Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Crabtree

Bucs release TE Tom Crabtree

May, 17, 2014
May 17
TAMPA, Fla. -- At least for the moment, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reduced the crowd at tight end.

Veteran Tom Crabtree was released Saturday, coach Lovie Smith said.

“We have some numbers at tight end and it wasn’t looking really good for him,’’ Smith said. “Whenever I see that maybe it’s not going to work out for a veteran, I try to give him an opportunity to get on with someone else. That was the case with Tom. He’s a good football player and he’s played some good ball in the league.’’

Crabtree was signed as a free agent from Green Bay last year and the hope was he could be an all-around tight end. But injuries prevented Crabtree from making much of an impact.

The Bucs knew they had to get better at tight end and that’s why they used a second-round draft pick this year on Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The Bucs also have Tim Wright, Brandon Myers and Luke Stocker at tight end and that made Crabtree expendable.

But the Bucs still could add another tight end to fill Crabtree’s roster spot. Taylor Sloat and Jamel Johnson are trying out during this weekend’s rookie camp.
On Wednesday, we talked about running back being one of the most crowded positions on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster.

Now, it's time for a look at another position that suddenly is overflowing with depth. That's tight end.

After using a second-round pick on Austin Seferian-Jenkins, tight end suddenly is one of the deepest positions on the roster. That's a good thing because it was one of the thinnest spots on the roster last year.

Seferian-Jenkins is an all-around tight end with the ability to help as a runner or a blocker. His draft status probably means he'll be the starter. The Bucs also have Tim Wright, Brandon Myers, Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree.

How does the depth chart line up after Seferian-Jenkins? Teams usually carry three tight ends and that means there will be two odd men out. Things will sort themselves out in training camp and the preseason.

But, right now, I'd say Myers and Wright are likely to stay on the roster while Crabtree and Stocker could be expendable. The Bucs paid decent money to sign Myers as a free agent and Wright caught 54 passes last year as a rookie.

The previous regime had high hopes for Stocker and Crabtree, but those two were dealing with injuries last year and barely made an impact. If Stocker and Crabtree are going to have any chance of making the roster, they'll need to make strong impressions in training camp and the preseason.
There’s an old saying that you can’t judge a draft for at least two years. I think that’s fair.

But we live in a time when immediacy is expected. With that in mind, how do we put an early gauge on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ draft class?

I say the best way to do it is to look to see how many draft picks – at the moment – will be starters on opening day. I’m speculating here, but I’ll say the Bucs got two opening-day starters out of this draft.

I think the first two draft picks, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, will be in the starting lineup in September. Evans is a very safe bet to be there because the Bucs have no other real threats to win the starting position opposite Vincent Jackson. Evans is a plug-and-play starter and I think he’s got a very good chance to be productive with opposing defenses also having to deal with Jackson.

I also think Seferian-Jenkins will be an instant starter, even though he’s going to have a little more competition than Evans. The Bucs already had Tim Wright, Tom Crabtree, Brandon Myers and Luke Stocker. All four of those tight ends have some positive qualities, but Seferian-Jenkins has the potential to be the most complete player of the bunch.

I don’t want to sell the rest of Tampa Bay’s draft class short. The other four rookies all could end up as starters eventually. But I think running back Charles Sims, guard Kadeem Edwards, tackle Kevin Pamphile and receiver Robert Herron will be backups as rookies.
The next stop on our pre-draft position-by-position look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tight end.

Where things stand: There’s quantity here, but it remains to be seen if there’s quality. Tim Wright, Brandon Myers, Tom Crabtree and Luke Stocker each has some positive attributes. But Wright’s not a top-notch blocker and there are durability concerns with Crabtree and Stocker. The Bucs can play mix and match with this bunch, but there’s not a true all-purpose tight end on the roster.

What to watch for: There are greater needs that probably will be addressed early in the draft. But the Bucs could look to add one more candidate to the tight end mix in the middle or later rounds.
We’ve talked about wide receiver, quarterback and offensive line as areas the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could address with the seventh overall pick in the NFL draft.

I still think one of those areas will be addressed in the first round and the other areas could be addressed early in the draft. But the Bucs have six draft picks (and the number could grow if they trade down) and, in the later rounds, they might be addressing some other areas that aren’t getting a lot of attention.

Let’s take a look at five under-the-radar needs.

Tight end: The Bucs have Brandon Myers, Tim Wright, Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree. Each of those guys has a strength, and the Bucs could take a committee approach at this position if they keep the status quo. But it sure would be nice to find a tight end that can do it all.

Fullback: I get the sense that this position isn’t going to be overly important in coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offensive system. But there still will be situations where the fullback is used as a lead blocker. At the moment, the Bucs have only journeymen at fullback.

Strongside linebacker: Jonathan Casillas is ticketed as the starter here. But it wouldn’t hurt to bring in a little competition.

Defensive line: This unit already has the potential to be a strength, but the Bucs might not be done assembling depth. Coach Lovie Smith has a deep appreciation for defensive linemen and he could use some more talent to fill out his rotation.

Return man: Eric Page was the main return man last season and could end up in that job again. The Bucs also are expected to take a look at former Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps in this role. But if the Bucs see a dynamic return man in the draft, they could take him.

Bucs are light on incentives

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
In the NFL, “voluntary workouts’’ often are a misnomer.

In many cases, players have large incentive clauses written into their contract to make sure players attend offseason workouts. It’s not unusual for a team to pay millions of dollars in workout bonuses. The bonuses generally require players to attend the bulk of offseason workouts.

But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are an exception. In their case, only a small handful of players have workout bonuses. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy leads the way with a $300,000 workout bonus. Linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Dane Fletcher each have a $100,000 bonus and tight end Tom Crabtree has a $25,000 bonus. Those are all the workout bonuses for this year.

The Bucs are unique because former general manager Mark Dominik largely avoided signing bonuses and workout bonuses, instead preferring to lump everything into base salary. New general manager Jason Licht has followed a similar approach.

But the lack of incentive isn’t preventing the Bucs from working out. Every player on the roster was present for last week’s minicamp, although some weren’t able to take part in drills due to injuries.
We continue our look at the Buccaneers’ five biggest offseason needs with the tight ends at No. 3.

Even before injuries set in last season, this was not a position of strength. Although the Bucs reportedly would have strongly considered drafting a tight end in the first round if they hadn’t traded that pick away for Darrelle Revis, the Bucs didn’t end up making any major moves at this position.

They went into the preseason expecting to split playing time between Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree. But both of them quickly got injured. So did Nate Byham. Crabtree made a brief comeback around midseason, but got hurt again.

All the injuries forced the Bucs to give extensive playing time to Tim Wright, an undrafted free agent who played wide receiver in college. Wright turned out to be a pleasant surprise, catching 54 passes. But Wright was limited as a blocker.

The Bucs have to upgrade this position to bring balance to their offense. Wright still has plenty of untapped upside, but the Bucs need to bring in an all-purpose tight end through the draft or free agency.

Looking at playing time: Offense

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
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: Tight ends

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
TAMPA, Fla. -- Let’s continue our position-by-position overview with the tight ends.

Looking back: The 2013 season wasn’t kind to Tampa Bay tight ends. Luke Stocker, Nate Byham and Tom Crabtree all ended up on injured reserve. Rookie Tim Wright, a converted wide receiver, was a bright spot. Wright showed lots of potential as a receiver.

Looking ahead: Even with the injured guys back, this isn’t a position of strength for the Bucs. Wright’s the only tight end on the roster who looks like a pass-catcher and he’s not much of a blocker. It remains to be seen how the tight ends will be used in new coordinator Jeff Tedford's offense. But it's clear that the Bucs need to upgrade the overall talent level at this position.
Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final power ranking: 27
Preseason power ranking: 22

Biggest surprise: Tim Wright came to training camp as an undrafted wide receiver from Rutgers. He ended up as the starting tight end. That happened because a series of injuries left the Bucs in desperation mode at this position. But let’s give Wright some credit for quickly emerging as a legitimate threat in the passing game. He still has room for improvement as a blocker, but the Bucs might have found something special in Wright.

 Biggest disappointment: Entering the season, the Bucs thought this would be the year that Josh Freeman firmly established himself as a franchise quarterback. That didn’t come close to happening. Freeman was late for several team functions and that put him on coach Greg Schiano’s bad side. It didn’t help as Freeman struggled in the first three games. The Bucs turned to rookie Mike Glennon and eventually released Freeman.

Biggest need: The front office and coaching staff made a conscious decision to let defensive end Michael Bennett, who led the team in sacks in 2012, walk as a free agent. The thinking was that Da'Quan Bowers was ready to emerge as a pass-rushing force. But Bowers never emerged and Tampa Bay’s pass rush wasn’t very good. Rookie William Gholston showed some promise as the season went on, but the Bucs still need to upgrade the pass rush in the offseason.

Team MVP: There really are only two candidates -- defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David. McCoy was outstanding, but I’m giving the nod to David. In his second season, David developed a knack for making big plays. People compared him to Derrick Brooks as soon as he was drafted by Tampa Bay. I thought that was a little premature, but I’m starting to think David can be the second coming of Brooks.


Buccaneers add blocking tight end

November, 27, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Buccaneers signed a player Wednesday morning who probably will get some instant playing time.

After placing tight end Tom Crabtree on injured reserve, the Bucs signed tight end Kyle Adams. With Tim Wright as the only other tight end on the roster, Adams is likely to get use as a blocker. Wright, a converted wide receiver, isn't known for his blocking.

Adams has the size (6-foot-4 and 255 pounds) to be an effective blocker. Adams entered the league as a free agent with the Chicago Bears. In three seasons, Adams played in 24 games and has four career receptions.

Playing time for the Buccaneers

November, 26, 2013
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:


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


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

Bucs awaiting word on Darrelle Revis

November, 25, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still don’t know how serious Darrelle Revis' groin injury is.

Coach Greg Schiano said Monday that Revis was having an MRI and the team was waiting to hear the results. Revis suffered the injury near the end of the first half of Sunday’s 24-21 victory against the Detroit Lions and missed the entire second half.

Rookie Johnthan Banks stepped into Revis’ role covering Calvin Johnson and kept the Detroit receiver in check.

In other injury news, Schiano said that tight end Tom Crabtree suffered a torn biceps and will be placed on injured reserve. That means the Bucs will have to add a tight end because Tim Wright currently is the only healthy tight end on the roster.

Schiano also said he’s hopeful that middle linebacker Mason Foster, who missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, will be cleared to return to practice this week.

TAMPA, Fla. -- When the season started, there was some talk that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could contend for a playoff spot.

After all, they added all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis and Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson in the offseason. The Bucs were the first ones to point to the fact they had eight guys on their roster who have been to Pro Bowls.

But, as it turns out, none of that’s mattered. The Bucs are 0-8 and their midseason grades are as dismal as their record: