The final roster cuts for the 2008 season are on Saturday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, like every other team, cut their roster down to 75 players on Tuesday.
But some jobs are safer than others. And some players are locks to be forgotten by Sunday.
In the first part of Bucsblitz.com’s series on Tampa Bay’s current roster, we profile which players will definitely make the team — and which ones definitely won’t.
Quarterback: Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown.
Why: All three have started and succeeded in Jon Gruden’s system. It’s the easiest call to make.
Running back: Earnest Graham, Warrick Dunn, Michael Bennett.
Why: Bennett is the preseason’s leading rusher, while Graham and Dunn will get the bulk of the carries.
Fullback: B.J. Askew, Byron Storer.
Why: The Bucs are incredibly comfortable with both players.
Wide receiver: Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Antonio Bryant.
Why: Bryant has done more than enough to make the team in my opinion. But there’s plenty of intrigue behind these three. Anything could happen as the recent release of Paris Warren illustrates.
Tight end: Alex Smith, John Gilmore.
Why: The biggest surprise has been Gilmore’s receiving ability. It’s not enough to unseat Smith as the starter, though.
Offensive line: Jeff Faine, Davin Joseph, Donald Penn, Aaron Sears, Jeremy Trueblood, Jeremy Zuttah, Anthony Davis, Dan Buenning.
Why: There’s very little intrigue here. The starters are the starters. Zuttah, Davis and Buenning can all back up two positions, giving the Bucs great flexibility entering the regular season. Zuttah may be starting Week 1.
Defensive line: Gaines Adams, Jovan Haye, Chris Hovan, Greg White, Jimmy Wilkerson, Kevin Carter.
Why: Again, not much intrigue. This unit has played well in the preseason, with Wilkerson being the biggest surprise.
Linebacker: Derrick Brooks, Cato June, Barrett Ruud.
Why: Who could replace these guys? There is some intrigue behind them, though.
Defensive back: Ronde Barber, Phillip Buchanon, Tanard Jackson, Jermaine Phillips, Sabby Piscitelli, Aqib Talib, Eugene Wilson, Will Allen.
Why: Again, not much intrigue here. But I think there’s one corner that could shake things up a bit.
Special teams: Josh Bidwell (punter), Matt Bryant (kicker), Andrew Economos (long snapper).
Why: It’s hard to beat their reliability.
As for who won’t be around next week, I believe that, for sure, these players will be cut — DE Charles Bennett, OL Phil Bogle, DT Chris Bradwell, WR Brian Clark, T Chris Clark, TE Daniel Fells, DB Marcus Hamilton, WR Cortez Hankton, DB Darrell Hunter, OL Brian Johnson, S Donte Nicholson, OT Dennis Roland, QB Chris Simms and FB Carl Stewart.
After that, who knows?
Want to find out who the Bucs’ “Bubble Boys” are? Find out by clicking right here.
Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of Bucsblitz.com.