TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 27: Quarterback Josh Johnson #11 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
In just four days the Buccaneers will trim their roster down to 53 players, after the final preseason game. They've already cut ten players, and they'll have to cut another 27. They will probably bring in another couple of waiver wire pickups afterwards, so this will undoubtedly change even further after September 3. But for what it's worth, here's my look at the offense.
With Raheem Morris saying today that they have been giving Michael Spurlock some quarterback reps, I'm starting to think the Bucs could keep just two quarterbacks. There is no third quarterback rule anymore, meaning that the third quarterback on the roster will have to take up an active roster spot. The Bucs could certainly use that active spot for someone else, and this would leave Rudy Carpenter as the odd man out. Which is a shame, because he's actually had a decent preseason.
With one less quarterback, the Bucs can keep an extra running back. No one has looked good this preseason, but they need to find someone to step up behind Blount. Heck, they need Blount himself to step up during the regular season. Carrying four guys (one of whom will also play fullback) will help them find someone, hopefully.
Fullback(1): Erik Lorig
Lorig seems in no danger of losing his job. I'm not entirely impressed with him, and don't really see the need for a fullback on the roster anyway. The Bucs seem committed to running with a fullback and why not Lorig, then.
Wide Receivers(6): Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Dezmon Briscoe, Sammie Stroughter, Micheal Spurlock
Practice Squad: Ed Gant
This is a pretty close battle between Spurlock, Gant and Parker for the last roster spots, and none of them have really impressed this offseason. The Bucs need some bodies there, and I think Spurlock wins out because of his versatility.
Ed Gant makes it because he has some intriguing physical attributes, but he could easily lose out if the Bucs want a roster spot elsewhere. Scratch that, I miscalculated, Ed Gant is off.
Yes, I think they keep four tight ends this time. Greg Olson wants to run a very tight end-heavy offense, and you need different players to do that. Kellen Winslow and Daniel Hardy are the more dynamic pass-catchers in this group, while Luke Stocker and Ryan Purvis are the better run-blockers.
I think James Lee has played so badly that he may lose his roster spot. Demar Dotson has looked good at right tackle and could play left tackle if it's really needed (but I would certainly hope it doesn't come to that). Will Barker is a more versatile player who has looked decent as well.
These three players are basically guaranteed a roster spot, while Zuttah is another player who can play guard, although I listed him at center instead. I haven't really paid much attention to Thomas Claiborne, but he didn't stick out which is usually a positive.
Faine is the clear starter while Zuttah is a valuable and versatile backup who has an outside shot at starting at left guard. Matt Allen hasn't looked bad, so that's good for him.
Kicker(1): Connor Barth
That's a no-brainer.