Thursday, August 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Quarterly Report: Players, teams to buy and sell

The NFL season is a quarter of the way complete and nothing is as it might have seemed. The Vikings and Eagles are up, the Cardinals and Panthers are down. The Broncos and Patriots have been just fine, even without Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. With Brady set to return from a four-game suspension, the Times' Bucs/NFL coverage team looks at the biggest surprises and disappointments so far this season.

Player or team to buy

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud

Buy the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz is the real deal and their defense is better than expected in an NFC East up for grabs.

Buy Matt Ryan. Matty Ice just threw for 500 yards and WR Julio Jones had 300 of it receiving.

Tom Jones, @tomwjones

I'm buying Dak Prescott. The Cowboys rookie quarterback is smart with the football and, as we've seen here in Tampa Bay, that might be a QB's most valuable asset. Tony Romo will eventually be the started when he returns, but Prescott is this franchise's future.

Read more:

NFL Quarterly Report: Biggest surprise and disappointment

NFL Quarterly Report: Coach of the year and those on the hot seat

NFL Quarterly Report: MVP and Super Bowl picks

Greg Auman, @gregauman

I'll buy the Eagles, but more because of Jim Schwartz's defense than the rookie QB. Most would have picked the big-spending Giants or the Cowboys to unseat the Redskins, but Philadelphia has been the most impressive team out of the gate.

Julio Jones? It's hard to improve on 1,871 receiving yards, which led the NFL last season, but after gaining 300 yards on 15 targets Sunday, he looked poised to become the first 2,000-yard receiver in NFL history. The Bucs won't have it easy trying to chase down Matt Ryan and his favorite target, who have a two-game lead on the rest of the NFC South.

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics

Buying the Ravens. Teams that lose a lot of close games tend to bounce back the next season. Fourteen of Baltimore's games last season were decided by one score. It was 5-9 in those games.

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you

Baltimore Ravens (but schedule grows increasingly difficult)

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly

Buy Arizona. They will get better

Player or team to sell

Bassinger

Selling Lamar Miller, Texans. Miller's 351 rushing yards are fourth-most in the NFL, but can it last? His 93 carries are second only to Ezekiel Elliott (94) of the Cowboys. In four seasons with the Dolphins, he carried the ball 20 times twice. This season, he has carried the ball 20 times in three of four games, and the one game he didn't have 20 carries, he had 19. His 3.8 yards a carry ranks 26th.

Hooper

QBs who over-value their worth (see Cousins, Kirk; Fitzpatrick, Ryan)

Fennelly

Sell Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian. Even at 4-0 I'm not buying him.

Comments
Ali Marpet making move to left guard appear easy, and a big pay day awaits

Ali Marpet making move to left guard appear easy, and a big pay day awaits

NASHVILLE — Ali Marpet's move to left guard, his third position in as many years, has been pretty seamless. A big reason for that is his close relationship with left tackle Donovan Smith.Both came to the Bucs as second-round picks in 2015, Smit...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota share practice field

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The Bucs are in Tennessee for joint practices with the Titans, so Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota — drafted first and second overall in 2015 — are sharing the same practice field.What do they think of each other? Also, how did the Bucs ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota meet again. Sort of.

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota meet again. Sort of.

NASHVILLE — Here at the intersection of Marcus Mariota Place and Jameis Winston Way, the quarterbacks of the Titans and Bucs continued to go in different directions.During the teams' joint workout Wednesday, the quarterbacks never got closer th...
Published: 08/15/18
Bucs receivers come out ‘smoking’ hot against Titans

Bucs receivers come out ‘smoking’ hot against Titans

NASHVILLE — DeSean Jackson turned Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler around and hauled in a deep pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during one-on-one drills. Mike Evans leaped over Logan Ryan, plucking the ball with two hands off the top of t...
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Bucs pleasantly surprised at what a great leader they got in Jason Pierre-Paul

Bucs pleasantly surprised at what a great leader they got in Jason Pierre-Paul

NASHVILLE — The Bucs didn't know what they were getting when they traded for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. They believed he would be a good pass rusher to help the league's worst defense.But they got so much more.The Bucs have been im...
Published: 08/15/18
This Buc was named to ESPN’s Perfect 53-Man NFL Roster

This Buc was named to ESPN’s Perfect 53-Man NFL Roster

If you were putting together the NFL's Perfect 53-Man Roster, you might overlook the Bucs altogether.If you were inclined to include a player, you might consider defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Or wide receiver Mike Evans. Linebacker Lavonte Davi...
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Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Tony Dungy’s message to the Bucs

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Tony Dungy’s message to the Bucs

During a news conference Tuesday in Tampa, Tony Dungy spoke about what it means to him to be added to the Bucs Ring of Honor and what he told the current players when he spoke with them.Plus, Rick Stroud is in Tennessee, where the Bucs are getting re...
Published: 08/15/18
Bucs GM Jason Licht pays tribute to a mentor and friend

Bucs GM Jason Licht pays tribute to a mentor and friend

Perhaps nobody in pro football has had a bigger impact on Bucs general manager Jason Licht than Tom Heckert, Jr., who died Aug. 3 at age 51 after a long battle with amyloidosis. Heckert spent four years as the Broncos pro personnel director, helping ...
Published: 08/15/18
Bucs could use another Tony Dungy to spark culture change

Bucs could use another Tony Dungy to spark culture change

TAMPA —  It seems a little odd, but Tony Dungy is just now being installed in the Bucs' Ring of Honor, two years after his bust was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Leave it to his former team.As if it matters to this man. Dungy...
Published: 08/14/18
Updated: 08/15/18
Tony Dungy addresses Bucs and tells them the devil is in the details

Tony Dungy addresses Bucs and tells them the devil is in the details

Tony Dungy's team's were known for being disciplined and not beating themselves with penalties and blown assignments. But the ones that reached the postseason or went deep into the playoffs always played the game the right way.When Dungy addressed Bu...
Published: 08/14/18