Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Bowers still playing catchup after injury

TAMPA — It has been 10 months since Da'Quan Bowers was cleared to play after rehabbing a ruptured Achilles tendon. But in a way, the Bucs defensive end said, he still is feeling the effects.

Bowers was injured in May 2012 while working out at One Buc Place and didn't play a game until late October. In between, he missed coach Greg Schiano's first training camp.

"It kind of hurt me this year coming into camp," Bowers said, "because I didn't know quite what to expect."

It is an interesting perspective coming at the end of a preseason in which Bowers, 23, in his third year out of Clemson, did not turn into the every-down player Tampa Bay had envisioned.

Schiano publicly and privately has pushed Bowers, who has admitted his conditioning entering camp was not what it should have been.

In Thursday's 30-12 preseason-finale loss to the Redskins, the 2011 second-round draft pick entered as a third-down rusher and had a tackle and an assist. He had five tackles in the preseason, zero sacks and is clearly behind Daniel Te'o-Nesheim on the depth chart.

"He's getting there," Schiano said Friday. "You'd like him to be starting, playing every down, but I'd like every guy to be that. Da'Quan is progressing, and that's good. As a coach, you always want it to be faster, and quite frankly, I'm sure the player does as well.

"What I said for the whole team applies to Da'Quan If he can continue that climb, he's very talented and would be a really good player."

Bowers, 6 feet 4, 288 pounds, rated his preseason as "decent."

Asked what kind of shape he is in, he said, "pretty good."

"I'm glad I played a lot of snaps this season. I needed it," he said, "not only for my conditioning but to get myself in the swing of things. So, the preseason has helped me. I was very grateful for the preseason."

HOBBLING: TE Tom Crabtree was on crutches with his left ankle heavily wrapped because of what Schiano called a "significant" high ankle sprain sustained against the Redskins. There is no timetable for his return.

The injury will not force the team to acquire a tight end, Schiano said, adding Nate Byham and "some other guys" are expected to pick up the slack.

MORE INJURIES: RB Mike James hurt an eye against the Redskins. "That one, we're not sure where that lies," Schiano said, adding he did not know the cause of the injury. "You don't hear of that very often. We need to delve deeper into that." … CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring) is being evaluated, Schiano said, and RB Peyton Hillis (ankle) is sore but "will be okay."

CUTDOWN DAYS: The Bucs need to be at the 53-player limit by 6 p.m. today, though Schiano indicated he had begun the process.

"It's a hard day," he said. "This is a good group of people. They've busted their rear ends for this organization."

LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Schiano acknowledged rookie QB Mike Glennon didn't have his best game Thursday. But the coach also said Glennon, who was 7 for 16 passing for 63 yards and an interception, remains Josh Freeman's primary backup.

"I told him that once in a while you're going to have one of these," Schiano said. "Don't have too many."

ODDS AND ENDS: After a 2012 rookie season in which he played three games and did not record a tackle, LB Najee Goode led Tampa Bay in the preseason with 21 tackles and 17 solos. … Of CB Johnthan Banks, who is fighting for a starting spot, Schiano said, "(He) impressed me, a fierce competitor, skills. A rookie, but the skills are there."

Comments
Oh Gahd, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! Don’t worry, lots of new story lines for LII vs. E-A-G-L-E-S

Oh Gahd, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! Don’t worry, lots of new story lines for LII vs. E-A-G-L-E-S

TAMPA – Unless you are a Chowd who drives the cah wicked fah and pahks in the yahd, you probably aren't all that jacked up about the Patriots returning to Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis. Anybody but Bill Belichick...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

The Bucs aren't playing for a Super Bowl, and the game itself won't come to Tampa for three more years. But there's no shortage of cool local connections and ties on the Patriots and Eagles' rosters. You've already heard some of these stories, and yo...
Published: 01/22/18
Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

TAMPA — Next victim, please.Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?It would save us a lot of time.Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclus...
Published: 01/22/18
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Published: 01/22/18
Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

PHILADELPHIA — Confetti filled the air, fireworks erupted overhead, and fans sang "Fly, Eagles Fly!" No one dared head for the exits. There was too much to celebrate.The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.The makeshift podium hadn’t taken space on Ph...
Published: 01/21/18
Updated: 01/22/18
Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Published: 01/21/18
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Published: 01/21/18
Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

ST. PETERSBURG — USF had expected to have four former players in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, but QB Quinton Flowers had to miss the showcase game after learning that his grandmother had died late last week."I most definitely ...
Published: 01/20/18
Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — With less than a week to install a playbook, offenses can have it tough in college showcase games.And for 58 minutes on Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, the teams combined for just one offensive touchdown.But...
Published: 01/20/18

Sunday’s NFL conference championship game previews

AFC: Jaguars at Patriots, 3, CBSLine/OU: Patriots by 7˝; 46The big drama leading into this game is whether, or how much, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be slowed by his injured right hand, which kept him out of practice Thursday (see 6C for more...
Published: 01/20/18