Buccaneers' 68 roster moves in 2014 are all about roster churn

Brian Blanco

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have tried to re-make their roster in short order, and that roster churn is going to continue all throughout the year. Competition is the key word, here.

When Pete Carroll and John Schneider started building their championship team in Seattle, they started with a roster that was nearly as bad as the Bucs' 3-13 team at that point. Four years later, they were running the best team in football, all because they aggressively and constantly attacked their roster depth. 'Churn' is the word they use to describe their efforts: constantly rotating players througout the roster to improve their roster depth. 

For a good (and funny) overview of how the Seahawks did that, check out Kenneth Arthur's first-year recap over at Field Gulls. You'll probably notice a few things: cutting aging (and expensive) veterans, trades the fans just can't understand, a well-received draft day, and constant, constant roster churn. The Seahawks made a ridiculous 284 roster moves that year, in an effort to have constant, meaningful competition at every position. And in an effort to find those overlooked players who could still contribute to an NFL team. 

That's what the Bucs are trying to do, too. They've steadily overhauled the roster, removing those players they felt didn't fit the scheme, or the locker room, or were simply too expensive or too washed-up to be of any further use. They've added front-line talent where necessary, and added depth at every position on the roster. Gone are the days of Mark Dominik judiciously adding talent at a few places: constant roster churn is the new reality in Tampa. 

Lovie Smith summed that up nicely during rookie mini-camp. "Guys need to know there's competition and every time you get an opportunity to perform, you need to do something better than someone else at that position."

The implicit message: if you don't do something better than someone else, you're not going to stick on this roster for very long. 

At this point in Pete Carroll's first season with the Seahawks, they'd managed 76 roster moves by my count, and they would end the year with 284 roster moves. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have managed 68 so far. The roster may seem set, but they're far from done. On with the roster churn!

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