Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Owusu

Stock watch: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
10:20
AM ET
Checking the stock of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after their season-opening 20-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers:

FALLING

Mankins
Offensive line: This group wasn’t off to a great start, and then things got worse. Guard Logan Mankins went down with a knee injury. It appears as if Mankins will miss some time, and that’s going to throw the line into disarray.

Josh McCown: He didn’t play the way you would expect from a veteran quarterback and made two bad decisions that turned into interceptions. McCown rallied in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. The Bucs need him to be sharp the entire game.

The pass rush: Where was it? The Bucs produced only one sack against Derek Anderson, who was playing for an injured Cam Newton. Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn have to be more productive as outside rushers.

RISING

Gerald McCoy: He had Tampa Bay’s only sack and played well against the run.

Chris Owusu: He caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. There was some question in the preseason about who the third receiver would be, but it looks like that job belongs to Owusu.

Lavonte David: He had a team-high 10 tackles.

Who's returning for the Bucs?

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
8:00
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. – When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers left Solomon Patton off their 53-man roster, they seemingly left the kickoff and punt-return jobs wide open.

Patton handled the duties through much of the preseason and had fared pretty well. The common assumption was that Patton would be returning punts and kickoffs in the regular season.

Patton now is stashed on the practice squad. But the Bucs didn’t leave him off the 53-man roster without a plan in place. It just might be a little difficult to see that plan because no one else stood out on returns in camp or the preseason.

But it appears as if the Bucs are ready to use backup running back Bobby Rainey as their punt returner. Rainey caught some punts in the preseason and really is the only option on the current roster.

Rainey also could end up handling kickoff returns. But there at least are some other options there. Backup running back Mike James and reserve receiver Chris Owusu worked as kickoff returners in training camp and could be options.

Buccaneers shake up depth chart

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
8:53
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out a new depth chart Monday night and it's the most realistic one yet.

Evans
First-round draft pick Mike Evans is now listed as a starter at wide receiver. Evans had been listed behind Chris Owusu on the first two depth charts. But that was just a case of being courteous to a veteran. Evans was getting much of the first-team work by late in training camp and there was little doubt he'd be a starter by opening day.

Another highlight of the depth chart is at guard, where the Bucs have Oneil Cousins with the first team at left guard and Patrick Omameh at right guard. That's the same combination the Bucs used in last week's preseason game with Miami. If Cousins and Omameh have decent outings in Saturday's preseason game at Buffalo, they should lock up the starting jobs.

On the defensive side, one thing looks off. The Bucs are listing Mike Jenkins as a starting cornerback. Jenkins has been out most of the preseason with a hamstring injury. Second-year pro Johnthan Banks has played well in Jenkins' absence.

The Bucs aren't saying it on their depth chart yet, but I think Banks has moved ahead of Jenkins.
TAMPA, Fla. – Mike Evans had to be the happiest person that Saturday night’s game with the Miami Dolphins was only a preseason contest.

Evans
The rookie wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a play that looked like it was heading for a highlight reel but instead might end up on a bloopers show.

In the second quarter, Evans caught a short pass from Mike Glennon and bounced off a would-be tackler. Evans seemed destined for the end zone, but something got in the way. Miami cornerback Brent Grimes stripped the ball from Evans at the 1-yard line. A play that should have resulted in a touchdown turned into a touchback.

“It was a rookie mistake,’’ Evans said after Tampa Bay’s 20-14 loss. “I had the ball on my inside arm and I didn’t anticipate him. It was a good play by him. I should have had the ball in my outside arm.’’

“We can correct that,’’ coach Lovie Smith said.

But Evans obviously has been making a good impression in practices. He had been behind Chris Owusu on the depth chart. But Evans got the start over Owusu on Saturday. The Bucs don’t expect Evans to make the same mistake again.

“I don’t think we have to have any conversations,’’ quarterback Josh McCown said. “As unfortunate as that is, it’s the best teacher.’’
TAMPA, Fla. -- Some unanswered questions as training camp ends:

Who are the starting guards? That’s the biggest question of all. The Bucs have been rotating Oniel Cousins, Patrick Omameh, Kadeem Edwards, Jace Daniels and Jamon Meredith. None of them have much experience. The Bucs are hoping two of them can step up enough to claim starting jobs. But they may have to look to the outside for help.

Who’s the slot receiver? There are several options here and the Bucs could use them all. Tight end Tim Wright has been lining up in the slot a lot. Receiver Chris Owusu could end up there. The Bucs drafted Patrick Herron mainly to play the slot. He got off to a slow start in camp, but has come on strong lately. Herron could get more playing time as the season goes on.

Who’s the nickelback? The answer to this one is pretty clear. Leonard Johnson has been getting all the first-team work. He’s set as the nickelback.

Who are the starting cornerbacks? Alterraun Verner’s a lock at one spot. But the other one remains a bit of a question mark. Mike Jenkins has been dealing with a hamstring injury. That’s created more reps for Johnthan Banks and he’s made the most of them. Banks appears to have the edge.

Who’s the starting tight end? This is not a one-person answer. The Bucs are going to play three tight ends extensively. Wright will line up in the slot and at H-Back as well as tight end. Brandon Myers and rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins also are going to get plenty of work with the first team and there will be a good amount of two tight end sets. All three tight ends are going to get a lot of playing time.
TAMPA, Fla. – On a day near the middle of training camp, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith walked into his post-practice news conference and delivered a message.

"There's nothing really I can give you today," Smith said.

Smith wasn't being condescending or rude to the media. He simply was being truthful. Tampa Bay's camp hasn't had any major news or controversies. It has been downright boring at times -- but it beats the alternative.

We saw the other side of things last year, and it wasn't pretty. There was plenty of news and a ton of distractions. Former coach Greg Schiano and quarterback Josh Freeman were in the early stages of a feud that would end in divorce one month into the season. And it wasn't just Freeman who was having issues with Schiano's style. Numerous players had problems with Schiano's rigid ways and never fully bought into the coach.

That quickly caught up to Schiano, who was fired after two lackluster seasons. Enter Smith, who is the anti-Schiano in just about every way. Smith is calm and treats his players like adults, and you already can see the results of that. There have been no controversies.

Amid the tranquility, players are singing the praises of Smith. The coach brings back memories of Tony Dungy, who guided the Bucs to their first era of sustained success. That's no coincidence. Smith was the linebackers coach in Dungy's early years in Tampa Bay and has an approach similar to Dungy's.

People already are comparing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to Warren Sapp and linebacker Lavonte David to Derrick Brooks. Smith's hiring has brought enthusiasm to a fan base that hasn't had much to be excited about in recent years. But that fan base has pleasant memories of what things were like in the Bucs' glory days.

On several occasions, Smith has said that one of his goals is to make the Bucs relevant again. If things go according to Smith's plans, the Bucs might be boring, but they'll be good.

THREE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

1. Smith is known for being a defensive coach, and he has some good ingredients to start with. McCoy and David were All-Pros last year, and they play two of the most important positions in the Tampa 2 defense Smith is bringing back to the Bucs. McCoy and David give Tampa Bay a nice start, but some other players are going to have to come through. The coaching staff believes strong safety Mark Barron is ready to be a star. If some role players come through, this could be a very good defense.

[+] EnlargeDoug Martin
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesDoug Martin is back from a shoulder injury, but he shouldn't have to shoulder all of the load in a deep backfield.
2. Doug Martin is back from a shoulder injury that kept him out for about half of last season. That should provide a huge lift for the offense. Martin rushed for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012, and he has looked sharp in training camp. Under Schiano, the Bucs often overused Martin. That’s not going to be the case with Smith. The Bucs have made it clear that Martin will remain as the feature back but that they’ll rotate in some other backs to keep him fresh. Rookie Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James could be in the mix for playing time.

3. After using their first two draft picks on wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Bucs have one of the biggest receiving corps in the league. Williams, Seferian-Jenkins and Vincent Jackson each are at least 6-foot-5. They're going to present coverage challenges for defensive backs.

THREE REASONS FOR PESSIMISM

1. The offensive line hasn't looked very good in the preseason, and that's a huge cause for concern. The Bucs are especially thin at guard. All-Pro Carl Nicks left the team after not being able to recover from a toe injury. That leaves four guys without a lot of experience vying for two starting spots. Oniel Cousins, Jace Daniels, Patrick Omameh and rookie Kadeem Edwards have been rotating at the guard spots, and two of them will emerge as starters, unless the Bucs bring in some help from the outside.

2. Smith went out on a limb when he signed quarterback Josh McCown as a free agent and immediately named him the starter. McCown, 35, has been a backup most of his career, but he did play well in Chicago last year when Jay Cutler went out with an injury. McCown threw 13 touchdowns with just one interception. It's too much to expect him to keep up that kind of pace, especially with an unsteady offensive line. Smith, who coached McCown in Chicago, believes he can be successful over the course of a full season. But that's something McCown has never done.

3. Smith's philosophy is to play great defense and be efficient on offense. That worked well enough to get Smith to a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears. But that philosophy might be antiquated. The league has become quarterback-driven. The Bucs are in the same division as New Orleans' Drew Brees, Carolina's Cam Newton and Atlanta's Matt Ryan. McCown and this offense might not have enough firepower to stay competitive in the division.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • McCoy has had an outstanding training camp. He consistently has gotten into the backfield as a pass-rusher and has been stuffing running plays. But it remains to be seen whether McCoy's excellent play is simply the byproduct of the weakness at the guard spots.
    [+] EnlargeVincent Jackson
    AP Photo/Bill KostrounVincent Jackson, in his third season with the Bucs, will have a third starting QB throwing to him.

  • The chemistry between McCown and Jackson has been noticeable. In addition to the offseason program, the two spent a lot of time in the spring and summer working out at a local high school.

  • The Bucs have gotten almost nothing out of defensive end Da'Quan Bowers since taking him in the second round in 2011. But they are trying something new with Bowers this year. They're going to use him inside at defensive tackle in obvious passing situations.

  • The Bucs have high hopes for sixth-round draft pick Robert Herron. But don't look for the receiver/return man to get a lot of playing time early on. Herron has had ball-security issues in camp. He needs to hold on to the ball if he's going to earn playing time.

  • Herron will make the 53-man roster. So will Jackson, Evans and Chris Owusu. Eric Page also probably will stick thanks to his return skills. That probably leaves one spot to be filled from a group of receivers who have shown promise in training camp. Tommy Streeter, Louis Murphy, Lavelle Hawkins and Solomon Patton all have shown flashes, but at least a couple of them won't make the roster.

  • Hamstring injuries have kept cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins out for a big chunk of training camp. But there's a flip side to that, and it's positive. Second-year pro Johnthan Banks has gotten a ton of work with the first team and has looked good. Banks didn't have a great rookie year. But his performance in camp probably will keep him in the starting lineup.
TAMPA, Fla. – After I put out my projected roster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier Monday, I’ve gotten a lot of Twitter questions asking why Tommy Streeter didn’t make the cut.

The reason is simple. I don’t think Streeter is going to make the roster.

I know Streeter has had a tremendous camp and he caught a touchdown pass in the preseason opener against Jacksonville. Streeter has done enough to put himself in the conversation for a roster spot. But the Bucs are going to have to crunch numbers at wide receiver, and Streeter might get squeezed out.

Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are locks to make the team. Same for Chris Owusu. But here’s where things get tricky and you have to pay attention to who can help on special teams. Eric Page continues to work as the top return man, so he should get a roster spot.

Rookie Robert Herron also has return ability. Herron hasn’t had a great camp, but he’s a draft pick and teams don’t like to cut draft picks. Veteran Louis Murphy also has some special teams ability.

The Bucs are likely to keep either five or six receivers on the roster. I think Streeter will end up getting cut. He could end up on the practice squad if another team doesn’t claim him.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Wide receiver might be the position group I'm most intrigued to see in Friday night's Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason game (7:30 ET) with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That's because there's some very good competition for the fourth, fifth and possibly sixth receiver spots. The Bucs have Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans as their starters and Chris Owusu seems to be a lock to make the team.

After that, it's anybody's guess.

"We've got a group of guys that don't necessarily have big names," receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker said. "They're hungry to prove their opportunity. Competition at the highest level every day."

Rookie Robert Herron was a draft pick, so he also is likely to make the team. That leaves a group that includes Tommy Streeter, Solomon Patton, Louis Murphy, Lavelle Hawkins, Skye Dawson, Eric Page, Solomon Patton and Russell Shephard competing for the final roster spot or spots.

Each of those guys has shown promise at various points in training camp. But whoever steps up the most in the preseason games could end up making the roster.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put out an unofficial depth chart in advance of Friday's preseason game. I emphasize that it's unofficial and should be used only as a starting point, but the depth chart does provide some interesting items.

Let's start with the offense. Oniel Cousins and Jamon Meredith are listed as the starting guards. I think those names are written in pencil because Patrick Omameh and Kadeem Edwards remain in the mix.

The other item of note on the starting offense is that Chris Owusu is listed as a starting wide receiver. I think that's simply a courtesy to a veteran. There's almost no doubt rookie Mike Evans will be starting when the regular season gets here.

On defense, there are no surprises among the starters, but it's worth noting that first-team cornerbacks Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins both have been out with injuries. Coach Lovie Smith considers nickelback a starting position and the depth chart features Leonard Johnson as the starting nickelback.

Another item of note on the defense is that Da'Quan Bowers, who has spent his career at defensive end, is listed as a second-team defensive tackle.

On special teams, Eric Page is listed as the first-team kickoff and punt returner, but the Bucs are going to use the preseason to take a look at some other candidates.

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.’’
We continue our pre-camp position-by-position analysis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the wide receivers.

Jackson
The Bucs unloaded one of last year’s starters, Mike Williams, after a series of off-field problems. But the team may have upgraded that spot by taking Mike Evans with the seventh overall pick in the draft. Evans is a big, physical receiver. He’s much like fellow starter Vincent Jackson.

Evans and Jackson are going to create matchup problems for shorter defensive backs because they’re one of the biggest wide receiver duos in the league. But the depth behind Evans and Jackson remains a question mark.

The Bucs have high hopes for rookie Robert Herron, but it might be too much to expect him to claim the No. 3 spot right away. Chris Owusu and Louis Murphy each have some experience and could end up playing important roles.

Buccaneers' biggest bargains

June, 20, 2014
Jun 20
1:17
PM ET
We spend a lot of time talking about which players make the most money. Let's change that up and go bargain hunting.

I just went through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' contract numbers for 2014 with an eye out for guys that produce but aren't getting paid a lot (relatively speaking). When it comes to the Bucs and bargains, you have to start with linebacker Lavonte David.

The guy is an All-Pro, but his base salary is only $705,612 and his cap figure is $946,836. David undoubtedly will make up for it when he signs his second contract. The Bucs can't extend him until next year and you can bet they won't waste any time.

Next on my list is running back Doug Martin. He has a $1 million base salary and a $1.8 million cap figure. That's not a lot of money for a feature back -- and Martin still is the feature back, despite all the talk about using a committee of running backs.

Coming in third on my list is right tackle Demar Dotson. He has a $2 million base salary and his cap figure is the same. That's not bad for a solid starter.

In fourth place, I'm going with running back Bobby Rainey. His base salary and cap figure both are $570,000. Rainey has a chance to get some carries in the new rotation. If he can carve out a role, he'll look like a bargain.

My final bargain player is wide receiver Chris Owusu. His base salary and cap figure both are $570,000. Owusu has a chance to end up as the third receiver. If he does, he'll be a big bargain.

Best Bucs camp competitions

June, 20, 2014
Jun 20
8:11
AM ET
With the start of training camp a little more than a month away, it’s time to look ahead to the best battles.

Tight end. Rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins might be the long-term answer. But he might not get a lot of playing time in the short term. Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t allowed to take part in the offseason program and that could put him behind the competition. Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Luke Stocker all have more experience.

Right guard. Patrick Omameh worked with the first team through most of the offseason program. But he still needs a good camp to win the starting job. Oniel Cousins and Jamon Meredith also could be candidates to start.

Third wide receiver. This one is far from settled. Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans will be the starters, but the Bucs need production out of some more receivers. Veterans Chris Owusu and Louis Murphy looked good in the offseason program and the team has high hopes for rookie Robert Herron.

Cornerback. Alterraun Verner is set as one starter. But the other spot figures to be a strong competition between Johnthan Banks and Mike Jenkins.

Backup running back. Doug Martin is the starter, but the Bucs want to use a rotation. Bobby Rainey, Mike James, Charles Sims and Jeff Demps will all be vying for carries.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a low-risk move that could come with a high reward.

The team signed wide receiver David Gettis, who participated in last week’s minicamp on a tryout basis. If Gettis can get back to full health, he could be a steal.

As a rookie with Carolina in 2010, Gettis showed great potential, catching 37 passes for 508 yards and three touchdowns. But Gettis hasn’t caught a pass since due to a series of injuries.

Gettis said last week that he’s fully healthy. If that’s the case, he has a chance to make the opening-day roster. The Bucs have Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans as their starters. But things are wide open after that.

Gettis will have a chance to compete with Chris Owusu, Robert Herron, Louis Murphy, Lavelle Hawkins, Eric Page, Skye Dawson, Russell Shepard and Tommy Streeter.
We continue our pre-draft position-by-position look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the wide receivers.

Where things stand: The Bucs have Vincent Jackson and not much else after trading Mike Williams to Buffalo. There is hope that guys like Chris Owusu, Skye Dawson, Lavelle Hawkins, Tommy Streeter and Louis Murphy can emerge as role players. But none of them are legitimate candidates to start.

What to watch for: The short story is the Bucs need to emerge from the draft with a starting wide receiver. They could even look for a No. 3 receiver in the draft. There is a very good chance the Bucs will use their first-round pick on a wide receiver. Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans are the top two receivers in the draft. Most mock drafts have Watkins gone before Tampa Bay picks. But, if Watkins somehow slides, he would be a great fit for the Bucs. If Watkins is gone, Evans is a definite possibility. He’s not the speed receiver the Bucs need, but he’s very similar in stature and style to Jackson.

SPONSORED HEADLINES