of 5 veterans from the roster he inherited from former Tampa Bay GM Bruce Allen (now with the Redskins) and Dominik has clearly "gone young".  Pioli, however, has added more veterans (Vrabel, Jones, Chambers) to the roster he inherited from former Chiefs GM Carl Petersen and Pioli has "gone to free agency".  Neither of these teams saw these moves pay off in their first season but both have high hopes to see their teams make solid progress in 2010.

Which brings us to this weekend and why fans of both teams should be very interested in this game from start to finish.  In the first half, it's the "Upstarts (young Bucs) versus the Old Farts (veteran Chiefs)" in a battle of who-can-win-and-win-now philosophies.  Will one approach clearly show benefits over the other on Saturday night? In the second half, it's the "Clash of the Kids" -- which team has the better young talent, which players make for a bright future? Will the decisions made by the assembled, disassembled, then reassembled coaching staffs create success through relentless preparation?   

I believe this game will feel like two different preseason games separated by a three year halftime time warp.  And I plan to enjoy every minute of it!

And did someone say the score won't matter?  I have a strong feeling the score will matter to both Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik as they watch their philosophies play out.  And that makes the game all the more interesting to watch.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clayton Not Vanishing, What About Clifton Smith?

The Buccaneers rolled into a pig pen in Miami last Saturday night and came out down 10-7.  Regardless of the score, the team was on an entirely new planet compared to the same game just one year ago.  Freeman was poised and collected running the show at quarterback.  Rookie Mike Williams made a splash in the passing game with a 30-yard tightrope catch along the right-hand sideline.  Rookie first rounder Gerald McCoy saw his first action.  With the first stringers on the field the Dolphins did not touch Buccaneer territory.  Sure it was preseason, but it was also impressive.

Before the game Saturday we ran down the wide receiver position and the curious placement of Micheal Clayton on the depth chart.  Seems Clayton's spot on the depth chart did not actually reflect his standing with the team.  He played several downs with the starters and most of his minutes were in the first half. He was also on the field when Sammie Stroughter scored the only Buccaneer touchdown.

It now looks, however, like I may have focused on the wrong part of the offense.

While Clifton Smith did not travel with the team after sitting out some practice time with nagging injuries, second year player Kareem Huggins put in an eye-catching performance.  Huggins lead Tampa Bay in in total rushing yards as well as the longest run from scrimmage.  He displayed some impressive running instincts and excellent speed.  He also caught two passes.

Carlos Brown, signed with the release of recently signed Tight End Martin Rucker, had nearly identical numbers to Cadillac Williams and showed some power in his game as well.

Clifton Smith went to the pro bowl for his return skills, a versatility he has consistently displayed since his arrival in Tampa.  On Saturday night, though, the Buccaneers utilized several members of the wide receivers in the return game and those players had great results.  So if the Buccaneers did not miss Smith on this trip do they need him on the roster?

With the running backs already stacked high with Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward, and Earnest Graham, there will not be room for many additional running backs on the roster.  Clifton Smith needs to get healthy and be available for the next game or his preseason may be over before it even gets started.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 Preseason: By The Numbers: Wide Receiver

The first preseason game of the 2010 season is less than 24 hours away -- finally!!  We last had a look at the Wide Receiver competition just after the draft.  So what do we know now?

Currently there are 10 Wideouts on the camp roster of 80 men.  At the end of last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were carrying eight wide receivers on the active roster.  With the assumption this is the target number for 2010, Micheal Clayton could be on the bubble.

Using the recently released depth chart for the first preseaon game, the battle breaks down like this:

#19 Williams, Mike; 6'2", 212, Rookie (2010 Draft)
#85 Stovall, Maurice; 6'5", 220, 5th Year (2006 Draft)
#15 Brown, Reggie; 6'1", 197, 6th Year (2010 Free Agent)
#18 Stroughter, Sammie; 5'10", 189, 2nd Year (2009 Draft)
#81 Spurlock, Micheal; 5'11", 200, 3rd Year (2009 Waiver Wire)
#17 Benn, Arrelious; 6'2", 220, Rookie (2010 Draft)

A pretty solid looking top six with a mix of experienced veterans and highly drafted young talent -- possibly the best looking overall group on the Buccaneers roster in almost a decade.  Hopefully it translates to the regular seaon (with the continued improvement of Josh Freeman at Quarterback).

This leaves four men to battle for possibly the last two roster positions:

#13 Brooks, Chris; 6'2", 215, (Undrafted Rookie)
#80 Clayton, Michael; 6'4", 215, 7th Year (2004 Draft)
#83 Nunn, Terrence; 6'0", 195, 2nd Year (2009 Wiaver Wire)
#87 Parker, Preston; 6'0", 200, (Undrafted Rookie)

Clayton sticks out like a sore thumb in this group.  While he occasionally displays the talent that made him the Buccaneers top pick in 2004 (Round 1, #15), each of the other men in this group have also has their "flash moments" in camp.  The wierd thing about Clayton is it does not feel like the swansong of a veteran player -- you still find yourself frustrated at the unfocused talent he possesses and can't help but pull for him.  Looking at the top six you have to wonder if anything he might show during the 2010 preseason would be too little too late.  Nunn is also at a pivotal point, having been with the Buccaneers for more than half a season.  Brooks and Parker, provided they continue to show not only their Wide Receiver skills but also a willingness to play on special teams, are prime candidates for the practice squad.

Without taking the depth chart of the first preseason game too seriously, what this mostly means is that the four men on the bubble should get a lot of snaps Saturday night as a final audition.  They may all survive until the 53-man cutdown date of September 6th, but there is no guarantee any of them will survive to the 7th.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nothing To Hype Here

There has been much ado about nothing on two topics during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010 training camp so far.  Time to put them both away:

Barrett Ruud is Just Fine:  While some people might want to rift the team over Donald Penn getting a long term contract it is not going to happen.  Barrett Ruud, usually very open about his desire for a long term, lucrative contract, has shown more maturity over Penn's contract than a number of reporters have given him credit for.  It is not a surprise they have underestimated him.  And, in fact, Ruud should be glad to see such an investment in a player with nearly the same experience (Penn is entering his 5th year, Ruud his 6th).  With a young and talented line in front of him this year he should have his best opportunity to shine since taking over in the middle of the defense. This is his best chance to show he can handle being the core of this defense for many more years.  If he does it,  he will probably get that big contract next year (or after the looming strike).

Brian Price Will Play Week 1:  Barring some new, disasterous injury, Brian Price will play come week 1.  Although he had to watch some of the summer program while nursing some nagging injuries, and although he has been rested on occasion through training camp, he will be there on Day One of 2011.  Count on it.

After slamming on the changes made to the team for a full season it may take some time for some reporters to fully swallow their crow.  They better hurry before this young, aggressive, and talented team shoves it down for them.

Let The Practice Squad Search Begin

Since camp started Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik has pulled the strings on three personnel moves.

Gone are Safety Matt O'Hanlon, Defensive End George Johnson, and Wide Receiver Marrio Urrutia.

New to camp are Cornerback Darrell Pasco, Defensive Back Vince Anderson, and Tight End Martin Rucker.

This continues a trend from the regular season last year when a large number of defensive backs were rotated through One Buccaneer Place.  What is Dominik looking for?  A particular type of special teams player?  Better depth at Corner? at Safety?  All of the above?

There are now 15 defensive backs (Corners & Safeties combined) on the roster, nearly one fifth of the available 80 roster spots.  Obviously this number will be reduced before the season begins.

None of these players come in with more than 2 years of NFL experience, nor are they accomplished players as yet, so it would be way off base to think these are offensive or defensive starters.  Certainly they may be well known as special teams players but only Special Teams Coach Rich Bisaccia would know for sure.  It seems more likely the Buccaneers have started looking for some hidden gems for the practice squad. These players could see time this Saturday night in the first preseason game and need to make an impression quickly.  Watch for when they play and how much -- it will give a barometer on what they might bring to the team.

There is one additional angle to consider for the only one of these three players who was a draft pick:  Martin Rucker, who was selected by Cleveland in the 4th round in 2008.  Rucker was an accomplished Tight End coming out of Missouri.  In fact, he finished his college career as the most prolific pass-catching Tight End in the school's history.  Think that's not saying much?  Ask Kellen Winslow -- The First -- who shares the same Alma Mater as Rucker.  With two of the five oldest players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being Tight Ends (John Gilmore and Jerramy Stevens both with 9 years in the NFL) and add in that apparently the Cowboys were also interested in Rucker and this almost plays out like an extra 4th round draft choice addressing a future need now.  Of course, he has to make the team first!  Rucker is certainly a preseason name to watch.

Mark Dominik has an established history of finding the occasional gem (Donald Penn from the Minnesota practice squad, Tim Crowder from the waiver wire last year), so these players are worth keeping an eye on.  Hopefully they all will get enough playing time Saturday night to see what they bring to the table!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Defensive Lineman Nobody Is Talking About

Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, the first two picks of the Buccaneers in the 2010 draft, have rightfully received a lot of attention.  Roy Miller, drafted in the third round in 2009, had a fantastic rookie year.  These three men have practically been handed the starting positions/rotation with less than a fourth of training camp completed.  It's a case of ultra-hype in full swing.

Why doesn't anyone remember the 16-game-starter defensive tackle which is still on the roster?  Do they think he's just going to watch from the sidelines this year?

Youth will be served on the defensive front.  It is clearly the direction General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris are driving the team.  Add in Dre Moore and you have two first year and two second year players with a grand total of one start among them all.

So you can't throw away experience just yet.  And the Buccaneers obviously know it.

The rookies, along with Miller and Moore, still have much to learn about playing interior line in the NFL.  A lot of it comes through playing time -- you have to experience it to understand it, then practice through it until you can defeat it.  And each offensive line you come up against is a bit different.  That's why interior linemen generally start slow and improve significantly during the first three years of their careers.  Roy Miller was an exception last year.  Perhaps one of the rookies will also be able to adapt quickly.

But until those young players get their time in, Ryan Sims, now the old man of the defense with 9 years of experience (one of the five eldest Buccaneers going into the 2010 season), has to be the one to provide a steady force next to the raw young talent in the middle of the four man Buccaneer front.  The first half of the season is when he will need to be at his best.  By the second half of the season, if all goes well, Sims should be even more effective as the rotation with the young players expands.

For the first half of the season, however, the guy that nobody talks about will be the guy with the biggest impact on the defensive line.  And if his experience serves him well he will be a very significant part of a much improved defense in 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kyle Moore Emerging Quickly

With 10 days of training camp in the books some trends are starting to emerge and some trends are continuing. 

One of those continuing trends is the stock of the Buccaneers 2009 Draft Class.  Not just because first round pick Josh Freeman is showing leadership and keeping a firm grip on the starting quarterback position.  Not just because third rounder Roy Miller is continuing to develop into a dominating physical presence inside.  Not just because seventh rounder Sammie Stroughter could be an opening day starter.

The big boost to the power of the 2009 draft class is the player showing the most improvement during training camp of all the 2nd year players:  2009 fourth round defensive end Kyle Moore.

Moore has been a consistent force from the right end position during camp.  He shows no signs of the nagging injuries which haunted his rookie year.  And he looks every bit the part of an emerging difference maker.

His improvement shows the faith placed on him by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will reap deep rewards.  Those rewards are easy to see --  without such faith, the Buccaneers would not have one of defensive tackle Brian Price, wide receiver Arrelious Benn, cornerback Myron Lewis, or wide receiver Mike Williams, opting instead to draft another defensive end with one of those 2010 picks.  Considering all four of those players have worked their way into the two deep (with two possibly starting on Week 1), the value of Kyle Moore and the importance of his emergence becomes obvious.

Solid play by Moore can also bring another benefit -- Tim Crowder can continue to backup Stylez White, putting the Buccaneers top two sack producers in a rotation at right defensive end.  Keeping the pressure coming from the right puts the heat right in the quarterback's face and will help the Buccaneers improve their defensive performance in 2010.

Watch for Moore (#94, left defensive end) on the first defensive series Saturday night against the Dolphins.  It could be the next piece of a nasty pass rush falling into place.