Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano's personnel instincts with Tampa Bay Buccaneers look good so far

TAMPA

Head coaching changes in the NFL often bring sweeping alterations to the roster as well.

Such was the case when Greg Schiano took over with the Bucs. Some of the franchise's core players from the past few years were shown the door. Lately, a few have had it slam on their careers.

Schiano started by releasing S Tanard Jackson, who was signed by the Washington Redskins but suspended indefinitely Friday after his third suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Jackson missed 20 games for two previous suspensions for drug use.

Next came TE Kellen Winslow, who was traded for a seventh-round draft choice to Seattle and squawked about Schiano's "toes on the line," controlling ways. On Saturday, Winslow was released by the Seahawks.

DT Brian Price, who had a series of injury and personal problems, was traded to the Chicago Bears the first day of training camp. For now, he appears to have earned a roster spot with the Bears, but it has been speculated that could change once DT Amobi Okoye, who reached an injury settlement with the Bucs, returns to Chicago.

On Saturday the Bucs signed RB D.J. Ware, who won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants. Tampa Bay traded back into the first round in the draft to select Boise State RB Doug Martin, who won the starting tailback job over LeGarrette Blount. One has to wonder if the Bucs might entertain trading Blount after Ware's signing.

The Bucs went 4-12 last season, losing their last 10 games, which led to the firing of Raheem Morris after three seasons.

On Saturday, Schiano and the Bucs were desperately still trying to build depth on the offensive and defensive lines. A season-ending knee injury to OL Davin Joseph created some urgency. Meanwhile, the defensive line has not fulfilled expectations for several years despite the investment of high draft picks, including a pair of first-rounders for Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn and second-rounders for Price and Da'Quan Bowers.

The Bucs claimed three players off waivers: Jacksonville DT Corvey Irvin, Eagles G Julian Vandervelde and Texans C/G Cody Wallace.

Not every move under Schiano is going to pay off. But it's hard to question his instincts about personnel at this point.

UNDERWOOD VS. STROUGHTER: Of all the decisions the Bucs have made, releasing WR Tiquan Underwood might have been the toughest for Schiano.

Not only did Underwood play for Schiano at Rutgers, he had a great training camp and was the Bucs' most productive receiver in the preseason. But his limited ability on special teams likely cost him a roster spot that went to Sammie Stroughter.

"Very tough decision," Schiano said. "Tough decision because of (Underwood's) productivity in preseason and personally a tough decision because I have known this kid since he was a freshman in high school and have had a lot of great moments with him and I trust him.

"The good thing is this is a long season and he is a guy that I want the best for him so if somebody claims him, that's great, but if not he is a guy that I think we will always have in the ready because we believe he performed well. But … Sammie does a lot on special teams. I don't know if Tiquan could or can't, but he hasn't. Sammie has proven that he can."

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