NFC South: Najee Goode

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. – Observations on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers30-12 loss to the Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night.

What it means: Not all that much, really. I can’t say it strongly enough that preseason games, especially the fourth one, have no meaning. I’ve seen teams go undefeated in the preseason and go on to struggle in the regular season, and I’ve seen teams go from dismal preseasons to great regular seasons. The Bucs finish with a 1-3 preseason record. It doesn’t matter. But still, it would have been nice to see Tampa Bay look like it was in sync for just a few minutes of the preseason. That never happened.

Very Goode: Tampa Bay’s highlight of the night came early in the second quarter when linebacker Najee Goode picked off a Pat White pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown.

Very bad: I think the Bucs would have preferred to go into the regular season with only two quarterbacks on the roster. But I no longer think they can afford to do that. After watching rookie Mike Glennon (7-of-16 for 63 yards with an interception and a lost fumble) struggle, I’m thinking the Bucs should keep veteran Dan Orlovsky around as insurance in case anything happens to Josh Freeman.

Not what they needed: Tight end already looked like a potential weak spot, with Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree expected to share most of the playing time. But this might be more of a problem area than ever. Crabtree had to be carted off the field with an ankle injury midway through the first quarter. If Crabtree is out for a significant period of time, it could mean more work for Nate Byham, or the Bucs may look for a tight end off the waiver wire.

Not so special: Tampa Bay’s special teams haven’t had a great preseason, and the trend continued Thursday night. The Bucs allowed a punt to be returned 69 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Derek Dimke missed an extra-point attempt. And return man Eric Page had what would have been a 105-yard kickoff return nullified by a holding penalty.

What’s next: The Bucs will trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday evening and begin preparing for their Sept. 8 season opener on the road against the New York Jets.

Looking at Bucs' defensive snaps

February, 12, 2013
The knock on Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in his first two seasons was that he couldn’t stay on the field.

Arm injuries ended each of McCoy’s first two seasons prematurely and there was talk the former No. 3 overall draft choice was a bust.

Funny, but McCoy, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl, barely came off the field in 2012. He took part in 939 of Tampa Bay’s 1,078 defensive plays. McCoy’s 87.11 playing-time percentage ranked second among all NFL defensive tackles. Only San Francisco’s Ray McDonald had a higher percentage (90.85).

Here’s a look at the rest of the playing-time percentages for Tampa Bay’s defensive players.

Sean Weatherspoon returning for Falcons

November, 25, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will make his return Sunday against the Buccaneers after missing three games with an ankle injury.

That should help a run defense that has struggled in his absence. Receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) had been listed as questionable, but they are active and expected to start.

The inactives for the Falcons are quarterback Dominique Davis, safety Charles Mitchell, receiver Tim Toone, offensive lineman Phillipkeith Manley, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and offensive lineman Harland Gunn.

The inactives for the Bucs are cornerback Eric Wright, running back Michael Smith, safety Cody Grimm, linebacker Najee Goode, offensive lineman Cody Wallace, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo and receiver David Douglas.

NFC South afternoon update

November, 14, 2012
Time for an afternoon run through the top news and notes from around the division:


Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, could be ready to return Sunday against Arizona. Weatherspoon didn’t practice Wednesday, but coach Mike Smith indicated there’s a chance he could get some practice time Thursday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle) did not practice. Smith said Jones’ status will be evaluated again Thursday, but his injury could be one reason why the Falcons signed receiver Tim Toone on Tuesday night.


Although his first stint with the Panthers was marred by some off-field problems, offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges said he’s calmed down now. Bridges, who previously played for the Panthers from 2006 through 2008, was re-signed Wednesday and become an immediate starter at right guard, a position where the Panthers have had some problems. Defensive end Thomas Keiser was placed on injured reserve to open the roster spot for Bridges.


Although running back Darren Sproles (hand) returned to practice Wednesday, right tackle Zach Strief (groin) sat out. It’s beginning to look like Charles Brown will get another start at right tackle.


With strongside linebacker Quincy Black out for the rest of the season, coach Greg Schiano said the team likely will go with Adam Hayward as his replacement. That makes the most sense because Hayward has more experience than rookie Najee Goode and Jacob Cutrera. Hayward also has shown some flashes as a backup and on special teams.

Bucs will have to turn to depth at LB

November, 13, 2012
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just announced linebacker Quincy Black has been placed on injured reserve.

Black endured a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday’s victory against San Diego. Although coach Greg Schiano said tests indicated no spinal damage, Black was experiencing some complications in his left arm.

Adam Hayward filled in for Black after the injury on Sunday and he is a possibility to start at strong-side linebacker. But Schiano said rookie Najee Goode and Jacob Cutrera also could be considered.

The Bucs also announced they have signed defensive end Ernest Owusu and receiver Diondre Borel to the practice squad. Tight end LaMark Brown and receiver Dale Moss were released from the practice squad.

NFC South evening update

November, 12, 2012
I just got settled back into NFC South Blog headquarters, so let’s take a run through the top headlines from around the division:


Veteran center Todd McClure said the woes in the running game aren’t all due to the five offensive linemen. He’s got a point and I don’t think McClure is pointing fingers at the tight ends. Tailback Michael Turner clearly doesn’t have the quickness he had a year or two ago. Although I really like what new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has done for the passing game, I don’t think he has come anywhere close to figuring out what he wants out of the running game. I don’t know what the answer there is, but Koetter better make a decision on that before the season gets too far along.


In response to some recent reports that the Panthers could be a candidate to move to Los Angeles, owner Jerry Richardson issued a statement saying that’s not going to happen and points to his deep roots in the Carolinas. Like I’ve said many times before I have a tough time letting this team leave a region he loves. But, more and more, I can’t help but wonder if Richardson, who is 76, has had health issues and fired his two sons from executive roles a few years back, wants to stay in this and own a team for the long haul.

The Panthers fired special-teams coordinator Brian Murphy on Monday. There’s no doubt the Panthers have had issues on special teams since Murphy arrived last year. But this move seems like another in a series of insulation removal. The Panthers previously fired general manager Marty Hurney. With Murphy taking the fall, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott are the only layers remaining for head coach Ron Rivera. Then again, the layers don’t mean much in this case. Unless the Panthers turn things around dramatically in a hurry, Rivera and his entire staff won’t be around after this season.


The war of words between the Falcons and Saints only continues to get better. New Orleans veteran linebacker Scott Shanle said the Falcons are “like our little brothers’’. He has a point. New Orleans has won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the two teams. But Shanle’s words might have carried a little more weight if he had been active for Sunday’s game.

Interim head coach Joe Vitt was very vague about the injury cornerback Corey White sustained in Sunday’s game. The team said Sunday White suffered an injury to his left leg, but Vitt wouldn’t elaborate on if the damage is to White’s thigh or knee Monday. We probably won’t get a real read on how serious the injury is until the Saints resume practicing Wednesday. But losing White would be a blow to a New Orleans defense that has struggled all season. A fifth-round pick, White has been one of the few pleasant surprises on the defense.


Coach Greg Schiano said early indications are that linebacker Quincy Black did not suffer serious damage to his spine after a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday’s victory against San Diego. But Schiano did say Black could miss substantial time due to the injury. Adam Hayward filled in for Black after the injury. But Schiano said rookie Najee Goode and Jacob Cutrera also could be possibilities at strong-side linebacker.

Cornerback Eric Wright tweaked an injury to his Achilles tendon that had caused him some problems in the past. It’s unclear at this point if the injury will cost Wright any playing time. There also have been previous reports that Wright soon could face a suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Either way, the Bucs already are thin on depth at cornerback, although LeQuan Lewis and Leonard Johnson did come up with interceptions Sunday.

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.
We showed you the contract details for a bunch of NFC South rookies earlier in the week. I just got a look at four more deals, so let’s run through them.

Atlanta offensive tackle Lamar Holmes, a third-round choice, got a four-year deal worth $2.633 million, including a $533,600 signing bonus. Safety Charles Mitchell, a sixth-round pick, got a four-year deal worth $2.2 million, including a signing bonus of $101,672.

The Falcons have only fifth-round defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi left unsigned. It’s pretty obvious what he’ll make. The Falcons have only $432,215 remaining under this year’s rookie pool of $2.861 million. The total value of Massaquoi’s deal can’t be worth more than $2.882 million because that’s all the Falcons have left available for the full course of all their rookie contracts.

Tampa Bay linebacker Najee Goode, a fifth-round choice, got a four-year deal worth $2.307 million, including a $206,900 signing bonus. Cornerback Keith Tandy signed a four-year deal worth $2.2 million, including a $120,600 signing bonus.

The Bucs still haven’t signed their top three draft picks -- safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David. But they have plenty of room left in this year’s rookie pool. They have $4.496 million available for this year. They also have $25.1 million left to spend over the course of all their rookie contracts.

Carolina already has signed all of its picks and came in just under the maximum allotment for rookie contracts. The New Orleans Saints, who didn’t have a pick until the third round and have the NFL’s smallest rookie pool, have yet to sign any of their draft picks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed a pair of draft picks Monday afternoon.

The team announced that fifth-round pick Najee Goode and sixth-round pick Keith Tandy each signed four-year contracts.

Goode, a linebacker, and Tandy, a defensive back, were college teammates at West Virginia.

The Bucs previously signed seventh-round picks Michael Smith and Drake Dunsmore. Tampa Bay has only three unsigned draft picks -- first-round choices Mark Barron and Doug Martin and second-round choice Lavonte David.

Looking back on the fifth round

April, 28, 2012
The fifth round of the NFL draft is over and it is worth noting this was the first time in this draft that each of the four NFC South teams had a pick in the same round.

Let’s take a look at who’s joining the NFC South from the fifth round.

The Buccaneers added West Virginia linebacker Najee Goode. He’s viewed primarily as an inside guy, but has the ability to slide outside. The Bucs are coming out of this draft much deeper at linebacker.

The Panthers took Coastal Carolina cornerback Josh Norman. He’s not a threat to contend for a starting job anytime soon. But Norman has good instincts and should have a chance to play on special teams.

The Saints selected Samford safety Corey White. He doesn’t have typical safety size, but does have good cover skills. That’s significant. Starting safety Roman Harper isn’t known as a cover guy. New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes to have safeties who can cover, so there’s room for White on the roster.

The Falcons picked Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing and Troy defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi. Ewing’s not spectacular in any area, but does everything reasonably well. He likely will start off as a special-teams player, but eventually could take over for veteran fullback Ovie Mughelli. Massaquoi already is 24 years old, but he does have some upside as a pass-rusher. The Falcons need all the pass-rushing help they can get.