In about a month, the new coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is going to spend a lot of time watching tape. He's going to have a little notebook or tablet or notebook or whatever with him while he's doing that. And that little notebook is going to be filled with names and red pen. Players are going to be cut, removed and even out of the league after this disaster of a season.
Here are my 25 players who should be scared for their jobs this offseason. Yes, that's nearly half the roster - and there's no way the Bucs say goodbye to this many players as they simply can't replace them all. But there are a lot of players who deserve to be let go based on this year's performance.
The underperformers AKA the ones who played so far below their talent level, they can't return
LB Quincy Black: Got a big contract this offseason, and promptly forgot how to play football. Missed tackles, terrible angles and other mistakes marked his play this year. Maybe the commitment the Bucs showed him earns him another season, but he should be gone based on this year's play.
C Jeff Faine: Was a solid if unspectacular center, but has struggled with injuries and has become less and less effective. His $6 million salary won't help the Bucs to keep him around.
DT Albert Haynesworth: Made a rare splash play or two but spent most of the season getting willingly pushed out of his gap. Did nothing to warrant being brough back, let alone at his $6.7 million salary.
S Tanard Jackson: Quite possibly the worst tackler I've ever seen. Didn't even try to wrap at any point. Missed an NFL-leading 24 tackles according to Pro Football Focus. He did that despite missing 5 games due to a suspension and missing one more game and at least three halves of football due to injury and being benched.
T Jeremy Trueblood: Is a terrible pass-blocker and an adequate run blocker. The Bucs are paying him $10 million to play this season and the next. Probably had his best season as a pro but still isn't good enough. The Bucs must find a replacement for him.
The ones with too little talent to be brought back
S Larry Asante: I don't see it. He's not fast, big, a good tackler or a ballhawk. I haven't seen him consistently take good angles, or make any impact in the passing game. To me, he's just another guy.
CB E.J. Biggers: Got eaten up by quality receivers this year. Had a good 2010 season but wasn't as good this year and has always been a terrible tackler. Useful for depth, but if the Bucs re-vamp their secondary he could be gone.
S Ahmad Black: Was on the practice squad for most of the season despite terrible play from the Bucs' starting safeties. Small, slow and didn't show anything on the field when he got the chance. Could have a role in some sub-packages but hasn't shown up on tape this season.
QB Rudy Carpenter: Weak-armed and spent almost the entire year on the practice squad until Freeman suffered an injury. Is a fringe backup.
DT Jovan Haye: An emergency backup player who got some playing time because the Bucs needed a body. Used to be good, years ago.
DT John McCargo: See above.
DT Roy Miller: Can't hold up against double teams and offers nothing as a pass rusher. Had a few good games toward the end of the season as a run defender that might save him.
DT Frank Okam: Big. That's about it. Had a good preseason but never turned into a capable starter, then got cut and moved to the practice squad.
The free agents AKA the ones who did nothing to earn a new contract
CB Ronde Barber: Was still useful in coverage especially on tight ends, but more often than not was a liability in run defense. Is getting up there in age and may not be worth the millions he earns each year - even if he wants to come back.
RB Legarrette Blount: Ran hard and with vision early in the year but ended the season on a very low note with numerous fumbles. Add accusations of an off-field incident and a new coach may want to make an example of him, although he showed enough to be brought back in my mind.
T Demar Dotson: Did some good things as a sixth lineman and didn't really look bad in the final game of the season, but he's a project at right tackle. Will they bring back a fourth-year player who's still a project?
RB Earnest Graham: Useful when on the field and a utility back, but he'll be 32 and has struggled with injuries recently. May be time to move on.
LB Geno Hayes: Had a chance to earn a new contract if he could become more consistent. Instead regressed, couldn't provide the splash plays he provided earlier in his career and was benched midway through the season. Can't see him coming back.
S Sean Jones: Quite possibly the slowest starting safety in the entire NFL. Blew numerous coverages, couldn't tackle in the run game and was benched repeatedly. He's gone.
T James Lee: Had a horrible preseason, had to take a pay cut, was inactive for most of the season and was benched in the one game where he got some playing time. He's gone.
RB Kregg Lumpkin: Looked terrible as a running back all season long. Mediocre at best as a blocker on third downs and adds nothing special as a receiver. He's probably gone.
S Corey Lynch: Useful special teamer, but couldn't get on the field late in the season despite numerous opportunities. Can't fill holes in the run game. If he's brought back, it's because of his special teams impact.
CB Elbert Mack: Did some good things as a slot cornerback but can't play on the outside, is not a good tackler and mostly earned playing time because everyone else was worse. Could be back in a very limited role.
WR Micheal Spurlock: Was on the roster ostensibly to serve as the emergency QB, but didn't get the chance to do anything as a returner or receiver. When he did get on the field he showed absolutely nothing. Likely gone.
G Jeremy Zuttah: Started on a high note as the starter at left guard but reverted to his old role as an underperformer during the second half of the season. Could be retained as a valuable swing backup or potentially moved to starter.