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 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, Kyle Rudolph, Cade Otton, Ko Kieft
WR: Russell Gage, Scotty Miller
QB: Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask
RB: Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White, Ke'Shawn Vaughn
A number of changes to the roster that were made after the Game Release dropped last week are reflected on this week's updated depth chart. That includes the removal of running back Giovani Bernard and tackle Josh Wells, who were both placed on injured reserve. The top three spots on the running back depth chart remain the same but the team has made a change to a couple listings on the offensive line. Brandon Walton, who had been listed as the second right guard behind Shaq Mason, is now occupying the second slot at left tackle behind Donovan Smith. Walton made his first NFL start in Week Three with Donovan Smith sidelined by an elbow injury and played all 65 snaps at left tackle against the Packers.
The Buccaneers didn't actually remove Mike Evans from the depth chart last week because his appeal of a one-game suspension levied by the NFL was still in process. Ultimately, that appeal was denied so Evans missed Sunday's game but has since reverted back to the roster and will be able to suit up this coming weekend against the Chiefs. That may also be true of fellow wideout Julio Jones, who has missed the last two games due to a knee ailment. Head Coach Todd Bowles said after Sunday's game that Jones may be able to play against Kansas City. With those two missing and Chris Godwin also sidelined in Week Three by a hamstring injury, the Buccaneers had these six receivers active against Green Bay (in descending order of offensive snap counts): Russell Gage (52), Scotty Miller (52), Breshad Perriman (47), Jaelon Darden (18), Cole Beasley (9) and Kaylon Geiger (4).
Beasley is not on this week's updated depth chart because he was actually signed to the practice squad and then reverted to that unit after the game. In addition, Geiger was signed to the 53-man roster last week but was released on Monday as the Bucs' needed a roster spot for the return of Evans. He will be eligible to re-sign to the Bucs' practice squad if he clears waivers on Tuesday.
Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph was active for the first time since joining the Buccaneers this year and he logged nine offensive snaps, contributing one 12-yard catch on a game-opening field goal drive. Rookie tight end Cade Otton was not in attendance at the game as he attended to a personal matter.
Rookie running back Rachaad White only played six snaps on offense and third-year back Ke'Shawn Vaughn had none. Head Coach Todd Bowles said on Monday that the Buccaneers need to involve those two more in the offense going forward.
Now, the defense.
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, 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
As is often the case with injured players who do not go on injured reserve but are likely to miss several games, the Buccaneers have left veteran defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in his starting spot on the depth chart. However, the team promoted Deadrin Senat from the practice squad and he saw 13 snaps on defense against Green Bay, making two tackles.
Without Hicks, rookie Logan Hall saw his defensive play share remain roughly the same, as he was on the field for 27 of the 62 snaps on defense, or 44%. That was enough time for him to log his first NFL sack and record half of the Bucs' six QB hits on Aaron Rodgers. Will Gholston and Rakeem Nunez-Roches both saw minor upticks in their playing time but the rest of what was missing without Hicks was absorbed by Senat.
The rotation at outside linebacker remained the same, with Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka both playing 75-80% of the defensive snaps and reserves Anthony Nelson and Carl Nassib pitching in with about 15 snaps each. In the secondary, safety Keanu Neal logged exactly one defensive snap, which makes his stat line of one solo tackle look more impressive.
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
The only change to the specialists portion of the depth chart was the removal of Bernard from both return jobs. The veteran back had been listed second for both punt and kickoff returns but now the second option on punts is Scotty Miller, with Jaelon Darden listed second on kickoffs. Rookie RB Rachaad White continues to be the first option on kickoffs and he got his first opportunity to bring one out on Sunday against Green Bay, gaining 20 yards.
Though gunners and other special teams positions are not recorded on the depth chart, the two players seeing the most kick-and-cover action are cornerback Dee Delaney and inside linebacker K.J. Britt. Delaney and Britt both played 84% of the special teams plays (21 of 25) against Green Bay. Neal (76%), inside linebacker Kenny Young (72%) and Nelson (68%) were next.