Down around One Buc Place, you hear players talking all the time about capping off, which is football parlance for finishing. Well, few in their midst did a better job of capping off the preseason on Thursday than Ed Gant.
During the Bucs' 29-24 loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field, the speedy former North Alabama receiver put together a highlight-reel night by catching two passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Gant also caught a two-point conversion to give the Bucs a short-lived fourth-quarter lead, but the real capper came when he grabbed a short slant pass, juked a defender to the ground and turned it into a 96-yard touchdown.
"He definitely ran away from some people," said Bucs coach Raheem Morris, who must decide whether Gant separated himself enough from his competition to become a member of the 53-man roster.
No easy task there. The Bucs consider themselves so deep at receiver that they'll probably keep six players there no matter what. The question is, can they somehow find a way to keep Gant around as a seventh.
There's no easy answer. To keep a seventh receiver, the Bucs might have to go a player short at quarterback, linebacker or offensive line.
"It's going to be tough," Morris said of formulating his roster, which he and general manager Mark Dominik got a jump on Friday by releasing former USF middle linebacker Tyrone McKenzie and defensive tackle John McCargo.
There also were reports suggesting the Bucs let go of defensive end Kyle Moore, their 2009 fourth-round draft pick, but Morris did not want to comment on those reports until the roster has been settled.
"I don't want to put names out there," he said. "We'll continue to make cuts and we'll continue to rehash it over the weekend. (The roster) will be finalized when we have to have it finalized."
That's 4 p.m. today, and when that time rolls around, the spot the Bucs go short on to make room for Gant may be at quarterback, where they are strongly considering keeping only starter Josh Freeman and backup Josh Johnson.
Should the Bucs decide to go that route, they probably will try to sign either Rudy Carpenter or Jonathan Crompton to the practice squad, but Morris seemed uncertain of the path the Bucs would take.
"Sometimes you may panic and keep (a third quarterback) because you never know what's going to happen," he said. "But you hope it's not a risk as much for us as for most people.
"We do have a big giant guy that plays QB for us (in Freeman) if we can protect him. But that's why we gave a lot of coin to (our offensive linemen) and our tight ends."
The Bucs haven't given a lot of "coin" to their receivers, because most of them are still in their first or second year in the league and haven't earned big contracts yet.
Gant, who spent most of last season on the Bucs' practice squad, blends in with the rest of the pass catchers in terms of his experience, but he stands out from the crowd because of his speed.
As he showed on his 96-yard touchdown against Washington, Gant has an ability to break free and run away from or past defenders that most of the other Bucs wideouts don't possess.
A player with that kind of speed was something the Bucs were hoping to add to their arsenal this year, so the trait could work in his favor when cuts are made. If not, Gant says he won't allow himself to be too disappointed.
"Either way, I was still blessed just to have had a shot here," he said. "Because of that I won't take it as a negative vibe or a disappointment. I mean, a lot of guys aren't even in my shoes right now.
"As far as I'm concerned, I did what I have to do. If you do everything right in this game you'll be rewarded when the ball comes to you, and I got rewarded (in this game). Now, the rest is up to the coaches."