Friday, November 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers think of ways to use tight ends more

RECOMMENDED READING


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
Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Tampa Bay Times has listened to a voicemail Jameis Winston received from Uber relating to the March 2016 incident in Arizona.The NFL is investigating the allegations that Winston grabbed a female Uber driver's crotch in 2016.In the call, someone...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations in a statement:"Th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

TAMPA —- The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver’s assertion that he was her only ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Jameis Winston says groping allegations are ‘false’

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston denied allegations by an Arizona Uber driver that he groped her in 2016. The NFL confirmed it is investigating the incident.Winston released a statement on his Twitter account saying the driver was 'confused,' by the n...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ linemen ready for challenge of containing Dolphins’ Suh

Bucs’ linemen ready for challenge of containing Dolphins’ Suh

Asked if Miami's Ndamukong Suh is the toughest defensive tackle he's gone against, Bucs center Ali Marpet stops short of an answer."I'll let you know after the game," said Marpet, preparing for Sunday's game against the Dolphins as the Bucs seek thei...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game Sunday at Miami:LET’S GO STREAKINGRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: It’s been 11 months since the Bucs had a winning streak. That was when they posted five W’s in a row with a win ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones actually agree on their prediction for the Bucs-Dolphins game that will see Ryan Fitzpatrick make his second straight start in place of the injured Jameis Winston. They’ll give you the keys to the ga...
Updated: 10 hours ago
NFL Week 11: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

NFL Week 11: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

Below are the Times staff picks for week 11 of the NFL season:GameTime/DayErnest Hooper, @hoop4youTom Jones, @tomwjonesMartin Fennelly, @mjfennellyThomas Bassinger, @tometricsGreg Auman, @gregaumanRick Stroud, @NFLStroudAgainst the spread (last week)...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lavonte David is the Bucs’ quiet force

Lavonte David is the Bucs’ quiet force

TAMPA — Lavonte David is a private, almost shy man whose goal each week until game day is apparently to remain invisible by NFL standards.Off the field, the Bucs linebacker doesn’t often raise his voice. But when he was called to do so by coach Dirk ...
Published: 11/16/17
Bucs journal: Ryan Fitzpatrick confident in Bucs, self

Bucs journal: Ryan Fitzpatrick confident in Bucs, self

TAMPA — Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will try to make it two wins in a row against AFC East teams when he faces the Dolphins on Sunday.Fitzpatrick said he didn’t play as well as he can in a 15-10 win over the Jets last weekend. But with WR Mike Evans ret...
Published: 11/16/17