Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' final roster cuts come Friday night

TAMPA — When receiver Arrelious Benn and cornerback E.J. Biggers became tangled and injured on the same play during the first day of training camp, it wiped out their entire preseason.

Benn, who sprained a right knee ligament, might be ready for the season opener Sept. 9 against the Panthers. Biggers, who broke his left foot, will not play. But both will be on the 53-man roster when it is turned into the league by 9 tonight.

"E.J. and Regis, we have a lot of tape to go on," Schiano said Thursday. "We also have all our (offseason workouts) and minicamp stuff.

"It's crazy, right? The first practice, both of them, to lose them on the same play. But you've got to move forward."

One day after sitting all of the regulars during a 30-3 loss at the Redskins in the preseason finale, Schiano gave clues about some players who are on the bubble.

Receiver and defensive back are the deepest — and toughest — positions to decide.

Receivers Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Preston Parker and Benn are locks. If the Bucs keep only five, that means there might be a decision to make between Sammie Stroughter (two catches for 30 yards on Wednesday) and Tiquan Underwood (six catches for 82 yards and a 32-yard kickoff return).

Despite his stats, Schiano said Stroughter had one of his better preseason games.

"It's a good battle," Schiano said.

There is a logjam at defensive back, particularly at safety behind starters Ronde Barber and first-round pick Mark Barron. Former Florida star Ahmad Black has had a good preseason. Cody Grimm, who has started 12 games over two injury-filled seasons, is facing tough competition from Keith Tandy, a sixth-round pick in April who also can play cornerback.

With Biggers apparently safe, the Bucs might choose among cornerbacks Myron Lewis, Anthony Gaitor and undrafted Iowa State rookie Leonard Johnson, a former Clearwater High quarterback.

The Bucs lack depth on the offensive and defensive lines. A season-ending injury to Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph was a major blow. Schiano has been tinkering with moving tackle Jamon Meredith to right guard. Meredith and Ted Larsen took reps with the first-team offense there Thursday.

The Bucs traded defensive tackle Brian Price to the Bears on the first day of training camp. But no standouts have emerged behind starters Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller.

One player possibly in trouble is Amobi Okoye, who came over from the Bears for a one-year, $2 million contract. Okoye had arthroscopic knee surgery in June. He played in the first preseason game but not since.

"You can be a little cautious at times," Schiano said. "We've tried to do that. But at the end of the day, you've got to go out and earn a spot."

Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected] and can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620. Follow him on Twitter at @NFLStroud.

Comments
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

TAMPA — It is one of the most honest moments of the season, captured in the first Hard Knocks episode. Jameis Winston is having a frank conversation with coach Dirk Koetter, seated behind his desk in his office at One Buc Place."I just want to have a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick Stroud and Tom Jones answer a lightning round of questions.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

TAMPA — So, this is Christmas.The Bucs are having an awful season. There is no way around it. Star receiver Mike Evans isn’t having a great year, either, not nearly as many catches or touchdowns as last season, when he was selected for the Pro Bowl.S...
Published: 12/13/17
Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed a female employee when he worked at the NFL Network during a radio appearance this afternoon in Miami."Ain’t no #MeToo," the former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer said on the And...
Published: 12/13/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Gerald McCoy still wants to play

Cannon Fodder podcast: Gerald McCoy still wants to play

Greg Auman has an update in his latest podcast while the Bucs have two days off during the long week.
Published: 12/13/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

As baseball’s hot stove starts heating up, should the Rays go full fire sale to build for the future?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether the Rays should trade guys like Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Alex Colome and more,...
Published: 12/13/17
Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Even dealing with a biceps injury and his Bucs at 4-9, Gerald McCoy isn't giving up on playing this season."I'm a fighter," McCoy said Tuesday night. "Y'all know me. I don't quit. I give it everything I have. Even the slightest possibility of being a...
Published: 12/12/17
Bucs’ defensive line surprises families with Christmas spree

Bucs’ defensive line surprises families with Christmas spree

The West Club at Raymond James Stadium was packed on Tuesday night with 75 needy local families who thought they were getting a holiday dinner and stadium tour with Bucs players.The defensive line stepped up to give the families a much bigger surpris...
Published: 12/12/17