Michael Adams (27), playing for the Cardinals, sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and forces a fumble during a 2010 playoff game.
The Bucs certainly made significant changes to their secondary when they added cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson earlier in the offseason.
But the bottom ranks of the defensive backs unit is still a work in progress, evidenced by today’s signing of former Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams. Adams earned his spot through a good showing in last week’s minicamp at One Buc Place, which doubled as a tryout camp for several free agents. The Bucs last week also signed receiver Derek Hagan after his performance in the camp.
Adams is entering his seventh NFL season and could factor in an interesting preseason competition in the secondary. At 5-8 and 181 pounds, the Louisiana-Lafeyette product appeared in 74 games with Arizona, making seven starts. Four of those starts came in 2010, when Adams had two of his three career interceptions.
It’s expected Revis, veteran Eric Wright and second-round pick Johnthan Banks will, in some order, be the Bucs’ top three cornerbacks. But there will be intrigue beyond them. …Full Story
DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Jonathan Casillas started just eight games in three seasons with the Saints, but he played a great deal as a reserve and now wants to take the next step to become a more consistent contributor.
We told you earlier this week about linebacker Dekoda Watson and his efforts to lock up the starting job on the strong-side.
But as Watson and coaches readily acknowledge, Watson has significant competition, and his name is Jonathan Casillas.
Like Watson, Casillas does not have a household name, and he, too, is trying to make his mark as a young veteran who. Like Watson, Casillas has been a reliable special teams player and a fill-in starter and is entering his fourth season, but he's seeking more.
The former Wisconsin standout talked this week about how he’ll fit in the Tampa Bay defense.
“It’s a little similar to what New Orleans was doing last year with (defensive coordinator) Steve Spaguolo,” said Casillas, who spent three seasons with the Saints.
“A lot of matching coverages and zone blitzes. It’s similar, but all the terminology’s different and the angles we attack offenses is different. But the gist of it is the same. There’s some carryover. I like this defense. It’s made for people like me who like to run and hit. We have a great group of guys like that in our unit.”
Asked what quality will help separate him in a position battle, Casillas continued with a similar theme. …Full Story
Derek Hagan spent time on the Raiders’ roster last season, catching 20 passes for 259 yards.
The Bucs took advantage of relaxed NFL rules that permitted teams to conduct tryouts with players during minicamps, signing former third-round pick Derek Hagan to a contract.
Hagan, who joined the Bucs in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, is a receiver who spent time on the Raiders’ roster last season, catching 20 passes for 259 yards. The 28-year old is joining his fifth team since entering the league with the Dolphins in 2006. He enjoyed his best NFL season in 2007, when he caught 27 passes for 373 yards for Miami. Another receiver, Jheranie Boyd, was released to make room on the 90-man active roster.
The decision by Steve Smith to retire last month created a potential opportunity for another veteran receiver. Like they did with Smith, the Bucs are likely interested in determining what Hagan has left.
They can't all make the roster, so the battle for the final few spots in this receiving corps is going to be heated come training camp. With Kevin Ogletree currently leading the race for the No. 3 spot, players like Tiquan Underwood, Chris Owusu, David Douglas, Eric Page and Hagan battling for precious few spots. …Full Story
The Bucs are getting a sneak peek at Brad Pitt's World War Z after canceling practice.
The Bucs were scheduled to have their final practice of the offseason today with one more minicamp workout. It was to be the last hurdle between players and five weeks of down time before the start of training camp
But after a long offseason of sweat, coach Greg Schiano decided to cut his players some slack.
Forget practice. The Bucs are headed for a matinee instead. The team, as a group, will see a sneak peek of Brad Pitt’s summer action thriller, World War Z. Judging by player responses on social media, the excitement is palpable.
“There is a God!!!” linebacker Dekoda Watson exclaimed on Twitter.
“Shout out to the H.C. (head coach) for tossing us a bone,” tight end Zach Miller posted, also on Twitter.
Though the outing likely was pre-planned, the break comes at a good time. The team has been dealing with a stomach virus that has affected a number of players and limited some during this week's practices. And on Wednesday, several players, including starters Da'Quan Bowers and Mark Barron, suffered heat exhaustion and had to leave practice.
With minicamp in the books, the Bucs’ next foray onto the field will come in training camp in late July.
The Bucs’ season opener at the Jets has already been billed as a grudge match pitting new Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis against his former teammates.
And it would be an even more interesting matchup should the Jets’ top receiver, Santonio Holmes play.
Holmes is recovering from a major foot injury and can’t yet say when he’ll be cleared to return. But he’s hoping that day comes in time for him to face Revis in a matchup he’s looking forward to.
“It would be a great matchup, it would be a lot of fun to go out there against an old nemesis,” Holmes said Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News. “(As) a guy who’s coming off an injury himself, I wish him much success this season, and hopefully he’s prepared and ready just like I will be.”
While Revis is fully expected to play in the game despite the torn knee ligament he suffered last season, Holmes’ status seems a bit less certain. He was vague when asked about his health.
“It’s been that hard to just get the feeling of your body to move in an everyday motion for so many years,” said Holmes. “To have something like this happen, it kind of puts a damper in your whole physical ability to do anything.”
DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Linebacker Dekoda Watson (56) and cornerback Rashaan Melvin (28) chase down an onside kick during an offseason workout at One Buc Place.
Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson always had a student-teacher relationship with former teammate Quincy Black.
So, it’s rather ironic that Black’s own career-threatening neck injury last season has provided Watson his best chance at a starting job, at strong-side linebacker. But if you thought the nature of the relationship had changed in Black’s absence, you’d be wrong.
It turns out Black is still actively helping Watson develop, even if he’s no longer in the same locker room. Released with an injury settlement in the spring, Black continues offering guidance to Watson as he tries to take the baton from Black – even though Black himself might never play again.
“Quincy is still being a leader as we speak,” Watson said today, Day 2 of Bucs minicamp. “He’s texted me plenty of times, telling me to take advantage of the opportunity. He’s trying to tell me some things to make sure that I’m ready this year. He’s still being that big brother to me. He’s still playing his role.”
It was a role Black willingly played for the first three years of Watson’s career. Black, a four-year starter, took a sincere interest in Watson after Watson was drafted in the seventh round from Florida State in 2010. …Full Story
CHRIS ZUPPA | Times
Mike Williams has averaged 64 catches in his first three seasons and had a career-best 996 yards and nine touchdowns in 2012.
As Mike Williams fielded questions from reporters following a mandatory minicamp practice Wednesday, a Bucs’ teammate walked by and shouted one request.
“Pay the man,’’ he said.
And, in fact, it appears that Williams is closer to getting paid.
Negotiations on a new contract between the Bucs and Williams, which accelerated following free agency and the NFL draft, may produce an agreement within weeks if not days.
“All I can say about it is that it’s very close,’’ Williams said Wednesday.
Williams, selected in the fourth round in 2010, has averaged 64 catches in his first three seasons and had a career-best 996 yards and nine touchdowns in 2012. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2013 season.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik would like to get a deal completed prior to training camp.
But for the Bucs, the contract extension would somewhat precedent-setting. While it would make good business sense to lock up Williams before he hits free agency, Dominik can expect a line outside his door when players such as linebacker Lavonte David and safety Mark Barron out-perform their rookie contracts. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Mike Glennon signed a four-year contract with the Bucs.
Bucs third-round draft choice Mike Glennon, a quarterback from North Carolina State, has signed a four-year contract.
The Bucs now have their entire six-man rookie class under contract well before the team reports for training camp in late July.
The 2011 collective bargaining agreement simplified the process of signing draft picks by establishing firm salary ranges based on where a player is picked. Details on the deal that Glennon signed aren’t yet available, but as the 73rd overall choice, his contract is likely slightly north of the one signed by last year’s pick at the same slot. Chargers safety Brandon Taylor, from LSU, signed a four-year, $2.743 million deal with a $643,876 signing bonus.
Glennon started 26 games at N.C. State, completing 60.4 percent of his attempts for 7,411 yards and 63 touchdowns.
Bucs beat writers Rick Stroud and Stephen F. Holder talk about position battles, Josh Freeman and newly-acquired Gabe Carimi during Day 1 of minicamp at One Buc Place. Full Story
Gabe Carimi lined up as a right tackle today, during the Bucs’ first day of mandatory minicamp.
If Gabe Carimi is to be believed, he’ll be a much better player now that he’s further removed from a major knee injury suffered nearly two years ago.
That wasn’t the case last year, Carimi now admits.
In his first day with the Bucs after his trade to Tampa Bay on Sunday, Carimi said he skipped offseason workouts with the Bears to continue strengthening his knee in private workout sessions.
"I think it just set me back last year,” Carimi said. “I wasn't at full strength. I'm just looking forward to this year.
"I was just trying to get my knee right, trying to be the best I could be. It feels good.”
Carimi lined up as a right tackle today, during the Bucs’ first day of mandatory minicamp. But he won’t necessarily stay there, with his ability to play right guard attractive to the Bucs, too. The details will be sorted out later. But Carimi makes the Bucs’ line better regardless of where and how much he plays.
“He does bring position flexibility,” coach Greg Schiano said. “But you work all that stuff out (later) and you let them go play football and then you figure out where it all fits together. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Entering his fifth season, Josh Freeman has played for two head coaches, in three offensive systems under three offensive coordinators and four quarterbacks coaches.
Josh Freeman has thrown footballs to a lot of different speed receivers, although not with one who goes 200 miles per hour on Sundays.
But there he was Tuesday following the first practice of the Bucs' mandatory minicamp, playing catch with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne.
Freeman had no trouble adjusting to his new target. The only consistent thing about the career of the Bucs quarterback has been a lack of consistency. Entering his fifth season, Freeman has played for two head coaches, in three offensive systems under three offensive coordinators and four quarterbacks coaches.
It's no surprise that nine of the top 12 passers in the NFL last season had been with the same head coach and/or in the same system for at least five years. The exceptions were Peyton Manning, who brought his own offense to Denver from Indianapolis; and rookies Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.
In his first season under offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Freeman set single-season club records in 2012 for passing yards (4,065) and touchdowns (27) while throwing 17 interceptions. But Year Two under Sullivan promises to be an even better one for Freeman and the Bucs offense. …Full Story
The Bucs expect to have perfect attendance for this week’s mandatory minicamp, which gets underway Tuesday at One Buc Place.
Well, nearly perfect attendance, anyway.
The notable exception will be running back/return man Jeff Demps who, according to general manager Mark Dominik, has been excused from the three-day affair.
Demps, who was traded to the Bucs in the LeGarrette Blount deal in April, continues to train and compete on the track and field circuit, something the Bucs accepted when they acquired him.
Demps was not expected to spend any time with the Bucs this offseason, and he might not even be in attendance at the start of training camp depending on his track schedule.
Demps, a former University of Florida star, would like to play football this season but maintains that track and field is currently his priority.
The Bucs are cautiously optimistic Gabe Carimi can, at minimum, provide much-needed depth on an offensive line that was decimated by injuries in 2012.
Gabe Carimi was listed as a late-first round pick on the Bucs’ 2011 draft board.
But now that he’s arrived in Tampa Bay some two years later via Sunday’s trade with the Bears, Chicago’s former first-round pick isn’t being guaranteed so much as a starting job.
The Bucs first want to see what they have in Carimi before proclaiming him a potential starter at right tackle, general manager Mark Dominik said.
But the team is cautiously optimistic Carimi can, at minimum, provide much-needed depth on an offensive line that was decimated by injuries in 2012.
“I think it provides competition, which is our favorite word,” Dominik said today at One Buc Place. “It provides competition at right tackle. No doubt about it. It also adds a lot of depth to our team and provides a guy who can play inside at guard, which he did last year. . . It gives you incredible depth.”
The likely key will be how much Carimi has recovered from his knee injury. Dominik during the past few weeks has studied Carimi’s 2012 film and said the injury – suffered in 2011 – adversely affected his play.
“You almost have to look at last year as his rookie year,” Dominik said, noting Carimi played in just two games as a rookie. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Josh Freeman became the first Bucs player to pass for more than 4,000 yards last season and finished with a club record 27 touchdowns.
John McNulty heard a lot of things about Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman before becoming his fourth position coach in five years.
Nearly all of it was good.
"Honestly, there's not one person that said, "Good luck with him,'' said McNulty, who coached quarterbacks last season for the Arizona Cardinals. "Everybody has said, "I'll take him. You don't want him? I'll take him.' And that's guys who have good quarterbacks and guys who are struggling.''
Freeman became the first Bucs player to pass for more than 4,000 yards last season and finished with a club record 27 touchdowns. But he also threw 17 interceptions and saw a 6-4 start become a 7-9 season.
McNulty, who was an offensive coordinator under Bucs coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers, said Freeman should benefit from being in the same system under offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan for the second straight year as well as having much of the same surrounding skill players. …Full Story
Even if Gabe Carimi doesn’t turn out to be a starter in Tampa Bay, the Bucs will have acquired some quality depth at a position they badly need it, and they’ll have done it relatively inexpensively.
It’s not immediately clear how offensive lineman Gabe Carimi will fit in with the Bucs after the former first-round pick was traded from the Bears to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
But we can say that if things do work out here, acquiring Carimi could turn out to be a good deal for the Bucs.
That’s because they’re getting him on the cheap.
Though he was the 29th pick in 2011 and originally signed a $7.056 million contract, $3.631 million of that was the signing bonus the Bears paid their former starting right tackle after he agreed to his rookie deal.
The only money remaining is the $1.016 million in guaranteed money Carimi is due for this season, a $592,187 roster bonus due next spring, $100,000 2014 workout bonus and a non-guaranteed 2014 base salary of $645,000.
Even if Carimi doesn’t turn out to be a starter in Tampa Bay, the Bucs will have acquired some quality depth at a position they badly need it, and they’ll have done it relatively inexpensively. …Full Story