Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris revealed on Monday that his team would soon be placing guard Davin Joseph and safety Cody Grimm on injured reserve. As it turned out, that was just the beginning of what would be a flurry of roster moves executed on Tuesday.
In addition to Joseph and Grimm, who sustained season-ending injuries in Baltimore on Sunday, the Buccaneers also moved defensive end Kyle Moore to injured reserve due to his lingering shoulder ailment. Also fourth-year safety Sabby Piscitelli was released.
Three of the four resulting roster spots were filled with promotions from the practice squad, which has proved to be a fertile ground of talent for the Buccaneers this season. Getting the call up were safety Vince Anderson, wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe and guard Brandon Carter. The fourth open spot was used to sign rookie safety Larry Asante off the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.
Those moves in turn created three spaces on the Bucs' eight-man practice squad, and two were filled on Tuesday with the signings of wide receiver Ed Gant and defensive end E.J. Wilson. Gant was most recently with the Arizona Cardinals and Wilson's last stop was with the Seattle Seahawks.
Many of Tuesday's moves will help the Buccaneers address the losses of Joseph, Grimm and Moore, all starters who will now be unavailable for the stretch run. Moore had actually missed the Bucs' last three games and four of the last seven due to his shoulder injury. Before his move to I.R., Moore started all seven games in which he appeared and contributed 29 tackles, six quarterback pressures, one pass defensed and two fumble recoveries.
Morris confirmed on Monday that third-year man Jeremy Zuttah, a valuable and versatile reserve who has started for the Buccaneers at three different positions, will take over for Joseph at right guard. The promotion of Carter adds depth to the team's interior line, where rookie Derek Hardman had been left as the only reserve before Tuesday's moves.
Anderson, a first-year player who has been on the Bucs' practice squad since the beginning of the season, will be part of the competition to replace Grimm, who had fashioned an outstanding rookie season as the team's free safety despite being drafted in the seventh round this past April. Of course, the Buccaneers have shown an uncommon willingness to rely on young players and been rewarded for it this season, and Anderson could be the next line. The first NFL player ever from NAIA school Webber International, Anderson spent his 2009 rookie season on the New York Giants' practice squad and has yet to play in a regular season game but has been impressive on the One Buc Place practice field.
Carter was an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech this past spring, spending the preseason with the New Orleans Saints before joining the Bucs' practice squad on September 14. He started 40 games at Tech and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection as a senior in 2009.
Briscoe was selected by Cincinnati in the sixth round of the 2010 draft after a prolific collegiate career at Kansas. He signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad on September 6. Another All-Big 12 first-teamer in 2009, Briscoe capped his Jayhawk career with 92 receptions and set new school records with 1,407 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches. Overall, he racked up 208 catches for 3,240 yards and 31 scores in just three seasons at Kansas.
The Bucs completed their raid of the 2009 All-Big 12 first team with the signing of Asante, a fifth-round pick by the Browns this past April. In 39 games and 36 starts at Nebraska, the 6-0, 210-pound cornerback recorded 224 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. He has been on the Browns practice squad since being released in the final roster cuts in September.
Piscitelli was the second of two players the Buccaneers drafted in the second round in 2007. He missed all but three games in his rookie season due to a foot injury but appeared in all but one game over the next two seasons, making 20 starts. This season, he appeared in 11 games, primarily on special teams, and contributed nine kick coverage stops plus 15 tackles and one interception on defense.
The 6-3, 200-pound Gant originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. He spent all of his rookie season and a portion of the current campaign on the Cardinals' practice squad before his release on November 16. After transferring to North Alabama after two seasons at Southwest Mississippi Community College, Gant played in 26 games and registered 45 receptions for 865 yards and four touchdowns. A native of Ft. Myers, Florida, he is the brother of former Buccaneer cornerback Phillip Buchanon and the cousin of former Major League Baseball outfielder Ron Gant.
Wilson was drafted in the fourth round by Seattle this past spring, selected 127th overall. The 6-2, 289-pound defensive end made the Seahawks' opening day roster and appeared in two games this season, while being declared inactive for eight others. He was waived last week. Wilson started for three seasons at North Carolina, opening 32 consecutive games to end his collegiate career. He finished with 150 tackles, 12 sacks, 29 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles, including four sacks and 12 tackles for loss as a senior. He hails from Lawrenceville, Virginia.