Saturday, September 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs journal: Four hurt starters back at practice

TAMPA — The extra rest following a Thursday night loss to the Patriots may have benefited four Bucs defensive starters who missed the game with injuries.

Linebackers Kwon Alexander (hamstring) and Lavonte David (ankle), and safeties T.J. Ward (hip) and Keith Tandy (hip) returned to practice Wednesday, their first step in returning to the lineup. All four were listed as having limited participation.

Alexander hasn't played since the season opener against the Bears, against whom he aggravated a hamstring injury he suffered in the preseason. David's ankle injury suffered against the Vikings the next week — he had to be carted off the field — turned out not to be as serious as first thought but forced him to miss two games. Ward missed two games and Tandy one.

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith said that if nothing else, the presence of Alexander and David gives the Bucs an emotional lift.

"Any time you get your top-level (linebackers) back, it's a jolt to the defense and probably a jolt to the entire team," Smith said. "We want to have our best players out there, and unfortunately we haven't been able to have our best players out there over the last four or five weeks. But hey, we are hoping that we get as healthy as we possibly can."

Special-teams captain Josh Robinson, who had been in concussion protocol as recently as Wednesday morning, also practiced in the afternoon, but that doesn't always indicate that a player is out of the protocol and cleared to play. He had full participation. DE Robert Ayers was limited with a back injury, and C Ali Marpet was limited with an illness. DE Ryan Russell, who injured a shoulder against the Patriots, did not practice.

"Good to have the guys back and start working again," coach Dirk Koetter said.

A.P. to the rescue

The Cardinals hope Adrian Peterson can jump-start the NFL's worst rushing attack, and he will get a chance to do that Sunday against the Bucs.

Peterson, who was traded by the Saints this week for a conditional late-round draft pick, will get the ball often Sunday despite having only a few days of practice with the Cardinals.

"He's run our style of offense for a while, and it's just learning terminology," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "But we plan on getting him the football and see if we can get our running game started."

With RB David Johnson on injured reserve with a wrist injury, the Cardinals are averaging a league-worst 51.8 yards per game rushing and have only one rushing touchdown.

"He's a big, strong guy that runs violently," Smith said of Peterson. "As I said earlier, if you don't get the pads on him and you don't get multiple sets and take good angles, he's going to break tackles. He hasn't had an opportunity for one reason or another in New Orleans to get many touches, so he's going to be fresh."

McCoy warns of protest 'uproar'

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, interviewed on an ESPN podcast, said Tuesday that there will be an "uproar" if the NFL moves forward with a proposal that would keep players from kneeling in protest during the national anthem: "I think it's going to be a negative reaction," he said. "I don't think guys are going to like it. I think it's going to be an uproar if that is to happen, because you're basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys want to have, I guess you'd call it a peaceful protest, I don't think it's right to take that away from guys."

Comments
How Booger McFarland rose from a Tampa FM station to Monday Night Football

How Booger McFarland rose from a Tampa FM station to Monday Night Football

TAMPA – When Booger McFarland auditioned for the new Monday Night Football broadcast team, producer Jay Rothman was blown away."I closed my eyes and said, 'Holy (bleep), I feel like I'm listening to football's Charles Barkley,'' Rothman said.Si...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Bucs have to be ‘reasonable,’ about their plan to play defensive tackle Vita Vea

Bucs have to be ‘reasonable,’ about their plan to play defensive tackle Vita Vea

Defensive tackle Vita Vea made it through practice this week, his first since straining his left calf muscle July 29. But coach Dirk Koetter was pretty non-committal about how much, or if, Vea will play Monday night against the Steelers."When you've ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

How Tampa Bay is savoring its FitzMagic carpet ride

TAMPA — Bucs fan Dallas Collins has it all planned out.On Monday night, he and his family are going to whip up an Irish Boiled Dinner. You know, corned beef, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and onions.Then they're going to sit down and watch the Buc...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Bucs PK Chandler Catanzaro insists he’s curse-free

Bucs PK Chandler Catanzaro insists he’s curse-free

TAMPA — When placekicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter at New Orleans and a point-after attempt last week against the Eagles, he left the door open for a possible comeback by the Saints and Eagles.The Bucs...
Published: 09/21/18
Ryan Fitzpatrick said his only goal was to go 3-0 while Jameis Winston was suspended

Ryan Fitzpatrick said his only goal was to go 3-0 while Jameis Winston was suspended

TAMPA — Shortly after he learned he would be starting the first three games this season, Ryan Fitzpatrick saw the opportunity to do something few thought would be possible.No, not take Jameis Winston's job.The Bucs starting quarterback was susp...
Published: 09/21/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Mailbag: Bucs-Steelers, Vita Vea, Rays’ playoff chances, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Mailbag: Bucs-Steelers, Vita Vea, Rays’ playoff chances, more

It's our mailbag episode, with questions about how many games the Bucs can win this season, the reason for their offensive explosion and what we can expect from Vita Vea this week against the Steelers.Plus, what moves should the Rays make this offsea...
Published: 09/21/18
FitzMagic is everywhere, even in Cleveland

FitzMagic is everywhere, even in Cleveland

It feels like there's FitzMagic in the air everywhere these days, even in Cleveland.When Baker Mayfield came off the bench Thursday night to lead the Browns to a 21-17 win over the Jets — Cleveland's first victory in 635 days — he became ...
Published: 09/21/18
Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

TAMPA — For the first time in seven weeks, Vita Vea played football Thursday.At least it looked like the rookie defensive tackle was playing football when he walked to the Bucs' practice field wearing a helmet and full pads and took a three-poi...
Published: 09/20/18
Tell us: What are you doing to celebrate FitzMagic?

Tell us: What are you doing to celebrate FitzMagic?

Have you fallen under the spell of FitzMagic?Are you growing a beard? Naming your dogs (or your kids) after Ryan Fitzpatrick? We want to hear from you.Let us know what you're doing to celebrate the hottest player in the NFL — Tampa Bay's own Ry...
Published: 09/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When might Jameis Winston return under center?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When might Jameis Winston return under center?

Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud on today's podcast to discuss if and when Jameis Winston might regain his job as starting quarterback of the Bucs.Plus, they talk about what Tony Dungy, who is set to be inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor, has met ...
Published: 09/20/18