The Bucs again look to be without key starters on both sides of the ball Sunday, as left guard Logan Mankins didn't practice again Friday due to a groin injury and cornerback Johnthan Banks remains sidelined with his knee injury.
Mankins hasn't missed a game since 2012, and if he can't go Sunday, the Bucs are likely to plug in backup tackle Kevin Pamphile, opting for a more proven player out of position ahead of young backup guards Jeremiah Warren and Matt Masifilo, who have never played offensive line in an NFL game.
Mankins said he wasn't sure if he would play Sunday.
"I don't know yet,'' Mankins said. "It's day by day right now. I would love to, but we've just got to wait and see.
"We'll see on Sunday before the game how it's progressed. If I can go, I'll go. If I can't, I can't.''
In addition to Banks, the Bucs were without center Evan Smith, who is likely to miss a third straight game with his ankle injury, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who will miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury.Full Story
Bucs guard Logan Mankins was held out of practice Thursday with a groin injury, with backup tackle Kevin Pamphile getting work at left guard in his place.
Mankins, who was listed as a full participant in Wednesday's practice, watched Thursday's practice with injured center Evan Smith (ankle) and tackle Demar Dotson (knee). The Bucs' only backup guards on roster -- Jeremiah Warren and Matt Masifilo -- have never played offensive line in an NFL game, and only sparingly on special teams.
"He hurt his groin a little bit in practice yesterday, so we held him out today,'' coach Lovie Smith said.
Also held out Thursday with injuries were CB Johnthan Banks (knee), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder), WR Russell Shepard (hamstring).
Smith would not say whether Pamphile is an option to play guard if Mankins is unable to play.
"Pamphile has had reps at tight end, at the wing, he's had reps a lot of different places so I wouldn't put too much (into it),'' Smith said. "We would never even talk about where one of our players was going to play that hadn't played there. But we like him as a player.''
Sunday's home game against Jacksonville is the Bucs' Breast Cancer Awareness game, with players and coaches wearing pink apparel, but for players who have had close brushes in their family with breast cancer, the game means much more.
Before the game, safety Keith Tandy's mother, Joyce Jordan, a breast cancer survivor, will come out of the tunnel with the team, a proud moment for mother and son.
"It means a lot after all she's been through," Tandy said. "It's an unbelievable feeling. Seeing her run out -- that's probably nothing she would ever dream about, to have a chance to run out of an NFL tunnel. She was texting me and calling me all night about how happy she is, excited is about that."
Jordan, who lives in Kentucky, said she found on she'd have the chance to run out with the team Wednesday, adjusting her work schedule as an insurance coordinator for the local Board of Education from a business conference to South Carolina to get to Tampa for the game.
"I'm very excited," Jordan said. "When they called me about it, I had to do it for him." …Full Story
Key starters remain out for the Bucs as the team returned to practice Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's home game against Jacksonville.
CB Johnthan Banks (knee), C Evan Smith (ankle), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and WR Russell Shepard (hamstring), who all missed Sunday's loss to Carolina, remained out during Wednesday's drills. TE Luke Stocker, who missed Sunday's game with a hip injury, was back practicing in a limited capacity.
The Bucs had a different look to their defensive secondary Wednesday, with Sterling Moore, the team's nickel defensive back for the first four games, working with the cornerbacks, and Alterraun Verner, who opened the season as a starting cornerback, now working at nickel. The move suggests Banks is unlikely to play Sunday and the Bucs are shifting Moore to upgrade their depth at corner behind starters Tim Jennings and Mike Jenkins.Full Story
JIM DAMASKE | Times
Jameis Winston has thrown six touchdowns and seven interceptions, including four picks and a lost fumble in Sunday’s 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Rookie Jameis Winston entered the league with a reputation of a quarterback prone to throwing interceptions and the Bucs rookie has done nothing to dispel that label after a 1-3 start this season.
Winston has thrown six touchdowns and seven interceptions, including four picks and a lost fumble in Sunday's 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers. For the second time at Raymond James Stadium, his first pass attempt resulted in a pick six.
But offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter says it's too early to paint Winston as a turnover machine.
"Playing in college is not playing in the NFL,'' Koetter said. "It's just different animals. Did we throw too many interceptions in this game? Yes. Can we base the whole rest of Jameis' career on that? No. It's bad.
"Unfortunately, when you have four interceptions, there's a lot of explaining to do. We had four interceptions, it's a fact. Two bad decisions, one tipped ball and one great play. That's what I wrote on my sheet.''
In the Bucs two road games, Winston has been much more careful with the football. He had no INTs in a 26-19 win over the Saints Sept. 20 and had only one pick in a 19-9 loss the following week at Houston. …Full Story
EVE EDELHEIT | Times
Jacquies Smith's four sacks through the Bucs' first four games are tied for second in the league, behind only Denver defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
The emergence of Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith - from undrafted rookie to NFL journeyman to one of the league's sack leaders - isn't a shock to the man who coached him in college.
"First of all, it doesn't surprise me," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who coached Smith from 2008-11.
Pinkel said Smith had potential when he joined the Tigers, but he got off to a slow start there. Eventually, he developed a great work ethic and began to improve consistently. He had five sacks and nine tackles for a loss during his senior season, and Pinkel knew he would eventually get a chance to play professionally.
"I really thought when he left (Missouri), he had more in him," Pinkel said. "He's kind of a late maturing guy, anyway. I thought if he kept at it, he'd really have a chance to make a team..."
Smith, of course, has done more than that. His four sacks through the Bucs' first four games are tied for second in the league, behind only Denver defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
Dan Campbell, the Dolphins' new interim head coach, is young enough at 39 that current NFL players can remember him as a teammate, like Bucs tackle Gosder Cherilus, who overlapped with Campbell as a rookie with the Lions in 2008.
"He was extremely smart, accountable," said Cherilus, who said Campbell, as a tight end, worked closely with the tackles in Detroit. "Even then, he was always teaching me the steps, the smart things about the game."
Campbell played only one game for the Lions in 2008 before he was placed on injured reserve, but Cherilus said he never took a step back from the team. He remembers a team dinner in training camp, when rookies were asked to stand and sing in front of the entire restaurant -- Cherilus did so without hesitation, and remembers Campbell telling him he was rare to know his place as a rookie without letting anyone push him around.
"He was always like a third offensive line coach, helping out around the team," Cherilus said. "He's a hell of a guy."
Cherilus said he was "excited" to see Campbell promoted from tight ends coach to interim head coach in Miami, though it was sobering to realize at 31 he could have a teammate now working as a head coach.
"Tells me I'm old," he said.Full Story
Undrafted rookie receivers Adam Humphries and Rannell Hall, two of the Bucs' most promising players in preseason camp, are both back on roster, filling the last two spots on Tampa Bay's practice squad.
Humphries was waived Monday to make room for another undrafted rookie receiver in Donteea Dye, but cleared waivers Tuesday and was signed back to the practice squad. Hall was cut two weeks ago, but the former UCF star gets another shot, rejoining the team Wednesday.
The Bucs continue to churn through the bottom of their roster and the practice squad, with tackle Reid Fragel re-signed to the practice squad Tuesday, as well as defensive end Josh Shirley, who had two sacks in preseason with the Raiders.Full Story
Tuesdays have become a busy day of comings and goings on the Bucs roster, and this week is no different -- in addition to the signing of kicker Connor Barth and the promotion of receiver Donteea Dye, the Bucs have promoted defensive end Howard Jones from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
Jones was drawing a full rookie-level salary while on the practice squad to lure him away from the Steelers, who had him among their final cuts, and now he's on the active roster, replacing defensive end T.J. Fatinikun, who was placed on injured reserve, ending his season after a knee injury.
Jones, you may recall, is something of a physical freak, with a 4.6 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical leap at the 2014 NFL combine out of tiny Shepherd University. He'll likely step in as the team's fourth defensive end, with Josh Martin knocked out of Sunday's game with a hamstring injury.
The Bucs also made some practice-squad moves -- tackle Reid Fragel, promoted to the active roster for a few days last week, then cut, is back on the practice squad, with lineman Martin Wallace released. …Full Story
JIM DAMASKE | Times
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, left, and William Gholston, right, pressure Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Our weekly Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast is back, with Episode 4 now online and myself and Rick Stroud talking about the Bucs' 37-23 loss to Carolina and looking ahead to this week's home game against the Jaguars. Is this the week the Bucs get Lovie Smith a home win? Listen in, and subscribe on iTunes -- thanks for making this part of your Bucs week ... Full Story
Times files (2012)
Connor Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11.
Connor Barth tweeted he was available for the right price.
Following a workout Tuesday morning, the Bucs met that demand and signed Barth to a two-year contract.
Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11. He was cut last season when the team opted to go with rookie Pat Murray.
Barth went 15 of 16 in field goal tries in five games for the Denver Broncos last season.
The Bucs selected Barth following a morning workout Tuesday that included Billy Cundiff, Randy Bullock, Kai Forbath and former USF kicker Marvin Kloss.
Barth would already be in the NFL if it weren't for his inability to consistently boot the ball through the end zone for touchbacks on kickoffs. But having potentially lost two games as a result of an inaccurate place kicker, the Bucs are willing to sacrifice distance on the kickoff for scoring more points.Full Story
The Bucs have added speed to their receiving corps, dropping one undrafted rookie in favor of another, with Adam Humphries getting waived on Monday and Donteea Dye of Div. III Heidelberg University getting called up to the 53-man roster.
Dye, who was among the team's final cuts, could be active Sunday as the team's No. 4 receiver if Russell Shepard hasn't recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him from the Carolina game. He's taken the long road to the NFL, getting a look at as a tryout player at rookie minicamp, getting signed as an undrafted rookie, missing the cut and earning a spot on the practice squad and now being promoted to the active roster.
Dye, 6 feet and 195 pounds, had 14 touchdowns for the Student Princes at the small Ohio school -- he is one of the fastest if not the fastest player on the Bucs' roster, having caught seven passes for 82 yards in the preseason.
Humphries, who made the Bucs' initial cuts as a rookie out of Clemson, lost the punt and kick return job to Bobby Rainey and has played sparingly as a backup receiver, with just two catches for 14 yards. It's possible the Bucs could sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.Full Story
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
Kyle Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.
Kyle Brindza will not miss another kick for the Buccaneers.
The rookie from Notre Dame was informed this morning by coach Lovie Smith of the team's plan to release him.
Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.
Smith stood by his kicker after he missed three field goals and an extra point in the Bucs' 19-9 loss to the Texans last week. But that decision burned the Bucs Sunday when Brindza missed field goals of 29 and 43 yards Sunday in a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Former Bucs PK Connor Barth could be a candidate to replace Brindza. After the second missed field goal by the Bucs' Sunday, Barth tweeted, "I am just saying, I'm available for the right price. #freeagent.''Full Story
Another week, another disappointing loss for the Bucs, another round of links to share for fans who didn't get enough Sunday. As always, we'll start with our own coverage here at Tampabay.com ...
-- The afternoon rain came and went Sunday, but the Bucs' costly mistakes -- Winston interceptions and Brindza missed kicks -- kept pouring down on Bucs fans, Rick Stroud writes.
-- Poor coaching and preparation may be the Bucs' biggest problems, and Lovie Smith doesn't have the answers, Tom Jones writes.
-- Our game notebook starts with the "freak play" that killed the Bucs, with a forced fumble turning into a Panthers touchdown.
-- Five Things You Might Have Missed, including three straight misses to Vincent Jackson, Danny Lansanah's "Superman" celebration and Doug Martin's five receptions.
-- Here's our photo gallery with tons of great pics from Sunday's game.
-- Charlotte's Joe Person writes on Panthers rookie DE Ryan Delaire, who had two sacks against his old team, saying he never really had a chance to show the Bucs anything in preseason. …Full Story
TAMPA -- Five Bucs turnovers led to 27 points for Carolina, and Kyle Brindza missed another two field goals as the Panthers pulled away to a 37-23 win over the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium.Full Story
The Bucs (1-3) dropped their 11th straight home game, with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston throwing four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Cam Newton threw two touchdowns to receiver Teddy Ginn for Carolina (4-0).
For the second week in a row, the Bucs were hurt by missed field goals from Brindza, who missed three field goals and an extra point in last week's 19-9 loss to Houston.
Down 17-10, the Bucs drove inside the Carolina 15, only to see Brindza miss a 29-yard field goal at the end of the half. The Bucs forced a fumble on the first play of the second half and drove inside the Carolina 20, but took a sack and saw Brindza miss again from 43 yards.
Then Carolina put the game away -- the Bucs again forced a fumble from running back Jonathan Stewart, but it popped right into the arms of tight end Ed Dickson, who rumbled 57 yards for a touchdown.
Winston then threw his third interception -- second by Panthers cornerback Josh Norman -- to set up a 12-yard touchdown from Newton to Ted Ginn for a 31-10 lead midway through the third.
From the start, the story was Carolina scoring off Tampa Bay turnovers -- the Bucs fumbled the snap on their second play, setting up a 24-yard Graham Gano field goal.
Three plays later, Winston was picked off by Norman, who returned the interception 46 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead just four minutes into the game.
Carolina led 17-3 after Newton hit Ginn for a touchdown after another Winston interception, but the Bucs rallied back, with Winston going 6-for-6 for 67 yards on a drive capped by Doug Martin's 5-yard scoring run to cut the lead to 17-10. …