Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie safety Mark Barron looks forward to Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut

TAMPA — The Bucs expected a lot out of rookie S Mark Barron when they drafted him seventh overall this year, penciling him into a starting spot.

But with a toe injury keeping Barron out of last week's preseason opener against the Dolphins, they haven't been able to fully see what the former Alabama standout can do.

That will change Friday night, when Barron is expected to make his NFL debut against the Titans at Raymond James Stadium.

"I'm very excited," Barron said Wednesday. "I was looking forward to last week, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to play. Those same feelings are carrying into this game. I'm ready to get out there and get a feel for the game."

Barron, whose specific injury wasn't disclosed by the Bucs, doesn't know how many snaps he'll get Friday but said the toe won't limit him. He said though he has missed time, he has been able to grasp the defensive scheme. "At this point, I pretty much know everything," Barron said. "It's a thing where you've just got to focus in on every play and make sure you're doing your assignment."

Barron said with the limited contact rules in camp, which ended Wednesday, it was hard for a safety to stand out. And coach Greg Schiano said he is looking forward to evaluating him in a game setting.

"It's hard to say what kind of camp he's having because he hasn't participated enough to really draw a conclusion," Schiano said. "Mentally, I think he's grasping the defense. But how do you know until you're under pressure and have to perform? It's one thing to master the defense in the air-conditioning, and it's another to do it when you've got your pads on and you've got to hit somebody.

"I think we'll see that more as he plays more. I'm confident he will (do well). But like anything else, until you do it, it's talk."

GATOR BAIT: Schiano acknowledged the team is interested in Jeff Demps, a former Florida running back who earned a silver medal at the Olympics last week as part of the U.S. 400-meter relay team.

Demps' agent, Daniel Rose, said Wednesday the Bucs are among the front-runners to sign him. Every team has inquired about Demps, Rose said.

"It's nice that he's an Olympian," Schiano said. "That's a great achievement. But we play football. So if he wasn't a good football player, it wouldn't matter to me. But he happens to be a good football player as well.

"He just happens to be a very good track athlete as well. I don't know how it's going to end up. We had discussions even before he went over to the Olympics. If it's meant to be, it'll work out."

Last season for the Gators, Demps ran for 569 yards and six touchdowns, caught 16 passes for 172 yards, and averaged 25 yards and scored a touchdown on 10 kickoff returns. He hopes to make a decision by Monday, his agent said.

LEANING LEFT: Demar Dotson has been given a big opportunity filling in at left tackle for the injured Donald Penn (strained calf). And Schiano said the tackle, who has appeared in 22 games (two starts) during his two seasons, did a solid job Friday against the Dolphins.

Dotson didn't give up any sacks but said he believes there's room for improvement. "I think I did pretty well, but obviously I have to keep getting better and getting in my playbook and better with my assignments," he said. "I think I had two or three mental errors that I just can't have. There's no excuse for it. I just have to get out there and play better for myself. I hold myself to a pretty high standard. By my standard, I didn't have a great game."

MISCELLANY: TE Luke Stocker missed his second straight practice with an undisclosed injury. … CB E.J. Biggers remains out indefinitely with a broken left foot sustained July 27, Schiano said.

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Comments
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and discrepancies about the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that has led to his upcoming three-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy.The Bucs won't ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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 ...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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 ...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18