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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Notes: Rookies step up with end-zone INTs

TAMPA -- Given their last opportunity to make a case for the Bucs' regular-season roster, a pair of undrafted rookies came up with end-zone interceptions in Thursday's game against the Redskins.

CB Keith Lewis -- from all-but-unknown Virginia-Lynchburg -- intercepted a Colt McCoy pass in coverage to end one Redskins drive, and with 18 seconds left in the first half, LB Nate Askew of Texas A&M came up with a deflected pass on second and goal to stop another threat.

"We told the guys to do something to make us put them on the team," coach Lovie Smith said at halftime. "Making big plays like that will at least make us take note."

On a third down from the Bucs' 20, Lewis ran stride for stride with Redskins receiver Aldrick Robinson, making a leaping grab for the pick and a touchback.

"Just man coverage, and I had to come up with a big play," Lewis said. "It's big to be able to show the whole team what I can do. I could have played better though. I'm not satisfied at all."

Askew deflected any praise to fellow linebacker Danny Lansanah, who tipped the pass straight up into the air on the goal line, making an easy grab for the rookie. …

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Starters watch as Bucs fall 24-10 in preseason finale

TAMPA -- Nearly all the starters had the night off -- even backup Mike Glennon only played one series -- and the Bucs went through the motions in finishing the preseason with a 24-10 loss to the Redskins on Thursday night.

With reserves -- many of which will be cut in the next 48 hours -- getting most of the snaps, the Bucs were outgained 445-137 with four minutes to play. There were flashes of positive play from three undrafted rookies -- receiver Solomon Patton had a 25-yard touchdown catch, and cornerback Keith Lewis and linebacker Nate Askew had interceptions in the end zone to spoil Redskins drives.

The Bucs finish the preseason 1-3 and now have important decisions to make -- which 22 players must be let go by Saturday afternoon to get from 75 players to the final maximum of 53. Newly acquired guard Logan Mankins, the six-time Pro Bowler from the Patriots, did not play Thursday night but spoke with local media and will be ready for next week's season opener against the Panthers.

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Preseason finale: Bucs trail Redskins 24-10 late

Greetings from Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs will close out the preseason tonight against the Redskins, with nearly all the Tampa Bay starters expected to have the night off.

We'll have updates throughout the game here -- and more immediately on Twitter at @gregauman, @MBakerTBTimes and @NFLstroud -- so follow along while you watch Mike Glennon and a band of backups close out the preseason.

10 p.m.: Washington has extended its lead -- short TD by Silas Redd makes it 24-10 with 4:07 to play. Redskins have outgained the Bucs 445-137, so could be much worse.

9:35 p.m.: Solomon Patton makes a great move on the sideline and gets a 25-yard touchdown on pass from Mike Kafka. Patton had said he wanted to show something at receiver in addition to his returns, and he's done that impressively. Redskins 17-10, 3:51 left in the third.

9:25 p.m.: Redskins answer as Colt McCoy gets an 80-yard touchdown pass to Lache Seastrunk -- Anthony Gaitor missed him on a bad angle and he flew down the Bucs sideline for a 17-3 lead. …

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What to watch for: Bucs' final position battles ...

Connor Barth has done nothing in preseason to hurt his position, but Patrick Murray has turned coaches' heads.

Getty Images

Connor Barth has done nothing in preseason to hurt his position, but Patrick Murray has turned coaches' heads.

The Bucs' final preseason game is tonight at Raymond James Stadium against the Redskins, and while most starters will get the night off entirely, the backups stepping in will help determine the last roster spots as the team trims its roster to 53 players.

Don't underestimate the possibility of the Bucs scouring the waiver wire, finding the best players cut loose by other teams to address positions where depth is still a concern within the current roster.

To simplify things, we'll presume that 42 roster spots are already spoken for -- we have a list at the bottom of the post -- and we'll also make a case for nine players likely to be cut regardless of how they play tonight: QB Mike Kafka, FB Lonnie Pryor, TE Cameron Brate, OT Edawn Coughman, DE T.J. Fatinikun, LB Nate Askew, CB Marc Anthony, CB Anthony Gaitor and CB Kip Edwards. Most of those are still practice-squad possibilities, but it's unlikely they'll make the 53 from our perspective. …

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For Bucs on bubble, preseason finale far from meaningless

TAMPA -- For most of the Bucs' starters, it's a night off.

On the other end of the roster, however, tonight's preseason finale against the Redskins is the last chance. One more game to convince the Bucs you belong on the 53-man roster, which is why fullback Jorvorskie Lane will still play with his left hand heavily wrapped after a "deep, deep bruise" last week, and why cornerback Anthony Gaitor is playing safety for the first time since high school.

"I have to show I'm worth being on this roster, that I give something to this defense," said Larry English, a former Chargers first-round draft pick who is challenging for a job at defensive end. "I'm just trying to make a difference every snap that I'm out there, to show them I can get out there and work."

English, who joined the Bucs two weeks ago, halfway through preseason camp, had two sacks in Saturday's game at Buffalo, and he's battling another former high-round pick Da'Quan Bowers for a backup job. Bowers has missed the last two games with a groin injury and isn't likely to play tonight, and between injuries and starters resting, English should have a long final audition. …

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Who is Logan Mankins? Glimpse at new Bucs guard

We still don't know when Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins will join the Bucs here in Tampa or when he'll first speak with local media, but you can learn a lot about the 32-year-old by reading stories from his outstanding nine-year run with the Patriots.

Best story I've found? This 2005 piece from Jerome Solomon, then with the Boston Globe, looking at the frightening accident that changed Mankins' life as a teenager and his life growing up in a small town in the mountains of northern California, better known for winning $10,000 in rodeo roping competitions than anything involving football.

More fun reading from the Globe, this in today's paper in reaction to the surprise news of losing a veteran cog of the Patriots' consistent winners over the last nine years -- a 110-34 record since 2005, missing the playoffs once, winning at least 10 games every season since he arrived. This columnist says it "feels like the Bucs plundered the Patriots," and this story said the Mankins trade "wallops you out of nowhere."

We'll be writing a lot about Mankins in coming days, but here's a good start ...

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Ex-USF guard Warren excited for reunions in Tampa

Jeremiah Warren started all 38 games in his final three seasons as an offensive lineman at USF, and the 26-year-old is excited to return to Tampa after being claimed off waivers by the Bucs on Tuesday.

"I had just gotten back home to see family and got the call out of nowhere. It was a blessing in disguise," Warren said from his home in Panama City. "I look forward to playing back in Raymond James Stadium again. It's just like coming home for me."

Warren, who will join the Bucs on Wednesday, was at USF from 2007-11 and has been close to the NFL in each of the last two seasons. He was cut in preseason by the Patriots in 2012 and spent the year on the team's practice squad, attended the Bucs' rookie minicamp in spring 2013, had brief offseason stints with the Cardinals and Saints and wound up spending 10 weeks last season on the Browns' practice squad.

His offensive line coach in Cleveland was George Warhop, who is now the Bucs' offensive line coach, so there's a familiarity there that could help him stick in Tampa, if only on the team's practice squad. …

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Matt Patchan waived, Danny Gorrer on IR as part of Bucs roster moves

The Bucs placed cornerback Danny Gorrer on injured reserve.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times (2012)

The Bucs placed cornerback Danny Gorrer on injured reserve.

TAMPA – The Bucs made a flurry of roster moves Tuesday to trim their roster to 75 players by the 4 p.m. deadline.

They placed CB Danny Gorrer on injured reserve.

Gorrer played in 13 games for the Bucs over the last two years, recording 21 tackles, an interception and two passes defensed. Heading into his fifth NFL season, the Texas A&M product was the most experienced cornerback fighting with Rashaan Melvin and Keith Lewis for one of the final roster spots at that position.  

Gorrer missed practice last week because of an unknown injury and was inactive for Saturday’s preseason game against Buffalo.

The team also waived injured OT Matt Patchan, an Armwood High product and former Florida Gator. The Bucs also waived CB Deveron Carr and OT J.B. Shugarts.

The team added two players from waivers: DB Marc Anthony and former USF lineman Jeremiah Warren.

Anthony spent last season on the Bucs’ practice squad and was recently released by the Titans. Warren has been on the Patriots’ and Browns’ practice squads since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

 

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Tedford, still sidelined, will miss Redskins game

Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, still recovering from a medical procedure earlier this week, will not be in attendance for the team's preseason finale at home against the Redskins on Thursday night, coach Lovie Smith said.

"He is still out for a period of time. We don't exactly how long," he said. "We just know the procedure went well. He's fine, alert, up. We'll take our time with him. He will not be at the game Thursday and we hope to get him back soon."

Smith declined to say how his coaching staff will handle play-calling in Thursday's game, but quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has been an offensive coordinator at the NCAA level. Tedford, 52, is coaching in the NFL for the first time after a long college career that included the head coaching job at Cal from 2002-12.

"Our staff will pick up the slack and we'll go from there," he said.

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Richie Incognito: Latest from Bucs GM and players

TAMPA – The Bucs’ addition of Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins doesn’t mean they’ve ruled out adding troubled but talented guard Richie Incognito.

“I wouldn’t put an end to that, but that’s just one of several options that are out there right now,” general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday afternoon in a news conference to announce the Mankins trade.

Licht said the Bucs have looked at several options to fortify the guard position, including the trade that sent a fourth-round pick and TE Tim Wright to the Patriots in return for Mankins, a six-time Pro Bowler.

As Licht praised Mankins, he twice mentioned that he believes Mankins will have a positive effect on the locker room. Miami suspended Incongito for the final eight games of last season after he was the center of a bullying scandal with the Dolphins.

Incognito had a five-hour meeting Monday night with Licht and the Bucs. Licht said the Bucs left the meeting by thanking Incognito for coming and saying they’d get back to him.

“It stands as an option…” Licht said. “We’ll continue to entertain all options that are out there, whether it’s a trade or whether it’s a player that’s on the street. …

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Bucs trade for Pro Bowl guard Mankins

TAMPA -- One day after courting former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, the Bucs went in a different direction, making an even larger move to trade for Logan Mankins, a six-time Pro Bowl guard with the New England Patriots.

"We're very excited to acquire a player like Logan," said general manager Jason Licht, who worked in the Patriots' front office from 2009-11. "We feel very fortunate. Logan is a very good player. (I'm a) first-hand witness to what he means in the locker room as well. His play on the field speaks for itself."

To land Mankins, 32, who has been to the Pro Bowl five years in a row, the Bucs gave up second-year tight end Tim Wright and an undisclosed draft pick, reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter as a 2015 fourth-round pick. Offensive guard has been a major concern entering the season, and Mankins likely steps in at left guard as a fourth new starter on the offensive line.

"He's a great person, is going to be great for this locker room," Licht said.

The addition of Mankins likely puts the urgency to sign Incognito on the back burner -- Licht insisted the door was still open, but when asked about Mankins' age, he said "He's 32. Richie was 31." …

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Seferian-Jenkins trained with Incognito in offseason

Bucs rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins had plenty of interaction with guard Richie Incognito as they trained together in Arizona this offseason, and he had nothing but positive things to say about his potential new teammate.

"He's the hardest worker I've seen," Seferian-Jenkins said before Tuesday's practice. "I enjoyed working out with him every day and it was fun getting in there and working out with him, doing the whole day with him. He's a great guy to me. I don't know what happened before, but what I know of him is a great guy."

Seferian-Jenkins, the team's second-round draft pick and a potential starter at tight end, said he texted Incognito on Monday night, when the former Dolphins guard spent five hours meeting with team officials. Incognito was suspended for the final eight games last season after an NFL investigation detailed inappropriate text messages and harassment of Dolphins teammates, as well as other conduct issues off the field.

The rookie said he had no problems with Incognito joining the team, and said he didn't think his teammates would have any problems embracing him in the locker room as well. …

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Incognito remains option for Bucs after 5-hr meeting

Richie Incognito met with Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht for about five hours.

AP photo

Richie Incognito met with Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht for about five hours.

Troubled but talented guard Richie Incognito remains an option for the Bucs after what the team termed a 'constructive meeting,' Monday.

Coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht had dinner with Incognito and met for about five hours with the former Miami Dolphins lineman who was suspended for the final eight games of 2014. He also took a physical for the Bucs.

No contract agreement was reached but Incognito remains an option. According to multiple reports, at least three teams are interested in Incognito, who was cleared by the NFL to be signed and begin playing on Monday. Incognito would like to have a deal with a team by the end of the week.

"We had a very constructive meeting with Richie,'' Licht said. "It went on for about five hours. We haven't ruled him out and he remains an option.''

The Bucs play their final game of the preseason Thursday against the Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium.

If Incognito were signed by the weekend, he would have more than a week to prepare for the Bucs' regular-season opener against Carolina at RJS Sept. 7.

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Richie Incognito: What does Lovie Smith's history tell us about troubled backgrounds?

As you might have heard, the Bucs brought in G Richie Incognito on Monday for a visit.

Head coach Lovie Smith stressed that it’s only a visit, but the questions are already swirling about Incognito’s previous troubles.

So how has Smith handled players with past problems of their own, when he coached the Bears? Let’s find out, after two quick caveats: This incomplete list comes with some help from the San Diego Union-Tribune, and, of course, every situation is different and should be treated as such, so be careful on how you connect the dots. That said…

WR Brandon Marshall: Has had multiple legal problems (See here). In 2012, the Bears traded two third-round picks to Miami for Marshall.

DT Tank Johnson: Arrested on gun charges in 2006, but was given clearance by the courts to play in the Super Bowl (he had half a sack). The Bears cut him in 2007, after another arrest.

WR Sam Hurd: Released after being arrested on federal drug charges.

RB Cedric Benson: Arrested twice on alcohol-related offenses and was cut.

LB Lance Briggs: Arrested for leaving the scene of an accident after an early-morning crash in his Lamborghini. Bears re-signed him. …

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Smith on Incognito visit: "I do believe in second chances.'

Committing only to a visit with troubled guard Richie Incognito, Bucs coach Lovie Smith said Monday he believes in giving players a shot at redemption.

Incognito, the center of the bullying and hazing scandal involving several Miami Dolphins linemen. was suspended the final eight games of 2013. He arrived in Tampa Monday afternoon but the Bucs haven’t decided whether a workout will be involved and no contract negotiations have taken place.

“I would like to talk to him myself,’’ Smith said Monday. “And you if you know my history, I do believe in second chances. To me, nobody should have a death sentence. If you should, you’re probably in jail. And then from there, what does it hurt to talk to someone? For me, as we go forward, I’m going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until we have information that tells us otherwise.’’

Tampa Bay is the first NFL team Incognito has visited since the league’s probe determined he and two other Dolphins offensive linemen – John Jerry and Mike Pouncey – engaged in persistent harassment of tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the team last October. Martin has since signed with the 49ers. …

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