Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Solomon Patton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith hinted during the week that there could be some lineup changes, and he followed through.

Demar Dotson, who normally starts at right tackle, will start at left tackle Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Oniel Cousins will start at right tackle. Anthony Collins had been the starting left tackle most of the season, but he missed last week’s game with an elbow injury. Collins, who has not played well, appears to be a healthy scratch from the starting lineup and is listed as inactive Sunday.

The other inactives for Tampa Bay are receiver Robert Herron, receiver Solomon Patton, safety Major Wright, linebacker Mason Foster, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be without three starters and two key backups for Sunday’s game at Detroit.

Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (hamstring), left tackle Anthony Collins (elbow) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (back) all missed Friday’s practice and are listed as questionable. It’s the same story for backup running back/return man Bobby Rainey (ankle) and tight end Brandon Myers (calf).

“When guys don’t practice on a Friday, it’s not a good thing,’’ coach Lovie Smith said.

The Collins injury is the biggest concern. It would mark the second straight week the Bucs have been without a starting offensive lineman. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith missed last week’s game with an illness. Collins hasn’t had a great season, but his potential absence would leave the Bucs without their best bet to protect quarterback Josh McCown's blind side.

If McDonald can’t play, Akeem Spence would get his second straight start and Da'Quan Bowers would get time as a rotational player. If Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t play, Luke Stocker likely would be the starter.

Rainey did a nice job as the return man last week, but the Bucs signed Solomon Patton, who was with the team early in the season, as an option if Rainey can’t play.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said there would be changes coming out of the bye week and followed through on that statement.

The Bucs shook up their return game Tuesday, signing Trindon Holliday and releasing Solomon Patton. Holliday has appeared in 31 regular-season games and totaled 80 punt returns for 752 yards with two touchdowns and 49 kickoff returns for 1,327 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bucs promoted defensive end T.J. Fatinkun from the practice squad to the active roster. The Bucs also released defensive end Scott Solomon.

The team also signed linebacker Mister Alexander and receiver Marcus Thigpen to the practice squad. Linebacker Shayne Skov was released from the practice squad.

Who's returning for the Bucs?

September, 1, 2014
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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.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a series of roster moves Sunday, including the addition of an offensive lineman and six players signed to the practice squad.

The Bucs claimed offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. Gilkey appeared in six games with one start for the Browns last season. To make room for Gilkey, the Bucs waived offensive lineman Josh Allen.

The Bucs also started filling out their practice squad with some familiar faces. Tight end Cameron Brate, running back Jeff Demps, quarterback Mike Kafka, linebacker Brandon Magee, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo and wide receiver Solomon Patton were signed to the practice squad. All six of those players were with the Bucs in the preseason.

The Bucs still have four more spots to fill on the practice squad.
Most significant move: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a leap of faith when they released kicker Connor Barth and decided to go with Patrick Murray. Barth was a proven veteran. Murray is an unknown. But Murray had an excellent preseason to win the job. Barth didn’t look quite as sharp and didn’t seem to have as much distance as he did before missing all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. Barth also was scheduled to make more than $3 million this season. Murray will only cost the team $420,000.

Not so fast: A lot of people were under the assumption running back Jeff Demps would make the roster because the Bucs were so infatuated with his speed. But Demps was released Saturday. The former Olympic sprinter was given every opportunity as a running back and a return man, but he never was able to make things happen in space. Still, Demps has rare speed and the Bucs likely will try to get him signed to the practice squad, where he might be able to develop into something.

What’s next: The Bucs likely aren’t done with roster moves. They’re likely to bring in some players who were released elsewhere. Depth at linebacker, safety and on the offensive line still could be priorities.

Bucs’ cuts: Released WR Solomon Patton, RB Jeff Demps, QB Mike Kafka, DT Matthew Masifilo, DT Ronald Talley, K Connor Barth, TE Cameron Brate, DE Larry English, G Jamon Meredith, DB Marc Anthony, LB Nate Askew, T Edawn Coughman, CB Kip Edwards, DE T.J. Fatinikun, CB Anthony Gaitor, LB Ka'Lial Glaud, CB Keith Lewis, LB Brandon Magee, OL Andrew Miller, FB Lonnie Pryor, DL Ronald Talley, S Major Wright and OL Jeremiah Warren.
Most significant move: The team released Eric Page, who handled the return duties last year. This is a pretty clear sign that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go with undrafted rookie Solomon Patton as their primary return man. Page was reliable but unspectacular. Patton has the potential to be more explosive.

Surprise, surprise: Most fans thought wide receiver Tommy Streeter would make it to the final cut and maybe even make the roster. That's because Streeter had flashed promise early in camp and caught a touchdown pass in the first preseason game. But Streeter’s shot at a roster spot was doomed because he didn’t have the tools or experience to play regularly on special teams.

What’s next: The Bucs have to trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday afternoon.

Bucs' cuts: Released OT Matt Patchan, OT J.B. Shugarts, CB Deveron Carr, WR Tommy Streeter, LS Jeremy Cain, DT Euclid Cummings, G Jace Daniels, WR Skye Dawson, OL Jason Foster, DE Ryne Giddins, G R.J. Mattes, WR Eric Page, DE Chaz Sutton, QB Alex Tanney and FB Ian Thompson. Placed CB Danny Gorrer on injured reserve. Claimed CB Marc Anthony and G Jeremiah Warren off waivers.
TAMPA, Fla. -- If Solomon Patton ends up as the return man for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team might want to thank Urban Meyer.

Back when Meyer was the coach at the University of Florida, he delivered an important message when he was recruiting Patton.

"He was big on special teams," Patton said. "He was the one that told me about the importance of special teams. During the recruiting process they told me, 'You’re going to have to play special teams. A lot of people think they just come in and play their position. You start out playing special teams and you get your chance if you’re able to play that position that you want to play.'"

Patton eventually got his chance to play wide receiver, but he spent his first two college seasons working mostly on special teams. If Patton is going to earn a roster spot with the Bucs, he’s going to have to start off on special teams.

So far, it looks like Patton has a shot at sticking on the roster. He handled returns in last week’s preseason game with Miami. When the depth chart came out for this week’s game against Buffalo, Patton was listed as the first-team returner for punts and kickoffs.

"We’ve been taking a look at a lot of different guys, and the ones that made something happen get another look," coach Lovie Smith said. "It’s kind of simple as that with him. We plan on giving him a couple of looks this week on both returns -- kickoff and of course punts, too."
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. -- 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.

Buccaneers Camp Report: Day 2

July, 26, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:
  • The Bucs, who had their practice abbreviated by lightning Friday, got their first full workout of camp in Saturday evening and the results were predictable. There was good and bad. No series summarized that more than a couple of plays near the middle of practice. On one play, quarterback Josh McCown threw an interception to strong safety Mark Barron. On the next play, McCown bounced back and hit Vincent Jackson with a perfectly thrown ball. Coach Lovie Smith said he expects the team to be more precise when it puts on pads for the first time on Sunday.
  • Speaking of first practices, Saturday marked the true debut of rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He missed the offseason program due to NCAA regulations and was very limited in the rookie minicamp by a foot injury. But Seferian-Jenkins said his foot is fine now and he practiced with no limitations. After missing so much time, though, Seferian-Jenkins might be a little behind the other tight ends – Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Luke Stocker. “He’s playing catch-up,’’ Smith said. “But he’s catching up.’’
  • It’s usually tough to get players to talk about specific goals, but defensive end Michael Johnson broke that rule of thumb. Johnson set one goal for himself and one for the entire defense. He wants to get back to double-digit sacks like he had in 2012 with Cincinnati. He also said the Bucs want to have the best defense in the league. Those two goals kind of go hand in hand. There’s been a lot of talk about how defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David compare to Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, who were the cornerstones during Tampa Bay’s glory years. But a lot of people forget the Bucs didn’t fully get over the top until they got Simeon Rice as an outside rusher. If Johnson can make an impact anywhere close to what Rice did, the Bucs could end up being a very good defense.
  • I came into camp very skeptical about Tampa Bay’s depth at wide receiver after Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. But I’m starting to warm up to this position group. No one stood out, but guys like Tommy Streeter, Solomon Patton, Russell Shepard, Louis Murphy, Robert Herron, Lavelle Hawkins, Eric Page, Skye Dawson and David Gettis each had some bright moments. I think one of those guys will step up and claim the No. 3 job. That may be all the Bucs need because I’m not anticipating a lot of four-receiver sets from this offense.
  • Read into this whatever you want, but Jamon Meredith worked as the first-team left guard and Oniel Cousins worked at right guard. After the departure of Carl Nicks, I think the Bucs still are trying to figure out what they’re going to do at guard. I wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Omameh and rookie Kadeem Edwards get some looks with the first team.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a rookie quarterback after all.

After passing on quarterbacks throughout the draft, the team has signed Wyoming’s Brett Smith as an undrafted free agent. Smith will compete with Mike Kafka for the third quarterback spot behind Josh McCown and Mike Glennon

The other undrafted free agents signed by the Bucs include center Josh Allen (Louisiana-Monroe), linebacker Nate Askew (Texas A&M), wide receiver Aaron Burks (Boise State), defensive tackle Euclid Cummings (Georgia Tech), cornerback Keith Lewis (Virginia-Lynchburg), guard Andrew Miller (Virginia Tech), tackle Matt Patchan (Boston College), wide receiver Solomon Patton (Florida), defensive end Chaz Sutton (South Carolina) and safety Mycal Swaim (Eastern Michigan).

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