Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers think of ways to use tight ends more

TAMPA — Even as tight ends play expanded roles in offenses around the NFL, Bucs tight ends have had, at best, a secondary role in the passing game.

Just 11 of QB Josh Freeman's 65 completions through four games have gone to tight ends, nine to veteran Dallas Clark.

But that won't necessarily continue, coach Greg Schiano said. Recognizing Clark's ability as a sure-handed safety valve, Schiano said consistent involvement from the position will come — at the appropriate time.

"I think Dallas has had a big impact on our organization (off the field)," Schiano said. "On the field, I'm sure he'd like some more touches. Hopefully that'll happen.

"You can make it happen, but at what cost? You need to run the offense, and as we start exposing other areas, Dallas won't get as much attention. So, I think it kind of feeds off one another."

A former All-Pro, Clark, 32, has 436 receptions in his career but has battled a litany of injuries the past two seasons. This season, he looks healthy and has converted a couple of key first downs despite limited touches.

As the Bucs work to eliminate kinks from their new offense, roles will become better defined. Clark will be patient.

"Whatever (coaches) want to do, that's what we need to be ready for," he said. "A lot of it is what defenses present. You never want to force things. Obviously, you have to find out what the defense is going to give you and then find ways to attack it. That's always the first priority."

Second-year TE Luke Stocker is being counted on to support the running game as a blocker, and also has a touchdown catch, last month at Dallas. Rookie Danny Noble and new acquisition Nate Byham round out the tight ends on the active roster. Look for Byham to also have a role as a blocker.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Coming off their bye week, the Bucs on Monday got a jump on preparing for the Chiefs, a process that in other weeks would begin Wednesday.

Kansas City QB Matt Cassel suffered a head injury Sunday and Brady Quinn is likely to start against Tampa Bay, but the Bucs didn't seem concerned with who would be under center.

"They pride (themselves) on running the rock," CB Aqib Talib said. "The quarterback doesn't do anything but turn around and hand the ball off in that situation. As long as we knock that run out, we should be all right."

The Chiefs rank second in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 180.8 yards a game.

GETTING THERE: CB Anthony Gaitor returned to practice, putting him closer to a return from a hamstring strain that has kept him out of all four regular-season games.

Gaitor might not play Sunday, but it's a step in the right direction after weeks of sitting.

"I'm getting there," Gaitor said Monday. "It's the first day. We're lucky we have an extra day this week. So I'll come in (today), get some more treatment, go out and run a little bit more and then take it from there.

"My main focus was to get healthy. There's no sense in me rushing. If I'm not healthy, I can't help the team. And with the position I play, I have to turn and run and have quick movements. That injury is nothing to play with."

Gaitor's impending return might prompt a mild shakeup in the secondary. CB Myron Lewis has been inactive for two of the first four games. The Bucs have seven cornerbacks, including Eric Wright, who returned to practice after missing last week with a head injury.

Comments
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still donít know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still donít know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ĎStop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got helpí

Gerald McCoy: ĎStop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got helpí

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Times wiresSAN DIEGO – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex-crimes-related charges, including two counts of rape, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.The departmen...
Published: 06/14/18
Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

The Bucs' 2018 draft class is now all in the fold, with running back Ronald Jones, second-rounder from USC, signing his rookie deal Thursday.Jones, who won't turn 21 until August after the Bucs go to training camp, was the last of Tampa Bay's eight d...
Published: 06/14/18