NFC South: Sean Baker

Most significant move: The fact the Bucs didn’t put guard Carl Nicks on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list is a strong sign that the veteran should be able to return early in the season. Nicks has been battling a staph infection. If Nicks can get healthy, Tampa Bay has the potential to have one of the league’s top offensive lines.

Paying the kickers: Although it appears as though Rian Lindell will be the kicker on opening day, the Bucs apparently will be paying three kickers this season. Technically, teams don’t have to pay players on the non-football-injury list. But the team reportedly will pay Lawrence Tynes, who is dealing with a staph infection, his $840,000 base salary. That’s probably a smart move because there could be legal implications if Tynes isn’t paid. The Bucs also are believed to be paying the $2.3 million base salary of Connor Barth, who was injured in a charity basketball game during the offseason. Lindell is scheduled to make $940,000 in base salary and he has a $65,000 roster bonus.

What’s next: With Tom Crabtree dealing with a high-ankle sprain that could keep him out of some regular-season action, the Buccaneers might look to the waiver wire to see if there is a pass-catching tight end they can pair with Luke Stocker.

Buccaneers moves: Waived S Sean Baker, CB Deveron Carr, T Jace Daniels, LB Dom DeCicco, LS Andrew DePaola, K Derek Dimke, WR David Douglas, LB Ka’lial Glaud, S Cody Grimm, P Chas Henry, DT Lazarius Levingston, DT Matthew Masifilo, DT Andre Neblett, TE Danny Noble, WR Chris Owusu, T Mike Remmers, CB Mason Robinson and C/G Cody Wallace. Terminated the contracts of G Roger Allen, DT Gary Gibson and WR Jordan Norwood. Placed K Lawrence Tynes on non-football injury llist.
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.

Around the NFC South

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
9:57
AM ET
Let's take a look at the top Thursday morning headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

D. Orlando Ledbetter takes a look at how the roster might shape up. He says undrafted rookie quarterback Dominique Davis is on the bubble and says the Falcons may try to get him on their practiced squad. Davis has had a great preseason and the Falcons would have to first waive him to get him on the practice squad. That would be dangerous because another team could scoop up Davis.

Sports Illustrated picks the Falcons to win the NFC South. Keep in mind, the magazine picked the Falcons to win the Super Bowl last season. We’ll have our season previews and predictions a bit later on Thursday. Stay tuned.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Coach Ron Rivera would not say definitively if he plans to play his starters in Thursday’s preseason finale. You might see some of the starters play a little bit. But you also may see Rivera do the same thing Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano did Wednesday night and hold out his starters completely.

The preseason finale could be the end of Armanti Edwards’ time in Carolina. The Panthers drafted the former Appalachian State quarterback in 2010 and the thinking was that he could make the transition and become a dynamic return man. Edwards’ first two years were hugely disappointing. He did have a good training camp this year, but he clearly is on the bubble as the Panthers debate whether to carry six or seven receivers on the roster.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Nakia Hogan has the latest on Jonathan Vilma’s attempt to get his season-long suspension overturned. A hearing will be heard by an appeals board. Vilma is appealing an arbitrator’s decision that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not have jurisdiction to suspend Vilma and three other current or former Saints for their roles in what the league says was a three-year bounty program. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan previously has said she’d feel more comfortable ruling on Vilma’s request for a temporary restraining order after the appeals process with the NFL was exhausted.

Rookie Nick Toon and Joseph Morgan could be in a battle for the final spot at receiver. Toon’s preseason has been thrown off a bit by injury. But, as long as he’s completely healthy, I think the fourth-round draft pick makes the roster.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Receiver Jordan Shipley has been with the Bucs for only a week. That’s why the team won’t go only on what it’s seen in a handful of practices and brief preseason action in deciding Shipley’s roster fate. The Bucs will look closely at Shipley’s tape from his time in Cincinnati. Shipley had a nice rookie season for the Bengals in 2010, but tore up his knee last year. The Bengals apparently didn’t believe Shipley had gotten his speed back. Now, it’s up to the Bucs to decide if Shipley’s knee is healthy enough to keep him around.

Defensive backs Sean Baker, Keith Tandy and Leonard Johnson have used the preseason to strengthen their cases for roster spots. The problem is there might be only one spot remaining at defensive back.

Observation deck: Bucs-Redskins

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
10:08
PM ET
Tampa Bay’s 30-3 loss to the Washington Redskins on Wednesday night didn’t make for great viewing.

Blame much of it on Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. But, more importantly give Schiano lots of credit for making one of his best decisions since taking over the Buccaneers in January.

The Tampa Bay starters did not play. Instead, they stood on the sidelines after going through a full practice at Georgetown University earlier in the day.

It’s not unusual for an NFL coach to use his starters lightly or sit some of them in the final preseason game. But Schiano took this to an extreme. He even sat long-snapper Andrew Economos and a few guys that are likely to be key backups.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After watching Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph go down with a season-ending knee injury last week, Schiano wasn’t taking any chances. He wants his starters healthy for the regular-season opener, which comes Sept. 9 against Carolina.

That game is going to be a lot more important -- and, hopefully more entertaining -- than the preseason finale.

Some quick observations from Wednesday night’s game:
  • The Bucs still are trying to figure out how they’re going to replace Joseph. Jamon Meredith started at right guard, but I don’t know if that means he’ll be there for the Carolina game. Meredith surrendered a sack and was called for two penalties in the first half. The Bucs are experimenting with their options at that spot. Ted Larsen, who got the start at center, and Derek Hardman, also are possibilities from the current roster. But the Bucs also could scan the waiver wire for help in the coming days. After watching all the backup offensive linemen, I’d suggest the waiver wire might be the way to go.
  • Defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry might have helped his chances of landing a roster spot. He batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage early in the game. The Bucs are expected to use Gerald McCoy and Roy Miller as their starters. Amobi Okoye is expected to be part of the backup rotation, but he’s missed a lot of time with an injury. Gilberry likely is in the mix with Gary Gibson and Frank Okam to be part of the rotation.
  • I remember a preseason or two back in the 1990s when third-stringer quarterback Scott Milanovich was the most popular quarterback in Tampa Bay. After watching Brett Ratliff get the start and play the entire game, I don’t think starter Josh Freeman or backup Dan Orlovsky have anything to worry about. In fact, I think there is at least a chance the Bucs could follow the path a lot of other teams have taken in recent years and go with only two quarterbacks on the regular-season roster. In fairness to Ratliff, he got no help from his offensive line.
  • Broadcaster and former Buc John Lynch might have stirred up some speculation when he said the Bucs should try to sign tight end Chris Cooley, who recently was released by the Redskins. Usually, I try to shoot down speculation about the Bucs signing guys in their 30s because that really doesn’t fit the profile of a team that’s doing most of its building through the draft. But I’m with Lynch on this one. I think the Bucs could use a little more depth to go with Dallas Clark and Luke Stocker. If Cooley’s healthy, he might be worth a shot. I think he’d be a better lockerroom fit than Jeremy Shockey, who still remains unsigned. General manager Mark Dominik said during a fourth-quarter interview with the broadcast team that there had been contact with Cooley's agent, but said the team is now aggressively pursuing the veteran tight end.
  • Rookie safety Sean Baker still might be a long shot to make the 53-man roster. But he intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble Wednesday night. That might help Baker land a spot on the practice squad.
  • Nice to see Bucs’ co-chairman Joel Glazer hugging Raheem Morris before the game. Morris coached the Bucs the last three seasons and is now Washington’s defensive backs coach. Morris had a good relationship with ownership, but it was obvious to all that a move had to be made as the Bucs lost their final 10 games of last season. I’m just guessing here, but I doubt any members of the Glazer family were exchanging hugs with Washington general manager Bruce Allen, who once held the same role in Tampa Bay.

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