NFC South: D.J. Johnson

Catching up on NFC South transactions

September, 5, 2011
9/05/11
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We told you earlier Monday the Carolina Panthers signed Geoff Hangartner, who has a chance to start immediately at right guard. There also have been a bunch of minor transactions around the division. Let’s catch up on them now.
  • The Panthers waived offensive lineman C.J. Davis to clear a roster spot for Hangartner.
  • As expected the Buccaneers officially announced the signing of linebacker Zac Diles. The team also announced it had claimed tight end Zack Pianalto off waivers from Buffalo. To create roster spots, the Bucs waived cornerback D.J. Johnson and defensive end George Johnson. Don’t be surprised if they wind up on the practice squad.
  • The Buccaneers also announce they have signed eight players to their practice squad. They are tackle Will Barker, safety Ahmad Black, quarterback Rudy Carpenter, tight end Collin Franklin, receiver Ed Gant, tight end Daniel Hardy, running back Mossis Madu and linebacker Derrell Smith. All eight were with the Bucs in the preseason.
  • The Falcons filled out their practice squad by signing tight end Marquez Branson, who spent 2010 on the team’s practice squad.
  • To make room for tight end John Gilmore, the Saints released linebacker Ramon Humber. The Saints also signed tackle William Robinson, guard Dennis Landolt and receiver Montez Billings. They released long-snapper Kyle Nelson, quarterback Sean Canfield and center Cecil Newton from the practice squad.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
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Check here for a complete list of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster moves.

Surprise move: Perhaps the biggest surprise came Friday when the Buccaneers released middle linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. He came to training camp with an apparent shot to win the starting job after the Bucs let Barrett Ruud walk in free agency. McKenzie had helped organize players-only workouts during the lockout and ran the defense during that time.

But the fact the Bucs released him shows they’re more than content to go with rookie Mason Foster as their middle linebacker. He’ll start off as a two-down player, and outside linebacker Quincy Black, who will be an every-down player, will wear the radio helmet and call the defensive signals at least at the start of the season. But it looks as if the Bucs have total confidence in Foster. Adam Hayward, who can play outside or inside and on special teams, probably will be Foster’s backup.

A few other pleasant surprises who made the roster were cornerback D.J. Johnson, defensive end George Johnson and safety Devin Holland.

No-brainers: Like a lot of other teams, the Bucs decided to go with just two quarterbacks, waiving Rudy Carpenter. They may try to bring Carpenter back to the practice squad. But the fact they’re willing to expose him to waivers tells you all you really need to know about how the Bucs view Carpenter. He’s a smart guy who knows the system, but he has no upside because he lacks arm strength. If the Bucs truly thought Carpenter could become a No. 2 quarterback, they would have kept him around because backup Josh Johnson can become a free agent next year. Johnson probably will move on because he knows there’s no chance of starting as long as Josh Freeman is around.

What's next: General manager Mark Dominik isn’t likely to be plucking the waiver wire as much as he did last season. But he’ll keep his eyes open, and you could see a move or two. Don’t be surprised if the Bucs bring in a running back, particularly one who fits the profile of a third-down back. Veteran Earnest Graham can fill that role, if needed, but the Bucs also like to use him at fullback.

Wrapping up NFC South preseason

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
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The Panthers, Buccaneers, Saints and Falcons each completed their preseason Thursday night.

Not a lot of starters played, so let’s sum it all up with some quick observations on each team.

  • Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris sat most of his starters in a 29-24 loss at Washington. But he did a smart thing to get his backups ready. Morris showed his team the film of last year’s fourth preseason game and reminded the players that safety Corey Lynch, who had interceptions in the game, wouldn’t have made the roster without that kind of performance. Some of the “bubble’’ guys who appeared to get the message was defensive back D.J. Johnson and receivers Preston Parker and Ed Gant.
  • Tampa Bay second-round pick Da'Quan Bowers, who had been quiet much of the preseason, made a splash Thursday night. Bowers picked up a fumbled handoff on Washington’s first possession.

  • It wasn’t difficult to figure out that Atlanta coach Mike Smith was sending a message to his defense in the Falcons' 21-7 preseason finale loss to the Ravens. Although most of the offensive starters sat out, most of the defensive starters played. Undoubtedly, to fire up the defense and build some momentum for the start of the regular season. It seemed to work. Brent Grimes came up with an early interception and defensive end Kroy Biermann, starting in place of veteran John Abraham, produced a sack on a play where Ray Edwards also generated some pressure. Speaking of the pass rush, rookie Cliff Matthews also produced some pressure, which might help him secure a roster spot.
  • The one Atlanta offensive starter who did play a lot was rookie receiver Julio Jones. He was still playing in the second quarter and had a nice run on a reverse. He also got a nice block from quarterback Chris Redman. I’m sure part of the reason Jones got playing time was because he missed the normal offseason. But I also suspect the Falcons want to give opposing defensive coordinators some headaches as they watch film of Atlanta’s offense. Speaking of the offense, one reserve who stood out was running back Antone Smith, who might have secured a roster spot.

  • The Saints rested most of their starters, but two members of their recently-shuffled offensive line got to start in a 32-9 loss to the Titans. Those were tackles Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief. On defense, it was more of the same, but cornerback Tracy Porter got lots of playing time. Porter missed much of the preseason and camp with an injury and this was a chance for him to catch up to his teammates.
  • Although the Saints appeared to be loaded at running back with Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Darren Sproles, Joique Bell has had such a strong preseason that it’s going to be difficult to cut him. If Bell does somehow hit the streets, Tampa Bay, which doesn’t have a lot of depth in the backfield, should do anything possible to get him.

  • One of the best signs for Carolina was the presence of right tackle Jeff Otah. He had missed some time with a knee injury, but it looks like he’s healthy. Otah could be the difference between Carolina having a mediocre offensive line and a very good one.
  • One of the worst signs for Carolina was when right guard Garry Williams went down with a knee injury in the second quarter of the 33-17 loss to Pittsburgh. The Panthers already lost starter Geoff Schwartz to injury and Williams had been the heir apparent. The Panthers don’t have lots of depth on the line and may have to go out and find someone off the waiver wire or in a trade.

Graham, Stroughter out for Bucs

January, 2, 2011
1/02/11
11:52
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NEW ORLEANS -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without injured fullback Earnest Graham and wide receiver Sammie Stroughter for Sunday’s game with the Saints.

Graham (neck) and Stroughter (hamstring) have been declared inactive. Erik Lorig is expected to start in Graham’s place. With Stroughter out and Arrelious Benn already on injured reserve, Tampa Bay will have to look to Preston Parker, Dezmon Briscoe, Micheal Spurlock and Maurice Stovall for depth at wide receiver.

Other inactives for the Bucs are: cornerback DJ Johnson, tackle Will Barker, defensive end George Johnson, defensive tackle Doug Worthington and tight end Nathan Overbay.
There aren’t any major surprises on the inactive list for the Buccaneers for Sunday’s game with the Seahawks. But two players of some significance who spent most of the week not practicing because of injuries will not play.

Offensive tackle James Lee and wide receiver/return man Sammie Stroughter are the two biggest names on the list. With Lee out, Jeremy Trueblood is expected to start at right tackle. Stroughter plays a backup role as a receiver, although he is prominent on special teams. His absence could create more playing time for receiver Maurice Stovall.

Also inactive are safety Dominique Harris, running back Kregg Lumpkin, cornerback D.J. Johnson, defensive end George Johnson and tight end Nate Overbay. Rudy Carpenter has been designated as the third quarterback.

Bucs continue shuffling roster

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
11:12
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who seem to have to re-shape their roster because of injuries every week, are at it again.

In sticking with their youth movement, the Bucs just promoted cornerback D.J. Johnson from the practice squad to take the roster spot of Aqib Talib, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.

Johnson had spent some time with the New York Giants earlier this season before being signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad Nov. 24. To fill Johnson’s spot on the practice squad, the Bucs signed fullback Rendrick Taylor.

He had been with the Bucs in the preseason before being released. Most recently, Taylor had been with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League.
Already the NFL's youngest team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to get younger.

The team just announced that defensive tackle Frank Okam has been added to the regular roster. That comes after the Bucs released veteran defensive tackle Ryan Sims. Okam came into the league and appeared in 13 games over three seasons for the Houston Texans.

Sims, a former first-round draft pick, spent a couple of seasons as a starter for Tampa Bay, but was not very productive. He moved into a backup role this season after the Bucs used their top two draft choices on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.

McCoy's been coming on strong in recent weeks. Price is out for the season with an injury. Roy Miller has been starting next to McCoy and has been adequate. Recent pickup Al Woods, also a rookie, has showed some potential. This move reflects how committed Tampa Bay is to its youth movement. Although the Bucs are in the playoff race, they're still seeking out young guys who can help them in the future.

The Bucs also signed cornerback D.J. Johnson to the practice squad. Johnson appeared in seven games for the New York Giants before his release earlier this week.

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