Scout.com's Caplan analyzes the Bucs

Recently, Scout.com's senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan responded to several questions about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ranging from offseason moves to a season prediction. What did Caplan think of Tampa Bay's free agent signings?. Find out in this exclusive Q&A, with commentary from Bucsblitz.com's Matthew Postins.

1. How do you think the Chris Simms situation will play out from here on in? Feel free to speculate on trading partners, etc...

ADAM CAPLAN: It will be difficult to deal him since he has a salary of $2 million this season. That's a steep price to pay for what looks to be a No. 3 quarterback who hasn't played in almost two years. Most if not all the teams now have their No. 2 quarterback.

What might happen is they could move him if there's a quarterback injury to a team that is then in need of a backup or we could see a move when the final rosters are set before the regular season begins.

The only teams that I see are possibilities are: Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

Chicago doesn't really have their starter set in stone and they could use another veteran for competition sake. Green Bay doesn't have a veteran backup on the roster.

MATTHEW POSTINS: I think it will take an injury somewhere to open up a spot for Simms. It will have to be a team with the cap space and the need. That's why I believe the Bucs will showcase Simms in one or two preseason games as a potential audition for trade partners. But if it hasn't happened by the third preseason game, he'll be cut.

2. What difference will it make if Carnell Williams starts training camp on the PUP?

ADAM CAPLAN: He can come off that list at any time so it's not a big deal. By doing that he can take his time coming back from his devastating knee injury. If they keep him on that list to end the preseason, he'd miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

MATTHEW POSTINS: The Bucs have enough options at running back to be cautious with Williams. I firmly believe he'll be on the PUP to start camp. That will give him a full year to recover from the injury and make him a player in the Bucs' plans the second half of the season.

3. How would you grade the Bucs' offseason in terms of personnel acquisition?

ADAM CAPLAN: Getting Earnest Graham signed to an extension was key and it was a reasonable contract for both sides. Adding rookies Jeremy Zuttah and Dexter Jackson should add some good young talent at guard and receiver, respectively. Jackson's development is key since veteran Joey Galloway turns 37 in November and they don't have his future successor nor anyone who has shown that can play opposite him.

MATTHEW POSTINS: The Bucs did little to help themselves at wide receiver for this season. It will be the same cast of characters, unless they hit a home run with veteran castoff Antonio Bryant. I liked the Jeff Faine signing and the Eugene Wilson signing. The draft could have been better. It was a C+ in my opinion.

4. Will Jeff Garcia get a contract extension?

ADAM CAPLAN: I could see the team adding one more season to his contract since the deal ends after this season but keep in mind he turns 39 in February and he showed signs of breaking down last season.

MATTHEW POSTINS: Definite maybe. Garcia won't get the money he wants and the Bucs don't want to stake too much on him, since Brian Griese is signed through 2010. It's risky to tie up multiple years in a player Garcia's age. It's 50/50.

5. How big a role can Antonio Bryant play on this team, granted he makes the team in the first place?

ADAM CAPLAN: Head coach Jon Gruden likes to bring in receivers or tight ends that have a lot of talent but have troubled pasts (see David Boston and Jerramy Stevens in particular) so he's trying again with Bryant.

Bryant could actually start if he has a great camp. The team really wants to upgrade the No. 2 receiver position and Bryant is the kind of physical receiver who would complement Joey Galloway well. If Bryant implodes or gets into trouble again, then he wouldn't make the team.

MATTHEW POSTINS: Risk, meet reward. I watched Bryant in Dallas and wasn't impressed. He's underachieved throughout his career and has a lot to prove. Still, the Bucs don't have much beyond Galloway and this could be his last chance to prove he can make it in the NFL. Have the Bucs hit a Josh Hamilton-sized home run? The preseason will tell. Right now, I think Bryant will be a disappointment.

6. Speaking of wide receivers, which one of these three receivers does not make the final roster — Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall or Paris Warren?

ADAM CAPLAN: Probably Warren, since he wasn't a high-round selection. But Clayton obviously still has a lot prove as does Stovall.

MATTHEW POSTINS: I'll go out on a limb and say Clayton. "But Matthew," you ask, "How can you cut the best blocking wide receiver in football?" That's exactly my point. He gets paid to catch the ball, and Clayton hasn't done nearly enough, as compared to his draft selection and rookie production. I think Warren will have another great camp and preseason.

7. Who has the better chance of starting the season as the Bucs' third cornerback — Eugene Wilson or Aqib Talib?

ADAM CAPLAN: That's considering you believe Philip Buchanon will start for sure. Wilson is a hybrid defensive back who is capable of playing cornerback or safety but is probably better off at safety.

Because Talib was a first-round pick you have to believe they want to get him on the field as much as possible so he makes more sense to handle the nickel role.

MATTHEW POSTINS: I do believe Buchanon will start the season as a starter. Whether he finishes it as a starter is another matter. For now, I see Wilson starting the season as the third cornerback, based on his experience and hitting ability as a former safety.

8. Which breakthrough player from 2007 has a better chance of taking a step back in 2008 — Earnest Graham, Greg White or Jovan Haye?

ADAM CAPLAN: White, possibly depending on how much Marques Douglas plays. Douglas will probably start so White has to prove he can offer value off of the bench.

MATTHEW POSTINS: I'm with you here, Adam. I like White, but he still has plenty to prove, even after last year. Remember — last year was his first true year of NFL football and now offensive coordinators have a year's worth of tape on him. It'll be interesting to see if White can make the adjustments and overcome the new competition in camp.

9. Is this the year Derrick Brooks' production finally falls off?

ADAM CAPLAN: A league source notes that he's not the same player he was from years ago after reviewing his coaching tape, but he's still durable and one of their team leaders. At some point, the coaching staff needs to find his eventual replacement sooner rather than later.

MATTHEW POSTINS: Scouts have said that for years, and Brooks still manages 150 tackles a season. I'll believe in the drop-off when I see it.

10. What is the best-case scenario for the Bucs this season?

ADAM CAPLAN: Probably winning the division again. The problem is they don't have a lot of upside and Jeff Garcia really can't be counted on for many big games. The power running again has to be the foundation of their offense.

MATTHEW POSTINS: I agree. That's why I'm picking the Saints to win the division. The Bucs will likely finish 8-8 or 9-7. Remember what happened after they won the division at 11-5 in 2005? Temper your expectations. This team isn't quite as good as you think.


Adam Caplan is the senior NFL reporter for Scout.com. Matthew Postins is the publisher of bucsblitz.com.

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