Bucs Positioning For Training Camp
By Dave Ford
The clock is now ticking down to the start of NFL training camps across the league and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no exception. With 90 strong currently on the roster, second-year head coach Greg Schiano will have his work cut out for him when he and his staff take the field in nearly four weeks to begin the painstaking "weeding out" process.
In stark contrast to last year, the Bucs are slated to carry four quarterbacks into training camp, including incumbent starter Josh Freeman, Dan Orlovsky, Adam Weber (practice squad) and 2013 third-round draft pick Mike Glennon out of North Carolina State. All signs currently point to Schiano keeping three quarterbacks on the eventual final 53-man roster.
Also in the backfield, Tampa Bay will most likely field seven players at the running back position heading into late July, including recent rookie addition Matt Brown from Temple University. Former University of Florida standout Jeff Demps will not only get a good look from the backfield perspective, but mainly as a possible return-game option if he indeed makes the final roster. It goes without saying that second-year lead back Doug Martin will enter training camp as the No. 1 option in the ground game once again while Brian Leonard and rookie draft pick Mike James could possibly get some looks as a serviceable third-down back.
At wide receiver, the Bucs on paper look to be in good shape entering this year’s training camp. With Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as the team’s top options in the passing attack, recent addition Derek Hagan along with Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood will challenge Schiano to come up with a solid rotation at the wideout spot.
And flipping to the defensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay will enter 2013 without Ronde Barber holding down the secondary for the first time in 17 years. But strengthening the defensive backfield was arguably the team’s top priority following the 2012 season, and the trade for All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and the drafting of Johnthan Banks out of Mississippi State will certainly help the Bucs strive for that goal.
More news and notes surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will appear in the coming weeks leading up to the start of training camp in late July.