DT Jon Bradley (73) has practiced for several weeks with the Bucs and now gets a crack at the active roster
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a pair of roster moves on the day before their home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rookie defensive tackle Jon Bradley was signed to the active roster from the practice squad. To make room for Bradley on the 53-man roster, the team released veteran quarterback Jason Garrett.
This move was prompted by injuries – and healing – on both sides of the transaction.
Bradley's signing gives the Bucs some additional bulk inside, where they had become thin after the injuries to reserve defensive tackles Ellis Wyms and Damian Gregory at St. Louis on October 18. Wyms and Gregory ended up on injured reserve and the Bucs played the next game, against Chicago six days later, with a trio of defensive ends as the reserve interior linemen. At least one of those ends – second-year man Dewayne White – provided good production out of his snaps at defensive tackle, but he was still only used on passing downs.
Bradley is a true defensive tackle, a thick and powerful (6-0, 301) lineman who can play the run in the interior and take on double teams. At the least, he is protection for the Bucs on first and second down in case either of the two starters, Anthony McFarland or Chartric Darby, is hit with an injury.
Rush defense, particularly on the inside, could be a key in Sunday's game against the Chiefs. Armed with the league's leading rusher, Priest Holmes, Kansas City has rushed for 167 yards per game and a stunning total of 17 touchdowns in seven games. The Bucs expect the Chiefs to attack the middle of their defense.
Garrett, meanwhile, would not have been released if second-year passer Chris Simms was not at least ready to serve as the emergency third quarterback this weekend. Brian Griese will start his third consecutive game for the Buccaneers; Brad Johnson has served as the primary backup for the previous two and Garrett, signed after Simms was hurt in New Orleans, was the inactive third quarterback.
Simms injured his throwing shoulder in the first quarter of his first NFL start and has not played since. He has practiced this week and is throwing again, but Head Coach Jon Gruden's most recent reference to his status called him 'very questionable' for Sunday's game. Still, the team is confident enough in his status to part ways with Garrett, who had just embarked on a career in broadcasting when the Bucs called. In fact, Garrett was calling the game as the color analyst for Fox in New Orleans when Simms was hurt. A 12th-year veteran, he had long stints with Dallas and the New York Giants before joining the Bucs this past offseason.
Bradley first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles this past spring. He made it to the Eagles' final cutdown on September 5 before being waived. Bradley played both end and tackle at Arkansas State, where he was a two-time first-team all-conference selection.