Phillip Buchanon


Cornerback Phillip Buchanon played offense during 11-on-11 drills. Lining up at wide receiver, he caught a short hitch route before returning to defense on the next play.

"He's a guy we're going to work into our offensive plans a little bit," Gruden said. "He's a really athletic guy who can make plays. He's fast and he's got creativity after the catch, so there will be some things that we continue to look at with Phillip."


Buchanon To Play Offense?

Tampa Bay re-signed cornerback Phillip Buchanon during the offseason with the intention of having him make a significant impact on defense and special teams.

The former first-round draft pick likely will be Tampa Bay’s nickel cornerback this season, and he’s one of the candidates to earn the punt and/or kickoff return jobs.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden has liked what he has seen from Buchanon thus far. In fact, he intends to get the 5-foot-11, 186-pound Buchanon involved on the offensive side of the ball this year.

“You’re going to see more of Buchanon on offense,” said Gruden. “He’s going to play some offense for us. We’ll get him involved in the kicking game. There will be some things that we get to here later in camp.”

What does the re-emergence of cornerback Phillip Buchanon mean to the Bucs’ defense?

Since joining the Buccaneers last October after being released by the Houston Texans, cornerback Phillip Buchanon has performed like the player the Oakland Raiders believed they were getting when they selected him in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Buchanon may have encountered some early setbacks in his career but he’s looked like a playmaker since donning the pewter and red, so much so that the Bucs quickly re-signed him at the beginning of this season’s free agency period.

In the absence of injured veteran Brian Kelly, Buchanon earned the starting cornerback spot opposite Ronde Barber late last season and promptly made an impact. In his first start for the Bucs against Atlanta, he picked off quarterback Michael Vick in the end zone.

This offseason Buchanon has continued to impress Bucs coaches, eliciting praise from Gruden for his playmaking ability. Buchanon’s presence on the Bucs’ roster could give the team an exceptional third cornerback who potentially can be a vital cog in the team’s secondary. Buchanon will likely compete for playing time at the nickel back spot, but he also provides valuable insurance for the team, should one of its corners have to miss time.


Turning the Corner (Philip Buchanon Update)

“[Buchanon] came in late last season, and he and Ronde and Brian Kelly give us three really good corners that we’re excited about,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden. “He’s probably the one guy on the perimeter that has really caught my eye as a newcomer. They’re have been some other guys doing well, but Buchanon’s making a lot of plays. He’s worked extremely hard.”

Buchanon attributes his good showing on the practice field to the work of Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and Defensive Backs Coach Raheem Morris. According to the former first-round draft pick, Kiffin and Morris have designed his role to fit his talents – speed, smooth feet, quick play-recognition – and maximize his impact. However, Buchanon is more reluctant to predict what that will mean for the Bucs’ defense in 2007. Perhaps because his stops in Oakland and Houston ended in one trade and one release, he isn’t one to talk himself up in the offseason.

“For me, it’s just talk,” he said. “I’m more of a person who wants to prove it during the season. It’s too early to be talking about that. Yeah, everything sounds good, but I would prefer to wait until the season and then do my thing. Right now, this is just practice, so it doesn’t really count.”

But it does make an impact on the coaching staff’s planning and on the confidence of his teammates. Barber, for one, has been impressed with Buchanon’s development in the Bucs’ system.

“It’s hard to see why a guy like that hasn’t been on anywhere,” said the four-time Pro Bowler. “I don’t know why he fell out of favor in Houston last year, but we’re happy to have him. He can help us, definitely. He showed a little bit last year and this is an opportunity to show more.”

Added Gruden: “He looks like the Phillip Buchanon that came out of the Miami Hurricanes a couple years ago. He’s quick, he’s got a quick trigger, he jumps patterns, he’s a very instinctive guy and I’m very pleased with what he’s done, very pleased.”

Buchanon took the starting spot opposite Barber from Bolden late in the 2006 season. Bolden was then released prior to the start of free agency after two seasons as, essentially, the nickel back in Tampa. During the four games he started, the Bucs recorded five of their 11 interceptions and 10 of their 25 sacks on the season and dropped their yardage allowed average a bit to 190.0 per game.

If that represents improvement with Buchanon, then the Bucs are doubly pleased to have his return (he re-signed with the team at the start of free agency) and Kelly’s comeback.


Philip Buchanon Update

Simms threw an interception to Phillip Buchanon in 7-on-7 work, as Buchanon jumped a crossing route. Gruden praised Buchanon after practice for getting a better grasp of the playbook, saying he looked more an more like the first-round pick that he was early in his career.



Look for cornerback Phillip Buchanon to get first crack at nickel back, if offseason workouts are any indication. Buchanon signed a two-year, $5-million contract this offseason, which showed he isn't just another throwaway backup.

He will have to fend off Torrie Cox and, possibly, others. The need for a nickel corner arose when Juran Bolden was released last month.


Filling the Void (Philip Buchanon)

CB Phillip Buchanon fit into the Bucs' defensive scheme well after signing just prior to midseason last year

In the last six months, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added two veteran cornerbacks who could fill potential gaps in their secondary, this season and in the future. Interestingly, those two defenders – Phillip Buchanon and Sammy Davis – might also erase another type of void that has been five years in the making.

The 2002 and 2003 NFL Drafts passed without the Bucs executing either of their original first-round picks . Those two selections (plus second-rounders in 2002 and 2004) were shipped to the Oakland Raiders in February of ’02 as part of the deal that freed up Head Coach Jon Gruden to make his bay-to-bay switch.

Obviously, the Bucs knew well in advance of draft weekend during those two offseasons that they would be idle in the first round. Presumably the team could have lopped a few days off their scouting timeline in the springs of 2002 and 2003. They could have sent their scouts and personnel folks home early a few days a week, told them not to bother scouting, say, Dwight Freeney or Jordan Gross. Barring the most unusual of draft-day trades, the Bucs weren’t going to be anywhere near the clock when such highly-regarded prospects had their names called those two April afternoons.

Bucs Bring Back Buchanon

In a move that bolsters the team’s depth at cornerback for the 2007 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Phillip Buchanon.

Buchanon, who joined the Bucs in mid-October of last season after beginning the season with the Houston Texans, performed well for Tampa Bay, playing in 10 games and starting four. Seeing increased playing time due to a nagging turf-toe injury that eventually sidelined starter Brian Kelly for the season, the former first-round pick made the most of his opportunity, fitting into the Bucs’ Cover Two defense well.

Buchanon actually became a free agent on Friday when the new league year began, but he quickly returned to the Buccaneers.