Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bye Week Analysis: Practice Squad

There has been a lot going on in the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since the season started, not the least of which was stabilizing the practice squad.

Even this week, changes continued as the Buccaneers worked their own 2010 7th round pick Erik Lorig back off the practice squad and onto the active roster.  Lorig gets promoted because of the loss of Tanard Jackson, which left a vacancy on the practice squad.  That empty spot was filled with the addition of JD Folsom, a linebacker from Weber State, earlier this week.

If last year was any indication, these types of transactions will happen all season long.  Last year a large number of defensive backs came through the practice squad as the Buccaneers continued to look for upgrades.  Apparently none of those players made a serious impact so the Buccaneers drafted Myron Lewis (CB) and Cody Grimm (S).  Keeping an eye on the practice squad may give some clues as to what General Manager Mark Dominik is looking to improve on his roster.

The current practice squad, as of this moment, this day (School link is a Bio; draft link has review/career information):

Brandon Carter (G), 6'7" 344 lbs (and an attitude), Texas Tech, 2010 Undrafted
Derek Hardman (T), 6'6" 300 lbs, Eastern Kentucky, 2010 Undrafted
Dezmon Briscoe (WR), 6'3" 200 lbs, Kansas, 2010 6th Round (Bengals)
Will Barker (T), 6'7" 320, Virginia, 2010 Undrafted
Ryan Purvis (TE), 6'4" 260, Boston College, 2009 Undrafted, spent 2009 on the Tampa Bay practice squad
George Johnson (DE), 6'4" 265, Rutgers, 2009 Undrafted, first signed by Tampa Bay in August 2010
Vince Anderson (CB), 6'2" 205, Webber International (NAIA), 2009 Undrafted, NY Giants practice squad 2009
JD Folsom (LB), 6'3" 230, Weber State, 2009 7th Round (Dolphins), 2009 Chicago Bears practice squad 

So far, this has been a pretty stable group, with only the Buccaneers 2010 draft pick Brent Bowden (P) and practice squad journeyman (Denver, Arizona, Tampa Bay) Lee Robinson (LB) having passed through.

Mesh the first five in this group into the Young Core Offense and you see where this could be going.  In fact, you really hope these guys can stay with the Buccaneers and add key depth to the roster!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bye Week Analsysis: Young Core Offense

This is a check similar to the one posted on New Years Day 2010.  I've cross-referenced the depth chart and roster for the defense and kept only the players with four or fewer years in the NFL (i.e. less that 5 years of wear at tear).  This chart then represents the "Young Core" of the Buccaneers -- put another way, these are the players who will have to get us to the playoffs in 2013-2015 (2 to 4 years from now).

Starters are in bold, with years of experience in parenthesis after their name:  

LT  James Lee (3 years experience)
RG  (?)
C    Larsen, Ted (1)
LG  Zuttah, Jeremy (3)
RT  Dotson, Demar (2)

QB  Freeman, Josh (2); Johnson, Josh (3); Carpenter, Rudy (2)
RB  Blount, LeGarrette (1); Huggins, Kareem (1)
FB  Pressley, Chris (2); Lumpkin, Kregg (2)

TE  (?)
WRY Williams, Mike (1), Spurlock, Micheal (3)
WRZ Stroughter, Sammie (2), Benn, Arrelious (1), Parker, Preston (1)
 
Some holes do show up here -- no young, up-and-coming backup for the right offensive guard nor at the tight end posision.  This chart has significant changes:  a full stable of young running backs and a strong group of young wide receivers.  The time General Manager Mark Dominik spent early in his tenure at Quarterback is still showing the fruits of his labor as the position is solid as a rock (and looks to stay that way for the next couple years.  It appears the rest of the offensive backfield may be equally as stable now as well.

After a 2010 offseason which brought a large (and needed) talent infusion to the defense it looks like this offseason will be mostly about the offense.  From the looks of this chart, that's a great place to put in the time!

Bye Week Analysis: Young Core Defense

This is a check similar to the one done last January.  I've cross-referenced the depth chart and roster for the defense and kept only the players with four or fewer years in the NFL (i.e. less that 5 years of wear at tear).  This chart then represents the "Young Core" of the Buccaneers -- put another way, these are the players who will have to get us to the playoffs in 2013-2015 (2 to 4 years from now).

Starters through the first three games of 2010 are in bold: 

RDE  White, Stylez (4th year); Bennett, Michael (2nd year); Gilbeaux, Brandon (1st year)
RDT  Price, Brian (1); Miller, Roy (2)
LDT  McCoy, Gerald (1)
LDE  Moore, Kyle (2); Crowder, Tim (4); Lorig, Erik (1)

WLB  Hayes, Geno (3)
MLB  Hayward, Adam (4)
OLB  Black, Quincy (4); Watson, Dekoda (1)

RCB  Mack, Elbert (3); Lewis, Myron (1)
LCB  Talib, Aqib (3); Biggers, E.J. (2)
SS   Piscitelli, Sabby (4)
FS   Jackson, Tanard (4); Lynch, Corey (3); Grimm, Cody (1)
 
A lot of these names are the same as January in the linebacker group and the defensive ends.  The defensive backfield has many of the same names as well.  Back in January it was mentioned that quality on the interior of the defensive line was needed, and indeed the interior defensive line has been fortified with two top-flight defensive tackles by way of the 2010 draftThe linebacker group remains high on talent but low on numbers.
Veterans holding starting positions on the defense are, of course, Ronde Barber at left corner, Barrett Ruud at middle linebacker, and Sean Jones at strong safety.  Nonetheless, there is good depth here among the youngest Buccaneers which bodes well going forward, particularly since many of these players are already starters and learning to play together.

What is needed (and there is never enough in the NFL) is depth.  And lots of it.  And not run-of-the-mill stuff, but high quality athletes which can maintain a high level of play when the current starters need a break.  When the team reaches that point the Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense will have returned to top form.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jackson Hole

In most conversations, we'd be talking about a valley in Wyoming.  But not this week.  And of all weeks in the past couple years of Buccaneer football this is not the week to alter the conversation:  First 2-0 start since 2005 with a home game this weekend against the also 2-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. 

But the conversation has been changed.  Tanard Jackson is gone for the year after failing a test for banned substances by the NFL.  Oh, we've wondered if this day would come, though we didn't think it would.  But it was a nagging fear in the back of neck (right where General Manager Mark Dominik probably has a pain right now).  Now it is a front-and-center headache (Dominik probably has one of those as well).

Not too long ago, analysis of the 2010 defensive backfield was hard to pin down.  Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips are gone.  Sean Jones was picked up from Philadelphia.  Cody Grimm was drafted this past April.  So much flux.  But the mainstay was Jackson, who has started every game (which he has been eligible for) since being drafted by Tampa Bay in 2007.  Now it's not just flux, it's reflux in the defensive backfield.

And yes, this is the same (and only) Buccaneer player the NFL put the Whammy Eye on last season.  Take it down as "Lesson Not Learned".

At this point, one has to wonder if Tanard Jackson's worst enemy is himself.  I have no idea what the "substance" was, but if it was a performance enhancer you would think it would be identified and easily eliminated.  If it is not a performance enhancer, then Tanard Jackson does not need to be in football -- that young man needs rehab, or intervention, or something, anything, because whatever it is has basically cost him his job, his career, and put a big fat "yea, but" next to his name with regard to the NFL.  And, if ignored, it will only get worse for him.  A lot worse.

A sad, sad state of affairs for Jackson.  Best of luck to him, but it won't do him a bit of good.  In the words of GM Dominik, "It's up to Tanard".  It is, completely.

Enough about "Jackson" . . . now about that "Hole".  Tampa Bay has already announced that 2010 draftee Cody Grimm, who has been busy making a name for himself on special teams, will start in place of Jackson this upcoming weekend.  This tells us exactly four things:
-- Sean Jones is too good at run support to change him out of strong safety.
-- Cody Grimm has impressed the coaching staff, apparently quite significantly.
-- Corey Lynch, who was impressive in the preseason, is going to play -- a lot -- backing up Grimm.
-- Sabby Piscitelli, with experience at both safety positions, will probably play both safety positions at various times the rest of the season.
And also this begs one question:
Where does Sabby Piscitelli rank among the safeties these days?  He has prior experience at Free Safety, yet the Buccaneers have decided to go with a rookie.  Is this commitment to the depth chart, or does this tell us the talent on the roster has caught up with Piscitelli?

As alluded to in the prior post about the risks of having a one-more-time-you-are-a-goner player on the roster, the Buccaneers did keep five safeties on the roster coming out of training camp.  This assured the team of a player (and backup) familiar with the defensive schemes should the unthinkable thing happen, which it did.  It's yet another demonstration of the command of the roster wielded by Dominik.

Now that Tampa Bay is down to the "normal" number of safeties, a roster spot is open for a player at any position.  No doubt Dominik is scouring the waiver wire looking for a player able to improve his team.  One possibility is to promote rookie WR Dezmond Briscoe from the practice squad (the Buccaneers are paying him full rookie salary to sit on the practice squad anyway).  Or, perhaps, promote another running back from the practice squad to try to shave some of the load off the knees of Cadillac Williams.  Or they may want another safety and are waiting for the right level of quality to show it's head.  It could be a "get the best available" situation.  Perhaps LB Lee Robinson, DE Erik Lorig, or P Brent Bowden will return to the practice squad.

In any case, the defense which has not given up a point in a 2nd half this season is now going to have to simultaneously protect and groom a new starting safety.  Not easy when your next opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers.  However, after the Steelers is the bye week.  For Cody Grimm it's going to be far from time to relax -- he will be asked grow up in a hurry.  Hopefully he's up to the task.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Upcoming Schedule Strength: Week 2


Week #2 versus the NFL.com expert consensus rankings (Buccaneers rank #20):

WIN 17-14 Cleveland
WIN 20-7 Carolina

Pittsburgh2-0  #5 =L?
BYE
@Cincinnati1-1  #12 =L?
New Orleans2-0  #2 =L?
Saint Louis0-2  #31 =W?
@Arizona1-1  #27 =W?
@Atlanta1-1  #13 =L?
Carolina0-2  #29 =W?
@San Francisco0-2  #23 =W?
@Baltimore1-1  #8 =L?
Atlanta1-1  #13 =L?
@Washington1-1  #14 =L?
Detroit0-2  #28 =W?
Seattle1-1  #25 =W?
@New Orleans2-0  #2 =L?

Remaining Schedule:  13-15


Based on the expert rankings, at this point, the Buccaneers appear to be headed to an 8-8 record -- which usually indicates being a factor in the NFC Wildcard Playoff run!

Obviously some serious games ahead for the Buccaneers.  With two of three at home (and two of three against the AFC), the games are a mixed bag.  Winning, of course, solves everything.  But the "really extra big one" is the home game against New Orleans.  New Orleans is the lone NFC team as well as a divisional rival, so playoff implications (tiebreakers, division standing, division records) are immense for that game.  The other two would be nice to have, but do not make or break the season.  If Tampa Bay can win at least one of the next three a 9-7 record is suddenly in reach -- which would bring with it a spot in the playoffs.  More than one win in the next three provides cushion for unexpected injuries or poor performances (young team can mean a roller coaster from week to week) later in the season.

Playoffs? Playoffs???


(Jim Mora, the classic) Do no tune me out.  Give me a chance on this before you click away, OK?  Yea, it's just week #2 -- just take a moment consider what I'm laying out here.

 Continuing the trend from last week, here is the updated view of the rest of the 2010 schedule.  This week I've added the NFL.com expert consensus rankings (Tampa Bay is currently ranked #20):

WIN 17-14 Cleveland
WIN 20-7 Carolina 

Pittsburgh2-0  #5
BYE
@Cincinnati1-1  #12
New Orleans2-0  #2
Saint Louis0-2  #31
@Arizona1-1  #27
@Atlanta1-1  #13
Carolina0-2  #29
@San Francisco0-2  #23
@Baltimore1-1  #8
Atlanta1-1  #13
@Washington1-1  #14
Detroit0-2  #28
Seattle1-1  #25
@New Orleans2-0  #2

The remaining schedule continues to have a near-perfectly-even record of  13-15.


However, based on the expert rankings at this point (and I know they change every week), assuming losses to higher rankings and wins against lower rankings, the Buccaneers appear to be headed for an 8-8 record -- which usually indicates being a factor in the NFC Wildcard Playoff run!  Not that I would expect anyone in the Tampa Media to actually come out and say the team is talented.  But still, there it is!!

Obviously three strong team are lined up next for the Buccaneers.  Two of three are at Raymond James Stadium and two of three are against AFC teams.  Win all three, of course, and the Buccaneers are well on their way to one of the biggest turnarounds in team history.  But the "really extra big one" is the home game against New Orleans.  New Orleans is not only the lone NFC team in the next three games but is a divisional rival as well.  The playoff implications (future tiebreakers, division standings, division records) are immense.  The other two would be nice to have, but do not make or break (pardon the pun) the season.  If Tampa Bay can win at least one of the next three a 9-7 record is suddenly in reach -- which would virtually guarantee a least a tiebreaker for an NFC Wildcard birth in the 2010 playoffs.  More than one win in the next three provides cushion for unexpected injuries or poor performances (such a young team can mean a real roller coaster ride from week to week) later in the season.
So, as usual, I'll take the big step and make the big prediction. While others were predicting only 2 wins (see Quote Of The Week II) for 2010, I set the floor at 5 wins in 2010 on Week 15 of 2009.  Now I think 8-8 is within reach -- so move the floor up three notches!


Playoff implications in Week 3!  What could be better?

Friday, September 17, 2010

One Year Later: Youth Races Into Starting Lineup

What a difference a year makes in the life of a team in retooling mode.  No players drafted in 2009 made the starting lineup in the first game of the 2009 season.  By the end of the year only 2009 First Rounder Josh Freeman was in the starting lineup.

Fast forward to the opening day victory of 2010, and seven players from the 2009/2010 Drafts (i.e. since Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris took over) got the starting nod.  Throw in players acquired in the past 2 years (Keydrick Vincent, Kellen Winslow, and Sean Jones) and almost half the starting players have changed in just one season.

The players who have moved on took a lot of experience with them:  WR Micheal Clayton, WR Antonio Bryant, DE Jimmy Wilkerson, and DT Chris Hovan all had at least 7 years playing experience.

Names in italics are draft choices made by the Dominik/Morris front office:

Starting Lineups

2009 Game 1 2009 Game 16 2010 Game 1
WR 80 M.Clayton 85 M.Stovall 19 M.Williams
LT 70 D.Penn 70 D.Penn 70 D.Penn
LG 76 J.Zuttah 76 J.Zuttah 68 K.Vincent
C 52 J.Faine 52 J.Faine 52 J.Faine
RG 75 D.Joseph 75 D.Joseph 75 D.Joseph
RT 65 J.Trueblood 65 J.Trueblood 65 J.Trueblood
TE 82 K.Winslow 82 K.Winslow 82 K.Winslow
WR 89 A.Bryant 89 A.Bryant 18 S.Stroughter
QB 7 B.Leftwich 5 J.Freeman 5 J.Freeman
RB 24 C.Williams 24 C.Williams 24 C.Williams
x TE 86 J.Stevens FB 45 C.Pressley FB 34 E.Graham




LE 97 J.Wilkerson 96 T.Crowder 94 K.Moore
DT 98 R. Sims 98 R.Sims 93 G.McCoy
DT 95 C.Hovan 95 C.Hovan 90 R.Miller
RE 90 G.Adams 91 S.White 98 R.Sims
SLB 58 Q.Black 58 Q.Black 58 Q.Black
MLB 51 B.Ruud 51 B.Ruud 51 B.Ruud
WLB 50 M.McCoy 54 G.Hayes 54 G.Hayes
LCB 25 A.Talib 25 A.Talib 31 E.Biggers
RCB 20 R.Barber 20 R.Barber 20 R.Barber
SS 21 S.Piscitelli 21 S.Piscitelli 26 S.Jones
FS 23 J.Phillips 36 T.Jackson 36 T.Jackson

Many other players drafted by the current leadership also play a significant role with the team, including DT Brian Price, RB Kareem Huggins, and special teams standout SS Cody Grimm.

One can only wonder if, with another strong draft in 2011, will the team get still younger next year??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Buccaneers Strong Out Of The Gate

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did all the things their Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik have wanted in winning 17-14 over the Cleveland Browns to open the 2010 Season with a 1-0 record.

Lots of good things showed up in the statistics pointing toward a team built as promised:
- Tampa Bay outgained the Browns on the ground 119yds to 104yds, with a solid 4.0 yards per carry.
- The strong ground performance showed in time of possession, with the Bucs owning the ball for 32m 21sec of game time compared to 27m 39sec for Cleveland
- Tampa also rushed 30 times and passed 28, showing the slight run-edge offense that started last year with the win in Green Bay.  We discussed the need for a slight overbalance to the running game just before the Bucs won two of three to closeout the 2009 season.  It appears the formula continues to be effetive.
- Tampa also won the all-important turnover margin with one more in their favor (+1) for the game

What is great for a young team is to win, and to win ugly.  A win gives confidence, and confidence is like a nuclear reactor on a young team.  The ugly part gives the coaches a clear view of what needs to be fine tuned.  For instance, Josh Freeman's 88.7 QB rating could be better.  The Buccaneers gave up three sacks to a statistical cellar-dweller in Cleveland.  Six penalties for 55 yards, while not a complete killer, can nonetheless turn field position against you.  And giving up two 40+ yard passing plays plus a 39-yard run can also quickly turn a game against you.

Such will be the roller-coaster of the second youngest team in the NFL in 2010 (yes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are even younger this year than last!!).  This week, the Buccaneers will challenge the NFL's youngest team, the Carolina Panthers, in their first road game.  Another solid effort should produce the same results.  Cleaning up some of the rough spots will certainly help, too!

Upcoming Schedule Strength

A quick look at how the upcoming schedule fared:

WIN 17-14 Cleveland
Next: @Carolina  0-1
Pittsburgh1-0
BYE
@Cincinnati0-1
New Orleans1-0
Saint Louis0-1
@Arizona1-0
@Atlanta0-1
Carolina0-1
@San Francisco0-1
@Baltimore1-0
Atlanta0-1
@Washington1-0
Detroit0-1
Seattle1-0
@New Orleans1-0

Remaining Sched:  7-8

With just one game in the books for all 32 NFL teams, it's way too early to tell how strong the schedule will be in 2010.  Nevertheless, 50/50 feels pretty good after a win!

Friday, September 3, 2010

2010 Roster Cutdown, Part 3

Next, draft picks.  This team has not cut a draft pick since Mark Dominik took over at General Manager.  The plan is to build through the draft, so the draft picks will stay.

2009 Draft Picks not listed with the 28 known "starters":
CB #31 E.J. Biggers
T #68 Xavier Fulton
WR #18 Sammie Stroughter

2010 Draft Picks not listed with the 28 known "starters":
DT #92 Brian Price
WR #17 Arrelious Benn
CB #23 Myron Lewis
S #35 Cody Grimm
LB #56 Dakota Watson
DE #97 Erik Lorig

I am confident of this group because I believe the Buccaneers are confident in their ability to pick Football Players in the draft.  Some just take more time to get adjusted. 

And, since it is no secret, QB #12 Rudy Carpenter will also make it to opening day.

Adding this group to the previous 28 gives a total of 38 players for the roster, leaving 15 more spots.

2010 Roster Cutdown, Part 2

Let's talk about starting players.  It's a short conversation this year.

The following men will make the 53-man roster because they started the third game of the preseason as well as either the first or second preseason game:

Starters: Offense
WR 19 M.Williams
LT 70 D.Penn
C 52 J.Faine
RG 75 D.Joseph
RG 76 J.Zuttah
RT 65 J.Trueblood
FB 34 E.Graham
RB 24 C.Williams 

Others on Offense who are certainly going to make the roster:  LG #66 K.Vincent, who displaced the versatile Jeremy Zuttah; QB #5 J.Freeman, recovering from a thumb boo-boo; QB #11 J.Johnson, who has solidified the second quarterback position; TE #82 K.Winslow, last year's leading receiver; TE #86 J.Stevens, who appears to be on the second line behind Winslow.

Starters: Defense LE #94 K.Moore
DT #93 G.McCoy
DT #90 R.Miller
RE #91 S.White
SLB #58 Q.Black
MLB #51 B.Ruud
WLB #54 G.Hayes
LCB #25 A.Talib
RCB #20 R.Barber
SS #26 S.Jones
FS #36 T.Jackson

This will be the opening day defense.  Except for an injury to Talib for Game 1 and Sabby Piscatelly starting Game 1, this unit has been the same throughout the preseason.  Hopefully the early playing time for the same group will lead to early season defensive success.

That is 13 offensive and 11 defensive players, for a total of 24.  Add in Punter #1 B.Bowden and Kicker #10 C. Barth, and you have 26 locks for the opening day roster.  We're almost halfway there already!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 Roster Cutdown, Part 1

Let's see if we can work out the 53-man roster before Saturday -- first thing is to see who played in the more meaningful preseason games (Note: the fourth game of preseason is a glorified scrimmage between reserves.  If you stand out only in the fourth game of preseason, it's because you are only as good as the reserves of the other team).

So the first data we will use is the following chart, organized by team jersey number, of who played in what game.  The top two sections are the starters (first offense, then defense) and the rest of the list is people who substituted in during the game.  Of course, if you started all three preseason games, you've made the squad.


More data is coming soon . . . .



Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Starters: Offense


WR 19 M.Williams WR 19 M.Williams WR 19 M.Williams
LT 70 D.Penn LT 70 D.Penn LT 70 D.Penn
LG 76 J.Zuttah LG 76 J.Zuttah LG 66 K.Vincent
C 52 J.Faine C 52 J.Faine C 52 J.Faine
RG 75 D.Joseph RG 75 D.Joseph RG 76 J.Zuttah
RT 65 J.Trueblood RT 65 J.Trueblood RT 65 J.Trueblood
TE 86 J.Stevens TE 86 J.Stevens TE 82 K.Winslow
WR 85 M.Stovall WR 15 R.Brown WR 18 S.Stroughter
QB 5 J.Freeman QB 5 J.Freeman QB 11 J.Johnson
FB 34 E.Graham FB 34 E.Graham FB 34 E.Graham
RB 24 C.Williams RB 24 C.Williams RB 24 C.Williams
Starters: Defense


LE 94 K.Moore LE 94 K.Moore LE 94 K.Moore
DT 93 G.McCoy DT 93 G.McCoy DT 93 G.McCoy
DT 90 R.Miller DT 90 R.Miller DT 90 R.Miller
RE 91 S.White RE 91 S.White RE 91 S.White
SLB 58 Q.Black SLB 58 Q.Black SLB 58 Q.Black
MLB 51 B.Ruud MLB 51 B.Ruud MLB 51 B.Ruud
WLB 54 G.Hayes WLB 54 G.Hayes WLB 54 G.Hayes
LCB 33 E.Mack LCB 25 A.Talib LCB 25 A.Talib
RCB 20 R.Barber RCB 20 R.Barber RCB 20 R.Barber
SS 21 S.Piscitelli SS 26 S.Jones SS 26 S.Jones
FS 36 T.Jackson FS 36 T.Jackson FS 36 T.Jackson
Substitutions:

P 1 B.Bowden P 1 B.Bowden P 1 B.Bowden
K 8 H.Lawrence K 8 H.Lawrence
[CUT]
K 10 C.Barth K 10 C.Barth K 10 C.Barth
QB 11 J.Johnson QB 11 J.Johnson

QB 12 R.Carpenter QB 12 R.Carpenter QB 12 R.Carpenter
WR 13 C.Brooks

[CUT]
WR 15 R.Brown
WR 15 R.Brown
WR 17 A.Benn WR 17 A.Benn WR 17 A.Benn
WR 18 S.Stroughter WR 18 S.Stroughter


S 21 S.Piscitelli S 21 S.Piscitelli


RB 22 C.Smith

CB 23 M.Lewis CB 23 M.Lewis
S 26 S.Jones


CB 27 D.Pasco

[CUT]

CB 27 T.Williams CB 27 T.Williams
RB 28 D.Ward RB 28 D.Ward RB 28 D.Ward [CUT]
CB 29 D.Roberson CB 29 D.Roberson CB 29 D.Roberson
FB 30 R.Taylor FB 30 R.Taylor FB 30 R.Taylor
CB 31 E.Biggers CB 31 E.Biggers CB 31 E.Biggers
RB 32 K.Huggins RB 32 K.Huggins RB 32 K.Huggins

CB 33 E.Mack CB 33 E.Mack
S 35 C.Grimm S 35 C.Grimm S 35 C.Grimm
S 37 V.Anderson S 37 V.Anderson S 37 V.Anderson
CB 38 B.Anderson CB 38 B.Anderson CB 38 B.Anderson
RB 39 C.Brown RB 39 C.Brown

S 41 C.Lynch S 41 C.Lynch S 41 C.Lynch

S 43 D.Hall
[CUT]
LB 44 R.McCoy LB 44 R.McCoy LB 44 R.McCoy
FB 45 C.Pressley FB 45 C.Pressley FB 45 C.Pressley
TE 46 R.Purvis TE 46 R.Purvis TE 46 R.Purvis
LS 48 A.Economos LS 48 A.Economos LS 48 A.Economos
LB 49 L.Robinson LB 49 L.Robinson LB 49 L.Robinson
LB 50 J.Alston LB 50 J.Alston
[IR]
LB 53 N.Koutouvides LB 53 N.Koutouvides LB 53 N.Koutouvides
LB 56 D.Watson LB 56 D.Watson LB 56 D.Watson
LB 57 A.Hayward LB 57 A.Hayward LB 57 A.Hayward
C 59 D.Raiola C 59 D.Raiola C 59 D.Raiola
DE 60 J.Ruffin DE 60 J.Ruffin DE 60 J.Ruffin
C 61 J.Compas C 61 J.Compas C 61 J.Compas
OL 62 M.Dile OL 62 M.Dile OL 62 M.Dile
G 66 K.Vincent G 66 K.Vincent



DE 67 G.Johnson
T 68 X.Fulton T 68 X.Fulton T 68 X.Fulton
T 69 D.Dotson


DL 71 M.Bennett DL 71 M.Bennett DL 71 M.Bennett
DE 72 B.Gilbeaux DE 72 B.Gilbeaux DE 72 B.Gilbeaux [CUT]
T 73 D.Hardman T 73 D.Hardman T 73 D.Hardman
DT 74 C.Powell DT 74 C.Powell DT 74 C.Powell
T 77 J.Lee T 77 J.Lee T 77 J.Lee
WR 80 M.Clayton WR 80 M.Clayton WR 80 M.Clayton
WR 81 M.Spurlock WR 81 M.Spurlock WR 81 M.Spurlock
WR 83 T.Nunn WR 83 T.Nunn WR 83 T.Nunn [CUT]
TE 84 J.Mastrud TE 84 J.Mastrud TE 84 J.Mastrud


TE 86 J.Stevens
WR 87 P.Parker WR 87 P.Parker WR 87 P.Parker
TE 88 J.Gilmore TE 88 J.Gilmore TE 88 J.Gilmore

DT 92 B.Price DT 92 B.Price
DT 95 D.Moore DT 95 D.Moore DT 95 D.Moore
DE 96 T.Crowder DE 96 T.Crowder DE 96 T.Crowder
DE 97 E.Lorig DE 97 E.Lorig DE 97 E.Lorig
DT 98 R.Sims DT 98 R.Sims DT 98 R.Sims
























































































































































































































































































































































Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bryant, Ward out; Williams, Huggins in

The Cincinnati Bengals poured a $7.8 million signing bonus over former Buccaneer Antonio Bryant, then cut him without an appearance in a single game.  In his place is the 2010 preseason phenom and 4th round draft choice Mike Williams.

Derrick Ward signed a two year contract last year as an insurance policy for Cadillac Williams knees.  Enter 2009 Undrafted Free Agent Kareem Huggins.  Exit Derrick Ward.

Five of the six 2009 draft choices are either starting or second in line (Freeman, Miller, Moore, Biggers, Stroughter).  The same goes for four members of the 2010 draft class (McCoy, Price, Williams, Lewis).

Does anyone question the ability of General Manager Mark Dominik's front office to judge talent anymore?

Chris Hovan, longtime mainstay in the middle of the Buccaneers defense, was not offered a new contract by Dominik during the past offseason.  The St. Louis Rams did pick up Hovan, but he has been on IR since early July (back) and has not taken a snap during the preseason.  It is unlikely he makes the Rams opening day roster.

A quick prowl around the web shows Jermaine Phillips and Torrie Cox are not be in any NFL camps this fall.  Derrick Brooks has retired, as has Warrick Dunn.  Ike Hilliard never played another snap.

What would you think about your General Manager if your team drafts a player in April, then trades him away before the end of training camp in August?  Isn't it more impressive to find a Sammie Stroughter in the 7th round?  Obviously!

It seems the eight years Dominik put in as the Pro Personnel Director are paying off for the rebuilding Buccaneers.  No talent is "leaking" away from the team in the form of veterans with viable playing time remaining.  Dominik seems to understand when a veteran has given all they have to the franchise.  Knowing when a player has reached the end of their career is as important a talent for a GM as organizing the draft efforts -- mistakes in either case can cost the team cap space and roster opportunities for developing additional talent onto the depth chart.

Now Dominik must dig into his bag of tricks for another tool:  correctly choosing between two talented players at the same position.  Granted, this type of decision falls heavily on the shoulders of the coaching staff, who must be able to identify players which can perform the tasks presented to them at the highest level.  But, also, Dominik must manage his cap, the roster, and the practice squad while keeping an eye on the waiver wire, so the final decision rests in his office.  This is not a task for the squeamish; you know not all decisions will be winners.  In the modern NFL you don't have to hit with every decision, but you do have to nail the majority of them.  The core of the roster is the 44-man two-deep (that is, the starter and his backup for all positions) plus the punter, kicker, and perhaps a specialist long-snapper.  On a 53-man regular season roster, that leaves room for around six "others" -- versatile special teams performers, young talent to groom, or . . . mistakes, which will need to be corrected.  And a GM does not have time to deal with mistakes.

The final preseason game is tomorrow, after which rosters will be pared down from 75 players to 53-man rosters.  Those last few decisions may not be as critical as a first round pick in April, but they will impact the season and the future of the franchise.  Dominik has shown the ability a GM needs for the task.  As the talent on the roster continues to improve, the decisions will get tougher.  With the right choices, the rewards will escalate as well.
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