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 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, Brandon Walton
LG: Luke Goedeke
C: Robert Hainsey, Nick Leverett
RG: Shaq Mason
RT: Tristan Wirfs, Fred Johnson
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
Cade Otton set new single-game highs in the win over Atlanta by catching six passes for 43 yards, prompting questions on Monday as to whether the rookie tight end might see his role expanding in coming weeks. Head Coach Todd Bowles praised Otton's play but was also a bit amused by the questions.
"I think Cade played well," said Bowles. "He blocked well, he caught the ball well, he understands the game. He's only going to get better for us. He's a very big piece of what we're trying to do, and his role has already expanded. I don't know if it can get any bigger, but it's already expanded."
Bowles makes a good point. With veteran Cameron Brate out due to a concussion, Otton played a season-high 94% of the team's offensive snaps. Brate may be back in action soon but Otton should still continue to see a significant amount of action. Both Otton and Brate have missed one game and Otton has played 180 snaps to 160 for Brate. Adding in the fact that Brate also sat out the second half in Week Four after getting his concussion, and the two have played essentially an equal amount.
Overall, Otton has been on the field for 95 snaps in "11" personnel, meaning he was the only tight end on the field. That's only 17 fewer than Brate's 112. Otton has also started four games, only one of which was in a two-TE set. The rookie obviously has a large role in the Bucs' offense already, and accordingly he was moved up on the depth chart this week to the second spot, between Brate and veteran Kyle Rudolph.
Fellow rookie Rachaad White got 31 snaps on offense, his highest total in a game so far, though his percentage of the snaps didn't change much, going up from 37.5% in Week Four to 39.2% in Week Five.
The Buccaneers gave wide receiver Chris Godwin a lighter snap count than usual as he continues to work his way back to peak shape. Godwin was on the field for 41 of the team's offensive plays, or just 52%. That was 17 fewer than wide receiver Russell Gage logged and only five more than wide receiver Scotty Miller played. Miller saw his usage tick up after he was a healthy scratch in Week Four.
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, Genard Avery
ILB: Devin White, K.J. Britt, Kenny Young
ILB: Lavonte David, Olakunle Fatukasi
OLB: Shaquil Barrett, Anthony Nelson
CB: Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Dee Delaney
CB: Carlton Davis, Zyon McCollum
S: Antoine Winfield Jr., Logan Ryan
S: Mike Edwards, Keanu Neal
The only change to the defensive depth chart in Week Six was the addition of Genard Avery to the outside linebacker group after his promotion from the practice squad. The Buccaneers are now one heavier at that position (five) and one lighter at inside linebacker (four) after swapping in Avery for the recently-released Kenny Young. Young did not log any defensive snaps during his four games on the active roster but it's possible Avery could get a minor role in the edge rushing rotation.
Rookie cornerback Zyon McCollum saw his first action of the regular season and was on the field for 13 of the Bucs' 22 special teams snaps, mostly working in kick and punt coverage. McCollum also got his first 13 defensive snaps after both Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting were sidelined by injuries. He ended up with one tackle each on defense and special teams.
Inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and cornerback Jamel Dean all played 100% of the defensive snaps. David, White and Winfield are the only three Buccaneers who have been on the field for every snap on defense so far this season.
Defensive lineman Deadrin Senat, who has helped pick up the missing snaps with Akiem Hicks out the past three weeks, saw 17 reps on defense for the second week in a row, though that represented a higher percentage of the total this week. Senat was productive with his time on the field, contributing four tackles and his first career sack.
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
After playing all but two of a possible 30 special teams snaps in Week Four, outside linebacker Anthony Nelson got a little bit lighter of a load this week, appearing on 15 of 22 plays. Cornerback Dee Delaney and linebacker K.J. Britt continued to lead the way on the kick-and-cover units, playing 82% of the special teams snap total. Rookie tight end Ko Kieft was the only player to hit double digits in snaps on both offense and special teams, with 14 of the former and 17 of the latter.