Josh Freeman

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A Week Into Free Agency

March 19, 2013 at 01:08am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

I don't need no fancy foods like beans with ketchup!
A few more personnel moves happened over the last couple days, most of which fall under the category of, “Well, they had to do something.” Like signing Tom Crabtree away from the Packers. He has been a good blocking tight end and is a can be an outlet receiver in a pinch (he caught eight passes last year), but no one thinks he’s the missing piece to the Super Bowl puzzle for the Bucs. I don’t even think he rules out the team using a high draft pick on a tight end next month. But he has more experience than Luke Stocker and, while Stocker got better as the season went on, probably isn’t the starter in Greg Schiano‘s run-first offense.

Speaking of the running game, apparently LeGarrette Blount is still on the trading block even though they re-signed him a couple weeks ago. The Bucs weren’t willing to let him go just for nothing, so they gave him a deal that was fair while still being palatable to another team who might need a running back. Blount’s contract contains no guaranteed money, so the team can still cut him without being out any cash or cap. I still think it’s a good move to hold onto him. If Doug Martin rips a knee apart, they’ll be glad Blount is still around.

One player that is no longer on the trading block, mostly because they actually traded him, is Arrelious Benn. The Bucs moved Benn to the Patriots Eagles for a sixth round pick this year and a conditional pick next year (no one knows what round it’s in, but it’s got to be really low), but the Bucs also had to give up a seventh this year. It’s probably all they could get for him, but it’s yet another second-round disaster for the Bucs and a total washout of the 2010 second round for Mark Dominik. The deal doesn’t make me feel any differently about Dominik — I still think he’s an excellent GM and a good talent evaluator — but letting Benn go for practically nothing has to sting. Especially considering Rob Gronkowski was taken three slots later.

Oh, and Roy Miller signed with the Jaguars. And Michael Bennett signed with Seattle (I think I covered that last time). It will be interesting to see who the Bucs want to replace Miller, who I thought was one of the better nose tackles out there.

So, to sum up the last week:

IN: Dashon Goldson, Tom Crabtree, Kevin Ogletree, Jonathan Casillas
OUT: Michael Bennett, Quincy Black, Jeremy Trueblood, Roy Miller, Arrelious Benn
STILL DON’T KNOW: Ronde Barber, Dallas Clark, LeGarrette Blount, E.J. Biggers, Andrew Economos, Brandon McDonald

Did they really not pay Economos yet? They’re not planning on arguing over a few dollars for a really reliable long snapper, are they?

Now that I look at that summary, it’s not the most glamorous free agency, is it? I’m sure they have a plan, but it would be nice if it involved them actually getting more than one really good player.

Defensive Line Will Look Different In 2013

March 01, 2013 at 01:21am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

This is how Michael Bennett flies away from Tampa.
So here’s the situation with the defensive line. The Bucs and Roy Miller have stopped negotiating and Miller will head into free agency.

“Roy is excited to see what’s out there for him in free agency,” said his agent, Mike McCartney. “He has a lot to offer after an excellent season, helping a team that was last against the run (in 2011) go to No. 1 against the run last season.”

And the Bucs will not be using the franchise tag on Michael Bennett (or anyone for that matter) and there has been no word of progress on an extension for him. So, the Bucs could be without two of their four starting defensive linemen this season because, hey, when you’ve got the #1 rushing defense in the league, the only way to get better is to switch everything around. Or something.

Miller had a good season and I thought he was getting better, but his departure isn’t going to make me too upset. They need a big, strong guy in the middle to clog everything up and give the linebackers room to work, but they can probably find another one of those at a reasonable price. But Bennett is the team’s leading sacker over the last two years, is still improving and is still young. There may be some good guys that get cut, but that’s a hell of a chance to take. Who is better that has an expiring contract? Michael Johnson? He’s probably a better athlete but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s a better player. Osi Umenyiora? The Bucs would be stupid to replace Bennett with a player over 30. The only explanation I’ve got is that they really like Da’Quan Bowers (pending gun charges and all) and they already know Adrian Clayborn is going to be on the right side, so there’s not really room for Bennett. And hey, quality depth on the defensive line is overrated anyway. When have the Bucs ever really been short of good players on the line? I don’t think it has ever happened.

Bucs Beat AFC Champs!*

August 27, 2012 at 03:47pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

patspreseason

* may not mean as much now as it would have in February.

NFL Network finally broadcasted the Bucs/Pats game Sunday afternoon after airing a couple other games twice (#BuccaneerConspiracy) so I got around to watching it last night. I came away much more impressed with many aspects of the team, obviously concerned about some others, and disgusted at the amount of cheering Pats fans there were in the stands.

Losing Davin Joseph for the year is huge. Like, super huge. It may be the biggest loss the team could have, and I’m including Josh Freeman. There was so much hinging on the run game this season and Joseph and Carl Nicks were going to be those bookend guards to give Doug Martin the cracks he needed to break his big runs. I assumed Ted Larsen would be the starter in Joseph’s place, and that would have been a big step down. Larsen is good, but he’s not at Joseph’s level. But now Greg Schiano is saying that they’re going to try a few different things out. No one else on the roster is any better than Larsen, so that probably means he’s going to see who gets cut this week and bring in a couple guards to compete with Larsen to start.

You may object to me saying that Joseph is a bigger loss than Freeman would have been, but have you seen anything from Freeman this preseason so far that makes him stand out? Several passes off-target, a seemingly rebellious refusal to run when there are yards and yards of green in front of him, just doesn’t look sharp. He had a couple good passes Friday, but just not sucking isn’t enough. Not for a fourth year franchise quarterback. Dan Orlovsky has been more precise with his throws and more productive. I’m not advocating for Orlovsky to be the starter and I recognize that Freeman is generally playing against better competition than Orlovsky, but Freeman should be clearly better than him at this stage, and he’s not.

Doug Martin has Emmitt Smith-type balance. You see it in just about every run. No defender is going to bring him down with an arm tackle or by throwing themselves at his feet. He can spin and twist and stumble but his knee never touches until he gets hit squarely. He’s a living weeble.

It was good to see Vincent Jackson catch some balls and be a big part of that first drive. He is as advertised and that’s good because he’s going to need that big radius to catch some awkward balls if the offensive line isn’t going to give the quarterback the time he needs to step up.

Speaking of which, is it just me or did Donald Penn look sluggish? Seems like he got pushed around some on Friday. He definitely let Chandler Jones get inside him on the play where Joseph as injured. Not that it’s Penn’s fault or anything, but Penn allowing that kind of pressure is unusual.

Though I wasn’t keeping an exact count, I do remember a lot of bullshit penalties, too. False start, delay of game, illegal formation… all useless penalties. It may be a useless statistics, but it can’t be helping.

I don’t know what happened to Preston Parker during the offseason to make him not be able to hang onto a punt, but he should not be allowed to field punts ever again. If the Bucs keep six receivers and ditch Arrelious Benn, he will probably stick. But guys on the back half of the roster need to be able to do something on special teams and his value is declining quickly if he can’t field punts.

Someone said something during the broadcast about Dallas Clark not being able to block. I saw him block a couple times and he was fine at it. No pancakes or anything, but the guy he was blocking got moved away from the flow of the ball. That’s all they need him to do.

Both Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn got tweaked during the game and left early. Still, the defensive line showed some life with Michael Bennett and Roy Miller. Beyond that, despite the numbers, the depth on the line gets pretty thin. The Bucs will be scouting for this position as well this week, and if they don’t find anyone they like, guys like Wallace Gilberry and E.J. Wilson will be getting roster spots, which seemed incomprehensible last year.

The Patriots ran for 168 yards with an average of 5.4 YPC. That’s a lot — in fact, it’s more than Freeman’s yards per attempt. It didn’t actually seem that way during the game since Adam Hayward and Lavonte David were always around the ball, Hayward especially making some big plays. And Mason Foster, the starting MLB, wasn’t playing. Jeff Demps did his share to boost their average with a 29-yard run and that was against backups, so maybe it isn’t as the stats. But I’ve got a real feeling that teams are going to test the Bucs’ run game early in the season. They’ve got a reputation of giving up a lot of running yards, and until they prove everyone else wrong in a regular season game, that’s going to be the assumption around the league.

One factor other teams will have to consider now is Mark Barron. He can flat-out hit. He’s been equally impressive in run support and pass coverage and has shown so far that he was worthy of the #7 overall pick. If the Bucs can have a true intimidator patrolling the secondary like they did when John Lynch was around, they’ll get part of that nasty edge back that they had all those years ago. Barron might be that guy.

The last preseason game is Wednesday night. My DirecTV schedule says it will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet, channel 642. We’ll see if that actually happens, but hopefully I’ll be able to review the game less than a week after it happens this time.

PUPs And DTs

July 25, 2012 at 09:48am by Scott   •  No Comments »

Taking shots at the quarterback? That's unfair!
The Times is reporting that three Buccaneers will begin training camp on the PUP list: Da’Quan Bowers, Amobi Okoye and Adam Hayward. Those guys can come off the PUP anytime in the preseason, but if they’re still on the list when the regular season starts, they have to sit for at least six games (and then the team has another three weeks to evaluate them after that).

Bowers tore his Achilles in May and may not be right for the whole season. He may be 75% or so by the PUP deadline, but why risk it? If he’s the future of the left DE spot, just let him sit for the season and get him totally right. Hayward is still dealing with his gimpy foot and will probably be good to go before the regular season starts. Okoye had knee surgery in June and was expected to be ready for camp, and now he’s not. He’s the one that worries me right now because Gerald McCoy and Brian Price are both still recovering from their injuries from last year. Everyone is talking about Roy Miller like he’s already got one foot out the door. Gary Gibson is getting some positive reviews, but some of that may just be his seven years of experience compared to the newer guys and some of that may be Rutgers favoritism. I liked Frank Okam, but evidently I’m missing something because he can’t seem to stick. How are the Bucs still thin at defensive tackle after all the draft picks and free agent signings? I feel like they could have spent an entire draft class on defensive tackle and somehow still have to scrounge for players. Some of them would have been injured, some would have sucked, some would have been abducted by aliens. Hey, it happens.

Down On The Up Escalators

March 12, 2012 at 10:29am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Cap 1

As I’ve said before, I don’t care how much money the Bucs actually spend. It’s none of my business and I’m not going to cry for them if they overspend. But when it comes to cap figures, that’s when it affects their ability to sign new players and be competitive, and then I care. Pat Yasinskas has some interesting numbers involving escalators that various players earned over the last season that will affect the salary cap this season and beyond. According to the article, the escalators haven’t been figured into the $67-million cap number we’ve been hearing.

That will eat into early reports that had the Bucs heading for the start of free agency with around $67 million in cap space.

Even after everything is figured in, the Bucs will still be sitting pretty for free agency, but it’s interesting to see what these guys earned.

Quarterback Josh Freeman kicked in a $5.5 million escalator by meeting certain playing time and statistical requirements in 2010. Freeman now is carrying an $8.545 million cap figure for this season.

$8.5-million for a franchise quarterback is still a deal, but considering Freeman’s output last year, it’s a little scary. But wait, there’s more.

He also already has kicked in a $7 million escalator for 2013 and that number could end up going as high as $9.455 million if he meets more escalators this season.

I’m reading that as $7-million plus whatever his salary is plus the pro-rated portion of his signing bonus. If Freeman has another year like this year, you’d have to think that Mark Dominik will start to talk about a restructure to put that cap number more in line with his production. If Freeman meets certain marks in 2012 that $7-million figure goes up, but of course if he’s performing to that level, we won’t care.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy earned a $5.1 million escalator based on his 2010 performance and now is carrying a $9.443 million cap figure for 2012. McCoy also has kicked in $6 million in escalators for 2013 and $7.7 million for 2014.

They’re already talking on shows about the draft how the Bucs need to fortify their defensive tackles because McCoy and Price have been hurt too much. And it’s hard to argue with, although I still think it’s too early to give up on them. But $9.4-million for McCoy is steep considering how much he’s on the field. And what were those marks that kicked in escalators for 2013 and 2014? They couldn’t have been playing time marks since he was hurt. He didn’t have a bunch of sacks. Maybe he got a bonus for the number of OCNN reports he did. McCoy seemed to always be pimping that shit.

Cornerback E.J. Biggers earned an $875,000 escalator with his 2010 performance and is carrying a $1.455 cap figure this year.

Biggers got a ton of playing time and $1.5-million still isn’t too bad, but he just doesn’t seem worth it. Let’s hope the Bucs add some quality at corner both in free agency and in the draft because if Ronde Barber retires and Aqib Talib gets suspended or cut, Biggers will be the best corner on the team. Let that one sink in.

Receiver Sammie Stroughter earned a $435,000 for this year based on his 2010 performance. His cap figure for this season is $1.012 million.

Bye Sammie. Sorry it didn’t work out. There’s no way they keep you for that cap number.

Defensive tackle Roy Miller earned $805,000 in escalators based on his performance in each of the last three seasons and is now carrying a $1.563 million cap figure.

That sounds like a good deal to me. Miller is a solid contributor who provides quality depth. Look at his number and look at McCoy’s. Which one seems more in line with reality?

Huh, that was pretty much the entire content of Yasinskas’s article. So I guess I saved you a trip to ESPN today. Tell your web browser it’s welcome.

Reasons For The Slide

November 16, 2011 at 10:19am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

Mason Foster has resorted to yelling BOO real loud to try and cause fumbles.
Stephen Holder tried to make sense of the problems the Bucs are having by breaking it down into three separate reasons. Here’s a preview: One of them isn’t overabundance of awesomeness.

Reason No. 1: When the Bucs made their talent evaluations during the offseason, they needed to take into account that the first- and second-year players who succeeded last season had not done so over a sustained period of time. You know why NFL people say you need three years to judge a draft? Because you don’t know what you have until then.

And that all seems valid. But then Holder goes on to say:

Right now, it is hard not to think the front office overestimated the talent level of this team.

But it takes three years — you just said. At the end of this season, it will have been three years since drafting Josh Freeman, Roy Miller, E.J. Biggers and Sammie Stroughter, and none of them have played three years worth of games yet. I’m going to guess that Freeman is as talented as we all think he is and that he’s just having a slump. Everyone else is still kind of debatable.

As for the rest of the team, if the Bucs overestimated their talent, than they did so with good cause. The team went 10-6 last year and had some pretty good rankings in some areas. Maybe they overachieved a little bit, but isn’t that what you want when you grab undrafted free agents and castoffs? For the price they paid (both money and draft picks) for the players they have, I don’t think they overestimated them. Now… whether that level of talent is capable of competing in the NFC South, that’s a different story.

Reason No. 2: This is closely related to my last point. One of the problems with starting so many young players at critical positions is the fact that few of them had to fight for their jobs. There were precious few position battles in training camp, and one of the reasons for that was that most incumbent starters were unchallenged.

Young players have the tendency to get complacent when they have immediate success. I suppose the team could have made some more effort to spur competition for certain positions, but really, was the depth ever there to do that? You saw the camp bodies they brought in. Those guys were never going to really push the incumbents. The only competition that was really hot was the one between Mason Foster and Tyrone McKenzie, and the Bucs basically handed the job to Foster. You can debate whether or not that was the right decision, but McKenzie is currently sitting on Minnesota’s practice squad, so no one else saw him as even a part-time player, either.

Some of the poor depth surely has to do with the lack of an offseason and the delay in being able to sign undrafted free agents. They kind of did the best with what they had.

Reason No. 3: Leadership often is an overrated quality in sports. The overwhelming majority of outcomes are decided by talent, pure and simple. But when a team is at a crisis point, as the Bucs are now, leadership is essential.

I covered this the other day so I won’t rehash it. But I do think there is a lack of veteran leadership on the team and as a result, no one is there to impose a standard of excellence in the way that only a player who has had his share of battles can.

The trouble with these three reasons is that there’s no an immediate solution for any of them. You can’t will your team to get more talented. They either are or they aren’t. There are no good free agents out there, unless you want to bring in Terrell Owens to help catch balls, and I don’t think that really does much. And the kind of veteran leadership this team needs isn’t the kind you can get with a street free agent (despite the story about Albert Haynesworth trying to rally everyone at the end of the Houston game). They either have to grow up in the team or they have to be signed early so they can be seen as a true part of the team and not some hired gun. If these truly are the reasons for the Bucs’ slide, it’s not going to get better this season.

Price’s 65% > Okam’s 100%?

September 16, 2011 at 09:38am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

In Tampa they don't say 'You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.' They say 'You couldn't hit Frank Okam.'
According to Raheem Morris, Brian Price has earned the starting nose tackle job for this week’s game against the Vikings.

“Brian Price looked good (in practice today)” Morris said. “He will get his first NFL start this week. He did a nice job last week and really played well. He will get the chance to get out there and get some more snaps in.”

And according to Price himself, he’s barely better than halfway healthy.

Price, who spent the entire offseason rehabbing from a surgical procedure to reattach his hamstrings to his pelvis, revealed Thursday he is “nowhere near” 100 percent healthy.

“I’m probably more like 60 or 65 percent,” said Price, who has nonetheless leap-frogged Roy Miller into the top spot on the Bucs’ depth chart at nose tackle. “I’m still playing in a lot of pain, so right now it’s just a grind.”

They’re still going to use a rotation so it’s not like Frank Okam and Miller aren’t going to see the field, but the starting designation does have a certain distinction. If it didn’t, no one would make a big deal about it. And Price starting over those other two guys tells me that Morris thinks Price’s “60 or 65 percent” is at least as good as Okam’s and Miller’s 100%, if not a little better. And that seems nuts.

I thought Okam looked really good in the preseason, certainly the best guy they put in at nose. And he totally healthy. Price is playing in constant pain after having his hamstrings attached to his pelvis with a nail gun. But we’re saying that they’re playing at roughly the same level? REALLY? I mean, I know that TFL last week was really cool. But remember Price’s first week of training camp last year and how he was just destroying everyone he lined up against? Then after a week he was pretty much spent and wound up hurting himself. This just seems like a dangerous line they’re walking. I mean, I’m no doctor, but neither is Raheem.

“He is almost at that point we talked about a couple months ago when I said he had a couple more weeks to go.”

So you’ll forgive me if I don’t put a lot of faith in your prognosis. Raheem reminds me of that doctor in the alley behind Wal-Mart that was giving free prostate exams. What an uncomfortable hour that was.

REAR ENTRIES: Defensive Linemen You Should Know

August 30, 2011 at 11:11am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Rear Entry 92

MICHAEL BENNETT: I’ve been pulling for Michael Bennett to get more playing time since last season, especially since Steve White was also advocating it (I rarely have an original idea of my own). So far this preseason, Bennett is showing why he’s deserving of it this offseason.

Since the day he stepped out on to the practice field at One Buccaneer Place and blew past right tackle Jeremy Trueblood to drop running back Earnest Graham for a loss in the backfield, Bennett has played like a man with his hair on fire. The Texas A&M product has been virtually unblockable in practice and in the preseason games where he has started at right end and recorded six tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks and was involved in a safety in Kansas City.

Da’Quan Bowers jumped out of the blocks on fire this offseason and I was convinced he would start the season at left end. Hell, Bowers could have been a top ten pick if not for his knee. But Bennett took the Bucs’ drafting of Bowers as a challenge and now it looks like Bennett’s spot to lose.

“Yes it is,” Bennett said. “It is a challenge. Sometimes when you’re back against the wall that is when you play your best. It is a good thing. It is always good to have somebody behind you that you know and not so much as a battle thing because most defensive players is a collective group thing. That feels good that we have a group of guys that go in there and everybody is held to the same standard and that are the kind of standards that we have this year.”

If Bennett performs at this level all year long, he’s going to force the Bucs to make a tough decision next offseason when Bowers’s draft slot may force them to start him and cut Bennett loose. He’ll be a hot free agent if he lands on the market.

FRANK OKAM: Brian Price and Roy Miller, the two guys we thought would battle for starting nose tackle, have both been hurt this offseason, leaving Frank Okam to plug the hole. And what a plug he is.

“It all starts in the middle,” Okam said. “My job is to clog up the middle, help free up others and to make plays when they come at you. I’m not making excuses for my size. It is what I’ve been given and it is my skill set, and I am trying to take advantage of it.”

The Bucs’ roster has him listed at 350 pounds, but no one believe that anymore. Everyone is throwing 370 around as his real weight but who the hell knows. Either way, he’s bigger than anyone the Bucs have had for quite a while.

“Okam is a space-eater, a penetrator and a problem,” Raheem Morris said Monday afternoon.

I’ve been told my penetration is a problem sometimes. Sorry, ladies. Without my glasses I don’t have very good aim.

Morris thought he would try to get Okam to lose some weight, but he was moving around so well for such a big body that he decided against it. And Morris let slip that Okam has made the roster.

“He is unique. Roy [Miller] has played great for us and [Okam] will definitely go in there and play for us.”

Honestly, Okam has played so well at the nose that I don’t know that he hasn’t earned the starting job. I have yet to see evidence that Roy Miller is playing better than Okam.

GEORGE JOHNSON: Who is currently leading the NFL preseason in sacks? George Johnson, that’s who. He’s tied with a couple other guys around the league with three sacks.

With the Bucs typically keeping eight defensive linemen, but wanting to increase its pass rush in 2011, Johnson could solidify a roster spot and force Tampa Bay to keep nine defensive linemen with a strong showing in Washington on Thursday night. Because Morris plans on not playing his defensive starters in the game, Johnson figures to receive a lot of playing time in the second half of the team’s preseason finale and will have plenty of opportunity to state his case for being on the 53-man roster in Tampa Bay – or elsewhere.

Okay, so who would the eight other defensive linemen be? Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers, Roy Miller, Brian Price, Tim Crowder, Michael Bennett and Frank Okam, right? So if they’re going to keep nine, Johnson is battling with Kyle Moore for that spot. Keep an eye on both of those guys during the Washington game to see who plays for their job better.

And I’d like to congratulate George Johnson for having the most normal name in football.

Bucs Pass-Rushing Woes Are Solved

August 22, 2011 at 11:42am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

McCargo's coaches in Buffalo said he had to fight them if he wanted to stay.
I know I haven’t gone on and on about how awful the Patriots game was, but trust me, its only because of a lack of time and an internet connection. If I had my way, there would be an Ivanhoe-sized diatribe on the new levels of awful that the Bucs managed to discover during that game. And one of those problems was the pass-rush and the fact that they didn’t bring it with them from One Buc. I see in the stat sheet that Tim Crowder actually got to Tom Brady once with about two minutes left in the first half, but I didn’t see it. I guess your mind starts to wander a little and you don’t notice some things when your team is down 28-0. Or maybe I couldn’t see it through my hands over my eyes. Either way, good for Tim, but Brady still didn’t need a shower after the game. So, how can we solve this problem? By adding DT John McCargo, a 2006 first-round bust by the Buffalo Bills with 2.5 sacks to his credit in his five-year career. I can see no flaws in this plan.

McCargo said: “I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to have another opportunity to play this game. I’m just excited to be on the team. I’m going to come out here and work hard and try to make the squad.

So I guess he’s excited. To be fair, the signing was necessary for depth because Roy Miller and Brian Price are both week to week and E.J. Wilson went on injured reserve. According to the article, the Bucs have “promised him nothing”, which I take to mean he signed without a bonus and with no risk to the Bucs. So fine. Good. Maybe some of that first-round talent is still in there somewhere and it just needs Keith Millard to bring it out. There, I’ve convinced myself it’s a positive thing and not a desperate grab at whatever straws are still available.

Depth Chart Released

August 09, 2011 at 08:53am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

The new Morris and Dominik-shaped tackling dummies are a big hit with the team.
The Bucs released their first preseason depth chart yesterday, and there aren’t a whole lot of surprises on it. Offensively, there are none. Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn are the starting wide receivers and Dezmon Briscoe and Sammie Stroughter are listed as the second string. Kregg Lumpkin is listed as the backup halfback to LeGarrette Blount instead of Allen Bradford. Is that a surprise? No, not really.

On defense, it’s a little more interesting. Michael Bennett is listed as the starting left defensive end over Da’Quan Bowers. That may be because the Bucs want to take it was on him for this Kansas City game or that they feel he’s not 100% yet, but everything I’ve heard is that he’s been going full speed and has looked awesome. Bennett is a guy I like, too, so I won’t bitch about him being the starter. Maybe it was all a little too good to be true with Bowers’s recovery.

Roy Miller starting ahead of Brian Price is no surprise. Price is still somewhat out of shape and recovering from his hip problem. Honestly, it’s amazing he has been able to get as much work in as he has. Adrian Clayborn has the starting right end spot.

And the moment of truth… Mason Foster is your starting middle linebacker. Tyrone McKenzie is listed as his backup. I’m sure it has been a fair competition and all, but it really seemed like this is the way the coaches wanted it to go all along.

Barring an injury over the next couple days, this is how they’ll line up on Friday.