NFL Nation: Davin Joseph

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- With Rodger Saffold all but signed to a lucrative free-agent contract with the Oakland Raiders, the St. Louis Rams had already begun working on contingency plans.

In mid-March, as Saffold finished up a physical with Oakland doctors, the Rams were hosting free-agent guard Davin Joseph. A Rams contingent and Joseph were out to dinner discussing his possible fit with the team when the news came that Saffold's deal with the Raiders had been nullified by a failed physical.

The Rams still wanted Saffold and found themselves in what could have been an awkward situation were it not so confusing.

[+] EnlargeDavin Joseph
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsVeteran Davin Joseph has only been with the Rams for a week, but there are already signs things are going well for both team and guard.
"I really didn’t quite understand quite what was going on at the time," Joseph said. "I don’t think anybody really did."

When the situation finally crystallized, the Rams managed to re-sign Saffold and Joseph left St. Louis without a contract. The Rams had their starting right guard and the fit for Joseph became muddled.

But just because Joseph didn't necessarily have an obvious fit didn't mean the Rams lost all interest.

In fact, with Joseph working his way back from a knee injury and a staph infection which left him looking like a shell of his former Pro Bowl self, the market for Joseph figured to take time to play out. It allowed the Rams to maintain interest but go through the first waves of free agency and the draft first. In doing so, the team could re-assess it's offensive line depth and determine if there was still a fit for Joseph.

After selecting Greg Robinson with the No. 2 overall pick with the idea of playing him at left guard right away and failing to move back into the first round for offensive lineman Zack Martin, the Rams had a glaring need for experienced depth on the interior. Assuming Joseph would agree to such a role, he was a logical solution.

Joseph was originally a first-round pick in 2006, earning trips to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2011. But he suffered a severe knee injury that cost him the 2012 season, followed by a staph infection last spring and he struggled to get back to his former production last season.

After weighing interest from Dallas and New England, Joseph decided on a one-year deal with the Rams on May 28.

“We really liked the visit, were really excited about what we thought he could do for us from a depth standpoint and all that stuff," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We gave him an opportunity to come in and compete, but Davin, I think, is at a point now where you know he just wants to have fun. We hit it off well, so we decided to wait until after the draft and we got things put together.”

Although Joseph has only been in St. Louis for little more than a week, he's already making a positive impression on the coaching staff and his teammates. It's impossible to know how he's coming along as a blocker without wearing pads in organized team activities, but it's clear the Rams will piece together that plan as they go.

As it stands now, Joseph is the most experienced option the team has on the interior (he's played in 100 NFL games) but Saffold and Robinson are all but certain to start at the two guard spots. That figures to put Joseph in position to be the top option should something happen to either of them or perhaps step in at guard if Robinson or Saffold has to kick outside to tackle.

With the knee injury nearly two years behind him and the staph infection about a year in his past, Joseph at least appears to be healthy.

“He really is much better than he was when he came in for the visit," Fisher said. "He’s a pro. He knows how to rehab. He knows how to prepare for camp, and he’s doing fine right now.”

Joseph signed just a one-year deal, a contract commensurate with a player who doesn't have his history of success. And Joseph is only 30 years old. The chance for a bounce-back season would seem more reasonable for Joseph than many players signing a one-year "prove it" deal.

"I do feel like I have a lot left," Joseph said. "I feel like I can contribute to this team. I don’t know how big or how small my role will be, but I feel like I can contribute. If it’s just coming out here and really working to make the guys better then that’s my job and I’ll do it the best that I can."
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In search of some veteran depth for their offensive line, the St. Louis Rams are in the process of finalizing a one-year deal with guard Davin Joseph.

Joseph
Joseph
Joseph originally visited with the Rams in mid-March as a potential solution for the expected departure of Rodger Saffold. When Saffold's deal with Oakland fell through and the Rams re-signed him to a lucrative deal, interest in Joseph was put on the back burner.

Through that time, the Rams remained open to adding a veteran for the interior, but clearly wanted to see what the draft would yield before adding a veteran inside. They also had expressed interest in Daryn Colledge and mentioned a possible return for Harvey Dahl along the way.

When the Rams came out of the draft with tackle Greg Robinson but didn't draft any more linemen until the seventh round, the need for some experience on the interior became more obvious.

Joseph comes to St. Louis from Tampa Bay, where he went to two Pro Bowls for the Bucs before injuries sidetracked his career. He was a first-round pick in 2006, earning trips to Hawaii in 2008 and 2011. But he suffered a severe knee injury that cost him the 2012 season, and he struggled to get back to his former production last season.

The Bucs released Joseph before free agency in March, saving $6 million against the salary cap. In addition to his visit to St. Louis, Joseph also made stops in New England and Dallas.

For the Rams, the expectation is that Joseph will provide depth behind projected starting guards Robinson and Saffold. Joseph also provides insurance in case left tackle Jake Long is unable to start the season. Long suffered a torn ACL and MCL against Joseph's former team late in the season.

As Long continues his rehabilitation, Joseph, who has played in 100 games (including playoffs), offers an experienced replacement inside who would allow the Rams to shift Robinson or Saffold outside until Long is ready.
Lovie SmithKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsCoach Lovie Smith and the Bucs expect to compete for championships starting this season.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- There is a very good reason why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of the NFL's most active teams in free agency.

"We thought it would be unfair to ask the fans to be patient with us," general manager Jason Licht said at the NFL owners meetings.

Fire those cannons at Raymond James Stadium and start the parade down Dale Mabry Highway. So far, Licht and coach Lovie Smith, both hired in January, are doing and saying all of the right things. They have signed 11 free agents, highlighted by defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner and quarterback Josh McCown.

"We wanted to go out and sign as many good players as we could this year to help our football team and make it competitive this year, and strive to win a championship this year," Licht said. "Not go with, 'Hey, give us a couple years.' We want to do it as soon as we can. The fans deserve it. I found out in a two-month period that these fans are so passionate in Tampa. So we want players that are just as passionate as the fans."

Those fans should be ecstatic to hear Licht's comments. This is a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs since the 2007 season, and hasn't won a postseason game since its Super Bowl victory more than a decade ago. The franchise had good intentions in the interim, but the results weren't pretty.

Plans were put in place at various times from the days when Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen tried to win with veterans, to the time when Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris decided to build through the draft, to the days when it looked like Greg Schiano didn't have a plan.

[+] EnlargeAlterraun Verner
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsLanding cornerback Alterraun Verner was part of an aggressive free-agent push by the Bucs this month.
But you can look at what Licht and Smith are doing and you see a firm plan that has a chance to work -- and work quickly.

"As you saw last year with Kansas City, sometimes a little change is healthy and successful," Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said.

The Chiefs indeed are a good example of a team that turned around its fortunes rapidly. Kansas City was dreadful in 2012, but made the playoffs last season.

For any doubters who say McCown, a career backup, doesn't have what it takes to lead a team to the playoffs, let me remind you that Alex Smith was Kansas City's quarterback last season. I don't see a big difference between Smith and McCown.

Yeah, people can talk all they want about how this is a quarterback-driven league and you need a star at the position to be any good. There is some truth to that. But was Russell Wilson really the best quarterback in the NFL last season?

Of course not. Wilson did some very nice things, but there were bigger reasons why the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl. The defense and the running game had a lot to do with their success.

It's pretty obvious Licht and Lovie Smith are following a plan similar to Seattle's. Smith comes with a defensive background, and he inherited some good talent on that side of the ball. Linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy already are in place, and you could make an argument that a pass-rusher was the only thing Tampa Bay needed to be a dominant defense. That is why the Bucs signed Johnson, who had 11.5 sacks for Cincinnati in 2012.

On offense, the Bucs have overhauled their line. They parted ways with Donald Penn, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah, and replaced them with Anthony Collins, Oniel Cousins and Evan Dietrich-Smith. The running game should be in good shape, assuming Doug Martin is fully recovered from an injury that cut short last season.

I look at that and I see a team that might be ready to win now. I see a team with a plan that seems to make a lot of sense.

"Jason and Lovie have a plan, and that plan is that they want to win," Glazer said. "That's why we brought them in. We're all in the same boat. We want to win. They have a clear plan to get there, and that's why they were hired. We believe in the plan. We buy into the plan, and we're going to be supportive of the plan."

A few years back, the Glazers were often accused of not spending enough money to bring success. But recently, they have spent big money in free agency. This offseason, the Bucs went on another spending spree.

Licht and Smith frequently are being declared winners in free agency by the national media. They are also winning the news conferences by saying the right things.

Now, if they can go win some games in the fall, their plan could be a masterpiece.
We’re still more than 24 hours away from the official start of free agency, but it sounds like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have been active.

Teams have been allowed to talk to the agents of prospective free agents since Saturday and the Bucs have been tied to several players as a potential landing spot, according to reports by ESPN and other media outlets.

The Bucs reportedly are one of four teams interested in Chicago quarterback Josh McCown. That makes sense because Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith previously was in Chicago. McCown’s stock is high after he filled in nicely for an injured Jay Cutler last season. The Bucs have praised what Mike Glennon did in his rookie year, but Smith has said he wants to add a veteran to the mix and McCown would be a logical fit.

The Bucs reportedly are the frontrunner for Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson. He supposedly is looking for about $9 million a season, and the Bucs may be willing to pay that because they want to upgrade their pass rush.

Johnson isn’t the only Cincinnati player the Bucs have been tied to. They reportedly are showing interest in Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins. Tampa Bay already has started an overhaul of its offensive line by releasing veteran guard Davin Joseph. If Collins is signed, veteran left tackle Donald Penn could be on his way out.

Bucs begin O-line overhaul

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made one major move on their offensive line Saturday afternoon and they might not be finished.

In a move that came as no surprise, the Bucs reportedly have released veteran guard Davin Joseph. The move instantly freed up $6 million in salary-cap space. The Bucs now will have more than $24 million in cap space as they head into free agency.

Joseph, a two-time Pro Bowler, had been with the Bucs since 2006. But Joseph became expendable after not playing up to his previous level last season. That might have been due to a knee injury that forced him to miss the entire 2012 season.

Joseph’s release might only be the first of significant moves on Tampa Bay’s offensive line. Left tackle Donald Penn (a cap figure of more than $8 million) and center Jeremy Zuttah (a cap figure of more than $4 million) also could be candidates for release or contract restructures.

The future of guard Carl Nicks is uncertain. He missed all but two games last season while dealing with a toe injury and a staph infection. Tampa Bay’s offensive line was supposed to be a strength in 2013. Instead, the offensive line underachieved.

That’s why the Bucs released Joseph and that’s why there could be more moves on the horizon. Tampa Bay could look to free agency and the draft to make several moves on the offensive line.
TAMPA, Fla. – The Buccaneers took a big step toward completing their coaching staff Saturday afternoon when they announced George Warhop will coach the offensive line.

Warhop has been an offensive line coach in the NFL since 1996, working for the Rams, Cardinals, Cowboys and 49ers. Warhop spent the past five seasons with Cleveland.

Warhop takes over a unit that underperformed much of last season and may go through some changes this offseason. There is uncertainty about the health of guard Carl Nicks, and tackle Donald Penn and guard Davin Joseph are getting older and carrying big salary-cap numbers.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Whenever the Buccaneers get around to hiring a general manager, one thing is going to jump out at him when he sits down and looks at the payroll.

The offensive line is taking up a ton of space toward the 2014 salary cap.

Four offensive linemen -- Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, Donald Penn and Jeremy Zuttah -- are scheduled to count a combined $27.09 million against the cap.

That would be fine if this was a star-studded offensive line. But the fact is the offensive line wasn't very good in 2013. The running game never found any consistency and the pass blocking wasn't great.

It's a pretty safe assumption that the coaching staff and front office will decide to make changes to the offensive line. The area could be addressed in the draft or free agency or a combination of the two.

And it's possible the Bucs will either restructure the contracts of some of their high-priced offensive linemen or decide to release them. Joseph ($6 million), Penn ($7.733 million) and Zuttah ($4 million) could be released with almost no salary cap implications.

Nicks is a little trickier. His scheduled cap figure is $9.357 million, but $6 million of his base salary is guaranteed against injury. Nicks missed most of last season with MRSA and a toe injury and there's uncertainty about whether he'll be able to get back to 100 percent.

Right tackle Demar Dotson is the only member of the projected starting offensive line who doesn't have a big cap figure. Dotson is scheduled to count $1.25 million against the cap and that amount is fully guaranteed.
Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy(AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackLavonte David (54) and Gerald McCoy (93) are cornerstones for what could be a stellar defense.
TAMPA, Fla. -- On the surface, the jobs as coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not look all that attractive.

But dig a little deeper and it's not hard to imagine candidates lining up to replace Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik, who were fired Monday morning. Look at Tampa Bay's roster, draft position and salary-cap situation, and it's easy to envision a turnaround on the scale of what the Kansas City Chiefs did this year, when they reached the playoffs after a 2-14 season.

Quite simply, the Bucs have too much talent to be a 4-12 team. They have Pro Bowl players in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and cornerback Darrelle Revis. Linebacker Lavonte David should have been selected to the Pro Bowl, but was overlooked. Throw in safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and middle linebacker Mason Foster, and the Bucs have the makings of what could be a very good defense.

Although the offense struggled most of the season, the cupboard is not bare. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson is a top-notch player and if Doug Martin can get healthy, he can be one of the league's best running backs.

In hindsight, Schiano and his staff didn't do a good job. Defensively, they wasted talent by having the defensive linemen stunting too often and the defensive backs playing too much zone coverage. The offense lacked imagination with the running game struggling most of the year and rookie Mike Glennon being thrown in as quarterback after the early-season benching and eventual release of Josh Freeman.

I think the defense can be tweaked, mainly by adding a pass rusher or two, and become very good very quickly. The offense is going to take more work.

But the good news for the next coach and general manager is that the Bucs have the resources to make some significant moves. They'll hold the No. 7 pick in the draft. Plus, Dominik's parting gift was a good salary-cap situation.

As it stands right now, the Bucs are about $10 million under the projected salary cap. Plus, they can carry over almost $7 million in cap space from this year. The Bucs don't have any prominent free agents of their own to re-sign, so they can be significant players in the market.

But the first major choice the new coach and general manager have to make is at quarterback. Is Glennon the long-term answer?

Had Schiano stayed, Glennon was his guy. But look at what Glennon did as a rookie and it's tough to tell if he has any chance of being a franchise quarterback. I think Glennon eventually can be a solid quarterback with a very good team around him.

But, at very least, the new coach and general manager need to bring in someone to compete with Glennon. They probably need to do more than that. They probably need to either sign a high-profile free agent (Jay Cutler?) or use their first-round pick on a quarterback.

They also need to improve the offensive line that's supposed to protect that quarterback. The line was supposed to be a strength this year, but it wasn't. Guard Carl Nicks missed all but two games due to a staph infection and foot problems and there's no guarantee Nicks will ever get back to full health. Guard Davin Joseph and tackle Donald Penn, both 30, are getting older.

It might be time to blow up the offensive line. And the team definitely needs help at tight end.

But that's not a huge to-do list. If the new coach and general manager can make a few upgrades, this team could be a lot better than 4-12 next season.

Injury update: Vincent Jackson limited

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TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to move gradually when it comes to wide receiver Vincent Jackson’s injured hamstring.

Jackson took part in Thursday’s practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday’s session. Jackson also missed a couple of practices last week, but was able to play in Sunday’s victory against Buffalo.

Coach Greg Schiano said Jackson’s hamstring is better than it was a week ago at this time.

“Our goal is to get him back to being full,’’ Schiano said. “But I want to be real careful because, with him, his legs are everything.’’

Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (knee) and center Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder) also were limited in Thursday’s practice. Guard Davin Joseph (knee and shoulder) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Tampa Bay's injury update

December, 11, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The interior of Tampa Bay’s offensive line could have a new look when the Buccaneers host the San Francisco 49ers.

Center Jeremy Zuttah and guard Davin Joseph both are dealing with shoulder injuries. Coach Greg Schiano said Zuttah and Joseph were limited in practice Wednesday. If Zuttah can’t play, the Bucs likely would turn to Ted Larsen. If Joseph is out, Larsen can play guard and Gabe Carimi also could be an option.

Schiano also said wide receiver Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (knee) were limited in practice.

Rookie defensive end William Gholston still is going through the league’s protocol after suffering a concussion Sunday. But Gholston was able to participate in Wednesday’s practice.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano doesn’t usually flash his sense of humor to the media, but that changed a bit Friday.

Schiano
Talking about the challenge of playing in a noisy Georgia Dome, Schiano fired off a one liner.

“If it’s any louder than it is today it will be an OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] restriction and they’ll probably have to call the game,’’ Schiano said.

Going into the Georgia Dome is always a challenge, but it might be even more significant for the Bucs because this will be the first road start for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.

“I don’t think many people are comfortable in the Georgia Dome with the noise and all those things,’’ Schiano said. “Our confidence always comes from preparation and I think we’ve had a good week of preparation. It’s not done yet. I think our guys have practiced well and they should be confident in that.’’

In injury news, wide receiver Mike Williams (hamstring) and guard Davin Joseph (knee) both took part in practice. Williams said he fully expects to play Sunday. Schiano said running back/return man Jeff Demps, who had groin surgery earlier this week, should be able to return later this season.

The Bucs also worked out several free-agent wide receivers, including former New York Giants player Ramses Barden. Schiano said the team just was doing due diligence on some prospects.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Very quietly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have changed the vantage point of offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

Previously, Sullivan had worked from the field during games. But Sullivan moved to the press box for Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia and apparently will stay there.

“In the bye week, we talked about everything,’’ coach Greg Schiano said. “That was one of the subjects we talked about. I think the ability to be able to see everything was something that we thought would give us a chance to be better. I liked it.’’

Sullivan said he worked out of the press box in previous stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants.

“I know from all those years being up in the press box, there’s a perspective and a vantage point that you get that I felt that would be beneficial,’’ Sullivan said. “I just switched with John McNulty who is the quarterback coach. He’s now on the field so I was relaying the calls into him. It’s something that gives an added vantage point that I think is helpful from the standpoint of not seeing it ground level but having that bird’s eye view, so to speak.’’

In other news, Schiano said that running back/return man Jeff Demps had surgery on his groin Thursday. Schiano said it’s too early to tell how long Demps will be out for. Wide receiver Mike Williams (hamstring) and guard Davin Joseph (knee) took part in Thursday’s practice.

Carl Nicks expects to play Sunday

September, 20, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t had much positive news lately, but here’s some.

Guard Carl Nicks said Friday that he expects to play in Sunday’s game at New England.

“If nothing new happens, no setbacks, then I think I’m good to go,’’ Nicks said.

Nicks hasn’t played since the middle of last season when he suffered a foot injury. He was on his way back in training camp, but came down with a MRSA staph infection that kept him sidelined for the first two games.

If Nicks does play, it will mark the first time that he and fellow guard Davin Joseph, who missed last season with a knee injury, will be on the field at the same time.
Parys Haralson and Delanie Walker departed the San Francisco 49ers' roster this offseason after entering the NFL has 2006 draft choices with the team.

Another member of that 49ers draft class, fullback Michael Robinson, was a valued contributor to the division-rival Seattle Seahawks when the team released him Friday with age and salary-cap considerations in mind.

The 2006 class has been good to the 49ers. The team continues to get top-shelf contributions from tight end Vernon Davis, one of the team's two first-round picks from that 2006 class.

Mike Nolan was coach and Scott McCloughan was general manager for the 49ers back then. Some of the personnel moves they made continue to sustain the team. Frank Gore, Tarell Brown, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Ray McDonald and Davis remain as players drafted under Nolan. All are valued contributors. Another Nolan-era pick, Adam Snyder, is back with the team as a reserve offensive lineman after spending 2012 with Arizona.

Davis is one of 10 first-round picks from 2006 playing with his original team. The list also includes A.J. Hawk, Haloti Ngata, Chad Greenway, Tamba Hali, Davin Joseph, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Nick Mangold and Mathias Kiwanuka.

Projecting the Buccaneers roster

August, 30, 2013
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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 Cody Grimm.

Analysis: Melvin and Grimm are 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.

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