Buccaneers Drop 15, Only 22 To Go

Every year one of the difficulties faced by teams going towards the regular season is the issue of roster cuts. Few coaches enjoy the process of breaking the news to someone that they’ve lost their job, but it’s a necessary evil. The Buccaneers knocked 15 off the roster to bring it down to the league-mandated total of 75.

We all know that there are men trying to provide for families underneath the numbers, but those men have to perform in order for the business of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to succeed as a team. Let’s look at those who didn’t make the cut in the last few days and what it means.

Who didn’t make it?

  • Rookie Running Back Dominique Brown
  • Rookie Fullback Joey Iosefa
  • Rookie Defensive Tackle Quayshawne Buckley
  • Rookie Offensive Lineman Antoine Everett
  • Rookie Long-Snapper Brandon Hartson**
  • Rookie Safety Kimario McFadden
  • Rookie Punter Karl Schmitz
  • Rookie Cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz
  • Rookie Defensive End George Uko**
  • Rookie Defensive End Jamal Young
  • Second Year Guard Josh Allen
  • Second Year Wide Receiver Robert Herron
  • Third Year Defensive Tackle Akeem Spence*
  • Fourth Year Cornerback Leonard Johnson
  • Eleventh Year Punter Michael Koenen

* – Placed on Injured Reserve/PUP due to back injury
** – Entered a draft prior to 2015 but have not yet made an NFL roster

When an offensive line is as bad as Tampa Bay’s and someone doesn’t even make the roster for that horrendous unit, it makes you wonder just how bad they are. That’s the case for Josh Allen and Antoine Everett, who couldn’t make enough of an impact to hold on. Several of the rookies that were cut have the potential of making other practice squads, but they’ve got an uphill battle having not found a home at this point in the season.

There were some raised eyebrows at the release of seventh-round draft pick Joey Iosefa, but it’s a reminder that, especially for the later rounds, being drafted proves nothing. You have to perform to make the roster. The selection at the time makes sense based on Jorvorski Lane having gone down in 2014 due to injury, but that was April. Now, in September, it’s clear that Lane has things under control. Quick note that Akeem Spence was not technically cut, but placed on IR due to his injury.

Remember that a player getting cut doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll never start in the NFL or weren’t good to begin with. It’s a simple formula. When the coaches look at the best options for that exact moment, they work with what they have. These rookies couldn’t find roles, and the same goes for Robert Herron. While Herron has one extra year under his belt, he continued to prove himself unable to catch and not dynamic enough on special teams to stay with the Bucs.

Leonard Johnson has had his moments in the past, but he just wasn’t able to hang on with the competition Tampa has. If you can’t work successfully in Lovie’s defense, there’s no place for you on this roster. As for Michael Koenen, his struggles are well documented. Unable to prove himself in recent games, the Buccaneers finally washed their hands of the veteran with over a decade in the league. If you don’t perform, you don’t get paid. Plain and simple.

These cuts tend to be less surprising, but remember that the team still has to get down to a 53-man roster. That means that 22 of those still left won’t make it to the game against Tennessee. While you won’t see much of the starters, the final game of the preseason is where the men who are still trying to earn their spots get their chance. Whether they’re going to prove their worth at their position or on special teams, young men will be putting everything they have on the field to keep their job.