Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs cuts include ex-Gators Major Wright, Solomon Patton, Jeff Demps

TAMPA — The Bucs made their final eight cuts Saturday to arrive at their 53-man roster, with three Gators among the most surprising players released.

Undrafted rookie Solomon Patton, who seemed to have both return jobs locked up, was waived, as was former Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps, who wasn't able to showcase his elite speed in preseason action. And veteran safety Major Wright, who had 100 tackles for the Bears last season, was released after working as the team's No. 3 safety throughout the past month.

All six 2014 draft picks made the roster for the Bucs, who had several under-the-radar players make the cut (for now). That included undrafted rookie Josh Allen of Louisiana-Monroe, now the team's backup center; defensive end Scott Solomon, who had just 16 snaps in the NFL last season; guard Rishaw Johnson, acquired from the Chiefs last week; and fullback Jorvorskie Lane and nickel defensive back Quinton Pointer, signed off the street in the spring.

In all, 24 of the 53 players joined the Bucs in 2014, and another three were on the team last year but didn't play a down; linebacker Danny Lansanah played one game. So half the roster hasn't played for Tampa Bay, emblematic of the busy offseason under first-year coach Lovie Smith and first-year general manager Jason Licht.

"It's one of my hardest days," Smith said Friday as the team cut 14 players, including veteran kicker Connor Barth, "when you've been around a lot of guys and you have to give them bad news, as much as anything. That's what's kind of going on right now. … A lot of moving parts are going on while we're going through this process."

There are signs the team isn't done tweaking its roster — there are only three healthy safeties, with backup Bradley McDougald nursing a knee injury, so the club might have an addition coming to offset the loss of Wright.

There are 10 offensive linemen, two more than the team opened with last year — those 10 include four who have never played in an NFL game.

Local Gator fans had hoped to see the speed of Demps and Patton, but the team will go in a different direction on returns, perhaps to No. 2 running back Bobby Rainey, who averaged 10 yards on three punt returns in preseason.

In addition to the three Gators, the Bucs cut five other players: defensive tackles Matt Masifilo and Ronald Talley, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Brandon Magee and quarterback Mike Kafka.

Making the cut was defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers, who had missed the past three games with a groin injury but showed enough, with versatility to play inside as a third-down defensive tackle as well.

Starting at noon today, the Bucs can assemble a 10-player practice squad, which could include Kafka, as well as undrafted rookies who missed the cut such as Brate, linebacker Nate Askew and cornerback Keith Lewis. Tampa Bay also could claim players waived or released as other teams made their cuts to 53 on Saturday.

Another roster spot should open up in a few days, when rookie running back Charles Sims is expected to be tagged as "injured reserve-designated for return," which will allow him to recover from ankle surgery and return in Week 9.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and at (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Even with — perhaps especially with —Jon Gruden set to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor Monday night, Tampa Bay’s Great Sports Debate hasn’t abated. Who deserves more credit for the biggest moment in Tampa Bay sports history — the Bucs’ Super ...
Published: 12/16/17
Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Bucs journal: Adarius Glanton’s experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

Bucs journal: Adarius Glanton’s experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

TAMPA — The Bucs’ linebacker depth was tested during the first five weeks of the season, when Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed a combined six games with injuries.And now, as David is again sidelined by a hamstring injury, the experience gained...
Published: 12/15/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has injury updates on Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy and a nostalgic trip through the Bucs’ history on Monday night, including the current three-game win streak and yes, that infamous 2003 Colts game where the Bucs were u...
Published: 12/15/17
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA — The worst week of Dirk Koetter’s life rolls on.It’s Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. It’s the big build-up to Gruden’s induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Published: 12/15/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Dirk Koetter is fighting for his job the final three weeks of season. Is there a rift between him and Jameis Winston? Has Winston shown enough progress this year? And who are the Glaz...
Published: 12/15/17