LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Ed Gant #15 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with teammate Preston Parker #87 after Gant scored a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a preseason game at FedExField on September 1, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Buccaneers 29-24. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Bucs have already released a number of players. Tyrone McKenzie, John McCargo and Kyle Moore were cut yesterday. From Gregg Rosenthal of ProFootballTalk comes the news that RB Armando Allen Jr. was cut as well. The running back had a decent outing in the first game but has looked pretty bad since then.
In any case, before we see even more cuts I wanted to take a final stab at the 53-man roster. Here's my view of the offense right now.
It seems inevitable that the Bucs go with two quarterbacks this season now that the third-quarterback rule has been eliminated in favor of an extra active spot. Jonathan Crompton didn't look nearly good enough to earn a practice squad spot, although they will probably sign him to the practice squad if someone else goes after Rudy Carpenter.
None of the running backs have shown much, except for Mossis Madu. Madu had a good enough game to earn a roster spot in my mind. Blount and Graham are obviously safe, but if I were Kregg Lumpkin I'd start worrying about my roster spot. Lumpkin has looked lackluster as a runner, and hasn't even looked particularly good as a third-down back. If Madu picks that up quickly or the Bucs see a running back they like on the waiver wire, Lumpkin is likely to be gone sooner rather than later.
Fullback (0): No one
I'm going out on a limb here, but I have not liked what any of the fullbacks have done. Legarrette Blount looks better running without a fullback anyway. The Bucs used tight ends in a fullback role at times last season, and they have Earnest Graham on the roster as well. I don't see why they would waste a roster spot on a fullback who would add very little to the offense. I'd rather spend it on a tight end who can block in-line and work in the passing game.
The first four guys should need no real explanation. Micheal Spurlock will make the team as a return specialist/emergency QB primarily, and will contribute some at wide receiver as well. Ed Gant has to have played himself on to the roster with his week 4 performance. There's no way the Bucs can sneak him onto the practice squad, and he has looked good enough throughout all four preseason games to make the roster. At first I thought Preston Parker would fall to a numbers game, but looking at the rest of my roster projection there's room for him.
Ryan Purvis, Nathan Overbay and Daniel Hardy were competing for a roster spot on Thursday, yet none of them rose to the challenge. I do think Hardy has shown enough to make the roster, though, and Ryan Purvis will provide some depth as a blocker.
I actually thought James Lee had a halfway decent game against the Redskins, at least as a pass blocker. He gave up one pressure, but was pretty solid otherwise. Demar Dotson has played very well since week two of the preseason. I really wouldn't be surprised if Dotson takes over for Trueblood at some point during the regular season.
This is pretty straightforward. These three are clearly the best players at those positions. Over their last two preseason games Jeremy Zuttah has clearly outplayed Ted Larsen, and he should really get the start against the Lions. Thomas Claiborne has looked decent enough to be on the practice squad, as the Bucs need some extra bodies in practice anyway.
Center(1): Jeff Faine
Jeff Faine is the obvious starter, but Matt Allen did pretty decently against the Redskins. If he can play guard as well he could be on the practice squad instead of Thomas Claiborne
Kicker(1): Connor Barth
To be honest, I like what Jacob Rogers has done this preseason. I think the Bucs stick with Barth's proven ability as a field goal kicker, though.