Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

honor roll

Greg Auman, @gregaumanThomas Bassinger, @tometricsMartin Fennelly, @mfennellyErnest Hooper, @hoop4youTom Jones, @tomwjonesRick Stroud, @NFLStroud
Biggest reason to believe in the Bucs …Confidence and momentum. Bucs have waited long for this opportunity.The Bucs are doing a better job protecting Jameis Winston.Winston. It's the home stretch and he is feeling it. The Winner-His-Whole-Life thing is kicking in. The Bucs' hopes begin and end with Jameis Winston.This is a team that used to find way to lose games. Now it is finding ways to win them. Winston's leadership. He's backing it up with performance.
Biggest reason to doubt the Bucs …Bucs have to maintain this high level in unfamiliar territory.Their lack of depth, particularly at receiver.Recent history. No playoffs since 2007.Despite recent improvements, the secondary remains frighteningly vulnerable.The offense hasn't been as great as you might think and they'll need offense in the coming weeks.The Bucs' remaining schedule is much tougher than Atlanta's.
The Bucs will make the playoffs if …They sweep the Saints, who have a terrible defense. Very simple.They win three of four and continue playing good complementary football.They beat the Saints twice.They overcome the wizardry of Drew Brees. They get help from an unlikely source: somebody on Atlanta's schedule.They win three of their next four games and don't suffer any significant injuries.
Favorite Famous Jameis moment?Easy, but the spin and throw to Evans vs. Bears.First two drives vs. Seahawks, both of which resulted in touchdowns.The Letter.I still marvel at Winston's 30-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the season opener.The scramble Hail Jameis throw to Mike Evans in the Chicago game.At 3-5, Winston standing defiant and saying, "I'm not a loser. We're winners in this building."
Unsung Buc of the YearSo many choices, but I'll go with tight end Cameron Brate.The other kicker: punter Bryan Anger.Cameron Brate. We've sung about him some, but I still don't think we understand just how much he has meant to this offense.Robert Ayers has 12 tackles and 41/2 sacks during the team's four-game winning streak.Cameron Brate, who has turned the loss of Austin Seferian-Jenkins into a forgotten moment.Punter Bryan Anger. Seventh in net, sixth inside the 20.
Grade Dirk KoetterGiven the injuries and turnaround from 3-5, a solid A.B-. Early game management blunders behind him, Koetter has Bucs in the hunt.B. The man has been coming on like a locomotive. B - Koetter righted the ship after consecutive losses could have devastated this team.B. He has gone from possible hot seat to coach-of-the-year candidate.B. At 7-5, from worst to tied for first in NFC South.
I was most wrong about …The Bucs' confidence in sticking with safeties McDougald and Conte.The past four weeks. Take me with you to Las Vegas, and do the opposite of what I say.Mike Smith being over the hill as defensive coordinator.The Kansas City/Seattle/San Diego span turning disastrous.Well, this entire team. No way I saw a winning season.The Bucs defense. I didn't see this turnaround coming. Not after giving up more than 1,000 yards against the Raiders and Falcons.
I'm still right about …Jay Hayes was a great hire for Bucs' pass rush.Don't trade up to draft a kicker in the second round.Not taking a kicker in the second round of the draft.They're just not that good.Jameis Winston. The guy can flat-out play.Jameis Winston being the real deal and a franchise quarterback.

Comments
DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

Receiver DeSean Jackson stopped short of saying he regretted his decision to sign a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent with the Bucs last March. But he certainly is disappointed in his lack of chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston...
Published: 01/17/18
Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Kwon Alexander is headed to the Pro Bowl.The third-year Bucs linebacker, who led the NFL in solo tackles a year ago, was announced Tuesday as an injury replacement for Seattle's Bobby Wagner.Alexander, 23, won't have to go far, as the game is back in...
Published: 01/16/18

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Published: 01/15/18
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘cringed’ at expectations, optimistic about future

Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘cringed’ at expectations, optimistic about future

TAMPA — It was a brutal year. That’s how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs’ 2017 season.Start with Hard Knocks and the surrounding expectations, some he embraced and others he "cringed at." They all went unfulfilled, mostly due to injuries, ...
Published: 01/15/18

NFL playoffs schedule

AFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP• Jaguars at Patriots, 3 p.m. Sunday, CBSNFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP•Vikings at Eagles, 6:40 p.m. Sunday, FoxSuper Bowl LIIJaguars or Patriots vs. Vikings or Eagles, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis TV: NBC...
Published: 01/15/18
Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

It was a "brutal year." That's how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs 2017 season.Expectations, many of them he said he "cringed at," nonetheless went unfulfilled due to injuries, particularly the right shoulder sprain suffered by quarterback...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

With the NFL investigating allegations against Jameis Winston that potentially could result in a suspension, the Bucs will need to address the backup quarterback position again this off-season."That's another position I always want to do whatever we ...
Published: 01/15/18
Rick and Tom podcast: Who says you need a franchise QB in the playoffs?

Rick and Tom podcast: Who says you need a franchise QB in the playoffs?

The NFL’s final four teams are set, and the starting quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Blake Bortles, Case Keenum and Nick Foles. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down this past weekend’s games, including the Vikings’ miraculous fin...
Published: 01/15/18
Vikings stun Saints with 61-yard touchdown on last play

Vikings stun Saints with 61-yard touchdown on last play

MINNEAPOLIS — This doesn’t happen, not in the NFL, not in the playoffs, not when what is on the line are such things as legacies and franchise curses and — oh, my. All of it.The Vikings were dead, just as they have always been in the playoffs. Their ...
Published: 01/14/18