Each week during the regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' communications department publishes a "Game Release" to aid the media in coverage of their upcoming game. Included in that release are a number of documents regarding the player roster, including a depth chart, which lists the pecking order at every position on offense, defense and special teams.
Each game week, we will be taking a closer look at that depth chart, pointing out any changes or relevant notes from the previous game. Let's start on offense. Players we will be discussing in depth are highlighted in bold text.
- WR: Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Jaelon Darden
- WR: Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman
- LT: Donovan Smith, Josh Wells
- LG: Luke Goedeke, Nick Leverett
- C: Robert Hainsey, John Molchon
- RG: Shaq Mason, Brandon Walton
- RT: Tristan Wirfs
- TE: Cameron Brate, Cade Otton, Kyle Rudolph, Ko Kieft
- WR: Russell Gage, Scotty Miller
- QB: Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask
- RB: Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White, Ke'Shawn Vaughn
The Buccaneers haven't made any roster moves in the nine days since their win over the Seahawks in Munich (one could be imminent with Giovani Bernard being designated to return from IR), and they haven't tweaked their published depth chart in that time either. Still, there are definitely some developments in the usage of certain players that could provide clues as to how the team will utilize its depth going forward.
Julio Jones, who certainly appeared to have fresh legs and his 31-yard catch-and-sprint touchdown against Seattle, continues to solidify his role as the primary third receiver in "11" packages. Jones played 38 offensive snaps in the game, or 50.6% of the team's total, his highest percentage in any game since the season opener. In the Bucs' Week One win over Dallas, Jones was on the field for 51.6% of the offensive snaps. Jones saw significantly more action in Munich than did Breshad Perriman (18 snaps), Scotty Miller (14) or Jaelon Darden (0).
At tight end, Cameron Brate returned from a three-game absence and played 34 of the 75 offensive plays, but he was still out-repped by rookie Cade Otton. Otton's 46 snaps against Seattle were a big drop from the 71 (out of 84) possible he got in Week Nine against the Rams, indicating that when Brate is available the two are sharing reps in single-TE groupings more than Otton previously shared with Kyle Rudolph or fellow rookie Ko Kieft. Otton also had three targets on the day to two for Brate.
The big offensive story of the game was the emergence of rookie running back Rachaad White, who produced his first 100-yard rushing game (22-105) and also made his first start. Head Coach Todd Bowles explained that White was in on the first play because they had specific play packages for both him and usual starter Leonard Fournette and wanted to start the game with one of White's packages. The rookie was also on the field for the entire game-clinching four-minute drill because Fournette had been sidelined by a hip pointer, and he made several big runs to help the Bucs run out the clock. White ended up playing 48 of the 75 offensive snaps, and that 64% usage was by far his highest rate of the season. He had not previously broken 50% usage in any other contest.
- DL: Akiem Hicks, Pat O'Connor
- NT: Vita Vea, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Deadrin Senat
- DL: William Gholston, Logan Hall
- OLB: Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Carl Nassib
- ILB: Devin White, J.J. Russell
- ILB: Lavonte David, Olakunle Fatukasi
- OLB: Anthony Nelson, Genard Avery
- CB: Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting
- CB: Carlton Davis, Zyon McCollum
- S: Antoine Winfield Jr., Dee Delaney
- S: Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal, Nolan Turner
In Week Nine, the Buccaneers got cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting back from a three-game absence and he immediately logged 54 defensive snaps in a win over the Rams. With safety Antoine Winfield Jr. missing the game due to a concussion, Murphy-Bunting assumed the slot corner role and was on the field for all but three defensive plays because Los Angeles works almost exclusively out of 11 personnel on offense, with three wide receivers on the field at all times.
Winfield returned to action in Week 10 (and played every defensive snap like usual), which meant the Buccaneers could go one of two directions in their sub packages. They could let Winfield resume his role in the slot in those packages and use Keanu Neal as the second safety on those downs, or they could leave Winfield in at safety for the whole game and use Murphy-Bunting as the nickel corner. Clearly, they chose the latter. Neal did not log any defensive snaps after averaging 60 snaps over the previous four games.
Second-year player Joe Tryon-Shoyinka continues to get more and more usage in the wake of Shaquil Barrett's season-ending Achilles tendon injury. Tryon-Shoyinka logged a career-high 89% of the Bucs' defensive snaps in Week Nine against the Rams and then upped that to 92% (48 of 52) in Munich. Meanwhile, rookie defensive lineman Logan Hall has seen his usage plummet since the return of veteran Akiem Hicks two games ago. Hall had seen action on 36.5% of the defensive plays through Week Eight but in the last two games has gotten nine and 16 snaps, respectively. He did see his usage return to 31% against the Seahawks and Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers said on Monday that the team needed to get Hall some more work, so that two-game dip could be temporary. Meanwhile, Hicks has recorded a 60.5% usage rate on defense since returning from his foot injury, and the Buccaneers' run defense has allowed 53.5 rushing yards per game in that span.
- P: Jake Camarda
- PK: Ryan Succop
- KO: Jake Camarda
- H: Jake Camarda
- LS: Zach Triner
- PR: Jaelon Darden, Scotty Miller
- KR: Rachaad White, Jaelon Darden
Somebody other than Rachaad White returned a kickoff for the Buccaneers for the first time since Week Two, when Giovani Bernard had one before going on injured reserve. Wide receiver Jaelon Darden was responsible for the first and last of the Bucs' four kickoff returns in Germany, most likely because the coaches knew they were going to lean heavily on White on the two ensuing drives. White had the other two kickoff returns during the course of the game.
The Buccaneers elevated two defensive players from the practice squad for the game against Seattle and both were featured prominently in the third phase of the game. Inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert was on the field for 15 of the team's 21 special teams snaps and cornerback Ryan Smith got 12 in on 12 plays. Gilbert matched safety Dee Delaney for the most special teams snaps played in Munich.