NFC South: Rashaan Melvin

Bucs promote LB Brandon Magee

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
6:29
PM ET
Magee
TAMPA, Fla. -- In what could be a sign that middle linebacker Mason Foster may miss some playing time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added a linebacker Monday afternoon.

Brandon Magee was promoted from the practice squad. Magee appeared in eight games for the Cleveland Browns last year. To make room for Magee, the Bucs waived cornerback Rashaan Melvin with an injury settlement. Melvin had been sidelined by an ankle injury since the preseason. The Bucs filled Magee's spot on the practice squad by signing linebacker Ka'Lial Glaud, who was with the team last year and this preseason.

Foster suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday's loss to St. Louis. Dane Fletcher is the primary backup to Foster, but adding Magee gives the Bucs more depth at the position.

Bucs' Mankins, Martin questionable

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
3:54
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. – The news on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ injury front for Sunday is mixed.

Let’s start with the good news: Running back Doug Martin and guard Logan Mankins each practiced for the second straight day. They’re listed as questionable, but coach Lovie Smith sounded optimistic about their chances of playing against St. Louis. Defensive end William Gholston also practiced fully after being limited Thursday and is listed as questionable. Defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers participated fully and is listed as probable.

But the bad news is that defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Rashaan Melvin and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins have been declared as out for Sunday.
TAMPA, Fla. – Although he missed nearly a month with an injured hamstring, Mike Jenkins still is listed as a starting cornerback on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ depth chart.

That’s not just a courtesy for a veteran. The Bucs are serious about Jenkins playing in Sunday’s season opener with Carolina. Jenkins returned to practice this week, but the Bucs think he’s ready to contribute.

Jenkins
“It’s not an ideal world for him to miss all that time," coach Lovie Smith said. “But, conditioning-wise, Mike has been conditioning. We took our time with him. We made sure he was pretty much 100 percent before we put him out there. He’s been running. As Mike said, ‘Hey, I’ve lived in Florida for a long time.’ He’s looked good in practice. I don’t think there are any issues. It’s not like we’re going to play him 60 reps this week. We’ll ease him into the mix."

That probably means Jenkins will split time with second-year pro Johnthan Banks at the cornerback spot opposite Alterraun Verner.

The Bucs also issued their first injury report of the season Wednesday. Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, defensive end William Gholston, safety Bradley McDougald, cornerback Rashaan Melvin and receiver Louis Murphy were held out of Wednesday’s practice.
TAMPA, Fla. -- One of the things the Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t seen much of this preseason is their top cornerback.

That’s Alterraun Verner, who injured his hamstring on the third day of camp and missed an extended period. Verner began taking part in individual drills last week, but he’s going to take a bigger step in Tuesday’s practice. Verner is expected to take part in team drills, coach Lovie Smith said.

Smith also expressed some optimism that Verner might be able to play in the third preseason game at Buffalo on Saturday.

Verner
“This is the week that we’re gearing towards,’’ Smith said. “First off, the guys that line up with the first group, there’s a reason why they’re there. It’s not like we’re going to do an awful lot that last preseason game. So, for our players, if they’re going to play against Carolina [in the regular-season opener], we need to see them right now. If they’re not out there, we’re in a hole a little bit. Alterraun Verner, it’s important that he get out there and starts playing our defense and seeing his role and getting comfortable. That’s why we’re excited about getting him on the football field.’’

The Bucs have had their share of cornerbacks with injuries this preseason. In addition to Verner, Mike Jenkins and Rashaan Melvin have missed extended periods. Jenkins still isn’t practicing.

But getting Verner back should be good for the chemistry of the secondary. Second-year pro Johnthan Banks has been working as a starter and Leonard Johnson has been the nickelback. Smith said he has been happy with what he has seen out of Banks. That could mean Jenkins is headed for a backup role.

Buccaneers Camp Report: Day 14

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
8:58
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:
  • Coach Lovie Smith pulled a bit of a surprise and put an unexpected end to the training camp portion of the preseason Tuesday. The Bucs are off Wednesday. When they return Thursday, they’ll be practicing without pads and preparing for Saturday night’s preseason game with Miami. Smith said he was pleased with camp overall. “I thought it was good," Smith said. “We practiced in the heat of the day most of the time. It’s draining. It’s draining just going through a walk through in Tampa. But the guys got through it. We haven’t had any major injuries. We felt we got about the proper amount of physical contact that we need to get ourselves in position to play the game. I like the work that we’ve done. Most of the guys have made a lot of progress throughout. We just need to kind of take steps now. We want to see improvement in the games."
  • Smith singled out several under-the-radar players that have given themselves a chance to make the roster with strong training camps. He mentioned fullback Jorvorskie Lane, linebacker Danny Lansanah and defensive lineman Scott Solomon. Smith also said rookie receiver Robert Herron has come on strong in recent days after having some problems holding onto the ball earlier in camp.
  • Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was given most of the practice off. Smith said that was a coach’s decision and a reward for a strong camp by McCoy. Nose tackles Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence each got some work at McCoy’s three-technique position.
  • Tuesday was “legends" day. The Bucs welcomed 50 former players to watch practice. That was a nice gesture and a change from former coach Greg Schiano, who didn’t always welcome former players. “I think we’ve made it known that they’re welcome," Smith said. “Not just on legends day, but any day coming back to their football team. What we’re doing, we hope that they see, is we’re trying to get it back. Most of the guys that came here had success while they were here, and that’s what we plan to do."
  • The Bucs signed defensive end T.J. Fatinikun.
  • There is no practice Wednesday. The Bucs are scheduled to practice Thursday at 2 p.m. Although Smith isn’t calling it training camp anymore, the practice still will be open to the public, team officials said. This will be the last open practice of the preseason.

Buccaneers Camp Report: Day 7

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
10:38
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:
  • Early in camp, the defense clearly was ahead of the offense. That’s not the case anymore. The offense had a good showing at Friday night’s practice at Raymond James Stadium. The first- and second-team offenses each drove for successful field goals in the two-minute drill. “It’s about scoring points, and that’s what the offense was able to do," coach Lovie Smith said. “Somebody can’t look good in that situation. Most games come down to that two-minute drive at the end of the game. (Quarterbacks) Josh [McCown] and Mike [Glennon] both did a great job with us."
  • Many fans had to be pleasantly surprised by their first look at coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense. It didn’t look nearly as conservative as what the Bucs have run in recent years. The play of the night was a trick play. Running back Mike James took a pitchout and threw a touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson. The deep passing game also looked good, with Chris Owusu catching a long touchdown from Glennon in an 11-on-11 drill.
  • Center Evan Dietrich-Smith missed practice with a foot injury, and his absence was obvious. The one blemish for the offense was that three snaps between center and quarterback were botched. “One time on the ground is too many," Smith said.
  • The practice drew just under 15,000 fans, according team officials. “It’s a fanbase that deserves to see a good football team on the field, and we plan on giving them that," Smith said.
  • The Buccaneers have the day off from practice Saturday. Smith and many team employees will travel to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, to attend the induction ceremony for Derrick Brooks. The team will return to practice Sunday at 4:30 p.m. “All week, I’ve been thinking about Derrrick going in," Smith said. “I can’t wait to get up there tomorrow. A special day for him. You know Derrick Brooks. Who deserves to be in the Hall more than him? It’s a special time for his family, and we can’t wait to get there.’’

Buccaneers Camp Report: Day 6

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
6:18
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:
  • There might not be a player on the roster who has been more maligned than defensive end Da'Quan Bowers. A second-round pick in 2011, Bowers has contributed very little in his first three seasons. But it sounds like Bowers is making the most of a fresh start with a new coaching staff. Coach Lovie Smith continues to sing Bowers' praises. Smith isn't saying Bowers is going to suddenly turn into a superstar. But he is saying Bowers can be a valuable role player as a guy who can play defensive end and defensive tackle. "As a general rule, we'll normally carry three inside guy and three outside guys (on the game-day roster)," Smith said. "That's six. You'd like that seventh guy to be able to do both. That's what you have in a player like Da'Quan. He's big enough to rush inside on third downs and a good anchor outside on first down. It gives us some flexibility."
  • The Bucs worked the 2-minute drill for the first time this camp Thursday. "That's always fun," Smith said. "About half the games come down to what you do at the end of the game in a 2-minute situation, that last drive determining the outcome of the game. It's important that we convert on the offensive side and on the defensive side play smart ball. There's no better time to take the ball away. We did some good things on both sides of the ball."
  • Smith had the line of the day when asked if Thursday's practice didn't seem as intense as Wednesday's. "Sometimes it's not your wedding night," Smith said. "It's just a normal day that you go through. It was business at hand today. There wasn't as much false chatter. But, still, we got good work. Some days, you just have to keep grinding one play at a time and that was the case today. We'll pick it back up tomorrow."
  • The Bucs continue to be banged up at cornerback. Mike Jenkins was added to the injury list Thursday. Jenkins sat out practice with a leg injury. Fellow cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Rashaan Melvin have missed the last several days.
  • Rookie Robert Herron got some work with the first team as a slot receiver. But Herron had a drop, which isn't going to help his chances of significant playing time.
  • The Bucs will hold their first -- and only -- camp practice at Raymond James Stadium on Friday. The practice will start at 7:30 p.m and is open to the public at no charge. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow night," Smith said. "It's one thing to practice on the practice field. When you go to the stadium, it's a different feel. Our players are excited about getting the feel for Raymond James Stadium. For a lot of them, it will be the first time going out there."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' injury update

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
4:39
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just announced guard Carl Nicks is out for Sunday’s season opener against the New York Jets.

That’s not a surprise because Nicks, who is recovering from a staph infection, hasn’t practiced all week. But, as recently as early Friday afternoon, coach Greg Schiano said he wasn’t ready to rule Nicks out. Reserve tackle Gabe Carimi has gotten most of the first-team work at Nicks’ left guard spot.

The Bucs also are listing tight end Tom Crabtree (ankle) as out and cornerback Rashaan Melvin (hamstring) as doubtful. Running back Mike James (eye) and fullback Erik Lorig (calf) are questionable and cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee) and tackle Demar Dotson (back) are listed as probable.

Surveying the Buccaneers' roster

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
8:00
AM ET
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
8/30/13
3:15
PM ET
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.

NFC South afternoon update

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
2:49
PM ET
Time for an afternoon run through some news and notes from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Defensive end Cliff Matthews added about 10 pounds in the offseason at the team’s request. The Falcons want to move Matthews inside on some of their packages. I think you’re going to see the Falcons rotate their defensive linemen even more than they have in the past.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said rookies Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford are competing for the starting right cornerback spot. Although Trufant was the first-round pick, Alford might have an early advantage because he was able to take part in all of the offseason program while Trufant had to sit out some of it due to NCAA and NFL rules.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Frank Kearse both left practice with sore backs and receiver Domenik Hixon left with a hamstring injury. Coach Ron Rivera has talked about various ways he’s tried to prevent camp injuries. But this is the point of camp where fatigue sets in and injuries are bound to follow.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

A fan was arrested after trying to get on the field during Friday morning’s practice.

Reserve quarterback Seneca Wallace (groin injury) is among eight players that won’t take part in Saturday’s scrimmage.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Undrafted cornerback Rashaan Melvin has been one of the pleasant surprises of camp. He faces an uphill battle to make the roster. But he has a chance if he continues to perform like he has and shows he can contribute on special teams.
Undrafted free agents usually are long shots to make an NFL regular-season roster. But you might want to keep an eye on Deveron Carr.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sure are treating the Arizona State cornerback differently than the average undrafted free agent. The Bucs have given Carr a $15,000 signing bonus and guaranteed $5,000 of his base salary.

Many undrafted free agents don’t even get signing bonuses and those who do often top out at $5,000. Carr’s signing bonus is the highest I’ve seen so far for any undrafted free agent across the league.

Why did the Bucs sweeten the pot for Carr? Obviously, they must think he has some talent. But Carr probably was getting a decent offer somewhere else and the Bucs stepped up to make sure they got him.

In addition to Carr, the Bucs announced they have signed 13 other undrafted free agents. They are UCLA receiver Jerry Johnson, South Florida tight end Evan Landi, Northern Illinois cornerback Rashaan Melvin, Texas receiver D.J. Monroe, Buffalo linebacker Willie Moseley, Arizona State tackle Brice Schwab, Purdue running back Akeem Shavers, Western Kentucky guard Adam Smith, Georgia cornerback Branden Smith, Massachusetts offensive tackle Nick Speller, Southern Mississippi offensive tackle Jason Weaver and Rutgers receiver Tim Wright.

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