It’s Getting Deep

August 25th, 2017

Dirk Koetter explains.

One can tell with the eyes and the ears that a once rotten team is turning the corner.

How? Well, when guys are in stiff competition for jobs.

And that is the case with the Bucs. Only twice since Chucky was jettisoned did the team have a winning record. It has been 10 years since the Bucs’ last playoff season in 2007.

Just how much depth do the Bucs have? A lot, claimed winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter yesterday after training camp wrapped up.

“We probably developed the best depth we’ve had in the three seasons I’ve been here,” Koetter said. “It’s going to be tough at the end. It’s going to be tough because we’ve got decent depth at several positions.”

There are two positions Joe can pretty much guess will keep Koetter and Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht up at night. That’s linebacker and tight end.

Koetter has been effusive in his praise of Riley Bullough, star of “Hard Knocks.” But Bullough is in a bad position because guys ahead of him on the depth chart are starting-caliber linebackers and team draft picks. While Koetter has praised Bullough, he has been quick to point out Bullough faces a numbers game. Just based on Koetter’s roster last year, he kept five linebackers. Currently, Bullough would be the sixth linebacker, assuming he’s ahead of third-year man Cameron Lynch.

At tight end, wow. The last few days of training camp, free agent rookie Antony Auclair, the Canadian college star, has really turned it on. But ahead of him are studs. Auclair is sort of like Bullough in that Koetter has heaped praise on him and largely, Auclair has not disappointed.

Alan Cross has done nothing to embarrass himself. Luke Stocker is a crushing blocker and Bucs types just love that. Despite fans wanting to throw him over the side, Stocker is on his fourth Bucs coach and second general manager. His longevity should tip off folks.

Naturally, Cam Brate and O.J. Howard are locks for the roster.

So, yeah, tight end and linebacker and perhaps cornerback will give Koetter and Licht headaches when it comes time to slice the roster. Maybe running back as well.

29 Responses to “It’s Getting Deep”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    We need to see Joe Dirt play against some of the better guys and see if his athletic ability is enough for him to be effective or not. I’m guessing they already know this answer and it’s why we’ve only been seeing him against the 3s and 4s, but personally I’d like to see what he can do. That’s going to be a tough cut to watch. I’m certain they’ll bring him back on the practice squad however.

    One thing in Dirt’s favor is I’m guessing the Bucs only keep 2 QBs, so that does open up a space somewhere on the roster. Most teams keep 6 LBs, so that would be a natural fit.

  2. Joe Says:


    Pretty simple with any position (outside of QB): the bottom-rung guy better be able to play special teams. If Fabio can’t do that, he’s likely SOL.

  3. Cometowin2 Says:

    That Joe Dirt nickname is unfortunately for Riley the one that’s going to stick.

  4. Cometowin2 Says:

    Our practice squad is going to have some good players. Hopefully our PS doesn’t get raided too bad.

  5. Dreambig Says:

    Watching Rileys passion, leadership and motor, I think it would be a mistake to let his kid go. The late game play where he flew in from no where to tackle the receiver 15 yards down field was an amazing play. He started that play in run support aggressively charging the line of scrimmage. How he ended up 20 yards down the field making a play the secondary couldn’t is beyond me. My guess is he makes it big somewhere.

  6. Ocala Says:

    I expect Bobo Wilson will make the practice squad

    He has had a really good camp but I think the numbers are not in his favor for a roster spot

  7. RTG Bucs Says:

    I agree Dreambig, the guy has a high motor and doesn’t quit, that was a great play that you mentioned. He definitely has the heart of a football player. Whether he has the talent or fits into the Bucs rotation is up to the coaches but with hustle like that, if he doesn’t make the team it certainly will not be an easy cut. Gotta love the guys that don’t give up on plays!

  8. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Looking forward to seeing a high-powered offense, the likes of which we have never seen. There shouldn’t be any more three-and-outs.

    Regarding PS players getting poached, I agree that this might be a real problem. The Bucs have played some bad teams in preseason/scrimmage (e.g., Jags and Browns), and those teams have had a chance to scout players like Auclair and Bullough, for example. Still, depth is a good problem, and I look forward to a great season! At the same time, Licht should not get complacent and keep scanning the waiver wire. I am really concerned about the depth at the cornerback and tackle positions. Go Bucs!

  9. Brett Says:

    Depth at any position has been a problem with all the coaching/GM turnover. Nice to see the Bucs turnng the corner in that department.

  10. tnew Says:

    Coaches will have to be very creative to keep Auclair and Bullough. Only way that I see it as possible is to keep 4 WR and 5 TE including Cross. I think Auclair has a bigger upside than Bullough, but that is just an opinion. For Bullough to make the team…. I just don’t know. Beckwith, Bond, Glanton have done nothing to open a gap for him to squeeze through. I would like to see him really shine on special teams so that an even bigger case for him could be made.

  11. mike n Says:

    this is the 1st time in over 10 years we will be cutting guys who can and will play somewhere else.

  12. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Riley was a tackling machine at Michigan State, and is such a bad Mo Fo, he played with a broken shoulder nearly all of his last year in college.
    I really like what he brings to Tampa.

  13. Fsuking Says:

    How is cornerback deep in anyone’s twisted mind? We will almost certainly look outside of the organization for depth before the season starts. Sometimes when you are wrong, you just need to admit it and move on instead of obnoxiously continuing to type things that are clearly not true

  14. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Am I mistaken or are these decisions not really coming to a head until at least week 4?

    Doug is suspended…does he count against the 53 man roster before he’s reinstated. I assumed he won’t cost us a spot until the 4th week.

    And now that Griffin is injured, he shouldn’t count either. So there’s two free spots for the first month. By the time we get through the first month sadly injuries will probably start dictating the bottom of our roster.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Even not counting Martin (doesn’t count until after Game 3) & Griffin (if he goes on IR designated to return), Bucs will have to cut some talented players to get down to 53 men. Doubt we can keep Riley (6 LBs … with 3 of them essentially being rookies (Beckwith, Bond & Bullough) … is probably not gonna happen). Same problem at TE though … keeping 4 TEs is realistic, but keeping 5 is probably not gonna happen either. Personally think that Stocker makes the team (because of his experience & blocking skills). Still not sure what’ll happen to the FB (Johnson) either (Stocker & Cross can play the position, but Johnson is more of a true FB with some pretty impressive pass-catching & running skills of his own from what I’ve read).

  16. Nole&aBuc Says:

    Alan Cross #45 is the starting full back. He may be listed as a tight end, however he lines up as the starting full back. #45 will be on the active 47 when the Bucs play the Dolphins. Stocker is a blocking machine yet has he ever played in 16 consecutive games? Availability is the best ability.

  17. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I certainly do not disagree with the logic in your post. But I wonder if we’ve finally gotten close to that nirvana that fans have always wanted in the draft…the BPA instead of need.

    If we keep the very best players that may necessitate a little unbalance in terms of numbers at individual positions.

    Bottom line for me though is what Joe said about ST’s…if Riley is not an ST warrior he’s probably gone.

  18. mark2001 Says:

    Of course you know there is always the possibility of trading someone in those positions that might be a third or forth string guy for a sixth round pick and keeping the next guy down in the roster…if the difference between the next guy isn’t much.

  19. mark2001 Says:

    Make that forth or fifth guy down…. I wouldn’t take less than a forth or fifth for a 3rd or possibly 4th. But then, I’m certainly no Jason Licht.

  20. TampaTown Says:

    I would love for Joe Dirt and Auclair to both at least make the practice squad but i don’t think either will slip through. I’m gonna be so pi$$ed if they get picked up by someone in our division! Think about it, you know that’s what’s going to happen.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Nole, every year folks talk about Stocker getting cut, yet magically he’s now starting his 7th yr with the Bucs. As far as being injured a bunch goes, he did miss almost all of 2013 (injured early) but has played in 69 games in the other 5 seasons … 14 games a season average. That’s not that bad for a TE who’s played a lot of FB during those yrs. Granted he’s not a pass-catching machine, but that’s not what he’s been asked to do either. He blocks … and blocks very well. We’ve got lots of other guys who can run & catch, but Luke’s the type of player who does the dirty work to spring them. Personally I think that he’s under-appreciated for what he brings to the table.

  22. mark2001 Says:

    TampaTown….those guys will NOT make it to the practice squad….almost guaranteed. So you find a way to make room for them, or sit and watch. Of course, I don’t know if we think they are good enough to replace the guy above them, should we make a move to keep them.

  23. mark2001 Says:

    BTW Tampa…consider….Auclair was on many teams radar when undrafted FA began…. so can’t believe any team without a couple good TE’s wouldn’t take a chance on him….and with the publicity that Riley has gotten from Hard Knocks and the effort he has shown, think he would be picked up by a team without four or five other good LB’s. Thankfully we don’t have to make the decision today…and after we see them play a number of snaps in the Cleveland game and the last one, we will have a much better idea of what these guys really have to offer.

  24. DB55 Says:

    Bullough > Lynch
    A sloth > Stocker
    No CB depth

  25. unbelievable Says:

    I would think CB and Kicker are the positions keeping Koetter up at night, not the 2 deepest position on the team… But what do I know.

  26. TampaTown Says:

    Mark2001: I fear they both could be picked up by the lowly Saints. I agree with you, we cut them, they’re gone. My football mind says so what, my football heart will break.

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Agree with you Joe – if Dirt is to make the roster he needs to play special teams. I haven’t noticed him there but you generally don’t.

    Also it’s Joe Dirt, not Fabio, Fabio is a terrible name with zero merch money in it.

  28. TampaTown Says:

    Rod: you need to get with Joe Dirt and be his PR agent. You’ve got all the plans for endorsements/merchandising/licensing.

  29. Costa Rica John Says:

    How is Riley (Joe Dirt) in coverage? Maybe get him practicing with our safety’s. If he can play two positions he has a lot more value and will stick with the Bucs. I really like the attitude he brings.