Buccaneers released PK Connor Barth. Barth was due to make a base salary of $2-million and as much as $1.15-million in roster bonuses. The Bucs elected to keep rookie Patrick Murray, an All American punter and PK from Fordham.
Murray will take over kicking duties for the Bucs.
Bills rookie Sammy Watkins didn't play against the Buccaneers last week after suffering a rib injury against the Steelers on Aug. 16. Watkins finally returned to action on Thursday, but he only lasted a total of nine plays before re-injuring his ribs.
The fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft was taken to the locker room in the first quarter after taking a hit from Detroit linebacker Ashlee Palmer. It looked like Watkins was going to stay in the game after taking the hit from Palmer, but after the officiating crew stopped the game to fix the clock, Watkins decided to head to the sideline.
The Bills confirmed that Watkins suffered a rib injury and the team also announced that he'd be spending the rest of the game on the bench.
Watkins' injury is troubling from the standpoint that the Bills pass offense hasn't looked very good and now he's going to miss more practice time leading up to Week 1. He has to be considered questionable at this point. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:02pm
Jerrel Jernigan, who's been running with the first team in Beckham's place all summer, looks like a strong bet as well, especially since he's Cruz's primary backup at the slot receiver position. Undrafted rookie Corey Washington has caught a touchdown pass in each of the Giants' first four preseason games and has obviously helped his cause.
Preston Parker, who caught 40 passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011 but was out of football last season, appears to be the primary punt returner right now with Beckham and Trindon Holliday hurt, and that could help him earn a spot as a wide receiver as well. Julian Talley also survived Tuesday's cuts and therefore remains a candidate to be kept.
One of the odd men out seems to be Mario Manningham who has struggled at times but has shown flashes lately. The team is apparently going to keep four TEs which could make it tough to keep six WRs.
The Patriots have agreed to the parameters of a trade that would send Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick and tight end Tim Wright. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer first reported the news.
"We were looking at all options," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman. "It's something we've been talking about since first week of camp. We feel very fortunate. Logan is a very good player. I'm a first-hand witness to what he means to the locker room."
Licht worked in the Pats' front office from 2009-11, and director of player personnel Jon Robinson was with the Pats from 2002-13.
Mankins, the Patriots' 2005 first-round pick has started at least 15 games in seven of his nine NFL seasons, and he fills an obvious need on a Buccaneers' offensive line that has looked overmatched for much of the preseason. On Monday, the Bucs visited with former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, but he left without signing a contract.
The raises the stock of Bucs RB Doug Martin a bit as the Tampa has been looking to improve their struggling line and this will help. As the story points out, the Pats have a history of knowing when to get rid of an aging player and still get value. Mankins is a Pro Bowler and considered a top-20 guard.
All offseason we've heard about the Patriots not having much depth at tight end behind Rob Gronkowski and could figure to use another receiving option at the position. Despite falling out of favor in TB, Wright could be just what the Pats need. This shouldn't have as much to do with Gronkowski's status to start the season as it does about depth and having a second TE option. Wright now has some fantasy potential depending on how many two TE sets the Pats go back to. He's no Aaron Hernandez (as a player), but as a converted WR he can do some of the same things at the "move" TE position. For the Bucs, the trade gives the team a good guard to shore up an offensive line that has been struggling in the preseason. This should bode well for Doug Martin.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 12:11pm
Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are the clear WR starters and appear headed for great things with the Bucs. Who comes into the game when the Bucs want to go to a three-receiver set, however, is far less clear.
Head Coach Lovie Smith has said on several occasions that this slot receiver is usually a smaller player, one with quickness and shifty moves. That would seem to describe rookie Robert Herron, and indeed Smith mentioned that as a possible role for Herron when he was drafted out of Wyoming in the sixth round in May.
Chris Owusu began the preseason listed as a starter opposite Jackson, which would seem to indicate that he had separated from the pack a little bit in the early part of training camp. He has just two catches for 15 yards through three games, however. After Jackson and Evans, it's veteran Louis Murphy who has the highest receiving totals in the preseason, with five catches for 66 yards. In truth, there hasn't been too much evidence in the three warm-up games to suggest any one candidate has seized control of the slot job.
The Dolphins' offense under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has shown a mixed bag during the first two weeks of the preseason. The passing game and tempo have been upgrades from what we've seen last season. However, the running game is virtually non-existent thus far. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed 75 percent (15-for-20) of his passes and is playing faster and more decisive football. The passing game under Lazor has been sharp. But the offensive line is getting little push in the running game. The Dolphins had minus-5 yards in the first half last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and must improve their production on the ground.
The offensive line is going to struggle opening holes for Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno
Buccaneers rookie receiver Mike Evans is shown getting into a fight with bouncers outside a South Beach nightclub in a video posted at TMZ.com, but his agent said the incident took place in March and that no arrests were made.
The site initially reported that the brawl took place Saturday night — which would have been just hours after the Bucs' preseason game in Tampa against the Dolphins — but Evans' agent, Deryk Gilmore, said it happened in March, before the Bucs selected Evans in the NFL draft in May. TMZ later updated its report.
This will probably have no bearing on Evans' availability this season as no arrests were made.
"He's a key guy," Buccaneers HC Lovie Smith said of RB Doug Martin, adding that backup Bobby Rainey also figures prominently in the team's plans as it prepare for the Sept. 7 regular season opener against Carolina.
"With Mike James going down with an injury and with (Charles Sims) going down, those guys need to play at a certain level," the coach added. "They're both good players, but Doug is our bell cow. He likes that role. He's had a good camp, hasn't missed a beat."
"A tough runner, doesn't complain," Smith said. "He's going to rush for a lot of yards for us this year."
Martin was the #3 fantasy running back as a rookie, but his PPG dropped from #3 to #22 during his sophomore season. His stock has taken a hit due to the new regime in Tampa adding rookie Charles Sims to a stacked backfield that already includes Bobby Rainey and Mike James. He’s still going to be the RB1 for the Bucs but probably won’t see the 79.5% share of the carries that he received in his first 21 games. He’s still likely to be a high-end RB2 in both standard and PPR formats. The Sims injury certainly helps Martin's outlook.
For a second consecutive day, Watkins was dressed in full pads but only participated in warm-up drills and stretching. Coach Doug Marrone said the Bills' medical staff hasn't made a decision on Watkins' status for Saturday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The important thing to glean here is that Watkins' injury doesn't appear to be serious.
It’s easy to forget that Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin caught 49 passes as a rookie in 2012. It’s so easy that even the new coaching staff and front office came in not counting on Martin as a pass catcher.
“In the offseason, that was an area that we talked about,’’ coach Lovie Smith said Monday. “We went into the draft because we thought that was an area where we thought we needed a little bit of help.’’
The Bucs used a third-round pick to draft Charles Sims, who caught more than 200 passes in his college career. But Sims isn’t going to be contributing right away. He suffered an ankle injury last week that’s going to keep him out for 12 to 14 weeks.
Along the way, though, the Bucs might have found a running back they’re comfortable with as a pass catcher. That’s Martin.
Smith admitted Martin’s pass-catching game has been better than expected. You'll find a lot of different opinions of Martin on draft day most likely, with not a lot of in between - there are those who love him and those who are scared to death to draft him. His third round ADP still makes him a pretty attractive back at that point in drafts, and we have him ranked 13th on our PPR list. We think he loses some work to Bobby Rainey and Mike James, but still ending up as a RB2.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 7:23pm
For the most part, Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith heaps praise on his players. But he also can be brutally honest when asked about a player who is struggling.
That was the case Sunday as Smith talked about tight end Tim Wright.
"He hasn't played as well as Tim should be playing," Smith said. "He's dropped some balls. If you watched practice, he's dropped balls. But he's a big part of what we want to do with the two-receiver, two-tight-end set. Tim hasn't blocked as well inside. Once you're that H-back and you don't block, now they say you're just another receiver and teams start going nickel. If they do that at least you have to be a good pass catcher. Tim's a good player. He just hasn't played as well as he needs to lately."
As the story points out, Wright better show improvement quickly or else his spot on the roster could be in danger. Brandon Myers and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are locks to make the roster. Wright and veteran Luke Stocker could be competing for the final job at tight end.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 7:10pm
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 11:55am
Of all the bubble players on the Eagles’ 90-man roster, none may have boosted his chance of making the team more than WR Arrelious Benn.
With Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin sidelined Friday, Benn saw significant snaps and came up with two of the Eagles’ most dynamic plays against the Patriots in their 42-35 preseason loss at Gillette Stadium (see Instant Replay).
In the second quarter he blocked a punt that the Eagles' offense converted into its first touchdown. On the next drive, Benn caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez that tied the game at 21-21.
The 25-year-old former second-round pick of the Buccaneers is battling with Ifeanyi Momah, Jeff Maehl, Brad Smith, Damaris Johnson and several other fringe receivers for either one or two spots after the top four.
Doug Martin gets a small boost as Sims was seen as the primary threat to his touches, though the team is still stacked at running back with Bobby Rainey and Mike James. Martin is showing good hands in camp, so he may see most of his additional touches in the passing game.
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