Yardbarker Horiz

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.

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