Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brian Leonard

Bucs' free agents Nos. 16-18

February, 12, 2014
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a unique, and favorable, position as they get ready for the start of free agency in March. That is because the Bucs don’t have any major potential free agents to worry about re-signing.

They do have some role players that will be re-signed, but there are no marquee players. Let’s start taking a look at Tampa Bay’s potential free agents with Nos. 16 through 18 in my rankings.

16. Brian Leonard, running back. A Rutgers product, Leonard was a favorite of former coach Greg Schiano. Leonard wasn’t very productive in a backup role. He’s expendable because the Bucs will have a healthy Doug Martin, with Mike James and Bobby Rainey as the top backups.

17. Rian Lindell, kicker. The Bucs have Connor Barth returning from a torn Achilles. That means Lindell’s time in Tampa Bay is up.

18. Lawrence Tynes, kicker. Tynes spent all of last season on the non-football injury list. He’ll have to resume his career elsewhere.

Tampa Bay's 2014 free agents

February, 4, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- New coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht are inheriting a pretty good situation as they get ready for the start of free agency.

It remains to be seen what they’ll do as far as bringing in players from the outside. But they don’t need to do anything major when it comes to their own potential free agents. The Bucs have 19 potential free agents, but none of them are core players.

The list is highlighted by fullback Erik Lorig, receiver Tiquan Underwood, linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Dekoda Watson and offensive linemen Jamon Meredith and Ted Larsen -- all of whom were at least part-time starters in 2013.

The rest of Tampa Bay’s list of potential free agents includes quarterback Dan Orlovsky, tight end Nate Byham, running backs Brian Leonard and Spencer Larsen, defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, defensive tackle Gary Gibson, defensive backs Danny Gorrer and Michael Adams, linebackers Adam Hayward and Jacob Cutrera, long-snapper Andrew Economos and kickers Rian Lindell and Lawrence Tynes.

Playing time for special teams

January, 20, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Dekoda Watson was a part-time player as a linebacker and defensive end last season. But he was pretty much a full-time player on special teams.

Watson was on the field for a team-high 311 of Tampa Bay’s 453 special-teams plays.

Let’s take a look at the number of special-teams plays Tampa Bay’s most used players on special teams were on the field for. We’ll include only those that had more than 75 plays on special teams.

Looking at playing time: Offense

January, 17, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It’s time to take a look back at playing time for the 2013 season.

We’ll start with the offense and will have a separate post on the defense at another time. Tampa Bay’s offense ran 1,036 plays. Here is the breakdown by position with my quick take below each one.

QUARTERBACKS: Mike Glennon 842, Dan Orlovsky 4.

Quick take: Josh Freeman started the first three games before Glennon took over. Glennon got plenty of experience and has been selected to most of the All-Rookie teams.

RUNNING BACKS: Erik Lorig 383, Bobby Rainey 327, Doug Martin 304, Brian Leonard 291, Mike James 155, Spencer Larsen 35, Michael Hill 18, Jeff Demps 10.

Quick take: The Bucs were forced to use a lot of players in the backfield due to injuries. Martin was the opening-day starter, but he went down early with a season-ending injury. James was his replacement, but he also suffered a season-ending injury. Rainey finished up the year as the feature back. The good news here is the Bucs now have several backs with experience.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Vincent Jackson 969, Tiquan Underwood 563, Mike Williams 363, Chris Owusu 263, Skye Dawson 99, Russell Shepard 32.

Quick take: Jackson was the iron man in this group. Williams suffered a season-ending injury and was replaced by Underwood in the starting lineup.

TIGHT ENDS : Timothy Wright 608, Tom Crabtree 214, Nate Byham 113, Luke Stocker 105, Kyle Adams 64.

Quick take: This is another position where the Bucs had to do some juggling due to injuries. Wright, an undrafted rookie, wound up getting most of the playing time as Crabtree, Byham and Stocker all landed on injured reserve.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Demar Dotson 1,035, Donald Penn 1,033, Jeremy Zuttah 1,015, Davin Joseph 1,010, Jamon Meredith 475, Ted Larsen 361, Gabe Carimi 210, Carl Nicks 145.

Quick take: Dotson, Penn, Zuttah and Joseph were at least durable. Nicks played in only two games due to injuries. Many of Carimi’s snaps came as an extra tight end.

Tampa Bay's 2014 free agents

January, 2, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Say what you want about the unsuccessful tenure of Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik. But, in a lot of ways, he left the Buccaneers in good shape.

As we’ve told you several times before, the Bucs have about $115 million committed toward the 2014 salary cap, which is expected to be around $125 million. Throw in the fact the Bucs will be able to carry over about $7 million in unused 2013 cap space and they’ll enter the start of the offseason with about $17 million to work with.

More importantly, almost all the prominent players are under contract through 2014. The Bucs have a total of 19 players that can become unrestricted free agents, but none of them are core players.

Here’s a list of Tampa Bay’s potential free agents: offensive linemen Jamon Meredith and Ted Larsen; quarterback Dan Orlovsky; receiver Tiquan Underwood; tight end Nate Byham; running backs Brian Leonard, Erik Lorig and Spencer Larsen; defensive linemen Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Gary Gibson; defensive backs Danny Gorrer and Michael Adams; linebackers Dekoda Watson, Jonathan Casillas, Adam Hayward and Jacob Cutrera; long-snapper Andrew Economos; and kickers Rian Lindell and Lawrence Tynes.

Playing time for the Buccaneers

December, 24, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It's time to take a look at how much playing time each of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got in Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Rams.

The offense was on the field for 59 plays and the defense took 61 snaps. Here's the breakdown:

OFFENSE

Offensive line: Donald Penn 59, Davin Joseph 59, Demar Dotson 59, Jeremy Zuttah 59, Ted Larsen 37, Jamon Meredith 22, Gabe Carimi 8.

Quarterback: Mike Glennon 59.

Receivers: Vincent Jackson 56, Tiquan Underwood 41, Chris Owusu 23, Eric Page 4.

Tight ends: Timothy Wright 52, Kyle Adams 14.

Running back: Bobby Rainey 41, Erik Lorig 31, Brian Leonard 19, Spencer Larsen 6.

DEFENSE

Defensive line: Gerald McCoy 61, Adrian Clayborn 61, Akeem Spence 48, William Gholston 47, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 13, Steven Means 8, Gary Gibson 4, Derek Landri 2.

Linebackers: Lavonte David 61, Mason Foster 52, Dekoda Watson 26, Adam Hayward 20.

Defensive backs: Dashon Goldson 61, Darrelle Revis 61, Keith Tandy 59, Johnthan Banks 59, Leonard Johnson 19, Kelcie McCray 9.

Playing time for the Buccaneers

December, 17, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. – It’s time for our weekly check on playing time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Sunday’s 33-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Bucs ran 51 offensive plays and were on the field for 74 defensive snaps.

Here’s a position-by-position look at how many snaps each player got:

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Mike Glennon 51.

Running backs: Bobby Rainey 29, Brian Leonard 22, Erik Lorig 13, Spencer Larsen 3.

Wide receiver: Vincent Jackson 51, Tiquan Underwood 44, Chris Owusu 35, Eric Page 2, Skye Dawson 1.

Tight ends: Tim Wright 48, Kyle Adams 6.

Offensive line: Davin Joseph 51, Donald Penn 51, Jeremy Zuttah 51, Demar Dotson 51, Jamon Meredith 51, Gabe Carimi 1.

DEFENSE

Defensive line: Gerald McCoy 72, Adrian Clayborn 68, Akeem Spence 60, William Gholston 38, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 32, Da'Quan Bowers 9, Derek Landri 7, Steven Means 6.

Linebackers: Mason Foster 69, Lavonte David 66, Dekoda Watson 63, Adam Hayward 9

Defensive backs: Dashon Goldson 74, Johnthan Banks 74, Darrelle Revis 74, Mark Barron 49, Keith Tandy 32, Leonard Johnson 12.

Looking at Buccaneers' playing time

December, 10, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It's time for our weekly look at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers distributed playing time.

In a 27-6 victory against the Buffalo Bills, the Bucs ran 66 offensive plays and were on the field for 67 defensive snaps. Here's a look at the individual playing time from Sunday.

OFFENSE

Donald Penn 66
Jamon Meredith 66
Demar Dotson 66
Mike Glennon 66
Tim Wright 59
Vincent Jackson 57
Jeremy Zuttah 51
Tiquan Underwood 45
Davin Joseph 43
Erik Lorig 42
Bobby Rainey 37
Ted Larsen 36
Brian Leonard 25
Chris Owusu 21
Gabe Carimi 16
Russell Shepard 14
Kyle Adams 11
Skye Dawson 7
Mike Hill 5
Spencer Larsen 2
Eric Page 1

DEFENSE

Dashon Goldson 66
Johnthan Banks 66
Mark Barron 66
Gerald McCoy 66
Darrelle Revis 66
Lavonte David 59
Leonard Johnson 58
Adrian Clayborn 56
Mason Foster 53
Akeem Spence 43
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 39
William Gholston 23
Keith Tandy 15
Da'Quan Bowers 14
Adam Hayward 12
Steven Means 11
Derek Landri 11
Dekoda Watson 10
Danny Gorrer 1
Ka'Lial Glaud 1
Kelcie McCray 1

Tampa Bay's playing-time summary

December, 3, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It's time for our weekly look at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers divided their playing time.

In Sunday's 27-6 loss to Carolina, the Bucs had 49 plays on offense and 64 on defense. Here are the number of snaps each player participated in:

OFFENSE

Davin Joseph 49
Donald Penn 49
Jamon Meredith 49
Demar Dotson 49
Jeremy Zuttah 49
Mike Glennon 49
Vincent Jackson 48
Tiquan Underwood 40
Bobby Rainey 38
Tim Wright 38
Chris Owusu 25
Erik Lorig 24
Brian Leonard 11
Russell Shepard 9
Gabe Carimi 9
Kyle Adams 3

DEFENSE

Johnthan Banks 62
Dashon Goldson 61
Lavonte David 61
Mark Barron 61
Gerald McCoy 61
Mason Foster 55
Adrian Clayborn 54
Akeem Spence 51
Leonard Johnson 42
Jonathan Casillas 40
Darrelle Revis 39
William Gholston 31
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 30
Dekoda Watson 10
Keith Tandy 10
Danny Gorrer 9
Gary Gibson 9
Da'Quan Bowers 7
Ka'Lial Glaud 5
Kelcie McCray 3
Adam Hayward 3

Playing time for the Buccaneers

November, 26, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. – It’s time for our weekly check on playing time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Sunday’s 24-21 victory against the Detroit Lions, the Bucs had 52 offensive snaps and 76 defensive plays. Here are the total snaps each player took part in:

OFFENSE

Davin Joseph 52

Donald Penn 52

Jamon Meredith 52

Demar Dotson 52

Jeremy Zuttah 52

Mike Glennon 52

Vincent Jackson 47

Tiquan Underwood 41

Tim Wright 38

Bobby Rainey 37

Erik Lorig 28

Chris Owusu 17

Tom Crabtree 15

Brian Leonard 15

Gabe Carimi 6

Spencer Larsen 2

Russell Shephard 1

DEFENSE

Keith Tandy 76

Lavonte David 76

Mark Barron 74

Gerald McCoy 74

Leonard Johnson 72

Johnthan Banks 69

Adrian Clayborn 66

Adam Hayward 55

Akeem Spence 54

Danny Gorrer 49

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 36

William Gholston 35

Darrelle Revis 34

Kelcie McCray 21

Da'Quan Bowers 18

Dekoda Watson 12

Jonathan Casillas 11

Derek Landri 4

W2W4: Buccaneers-Falcons

November, 16, 2013
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Three things to watch in Sunday's game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons:

Tampa Bay's running game. The Bucs are a run-first team. That's not going to change with running backs Doug Martin and Mike James lost for the season. The Bucs simply will plug in Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey. There might be some drop-off in talent. But the offensive line, which has played very well lately, should be able to compensate for that.

Vincent Jackson. The veteran wide receiver has been held to 10 catches over the past three games and the Bucs want the ball in his hands more often. The good news is that Jackson had his biggest game of the season in the last meeting with Atlanta, catching 10 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Steven Jackson and Roddy White. The Atlanta running back and wide receiver sat out the previous meeting with injuries. They're back now and that should open new dimensions for the Atlanta offense. The Tampa Bay defense has been very good against the run. But the pass defense could be an issue. White and Harry Douglas, who had 149 receiving yards in the previous meeting, have the ability to make plays down the field.
Tony Gonzalez and Darrelle RevisAP PhotoIt has been a disappointing season for Tony Gonzalez's Falcons and Darrelle Revis' Bucs.
When the season started, the Atlanta Falcons were a trendy Super Bowl pick and a lot of people thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could make the playoffs. As it turns out, both NFC South squads are floundering. They've combined for only three wins.

But these two teams are rivals and that means Sunday's meeting will be about pride.

Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure and Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas examine the matchup.

Yasinskas: Vaughn, I was one of those people who picked the Falcons to win the Super Bowl. Obviously, I was way off base. I know injuries have played a big role, but what else has gone wrong for this team?

McClure: Pat, I talked to Tony Gonzalez extensively after the last game and he was adamant about this all being about the injuries. I agree with him to a certain extent because you just can't lose a receiver as dynamic as Julio Jones and expect the offense to click in the same manner. It drastically changes the way defensive coordinators attack and allows them to focus more on shutting down guys such as Gonzalez.

The other injury I thought was significant was linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who is expected back this weekend after being sidelined since Week 2 because of a Lisfranc sprain. The defensive intensity hasn't been there throughout the season, and Weatherspoon would have provided a spark just from his fiery speeches alone. Not saying that he would have totally helped the Falcons avoid giving up 14 plays of 40-plus yards, but they would have been better with a healthy Weatherspoon.

Speaking of injuries, it looks as if both top running backs are out for Tampa Bay. Can Brian Leonard step in and run the ball effectively?

Yasinskas: I agree that getting Weatherspoon back should be a big boost for the Atlanta defense and the first priority whenever you play Tampa Bay is stopping the running game. Even with Doug Martin and Mike James lost to season-ending injuries, the Bucs still will be a run-first team. Leonard is going to be a big part of the offense now. He's a dependable veteran, who can do a little bit of everything. But I think the Bucs will try to use a combination of Leonard and second-year pro Bobby Rainey. The Bucs want to get Rainey a fair amount of touches because he's more of a home-run threat than Leonard.

Speaking of home-run threats, even without Jones, the Falcons still have some playmakers. Are Roddy White and Steven Jackson now healthy enough to make a significant impact?

McClure: Jackson said he was 100 percent now coming off a hamstring injury, and White continues to have his snaps monitored coming off a hamstring pull and high-ankle sprain. I thought Jackson showed signs of his old self with some tough runs against the Carolina Panthers. He then regressed against the Seattle Seahawks, but head coach Mike Smith blamed that on poor blocking. Jackson has a lot of pride and wants to show Falcons fans he was no fluke. But he can only do so much if the holes aren't there for him. He's averaging a mere 3.2 yards per carry.

As for White, he had one catch for 20 yards in his return against the Seahawks. More than anything, he wants to establish a rhythm so he can be back to his old self. The Falcons just need him to be the same type of playmaker when Jones returns next year. Shouldn't the Buccaneers have a new head coach by then?

Yasinskas: It's pretty obvious that Greg Schiano is on the hot seat. He has won only one game this season and two of his past 15 dating to last year. Ownership does like the way Schiano cleaned up the culture of the locker room that was established under predecessor, Raheem Morris. Schiano, who has three more seasons remaining on his contract, might have bought himself a bit more time by benching Josh Freeman and going with rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. But ownership also wants to see some wins. I don't know that there's a magic number, but my guess is Schiano needs to win more than half of his remaining games if he's going to stick around for next season.

I know Smith has had five straight winning seasons since taking over as head coach in Atlanta, but this year hasn't gone as planned. Since expectations were so high, is owner Arthur Blank's patience wearing thin?

McClure: I've watched Blank's reaction after the past two losses and he has been very supportive of Smith. He even embraced Smith like a long-lost son after a road loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Smith has been a winner since taking over in 2008 (58-31 record) and guided his team to the NFC Championship Game last season, although he's 1-4 in postseason games. I talked to general manager Thomas Dimitroff after last Sunday's game and he said Smith's going "nowhere" in reaction to speculation about maybe Jon Gruden being the team's next head coach.

Smith should get a pass on this season because of the injuries alone. But there are bound to be some staff changes in the offseason to correct some of the on-field problems plaguing the team.

 

Byner an unsung hero for Buccaneers

November, 15, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- If it seems like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can put anyone at running back and have success, there’s a reason for it.

“They have a great coach in that room,’’ guard Davin Joseph said. “[Running backs coach Earnest] Byner, he’s awesome. You really see how he prepares those guys and gets them ready for the game and really how he’s committed to them and their success. You plug guys in and they just take off, that’s just really a reflection on how good of a coach he really is. It’s good to have a guy like that on your staff.”

Byner has been an unsung hero for the Bucs. The team lost starter Doug Martin to a shoulder injury. But rookie Mike James stepped right in and performed well.

In Monday night’s victory against Miami, James suffered a fractured ankle early in the game. Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey stepped in and had success.

Tampa Bay’s coaching staff has taken all sorts of heat during a 1-8 start. But it’s time to give at least one member of the coaching staff some praise. Despite all the injuries, Byner keeps getting his running backs ready to play.

Meet RB Bobby Rainey

November, 14, 2013
11/14/13
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano has a reputation for having a hard edge. But he also has a soft side that's paying off.

Rainey
Take the case of Bobby Rainey. The running back had only been with the team for four days when Schiano let Rainey take some time off. Rainey traveled home to Paducah, Ky., for the birth of his daughter (Kyvee). That came at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 27.

Since, Rainey's life has changed dramatically and it isn't just because he became a father. Originally brought in to provide depth at running back and on special teams, Rainey found himself in a prominent role in Monday night's victory against Miami.

His 31-yard touchdown run set up his 1-yard touchdown run.

"When I checked my phone after the game, I had like 36 text messages," Rainey said.

Rainey might as well get used to the sudden celebrity status. With Mike James as the latest Tampa Bay running back to go on injured reserve (Doug Martin and Jeff Demps were already there), it appears as if Rainey will be used in tandem with veteran Brian Leonard.

That's a pretty big jump for a guy who wasn't even drafted when he came into the league last year. Rainey spent time with Cleveland and Baltimore but didn't get his first significant playing time until Monday night.

"Basically, I came into the NFL with a chip on my shoulder because I didn't get drafted," Rainey said. "I feel like I've got something to prove, not to everybody else but to myself."

The knock on Rainey coming out of Western Kentucky was his size. He is listed at 5-foot-8 (which appears to be generous) and 212 pounds.

"I use it as motivation," Rainey said. "No man can tell another man what they can or cannot do. Anything is possible."

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