For this weekend’s Pewter Report Roundtable, the crew tackles one other robust query. This week’s immediate: Who could possibly be a Bucs’ shock roster minimize?
Scott Reynolds: SMB’s Slide Down The Depth Chart May Lead To His Exit
Two years in the past cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was a playoff hero. He picked off passes in three consecutive postseason wins. Now he’s getting into camp within the combat of his NFL life. Murphy-Bunting isn’t just combating to remain on the sphere because the nickel cornerback. He’s combating to make the workforce. Sad together with his play throughout a 2021 season by which he missed half of it because of damage, the Bucs introduced in veteran Logan Ryan, who can play free security in addition to nickel. However he’s not the one one who will see time within the slot.
Todd Bowles used security Mike Edwards within the slot final yr and that may proceed. Or he might use Antoine Winfield, Jr. – not simply in protection, but in addition on blitzes from the slot. Many have centered on Winfield not with the ability to cowl Cooper Kupp on a 44-yard catch on the finish of Tampa Bay’s 30-27 playoff loss to L.A. However even Bowles has stated that Kupp’s huge catch the earlier play was simply as crucial as a result of he obtained out of bounds. Murphy-Bunting slipped in protection on that play.
I’m undecided what’s occurred for the reason that Tremendous Bowl with Murphy-Bunting, however he’s not the identical participant. Maybe it’s a insecurity. The Bucs may be carried out with SMB enjoying within the slot, which is a crucial position in Bowles’ protection. Dee Delaney was the star of the OTAs, and rookie Zyon McCollum additionally actually impressed. The 4 greatest cornerbacks by the top of camp could possibly be Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean, McCollum and Delaney. Can Murphy-Bunting dangle on to the fifth spot? Bear in mind, the Bucs minimize former first-round decide Vernon Hargreaves III in his contract yr in 2019, so there aren’t any sacred cows.
Matt Matera: Veteran RB Will get Phased Out By New Expertise
If veteran operating again Gio Bernard had been to get minimize by the top of coaching camp, that might be shocking. Bernard goes into this tenth NFL season and his second with the Bucs. Final yr it felt like he didn’t really discover his footing within the offense. He recorded profession lows in dashing yards (58) and receiving yards (123), however did have three receiving touchdowns. A few of this needed to do with accidents inflicting him to overlook 5 video games.
Heading into camp, we’ll see if Bernard can add that wrinkle to the offense that many had been anticipating. The Bucs drafted operating again Rachaad White within the third spherical and the workforce is already enamored together with his ability set. White it’s predicted to be a significant component within the offense that can be utilized in numerous methods in sure packages. With Leonard Fournette beginning, there’s an opportunity White could possibly be the third down man as a substitute of only a major backup.
The true caveat for Bernard making the workforce is how Ke’Shawn Vaughn appears and if Kenjon Barner wins the kick returner competitors. Vaughn obtained some reps as a starter final season because of accidents and had a spotlight 55-yard landing run towards the Panthers. Apart from that, he was relatively pedestrian. With the return recreation in flux, Barner would possibly win the job. That may pressure Tampa Bay between holding 4 or 5 operating backs and 4 appears loads. It’d be shocking to see Bernard off this workforce, particularly how useful his veteran presence could possibly be. It simply can’t be dominated out given the scenario.
JC Allen: Bucs May Go With Simply Two Passers
The Bucs want to seek out out what they’ve with Kyle Trask and there’s no means round it. With Blaine Gabbert because the quantity two behind Tom Brady, it limits the reps and alternatives Trask will obtain each in camp and within the common season. That is no indictment on Gabbert, both. He’s been a professional’s professional, is aware of the offense inside and outside and has proven to be a succesful backup quarterback when used on the finish of video games. That is extra of needing to know handle the quarterback place after Brady is gone, probably as quickly as subsequent season.
After all, a lot will rely on the event of Trask. The Bucs are going to present the second yr signal-caller a plethora of alternatives throughout camp and preseason video games to show himself. If he delivers it might pave the way in which for him to be the highest again up behind Brady. Opposite to Clyde Christensen’s feedback this offseason, there’s a actual battle between Gabbert and Trask for the quantity two quarterback spot on the roster.
Because the third quarterback final season, Trask was inactive all yr with Gabbert accumulating any rubbish time snaps. Needing to know what they’ve in Trask, the Bucs will want him to take these snaps through the season. It stays unlikely they costume three quarterbacks on recreation day. Although, with the observe squads growing from 12-16 gamers, together with going from 4 to 6 veterans in a position to be stashed, there could also be a path the place the Bucs roll with simply two quarterbacks on the energetic roster. Which might see Gabbert land on the observe squad and elevated at any level if wanted.
Josh Queipo: Veteran Lineman Might Not Be A Lock
The Bucs presently have a plethora of offensive linemen on the workforce and solely so many roster spots to go round. Almost certainly the workforce will carry 9-10 O-linemen into the season. 4 of the 5 beginning spots are set with Donovan Smith, Professional Bowlers Ryan Jensen and Tristan Wirfs and Shaq Mason. As well as, the 2 gamers who don’t win the beginning left guard spot out of Robert Hainsey, Aaron Stinnie and Luke Goedeke are fairly stable locks to make the workforce in backup roles.
That’s seven of the 9-10 roster spots already locked up. The remaining openings can be a battle between Nick Leverett, Sadarius Hutcherson, Fred Johnson and Josh Wells. Hutcherson confirmed a variety of promise in faculty however missed all of final season because of an ACL tear. If he’s recovered from that damage, he could have the very best upside of the group. Johnson has graded out nicely in restricted time with Cincinnati. His bodily profile is spectacular, and he has tackle-guard flexibility. Leverett gives much more flexibility because the workforce appears comfy with him at virtually each place throughout the offensive line.
If the Bucs really feel comfy with Johnson because the swing deal with with Leverett because the emergency backup then Wells could possibly be on the outs. With solely $152,500 of his wage assured Wells could possibly be a camp casualty. Whereas Leverett has the body and the power that’s higher suited to play guard he also can play deal with in a pinch.
Bailey Adams: Parting Methods With A As soon as-Promising Prospect?
There have been excessive hopes for Tyler Johnson when he was drafted within the fifth spherical in 2020. As a rookie, Johnson confirmed why some had been calling him a possible steal on Day 3. He caught 12 passes for 169 yards (14.1 avg.) and two touchdowns. Then, within the playoff win over the Saints, he got here by means of with a crucial third-down catch within the fourth quarter. The Bucs went on to win and received Tremendous Bowl LV just a few weeks later. Johnson was very a lot a job participant in his first season, however he confirmed flashes.
The subsequent yr Johnson got here to camp in less-than-ideal form, which Bruce Arians referred to as a “lesson.” He labored his means into form, however the outcomes weren’t nice on the sphere. Johnson caught 36 passes for 360 yards (10.0 avg.) and no touchdowns. In two playoff video games, he caught 5 passes for 45 yards. His play was disappointing contemplating Tampa Bay wanted him to step up within the absence of Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. The second-year receiver struggled to realize separation and didn’t provide a lot as a No. 2/No. 3 receiver.
All hope isn’t misplaced for Johnson. He shined throughout OTAs and will handle to regain his momentum and take what he realized final yr to enhance. Nonetheless, competitors is fierce within the receiver room. There isn’t any scarcity of choices for the Bucs on the subject of filling their depth receiver roles. Johnson will combat it out with Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, Cyril Grayson Jr., Jaelon Darden and undrafted free brokers Deven Thompkins, Jerreth Sterns and Kaylon Geiger. He could face lengthy odds to win a spot, and going from cult playoff hero to preseason roster minimize in two years would certainly come as a shock.