Battle Royale: The Fight For a Roster Spot


The Buccaneers are gearing up for their second preseason game which means we have some serious cuts ahead of us. Greg Schiano and company are going to have to start trimming the fat off the roster, toning up the final 53-man and all the other cliches. But this is a team that is largely unchanged in terms of core pieces from last year which means, with the new additions made in the offseason, there are some familiar names that are going be out of a job in Tampa. Let’s take a quick look at some position battles that are going to end with someone out of a job.

SS Larry Asante vs. Cody Grimm

This is one is a headliner, so to speak. Both are names we’ve heard in the past but only one is going to stick around. Grimm sort of made a name in 2010 but barely. Asante has been kicked around the safety rotation as well but not very impressively. Neither will be starters in Greg Schiano’s defense since rookie Mark Barron and veteran Ronde Barber will hold down the roles. But it’s always nice to have a semi-solid backup with knowledge of the defense. It’s possible that both could end up on the roster, but that’s true for all these position battles and not everyone is going to end up with both players surviving the cut.

Projected Winner: Cody Grimm

RB Mossis Madu vs. Michael Smith

Neither of these backs have really proven themselves up to this point, and we’ve only really seen Madu in a game situation since he filled in when the going got thin last year at running back. It’s really two guys for one spot when it comes to this battle because the only running back slot available is the third spot on the depth chart. Madu adds speed to the team but he won’t ever really be used with the revolving door of Blount and Martin. Smith isn’t that much better of an option when it comes to a third string back and both look pretty irrelevant on special teams. It’ll come down to the wire on this one: Madu has speed and is famliar with the team, Smith is a draft pick and with Schiano, everyone is as familiar with this team as Smith is. Some are saying both can make the roster but given the offensive weapons already here, only one back will make the cut. Especially when the others special team role can be given to someone who can make an impact.

Projected Winner: Mossis Madu

WR Ed Grant vs. Sammie Stroughter

Stroughter is really down on his luck. He came into last season the slot receiver but thanks to an injury, Preston Parker took over and stole the job away from him. Ed Grant is in a similar position; he was a favorite heading into camp last season but he fell off the map a bit. This is a battle where only one guy, if either, make the roster. The Bucs already have a full house at wide receiver and honestly, neither of these guys have done anything to warrant the Bucs creating a sixth slot. Grant is likely going to get cut and it could come as soon as after the Titans game, and Stroughter may stick around until the last round of cuts. But with Jackson, Williams, Parker, Underwood and Benn on the depth chart,  don’t rush out to buy a jersey of either of these guys any time soon.

Projected Winner: Both will be cut.

LB Najee Goode vs. Jacob Cutrera vs. Rennie Curran

We have our first three-way of training camp. It’s obvious that five linebackers will make the team, but as states, it’s anyones guess after that. That’s not good news for Najee Goode, Jacob Cutrera and Rennie Curran. The first to get cut will likely be Curran who’s disappeared since camp started and Goode hasn’t been much better. Goode was a draft pick so obviously that’s a bonus for him, but past that (which by the way isn’t enough to earn a roster spot) he hasn’t done anything to convince Schiano and company he deserves a spot. The only guy who’s been worthy is Cutrera but even he’s been barely noticeable. But at least he’s had his name called a few times in game situations like the first preseason game. Like the battle at wide receiver, the Bucs wouldn’t be crippled if all three guys got the boot.

Projected Winner: Jacob Cutrera

CB Myron Lewis vs. Keith Tandy vs.  Leonard Johnson

Here’s another interesting three-way going on at camp, one that is most likely to end up with all three combatants on the roster. The depth at cornerback is dangerously close to the situation that Bucs had at running back last year. Leonard Johnson was an undrafted free agent pickup out of Iowa State an he can be a nice asset in terms of depth, but he hasn’t done much so far to prove that statement has any truth to it. Myron Lewis has had the best preseason of all three of these guys, despite a poor preseason game. But Tandy and Johnson could catch a break of Lewis converted to a safety, which is a real possibility. If he’s not, it’s still possible that all three make the team, but don’t bet on it. There’s really only two cornerback slots available and it’s highly likely that Lewis and Johnson make the cut.

Projected Winners: Myron Lewis and Leonard Johnson