Not-so-hot preseasons for these guys
Last week, I gave you my list of up-and-coming players who have gained the most from their opportunities this preseason (click here).
Consider this the sequel.
Not everyone has shined during the three exhibition games to date. There are some players whose flaws have been exposed or who have simply failed to produce thus far, casting doubt on just how they'll perform in the regular season or -- in some cases -- whether they'll make the team. (View audio slide show)
CB Eugene Wilson: Signed as a free agent from the Patriots, Wilson was seen as a key piece of the Bucs' offseason retooling efforts. So far during the preseason, Wilson has been inconsistent both in coverage and as a tackler. His miscues were particularly glaring against the Jaguars on Saturday, with one of his whiffed tackles setting up a Jacksonville touchdown. Not saying he'll be cut, but considering the depth in the secondary and at cornerback in particular (Ronde Barber, Phillip Buchanon, Aqib Talib, Sammy Davis, Elbert Mack), the Bucs do have options. Watch him closely on Thursday at Houston. Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris said he will be, too, trying to determine whether last week was an aberration.
WR Paris Warren: He was the darling of the 2007 preseason, the team's leading receiver. His unsightly ankle injury in the final exhibition game was a major setback sidelining him for the season. But during the offseason, he proclaimed himself ready to make another run at the final roster. Problem is, he hasn't yet distinguished himself in the preseason, catching just two passes for 15 yards. With the Bucs already attempting to resolve their logjam at receiver, Warren is, at best, a long shot with final cuts looming Saturday. Coach Jon Gruden earlier today emphasized the fact he thinks Warren is an NFL-caliber player and said "he's in the mix," but that doesn't guarantee him anything.
QB Luke McCown: When he stepped into the starting lineup for Jeff Garcia last season, McCown showed off his athleticism and arm strength, qualities that make him attractive to the Bucs. But if you watched closely, you also saw his tendency to make questionable decisions, some of which cost the Bucs dearly. McCown has said he spent his offseason working to eliminate those from his game, but his play in the preseason has served as a reminder that he isn't there yet. Brian Griese looks like a lock in the battle for the No. 2 quarterback position. Not all is lost, however. Gruden quite often shuffles the order of his backup quarterbacks from week to week, so perhaps McCown can rectify the situation.
K Matt Bryant: He doesn't have any competition in this camp, so the chances he won't kick for the Bucs this season are remote. But Bryant hasn't been steady in the preseason, missing two kicks he almost always converts: from 36 yards against Miami and from 23 yards against Jacksonville. Kickers are probably criticized too often because it's so easy for opinion to be swayed by a isolated incidents, but no one in the organization will tell you they feel good about Bryant's recent misses.