Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This time, Bucs have fewer distractions than Dolphins

TAMPA — The Bucs are happy to let the Dolphins have their day in the slime light.

Coach Greg Schiano's Bucs spent the first half of the season coping with: an outbreak of MRSA, accusations that the captain's vote was rigged, an unauthorized interview, a breach of confidentiality in the league's substance-abuse program, and the demotion and release of quarterback Josh Freeman.

Not to mention being 0-8.

But heading into Monday night's game against the Bucs, the Dolphins are dealing with more distractions.

Miami left tackle Jonathan Martin left the team last week because of emotional issues stemming from reported harassment by teammate Richie Incognito.

Incognito was suspended Sunday by the Dolphins for what they called conduct detrimental to the team. Multiple media reports say the guard made racial slurs and physical threats in a voice mail message sent in April and pressured Martin into paying $15,000 for a trip by the offensive linemen to Las Vegas that Martin didn't take.

"That's going to be to their disadvantage," Bucs linebacker Dakoda Watson said. "If that's what they have to worry about, that's what they have to worry about."

Schiano admits the Bucs myriad distractions likely affected their preparation.

"I talk about having 1,440 minutes every day," he said. "If you're spending it on stuff other than game planning, evaluating …there's a limited time. You do have to sleep a little bit. That's where it becomes a tangible factor. Other than that, you can't let it be a distraction other than when it takes time away from what you normally do. That's when it becomes an issue."

Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said Wednesday that the Martin-Incognito matter has not been a point of discussion in their locker room:

"Football is full of distractions whether it's tweaking your ankle, the heat, the snow, the mud, the guy across from you, the crowd. To play this game, you have to be able to put that stuff out of your mind and concentrate on whatever your job is at that given moment and execute that at a high level. The guys we have are professionals, and all that stuff that is going on on the outside is kind of the same way as the crowd noise on third down."

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he couldn't comment on the suspension of Incognito because of the NFL's investigation but said he encourages his players to conduct themselves as professionals.

"I tell our guys all the time, the National Football League, to me, it's like working for General Electric or Goldman Sachs or Dell computer," Philbin said. "You're at the top of the food chain, so to speak, so your actions should reflect that."

Schiano said the Bucs restrict hazing to initiation rituals such as carrying pads and buying food.

"We talk about trust, belief and accountability," Schiano said. "That kind of covers everything. What I talk to them about … our guys, there's some ritual things they do. And my thing is always you don't cross the line. That's a man, and you're a man. Make sure you don't cross the line."

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David said he didn't receive much hazing last year as a rookie other than carrying pads and picking up the $4,000 tab for a linebackers dinner.

"These guys took it easy up here; got mutual respect around the building," he said. "It wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

Rookie quarterback Mike Glen­non said his hazing was limited to making runs for burritos and singing before a meeting.

"I sang Build Me Up Buttercup," he said. "It was all just me. Great vocals. People started clapping and joining along, so I think that was a good sign."

The Bucs' problems now seem limited to on the field. But by the time Monday night rolls around, the Dolphins' distractions will be put aside as well.

Said Bucs left tackle Donald Penn: "At the end of the day, on Monday, when everybody lines up, all the distractions go out the window."

Comments
Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs journal: Adarius Glanton’s experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

Bucs journal: Adarius Glanton’s experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

TAMPA — The Bucs’ linebacker depth was tested during the first five weeks of the season, when Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed a combined six games with injuries.And now, as David is again sidelined by a hamstring injury, the experience gained...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has injury updates on Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy and a nostalgic trip through the Bucs’ history on Monday night, including the current three-game win streak and yes, that infamous 2003 Colts game where the Bucs were u...
Published: 12/15/17
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA — The worst week of Dirk Koetter’s life rolls on.It’s Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. It’s the big build-up to Gruden’s induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Published: 12/15/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Dirk Koetter is fighting for his job the final three weeks of season. Is there a rift between him and Jameis Winston? Has Winston shown enough progress this year? And who are the Glaz...
Published: 12/15/17
Bucs’ Lavonte David misses practice with hamstring injury

Bucs’ Lavonte David misses practice with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs knew they might be playing without DT Gerald McCoy, who suffered a biceps injury early in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. But now they face the prospect of playing Monday against Atlanta without another of their defensive leaders, as LB ...
Published: 12/14/17
USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

When Nigel Harris chose where to play college football, he wanted to stay home in Tampa at USF. And now, after playing for the Chargers and Giants as an NFL rookie, he's grateful for the chance to again prove himself in Tampa as the newest member of ...
Published: 12/14/17
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Published: 12/14/17
Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

TAMPA — It is one of the most honest moments of the season, captured in the first Hard Knocks episode. Jameis Winston is having a frank conversation with coach Dirk Koetter, seated behind his desk in his office at One Buc Place."I just want to have a...
Published: 12/14/17
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Published: 12/14/17