NFC South: Dirk Johnson

Bucs make some minor moves

March, 4, 2010
As the start of a new league year approaches, teams are going to start releasing some players. Even in an uncapped year, this is going to happen because a lot of roster bonuses are structured to be paid in the first 10 days of the league year. Teams aren’t going to pay bonuses to guys they don’t really want.

That process has started in Tampa Bay. The Bucs just announced they’ve released punters Josh Bidwell and Dirk Johnson and cornerback Torrie Cox. Bidwell joined the Bucs in 2004, but spent last season on the injured-reserve list. Johnson was brought in as one of his replacements, but he also got injured. Cox had been with the Bucs since 2003, primarily as a special-teams player.

Day of shakeups on special teams

December, 1, 2009
We’ve had these over on our news side, but, just in case you missed it, there have been some shakeups on special teams in the NFC South today.

The Falcons released veteran kicker Jason Elam and replaced him with former Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant. The Falcons also release long snapper Bryan Pittman and signed Joe Zelenka to replace him.

The Buccaneers signed punter Sam Paulescu after losing Dirk Johnson to a hamstring injury on a fake punt during Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. Paulescu previously spent some time this season with the Redskins.

The biggest move here is easily Elam. He had been one of the best kickers in the league for years and had a joyful homecoming when he joined the Falcons and returned to his native Georgia last year. But Elam had been struggling with accuracy most of this season and the Falcons made it clear by working out four kickers last week that they were considering alternatives.

Elam struggled again Sunday and that forced the move. Bryant was released by Tampa Bay in an unpopular preseason move. He had been kicking in the United Football League.

One other move that has nothing to do with special teams. The Falcons signed quarterback D.J. Shockley to the practice squad and released tackle Jeremy Clark from the practice squad. Shockley has previously been with the Falcons on the regular roster and the practice squad.

Sears won't play this year

November, 30, 2009
A couple of quick notes on the Bucs from our friends at Pewter Report.

First, and this one’s no surprise, the Bucs have placed guard Arron Sears on the reserve/non-football list. Sears had been away from the team for months while dealing with what the team has called a "private matter." He re-joined the team two weeks ago, but general manager Mark Dominik said it would take more than the two-week window where the Bucs could use a roster exemption to get Sears into football shape. The goal is to get Sears back on the field next year.

Also, the Bucs have placed punter Dirk Johnson and cornerback Torrie Cox on the injured-reserve list. Turns out Johnson tore a hamstring on that ugly fake punt in Atlanta on Sunday.

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

I just sent an item over to our news side that the Bucs have placed punter Josh Bidwell on the injured-reserve list because of a hip problem.

Can't call this part of Tampa Bay's youth movement because replacement Dirk Johnson is 34. But it's another area where a prominent face is gone and a new one is taking over. Aside from parting ways with the likes of Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn in the offseason, the Bucs are close to totally overhauling their special teams.

The combination of Bidwell and kicker Matt Bryant, which had been a very good one in recent years, appears to be just about done. Bryant also has been banged up in camp and the Bucs seem to be on the verge of going with kicker Mike Nugent, who they signed as a free agent.

Bucs add punter Johnson

August, 13, 2009

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

The Bucs signed a new punter Thursday morning, adding veteran Dirk Johnson to the roster.

It may only be a short-term thing, but there's a chance Johnson could end up handling the role for the long term. Regular punter Josh Bidwell has been ruled out for the preseason opener. Bidwell's dealing with severe hip pain.

We don't know all the details of Bidwell's condition yet, but it could be reason enough to be concerned about his ability to contribute this season. The Bucs waived defensive tackle Greg Peterson to create a roster spot for Johnson.

Around the NFC South

August, 13, 2009

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

I'm getting ready to head out to watch the Falcons practice, but wanted to share some links to what's going on around the rest of the NFC South.

  • Linebacker Derrick Brooks, who worked out with the Saints on Wednesday, told the St. Petersburg Times, the team wants to go through its preseason opener before talking more about signing him. Brooks also said the Oakland Raiders have contacted him.
  • The Bucs reportedly will work out Tim Masthay and Dirk Johnson Thursday morning and they're expected to sign one of the punters today. Josh Bidwell has swelling in his hip and will miss the preseason opener.
  • New Orleans defensive end Will Smith says he's ready for a bounce-back year, even though he'll be suspended for the first four games.
  • Tom Sorensen writes what I've been saying all along: There's no way the Panthers will sign Michael Vick. But Sorensen takes it another couple steps and says he believes Vick deserves a second chance and that the Panthers should sign him. I agree about the second chance, but it's not going to come in Carolina.
  • Steve Reed also writes that the Panthers are not going to sign Vick.