NFL teams trimmed their rosters from 90 to 53 players on Saturday, but it wasn't until Tuesday night that fans received their annual behind-the-scenes look at how the process unfolded.
On the season finale of HBO's Hard Knocks, the curtain was drawn back as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were faced with several tough decisions regarding the composition of their squad entering Week 1 of the regular season.
"I hate today," general manager Jason Licht said of making cuts, per Pewter Report. "I would rather drive across the country with Skip Bayless, no radio on, and the heat on."
The most difficult call, it appeared, was at linebacker, where front office personnel debated between keeping third-year veteran Cameron Lynch or undrafted darling Riley Bullough on the active roster.
Lynch—who impressed in the preseason finale—ultimately won out, and the reason was fairly straightforward.
"Leadership and playing the run is your strengths, you've got to get better playing the pass," head coach Dirk Koetter told Bullough, according to Pewter Report.
Bullough, though, ultimately ended up on the team's practice squad.
The story differed for fifth-round pick Jeremy McNichols, who opted for a practice squad offer from the San Francisco 49ers over one from Tampa Bay after he told Koetter on camera he wanted to stick around.
"McNichols got his feelings hurt," Licht said, per the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman (NSFW language). "We don't want that kind of s--t anyway."
Elsewhere on offense, the Buccaneers opted to roll with Bobo Wilson as one of their practice squad candidates in lieu of taking a shot on Donteea Dye—who missed the first two preseason games with an ankle injury.
That move wasn't without controversy, as ESPN.com's Jenna Laine documented:
The focus Tuesday was on fringe talents, and rightly so.
But as the start of the 2017 season inches closer, the spotlight will shift to veteran leaders like Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Gerald McCoy as the Buccaneers eye their first postseason berth since 2007.