Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the Bubble: The Defense
Four days to go until the Bucs take on the Miami Dolphins in the preseason opener. Today we'll take a look at how the defensive roster battle is shaping up.
DT (4): Gerald McCoy, Roy Miller in. Battling: Frank Okam, Amobi Okoye, Gary Gibson, Jordan Nix.
DE (5): Adrian Clayborn, Michael Bennett, E.J. Wilson, George Johnson; Bubbling: Jayme Mitchell, Quintin Anderson, Wallace Gilberry, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.
LB (6): Quincy Black, Mason Foster, Lavonte David, Adam Hayward, Dekoda Watson. Bubbling: Najee Goode, Jake Cutrera, Rennie Curran, Brian Smith.
CB (7): Aqib Talib, Eric Wright, Anthony Gaitor, E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis. Bubbling: Leonard Johnson, Des Marrow, Marquese Wheaton.
S (5): Mark Barron, Ronde Barber, Ahmad Black. Bubbling: Cody Grimm, Keith Tandy, Larry Asante, Tramain Thomas, Sean Baker.
Last year the Bucs kept 27 defensive players on the roster. They kept four defensive tackles and five defensive ends. Those number might be swapped this season.
The main problem for the team right now is depth on the defensive line. There simply isn't any depth to speak of. This team needs a rotation, an effective one. Gerald McCoy isn't going to play an entire game without a break. As things now stand, it is hard to have any sort of confidence in the back-up players on the defensive line.
Mark Dominik will be paying close attention to teams that may be overstocked on the defensive line.
Are you comfortable with the defensive line?
The race for the sixth linebacker spot will be a hot one. Same with the corners, and there's good depth at safety. If they keep five, there's a huge battle for the final two spots. Ahmad Black has stepped up as the third safety behind Barron and Barber.
Look for Cody Grimm to put up some good film in the preseason. He appears healthy, he's a veteran, he's a hustler who has a knack for being in the right place.
If you're wondering about Da'Quan Bowers, he'll most likely be placed on the PUP list. He can remain there through the first six games of the regular season, and then there is a three-week window to decide if he'll be activated.
Overall, if the season started today, you'd have to be concerned about that defensive line.
Training camp update: On Monday, the team waived tight end Chase Coffman and added long snapper Andrew DePaulo to the roster. DePaulo will help take some of the preseason game load off Andrew Economos.
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