Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Robert Griffin III Notes: Wednesday

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who first reported last night that Washington would be making a quarterback change, head coach Jay Gruden informed his team this morning that Colt McCoy will start this Sunday instead of Robert Griffin III (Twitter link). In his initial report, Schefter suggested that the former second overall pick remains a “significant” part of Washington’s long-term plan, but it’s hard to imagine things turning around for RGIII and the club at this point. Here are today’s updates on Griffin:

  • Jason Reid of the Washington Post (Twitter link) calls any talk of Griffin being part of the team’s long-term plans “nonsense,” suggesting that club sources are merely trying to boost the signal-caller’s trade value.
  • The consensus among decision-makers who spoke to Albert Breer about RGIII’s trade value is that he’d be worth a mid-round pick — something like a third-rounder, plus change. One AFC executive told Breer that Washington would perhaps ask for a second-rounder and settle for a third or maybe a fourth. Another GM offered the following analogy: “He’s a car that’s been driven off the lot. Also, the dynamics of his contract drive price down at this stage” (all Twitter links).
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap and Bill Barnwell of Grantland each explore what’s next for Griffin, with Barnwell suggesting 10 potential suitors for the 24-year-old if and when Washington shops him in trade discussions. The 10 clubs identified by Barnwell are the Rams, Bills, Eagles, Buccaneers, Jets, Raiders, 49ers, Cardinals, Texans, and Titans.
  • While some Washington players feel bad for RGIII and others agree it was time for a change, the most common comment around the locker room is “this is a circus,” says Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington (Twitter link).
  • Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com takes a look at how Washington’s cap would be affected if the team keeps, trades, or cuts the third-year quarterback.

NFC Notes: Holliday, 49ers, Vikings

While much has been made of the NFC’s miserable South division, the race to the postseason is heating up in the East, North, and West, and all three divisions will be on display during this week’s Thanksgiving games — the winner of the Eagles/Cowboys contest will take over first place in the East, while the Seahawks/49ers winner will gain an advantage in the Wild Card race. Meanwhile, the Lions have lost their last two games and their hold on the NFC North, and will have an uphill battle for a Wild Card berth if they’re upset at home by the Bears.

As we look forward to what should be an entertaining slate of Thursday games, let’s check in on the latest out of the NFC….

  • Having already been cut this year by the Giants and Buccaneers, return specialist Trindon Holliday is looking for a new home, and worked out this week for the 49ers, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). San Francisco also auditioned running back David Fluellen, who was cut by the Colts prior to the regular season.
  • While head coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t viewed as likely to return to the 49ers next season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick told reporters today he believes Harbaugh will continue on with the team beyond 2014. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the details.
  • After seeing starting right tackle Phil Loadholt go down for the season with a pectoral injury, the Vikings worked out veteran tackles Eric Winston and J’Marcus Webb, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.
  • Sam Bradford of the Rams, Steven Jackson of the Falcons, and Dashon Goldson of the Buccaneers are among the high-priced veterans who could become cap casualties in the offseason, writes Yates in an Insider-only ESPN.com piece.
  • Bradford and Goldson earn spots on a similar list from Joel Corry of CBSSports.com, who also identifies Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks and Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals as stars who could be released by their respective teams.
  • Running back Kapri Bibbs will ultimately end up sticking with the Broncos’ practice squad after being waived by the team over the weekend, but he did work out for the Cardinals today, as Troy Renck of the Denver Post details.

Bucs Sign Two TEs, Cut Marcus Thigpen

The Buccaneers have announced a series of transactions today, making multiple changes to both their 53-man roster and their practice squad, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com. In a series of Twitter links, Smith reports the following moves:

Added to 53-man roster:

Waived:

Placed on injured reserve:

Added to practice squad:

Released from practice squad:

It’s no surprise that Thigpen and Lane were removed from the 53-man roster, considering Thigpen has muffed multiple punts in recent weeks, and Lane is out for the season with a leg injury. It’s interesting though that the team added a pair of tight ends to the roster to replace the departed players — that suggests that the club may rely on an in-house option to return kicks, and that perhaps one of the tight ends will play fullback, if necessary.

Jorvorskie Lane Out For Season

Fullback Jorvorskie Lane will undergo surgery on his right leg, ending his 2014 season prematurely, according to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune (on Twitter). Lane is the only true fullback on the Bucs’ roster so we could see a corresponding move shortly.

Lane was hit with a two-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances last month. He only just returned to the Bucs’ active roster on November 3rd, so he really hasn’t had much of a season. Backup tight end Luke Stocker filled in at fullback after Lane’s injury and has played the position in the past, but Tampa Bay might look to sign a true fullback.

Extra Points: Griffin, Glennon, DEA

Robert Griffin III has struggled since returning from injury this season, and Washington’s head coach Jay Gruden has the power to bench the former first-round pick, writes Conor Orr of NFL.com. In the past, Griffin had been protected by ownership, but patience could be running thin within the organization.

Here are some other notes from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of quarterbacks getting benched, Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times argues that the Buccaneers need to return Josh McCown to the sidelines. McCown is not playing well, and although Mike Glennon has failed to perform well either, the young quarterback at least deserves a chance to prove himself as the team’s starter.
  • The DEA has continued its investigation of NFL medical staffs this week, focusing on the alleged mishandling of prescription drugs, writes Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Although the investigation is ongoing, there will likely not be any more post-game searches.
  • San Antonio is a long shot to obtain the Raiders from Oakland, but they will still attempt to lure an NFL franchise to their city, writes Tom Orsborn of ExpressNews.com.“I’ve seen stranger things happen when parties stay in the game. If staying in the game is a low-cost option, I wouldn’t walk away if I were San Antonio,” said Marc Ganis, a league consultant and president of SportsCorp. “Now, that doesn’t mean I’d pour lots of resources into it, or raise people’s hopes dramatically. But I certainly wouldn’t walk away, because you never know what happens in these things. These things can turn in odd ways.”
  • We have looked at top head coaching candidates a number of times so far this season, and will do so again as Adam Caplan of ESPN compiles a comprehensive list of assistant coaches who will be sought after for interviews this offseason (subscription required). At the top of his list are Patriots‘ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seahawks‘ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Cardinals‘ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Caplan also highlights Baylor’s Art Briles, Stanford’s David Shaw, and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn as college coaches who could make the jump to the NFL.

NFC North Notes: Cobb, Packers, Bears

The latest from the NFC North..

  • The Packers are expected to keep the duo of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb together, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Still, with $14.25MM already committed to Nelson this season, GM Ted Thompson has to figure out how to keep Cobb in the fold as well. Cobb is in the final season of his rookie extension and Green Bay has other needs to take care of with their projected $8.8MM in cap space. The feeling around the league is that there’s no way the Packers would let him hit free agency next March. “It will get done,” said an NFL personnel executive. “He’s a Ted guy.”
  • Lovie Smith is preaching a different defense with the Buccaneers, and the Bears have taken notice, writes CSNChicago.com’s John Mullin. “They’ve played a lot of man-to-man coverage, more than you’d think,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “You look at where they’ve been defensively, and they’re moving man-to-man coverage significantly.
  • More from Mullin, who wonders if the newly-signed Marc Mariani is the key to the Bears turning their return game around. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis spoke highly of Mariani’s “returner mechanics” and attributed that to the tutelage of former coach Jeff Fisher. Mariani went to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a member of the Titans.

Extra Points: Peterson, Vick, Cribbs, McCown

Ahead of the Buccaneers‘ showdown with the Bears, coach Lovie Smith says that he’s focused on turning things around in Tampa Bay, not on reuniting with his old friends from Chicago, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Still, Smith has fond memories of his time with the Bears and he doesn’t harbor any ill-will towards them. “My memories of my time are in Chicago are all great. I have lifetime friends from Chicago. I don’t have many bad memories on any place I have ever been. We won a lot of games. That is what I remember. And the fans there were awesome when we were winning all those games,” said the coach. More from around the league..

  • Jets quarterback Michael Vick has plenty of football left in him, writes NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling. “I would love to play again, at least get it out of my system for two more years,” Vick said, via NFL Media’s Kimberly Jones. “Because I know I got it in me.”
  • If Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has learned from his mistakes, he’s sure not showing it, writes Christine Brennan of USA Today. If the goal the past week was to get back on the field as soon as possible, blowing off a meeting with the NFL commissioner was not the way to do it, no matter what the players’ union was whispering in his ear, Brennan writes. Peterson’s appeal is set to take place on December 2nd, but it sounds like a longshot to say the least.
  • Josh Cribbs‘ deal with the Colts is a two-year pact, according to Mike Chappell of the Indy Star (on Twitter). The 31-year-old has made a name for himself in the NFL as a kick return specialist.
  • Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune looked back at Josh McCown‘s journey from last year to this year. McCown emerged as a very capable fill-in for the Bears last season when Jay Cutler went down. Over the offseason, he joined up with the Bucs and despite some hiccups, he is coming off of a very solid road win over Washington.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

We’ll round up today’s practice squad signings and cuts in this space, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day….

  • The Packers have filled the lone opening on their practice squad by signing guard Rishaw Johnson, the team announced today. Johnson previously spent time this season on the Buccaneers’ active roster and the Cowboys’ practice squad.

Earlier updates:

  • The Steelers, who cut LeGarrette Blount and promoted running back Josh Harris to their roster yesterday, have added another back to the practice squad to replace Harris. LaDarius Perkins, an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State who spent the summer with the Packers, is the newest member of the taxi squad, per Burt Lauten (via Twitter).
  • Defensive end George Uko, who spent three weeks on the Buccaneers‘ practice squad earlier this year, has been re-signed to the unit, the team announced today in a press release. Tampa Bay cut punter Jacob Schum to make room for Uko.
  • After cutting him earlier this week to accommodate the activation of guard Geoff Schwartz, the Giants have re-signed linebacker Justin Anderson to their practice squad, tweets Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.

Minor Moves: Monday

Here are Monday’s minor transactions, including practice squad signings and cuts, from around the NFL:

  • The Ravens have replaced one tight end with another on their practice squad, signing Allen Reisner and cutting Emmanuel Ogbuehi, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Reisner had been on the open market since being dropped from the Patriots’ practice squad back in September.
  • Joe Flacco‘s younger brother Michael Flacco has been released from the Jaguars‘ taxi squad, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter). Flacco had been with the unit for a little over a month.
  • Washington announced a change to its practice squad today, tweeting that the club has released wideout Rashad Ross and replaced him with offensive tackle Michael Huey.
  • Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link) reports that the Buccaneers have cut wideout and return man Trindon Holliday from their injured reserve list. Holliday appeared in just one game for the team last month before being placed on IR with a hamstring injury.

Buccaneers Likely To Make Offseason Trades

The Buccaneers were one of the most oft-mentioned teams preceding the trade deadline last month, and although they did end up making two deals – shipping Mark Barron to the Rams and Jonathan Casillas to the Patriots – Tampa retained many of the players who were rumored to be on the trading block. The club isn’t finished reworking its roster, however, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that the Bucs will shop Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, and Dashon Goldson during the offseason.

Jackson seemed to be the likeliest candidate to be traded before the deadline; while his production has waned this season, an acquiring team could have easily released him after the season if he didn’t improve. The Eagles were reportedly interested in trading for the veteran receiver, but wouldn’t meet Tampa Bay’s asking price of a second-round pick. With pass-catcher Mike Evans showing that he can be the focal point of a passing attack, it makes sense that the Bucs would want to get out from under Jackson’s contract while at the same time recouping some value.

Martin has been injured and/or ineffective since his excellent rookie season, but because he still offers potential, and is playing on a cheap rookie contract, teams like the Patriots were interested in acquiring him before the deadline. The Buccaneers drafted fellow running back Charles Sims in the third round of this year’s draft, and with Bobby Rainey also proving himself as a competent ball-carrier, the club could view Martin as expendable.

Goldson will be almost impossible to move; given his subpar level of play and his enormous contract, the Bucs would be likely to receive a conditional seventh-round pick in exchange for the veteran safety. He’s due a $7.5MM base salary in 2015 ($3MM of which is guaranteed), and he’s graded as the third-worst safety in the league among 85 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Pat Yasinkas of ESPN.com recently concluded that it was unlikely that Goldson would return to Tampa next season, and while I agree, it’s far more likely that he’s released than traded.

In the same piece, La Canfora reports that the Buccaneers are likely to bring in a new offensive coordinator next season. Jeff Tedford, who had never before called plays at the NFL level, was slated to act as Tampa Bay’s OC, but health concerns have caused him to sit out the entire season. Quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has taken over play-calling duties, but La Canfora says the offensive staff has been “undermanned and scrambling,” and they’re unsurprisingly 31st in offensive DVOA.