NFC South: Chris Cooley

Observation deck: Bucs-Redskins

August, 29, 2012
Tampa Bay’s 30-3 loss to the Washington Redskins on Wednesday night didn’t make for great viewing.

Blame much of it on Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. But, more importantly give Schiano lots of credit for making one of his best decisions since taking over the Buccaneers in January.

The Tampa Bay starters did not play. Instead, they stood on the sidelines after going through a full practice at Georgetown University earlier in the day.

It’s not unusual for an NFL coach to use his starters lightly or sit some of them in the final preseason game. But Schiano took this to an extreme. He even sat long-snapper Andrew Economos and a few guys that are likely to be key backups.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After watching Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph go down with a season-ending knee injury last week, Schiano wasn’t taking any chances. He wants his starters healthy for the regular-season opener, which comes Sept. 9 against Carolina.

That game is going to be a lot more important -- and, hopefully more entertaining -- than the preseason finale.

Some quick observations from Wednesday night’s game:
  • The Bucs still are trying to figure out how they’re going to replace Joseph. Jamon Meredith started at right guard, but I don’t know if that means he’ll be there for the Carolina game. Meredith surrendered a sack and was called for two penalties in the first half. The Bucs are experimenting with their options at that spot. Ted Larsen, who got the start at center, and Derek Hardman, also are possibilities from the current roster. But the Bucs also could scan the waiver wire for help in the coming days. After watching all the backup offensive linemen, I’d suggest the waiver wire might be the way to go.
  • Defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry might have helped his chances of landing a roster spot. He batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage early in the game. The Bucs are expected to use Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller as their starters. Amobi Okoye is expected to be part of the backup rotation, but he’s missed a lot of time with an injury. Gilberry likely is in the mix with Gary Gibson and Frank Okam to be part of the rotation.
  • I remember a preseason or two back in the 1990s when third-stringer quarterback Scott Milanovich was the most popular quarterback in Tampa Bay. After watching Brett Ratliff get the start and play the entire game, I don’t think starter Josh Freeman or backup Dan Orlovsky have anything to worry about. In fact, I think there is at least a chance the Bucs could follow the path a lot of other teams have taken in recent years and go with only two quarterbacks on the regular-season roster. In fairness to Ratliff, he got no help from his offensive line.
  • Broadcaster and former Buc John Lynch might have stirred up some speculation when he said the Bucs should try to sign tight end Chris Cooley, who recently was released by the Redskins. Usually, I try to shoot down speculation about the Bucs signing guys in their 30s because that really doesn’t fit the profile of a team that’s doing most of its building through the draft. But I’m with Lynch on this one. I think the Bucs could use a little more depth to go with Dallas Clark and Luke Stocker. If Cooley’s healthy, he might be worth a shot. I think he’d be a better lockerroom fit than Jeremy Shockey, who still remains unsigned. General manager Mark Dominik said during a fourth-quarter interview with the broadcast team that there had been contact with Cooley's agent, but said the team is now aggressively pursuing the veteran tight end.
  • Rookie safety Sean Baker still might be a long shot to make the 53-man roster. But he intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble Wednesday night. That might help Baker land a spot on the practice squad.
  • Nice to see Bucs’ co-chairman Joel Glazer hugging Raheem Morris before the game. Morris coached the Bucs the last three seasons and is now Washington’s defensive backs coach. Morris had a good relationship with ownership, but it was obvious to all that a move had to be made as the Bucs lost their final 10 games of last season. I’m just guessing here, but I doubt any members of the Glazer family were exchanging hugs with Washington general manager Bruce Allen, who once held the same role in Tampa Bay.

Inactives for Panthers and Redskins

October, 23, 2011
CHARLOTTE -- The Panthers and Redskins just announced their inactives for Sunday’s game.

For Carolina, quarterback Jimmy Clausen, safety Jordan Pugh, running back Mike Goodson, tight end Richie Brockel, linebacker Omar Gaither, tackle Lee Ziemba and defensive tackle Frank Kearse are inactive.

For Washington, receiver Donte Stallworth, safety Oshiomogo Atogwe, cornerback Byron Westbrook, tight end Chris Cooley, linebacker Markus White, tackle Trent Williams and defensive lineman Darrion Scott.

Wrap-up: Redskins 16, Bucs 13

October, 4, 2009

Posted by Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson

Yes, the Buccaneers held a 10-point lead Sunday and lost by only three points on the road, but this team still has a lot of issues.

Early on, quarterback Josh Johnson showed the efficiency and valuing of the football that his counterpart, Jason Campbell, severely lacked. He did have some first-game moments, however, and the overall speed of the game was a lot for the youngster. Also, Johnson simply has to take more chances downfield. It will be a process for him, but there is a lot to work with in this second-year quarterback.

Wide receiver Antonio Bryant scored the Bucs' touchdown and appears to be healthier than he has been to date this season -- but that isn't saying much. If Bryant can be nearly the force he was in 2008, Tampa Bay would have a respectable group of pass-catchers, including Kellen Winslow, who can consistently pose matchup problems, and rookie Sammie Stroughter. Stroughter has excellent slot receiver skills. But there is a lot of work to be done to improve this passing attack.

The defense held Campbell to only 60 passing yards in the first half. It would be great to give the Bucs' defense the majority of credit for those paltry results, but the fact is that Campbell played horribly and forced the ball into coverage. He did make a few big throws, but for the most part, his play was inexcusable.

The Bucs’ cornerbacks deserve quite a bit of credit for their efforts, especially in the first half, but tight end Chris Cooley presented problems with his craftiness and after-the-catch abilities. Washington's wide receivers managed only two catches, but the 59-yard touchdown by Santana Moss was just him running past Aqib Talib, who otherwise made a ton of plays, including three interceptions. Also, often underachieving defensive end Gaines Adams really came to play. He looked quick and explosive.

Despite Clinton Portis' 50 yards rushing in the first half and 98 yards total, the Buccaneers did not have to consistently dedicate an extra defender to the box to stop the run.

Tampa Bay does have a real issue at the place-kicker position. Mike Nugent missed two field goals Sunday and had missed his first four attempts of the season before finally connecting to close out the first half. But that problem is only one of many.

Sadly, this might be as good as it gets for the Buccaneers this season.