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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs add UC-Davis TE Sloat to practice squad

One more minor transaction to share from Tuesday night, as the Bucs have signed rookie tight end Taylor Sloat of UC-Davis to their practice squad.

Davis, who had attended the Bucs' rookie minicamp after the draft in May, takes the spot of tight end Ian Thompson, another undrafted rookie who'd joined the practice squad a week earlier. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder had 22 catches for 220 yards and three touchdowns as a UC-Davis senior last year, after getting 30 for 428 and two scores as a junior in 2012.

UC-Davis had a strong Jeff Tedford presence last year -- after his firing at Cal after the 2012 season, running game coordinator Ron Gould got the UC-Davis job and brought several Cal assistants with him. Three young assistants then left UC-Davis for the Bucs staff this year, including Sloat's position coach, Ben Steele, who is now the Bucs' offensive quality control coach. …

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Bucs add ex-Falcons WR to practice squad, cut two

The Bucs made a few adjustments to their practice squad Tuesday, waiving TE Ian Thompson and LB Carlos Fields, then adding former Georgia Tech and Falcons receiver Kevin Cone.

Cone, 26, played extensively on special teams with the Falcons last season, finishing with seven tackles and averaging 18 snaps per game. He saw limited action on offense despite multiple injuries to the Falcons receivers, totaling 30 offensive snaps with one catch for 12 yards. Cone spent the preseason with the Dolphins -- he caught two passes for 30 yards against the Bucs -- but was among Miami's final cuts, later spending one week on the Cardinals' practice squad. He made his NFL debut with Atlanta in the final game of 2011 against the Bucs, playing in 12 games in 2012.

Cone's career is a lesson in persistence -- he started his college career at tiny Shorter College in Rome, Ga., playing one season with 12 catches for 83 yards. He transferred to Georgia Tech as a walk-on and started nine games at receiver in their run-focused offense, finishing his Yellow Jackets career with five catches for 89 yards, with a 22-yard touchdown catch in a loss to Miami in 2010. …

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Bucs looking for domefield advantage with Tropicana Field practices

As the Bucs get ready to play at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, they’re taking their preparation across the bay.

The team will practice at Tropicana Field on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bucs announced Tuesday evening.

The Trop has hosted plenty of football games in the past, including a college football bowl game (now called the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl) and the high school Under Armour All-America Game.

The Bucs haven’t won in New Orleans since 2011, and the Saints’ last home loss came against Carolina in December 2012.

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Bucs like challenge of matching Saints' offense

The last two times the Bucs went to the Superdome, the Saints have scored 42 and 41 points in routing Tampa Bay, so you'll understand tackle Demar Dotson's respect for the New Orleans offense.

"We as an offense, I think we put up, what, 27 points (Sunday in beating Pittsburgh) last game?" Dotson said Tuesday. "We've going to take every bit of that and more. We're going to need turnovers from the defense ... We expect the Saints to put up 35 points. We have to be able to match that as an offense."

The Saints averaged 25.9 points a game last year, but have mustered only 24, 20 and 17 in their last three games. Watching the Cowboys rush for 190 yards in a 38-17 win against New Orleans on Sunday, Dotson was reminded of the importance of establishing the run Sunday.

"We've got to run the football. I think we can run the football on this team," Dotson said.

The Saints have won the last five meetings with the Bucs, who last won in New Orleans in 2011, forcing three turnovers in a 23-13 win.



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Saints castoff Brooks eager to help Bucs prepare

It was at halftime of Sunday night's NFL game, with the Saints trailing the Cowboys 24-0 in what would end up a 38-17 Dallas win, when Bucs practice squad player Derrius Brooks posted a message on

"And the Saints let me go......." wrote Brooks, a cornerback who was signed to the Bucs' practice squad after being among the final players cut by the Saints last month.

Brooks, who spent the entire offseason with the Saints, said his insights into his former team can help the Bucs prepare for Sunday's game at New Orleans, where both teams have 1-3 records.

"If guys have questions about the offense or the defense, I feel like I went through camp and know a lot of stuff that they do," Brooks said. "If anybody comes to me for little pointers, I know a few. Maybe I can give them a little help."

Practice-squad players can help teams scout opponents by simulating players and their tendencies, and Brooks is one of five practice-squad players who have been with the Bucs since the 53-man roster was set. Four others have already been promoted to the active roster, and Brooks said he'll be motivated this week as Tampa Bay prepares for his former team. …

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Bucs on first victory: 'We won it. We took it.'

Austin Seferian-Jenkins said it doesn’t matter whether fans or analysts argue that the Steelers lost the game rather than the Bucs winning it.

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Austin Seferian-Jenkins said it doesn’t matter whether fans or analysts argue that the Steelers lost the game rather than the Bucs winning it.

TAMPA – The Bucs don’t seem too fazed by the talk in Pittsburgh about their 27-24 win over the Steelers.

Pittsburgh has been critical of itself after the loss, with WR Antonio Brown saying they “just lost to one of the worst NFL teams in our house...We feel embarrassed. We feel shame.”

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins said it doesn’t matter whether fans or analysts argue that the Steelers lost the game rather than the Bucs winning it.

 “It’s a W,” TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins said. “If you want to say they lost the game, they lost the game. At the end of the day, we have a W. They got an L. That’s all that really matters.

“We won. We took it.”

Players seemed more upbeat in the locker room Tuesday after the Bucs’ first win of the season. C Evan Dietrich-Smith said the team feels good now, but that feeling can disappear quickly.

“We can’t act like that was the end-all, be-all kind of deal,” Dietrich-Smith said. “You’ve got to stack successes. You can’t just let one define you. If you win one and lose the rest of them, nobody’s going to remember the one you won.”


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Foster, Goldson uncertain as Bucs prepare for Saints

Mason Foster has missed the last two games after dislocating his shoulder in the Rams loss.


Mason Foster has missed the last two games after dislocating his shoulder in the Rams loss.

Middle linebacker Mason Foster and safety Dashon Goldson, two key pieces of the Bucs defense who are limited by injuries, are question marks as the Bucs prepare for a prolific Saints offense Sunday in New Orleans.

Foster, who has missed the last two games after dislocating his shoulder in the Rams loss, said he's seen much improvement in the shoulder but isn't sure yet what he'll be able to do in practice or whether a return Sunday is in play.

"Getting a lot better. I feel good. We'll see what's going on this week," said Foster, who has not practiced since the injury. "I don't know yet (if Sunday is in play). We'll see how it goes. This is a big week. We'll know better tomorrow and see how I do each and every day."

Dane Fletcher has filled in for Foster in the last two games, and Foster said it has been hard for him to watch his teammates from the sidelines without being able to play.

"It's killing me," he said. "I live to play football kind of. It's tough watching from the sideline, but I try to do what I can to help the team win, if it means holding a clipboard or telling people what I see. I can't wait to play again." …

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Video: Now, THIS is a man cave

Every Bucs fan should have one of these in their backyard.


Every Bucs fan should have one of these in their backyard.

One lucky Bucs fan got a living room makeover, complete with a pirate ship -- and a visit from Warren Sapp -- thanks to a Bud Light advertising campaign.

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Glennon won game not starting QB job -- for now

Lovie Smith was non-committal in his choice of quarterbacks despite Mike Glennon's last-second heroics in a 27-24 win at Pittsburgh.

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Lovie Smith was non-committal in his choice of quarterbacks despite Mike Glennon's last-second heroics in a 27-24 win at Pittsburgh.

Quarterback Mike Glennon posted the first victory of the season for the Bucs Sunday, but he hasn't won the starting quarterback job.

Not yet, anyway.

With Josh McCown still out with a ligament tear in his right thumb and his status unknown for Sunday's game at New Orleans, coach Lovie Smith was non-committal in his choice of quarterbacks despite Glennon's last-second heroics in a 27-24 win at Pittsburgh.

"You asking me to name out starting quarterback right now? What I do is I look at who's available at the time and who gives us our best chance to win at all positions,'' Smith said. "We'll do the same thing when Josh gets back. He's not back yet, though.

Perhaps, but Glennon has a pretty good case after passing for 302 yards …

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Bucs' 27-24 win over Steelers ignited by Glennon, Murphy

PITTSBURGH – A week ago, quarterback Mike Glennon got a text message from exiled receiver Louis Murphy, who was released by the Bucs a day before the regular season opener against Carolina. The exchange didn’t last very long.

That’s odd, because Murphy always talks about the Bucs. The former Gators and Lakewood High School star grew up rooting for his hometown NFL team. “A local guy who loves the Buccaneers,’’ coach Lovie Smith describes him. “He would do anything.’’

So last Tuesday, hoping to get a spark for the league’s 30th-ranked offense, Smith re-signed Murphy. “I was so thankful to get that call,’’ Murphy said. “I just didn’t want to let those guys down.’’

Murphy’s connection with Glennon proved to be even stronger on the field than off it Sunday in the Bucs’ improbable 27-24 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

History will show that Glennon fired the winning 5-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with seven seconds remaining in the game. It will be documented that the Bucs took over at the Steelers 46 yard line trailing 24-20 with no timeouts and 40 seconds on the clock. …

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Johnson's sack, first of five for Bucs, set tone early

PITTSBURGH -- Limited by an ankle injury in the first three games, Bucs defensive end Michael Johnson made a big splash in Sunday's win against the Steelers, getting two sacks and forcing a fumble that set up the team's first touchdown.

"It felt good. The other guys did a great job freeing me up, of getting on the ball when it came out," Johnson said of his sack of Ben Roethlisberger on the third play of the game. "The offense did a great job of taking advantage of the opportunity."

Roethlisberger had been sacked by DT Gerald McCoy on second down, and Johnson followed on a third-and-16 play, forcing a fumble that DE Jacquies Smith recovered. Two plays later, the Bucs scored on a touchdown pass to WR Mike Evans for a 7-0 lead.

Johnson would add another sack in the second quarter, and the Bucs finished the first half with five sacks, one off the team's most in any half in the last 24 seasons. Scott Solomon and Da'Quan Bowers were also among the team's five sacks. …

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Bucs' Evans, Goldson sidelined in win vs. Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- Even as the Bucs got four key players back from injury Sunday to help pull out a wild 27-24 win over the Steelers, Tampa Bay is now dealing with injuries to two additional starters.

Rookie WR Mike Evans, who caught his first NFL touchdown pass on the opening drive, left the game with a groin injury, and veteran safety Dashon Goldson had a boot on his left foot after the game, having left the game early with an ankle injury.

The injury forced Evans to pull up in the middle of a deep route, which made for an easy interception by Cortez Allen at the Steelers' 11-yard line.

"Just a little tweak -- it hurt, and I couldn't run. I should have grabbed him so he couldn't get the pick. That's what I was most angry about," said Evans, who said he didn't know the severity of the injury.

Veteran safety Major Wright filled in for Goldson, finishing with nine tackles after totaling two in the first three games.

"I was going in on a tackle and somebody landed on it," Goldson said. "I felt it a little bit but stayed in, tried to play and see if it went away. It lingered a little bit. They haven't told me anything." …

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Murphy, Shepard step up with late catches in Bucs' win

PITTSBURGH -- As the Bucs rallied for 10 points in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 27-24 win over the Steelers, a pair of unexpected stars came down with seven of the team's final nine catches.

Louis Murphy, signed by the Bucs this week after being released in the final preseason cuts, came through with five catches in the fourth quarter, including a 41-yard grab to set up the winning touchdown. And Russell Shepard, a special-teams standout who rarely sees the field on offense, had the first two catches of his NFL career.

"Special teams deluxe," Lovie Smith called Shepard, who had six special-teams tackles last year but hadn't caught a pass until Sunday. "Those guys just stood up and made big plays when we needed."

Both receivers stepped up after rookie Mike Evans left with a groin injury -- Murphy's first catch didn't come until late in the third quarter, while Shepard's both came in the fourth quarter. …

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After misses, Glennon-to-Jackson worked for winning TD

PITTSBURGH -- Vincent Jackson had caught only two out of nine balls thrown his way, and the Bucs had gone 0-for-7 passing in the red zone in the fourth quarter when they lined up for third-and-goal at the 5-yard line with 0:12 left, trailing the Steelers by four points.

Jackson drew single coverage from Steelers cornerback William Gay -- only starting because Ike Taylor broke his arm last week -- and reached high to pull in a quick pass from Mike Glennon for the touchdown and a 27-24 win against Pittsburgh.

"It's just a great day," Jackson said after the game. "Hats off to our defense and special teams for getting us the ball back in great field position. They gave us a chance to win. We finished."

The Bucs had four shots from the red zone minutes earlier and fired incomplete four times, including two passes to Jackson. Another pass had missed on the previous play, but Jackson came through with the game-winning catch.

"That's their go-to receiver. During crunch time like that, you know they are going to 83," Gay said. "I expected them to go to 83. He won. I didn't." …

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Glennon rallies Bucs past Steelers with last-minute TD throw

PITTSBURGH -- The Bucs rallied for their first win of the season in dramatic fashion, with quarterback Mike Glennon connecting with receiver Vincent Jackson on a 5-yard touchdown with 0:07 remaining, stunning the Steelers with a 27-24 win at Heinz Field.

The Bucs (1-3) had missed on a previous chance at a game-winner, as Glennon missed on three passes from the 14-yard line with two minutes remaining. Tampa Bay's defense held the Steelers, and Glennon connected with receiver Louis Murphy on a 41-yard play to the 5-yard line, setting up the winning score.

Glennon, in his first start subbing for the injured Josh McCown, threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns -- with 245 yards coming in the second half. The road victory comes after a 42-point loss last week for the Bucs in Atlanta.

The Bucs found an offensive rhythm they'd lacked in the first three games, marching for two 80-yard drives in the second half, but a third long drive couldn't reach the end zone. After a trick play halfback option pass on first down, Glennon -- who made his first start of the season with Josh McCown out with a thumb injury -- missed on three throws into the end zone.

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger completed 28 of 37 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns, rallying the Steelers from an early 10-0 deficit to a 17-10 lead. Trailing 24-17 in the fourth quarter, the Bucs twice got into the red zone, but settled for a 27-yard Patrick Murray field goal, then got nothing on their last trip.

Injuries continue to make matters worse for the Bucs, who lost starting safety Dashon Goldson to an ankle injury and rookie receiver Mike Evans to a groin injury. The Bucs did get defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, running back Doug Martin 

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