Buccaneers: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
7:24
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


Biggest surprise: In so many ways, the Bucs have gotten away from the Jon Gruden way of thinking. But not when it comes to collecting quarterbacks. They’re keeping four on the roster. Although Raheem Morris had hinted at that possibility for the last week or so, it’s still a little surprising the Bucs are using up a roster space when they have some likely needs at other positions. But this move makes plenty of sense. The Bucs are looking at the short and long term here. The short-term logic is they don’t want rookie Josh Freeman on the field right away and that’s why they’re keeping veterans Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown. The long-term reasoning is they know Freeman is their quarterback of the future, but they like second-year pro Josh Johnson and view him as a developmental project. He can learn the offense this year and perhaps be Freeman’s backup next year.

No-brainer: Kicker Matt Bryant won several games in his four seasons with the Bucs. But his release was telegraphed the day the Bucs went out and signed Mike Nugent to a $2.4 million contract. If there was any chance of Bryant keeping the job, it disappeared when Bryant injured his hamstring in camp. He wasn’t able to kick in preseason games and the “competition’’ the Bus liked to talk about turned out not to be a competition at all.

What’s next: Let’s face it, the Bucs are far from being done constructing this roster. They’re going to be looking closely at who came available around the rest of the league. They have virtually no experience at wide receiver behind starters Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton. They also have a secondary that looks a little suspect with safety Tanard Jackson suspended for the first four games and the possibility of cornerback Aqib Talib facing disciplinary action for an off-field incident.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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