NFC South: Danny Noble

Buccaneers make roster moves

September, 1, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers initially appeared to be going thin at defensive tackle. But that changed Sunday afternoon.

The team announced it has claimed defensive tackle Chris Jones off waivers from Houston. The Bucs also claimed wide receiver Russell Shepard off waivers from Philadelphia. To make room for those two players, the Bucs released receiver Tiquan Underwood and waived linebacker Najee Goode.

The Bucs had been carrying just three defensive tackles on their original 53-man roster. But Jones gives the team some depth behind Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence and Derek Landri. Jones was drafted in the sixth round by Houston this year out of Bowling Green.

Shepard was an undrafted free agent. He played college ball at Louisiana State, where he spent time as a receiver, running back and quarterback.

The Bucs also announced they signed cornerback Deveron Carr, offensive lineman Jace Daniels, linebacker Ka’lial Glaud, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo, tight end Danny Noble, receiver Chris Owusu and tackle Mike Remmers to the practice squad.
We conclude our series on the NFC South’s weakest links with a look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their situation at tight end.

At the moment, the tight ends on Tampa Bay’s roster are Nate Byham, Tom Crabtree, Evan Landi, Zach Miller, Danny Noble and Luke Stocker. If that list doesn’t impress you, you’re not alone.

Last year’s top pass-catching tight end, Dallas Clark, remains a free agent and it’s unclear if the Bucs have any interest in bringing him back. Aside from Clark, there isn’t much in the way of tight ends in free agency.

Although it might not excite anyone, I think there’s a chance the Bucs might stick with what they have at tight end. The team still has hope that Stocker can develop into a solid all-around tight end.

There’s also a belief in the front office and on the coaching staff that Crabtree can be a more productive pass-catcher if he is given more opportunities than he had in his Green Bay days.

The Bucs have no flash at tight end. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is a clear pecking order in Tampa Bay’s passing game. Starting receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, whoever ends up as the third receiver and running back Doug Martin are going to catch the bulk of the passes.

The tight ends are going to be used as blockers and, occasionally, as safety valves in the passing game.

Looking at Bucs' offensive snaps

February, 12, 2013
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55 million contract last offseason, it was clear they expected him to earn the money.

Jackson did that by instantly becoming a true No. 1 wide receiver. But he also put in plenty of time. Jackson was on the field for 93.04 percent of Tampa Bay’s 1,049 offensive plays.

The only other wide receivers with higher playing-time percentages in 2012 were Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (97.91 percent), Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (96 percent) and Atlanta’s Roddy White (93.21).

Here’s a look at the breakdown of playing-time percentage for the rest of Tampa Bay’s offense:

Bucs, Falcons make most of injuries

December, 4, 2012
When a team’s season goes bad, one common response is to point to injuries.

Sometimes that holds merit and sometimes it doesn’t. We don’t have to look any further than the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to see that.

At least at the moment, the Panthers lead the division with 13 players on injured reserve. They are linebacker Jon Beason, defensive tackle Ron Edwards, cornerback Chris Gamble, center Ryan Kalil, defensive end Thomas Keiser, cornerback Nate Ness, linebacker Kenny Onatolu, receiver Kealoha Pilares, guard Mike Pollak, safety Sherrod Martin, defensive lineman Antwan Applewhite, running back Tauren Poole and tackle Lee Ziemba.

The Buccaneers are right behind them with 10 players on injured reserve. They are receiver Arrelious Benn, linebacker Quincy Black, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, safety Cody Grimm, guard Davin Joseph, guard Carl Nicks, tight end Danny Noble, receiver Sammie Stroughter, tackle Jeremy Trueblood and offensive lineman Desmond Wynn.

Beason, Edwards, Gamble and Kalil were starters and Pilares was the kick returner. No doubt those injuries have hurt the Panthers.

But, guess what? Tampa Bay’s injury situation is virtually the same. Black, Clayborn, Joseph and Nicks were starters and Benn was returning kicks before he went down.

The difference is Tampa Bay has used its next-man-up philosophy, especially on the offensive line, and fared pretty well. The Panthers are 3-9 and I’ve got a hunch their record might be pretty close to the same even if all the injured guys were healthy.

Injuries matter but they’re not a cover-it-all excuse. We can look to the other two NFC South teams for proof of that. The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints each have eight players on injured reserve.

Atlanta’s injured players are fullback Bradie Ewing, tight end Tommy Gallarda, receiver Kerry Meier, tight end Adam Nissley, guard Garrett Reynolds, safety Shann Schillinger and tackle Will Svitek.

New Orleans’ injured reserve list includes linebacker Chris Chamberlain, receiver Chris Givens, tackle Bryce Harris, tackle Marcel Jones, defensive end Greg Romeus, guard Andrew Tiller, receiver Nick Toon and tackle Fenuki Tupou.

Grimes was a starter for the Falcons and Ewing might have been. Reynolds was starting up until his injury, but I think there’s a chance the Falcons still might have put rookie Peter Konz into the lineup. Chamberlain might have been a full-time starter for the Saints, but none of the rest of their injured guys would have been key players.

You could make a case the Falcons were hit harder than the Saints by injuries. But the Falcons are 11-1 and the Saints are 5-7.
Some major news out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday afternoon. All-Pro guard Carl Nicks, one of the team’s major free-agent signings in the offseason has been placed on injured reserve.

The team said Nicks will have surgery to repair a torn plantar plate in his left toe. The Bucs previously lost their other starting guard, Davin Joseph, to a season-ending injury in the preseason.

Tampa Bay’s three major free-agent signings of the offseason – Nicks, receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright – had been looking good so far. But the tide could be changing on that. Besides the injury to Nicks, there also is a FOX Sports report that Wright soon will face a suspension for reportedly violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The loss of Nicks could be huge for an offensive line that has played well despite Joseph’s injury and some other changes.

Ted Larsen at first took Joseph’s place in the starting lineup, before losing the job to Jamon Meredith. The Bucs also pulled right tackle Jeremy Trueblood from the starting lineup and replaced him with Demar Dotson.

With Nicks out, the Bucs will have to make a big decision on how to replace him at left guard. Larsen is one possibility, but Trueblood, who has gotten some practice time at guard, could be another option. Backup center Cody Wallace also could be a possibility and the Bucs promoted guard Roger Allen from the practice squad Tuesday afternoon.

The Bucs also placed backup tight end Danny Noble (hamstring) on injured reserve Tuesday.

Inactives for the Buccaneers

October, 21, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just announced their inactives for Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints.

Running back Michael Smith, defensive back Keith Tandy, linebacker Jacob Cutrera, linebacker Najee Goode, offensive lineman Cody Wallace, receiver Chris Owusu and tight end Danny Noble are inactive.