Nece Gets Starting Job

It is refreshing to see a player earn his spot on the roster because of ability and on the field performance. These days there are so many other factors that go into who makes the team, none bigger than the salary cap. It is not every day that a free agent signs for three million dollars to sit the bench; his salary alone almost guarantees a starting job. The reality is an un-drafted free agent from last year is going to start over the Buccaneers' most prestigious off-season acquisition.

All-Pro Linebacker Dwayne Rudd showed class and professionalism when asked about the depth chart. Rudd said, "He's hungry and he's proved on film that he can make plays." Anyone who had an opportunity to see Rudd in the pre-season would say he played well, but Ryan Nece had standout performances in every game. The new circumstance seems to have given Rudd extra incentive, which should lead to better performance on the field. The Bucs' special teams got a huge shot in the arm with the addition of Rudd to their ranks, the speedy sure tackling Rudd will no doubt use this job as a medium to gain the coaches attention. Rudd also said that he would support the younger Nece in his first start Monday night in Philadelphia. That is the kind of team attitude that is necessary for success in the NFL; bitterness would have caused dissention and stress in the locker room. As it stands the tight competition for the starting job will make both players better, which will in turn make the team better. For the fans it is a win, win situation.

The Bucs are not the only team letting productivity make their personnel decisions. The first player the Cleveland Browns ever selected, Tim Couch, will start the season as a back up to Kelly Holcombe. The Bucs and Browns should be proud of their actions and send a memo over to New England where the Patriots have for the second season in a row released a player for reasons other than on-field performance. Rather than keep two Quarterbacks they shipped Drew Bledsoe to division rival Buffalo. This week the Paties cut all-pro defensive back Lawyer Milloy, and about 0% of the league was shocked when Milloy signed with the Bills two days later.

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