Bucs Keep Barlow

After watching Barlow fumble the ball and drop punts in practice many fans are shocked to see him on the 53 man roster. The official reason seems to be that Barlow has more potential on special teams than the two receivers who were cut but, the fact that Barlow was the fifth receiver on last year's team is the only reason that makes any sense. So cheers to another year of waiting for Barlow to put the ball on the ground, as if defending a championship is not exciting enough.

In some circles #84 is referred to as "Butterfingers Barlow," but he did dispel that nickname in the pre-season finale against Houston. The kicker there is Davis and Lee had stand out games as well, but obviously not good enough to make the team. The bottom line is Super Bowl Champion coaches like Jon Gruden should not have to justify there decisions if they keep winning.

That being said, the Bucs would be more dangerous on offense if Lee was on the roster. The knock on him was that he lacked consistency. It is unacceptable for professional receivers to drop passes and Lee was guilty of this crime. It should be pointed out that when a man is put in a position that if he drops one more pass he will be cut, he will start to press and drop more balls. This type of pressure is different than game pressure; it is internal mental stress that will affect anyone's concentration. If Lee was in a position to let his physical skills take over he would be a sound addition to a receiving corps that still lacks a legitimate deep threat. Without Lee the Bucs will have to rely on Karl Williams to stretch the field, a task that he has not been up so far in his career.

Davis was impressive catching two touchdowns in the pre-season, but his underdog status was the main reason he was being touted so highly. It did not seem as if Davis had the same kind of opportunities that Barlow had returning kicks. The punt return duties were Williams' to lose so he wisely made fair catch after fair catch to solidify his position, a trend that will most likely continue into the season. The Truth is usually good for one punt return touchdown a year, but imagine how many he would have if he did not wave at the ball every time it was kicked to him. Any catch from Barlow on a punt is a welcome sight. It would have been more exciting to see the rookie back there. However, winning is the goal, not excitement, though the two usually go hand in hand.

The Buccaneers have decided to stick with what has been working, a practice that is hard to condemn. The next step to watch for is to see if Lee and Davis are picked up by another team. It would be blind luck if these two made it to the practice squad, but hope springs eternal.