Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs continue working on Doug Martin deal

INDIANAPOLIS — The Bucs have made re-signing RB Doug Martin a priority, and that process took another step late Wednesday.

General manager Jason Licht met with Martin's agent, Brian Murphy, in Indianapolis. No deal will be struck during the NFL scouting combine, which ends Monday. But none had been expected much before the March 7-8 period when teams can negotiate but not announce deals with free agents. The signing period begins at 4 p.m. March 9.

Licht said during his news conference Wednesday that he was "optimistic'' that the Bucs could re-sign Martin, the NFL's second-leading rusher with 1,402 yards and six touchdowns. But a few weeks ago, the team believed Martin might make it to free agency, which remains a real possibility.

"I'm sure there will be some obstacles — there always are in negotiations — but we'll prepare for either way," Licht said Wednesday.

Agreeing on the value for Martin hasn't been easy. He turned 27 last month and had two outstanding seasons sandwiched around injury-filled ones. The Bucs invited this negotiation by deciding not to pick up his fifth-year, $5.6 million option.

A franchise tag, which would cost the team about $11.5 million, apparently is not an option.

NOT KICKED TO THE CURB: Bucs P Jacob Schum had the league's worst gross punting average at 41.9 yards. But don't be fooled, coach Dirk Koetter said. Even though his net of 39.4 yards ranked 28th in the 32-team league, with 15 punts inside the 20-yard line, the Bucs believe he did a good job.

"The one thing you've got to remember when you're talking about punters, you can't just look at what a guy's net or gross average is and say that defines a punter because sometimes you're asking him to kick it to a certain spot and how many times was he trying to kick it down inside the 20," Koetter said.

"We actually are high on Jacob Schum and think he maybe had a better year than just the raw numbers would point out, and he's a good holder."

The Bucs did excel in one area. Opponents only averaged 5.2 yards per return, which tied for fourth in the NFL.

SOMETHING TO IMPROVE ON: QB Jameis Winston did a lot of great things to win rookie of the year in fan voting, but throwing the ball downfield to WR Mike Evans was not one of them.

In passes that traveled more than 20 yards in the air, Winston went 14-of-53 for 454 yards and only one touchdown. Evans saw his average fall from 16.3 to 15.5 yards per catch and his touchdowns decline from 12 to three.

"We need to do better with the deep balls," coach Dirk Koetter said. "That's one thing that will be a big push for us in the offseason will be to get Jameis and Mike Evans on the same page on deep balls because Mike Evans is such a huge down-the-field threat, and we need to do a better job in that area.

"Mike had a better year in that respect his rookie year than he did in Year 2, and part of that is Jameis has to learn where to put the ball and to give Mike a chance to use his size down the field.

"That is one area Jameis not only can do it but I'm pretty sure he will.''

Comments
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
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 don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t 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: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

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