Tampa Bay Buccaneers News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/25/15: There are still almost two months until the NFL Draft, but since the Bucs have the first overall pick, that is what the big topic in Tampa is these days. Most expect the Bucs to select QB Jamies Winston from Florida State. He is believed to be the most 'pro ready' QB in the draft. It also helps that there is a large FSU fan base in Tampa. Additionally, recent reports claim that the team may be concerned about Marcus Mariota's laid back style. For all of Winston's faults, he is a charismatic leader and knows how to win.
3/18/15: Everyone can say that year one of the Lovie Smith Era in Tampa was an unmitigated disaster with the team finishing with only two wins on the season and 'earning' the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. The team cut ties with QB Josh McCown, as well as defensive tackle Adrian Clayborn and defensive end Michael Johnson. Actually, the Bucs look like they are getting rid of several of the big name free agents they signed a year ago. It remains to be seen what the team will do in the draft, but all signs right now point to taking quarterback Jameis Winston of Florida State with the first overall pick and rebuilding the team from there.
3/11/15: This is the time of year where teams like to send out 'smoke signals' or hints that they may be leaning toward a specific player in hopes of throwing other teams off of their real intents. For the Bucs, it publicly looks like they are inclined to take Florida State QB Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the draft. They even had Winston in for a visit last week, though they will probably do the same with Marcus Mariota and other potential first round picks. The Bucs certainly need a franchise QB, and there is little doubt that Winston would at least put fans in the seats.
3/4/15: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more needs than just a quarterback, though that is where most of media attention is focused. For starters, they may need a replacement for wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Vjax is a great WR, but is owed a lot of money and it would not be surprising to see him cut to save money. But they also need pass rushers. The Michael Johnson signing never panned out and Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn are probably not coming back. It will be year two of the Lovie Smith era, so expect the Bucs to put some money into getting players that fit his Tampa 2 defense this time around.
2/25/15: The NFL Combine is now over, perhaps to the dismay of hard-core NFL fans that cannot get enough of Division II players testing their vertical jump. It means that the Bucs (and everyone else) have more information on QBs Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota - either one could be the Bucs' first pick. Winston impressed with his football knowledge, being compared to Peyton Manning. Mariota impressed with his athleticism. It will be a tough choice for Tampa, but many are leaning toward Winston because he is considered more 'pro-ready', despite concerns for his off-field behavior over the past couple of years.
2/18/15: Tampa Bay made some of the biggest news in the NFL last week when they announced that they had released quarterback Josh McCown. McCown famously filled in for Jay Culter in the 2013 season and had five great games. That got the veteran the starting job with the Buccaneers last season. But injuries and poor overall team play got him a seat on the bench. Now he is a free agent, and may be the best free agent QB available this offseason. Tampa was actually kind to release him early, that will give him more time to find a new team - and there are plenty of teams that may want him.
2/11/15: While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not given fans much of a reason to be happy on the field over the past few years, they do have a very unique and interesting stadium. Most notable is the pirate ship beyond the north end zone where fans can sip away their blues and the cannon fires on those occasions when the Bucs score a touchdown. The field itself is a different story. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers blamed the turf for his calf injury back on December 21. Those that run the stadium politely object to such a charge and claim the turf is just fine. The field was tested before and after the game to ensure NFL compliance and it routinely ranks as one of the better natural grass fields in the league.
2/5/15: The debate continues to rage in Tampa about who the Bucs should select first overall in the NFL Draft: Marcus Mariota from Oregon or Jameis Winston from Florida State. With another unscientific poll, it seems that the local favorite is Jameis Winston, though that may be a local bias considering Winston is from Florida State. Winston is viewed by many as the better pro prospect and more of a pocket passer, where as Mariota is seen as the product of an offensive scheme. There are still three more months until the draft, so let the debate continue.
1/28/15: The controversy involving New England possibly deflating footballs in the AFC Championship Game is reaching critical mass. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Brad Johnson is now in the middle of it after a report came out that he paid someone $7,500 to alter all the balls used the Super Bowl in 2002. Later, he claimed that his words were being blown out of proportion and that he and Raiders QB Rich Gannon decided they both want to use scuffed balls and he tipped the ball boys. In the grand scheme of things, it probably does not matter, but does make for good copy during the down week before the Super Bowl.
1/21/15: It is about to get busy at One Buc Place with the amount of scouting and draft board building that must go on between now and May. From the outside, the big need is a franchise quarterback, and most experts believe that Marcus Mariota from Oregon or Jameis Winston from Florida State should be the pick. The Bucs have a new offensive coordinator in Dick Koetter, though he claims that first overall pick belongs to head coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht. Of course, the last time the Bucs picked a QB first overall was Vinny Testaverde, and he did not work out well in Tampa.
1/14/15: The Buccaneers hired Lovie Smith a year ago as a link back to their glory days under Tony Dungy and John Gruden, and to revive a listless franchise after the tandem of Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano took them back to their expansion days. Season one was a disaster and the Bucs finished last in the league. Among the problems they had was losing offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford before the season started to a health issue. They finally have a permanent replacement in Dirk Koetter, who spent the last three seasons as the OC for the Atlanta Falcons.
1/7/15: The Buccaneers were able to stop themselves from doing something foolish in the final game of the regular season - like win their game against the Saints and lose the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, as well as the first pick in all rounds of the draft. Several individuals have accused the team of tanking, though the team denies it (despite playing backups in the fourth quarter when they had a 13 point lead). In any case, GM Jason Licht went to the Rose Bowl, presumably to scout the presumed top two QBs in the next draft: Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Jameis Winston (Florida State). So let the debate between the two begin.
12/3/14: Without trying to state the obvious, it is simply not Tampa's year. The Bucs seem to find a way to lose on most weeks, and last Sunday was no different. Tampa took an early 10-0 lead, but could not continue to apply the needed pressure to knock off Cincinnati. Instead, the Bengals rallied with touchdowns in both the second and third quarters to drop the Bucs 14-13. The defense actually played well. They limited Cincy to under 300 yards of total offense and picked off Andy Dalton three times. Unfortunately, the offense was of little help on the day. Tampa now sits at 2-10 on the season and heads up to Detroit this Sunday.
11/19/14: Tampa earned their second win of the season, and both have been on the road, by dominating Washington 27-7. The Bucs started quickly, picking off Washington QB Robert Griffin III on the first play from scrimmage. They built up a 13-0 lead before allowing the only opposition points of the game. Even then, they added two second half touchdowns, both long strikes to rookie wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans finished the day with 209 yards on seven catches and two scores. Tampa improved to 2-8 on the season, technically still in the playoff hunt, and visits Chicago this Sunday.
11/12/14: It is not much to celebrate, probably, but at least the Bucs did not give up 56 points to the Atlanta Falcons in their second meeting of the year. Atlanta did win 27-17, but it is some sort of improvement, right? Josh McCown took over as the starting QB (again) from Mike Glennon, which raises a whole lot of other questions. He did have 301 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two costly interceptions. Tampa never could get the running game going and finished with only 92 yards. Tampa fell to 1-8 with the loss and heads to Washington this Sunday.
11/5/14: The Buccaneers fell again over the weekend, but they showed more heart than they have in other games. Tampa actually led the host Cleveland Browns 10-9 at halftime, which was the first time they had done that since December 2013. However, they just did not have enough offense to get their second victory of the year. Wide receiver Mike Evans had his best day so far. He had seven receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs are still a developing team, and this is the type of game they win a year from now. Tampa is back home this Sunday to host the Atlanta Falcons, which is a very winnable game.
10/29/14: The Bucs announced earlier in the week that they signed defensive end Gerald McCoy to an extension worth just under $100 million. It is about $35 million in guaranteed money, but still, that is a lot of money. However, McCoy is going to need some help in future years. The Bucs dropped another home game, this time to Minnesota, 19-13 in overtime. The offense really never got going. QB Mike Glennon only managed 171 yards, one touchdown to go with an interception. While the running game could only muster 66 yards on the day. Tampa fell to 1-6 on the season and heads north to Cleveland this Sunday.
10/22/14: The good news is that the Buccaneers did not lose last weekend. Of course, they were on their bye week (along with the Philadelphia Eagles), so they did not win either. The return of Lovie Smith to the organization as head coach has not produced the results that many fans had envisioned. Smith is trying to return the defense to the famed Tampa 2 scheme that won a Super Bowl in 2002, but just does not have the personnel to do so yet. But brighter days are ahead. It may take a bit of time to get everyone on the same page, but Smith has the pedigree to do so. The Bucs have a great chance at win number two this Sunday when they host the Minnesota Vikings.
10/15/14: It is probably time to put that notion that Tampa is a darkhorse Super Bowl team to rest now. For the second time this season, they have allowed a team to score at least 48 points, bringing into question the effectiveness of Lovie Smith and his defensive scheme. The Bucs were down 38-0 at halftime and ended up losing 4-17 at home. QB Mike Glennon threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, but also had a pick. Tampa fell to 1-5 on the season and is winless at home in three tries. They have this week off for a bye, so maybe they can come back regrouped and refocused.
10/8/14: The Lovie Smith Era, so far, looks a lot like the last year of the Greg Schiano Era, but with one more win. The Bucs fell to 1-4 on the season with an overtime loss, on the road, to the New Orleans Saints, 37-31. Starting QB Josh McCown is out for awhile so Mike Glennon got the start. Give the Bucs some credit, though. They were down 13-0 in the second quarter and battled back. They actually led 31-20 in the third quarter before it all fell apart. It is tough to beat the Saints in the Super Dome, and hopefully this is a learning experience for the team. Tampa is back home this Sunday and will host the Baltimore Ravens.
10/1/14: The Bucs earned the first victory of the Lovie Smith Era last Sunday with an upset win, on the road, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson hauled in a five yard pass from Mike Glennon with seven seconds remaining in the game to earn the victory. It was Glennon's first start of the season, and he may end up earning back the starter's position, even after Josh McCown returns from injury. Glennon threw for over 300 yards and had two touchdown passes in the game. The win puts the Bucs at 1-3 on the season, and is an enormous improvement from the 56-14 beatdown they took from Atlanta 10 days prior. Tampa remains on the road this week as they head to New Orleans.
9/24/14: Well, this was not the way the Bucs envisioned the start of the Lovie Smith Era. Just a few days after losing the St. Louis Rams at home (partially due to a 10 second injury run-off of the clock), the Bucs were throttled by the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday. At one point, they were down 56-0, but managed two late TDs to get to 56-14. QB Josh McCown injured his thumb and Mike Glennon came in, and was a little better. Smith says that McCown is his starter if healthy. Tampa is back on the road this Sunday to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
9/17/14: The Rams and Bucs once had a great rivalry, back when both teams were winning Super Bowls. Those days are long gone, but there is still a lot of fire when these teams get together. That came out again on Sunday with St. Louis visiting. Neither team could get and establish a dominant lead as defenses were strong all day. In the end, the Bucs miscues on special teams ended up being the difference as the Rams took this chapter 19-17. Tampa was marching down for a late field goal attempt, but Mike Evans was injured with 8 seconds left, requiring a 10 second run-off - game over. Tampa is now 0-2 on the season and has a short week to visit the Falcons on Thursday night.
8/28/14: NFL players are no strangers to off-field issues (and arrests). They always seem to have a target on their back when they go out and enjoy some nightlife. Video surfaced last week of Bucs rookie wide receiver Mike Evans throwing a punch in the middle of a brawl outside a Florida nightclub. Apparently, the video is from March - before Evans was in the NFL - and no arrests were made. Evans will probably not face any punishments from the league because he was not a league employee at the time. The Bucs just have to hope that this is just a one time thing and not a pattern with their new WR.
8/21/14: The Buccaneers are expecting some good things on offense this season. They have had big wide receiver Vincent Jackson for a few years now, and added big target Mike Evans in the draft back in May. Evans was a standout in college with Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel throwing to him. He put on a bit of show last Saturday against the Miami Dolphins. He almost scored on a 42 yard play, but was ruled to have fumbled within the one yard line. The fumble aside, Evans displayed that big play potential that has many thinking the Bucs could be a surprise team this season.
8/14/14: There is a lot of optimism in Tampa these days about the future of the Bucs. It also helps to play in a division that historically has seen the last place team from the previous season win the division the next season. But the Bucs have a lot of work to do if they are going to win the NFC South. The big issue is the offensive line, which was rolled over by the Jacksonville Jaguars int the preseason opener. Most coaches believe that the offense begins with the offensive line, so this should be concerning. On the other hand, it is just preseason and everyone is shaking off the rust.
8/7/14: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the early 2000's were some great teams and even won the Super Bowl in 2002 after a couple of years of getting close. Several of the members of the - particularly on the defense - are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or will be. Derrick Brooks was the latest, and possibly greatest, to get into the Hall. Brooks was among the best in his day, perhaps even of all time, and is certainly deserving of the honor. To this day, he is still beloved in both Tampa and Tallahassee (he went to Florida State University), perhaps rivaling only Lee Roy Selmon in Bucs lore.
7/31/14: The Bucs made big news two years ago when they signed all-pro guard Carl Nicks from the rival New Orleans Saints. Nicks was expected to be a major part of their offensive line for next five years. Things never worked out with Nicks and the team. He was injured for much of his first season and missed last season with a staph infection. In all, he made $25 million for nine games. Now the team and Nicks have parted ways in what is being termed an "amicable settlement". Nicks is a free agent again and can sign anywhere, though he may chose to retire.
7/24/14: The two years that Greg Schiano was the head coach of the Buccaneers are often referred to as his 'reign of terror' in West and Central Florida. But those days are gone and the team brought back the beloved Lovie Smith to resurrect the franchise. But as much as Schiano was disliked by the fan base, at least one of his former players thinks he should get another shot. Former Bucs guard, Davin Joseph (now with the Rams), said that Schiano executed the direction that he was given well. Perhaps the direction was bad then. In any case, Joseph feels Schiano will get another shot at some point.
7/17/14: The story of QB Josh McCown's rise to prominance last season, while filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, has been widely discussed. The short version is that he played very well and is now the starting QB for the Buccaneers. McCown has a preference for throwing to big targets, like Alshon Jefferies and Brandon Marshall in Chicago. He has that in Vincent Jackson in Tampa. The Bucs also drafted some big guys for him: wide receiver Mike Evans (Texas A&M) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. ASJ is getting a late start with the team as he could not practice until his school year ended. But the three together could pose problems for other teams in the NFC South for the next few years.
7/10/14: Tampa Bay is expecting big things from rookie wide receiver Mike Evans, whom they selected in the first round. Evans is a big, physical receiver and very similar to fellow Bucs WR Vincent Jackson. But Evans has not been working out with Jackson. He has been training with Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall also has that same big frame. What is more is that Marshall played with new Bucs QB Josh McCown last year in Chicago and may have particular insights on McCown's tendencies and patterns. That is probably a pretty smart move on Evan's part to train with someone who knows his new QB.
7/3/14: New Bucs QB Josh McCown has some pretty big supporters, even from players on other teams. And not just run of the mill guys, either. No less than the Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald is a McCown supporter. Fitzgerald said that McCown throws a great ball and is a natural leader. Jonathan Casillas (Bucs linebacker and formerly of the New Orleans Saints) says that McCown reminds him of Drew Brees. Those are some pretty good endorsements for McCown, and the Bucs hope they are accurate accounts so they can win the NFC South, rather than take a back seat to their division rivals.
6/26/14: There have been bigger names that have passed through One Buccaneers Place, but very few that have had the impact of Derrick Brooks. Brooks is long since retired, but was a key member of the great Bucs teams in the last 1990's and early 2000's - and, with the exception of Lee Roy Selmon, no one has had a bigger impact on the Tampa community. Brooks was awarded the Lee Roy Selmon Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission last week and he is more than a deserving recipient. Brooks is a class act and should be emulated by youngsters coming into the pro game.
6/19/14: The Bucs have finished up their offseason training program and they have all of their draft class signed, sealed and delivered. The big name signings were first round pick wide receiver Mike Evans and third round pick Charles Sims. The final signing was tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins has been limited in OTAs so far due to injuries and league rules requiring him to miss practices until his academic year (University of Washington) had concluded. He has a lot of competition at tight end, so he must have a great training camp to get some playing time early on.
6/12/14: The Bucs have a lot to worry about this season. They are breaking in a new QB. They are installing a new offense and a new defense, and no one is really sure how good or bad they will be in the 2015 season. Selling tickets is another issue, though, if you win, not a hard sell. But Green Bay Packers fans have been gobbling up tickets for their December match up. Tampa has had trouble filling the stadium. They actually had a lower per game home attendance than Jacksonville last season, though had more total attendance because the Jaguars played one home game in London.
6/6/14: Every year, every time a defense changes schemes and gets a new defensive coordinator, the players start howling about how this year will be different and how they will be a great defense now. Offenses do this too, but defenses seem louder for some reason. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is waving that banner now. Head coach Lovie Smith and DC Leslie Frazier have a new system, and McCoy is raving that they will now be a penetrating defense. They may well be, but these types of shows are usually nothing but good copy that get fans excited.
5/29/14: If you have ever heard of quarterback Alex Tanney, it is probably because a) you are a Cleveland Browns fan and realized that with the depleting number of quarterbacks on the roster that he may be starting a game, or b) you watched his YouTube video of trick shots. Tanney was released by the Browns not too long ago, but the Bucs have signed him. He may be just a camp arm, as Josh McCown and Mike Glennon are clearly #1 and #2, but Tanney is entertaining. While he is a longshot to make the team even as the #3 QB, his trick shot video is available and that is always amazing to see how talented a professional QB really is.
5/22/14: The Bucs have done a pretty good job of antagonizing second year quarterback Mike Glennon over the past few months, but perhaps they are changing their tune. Glennon started most of last season and was pretty good as a rookie. When Lovie Smith took over as head coach, he immediately acquired QB Josh McCown and named him the starter. There were even rumors that the team was trying to move Glennon around the draft. But now the Bucs seem to like Glennon after spending some more time with him. Actually, there is a good chance that the team will use McCown for a year or two before handing the reigns back to Glennon.
5/15/14: The Bucs, throughout their history, have been a team that has either played great defense and have been successful - or they have been downright terrible. Hiring Lovie Smith as head coach was intended to get them back to the top of the mountain, presumably with a defense first mentality. But the Bucs chose WR Mike Evans (Texas A&M) in the first round of the draft. He will be a complement to star WR Vincent Jackson, which indicates that the Bucs are looking to keep up with the rest of the NFC South on the offensive side of the ball.
5/8/14: The simple fact is that the Bucs essentially admitted they made a mistake in the Greg Schiano hire a couple years ago and have hit the reset button by hiring prodigal son Lovie Smith to take over the team. Tampa has been very active and public in their offseason moves, which includes signing QB Josh McCown as their starting QB. Naturally, expectations have been creeping up on the team, but they seem happy with those expectations being high. Lovie is a great coach and it looks like he does have the team back on track after two years of dysfunction.
5/1/14: A year ago, QB Mike Glennon was drafted by the Bucs. About six months ago he was named the starter and the team shipped off Josh Freeman. Glennon had a pretty good rookie year, but things have changed around One Buccaneer Place. There is a new coaching staff that is not sold on Glennon, so they brought in Josh McCown and named him the starter. Many believe that the Bucs will draft a QB (Blake Bortles?) with the seventh overall pick. That would make Bortles the QB of the future and make Glennon the odd man out. It also means that the Bucs may be looking to trade Glennon, who could be a great pickup for franchise looking for a QB.
4/24/14: The Bucs paid a handsome price to sign offensive guard Carl Nicks as a free agent two years ago, giving him a five year, $47.5 million deal to bolster their O-line and hopefully take something away from the Saints. It has not turned out well so far, as Nicks has only played in nine out of 32 games in two season. He is still suffering from a foot injury which eventually developed into a staph infection. Nicks will not be available for the sprint mini-camp (the first one for new Bucs coach Lovie Smith), but hopes to be ready for training camp in the summer.
4/17/14: Tampa owns the seventh overall pick in the draft next month, and considering their personnel, seems to be in an unusual position. The elite defensive players that they may covet, such as Jadeveon Clowney and Kalil Mack will probably be off the board when the Bucs pick. And even though Mike Glennon played well as a rookie last season and that the team signed Josh McCown to be the starter for this coming season, they are looking at all the QBs. The Bucs have already hosted Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr, indicating that they use that seventh pick on a QB, or wait until the second round and develop a 'second tier' guy.
4/10/14: The media attention around the league over the past couple of weeks has been on former Eagles wide receiver and his release from the team hours after a published article alleged that Djax had ties to gang members. Lost in all of this was the ongoing off-field issues of Bucs' WR Michael Johnson. The most recent of which included him getting stabbed by his brother. He will be fine and should be back for training camp, but that will not be in Tampa. The Bucs had enough of these issues and traded him to Buffalo for a sixth round pick. That makes 11 starters from last year who are not on the team this coming season.
4/3/14: New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith is a well respected coach that gets the attention of his locker room. When he speaks, people listen. So, while Minnesota Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, was not impressed by Johnny Manziels choreographed pro day event, Lovie Smith thought Manziel made a statement by throwing in pads and a helmet. It is smoke screen season as we head toward the draft, and perhaps Smith is trying to pump up Manziel's stock so he can trade down. In any case, the Bucs could draft a QB early to develop for a year behind new starter Josh McCown.
3/27/14: Tampa has been among the most active teams, if not the most active team, in free agency this offseason. The team has a new GM in Jason Licht and a new head coach in Lovie Smith. Their activity has generally been met with good reviews, though 'winning' in free agency does not always lead to winning on the field (see: Washington Redskins for the past decade). It is not all roses and lollipops, though. The Bucs cut offensive lineman Donald Penn, who had been with the team for seven seasons. Penn says that he was told he was to be part of the future, then found himself without a job.
3/20/14: New head coach Lovie Smith is not wasting any time in retooling the roster. He has brought in a new 'starting' QB in former Bears backup Josh McCown - who had a terrific run last season while starter Jay Cutler was hurt. Though it begs the question of what to do with second year QB Matt Glennon, who did well last season. He also got former Titans cornerback Alteruran Verner, which led to the team releasing Derrelle Revis. That move saved the team a lot of money ($16 million salary). The Bucs will have a new look in both roster and uniform next season, and may have a shot of taking the NFC South crown for the first time in several years.
3/13/14: Tampa unveiled their new uniforms for next season and it was not greeted with the warm welcome that they may have hoped for. The team displayed the new helmets a few weeks ago, with the big change being a giant pirate flag instead of standard issue size. The new unis are a far departure from what they have worn since 1997, and some people believe they invoke an XFL look. At the same time, Bucs fans will probably not care what kind of uniform they wear as long as they are winning - and that is the hope with new head coach Lovie Smith.
3/6/14: Speculation about cornerback Darrelle Revis' future in Tampa is running rampant. The Bucs traded for Revis last offseason, despite the fact that he was recovering from a torn ACL. Its not that Revis had a bad season, it is more the fact that he is very expensive and there is concern that he will not fit in well with new head coach Lovie Smith's defense. To date, everyone is saying the right things. The reality is that he may be hard to trade anyhow because his salary is so high. Chances are that he will stay in Tampa at least another year
2/27/14: According to reports this week, the Bucs are absolutely looking for a veteran QB. Rookie Mike Glennon took the helm last season from former first round pick Josh Freeman, and he played pretty well for a rookie. Give him some more time, and he may develop into a quality quarterback. That being said, the Bucs would be wise to bring in a veteran either to compete for the starting job or offer guidance to Glennon. The Bucs also announced their new logo. It is basically the same, but the pirate flag on the helmet is much bigger. Too big according some who have seen it.
2/20/14: Lovie Smith is not known for being an offensive genius, but he sure can coach up a defense. In his time in Chicago, the Bears never really had a dominant offense, despite having some gifted playmakers like Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall. However, the offensive line - particularly in Smith's later years with the Bears - were not very good. One of those lineman was 2011 first round pick Gabe Carimi. Carimi was cut by the Bears in 2013, and played most of last season with Tampa. Apparently, Lovie has seen all he ever wants to of Carimi and released him last week. Carimi was then signed by the Falcons.
2/13/14: It has been a few weeks since the Dolphins hired Dennis Hickey, the longtime Bucs personnel man and number two in personnel services, as their GM. In the days immediately following the hire, it was reported that Hickey was about to be fired by the Bucs (his boss, former GM Mark Dominic was fired). Now comes reports actually praising Hickey for his work in Tampa and picking up good players. That would seem to mesh with the fact that he spent 18 years with the team. You simply cannot go that long without being at least somewhat competent in your job.
2/6/14: Tampa's past few years have been wiped clean and the team is starting fresh. New head coach Lovie Smith has put together a great staff that includes defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. Lovie is loved locally from when he was an assistant defensive coach during the Tony Dungy days (before leaving to be the DC of the St. Louis Rams). Cornerback Derrelle Revis will be fully healthy, making this a defense to reckon with next season. They could be the next NFC South champions, even with Carolina, New Orleans, and a revamped Atlanta.
1/30/14: What does a guy have to do to get some recognition around here? That must be what director of personnel Dennis Hickey was saying after he was not even considered for the open GM position after Mark Dominic was fired. Hickey has been with the Bucs for 18 years, gradually working his way through the team through good and bad years. Hickey finally left the Bucs and was hired by in-state rival Miami as their GM last week. Time will tell if it is a good hire for Miami or not, but the Bucs are losing a quality personnel guy.
1/23/14: Fourteen years ago, Tampa was a center of NFL excellence. For those that do not remember, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were pretty much a laughingstock for the first quarter century of existence. However, the 1999 season was different. The Bucs had the best defense in football (one of the best in history) and took on the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship game (one of the best offenses in history). It was an epic battle that the Rams won (they won the Super Bowl two weeks later). But set the stage for the Bucs Super Bowl win a few years later.
1/16/14: Give props to Lovie Smith. He sat out of football last season after being fired by the Chicago Bears. Apparently, he was busy assembling a new coaching staff. Since being hired by the Bucs less than two weeks ago, he already has former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford on board as OC (he developed Aaron Rodgers) as well as Leslie Frazier as DC. Fraizer was on Tony Dungy's staff in Indianapolis, just like Smith was on Dungy's staff in Tampa - so they are going to run the same Cover 2 (or, as locally known, Tampa 2) defense. Nice start, Lovie.
1/9/14: The Bucs did not waste much time in hiring a replacement for head coach Greg Schiano. Tampa moved quickly and hired former Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Smith had nine successful years in Chicago which included a Super Bowl appearance. Smith was defensive backs coach in Tampa in the late 1990's, so he is familiar with the organization. He is assembling his staff quickly as well. It looks like former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier will be the defensive coordinator and fomer Cal head coach Jeff Tedford will be the offensive coordinator. Good moves all around for Tampa.
1/2/14: The day after Tampa's regular season ended the team fired both head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik. Schiano said he was surprised by the firing, saying that he expected to start working on next season. Schiano may be in line to replace Bill O'Brien at Penn State, should O'Brien leave. Schiano was a very good college coach at Rutgers, so he may well have a soft landing. The Bucs are looking for a new head coach now, and there is a lot of talk that Lovie Smith will get the job. Smith was a position coach with the Bucs in the late 1990's and early 2000's before he became the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, then head coach for the Chicago Bears.
12/26/13: Most people probably do not consider Tampa vs. St. Louis much of a rivalry, but rest assured there is a lot of long lingering hate between the two teams and fan bases. It dates back to the 1999 season when the Rams beat the Bucs in the NFC Conference Championship Game. More precisely, when Bucs' WR Bert Emmanuel dropped a key pass late in the game (it was a drop). Once again, the Rams got the best of the Bucs, which makes the seat for head coach Greg Schiano even hotter. Tampa finishes up the season at New Orleans with a chance to play spoiler.
12/19/13: After starting the season 0-7, the Bucs are looking better, but they were simply outmatched against the San Francisco 49ers at home last Sunday. The 49ers won 33-14 in a romp and severely limited the Bucs offense. Tampa tried to get back into the game and made it 20-14 early in the fourth quarter before San Francisco pulled away. The 49ers took away the Bucs' running game, as Tampa's leading rusher was Bobby Rainy who only managed 27 yards. Tampa now sits at 4-10 on the season and will face another tough defense in St. Louis (6-8) this Sunday.
12/12/13: They say winning cures everything, and that is proving true in Tampa. The Bucs win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday improved their record to 4-9. That is generally not a good mark, but considering they lost their first eight games and have won four of their last five - it is much better. The turnaround may be enough to save Greg Schiano's head coaching job. Certainly the calls for his head in Tampa have slowed down, and it looks like upper management will wait until the end of the season to make a decision. Tough one this week as the Bucs host the 49ers.
12/5/13: The season started terribly for the Bucs but it has gotten better. Unfortunately, they ran into the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, and the Panthers are on a serious roll. Carolina completely dominated the game and kept rookie QB Mike Glennon guessing all day in 27-6 game. The loss ensured that the Bucs would have another losing season. The good news for Tampa fans is that the team is buying into head coach Greg Schiano's plan. They have played well of late and that is reminiscent of former Bucs teams. Tampa (3-9) hosts Buffalo (4-8) this Sunday.
11/28/13: Tampa is the resurgent team of the second half so far. After starting the season at 0-7, the Bucs have won their last three outings, most recently scoring an impressive 24-21 road win over the Lions. The wins have settled down the 'Fire Schiano' noise, at least temporarily. Tampa did get a bit of a break at the end of the game when Calvin Johnson dropped a pass that Tampa intercepted (their fourth INT of the day). We'll see how good the new Bucs are when they head to Charlotte to face the 8-3 Panthers, who have won seven in a row.
11/21/13: Its officially a winning streak. Tampa dispatched the dysfunctional Miami Dolphins in Week 10 in the Monday Night Game, and just knocked off the depleted Atlanta Falcons in Week 11 for their second win of the season. The Bucs put 41 points on the board including 21 in the second quarter alone. QB Mike Glennon threw for 231 yards and two TDs while Vincent Jackson had 165 yards receiving and a score. Bobby Rainey came out of nowhere for 163 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Tampa (2-8) wll put their two game winning streak on the line at Detroit (6-4) this Sunday.
11/14/13: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers earned their first victory of the seasson by defeating the Miami Dolphins 22-19 last Monday Night. The win allowed the Bucs to avoid starting 0-9 for the fifth time in their history. Tampa has been close several times this season, even taking the Seahawks to overtime in Seattle the previous week. Miami may have been distracted by the bullying situation which has taken 40% of their offensive line off the field for the time being. Tampa becomes the last team in the league to win a game this season, but only time will tell if it is enough to save head coach Greg Schiano's job.
11/7/13: Moral victories do not count for much in the NFL, but Tampa can probably take one from last Sunday. The Bucs fell to the Seahawks, in Seattle, 27-24 in overtime. That is pretty impressive for a winless team against the best team in the NFC. Tampa rushed out to a 21 point lead behind good play calling and excellent running by Michael James (28 carries for 158 yards). Unfortunately, they could not hold on to their lead and Seattle came back in the second half and won the game in overtime. Tampa is not as bad as their record, but they may have to win a few games down the stretch to save head coach Greg Schiano's job.
10/31/13: It looks like a Dead Man Walking scenario in Tampa with head coach Greg Schiano. After last Thursday's overwhelming loss to the Carolina Panthers on national television, combined with reports of unhappy players and former players, and even a local radio station purchasing 19 billboards to say 'Fire Schiano', it looks like the coach has worn out his welcome in Tampa. The Bucs were simply overpowered in the Panthers' game and do not show any signs of life. Tampa has nine games left on its season, and Schiano knows as well as anyone that only wins will quell the storm against him.
10/24/13: Greg Schiano's reign of terror in Tampa continues. It may seem like the other NFC South teams pitched in to get Schiano in Tampa, now that the team has lost 11 of their last 12 games, are 0-6 on the season and have only scored 87 points in those six games. The latest loss was 31-23 at the hands of the host Atlanta Falcons, who had only one one game before last Sunday and are decimated by injuries. The only bright spot was 138 yards receiving and two touchdowns by Vincent Jackson. Tampa will work on a short week as they have the Thursday Night Game at home against the Carolina Panters (3-3).
10/17/13: The season keeps getting longer for the Bucs, and they lost again. The Philadelphia Eagles came to town and kept the Bucs winless with a 31-20 showing. The big matchup going into the game was Tampa cornerback Darelle Revis against Eagles' wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson got the better of the matchup on this day with two touchdowns on six reception. Tampa's new QB, Mike Glennon, was not bad in his second start. He had 273 yards passing and two TDs to Vincent Jackson. At this point, though, the Bucs are simply outmanned. Tampa heads to Atlanta (2-3) to try to get their first win of the season this Sunday.
10/10/13: The Bucs are the train wreck that everyone is enjoying watching. However, they did get themselves free of their biggest distraction on their bye week. Tampa released QB Josh Freeman after no one was willing to trade for him. The Bucs owe Freeman the balance of his salary for the years, about $6.2 million to go away. It is not a move the team wanted to make, but the NFLPA is investigating how the team handled the entire situation so it was probably deemed best to cut their losses. Freeman signed with Minnesota and will collect another $2 million from the Vikings this season. Tampa (0-4) is back in Week 6 hosting the Eagles (2-3).
10/3/13: The Bucs are just finding ways to lose now. Tampa made the much publicized move to bench starting QB Josh Freeman in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. The results did not change as the Bucs dropped to 0-4 with a 13-10 loss to the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Tampa had a 10-0 lead at halftime but could not muster any offense at all in the second half. Glennon threw for 193 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs in his debut and looked like Freeman with a different number. Tampa has to figure out what they will do with Freeman. He wants out of the organization but is guaranteed over $6 million for the rest of the season. There may not be much of a market for him now unless another QB gets hurt. Tampa has a bye in Week 5.
9/26/13: These are not good days for Bucs fans. The team is 0-3 and there are plenty of reports about discord between the players and head coach Greg Schiano. The latest loss came on the road to New England, where it looked like the Bucs did not put up any sort of fight. Worse yet, star wide receiver Vincent Jackson left the game early with an injury. QB Josh Freeman seems to be buckling under the pressure and may do well with a fresh start elsewhere. Tampa gets back home for Week 4. They host the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) on Sunday. Another loss may be the end of Schiano's tenure in Tampa or may send Freeman to the bench for Mike Glennon.
9/19/19: Just two weeks into the season and the Bucs look like they are in shambles. The team is 0-2, losing again in the final minutes to the 2-0 New Orleans Saints. The team is fragmented, apparently between players and coaches. There have been several instances to be reported of disharmony, though the team contiually denies all of them. Winning would help bond the team, and they need it. The team is 1-7 in their past eight game - putting head coach Greg Schiano on the hot seat. Tampa travels to New England this Sunday, which is not traditionally a good place to get healthy.
9/12/13: The Buccaneers entered the season with what most people thought was a gimme game. They opened against the Jets and their maligned offense. The left with an unfathonable loss leading to more questions about the team than answers. Tampa committed 13 penalties in the 18-17 defeat, including a late hit with just seconds remaining that put the Jets in range to hit the winning field goal. WR Vincent Jackson did manage 154 yards receiving, and Darrelle Revis played 53 snaps on defense. The Bucs get a chance to regroup this Sunday when they host the New Orleans Saints.
9/4/13: If you are trying to rebuild your secondary, there is no better way than to play against what may be the worst offense in the league, who is starting an overwhelmed rookie in Week One. It also helps that your new star cornerback was their cornerback for years, and that will help in game planning. That is the case for the Bucs this week as they open the 2013 season against the New York Jets and rookie QB Geno Smith. Darrelle Revis is expected to start on Sunday, as is star running back Doug Martin. The Bucs should win this one and be able to get off on a good start this season.
8/29/13: Former Vikings great quarterback Fran Tarkenton went on Tampa area radio and said that Bucs QB Josh Freeman was 'god-awful' and could not play at all. Naturally the Bucs defended their player, though it does speak volumes that the team has not extended his contract, putting him in a position to earn a new contract this season. The early returns are not promising. Freeman has looked rattled in the preseason and is not on the same page as his receivers. Freeman has shown great potential at times, but one has to wonder if the team is simply grooming the backup at this point.
8/22/13: The Bucs look like they avoided a big bullet this past week when star running back Doug Martin left the preseason game against the Patriots with a head injury. Martin took a knee to his helmet on a block. The obvious concern was for a concussion. Fortunately, Martin passed all the concussion tests and came out and said he did not have a concussion. He may be held out for a bit, but he is expected back for the regular season. Tampa needs him to follow up on his rookie campaign and take pressure off of QB Josh Freeman if the offense is to be successful.
8/15/13: The Bucs may have the right to call 'Shenanigans' on the San Francicso 49ers. A few weeks ago, the Bucs agreed to trade cornerback Eric Wright to San Francisco for a conditional draft pick. The 49ers said Wright failed his phycical and voided the trade. The Bucs then cut Wright. San Francisco then signed Wright as a free agent last week. Is it possible that Wright met the physical in only three weeks? Chances are that no one will ever know, but Tampa may have reason for a grievance against the 49ers, and this may hurt San Francisco's ability to negotiate in good faith in the future.
8/8/13: The Bucs added running back Peyton Hillis to the roster last week. This is interesting because it was not that long ago that Hillis was considered one of the better power rushing backs in the game, but it took a long time this summer for him to find a team. Second year RB Doug Martin is the starter, and Hillis joins two others vying for the backup role. If Hillis gets on the field, he is sure to be a fan favorite in Tampa. The Bucs' fans loved, even adored, Mike Alstott back in the day, and will give Hillis the same kind of love. That is, unless he fumbles on the one yard line and the team loses to the Saints.
8/1/13: If you go into Raymond James Stadium this season, you are still likely to see Mike Alstot jerseys among the few people that still go to Bucs games. Alstot was a fan favorite for many years and helped the team win the Super Bowl in 2002. Alstot is not walking back through that door, but the team did sign Peyton Hillis - who is probably the closest thing to Alstot these days. Hillis will provide a safety net for the Pocket Hampster and should get the crowd excited with his 'go through anybody' style of play. Maybe not the sexiest signing, but one that will make the Bucs faithful happy this season.
7/25/13: The Buccaneers can avoid all criticism on the trade of cornerback Eric Wright to the San Francisco 49ers last week. The Bucs disclosed to the 49ers that Wright had been arrested for suspicion of DUI on July 12, just days before the trade. It was the right thing to do for the team, both ethically and legally. There is no word on if the arrest had anything to do with the trade or not. Now it is in the hands of the 49ers to defend themselves from any attacks of taking a 'risky' or 'problem' player knowingly.
7/18/13: Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams sent out a cryptic Tweet last week which many interpretted as his frustration with the organization to get a long term deal finished. A month ago, Williams indicated that a deal was close, but it has yet to be finalized. Now the WR has changed his tune and says he is not frustrated. He also said that anyone who believes he is frustrated is just reading between the lines. That may be so, but then do not send out a public message complaining about the process if you do not want it to be scrutinized.
7/11/13: Many believe that a successful season for the Bucs depends on the secondary. The team, last season, was adequate on offense - certainly running back Doug Martin is a solid player. They also ranked first on defense against the run, but last on defense against the pass. They have made significant upgrades to the secondary and it may even be a point of strength this season with Darelle Revis. Oddly enough, running back may be a concern. There is nothing proven after Doug Martin as LeGarrett Blount is now gone. It is not unreasonable to think the Bucs may sign a veteran for depth before training camp.
7/4/13: New pro football hall of famer Warren Sapp said that he thinks his former team mate and defensive lineman Simeon Rice should be in the Hall of Fame before the Giants defensive lineman Michael Strahan. That view is shared by perhaps the city of Tampa, but in few other places. Of all people, former Giants running back Tiki Barber defended Strahan. This is interesting only because Tiki was highly critical of the Giants just after he left the team. To see him defend his former teammate may indicate that he has come to grips with his career. Also, he is probably right in this situation.
6/27/13: The Bucs do not have the reputation of Washington or Dallas of spending big money. They have been notoriously cheap in their existence, and that may have cost them some key players at times. So it is amusing that they may face a huge liability for violating the "Junk Fax" law. Apparently, the team sent out 180,000 faxes trying to sell tickets. If they are in violation of faxing 'junk' or 'spam', then they could face a $500 per fax fine. That is $90 million. If they are found to have knowingly violated the law, that amount could be tripled. The team itself may not be worth $270 million (of course it is). This may be worth watching as it proceeds through the legal system.
6/20/13: When you give up an average of about 300 yards per game in the air and are ranked last in passing defense, you try to improve in that area. The Bucs did that by trading for cornerback Darrelle Revis and signing safety Dashon Golden - both of whom are pro bowl players. They also drafted cornerback Johnathan Banks out of Mississippi State in the second round. Banks has been terrific in workouts so far - so he may end up starting opposite Revis. That means that incumbent Eric Wright would be the third corner, and may be looking for work elsewhere at some time.
6/13/13: The Bucs took a big risk and paid a big price by trading with the Jets for Darrelle Revis. Revis tore his ACL in a game against Miami last season. He has been doing his rehab and is on track for a recovery on time. The team is actually fully confident that he will be available for training camp and will not miss any regular season time. He has been running and cutting in workouts, so he should be good to go. Incidentally, the Bucs open up against Revis' former team the New York Jets in Week 1 of the season.
6/6/13: Some good news out Tampa. General Manager Mark Dominic and some prominent players will shave their heads in support of, and to raise awareness of, pediatric cancer. The GM is already on board, but the names of the players and others who may go bald have not been released. The team website promises that 'prominent players' will be involved. The head shaving will occur on Friday, May 7th. In a league where arrests, bankruptcy, and violence so often dominate the headlines, it is nice to see a positive story come out, and for a very worth cause.
5/30/13: Buc's left tackle Donald Penn has been a cornerstone since the John Gruden era. He has been a strong player, and is paid over $6 million per year to protect Josh Freeman (or whoever head coach Greg Schiano decides will play quarterback). At age 30, his job may be in danger. He struggles with his weight and has exceeded his contractually obligated weight restrictions. There has also been concerns about his work ethic. Since he was a holdover from the previous regime, this may be a year that he has to prove himself to Schiano in order to stay with the Bucs.
5/23/13: The Bucs are going to try to downplay it, but they may have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Of course, they are fortunate enough that the Jets are a complete quarterbacking trainwreck and will take most of the media attention. But new draftee Mike Glennon from North Carolina State has publicly come out with his bravado to be the starting quarterback. Incumbent Josh Freeman is on thin ice with head coach Greg Schiano, and is only signed through this season. This year may be a tryout for both QBs, with the winner staying on the team.
5/16/13: Tampa Bay just lost perhaps the greatest Buccaneer of all time, Ronde Barber. Barber is retiring now, but has spent his entire 16 year career with the franchise. He, along with Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, and John Lynch (under the guidance of former head coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin) built the Bucs from laughingstock to the best defense in the league - and eventually Super Bowl Champions. Barber made five Pro-Bowls and was All-Pro three times. Barber had a great career and may end up in Canton in just a few years from now.
5/9/13: The Bucs fans have always love Warren Sapp. They loved his trash talk, his swagger, and the way he terrorized opposing quarterbacks for years. Sapp anchored the Tampa defensive line from 1995-2003, made six pro bowls, won defensive player of the year, and even won a Super Bowl in 2002. Tampa lucked out in 1995 when Sapp's draft stock fell for marijuana use. The Jets passed on him and booed the Kyle Brady pick (always classy). Sapp is now a commentator on NFL Network. The Bucs are planning on retiring his number this year, number 99.
5/2/13: Tampa did not have a first round pick this year, trading away their No. 13 slot to the New York Jets for Darrelle Revis. The Bucs needed help in the secondary, considering they had the worst pass defense in the league last year. So considering Revis a number one pick, and the selection of Johnathan Banks (cornerback, Ole Miss) with the 11th pick of the second round, they improved the secondary. Tampa also selected NC State QB Mike Glennon in the third round. HC Greg Schiano is not sold on incumbant Josh Freeman, and this certainly makes Freeman play to keep his job this year.
4/25/13: The speculation is finally over as the Buccaneers and Jets finally finished up their trade for Darrelle Revis. The two teams have been talking about a deal for a number of weeks, and most experts believed (correctly) that it was just a matter of time. On Sunday, the sides agreed to ship Revis to Tampa in exchange for the Buc's first round pick (No. 13 overall) this week, and a conditional third or fourth rounder next year. Revis' presence will immediately help a poor, poor secondary that was simply the worst in the entire league last year.
4/18/13: Tampa still does not have the services of current Jets corner back Darrell Revis, at least not yet. But Revis is in New York for 'voluntary' workouts. Though everyone knows the real reason he is there is to collect his million dollar bonus. He did pass an MRI and has been cleared to run on his surgically repaired knee. Many peoople think that this may the last week that Revis is a Jet, and that he does have a deal worked out with Tampa for a long term contract at the money he wants. New York would be smart to trade him now, while he still has some value.
4/11/13: Tampa is still trying to get Darrelle Revis, the all pro corner back, from the New York Jets. Revis is balking at returning to the Jets facility for offseason workouts, preferring to stay and continue his rehab in Arizona. The Jets want him at the facility and are holding a reported $3 million workout bonus over his head. Tampa reportedly is now willing to surrender their first round pick to get Revis, but now the Jets want more. No one knows how this will exactly play out, but there is a good chance that Revis is shoring up a weak Bucs' secondary come September.
4/4/13: The Bucs need help in the secondary. Of that we can all agree. Tampa was at the bottom of the league statistically in terms of receptions and yards per catch allowed. They traded away their best cornerback, Aqib Talib, to the Patriots mid season because of off field issues. And losing him showed in the play. Now, they are trying to restructure cornerback Eric Wright's contract to avoid paying him nearly $8 million next season. There are still rumors of a Darrelle Revis trade, but if that were to happen, it probably would not occur until closer to the NFL draft.
3/28/13: The single legacy that former Buc's head coach Raheem Morris left was quarterback Josh Freeman. Morris and Freeman were both with Kansas State University at the same time, so Morris had a pretty good knowledge of Freeman. Then Morris was hired as the Buc's defensive backs coach. Then was quickly promoted to defensive coordinator when Monte Kiffen left. Then the team fired head coach John Gruden - all within a span of a few months. Tampa named Morris the head coach and he drafted Freeman. However, current head coach Greg Schiano is not married to Freeman, so the QB has one year to prove he is the man for the job.
3/21/13: The Bucs made a big splash last year by signing former San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a large multi-year free agent contract. His agreement is valued at $55,555,555.55 as a tribute to QB Josh Freeman who wears number 5. That signing worked out well. The Bucs traded their top cornerback Aqub Talib to the Patriots after yet another off field incident. Now they are trying to trade for Jets cornerback Darrell Revis. Revis wants a new deal (since it has been about 10 minutes since his last new deal), but so far there is no trade.
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3/14/13: Tampa wasted no time targeting the player they wanted. Once it came out that Dashon Goldson and the San Francisco 49ers could not reach a long term deal, the Bucs laid out the red carpet. The team sent their private jet to bring Goldson to Tampa on the first day of free agency and had him signed the following day. The safety signed a five year deal with the Bucs. He is nicknamed the "Hawk" because of his ball hawking ability, including 14 interceptions over the past four years as a starter. His presence immediately improves the worst secondary in the league and will help the Bucs compete against all the QBs in the NFC South.
3/7/13: Tampa has been conspicuously non-committal about the quarterback position next season. Head coach Greg Schiano did not fully endorse incumbant Josh Freeman last season. Freeman, through his agent, met with the team last week to discuss an extension, and the talks were characterized as "very productive". Freeman is entering the final year of his rookie contract. If the Bucs do not extend him, then they could franchise tag him next offseason, but that would cost an estimated $20 million for one season. If no deal gets done, then Freeman may be on a one year audition to save his job.
2/21/13: Tampa defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was arrested trying to board a plane in New York with a handgun in his carry-on baggage. Bowers is to be charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weopon in the second degree. This is the same charge that New York convicted Plaxico Burress on a few years ago, and he spent a couple years in prison. The big difference is that Burress shot himself and tried to cover up the injury while Bowers was just trying to board a plane. He could not have picked a worse place to do that in New York, and only time will tell if it derails his football career.
2/14/13: Tampa holds five of the first 125 picks in the NFL draft, and there is a strong feeling that defensive help will be the focus. The Bucs had the worst pass defense in the league, and only got worse after they traded Aqib Talib, their best cornerback, to the Patriots for a fourth round pick. They hired Tony Oden as the new defensive backs coach, making him the most important man at One Buccaneers Place for the next twelve months. Tampa looks like they will let QB Josh Freemen play through the end of his rookie contract and reassess whether he will be with the team long-term at the end of the 2013 season.
2/7/13: Tampa hired Tony Oden as the defensive backs coach. He replaces Ron Cooper who went across town to take the same position at University of South Florida (which is poorly named because Tampa is in west Florida). Oden served as DB coach for one year in Jacksonville. The Tampa job will be difficult. The secondary was routinely torched for big plays and the team traded away their best cornerback, Aqib Talib, to the Patriots for a fourth round pick after one too many off field incidents. There is some talent there, but the Bucs really need to rebuild the secondary as a whole.
1/31/13: Less than a decade ago the Bucs were known for an intense defense that featured Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, and John Lynch. These days their offense is getting more publicity. Vincent Jackson, the wide receiver signed in free agency, had a Pro Bowl year and put up great numbers. So, too, did rookie running back Doug Martin. There may be some question whether or not Josh Freeman is the long-term answer at QB, but it is the defense that the team has to address during the draft. Most notably, get some defensive backs so the opposition doesn't throw for 400 yards per game.
1/24/13: Vincent Jackson is headed to the Pro Bowl. Jackson fled San Diego primarily because his contract disputes with former GM A.J. Smith. He signed with Tampa last offseason and had an excellent season without any bad feelings toward management. Jackson is taking Detroit's all-world receiver Calvin Johnson's place on the NFC squad. Johnson is skipping the Pro-Bowl citing injury. By any stretch, Tampa getting a nod for a WR is cause to celebrate. Their most famous WR to date is probably Burt Emmanuel, who dropped a critical pass agains the Rams in the 1999-2000 NFC Championship Game.
1/17/13: The Bucs were 6-4 going into week 12. That put them in prime place for a wild card spot. Atlanta was routing the league at the time, so there was no real chance to win the NFC South, but three or four more wins would put them in strong position - especially when they had Panthers, Eagles, and Rams still on the slate. But the team faltered and los five of their last six. Now the Bucs need to assess their offseason needs. It all starts in the secondary. They had enough of Aqib Talib's offfield issues and traded him to New England. Anyone and everyone threw on Tampa, so solidfying the cornerback and safety positions must be priority one.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Schedule & Key Dates
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Past Games Schedule and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Scores
|Dec 28, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||23 - 20|
|Dec 14, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Carolina Panthers||17 - 19|
|Dec 7, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Detroit Lions||17 - 34|
|Nov 30, 2014||Cincinnati Bengals - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14 - 13|
|Nov 16, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Washington Redskins||27 - 7|
|Nov 9, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27 - 17|
|Nov 2, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Cleveland Browns||17 - 22|
|Oct 26, 2014||Minnesota Vikings - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19 - 13|
|Oct 12, 2014||Baltimore Ravens - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||48 - 17|
|Oct 5, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - New Orleans Saints||31 - 37|
|Sep 18, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Atlanta Falcons||14 - 56|
|Sep 14, 2014||St. Louis Rams - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19 - 17|
|Sep 7, 2014||Carolina Panthers - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||20 - 14|
|Aug 23, 2014||Preseason: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Buffalo Bills||27 - 14|
|Aug 16, 2014||Preseason: Miami Dolphins - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||20 - 14|
|Aug 8, 2014||Preseason: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jacksonville Jaguars||10 - 16|