Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
With free agency long gone, and the draft now in the rear view mirror, the roster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is starting to take shape.
There will a few minor tweaks here and there as teams cut and sign players heading into September after the pre-season concludes, but for the most part, the roster for 2014 will be as it stands.
With that in mind, now would be a good time to analyze the depth the Bucs have at every position. I will also list players as I think they will appear on the depth chart.
We will start with all the offensive positions first and then defense will follow over the coming weeks.
First up, quarterbacks.
The Bucs have four quarterbacks on the roster right now: Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Mike Kafka, and Brett Smith. Glennon is considered the future at quarterback for the Bucs yet he will sit behind McCown, for now at least. Kafka and Smith are battling for the third string quarterback position. Overall, the Bucs have good depth at quarterback, but questions still linger over the long time outlook of the position.
1. Josh McCown
New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith has already made it clear that the newly signed McCown is his starter heading into 2014. The 34-year-old was hand picked by Smith and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford to run the new, revamped Bucs offense. However, McCown has only had one good season as a journeyman quarterback, which came last year. Yet, if he can be as consistent as he was in 2013 for the Bears (13 TD’s, 1 INT 66.5% comp), he will be a more than adequate stop-gap starter for the Bucs — McCown is not the future of the Bucs at quarterback.
2. Mike Glennon
This is where the “quarterback of the future” lies, as Smith so eloquently put it recently. Glennon played very well as a rookie last season (19 TD’s, 9 INT in 13 games), but he is going to be taking a back seat in his sophomore year as he will sit behind McCown. It’s an unusual approach to bench a player who had a great rookie season for a journeyman quarterback, but Smith still strongly believes in what Glennon can do. The Bucs rebuffed all trade offers for the former NC State quarterback during the draft because they truly believe he is their guy moving forward. How much action he sees in 2014 is unclear, but the Bucs believe in his talent enough to declare him as the “quarterback of the future.” (For the record, I would rather see Glennon start over McCown in 2014).
3. Brett Smith
The Bucs signed Smith as an UDFA after the draft concluded. He reportedly struggled in his first day at rookie minicamp, but was near perfect the following day. The upside for Smith is interesting — he can make plays with both his arm and legs and he is still only 21. He had an outstanding career at Wyoming (96 total TD’s in three seasons) so there are a lot of positives to work with moving forward. Smith will be on a Bucs roster one way or another this year as they keep track of his progress but whether that is the 53-man roster or the practice squad remains to be seen.
4. Mike Kafka
Kafka has been in the league three years now and has only attempted 16 passes in his career, all of which came in 2011 with the Eagles. The ceiling for Kafka moving forward isn’t high as it’s known what he can do already. (The answer isn’t much). There’s little to no chance he’ll get playing time in 2014 (pre-season aside) and there is also a possibility he could be cut if the Bucs decide to roll with three (or even two) quarterbacks in 2014. For now though, he provides nothing but depth at quarterback as the pre-season approaches.