Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones: NFL's greed leads three thoughts from Thursday's Bucs preseason finale

TAMPA — Three things that popped into my head during Thursday night's preseason game between the Bucs and Washington.

1. The NFL should be ashamed to charge fans full price — or any price at all, come to think of it — to watch the fourth and final preseason game. The Bucs sat 37 players, 35 of whom will probably be on the opening day roster. Washington sat 31 players, most of whom will play significantly this season. While the game is important for the handful of players still trying to make a roster, it mostly featured guys who will never play another game of organized football again. At least in the United States and outside of an arena. If you are going to subject fans to this game, the least teams can do is open up the gates and let fans who normally never get to see professional football up close get in for free.

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be the Bucs backup quarterback. For now. If and when Ryan Griffin returns from injury, perhaps halfway through the season, he could supplant Fitzpatrick. Until then, the Bucs need starter Jameis Winston to stay healthy. You could say the same for every NFL team, that its starter needs to stay on the field. Fitzpatrick hasn't looked particularly sharp in the preseason, but don't read too much into that. He has played mostly with backups. If the time comes that the Bucs have to go without Winston, Fitzpatrick at least knows what an NFL game looks like from behind center with 116 NFL starts. The Bucs don't want to play too many games without Winston, but they probably can afford to play a couple.

3. The Bucs offense sputtered in the preseason. The defense still has some questions, especially in the secondary. Kicking is an issue until it isn't. But one thing the Bucs don't need to worry about is the punter. The Bucs expect to have an explosive offense and rarely use the punter, Bryan Anger. But when they do, they have one they can rely on.

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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

Showdowns set: Jags-Patriots in AFC, Vikings-Eagles in NFC

NEW YORK — Watch out, New England. Here comes Sacksonville. Get ready, Philly. The Vikings are sailing into town. Tom Brady and the big game-tested Patriots square off against the sack-happy Jaguars (12-6) next Sunday in the AFC Championship Game in ...
Published: 01/14/18
Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it’s TV tidbits time

Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it’s TV tidbits time

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best comebackExcuse Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for getting so carried away that he dropped the queen bee of curse words on live television Sun...
Published: 01/14/18