Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Patriots report card: Tom, can we get your autograph?

There was royalty all over Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night. The guests of honor were New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the GOAT himself, Tom Brady. And Tony Dungy. And: Deion! And several Bucs Ring of Honor inductees on hand for the induction of the late Malcolm Glazer. The Bucs wore red. The Patriots wore white. Michael Irvin wore plaid. But Tom Petty music blared from the sound systems during a replay. How bad a night could it have been?

For Jameis Winston: bad. Never mind that New England entered the game with the worst defense in the league, by far the worst pass defense, having allowed 128 points in four games. You wouldn't have known it by Winston and the Bucs' offense. Jameis rallied the Bucs in the fourth quarter, even found DeSean Jackson at last, but the Bucs came up short, losing 19-14. They wasted a very good defensive effort against Brady. And they wasted their time with Nick Folk.

In other news, good news, Doug Martin showed promising signs in his return. The Bucs' defense stepped up and kept holding the Patriots to field goals. The pass rush doubled its season sack total in the first half alone, getting sacks by Clinton McDonald and Gerald McCoy, and a quick pick for rookie Justin Evans. Michael Irvin wore plaid.

One for the beard

G The Bucs inducted late owner Malcolm Glazer into their Ring of Honor at halftime, a nice tribute to the man who helped make the Bucs into Super Bowl champions. A large gathering of former Bucs, grateful Bucs, joined the Glazer family on the field for the ceremony.

Star struck

D Winston looked a little up and down, meaning he looked a lot like Jameis always looks. Too many short drives in the first half, too much watching Brady. Winston went deep for an open DeSean Jackson early in the third quarter. Guess what happened. But they connected late, and Winston woke up and was 14-for-21 for 225 yards in the fourth quarter.

He's back

A- Win or lose, the sight of Doug Martin gaining ground again was a good sign for the Bucs. Martin, fresh from a four-game suspension, looked pretty good considering, or even not considering. He had 55 yards at the half and broke off two big runs on the Bucs' first-half touchdown drive, and he went up and over for the score. If the Bucs are going to amount to anything, they'll need Martin.

And how was your night?

A The defense played well. And one day Justin Evans will have one of his grandchildren on his knee and he'll tell the story: "Yeah, I just read his eyes — picked Brady." The Bucs' rookie defensive back got his first NFL start, replacing injured safety Keith Tandy. So naturally, within a minute, Evans intercepted an errant pass by the greatest of them all, reaching back to make it grab.

Vegas strong

A Before the national anthem, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the Las Vegas shootings. Thousands of fans held up the lights on their cellphones. It was a simple moment, a majestic one, and it reminded us that for all our differences, we're closer than we think.

Color rush

D Okay, the Bucs' red uniforms are a bit much. Let's just leave it at that. The only consolation was that it wasn't Michael Irvin's plaid threads. The Hall of Fame receiver went as his grandmother's couch. Several fans were later admitted to area hospitals, where they received transfusions of beige.

Nick back to his tricks

F A missed 49-yard field goal and a missed 31-yarder sealed Nick Folk's fate. Today, if not sooner.

Not To Be Confused With Jon Grudon …

F Cameras caught former Bucs coach Tony Dungy sitting in one of the boxes at the game. His name was flashed on the big boards. Tony Dungey. Nice.

Comments
Bucs release defensive tackle Chris Baker

Bucs release defensive tackle Chris Baker

Hours after they parted ways with running back Doug Martin, the Bucs continued their initial wave of roster cuts Tuesday afternoon, releasing defensive tackle Chris Baker.Baker, 30, lasted only one season with Tampa Bay, managing just a half-sack aft...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs release two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin

Bucs release two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin

TAMPA — After six up and mostly down seasons, Doug Martin's run with the Bucs is over.The two-time Pro Bowl running back was released by Tampa Bay Tuesday, a move that was expected after he failed to rush for less than 500 yards in four of the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Some big Bucs roster decisions are looming

Some big Bucs roster decisions are looming

The Bucs plan to release running back Doug Martin and defensive tackle Chris Baker sometime before the NFL scouting combine which begins Feb. 27 in Indianapolis.There likely will be more, but they still are undecided on the future of defensive ends R...
Published: 02/20/18
Defensive linemen who could follow Brentson Buckner to Bucs

Defensive linemen who could follow Brentson Buckner to Bucs

Now that the Bucs have announced that Brentson Buckner is their new defensive line coach, could his connections help shape Tampa Bay's search to upgrade their pass rush this offseason?The chance to play for a familiar position coach can be a major fa...
Published: 02/20/18
Bucs agree to terms with Brentson Buckner to be their defensive line coach

Bucs agree to terms with Brentson Buckner to be their defensive line coach

Brentson Buckner didn't need to bring his resume when he interviewed for the Bucs' job as defensive line coach. No references were needed, either.All the Bucs had to do was ask quarterback Jameis Winston whether the Arizona Cardinals defensive line w...
Published: 02/19/18
On the mend: Bucs’ Noah Spence posts workout pic

On the mend: Bucs’ Noah Spence posts workout pic

Defensive end Noah Spence, whose two NFL seasons have both been limited by injuries to his right shoulder, is getting himself healthy for the 2018 season.Spence has kept a low profile since the Bucs placed him on injured reserve in late October, a mo...
Published: 02/19/18
Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Bucs remains uncertain. But the veteran quarterback is still very much here in Tampa and still sharing his wisdom with younger athletes.In this case, they're much younger —...
Published: 02/19/18
Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

TAMPA – Jameis Winston is heading for a big payday with the Bucs. He's played well enough to make that an easy decision.But what impact will that have on the type of players they surround him with?The Bucs are expected to exercise the fifth-yea...
Published: 02/16/18
Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

The Bucs continue to move quickly with the defensive line opening on Dirk Koetter's coaching staff, interviewing former Cardinals assistant Brentson Buckner.Buckner, 46, spent the last five years as Arizona's defensive line coach, leading the unit to...
Published: 02/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

It’s a Mailbag Friday as Rick Stroud answers your questions, including what will happen with the Jameis Winston investigation, who should the Bucs sign in free agency and would Warren Sapp make a good defensive line coach?Also, who will win more game...
Published: 02/16/18