Analyzing the Buccaneers' final roster
There were a few interesting decisions on this day that's all about making tough choices.
For starters, the Bucs went with a green, inexperienced backup at tackle, keeping Demar Dotson and releasing James Lee, their primary backup tackle in 2008. Lee did not have a good performance in the final preseason game, something that didn't help him in his bid to stick around. But don't lose sight of something where the offensive line is concerned: the Bucs are expected to manipulate the roster for a while, which means there could be some shuffling of players in and out during the first few weeks of the season.
Another interesting call was the decision to keep veteran cornerback Torrie Cox. He did not have a stellar preseason and the Bucs spent much of last year developing Kyle Arrington. But Arrington was cut, even though it's possible he could be asked to stay on the practice squad.
Defensive end Louis Holmes won over many fans during the preseason with his relentless hustle but, in the end, it seems the team intended all along to keep just four ends. That's pretty much standard around the league as well. Holmes is a player they'll likely target for the practice sqaud.
Concerning kicker Matt Bryant, his release had nothing to do with his controversial remarks, though they certainly didn't go over well. Bryant was let go because he did not kick during the preseason and the team couldn't take the chance that his hamstring wasn't completely healed. Furthermore, at 34, Bryant is seven years older than the team's new kicker, Mike Nugent. And just to address something a couple of readers have mentioned, Bryant was not eligible to go on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Unless you start the preseason on PUP, you cannot be listed there during the regular season. His injury also isn't season-ending, so no reason to go on Injured Reserve.
And, finally, let's talk quarterback. The Bucs have done this before under Jon Gruden. But why the decision to do it this year? Well, the thinking here is this: The Bucs intend to start Josh Freeman next season. If and when that happens, you'd ideally like to have a veteran backup -- probably Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown. Beyond that, most teams like their third quarterback to be a young developmental player like, say, Josh Johnson.
Basically, the Bucs think they have all the pieces of their 2010 quarterback lineup on the roster right now, so, why part with them? Here's the problem though: Keeping four quarterbacks cost you a spot elsewhere on a team for which depth is already a serious problem.
I'll leave you with this: The Bucs have as many quarterbacks as defensive ends.