Monday, Sept. 3
Trotting along to Tampa
Jeremiah Trotter appears to be on his way to Tampa Bay.
Several media outlets in Tampa are reporting that the veteran linebacker will sign a one-year deal with the Buccaneers on Monday evening.
The Buccaneers don't confirm these sorts of moves until the ink is dry on the contract, so they'll likely send out a release Monday evening, or even Tuesday morning.
It's unclear who will get the heave-ho from the roster to make room for Trotter, who will likely back up Barrett Ruud at middle linebacker. That's Trotter's only position.
Trotter is big, even for a linebacker — 262 pounds — but he can still be productive against the run. He'll likely need a couple of weeks to become acclimated to the Tampa 2.
I just saw video of Trotter arriving in Tampa at the airport. He appeared to be in good shape. Man, he's big for a linebacker. He's big for anyone. All those years of chopping wood at his father's business in Hooks, Texas, really paid off.
He said he's happy to be in Tampa.
"It's a good fit," Trotter told a TV reporter. "It seems like the chemistry in that locker room is real good. I talked to Jeff (Garcia) and he filled me in."
Garcia and Trotter were teammates last year in Philly.
As for who may be cut, the Buccaneers have one more spot available on their eight-man practice squad. Given that Gruden declared the entire roster healthy today, I would expect the cut to be a rookie that can be put on the practice squad. That might mean a short stay on the 53-man roster for a player like Adam Hayward or Quincy Black. I think Hayward might be safe, though, since he is now Derrick Brooks' backup on the weak side. Black could be released, signed to the practice squad and Ryan Nece — a strong side starter the last two years — could slide over to back up Cato June.
We should know by tomorrow how it shakes out.
That's one big move down this week. I predicted at least one more. I don't think Taye Biddle counts, do you?
Anyone wondering about Mark Jones?
I admit that I have not been a big fan of Mark Jones' work as a punt returner the past couple of years. But I got the sense during the preseason that this might be a breakout year for him, especially the way he put the Buccaneers in solid field position on every return against Miami.
So I thought little of it when the Bucs pulled him after one return against Houston and looked at other possibilities. The Bucs needed to know who they had behind him in case he was hurt, right?
Apparently they were looking to replace Jones, whom they cut on Saturday. So much for having one player that could handle kicks and punts this season. Instead, Gruden said, the Bucs would use Phillip Buchanon, Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard in a returner committee.
I'm sure Joey's thrilled. A fragile, 35-year old receiver returning punts? That sounds like it should be part of the job description for your top deep threat with a history of hamstring issues.
I think Jones might have Chris Simms to thank for his release. Think about it. By keeping Simms, sure, they kept an experienced quarterback with some upside and is close to being healthy. But by keeping Simms, the Bucs had to expend a player.
I had a feeling that player might have been Paris Warren. But once it was clear Warren was done for the year, someone else had to take the fall.
I think that fall guy became Jones.
I can't imagine the Bucs wanted to cut him, as much as Gruden praised the guy on Sunday, saying he was a NFL caliber kick returner. So why isn't he here?
Ask Chris. It's the price the Bucs are paying for keeping the fifth-year QB, I think.
Bucs stories on the web
The Bucs made two player moves on Sunday, signing a pair of second-year players. That included wide receiver Taye Biddle, who made a splash in Carolina and no doubt learned some things from deep threat Steve Smith. You can link to that story, in addition to the practice squad signees (the Bucs have room for one more) here. Also, I'm planning a chat with Buccaneers fans at 10 p.m. Wednesday. I hope that will be the regular time, but we'll see how the response is this week.
Over at the Tampa Tribune, Roy Cummings writes that head coach Jon Gruden is all right with four quarterbacks — for now.
Over at the St. Petersburg times, they had their own take on Gruden's reaction to keeping four quarterbacks — which was that the head coach had little to say about it. Also, tight end Jerramy Stevens had a great game in the preseason finale. But his playing time this week may be determined by his lack of playing time due to a trip to Scottsdale this week for a trial appearance stemming from a March arrest for DUI.
Meanwhile, could the Glazer family's sports empire be crumbling? USA Today is reporting that the Glazers will not sell Manchester United, despite reported takeover attempts by a pair of international consortiums. And the Orlando Sentinel had its own take on the Chris Simms story, stating that Gruden assured the media that Simms was there, despite the fact that he didn't practice on Sunday.
I'll be heading to the locker room in a few minutes. Simms was on the practice field today, looking on during walkthroughs. Hopefully we'll get to talk to him today.