Newcomers Try to Shake Up Depth Chart

Amidst penalties and a host of missed blocking assignments by teammates running back <!--Default NodeId For Thomas Jones is 788001,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:788001]>Thomas Jones</A> put himself in a position to take the starting job away from <!--Default NodeId For Michael Pittman is 792065,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:792065]>Michael Pittman</A>.

Jones looked hungry Monday night rushing for 47 yards on 9 carries to lead all rushers. Chris Simms managed to go 10 of 13 with 2 touchdowns despite running for his life most of the night. Fabian Davis, despite making a terrible drop, kept his dreams of making the team alive as he hit pay dirt in the final minutes of the game. Finally, Will Heller refused to go away by catching a two-point conversion from Simms after the Davis touchdown.

Pittman conjured up images of last year by always seeming to be one move away from a break away run on his three carries. He is however, number one on the depth chart because he appears to be more comfortable catching the football than Jones. This race will heat up as the coaching staff will no doubt give the, "nobody has made the team yet," speech following the dismal performance on national television Monday night.

Chris Simms was in the game in an obvious passing situation and still produced at a high level. The question of toughness will no doubt have to be asked again as Simms took himself out because of a jammed finger. It seems difficult to believe that a lineman who would play with a missing finger could look up to someone as a leader who feels they need to come out after such a minor injury. The numbers support a strong argument for Simms as the number two quarterback, but football is not played on paper. The back-up job remains under the jurisdiction of the King despite his uneventful 3-for-5 passing night.

Jacquez Green has University of Florida fans holding their collective breath waiting for the former Gator to showcase his explosive speed on a big return or wide receiver screen. While they wait Davis has seen his stock steadily rising. Green's 15-yard punt return Monday night was enough to keep hope alive, but Davis looked electric on kickoff return. The Bucs will be better off keeping Davis because he will not make it to the practice squad without being picked up by someone else. There is a team in Atlanta who will be looking for any offensive weapons they can find after losing Michael Vick for six weeks.

Rookie Will Heller kept his name on the radar with his conversion in the final minutes. Todd Yoder also made a nice reception, but let his heart and hustle get the best of him by making a block in the back. The night was full of anomalies; with the Rams driving on the Bucs at will and, the sure handed Keyshawn Johnson uncharacteristically losing a fumble.

The newcomers are making strides to move up the depth chart, but Davis is the only one who made a solidifying move by separating himself from Green to take control of the sixth receiver spot. In the other races there were no position changes but Jones gained ground both literally and figuratively with his spirited performance Monday night in St. Louis.

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