The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released their first depth chart yesterday, which means we get to overanalyze what's not really a very important piece of data. Still, the depth chart says something about the state of the team, even if Lovie Smith doesn't really think so.
"As I said last year, OK we are going to release the depth chart," Lovie Smith says. "Because we're supposed to release the depth chart. Don't put too much into it right now. As I'm saying now, once we start playing games and then we start getting a depth chart, then put a little more stock into it."
Donovan Smith starts, Ali Marpet doesn't
The biggest competition battle this offseason is along the offensive line. The Bucs would like to see rookie Donovan Smith earn the job of starting left tackle, but it looks like they feel he's already done so. No playing games with listing Kevin Pamphile at number one just to push Smith: he's the starter, even though he and Pamphile are still rotating in training camp.
Marpet's situation at right guard is a little more curious. Like Smith, he's been rotating with backsup -- Garrett Gilkey and Kadeem Edwards in his case -- but the Bucs feel Marpet isn't ready to start yet. Gilkey's listed as the starter, which is ominous given his disastrous performance last year -- although Gilkey has supposedly looked better in training camp. I'd expect Marpet to take over the starting job by the end of preseason, though.
Doug Martin will get the ball
Doug Martin is still listed as the starting running back, and he's looked good enough in training camp for him to hold on to that job. In fact, some reporters have noted that he's looked better than at any time since his rookie season. The depth chart doesn't quite back that up, but he'll at least get a good shot at proving that he's returned to form.
As expected, Charles Sims is listed as the main backup while Bobby Rainey's number three and pretty much out of the picture for a significant amount of work. In fact, he may have to work for his roster spot.
The defensive line is taking shape
The Bucs' defense will stand or fall with its pass rush, and we have a pretty good idea of what it will look like: Jacquies Smith is listed as the starter at left end, and George Johnson is the right end -- which is flipped from how I'd expect it to be, but both players can play both sides. The depth chart also belies a lack of depth at the position: T.J. Fatinikun and Larry English are the main backups, and there's no experience or even much potential behind those two.
Intriguingly, the Bucs apparently see William Gholston as a defensive tackle right now -- he's listed as the second nose tackle behind McDonald and ahead of Tony McDaniel. The latter will move up to number two before long, but with Gholston and Bowers the Bucs are moving a lot of defensive end talent inside to provide even more depth at the deepest position on the team. It's not clear whether Gholston will get a shot at defensive end at this point.
Danny Lansanah has won the strongside linebacker job
Kwon Alexander has been doing well at middle linebacker, but he has no real shot at displacing expensive free agent Bruce Carter as a starter. But that move to middle linebacker also means he has no chance of displacing Danny Lansanah, who has apparently locked up his starting spot on the strong side. Josh Keyes is no threat to him, so we can look forward to another season of Lansanah's explosive plays.
Here's the full depth chart:
|WR||Vincent Jackson||Louis Murphy||Robert Herron||Rannell Hall|
|LT||Donovan Smith||Kevin Pamphile||Edawn Coughman|
|LG||Logan Mankins||Kadeem Edwards||Matthew Masifilo|
|C||Evan Smith||Jeremiah Warren||Josh Allen|
|RG||Garrett Gilkey||Ali Marpet||Antoine Everett|
|RT||Demar Dotson||Patrick Omameh||Reid Fragel|
|TE||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Brandon Myers||Luke Stocker||Timothy Wright|
|WR||Mike Evans||Russell Shepard||Kenny Bell||Tavarres King|
|QB||Jameis Winston||Mike Glennon||Seth Lobato|
|RB||Doug Martin||Charles Sims||Bobby Rainey||Mike James|
|FB||Jorvorskie Lane||Joey Iosefa||Evan Rodriguez|
|LDE||Jacquies Smith||T.J. Fatinikun||Jamal Young|
|DT||Gerald McCoy||Henry Melton||Da'Quan Bowers||Caushaud Lyons|
|DT||Clinton McDonald||William Gholston||Tony McDaniel||George Uko|
|RDE||George Johnson||Larry English||Lawrence, Jr. Sidbury||Ryan Delaire|
|SLB||Danny Lansanah||Josh Keyes||Orie Lemon|
|MLB||Bruce Carter||Kwon Alexander||Larry Dean|
|WLB||Lavonte David||Jason Williams||Khaseem Greene|
|CB||Alterraun Verner||Sterling Moore||Brandon Dixon||Jude Adjei-Barimah|
|CB||Johnthan Banks||Mike Jenkins||Leonard Johnson||Isaiah Frey|
|SS||Major Wright||D.J. Swearinger||Kimario McFadden|
|FS||Bradley McDougald||Chris Conte||Keith Tandy||Chris Hackett|
|P||Michael Koenen||Spencer Lanning||Karl Schmitz|
|PK||Patrick Murray||Brandon Bogotay||Michael Koenen|
|KO||Michael Koenen||Patrick Murray||Brandon Bogotay|
|H||Michael Koenen||Mike Glennon|
|PR||Kaelin Clay||Bobby Rainey|
|KR||Kaelin Clay||Bobby Rainey|