WR Sambrano Completes Practice Squad

The Buccaneers moved two off and one on their practice squad on Tuesday, which left them with an open spot on that eight-man crew heading into the week of preparations for the St. Louis Rams.  Not surprisingly, that spot was filled before the week’s first practice on Wednesday, as the team signed rookie wide receiver Jabin Sambrano, formerly of the Colts.

The 5-11, 175-pound Sambrano signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent this past May.  He went to camp with the Colts and played in the preseason, seeing his most significant action as a kickoff returner, where he ran back four kicks for 107 yards (26.8 avg.).  Sambrano also caught one two-yard pass and returned two punts for six yards.

A Temecula, California native, Sambrano started for three seasons at Montana, earning second-team all-conference honors as a senior after catching 36 passes for 362 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Practice Squad Maneuvers

The practice squad for an NFL team is always a fluid group, with players occasionally coming and going as a team tries to keep its numbers at various positions where they want them.  That remains true even when the season is near its end, as evidenced by the three practice squad moves the Buccaneers made on Tuesday.

And there will likely be one more change to that eight-man group within the next few days, because Tuesday’s moves left the Bucs with one open practice squad spot.  LB Joe Holland was re-signed, but TE Drake Dunsmore has been placed on practice squad injured reserve and G Hayworth Hicks has terminated his contract with the team. Continue reading

Hardman Returns Once More

For the second time in three weeks, the Buccaneers have re-signed versatile and experienced offensive lineman Derek Hardman.  To make room on the roster, the team waived G Hayworth Hicks, whom they had claimed off waivers from Kansas City earlier in the week.

The 6-6, 300-pound blocker has experienced his share of roster moves during his three seasons in the NFL, but all of his game action has been as a Buccaneer.  He played in nine games and started four at right guard as a rookie in 2010, then got into three more contests last fall.  Hardman went to camp with the Buccaneers again in 2011 and made the cutdown to the 53-man roster but was waived a few days before the season opener.  He has since returned twice more, most recently on November 28.

Hardman played tackle at Eastern Kentucky and is capable of filling in anywhere along the offensive line.  When he returned to the team in late November, it was just after Jeremy Trueblood had been placed on injured reserve, leaving the team thin behind the starting offensive tackles.  His return this week could be connected to the uncertain health of starting right guard Jamon Meredith, who missed Wednesday’s practice with an ankle ailment.

Gaitor Ready to Go

The Bucs’ ever-changing cornerback corps is going to have yet another look in Week 14.

Out, for this week at least, is first-year man LeQuan Lewis, has played a significant number of snaps in recent weeks as a nickel back.  He suffered a knee injury in Denver and will miss at least this next game, though the injury is not considered a season-ender.

In is Anthony Gaitor, who hasn’t played since the second week of the preseason.  Continue reading

White Returns to Practice Squad

DE Markus White is back on the Buccaneers’ practice squad, where he has spent the majority of the 2012 season, despite being involved in quite a few more transactions than the average player.  To make room for White on that eight-man unit, the team released LB Joe Holland.

Most recently, White was promoted from that crew to Tampa Bay’s active roster last week, but the Bucs then elected to use that spot to nab DT Matthew Masifilo off San Francisco’s practice squad.  That made White a free agent again briefly, but the Buccaneers eagerly brought him back after the weekend.  White has also spent several weeks on the Washington Redskins’ 53-man roster earlier in the fall and was on the Bucs’ active roster for their Week Six game against Kansas City, though he was inactive on game day.

Originally a seventh-round pick of the Redskins in 2011, White appeared in two games for Washington as a rookie.  In three seasons at Florida State, he racked up 131 tackles, 11.0 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss. Known for his relentless style of play, White capped his collegiate career with a senior season in which he contributed 64 tackles, 8.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He hails from West Palm Beach.

Holland joined the Bucs’ practice squad last week, actually taking the spot that was created when White was promoted to the active roster.

New Additions to the Practice Squad

The big roster news of the day on Tuesday was Quincy Black’s unfortunate move to injured reserve, but the Buccaneers also tweaked their practice squad once again before starting up their week of preparations for the Panthers.

Two spots on that eight-man crew switched hands, as the team brought in DE Ernest Owusu and WR Diondre Borel and released TE LaMark Brown and WR Dale Moss.

Though Ernest Owusu shares a last name and a former college conference (the Pac-10) with current Buccaneers receiver Chris Owusu, the two are not related.  The Bucs’ newest Owusu originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings in May.  The former University of California standout earned a spot on Minnesota’s practice squad to start the season but was just released from that unit last Friday.  At Cal, the 6-5, 270-pound Owusu played in 42 games with 18 starts and recorded 55 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks.  He was a repeat member of the Pac-10′s all-academic teams.

The 6-0, 199-pound Borel also came into the league as an undrafted free agent, though in 2011 with Green Bay, and he has spent most of the past two seasons on the Packers’ practice squad.  He converted to the receiver position in Green Bay after playing quarterback and punter in college at Utah State.  Running a spread offense for the Aggies, Borel threw for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns during his collegiate career, and also ran for nearly 1,500 yards.

Moss had been on the Bucs’ practice squad since the opening week, while Brown was just added last week.

Practice Squad Gets Some Added Pep

A recent flurry of roster moves, including the promotions of Aaron Morgan and LeQuan Lewis to the active roster, left the Buccaneers with an open spot on their eight-man practice squad going into Wednesday morning.  The team filled that vacancy just in time for the week’s first practice, signing second-year defensive end Lazarius “Pep” Levingston.

Levingston’s only other NFL team to date is the Seattle Seahawks, who drafted him out of LSU in the seventh round in 2011.  Levingston started his rookie season on the Seahawk’s practice squad but was promoted to the active roster in November, eventually getting into four games and contributing one tackle.  He went back to training camp with the Seahawks this summer but was released in the final cuts.

At LSU, the 6-4, 292-pound Levingston played in 48 games, starting 22 during his final two seasons, and recorded 70 tackles, 3.0 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.  He hails from Ruston, Louisiana.

The Bucs were down a defensive end on their 61-man roster (active plus practice squad) after promoting Morgan from the practice squad and releasing George Johnson late last week.  Levingston is the second addition to the practice squad this week, joining TE LaMark Brown, who was signed on Tuesday.

DE Morgan Promoted to Active Roster

The headline-grabbing trade of Aqib Talib wasn’t the only roster move the Buccaneers made on Thursday.  In another change that wasn’t tied into Thursday’s NFL trade deadline, the team promoted third-year DE Aaron Morgan from the practice squad, waiving third-year DE George Johnson to make room.

The Buccaneers signed Morgan to their practice squad on October 9, shortly after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.  (Coincidentally, Jacksonville released Morgan in order to sign former Buccaneer Micheal Spurlock.)  Morgan had appeared in the first four games of the season for the Jaguars, recording one tackle.

The 6-4, 250-pound edge rusher out of Louisiana-Monroe first came into the league as an undrafted free agent with Jacksonville in 2010.  He made the team as a rookie and got into seven games but spent last year on injured reserve.

Guard Added to Practice Squad

Roger Allen took Carl Nicks’ spot on the 53-man roster after the Buccaneers unhappily placed their Pro Bowl starting left guard on injured reserve Tuesday.  Now Chris Scott has taken Allen’s old spot on Tampa Bay’s practice squad.

The 6-4, 319-pound Scott is a former fifth-round draft pick who was on the Steelers’ roster for most of the last two seasons and was most recently with the Packers.  He was on Green Bay’s practice squad for the first half of this season before being released last Tuesday, but he didn’t have to wait long to find a new team.

The Buccaneers generally keep at least two offensive linemen on the practice squad, for fairly obvious reasons.  With just eight linemen on the 53-man roster, the additional blockers on that eight-man crew give the team at least 10 to practice with – one full starting line and another full line to run the scout-team snaps.  In addition to Scott, the Bucs also currently have rookie tackle Mike Remmers on the practice squad.

Scott, who played his college ball at Tennessee and was drafted by Pittsburgh, was the 151st player selected overall in 2010.  He started his rookie season on the Steelers’ reserve/physically unable to perform list, then was activated on November 10.  He remained on the 53-man roster the rest of the season, including Pittsburgh’s run to the Super Bowl, but was a game-day inactive each weekend.  In 2011, he once again made the team, this team seeing action in two games before he was moved to the practice squad.  Scott was waived during the final roster cuts this summer and immediately signed to the Packers’ practice squad.