Competition Over?

August 20th, 2017

The Buccaneers’ search that started in earnest after a nasty break on January 3, 2016, may be over.

That’s the day fullback Jorvorskie Lane suffered a horrific leg injury against the Panthers.

That left the Bucs without a fullback and they drafted one a few months later, sixth-rounder Dan Vitale, who was cut after training camp. The Bucs went fullback-free last season with tight ends filling the role.

And while the Bucs could always go without a fullback, like many teams do. Joe is confident old school Dirk Koetter still desires one. That’s why Quayvon Hicks was signed in the offseason and the Bucs kept late-December signing Austin Johnson, who spent 2014 and 2015 at fullback with the Saints.

Johnson, the former University of Tennessee linebacker, has had plenty of touches with the first-team offense this summer. And this morning, Hicks was cut.

Johnson may be invisible to a lot of Bucs fans, but Joe would wager that Johnson has found himself a job.

Frankly, Joe hasn’t been impressed by the special teams play of the Justin Evans and Kendell Beckwith. Valuable Luke Stocker is known for getting banged up, and Joe’s not sure how much special teams the Bucs want O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate playing.

They need quality bodies on special teams, and Johnson can get the job done there.

21 Responses to “Competition Over?”

  1. Hayesair Says:

    That sure looked like Cross playing fullback on the Martin TD.

  2. Aaron Says:

    That was Alan Cross blocking for Doug

  3. JimBuc2 Says:

    Yep, I see #45AC. Where is Johnson? Link wrong vid maybe?

  4. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Lane is healthy as heck and wants to play why not try him??

  5. tnew Says:

    I loved that play for two reasons.

    1) Stocker, Brate, Cross and Howard where all in the game.

    2) Brate threw, hands down the very best block I have ever seen him throw on that play.

  6. tnew Says:

    One more thing about THAT block. Brate engaged and turned a 276 pound DE on that play. It was excellent!

  7. Garv Says:

    Alex being able to play both TE AND FB makes him valuable and from what we’ve seen he’s had a good camp to back up a pretty good rookie season. I think he makes the team.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Competition over? Perhaps, but figuring out the final 53-man roster just got a lot more complicated if we keep FB Johnson. Was expecting that Licht & Koetter would go with the following for a final roster:

    25 offense (9 OL; 4 TE; 6 WR; 4 RB; 2 QB)
    25 defense (4 DT; 6 DE; 6 LB; 5 CB, 4 FS/SS)
    3 ST (1 P; 1 PK; 1 LS)

    The possibility of carrying 3 QB is still an issue IMO (Griffin injured & Fitz not playing all that well). Creating a slot for that would be hard enough, but where do you create a slot for a FB? Carry one less TE or WR? One less LB or DE? Who gets the ax when (and if) Martin comes back after Game 3? I don’t envy Licht & Koetter in the decisions they’ll have to make this year; we’ll be cutting some quality players.

  9. Joe Says:

    Fellas, you were CORRECT to slam Joe on the bad video link. What a friendly bunch! But the point stands and Joe stands by it. –Joe

  10. morgan1672 Says:

    A. Johnson has played well. He has been the best blocker when lined up as the FB. I think Cross gives more of a passing threat. I think its between Cross and Johnston and who contributes more on special teams. This year is gonna be hard deciding between keeping an addition LB, TE or DE. But hopefully they can get most of those guys on the practice squad

  11. Piratic Says:

    Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no.”

    –Ian Betteridge

  12. LocalJoker Says:

    Austin Johnson will not make the 53. Alan Cross will be the H-Back this year.

  13. ARGH_M8E Says:

    Alan Cross throws AWESOME block on the 2nd play of this link, I’ve posted it before but check it out if you wanna see a stinking Panther get sent flipping through the air like a rag doll;)

  14. Bucfan87 Says:

    Defense Rules, they will only keep 7 OL not 9. Coaches words, not mine.

    Joe, very insightful article. I am a big fan and was not privy to this. You made an excellent point about special teams. I believe they went this route with Robinson last season and possibly again this year?

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Defense Rules, they have options on both lines because of cross training. They won’t keep 6 DEs either.

  16. DB55 Says:

    #46. I like that kid. Good eye joe.

  17. LocalJoker Says:


    Koetter was referring to game day. They will only dress 7 O-Linemen, but they will keep 9 on 53 as they always have.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Bonzai you might be right about keeping less than 6 DEs but I think that largely depends on Jack Smith’s injury status. Ayers, Gholston & Spence are obviously shoo-ins. From everything I’ve read, they really like Russell too. They list Lambert as a DT on the roster, but at 282 lbs he falls in the same category as Gholston I’d think (they kept Lambert last year and I think they will this yr too). That’s 5 right there. Not at all sure about George Johnson, Jack Smith & Channing Ward. I’d think that GMC, McDonald, Baker, plus either Stevie T. or Siliga would make up our 4 DTs. Never know though who they might add between now & Game 1. As I said, they have some interesting decisions to make.

  19. DB55 Says:

    Alan Cross = team MVP. You heard it here first.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    In a pinch they could do the offensive line like this:

    Left Tackle: Donovan Smith Caleb Benenoch
    Left Guard: Kevin Pamphile Evan Smith
    Center: Ali Marpet, Joe Hawley
    Right Guard: J.R. Sweezy, Evan Smith
    Right Tackle: Demar Dotson, Caleb Benenoch

    Then stash a couple on the practice squad.

    Defensive line gets a little harder to call. Smith is injured, so

    Defensive Ends: Will Gholston, Jacquies Smith (injured currently)
    Robert Ayers, Noah Spence, (Wildcard: Ryan Russell)
    Defensive Tackles: Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald
    Chris Baker, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu

    Strong Side Linebacker: Devante Bond, Kendell Beckwith
    Middle Linebacker: Kwon Alexander, Riley Bullough
    Weak Side Linebacker: Lavonte David, Adarius Glanton

  21. Brandon Says:

    BB-They’ll have more than 8 on the roster at OLine. Nine possibly even 10 is the more likely number. I also have a suspicion that either Hawley or E Smith will make the team, but not both. Two guys that are best at OC and decent at OG is one too many. Especially, when they aren’t starting.