The beginning of regular season Week One on Monday meant the first work for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' newly-formed practice squad, or at least the initial iteration of that crew.
The Buccaneers revealed that eight-man group on Monday morning, and it included three players who had been with the team in training camp: linebacker Jacob Cutrera, tight end Drake Dunsmore and tackle Bradley Sowell. Joining them were five newcomers who spent the offseason with different teams: wide receivers Dale Moss and Bert Reed, linebacker J.K. Schaffer, quarterback Adam Weber and defensive end Markus White.
The practice squad tends to evolve over the course of the season as the team reacts to changing needs on the depth chart. Still, it remains an excellent opportunity for young players to develop and eventually earn a promotion to the active roster. Last year, six players saw action in regular-season games for the Buccaneers after spending some time on the practice squad, including safety Ahmad Black, defensive end George Johnson and running back Mossis Madu.
Dunsmore's return to the practice squad means the Buccaneers have retained all seven of their 2012 draft picks in some way. The other six were kept on the active roster, including sixth-round cornerback Keith Tandy and seventh-round running back Michael Smith. Dunsmore and Cutrera were both waived during the league-wide roster reduction to 53 players on Friday.
Sowell was kept through that round of cuts but then waived on Saturday when Tampa Bay claimed three other players off waivers.
Moss (South Dakota State), Reed (Florida State) and Schaffer (Cincinnati) are all rookies who entered the league as undrafted free agents with other teams and were waived last week. The Bucs got Moss from the Green Bay Packers, Reed from the Cleveland Browns and Schaffer from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Weber, who played his college ball at Minnesota, came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Denver last year and spent the 2011 season on the Broncos' practice squad. White was drafted out of Florida State by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round in 2011 and made the active roster, appearing in two games. His last game as a Redskin was this year's preseason finale against the Buccaneers, in which he recorded four tackles.