Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dan Orlovsky

Bucs' free agents: Nos. 11-15

February, 12, 2014
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Let's continue our rankings of Tampa Bay's potential free agents with Nos. 11 through 15.

11. Danny Gorrer, cornerback. Injuries sidelined him for a good chunk of the season. The Bucs will be looking to upgrade their depth at cornerback.

12. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, defensive end. He was a favorite of the previous regime, largely because he didn’t make a lot of mistakes. But Te’o-Nesheim has no upside and the Bucs need to get better at defensive end.

13. Dan Orlovsky, quarterback. If the Bucs are fully committed to going with Mike Glennon as their starter, it would make some sense to bring Orlovsky back. He provides some solid value as a veteran mentor. But it’s likely the Bucs will try to bring in someone to compete with Orlovsky.

14. Nate Byham, tight end. Byham suffered a season-ending injury and didn’t contribute much. The Bucs are likely to try to upgrade at tight end and that could leave Byham looking for work.

15. Spencer Larsen, fullback. He played a very small role last season and was not much of a factor.

Bucs add QB Mike Kafka to mix

February, 10, 2014
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It’s not the big move many are hoping will come in free agency or the draft, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added a quarterback.

The Bucs have signed Mike Kafka, agent Mike McCartney said via Twitter.

Kafka was a fourth-round pick by Philadelphia in 2010 and spent two seasons as a backup with the Eagles. Kafka was out of the NFL last season after being released by Jacksonville.

Kafka, 26, has appeared in four NFL games and attempted 16 passes. Kafka isn’t a threat to beat out Mike Glennon for the starting job. Dan Orlovsky, last year’s backup, is scheduled to become a free agent and the Bucs could bring in someone to compete with Glennon. Kafka is likely to compete for the third quarterback spot. In other transactions, the Bucs announced they have released quarterback Jordan Rodgers, offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, defensive tackle Derek Landri and running back Michael Hill.

Ranking Bucs' needs: No. 5 QB

February, 4, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Over the next few days, I’m going to examine what I think are the five biggest areas of need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Glennon
Let’s start with No. 5. I’m going with quarterback here, although the need could be much higher or lower depending on what the new regime thinks of Mike Glennon. The early comments from the coaches about Glennon have been positive and I think that’s more than just lip service. There still is more evaluation to be done by the new staff, but I’m hearing there’s legitimate optimism that Glennon can be the starting quarterback.

If that’s the approach the Bucs take, it would free them up to address some other positions of greater need early in the draft and in free agency. If the Bucs somehow decide Glennon is not the answer or they’re uncertain about him, they’re going to have to use a high draft pick on a quarterback or sign one in free agency.

Even if the Bucs are content to go with Glennon, there is likely to be movement at quarterback. Last year’s backup, Dan Orlovsky, can become a free agent. Orlovsky can fill a role as a veteran mentor, but the Bucs might want someone to provide more competition for Glennon.

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.

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.

Overview: Quarterbacks

January, 15, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- We continue our series of position-by-position overviews with the quarterbacks.

Looking back: Things got very ugly between Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano early in the season. Freeman was benched after three games and released after four. That put rookie Mike Glennon in a less-than-ideal situation. But, given the circumstances, Glennon played about as well as could be expected. It didn’t help that the offensive line wasn’t playing well and injuries forced the Bucs to use backups at running back, wide receiver and tight end.

Looking ahead: The biggest decision the new coaching staff will make this offseason will be on Glennon. Is he the long-term answer? Should he be replaced or at least given competition for the starting job? That’s what coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford have to decide. My honest opinion is that Glennon did some good things in his rookie season and at least deserves a chance to compete for the job. If Smith and Tedford are sold on Glennon, they could bring back veteran backup Dan Orlovsky. If they’re not totally sold on Glennon, an upgrade in depth at this position is likely.

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.
TAMPA, Fla. -- There has been some talk among fans and in the media (including here) that rookie quarterback Mike Glennon might have “regressed" in the past three weeks.

Well, the person with perhaps the best view of Glennon disagrees very strongly. Veteran backup Dan Orlovsky said he’s seeing only progress out of Glennon.

“I think he’s had a really strong year," Orlovsky said. “We can get caught up very often in results, because it is a result-oriented business. But it’s so hard to play this position. It’s infinitely harder as a rookie. Not only is he learning how to be an adult off the field, he’s learning how to be an adult on the field, learning how to be an adult in the weight room, and learning an offense, and then running it against a professional defense. He’s handled it fantastically. Every week he challenges himself. It’s all a process with him."

[+] EnlargeMike Glennon
AP Photo/Reinhold MatayBucs rookie Mike Glennon has passed for 2,231 yards, with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.
Glennon might not have been at the top of his game against Buffalo or in the second half of the Carolina game.

“I sat down and expressed to him that that’s part of playing this position," Orlovsky said. “The great ones have a game or two where you have a bad stretch, and you just have to work through it and learn from it. When you have the four- or five-week stretch where you light it up, that can’t affect you either. There are no highs and no lows. His teammates were able to see him rebound with how he played against San Francisco."

For the record, Carolina has the league’s No. 2 defense, and San Francisco is No. 3. The results might have been more impressive against some lesser defenses early on, but Orlovsky said the experience against the Panthers and 49ers will only make Glennon a better quarterback.

For the season, Glennon has completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,231 yards with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. It should be noted that Glennon didn’t take over as the starter for Josh Freeman until Week 4, and he has been without injured receiver Mike Williams and injured running back Doug Martin for much of the season.

“Put his rookie year up against a lot of the good ones over the last four, five or six years, and he stacks up with them," Orlovsky said. “Think about what the last 18 months have been like for him. He was in college and then he’s in the NFL and, all of a sudden, he’s starting. That’s a lot of change. But he’s handled it all fantastically. I think his future is very bright. He’s done well already, and he’s only going to keep getting better."

Buccaneers add QB with a 'name'

October, 7, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added a quarterback with a famous last name Monday, signing Jordan Rodgers to their practice squad.

Rodgers is the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Jordan Rodgers spent part of the preseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being released.

Rodgers worked out for the Bucs in early September and left a good impression. After releasing Josh Freeman, the Bucs appear to be content to carry just two quarterbacks (Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky) on the 53-man roster.

“Good bloodlines, No. 1,’’ coach Greg Schiano said when asked about the signing of Rodgers. “His brother has done some things in this league. But he’s his own man. Since college, (general manager) Mark (Dominik) and I both have had our eye on him. There’s something about him. He’s a competitor. He’s not the biggest guy. He’s a fiery guy, who’s a baller. When we had him out at the workout, we weren’t ready to do anything, but he caught our eye. He fits in our building. He’s a ball guy, he loves it, he’s a grinder, likes to study, likes to be around football, likes to be around the locker room. As many of those guys as we can put in this building, the better we’ll be.’’

Rodgers, who played at Vanderbilt, already has ties to Glennon. The two were roommates during their pre-combine training in the Los Angeles area last winter.

Bucs need to stop the Freeman circus

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Greg Schiano isn’t a good dancer, so someone please stop the music.

The coach of the 0-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent a good chunk of his Monday doing his best not to directly answer questions about the status of former starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

[+] EnlargeJosh Freeman
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsDespite playing in three games this season, Josh Freeman was listed as inactive for Sunday's Week 4 game against Arizona.
"I’m not going to be na´ve," Schiano said. "There are a lot of factors involved. This is not high school football. It’s professional football. There are salaries and there are contracts and there are those things involved. What I do is I focus on the things that are going to help us win games."

What’s going on around One Buccaneer Place is a soap opera, and it has more of a high school than professional feel. Schiano and Freeman are involved in a standoff that needs to end now because it’s not doing the rest of the team any good.

The Bucs have plenty of other problems to work on as they go through a bye week. They need the couple that already has divorced internally to go ahead and officially separate.

No matter which side you came down on in the original benching of Freeman, it’s pretty clear he can’t be around this team anymore. Intentionally or not, he has become a distraction and the situation has become a circus.

The latest example came Monday afternoon when the locker room was open to the media. Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky, the team’s other two quarterbacks, appeared to come out of a meeting. Each of them went to their locker, grabbed some things and left.

A few minutes later, a team employee was seen gathering up a few items at Freeman’s locker. The employee walked into a hallway by the equipment room and handed the stuff to Freeman, who never entered the locker room.

If there’s any logic in the building, Freeman should never enter the locker room again. In an exclusive interview with ESPN last week, Freeman said he would like to be traded.

So trade the guy -- if you can. Minnesota and Tennessee look desperate for quarterback help, but are they desperate enough to take a shot on Freeman after watching what has happened the past few weeks? Is anybody going to get more desperate in the days before the Oct. 29 trade deadline?

Maybe and maybe not. If the Bucs want to wait to see if someone pushes the panic button and gives them a draft pick for Freeman, they should do what former coach Jon Gruden did to former receiver Keyshawn Johnson back in the day. They should send Freeman home, pay him to stay away and keep his rights.

Or there’s another option. The Bucs could go ahead and just release Freeman now. It would mean giving up on a former first-round draft pick and that never looks good.

But the Bucs already have given up on Freeman and the whole thing has been ugly. There’s no sense dragging this out any longer.

The Bucs need to stop the music.

Bucs should make Freeman No. 3 QB

September, 27, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- After announcing that rookie Mike Glennon will start at quarterback Sunday, Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said that Josh Freeman will take over the No. 2 role.

I’m not sure that’s really a good idea. For all intents and purposes, Freeman’s time in Tampa Bay is over. If they can find a taker, the Bucs gladly will trade Freeman for just about anything. No deal has happened yet and that’s why I think it would make more sense to make veteran Dan Orlovsky the No. 2 quarterback for the moment.

If Glennon gets injured, Orlovsky can take over. That makes more sense than handing things back to Freeman. The danger there is that Freeman could get hurt.

If Freeman gets injured, his trade value becomes zero.

Buccaneers should trade Josh Freeman

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Wednesday morning’s news that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to start rookie quarterback Mike Glennon on Sunday against Arizona effectively means Josh Freeman’s tenure is over.

You don’t make a move like that on a temporary basis. You make a move like that only when you’ve firmly decided that a guy who once looked like the franchise quarterback isn’t the answer. Glennon is coach Greg Schiano’s guy and Freeman is not.

The only way Freeman gets his job back is if Glennon gets hurt. Even then, the Bucs might turn to Dan Orlovsky over Freeman, who has been dismal in the first three games. This situation has been simmering for some time and it has become increasingly obvious that Schiano and Freeman aren’t on the same page.

You can choose which side to blame for this disastrous result. I put it more on the coach for trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, instead of letting Freeman play his game. But I think Freeman also deserves some of the blame because his play was so bad.

Freeman’s contract is up at the end of this season and there’s no way he’ll get a new deal in Tampa. The best thing the Bucs can do right now is try to trade Freeman for a draft pick. The Bucs would be doing themselves and Freeman a favor.

It’s the only way to get anything to show for what should have been a franchise quarterback.

Surveying the Buccaneers' roster

September, 1, 2013
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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
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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 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.

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