Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Martin passes concussion tests

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bucs RB Doug Martin's night got off to a bad start and got only worse. But he did escape a major injury.

A missed block by Martin contributed to QB Josh Freeman taking a sack on the Bucs' first offensive play in Friday's 25-21 preseason loss to the Patriots. Later, Martin, in pass protection again, went low on Patriots DE Chandler Jones, and one of Jones' knees struck the top of Martin's helmet.

Martin was wobbly but went to the locker room under his own power. He said he passed concussion tests and could have returned to the game.

"It was just a tough play," Martin said. "Things happen."

If Martin had suffered a concussion, he would have been out indefinitely.

Treatment of concussions is highly regulated by the NFL. Depending on the results of required tests, players can be sidelined in subsequent weeks and can be barred from participating in practices until they have satisfactory test results.

More injuries: WR Tiquan Underwood sustained a knee injury, S Keith Tandy a shoulder injury and CB Anthony Gaitor a hip injury. Their statuses were not disclosed.

Good returns: The Bucs' starting offense did not score and had trouble moving the ball. And the starting defense allowed Tom Brady to go 8 of 8 passing on the game's opening series in giving up a touchdown. But there was a bright spot: kickoff returns.

Michael Smith's 63-yarder, during which he slipped through two tackles, gave the Bucs the ball at the Patriots' 42-yard line. The offense couldn't capitalize, with the Freeman-led unit going three-and-out with a net gain of zero yards.

Eric Page returned one kick 40 yards during the second quarter, bringing the ball out from 5 yards deep in the end zone. The Bucs ultimately drove 65 yards, capping the possession with a touchdown catch by Kevin Ogletree.

No Nicks: The Bucs had intended to get G Carl Nicks, who missed nine games last season with a toe injury that is permanently affecting him, his first action of the preseason. But the team opted to sit him after what it deemed a productive week of practice.

Long night: DE Da'Quan Bowers still isn't what you would consider a full-time player, not when he is being shuttled in and out of the lineup and playing well past the time starters have been removed from preseason games.

Coach Greg Schiano has been riding Bowers in an attempt to get him to play at a higher level. The team also is trying to get Bowers into better cardiovascular shape. The third-year end admits he still is getting winded.

Remember me? Former Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount continued his bid to make the New England roster with three carries for 10 yards during the first half. Blount said this week he didn't know where he stood in terms of making the roster.

Tebow! Tebow! One of the night's loudest cheers came when Patriots QB and former Gator Tim Tebow entered during the third quarter. He played after Brady and Ryan Mallett, and went 1 of 7 passing for minus-1 yard and ran six times for 30 yards.

Comments
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Published: 05/26/18
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Published: 05/25/18
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Published: 05/25/18
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Published: 05/25/18
Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

TAMPA — If the first few days of OTAs are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"A lot of interceptions,'' coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday' afte...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Published: 05/24/18
Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

The dust has settled from another NFL draft, and Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made three promotions in his scouting department as a new year of player evaluation begins.Byron Kiefer, entering his 14th season with the Bucs and fourth as a nati...
Published: 05/24/18