It's a numbers game at receiver
We're still a week away from the first round of cuts, but it's not too early to start debating some looming decisions.
There will be some tough ones to make at receiver, in particular.
There are plenty of bodies, but there has been a lack of the sort of notable performances that would make those tough calls a bit easier. So, let's take a closer look at who might be in and those who could be out.
If Joey Galloway ever gets back on the field, he obviously won't have to worry about a roster spot. By the way, as an aside, did anyone catch the comments of coach Jon Gruden last night in the postgame interview? He said the following about Galloway, who was dressed for the game but had no chance of playing since he hasn't practiced yet because of the groin injury:
"He's got to get back on the field, We need to get him back out there. This guy hasn't worn a football uniform since the Giants game... This is as close as we could get to him playing. We wanted Joey to have a real NFL experience tonight."
I believe sense a hint of sarcasm in there. Could be the coach is growing annoyed with Galloway's protracted absence?
Anyway, getting beyond Galloway, I think we have to consider Dexter Jackson a lock. As a second-round pick, the Bucs have a lot invested in him. He also is a return man, which makes him a dual-purpose player. I don't see anyone else as a shoo-in.
Ike Hilliard has proven himself a reliable target, especially in clutch situations. So, I think Gruden will have a hard time parting ways. The Bucs don't appear ready to give up on Michael Clayton, despite his lack of production the last few years. Though that doesn't mean he can't be traded, if the Bucs are willing. I also think the team believes Maurice Stovall is yet to fully tap into all of his potential.
And then we have Antonio Bryant, who has been the bright spot thus far. He showed a lot of versatility against the Patriots, showing speed on that early end around play and toughness by running slants inside. He is doing many of the things the Bucs have hoped to see from Clayton.
That's already six receivers, which might be the cutoff. The Bucs almost never use more than three at any given time, so it'd be hard to justify keeping any more. Based on my gut feelings, that leaves Paris Warren, Chad Lucas, Cortez Hankton, Micheal Spurlock and Brian Clark on the bubble.
Maybe yu disagree. Feel free to engage in a little debate. But this is the way I see things playing out as of now. Of course, we still have a couple more preseason games, which certainly could change things.