Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

LeGrand injury spurs Bucs coach Greg Schiano's idea to eliminate kickoffs

TAMPA — When Greg Schiano cooked up a concept that would eliminate kickoffs in the NFL and shared the idea with commissioner Roger Goodell, it wasn't about trying to show how smart he is.

Instead, the Bucs coach was inspired by his experience with his former Rutgers player, Eric LeGrand, who remains paralyzed after injuring his neck while covering a kickoff.

"I understand traditionalists who don't agree," Schiano said. "But there used to not be the forward pass, too. And the game would be pretty boring without it. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I'm saying you have to be able to think outside, and it's whatever's best for the player.

"At the end of the day, these guys are the ones who are putting it on the line. … I know it's a violent game and that's one of the things that I love about it is the physical part of it. But there's areas that are more susceptible to injury."

Schiano, in a conversation that occurred before he was hired by the Bucs in January, told Goodell about his idea: Teams would be given the ball at their own 30-yard line after they scored, rather than kicking off to the opponent. They would then have the option of punting the ball away or trying to convert a fourth down and 15. Attempting to convert the first down would be the equivalent of an onside kick, Schiano said, and could create intriguing situations.

"I think you could have a lot of exciting stuff if you opened the game with a blocked punt," he said. "Who knows what could happen?"

It's widely accepted that kickoffs are a dangerous aspect of the game. Schiano offered data that he says proves it, but he got all the evidence he needed on Oct. 16, 2010, the day LeGrand went down.

"When I was researching this, one of the things (I learned) was in the old kickoff rules (when the ball was placed at the 30), 17 percent of the catastrophic injuries came on kickoffs. But (kickoffs) are only about 6 percent of the game. So, that's disproportionate. Things like that are reasons that led me to this. But obviously, with me, it's a personal thing because of Eric LeGrand."

Schiano might have some convincing to do, even in his own locker room.

"I think football is football, people can get hurt," said LB Dekoda Watson, one of the Bucs' special teams standouts. "But if they keep doing all these things for safety, we aren't going to be able to touch the quarterback. It'll be tag the quarterback after a while. I understand what they're saying. But at the same time, it's the nature of the beast."

INJURY REPORT: DT Roy Miller (head) returned to practice Friday and hopes to play Sunday. Miller said he was injured in the second quarter of lat week's loss at Denver. He has been undergoing tests all week but was cleared to practice. "We're going to be cautious," Schiano said.

CB LeQuan Lewis, also the kickoff returner, has been ruled out with a knee injury. Schiano would not specify who would take his place on special teams.

WHERE'S RONDE? If you notice S Ronde Barber missing from Sunday's halftime celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the Super Bowl XXXVII championship, it'll be because he's a little busy. Asked this week whether Schiano would be okay with his participating, Barber had his doubts.

"I don't think Coach is going to let that happen," Barber said. "If he does, it'll be a surprise to me. I don't know what I'm allowed to do. I've got to work.

"Unfortunately, I won't be enjoying it as much as other guys. But it'll be a great moment."

Schiano's position: "The thing I know is that when guys are done playing, they wish they could go play again, and Ronde is still playing. So, let's go win. Whatever helps us win the most is what we'll do."

Comments
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Updated: 6 hours ago
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Published: 06/21/18
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Published: 06/21/18