The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t have a good preseason, finishing 1-3, which means the front office/coaching staff has a lot of careful decisions to make. When a team’s entire training camp roster plays well, coaches have to make hard decisions in the form of letting good players go, but in Tampa’s case, they need to weed through the inexperience and pick the players that have the most potential. There’s been some bright spots, but here’s who I think will be in and out come saturday.
Mike James (RB) – The Bucs need to get down to 4 RBs — one of which will be a FB. Doug Martin is the obvious in and Erik Lorig will most likely grab that FB position. That leaves two spots for a true RB, and I think James will take up one of those spots. In James’ only contributing game he carried the ball 15 times for 81 yards. The young Miami Hurricane shows promise as a power back, but also shows potential as a blocker and receiver. Versatility is everything when it comes down to the last few spots.
Steven Means (DE) – Means was the Bucs 5th round pick out of Buffalo this year and he’s been surprisingly pleasant. Although he doesn’t command a starting or rotational role, Means has seen more first-team reps than Trevor Scott and William Gholston. With that, I think Means keeps his job.
Keith Tandy (DB) – Greg Schiano sure loves his small, physical DBs. When Tandy was selected in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft, most Bucs fans didn’t expect him to make the team, but here he is for the second year fighting for a roster spot. Barron and Goldson are set, Ahmad Black is most likely the first substitute, that leaves one more safety spot. Tandy had a nice INT in the Bucs only win of the preseason and I just think Schiano will hang on to him over Cody Grimm.
Peyton Hillis (RB) – In the paragraph about Mike James, I spoke about how these last few spots are given to players with the most versatility; that is Hillis’ downfall. He’s a better rusher than James, but he plays the same style Brian Leonard does and Leonard’s spot is all but locked up. Unlike James, Hillis can’t block and wouldn’t be willing — or motivated — to make a difference on special teams. I think Hillis’ own resume turns out to be his downfall.
Chris Owusu (WR) – Owusu did not live up to the training camp hype he had going into the preseason. Ogletree has clearly separated himself as the slot receiver, and Underwood has Schiano’s trust. With all the mental mistakes — dropped balls and poor routes — Owusu has made, I can’t see Schiano holding on to him.