NFC South: Derek Landri

Looking at playing time: Defense

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
TAMPA, Fla. -- We previously showed you the playing time for all of Tampa Bay's offensive players. Now, it's time to do the same for the defense.

The Buccaneers had 1,059 defensive plays. Here's the breakdown of the number of plays each defensive player participated in, followed by my quick take.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Gerald McCoy 962, Adrian Clayborn 933, Akeem Spence 694, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 602, William Gholston 312, Da'Quan Bowers 206, Gary Gibson 164, Derek Landri 123, Steven Means 77, Trevor Scott 54.

Quick take: Most teams rotate their defensive linemen to keep them fresh. But the Bucs didn't do that with McCoy and Clayborn. The theory behind that was that, even when a bit winded, they were substantially better than their backups. The rookie Gholston got a lot of playing time in the second half of the season.

LINEBACKERS: Lavonte David 1,022, Mason Foster 771, Dekoda Watson 257, Jonathan Casillas 197, Adam Hayward 187, Ka'Lial Glaud 6, Danny Lansanah 4.

Quick take: The Bucs played David as much as they possibly could because he might be the best player on the team. Some of Watson's snaps came at defensive end as the Bucs experimented with him at that position late in the season.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Darrelle Revis 948, Johnthan Banks 939, Mark Barron 834, Dashon Goldson 807, Leonard Johnson 691, Keith Tandy 441, Ahmad Black 146, Kelcie McCray 101, Michael Adams 86, Danny Gorrer 83.

Quick take: Even though he wasn't 100 percent as he came back from knee surgery, the Bucs still used Revis a lot.

Looking at Buccaneers' playing time

December, 10, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- It's time for our weekly look at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers distributed playing time.

In a 27-6 victory against the Buffalo Bills, the Bucs ran 66 offensive plays and were on the field for 67 defensive snaps. Here's a look at the individual playing time from Sunday.


Donald Penn 66
Jamon Meredith 66
Demar Dotson 66
Mike Glennon 66
Tim Wright 59
Vincent Jackson 57
Jeremy Zuttah 51
Tiquan Underwood 45
Davin Joseph 43
Erik Lorig 42
Bobby Rainey 37
Ted Larsen 36
Brian Leonard 25
Chris Owusu 21
Gabe Carimi 16
Russell Shepard 14
Kyle Adams 11
Skye Dawson 7
Mike Hill 5
Spencer Larsen 2
Eric Page 1


Dashon Goldson 66
Johnthan Banks 66
Mark Barron 66
Gerald McCoy 66
Darrelle Revis 66
Lavonte David 59
Leonard Johnson 58
Adrian Clayborn 56
Mason Foster 53
Akeem Spence 43
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 39
William Gholston 23
Keith Tandy 15
Da'Quan Bowers 14
Adam Hayward 12
Steven Means 11
Derek Landri 11
Dekoda Watson 10
Danny Gorrer 1
Ka'Lial Glaud 1
Kelcie McCray 1

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.

Surveying the Buccaneers' roster

September, 1, 2013
After making their cuts Saturday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a roster that looks a lot like what I projected Friday.

I hit on 51 of 53 roster spots. Defensive tackle Gary Gibson and offensive lineman Cody Wallace were the two guys I had making the team who didn’t make the final cut. I didn’t have tight end Tim Wright and safety Keith Tandy making the roster, but they did.

Let’s take a brief overview of the composition of Tampa Bay’s roster:

QB (3): Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky

Comment: The question is whether Glennon or Orlovsky will be the No. 2 quarterback. My thinking is the Bucs wouldn’t have held onto Orlovsky if he’s going to be No. 3.

RB (5): Doug Martin, Erik Lorig, Brian Leonard, Mike James and Peyton Hillis

Comment: Leonard, James and Hillis all looked good in the preseason. They all can be used to help keep Martin fresh.

WR (5): Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood and Eric Page

Comment: The first four were pretty much set in stone. Page made the roster mostly because he’s going to be the return man.

TE (4): Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree, Nate Byham and Tim Wright

Comment: Presumably, the Bucs kept Wright around because they expect Crabtree to miss some time with an ankle injury.

OL (8): Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah, Davin Joseph, Demar Dotson, Gabe Carimi, Ted Larsen and Jamon Meredith

Comment: By carrying only three backups, the Bucs appear to be optimistic that Nicks won’t miss too much time due to a staph infection.

DL (9): Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Trevor Scott, William Gholston, Steven Means, Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence and Derek Landri

Comment: McCoy, Spence and Landri are the only true defensive tackles. The Bucs must be planning to use at least one of their ends on the inside at times.

LB (6): Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Jonathan Casillas, Dekoda Watson, Najee Goode and Adam Hayward

Comment: The starters have a chance to be one of the league’s best units, and the backups aren’t bad either.

DB (10): Darrelle Revis, Johnthan Banks, Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer, Rashaan Melvin, Michael Adams, Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Ahmad Black and Keith Tandy

Comment: This should be the most improved area on the team.

Specialists (3): Rian Lindell, Andrew Economos and Michael Koenen.

Comment: Lindell is the third projected kicker the Bucs have had. Connor Barth and Lawrence Tynes both are out with injuries.

Projecting the Buccaneers roster

August, 30, 2013
Roster cuts don’t have to be made until 6 p.m. Saturday. But let’s have a little fun in the meantime.

Let’s take a look at my best guess as to how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 53-man roster will shape up:

Quarterbacks (3): Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky

Analysis: A rough outing by Glennon in the preseason finale might have convinced the Bucs it’s best to keep Orlovsky around.

Running backs and fullbacks (5): Doug Martin, Brian Leonard, Mike James, Peyton Hillis and Erik Lorig

Analysis: Hillis is very much on the bubble. The fact he doesn't play special teams could hurt him. But he also could stick around because he has the size to be a backup for Lorig at fullback and could be a valuable short-yardage rusher.

Tight ends (3): Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree and Nate Byham

Analysis: The Bucs may have to keep Danny Noble if Crabtree’s ankle injury is going to keep him out for an extended period.

Wide receivers (5): Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood and Eric Page

Analysis: Page has emerged as the return man and that should earn him the final roster spot.

Offensive line (9): Davin Joseph, Carl Nicks, Donald Penn, Demar Dotson, Jeremy Zuttah, Gabe Carimi, Ted Larsen, Jamon Meredith and Cody Wallace

Analysis: The Bucs could carry an extra lineman if it looks like Nicks will be out for an extended period.

Defensive line (10): Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence, Adrian Clayborn, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Da’Quan Bowers, Gary Gibson, Trevor Scott, William Gholston, Steven Means and Derek Landri

Analysis: The last few spots are very competitive and the Bucs could look to bring in a defensive tackle from the waiver wire.

Linebackers (6): Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Dekoda Watson, Jonathan Casillas, Adam Hayward and Najee Goode

This position is pretty clear-cut unless the Bucs bring in someone off waivers.

Defensive backs (9): Darrelle Revis, Johnthan Banks, Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer, Michael Adams, Rashaan Melvin and Ahmad Black.

Analysis: Melvin is very much on the bubble.

Specialists (3): Michael Koenen, Andrew Economos and Rian Lindell.

Analysis: Kicker Lawrence Tynes still is recovering from a staph infection and could end up on injured reserve.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are approaching their preseason opener with caution.

Just about every player with any sort of injury will sit out Thursday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Bucs just announced that Darrelle Revis, Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, Adrian Clayborn, Luke Stocker, Lawrence Tynes, Sean Baker, Erik Lorig, Jacob Cutrera, David Douglas, Derek Landri, Gary Gibson and Aaron Morgan will not be active for the game.

In other news, the Bucs have released cornerback Myron Lewis, a third-round pick in 2010, and signed cornerback Mason Robinson.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a series of moves Monday afternoon that don’t look like much on the surface.

But there’s one transaction in the bunch that could be significant for the Bucs. They signed free-agent defensive tackle Andre Neblett, who spent the last three seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Neblett made the Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and worked his way into the rotation in 2011. But Neblett was suspended the first four games of last season and didn’t get much playing time once he returned.

A fresh start, however, could be good for Neblett and the Bucs. Neblett is a run-stuffing defensive tackle and the Bucs have a little uncertainty at the position next to Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. There’s hope that fourth-round pick Akeem Spence can develop quickly and that Derek Landri, another free-agent pickup, can contribute.

It makes sense to bring in a guy like Neblett. He isn’t going to suddenly turn into a Pro Bowler, but Neblett can at least compete for a spot in the rotation with Spence and Landri.

In other moves, the Bucs signed North Carolina receiver Jheranie Boyd, Northern Michigan offensive tackle Jace Daniels, Mount Union receiver Chris Denton and Rutgers linebacker Ka’lial Glaud after they made good impressions in the weekend minicamp.

The team also waived defensive tackle Richard Clebert, receiver D.J. Monroe and running back Akeem Shavers, while terminating the contracts of guard Roger Allen and defensive end George Selvie.
Let's take a quick look at what the NFC South teams did in the fourth round:

At No. 100, Tampa Bay traded up to get Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence. I like the pick because it addresses a need. The Bucs have Gerald McCoy at one defensive tackle spot. But the other job is wide open. Spence will get a chance to immediately compete with Derek Landri and Gary Gibson for playing time.

At No. 108, the Panthers took Valdosta State guard Edmund Kugbila. General manager Dave Gettleman continued his focus on his offensive and defensive lines. Carolina needed a little more depth on the offensive line. Kugbila is a bit of a project and probably won’t make an immediate impact.

At No. 126, the Bucs stayed focused on their defensive line and took Michigan State defensive end William Gholston. Draft gurus have questioned his work ethic and whether or not he has a high enough motor to succeed in the NFL. But playing for Greg Schiano might be the best thing for Gholston. Schiano demands good work ethic and a high motor. Gholston will get a shot as a rotational backup behind Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers.

At No. 127, the Atlanta Falcons chose Clemson defensive end Malliciah Goodman. Consistency was an issue during his college career. But Goodman has some upside and the Falcons need to develop someone that can rush the passer besides Osi Umenyiora.

At No. 133, the Falcons took Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo. He probably isn’t the second coming of Tony Gonzalez. But Toilolo probably can step in and be a secondary tight end to Gonzalez. Toilolo doesn’t stand out as a pass-catcher or blocker, but he can do both things reasonably well.

Ranking the needs: Defensive line

April, 23, 2013
We continue our pre-draft rankings of position-group needs with the defensive line.

Remember, the earlier the ranking, the greater the need.

Carolina Panthers: They’re in good shape with Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson as the starting defensive ends and Dwan Edwards as one of the defensive tackles. But the Panthers could use another starting defensive tackle. Plus, Edwards’ age makes it even more imperative that the Panthers address the middle of the defensive line.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: As it stands right now, either Derek Landri or Gary Gibson would start next to Gerald McCoy at defensive tackle. The Bucs might want an upgrade at that spot. Tampa Bay also could use a little more depth at defensive end.

Atlanta Falcons: Osi Umenyiora was brought in to replace John Abraham. But the Falcons still might want to add another pass-rusher to complement Umenyiora. For too long Atlanta has relied too much on only one strong pass-rusher. The Falcons also could use some depth at defensive tackle after Vance Walker departed through free agency.

New Orleans Saints: Don’t be fooled by the ranking. The Saints don’t have a great defensive line. But ends Will Smith and Cameron Jordan and Brodrick Bunkley could fit nicely in the new 3-4 scheme. The Saints are likely to look for linebackers to rush from the edge. The Saints could use someone to rotate with Bunkley.

McCoy: Bucs can have great D-line

April, 16, 2013
There’s a lot of angst in Tampa Bay about the Buccaneers letting Michael Bennett and Roy Miller walk away from a defensive line that helped the team rank No. 1 in run defense last season as free agents.

But those same concerns aren’t nearly as great inside of One Buccaneer Place.

As Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy spoke to the media Tuesday, he said he thinks the defensive line can be very good. McCoy talked specifically about defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers. Clayborn is coming back from an injury that cut last season short. Bowers missed most of the first half of last season while recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.

“For people to say they haven’t proven themselves, that’s just an opinion," McCoy said. “I think those guys are great."

McCoy has a point. The Bucs have high draft picks invested in Bowers and Clayborn. When they’ve been healthy, they’ve shown all sorts of promise.

If they can stay healthy, McCoy can turn in another strong season and Derek Landri and Gary Gibson can handle Miller’s old position, Tampa Bay could have a very good defensive line.
With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, let’s have a little fun and take a look at what I think are the top three first-round options for each NFC South team.

Let’s start off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and let’s be very clear that it’s entirely possible the Bucs could trade the No. 13 overall pick in the draft to get Darrelle Revis or they could trade up to get Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. But let’s go on the assumption, for now at least, that the Bucs stay put at No. 13.

Here are three guys I can see the Bucs drafting:

Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Florida State: At the moment, the Bucs are incredibly thin at cornerback. This might be a little early to take Rhodes if you go by where most draft gurus are projecting him. But let’s follow the law of supply and demand. Rhodes could end up being the best corner the Bucs can get.

Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle, Missouri: The Bucs brought in Derek Landri as a free agent, but I’m not sure they’re done at defensive tackle. Richardson is a versatile guy that could combine with Gerald McCoy to give the Bucs a lot of talent in the interior. Richardson also is capable of playing defensive end in some run sets and I'm not so sure the Bucs want Da'Quan Bowers constantly on the field on running downs.

D.J. Fluker, offensive tackle, Alabama: The Bucs already have had Fluker in for a visit. I know the Bucs gave last year’s starting right tackle Demar Dotson a contract extension recently. But the deal is paying Dotson more like a backup than a starter. In this scenario Dotson could end up as the swing tackle and Fluker could be a nice upgrade for the power-running scheme that coach Greg Schiano favors.
With free agency slowing to a trickle, here’s how I see the projected starting lineup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading into the NFL draft:


WR Vincent Jackson

LT Donald Penn

LG Carl Nicks

C Jeremy Zuttah

G Davin Joseph

T Demar Dotson

TE Luke Stocker

WR Mike Williams

QB Josh Freeman

RB Doug Martin

FB Erik Lorig


DE Adrian Clayborn

DT Derek Landri

DT Gerald McCoy

DE Da'Quan Bowers

OLB Lavonte David

MLB Mason Foster

OLB Adam Hayward

CB Eric Wright

CB Leonard Johnson

SS Mark Barron

FS Dashon Goldson

Notes: There’s a good chance the Bucs could bring a pass-catching tight end or re-sign Dallas Clark. By the time training camp rolls around, Hayward could have a challenger in place for the starting job. The situation at cornerback is very tentative. It’s unclear if Wright will remain with the team, and the Bucs could trade for Darrelle Revis.

NFC South afternoon update

April, 4, 2013
Time for an afternoon run through some news and notes from around the division:


Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic-development agency, voted to approve a hotel tax that will help finance a new downtown stadium for the Falcons. This was the last political hurdle for the Falcons to get approval for a retractable-roof stadium. The Falcons want to have the facility open in 2017. I think it’s safe to predict Atlanta will be bidding for a Super Bowl that will take place within a year or two of the opening.


I got a look at the official numbers for the contract signed by linebacker Chase Blackburn recently. He’s getting paid like a backup linebacker and special-teams player. Blackburn’s two-year deal is worth $2.05 million. He got a $200,000 signing bonus and will count $1 million against this year’s cap.


Speaking of contract numbers, the Saints took advantage of the veteran minimum benefit when they signed defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman to a one-year deal. He’ll earn $1 million between base salary, but the benefit allows him to count only $620,000 against the salary cap.

The Saints also got backup quarterback Luke McCown as inexpensively as possible. He'll earn $840,000 in base salary (there are no bonuses or incentives in the one-year deal), but the minimum benefit means McCown only will count $555,000 against the salary cap.


Sticking with contract numbers, the Bucs used the veteran minimum benefit on kicker Nate Kaeding, receiver Steve Smith and running back Brian Leonard. Defensive end George Selvie received a two-year deal worth $1.36 million. Defensive tackle Derek Landri received a two-year deal worth at least $2.75 million. Landri will get $1.25 million in base salary, with $715,000 of it guaranteed, this year. In 2014, his base salary is scheduled to jump to $1.5 million, but he could earn a raise because the contract includes an escalator tied to 2013 playing time.

Around the NFC South

April, 2, 2013
Let's take a look at some news and notes from around the division:


Jay Adams writes that the majority of the latest mock drafts have the Falcons picking either tight end Zach Ertz or cornerback Desmond Trufant with the 30th overall pick. Cornerback is the more immediate need at the moment, but Trufant might be gone before Atlanta picks, and the Falcons might have to look to another position.


The Panthers continue to look at wide receivers. They had free-agent Domenik Hixon in for a visit, and West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey announced he was paying a pre-draft visit to the Panthers. Either of those two could be an immediate candidate to become the third receiver after Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell.


Owner Tom Benson has stepped down from the NFL’s finance committee. Benson, 85, said he wants to devote his attention to his own business interests.


Stephen Holder reports that Derek Landri has been told to be prepared to play the “tilted nose’’ tackle position. That spot was held by Roy Miller last season, but Miller departed as a free agent.

Around the NFC South

April, 1, 2013
Time for a run through the headlines from around the NFC South:


Daniel Cox points out that Matt Ryan leads the league with 22 game-winning drives since the start of the 2008 season. I’m sure that’s a statistic Ryan’s agent will use in talks about a contract extension, if he hasn’t already.


Wide receiver Domenik Hixon reportedly will visit with the Panthers on Monday. Hixon has been a backup for the New York Giants. Ironically, Hixon would be the likely replacement for Louis Murphy, who left the Panthers for the Giants. Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman used to work in the Giants' personnel department.


Bradley Handwerger writes that linebacker Victor Butler, who recently signed with the Saints, has a chance to be an impact player. Butler was mostly a backup in Dallas. But he’s athletic and he’s familiar with coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense. I think there’s a good chance Butler ends up as a starting outside linebacker.


After letting defensive tackle Roy Miller depart as a free agent, the Bucs may have found his replacement by adding Derek Landri. He might bring a bit more of an interior pass rush than Miller.

The Bucs reportedly will sign defensive end George Selvie. He hasn't had much of an NFL career. But he has some Tampa ties after playing his college ball at the University of South Florida.