TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Middle linebacker Tyrone McKenzie was reportedly among the final roster cuts of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and No. 3 quarterback Rudy Carpenter's status remained uncertain as Saturday's deadline approached.
Coach Raheem Morris said Friday the Bucs ``won't make anything final until the end of the weekend,'' but McKenzie told the Tampa Tribune he is among the players the Bucs cut before the deadline.
After playing in the final three games of last season, McKenzie went into training camp a contender to replace Barrett Ruud, Tampa Bay's starting middle linebacker for the last four years. But Morris chose rookie Mason Foster as his starting middle linebacker in the first few days of camp.
Morris would not confirm any cuts, saying, ``I want to be fair to those guys. I don't want to put names out there.'' However, in analyzing the personnel at all three of his linebacker positions Friday, the coach did not mention McKenzie.
Foster, Quincy Black and Geno Hayes will be the starting linebackers in the Bucs' season opener against Detroit on Sept. 11, and Morris emphasized the versatility of backups Dekoda Watson and Adam Heyward.
(Rookie free agent Derrell) Smith came in here. He did a nice job of learning the position, having a serious demeanor of a (middle linebacker), and going out there and competing,'' Morris said.That position is one of the ones still up for question, but we're certainly happy with that top group of guys.''
Carpenter's spot was jeopardized by a change in the NFL's game-day roster rules. Instead of designating a third ``emergency'' quarterback among the 46 active players for each game, teams are now free to use that spot for any position, and the Bucs appear to be leaning against carrying a third active quarterback. Morris said Carpenter is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers, which would leave starter Josh Freeman and backup Josh Johnson as the only quarterbacks on the roster.
You hope it's not a risk as much for us as for most people,'' Morris said.We do have a big, giant guy that plays quarterback for us if we can protect him. That's why we gave a lot of coin to (offensive linemen) Davin Joseph and Donald Penn and Jeff Faine and Jeremy Trueblood.''
Cornerback Aqib Talib, who battled a hamstring injury after missing the last four games of 2010 with a hip injury, didn't play during the preseason. Morris said it is not a concern.
Absolutely none. I've seen him go out there and do it with a hurting hamstring for six games,'' he said.He ran the other day and he looked great, so we'll keep letting him get better and he'll get ready for Detroit.''