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Looking ahead to the 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — The Bucs are in the midst of what likely will be a sizable transformation.

Already, the entire coaching staff has been fired. Soon, they will wrap up the search for a replacement to Raheem Morris, and that individual — along with general manager Mark Dominik — will begin talking about reshaping the current roster.

One thing we know is it won't look the same when the 2012 season gets under way.

"Naturally, there are going to be changes," Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph said.

Whoever is hired will leave his fingerprints on the team. Is he an offensive-minded coach? What kind of defensive system does he prefer? The roster will be tweaked and pruned accordingly.

Here, then, is our attempt to preview some of the decisions the Bucs' new coaching staff — whenever it gets here — will make on the current players.

The following assumes there will be significant roster turnover, which you would expect under any new head coach, and some forays into free agency (certainly more than we've seen over the past few seasons).

"We're open to all changes," co-chairman Joel Glazer said last week. "The goal is to put a winner on the field."

Quarterbacks

Back for more

Josh Freeman: Took a step back but has elite potential.

On the bubble

Rudy Carpenter: Comes back only as a third-stringer.

Doesn't make the cut

Josh Johnson: A free agent hoping for a starting job.

Running backs

Back for more

LeGarrette Blount: One-dimensional but talented back.

On the bubble

Earnest Graham: Turns 32 on Jan. 15 and is coming off a torn Achilles'.

Mossis Madu: Appears to have significant upside.

Erik Lorig: What is the role of a fullback in the new offense?

Doesn't make the cut

Kregg Lumpkin: Didn't adequately fill role of third-down back

Receivers

Back for more

Mike Williams: Coming off an inconsistent season.

Arrelious Benn: Slowed by a knee injury.

Dezmon Briscoe: Came on late.

Preston Parker: Big third-down target.

On the bubble

Sammie Stroughter: Caught the injury bug.

Doesn't make the cut

Micheal Spurlock: Scarcely used in 2011.

Raymond Webber: A long shot after season-long hamstring injury.

Tight ends

Back for more

Kellen Winslow: Not his best season but had 75 catches.

Luke Stocker: Had a disappointing rookie season.

Doesn't make the cut

Zack Pianalto: Didn't contribute on offense.

Defensive line

Back for more

Da'Quan Bowers: Big part of the future.

Adrian Clayborn: Rookie registered 71/2 sacks.

Gerald McCoy: Can he stay healthy?

Brian Price: Showed flashes between injuries.

On the bubble

Michael Bennett: Intriguing restricted free agent.

Roy Miller: Good for depth but struggled as a starter.

Tim Crowder: Free agent is a solid backup.

Doesn't make the cut

Frank Okam: Didn't take advantage of opportunities.

Jovan Haye: Was a stopgap solution.

Albert Haynesworth: Definitely not back at $6 million.

John McCargo: Wasn't a difference-maker.

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim: Played sparingly.

Nick Reed: A late addition for depth.

E.J. Wilson: Missed season with torn Achilles'.

George Johnson: Had impressive preseason before injury.

Offensive line

Back for more

Donald Penn: Weight issues; didn't finish 2011 strong.

Davin Joseph: Made Pro bowl; star of the unit.

Jeremy Trueblood: One year left on a two-year deal.

Ted Larsen: Could challenge for a starting job.

On the bubble

Jeremy Zuttah: Talented and versatile but a free agent.

Jeff Faine: Salary balloons to more than $6 million.

Derek Hardman: Good backup; might have competition.

Doesn't make the cut

James Lee: Free agent; played poorly.

Demar Dotson: Not ready to compete for a starting job.

Linebackers

Back for more

Mason Foster: Talented but lots to learn.

Quincy Black: Struggled, but 2012 salary is guaranteed.

Dekoda Watson: Edge rusher must expand his game.

On the bubble

Geno Hayes: Free agent was benched in two games.

Adam Hayward: Depends on what additions are made.

Doesn't make the cut

Jacob Cutrera: Journeyman signed for depth.

Defensive backs

Back for more

Cody Grimm: Solid tackler coming off a knee injury.

Tanard Jackson: Needs to bounce back.

On the bubble

Ronde Barber: Considering retirement.

Myron Lewis: 2010 third-round pick underperformed.

Anthony Gaitor: Good for depth.

E.J. Biggers: Struggled in man-to-man coverage.

Ahmad Black: Young, inexpensive prospect.

Elbert Mack: Undersized but a solid backup.

Larry Asante: Needs a strong offseason.

Corey Lynch: Hits free agency.

Devin Holland: Special teams ace missed most of the season with a back injury.

Doesn't make the cut

Aqib Talib: Facing a trial and scrutiny of new coach.

Sean Jones: After strong camp, had a poor season.

Specialists

Back for more

Michael Koenen (punter): Solid first year of six-year deal.

On the bubble

Connor Barth (kicker): Career year; entering free agency.

Looking ahead to the 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 01/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 7, 2012 8:21pm]
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