Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucs defense needs fast start against Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

TAMPA — Last season, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton did more to exploit the debacle that was the Bucs defense than any other player in the league. He had four touchdown passes and four rushing touchdowns while the Panthers racked up 86 points in two routs, and the offensive rookie of the year tossed in an end zone celebration for good measure. He pretended to tear open his shirt as if he had ducked in a phone booth and emerged a superhero.

"He did it without even trying last year," Bucs safety Ronde Barber said.

But it was Tampa Bay's lack of effort and execution on defense, yielding a club-record 494 points, that led to the sideline sweeping of coaches and several players in the offseason.

Newton's return to Raymond James Stadium for Sunday's season opener should raise the fear factor of Tampa Bay's defense, but he's not the one who players fear.

"I don't think any team, any player could frighten us more than messing up for (Greg) Schiano," defensive tackle Roy Miller said of the Bucs coach. 'I think we all want to do exactly what he tells us to do. People are more scared of him than anything. That's a good thing."

Schiano has entrusted his defense with coordinator Bill Sheridan, who has some new pieces of the puzzle to improve the league's worst against the run. The signing of Lions free agent cornerback Eric Wright enabled Barber to move to safety and team with first-round pick Mark Barron, the safety from Alabama. Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David will start as a rookie at the spot popularized by Derrick Brooks.

Little is known about the 2012 defense, but Schiano has dropped hints that it is designed to create confusion and pressure on the quarterback with multiple looks and blitzes from anywhere.

"Every first game, there's an element (of surprise)," Schiano said. "Coaches don't sit around all spring and summer. They go out and investigate new ideas and come up with new things. So we're going to see new things, both offensively and defensively.

"There's a little more unknown about us, which is fine. It won't be for long, but we'll take it where we can get it."

The starting defense played well in brief preseason appearances against the Titans and 49ers. Though wafer thin on the line due to the torn Achilles injury suffered by end Da'Quan Bowers and the release of tackle Brian Price, the defensive players flew around, were disruptive and created turnovers.

"It's a good feeling because everybody is so hungry," end Michael Bennett said. "I've seen people work so hard this offseason, I'm just ready to see it pay off.

"I've seen guys change their bodies and their attitudes and things, and I'm ready to see how it's going to transfer to the field."

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