Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs turn to young players Jones, Lambert to fill pass-rush hole

TAMPA — As the Bucs move forward without DE Jacquies Smith, lost to a season-ending knee injury Sunday, they'll look to second-year pro Howard Jones and rookie DaVonte Lambert to pick up larger roles in the outside pass rush.

"Howard's a good pass rusher,'' coach Dirk Koetter said of Jones, who had five sacks last season. "Howard's got speed off the edge … and Lambert obviously is a guy that we were excited enough about him to keep him here on the 53 (roster). His versatility, again a guy that can play inside or outside, kind of in the Robert Ayers mold, enough though he's a young guy. You have to develop your young guys in the NFL."

Lambert has been listed as a defensive tackle, but was moved to a second-team defensive end on the depth chart this week and said he has worked at both positions in practice. Lambert, who was inactive for Sunday's game, would be better suited to line up outside in the base defense, while Jones is better suited to be a "DPR" or "designated pass rusher" from the outside in the nickel package.

"It's going to allow some young guys to get some opportunities to play," defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. "Lambert is going to get an opportunity to get some snaps. Howard's had some production in this league … he's going to get an opportunity to rush the passer."

The Bucs added starting DE Robert Ayers to their injury report as being "limited" in Thursday's practice with an ankle injury. His absence would be a major setback to the pass rush against Arizona.

MORE HONORS: Bucs QB Jameis Winston continues to pull in accolades for his four-touchdown game in Sunday's win over Atlanta, getting voted Thursday as the NFL's FedEx Air player of the eeek for Week 1.

Winston beat out the Saints' Drew Brees and the Lions' Matthew Stafford for the weekly passing honor — he was 23-for-32 for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the Bucs' 31-24 win Sunday. It's his second time winning the honor, having won in Week 11 last season after he threw five touchdowns in an easy win over the Eagles. Winston was also honored as the NFC offensive player of the week as well.

THIS AND THAT: Ayers was the only Buc limited by injury in Thursday's practice. The Cardinals had six players limited by injury and two others held out entirely. … The Chiefs on Wednesday waived CB KeiVarae Russell, who they'd drafted in the third round in April with the first of two picks acquired from the Bucs when Tampa Bay traded up to take PK Roberto Aguayo. The Bengals claimed Russell off waivers Thursday. … Due to a stat correction from the NFL, an incompletion originally credited to Winston was removed, thanks to a penalty accepted on the play. The change moves Winston up to fifth in the NFL in completion percentage.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Times wiresSAN DIEGO – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex-crimes-related charges, including two counts of rape, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.The departmen...
Published: 06/14/18
Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

The Bucs' 2018 draft class is now all in the fold, with running back Ronald Jones, second-rounder from USC, signing his rookie deal Thursday.Jones, who won't turn 21 until August after the Bucs go to training camp, was the last of Tampa Bay's eight d...
Published: 06/14/18