Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs players get feisty at practice

TAMPA — Lovie Smith learned something else about his players Wednesday. They've still got some fight in them.

Skirmishes and scuffles broke out when players returned after a day off. At the center of it was C Evan Dietrich-Smith, who went after backup DT Matthew Masifilo after the whistle during an 11-on-11 drill. A couple of big hits by LB Mason Foster on RB Bobby Rainey heightened the intensity during red zone work.

"Every day at practice you see something different," Smith said. "The longer it goes, the more chippy it gets here and there. We had a few scuffles. I tell the guys: 'You don't want to fight because in the game, they throw you out of the game, and that's not good. We're getting ready for the season, and we want it to be as game-like as possible. But if you do feel like you just have to mix it up with a guy, fight him the way you would fight your brother. No cheap shots or anything like that. And after that, you've got to get in for the next play while you're tired.' "

CB Leonard Johnson said the red zone work, where the field gets short and the tempers get shorter, might have added to the intensity. "It's been a long time since these guys have put on pads and hit someone," he said. "I think being down in the red zone, the field is twice as wide as it is long, and it kind of forces us to get a little physical."

But Smith would just as soon the Bucs not get into the habit of throwing hands after the play. "I don't think fighting proves you're tough guys or anything like that," he said. "We don't have to fight to get fired up for practice. It's about doing the day-to-day things."

CHEMISTRY LESSON: QB Josh McCown and WR Vincent Jackson proved it may not take long for them to become a productive pass combination. During extensive red zone and team work, they hooked up for three touchdowns, including a pass play of more than 50 yards on a deep post route.

"They have to have good chemistry," Smith said. "Vincent is our No. 1 receiver. We're banking on him making a lot of plays. Chemistry or whatever you want to call it between he and Josh has to be good. Vince is a playmaker. When you get down there, you've got to get the ball in your playmaker's hands, and we did (Wednesday) on more than one occasion, which is great."

The defense had its share of plays. S Mark Barron had an interception of McCown during seven-on-seven in the red zone. The practice ended with backup QB Mike Glennon hitting TE Tim Wright in the end zone.

BUCS BITS: Missouri CB Kip Edwards, 24, undrafted in 2013, signed. He was cut by the Bills at the end of camp, had a brief stint on the Browns practice squad and finished 2013 on the Vikings' practice squad. … CB Alterraun Verner missed practice because of a hamstring injury. … Johnson, playing in his nickel CB spot, laid out WR Skye Dawson on Tuesday. "I was out the last two weeks of OTA's when we were working on a lot of red zone," he said. "So I wasn't able to get in and take any reps. It was good for me to get out and my hands on some people."

Comments
New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

This isn't the first time Brentson Buckner has wanted to get closer to the Bucs defensive line.As a defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, Buckner's team went 7-9 in 2002, the inaugural season for the NFC South.Tampa Bay won the division, and wh...
Updated: 2 hours ago
New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner understands full well what a challenge he'll face in trying to bring down three talented quarterbacks in the NFC South this season."Not getting much sleep," Buckner said, asked of his expectations in a d...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs add ex-USF, Falcons LB Stephen Nicholas to coaching staff

Bucs add ex-USF, Falcons LB Stephen Nicholas to coaching staff

Dirk Koetter has filled out his 2018 coaching staff, hiring former USF and Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas as his new defensive quality control coach.Nicholas, 34, starred for the Bulls and played in Atlanta from 2007-13, much of that under curre...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs release Doug Martin and Chris Baker, two of their most disappointing players in 2017

Bucs release Doug Martin and Chris Baker, two of their most disappointing players in 2017

TAMPA – Early in his rookie year, Doug Martin was told he was losing his balance because he was dropping his head as he hit the hole in a game at Oakland.He quickly corrected that mistake and wound up rushing for a career-high 251 yards against...
Published: 02/21/18
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...
Published: 02/20/18
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 ...
Published: 02/20/18
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