Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs opponent preview: Cowboys, Week 15

When they play: Week 15 (Dec. 18) in Dallas

2015 record: 4-12

Last time vs. Bucs: The Bucs beat Dallas 10-6 in Tampa last year, thanks to stellar defense and a Jameis Winston 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Dallas was held to 228 yards of total offense in the loss.

2016 outlook: Tony Romo's back injury puts a major question mark over the season -- how much can rookie Dak Prescott accomplish after a promising preseason? The team with perhaps the best offensive line in football continues to be hampered by quarterback injuries -- Cowboys QBs other than Romo are 1-13 since 2011.

Player to watch: TE Jason Witten remains ageless, now with more than 1,000 catches and 11,000 yards to go with 60 touchdowns. He's played 192 games in a row going back to his second year in 2004. He's never caught a touchdown against the Bucs in five career games, however -- the only team he's played more without a score is the Saints, with seven.

Rookie to watch: RB Ezekiel Elliott is everyone's Rookie of the Year favorite, having rushed for 1,800-plus yards in each of his last two years at Ohio State, with a combined 41 touchdowns. His success will keep pressure off Prescott to not have to do so much, which should help lessen his turnovers.

Key matchup: Romo vs. recovery. By Week 15, Romo could be back and well settled -- he's 4-0 all-time against the Bucs, with 11 career touchdowns and only one interception.

Familiar face: There aren't many, but former Tampa Catholic and Gators offenive lineman Chaz Green will be the backup right tackle after not playing a snap as a rookie last year due to a hip injury.

Cool stat: Dallas was a terrible team in turnover margin last year, with an NFL-worst minus-22 margin in 2015, with only 11 total takeaways against 33 turnovers. Last year's 4.2 percent interception rate is high, and Prescott will have to rein himself in to avoid challenging that in his rookie season.

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 ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
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