Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buzz builds for Bucs-Seahawks, Tampa Bay's biggest game in some time

TAMPA — Let's hype the hyperbole. Let's add some buzz to an electric atmosphere. Let's overinflate the football about to be played at Raymond James Stadium.

When was the last time there was a game bigger than this for the Bucs?

Tampa Bay has temporarily returned from the abyss and at 5-5 has a chance to truly announce it is back in the playoff picture for the first time since — what, 2008?

The Seahawks (7-2-1) are better than the Bucs. They're maybe the second-best team in the NFC behind the Cowboys. They've been to the postseason five of the past six years, won Super Bowl XLVIII, lost XLIX the next season in wild fashion to the Patriots.

But around here, for a Bucs franchise that has not reached the postseason going on nine years, today should have a big-game feel at what is expected to be a nearly sold-out Raymond James Stadium.

How did the Bucs get here? Two weeks ago, after home losses to the Raiders and Falcons, the franchise looked dead in the water. And what has turned it around is turnovers.

Over the past five games, the Bucs have 15 takeaways, the most of any NFL team during that stretch: nine fumble recoveries and six interceptions. The past two opponents — Bears and Chiefs — have been held to 10 and 17 points, respectively.

"The guys, I think they're doing a very good job attacking the ball," defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. "We saw the effort in practice. It just wasn't translating to on the field in terms of attacking the football. And, knock on wood, we hope it continues. This is a (Seahawks) team … that has only thrown two interceptions, so it's going to be a big challenge for us to get some turnovers."

Conversely, the Bucs, especially Jameis Winston, have been taking care of the rock. The quarterback has 12 TD passes and just two interceptions in the past six games.

DOUG IN: RB Doug Martin's return has been huge. Though he has only 96 yards on 40 carries the past two games, teams have to honor the play-action fake. Maybe more impressive has been his blocking. Winston was sacked only once in last week's win. Martin's block on a defensive end gave Winston just enough time to flick a TD pass to TE Alan Cross.

WITH LOVE: Seattle coach Pete Carroll praised Winston, comparing his ascension to that of Carroll's QB, Russell Wilson. "I've been watching (Winston) for a long time. I watched him all the way through college and have always been really impressed with his tenacity and his competitiveness and his confidence," Carroll said. "He demonstrates confidence in the way he throws the football and the choices he makes. He totally believes in himself that he can make the plays, and he does."

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