Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Jones: Bucs-Falcons report card

NEVER FORGET

Emotional moments played out all over the NFL on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In Atlanta, just like everywhere across the league, there was a video message from President Obama prior to kickoff. That was followed by a moment of silence and a stirring rendition of the national anthem. In a time when much of the country is bitterly divided over the upcoming presidential election, it was meaningful to come together and remember the tragic events of that horrifying day. For at least a few minutes, America, just like the day following 9/11, felt united again. GRADE: A+.

NO FUN LEAGUE

So let me get this right. You can blast away at a quarterback's head all you want (see last Thursday's game when Panthers QB Cam Newton was practically decapitated by the Broncos), but you better not celebrate a sack. Seriously, the NFL needs to lighten up. After Bucs defensive tackle Gerald MCoy sacked Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan early in the third quarter, he celebrated with teammate Kwon Alexander. Apparently, you can't do that. McCoy and Alexander were flagged for a "choreographed celebration." McCoy and Alexander would be welcome on Dancing With The Stars, but not in the NFL. The league's disciplinary system for on and off the field infractions is completely out of whack. So, judges, what say you? GRADE: B (for the celebration) and F (for the flag).

YOU'RE IN GOOD HANDS

Four touchdown passes by Jameis Winston. Four different receivers. Four sensational catches, each one more spectacular than the last. It started with a sure-handed grab by Brandon Myers for his first touchdown with the Bucs. What followed was Charles Sims catching a screen and bouncing off tacklers like one of those old Electric Football games. Then came leaping, diving, juggling and whatever awesome adjective you can think of catches by Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Mike Evans. Call them the good-hands people. GRADE: A.

WHAT A FEET

Guess that whole narrative about how kicker Roberto Aguayo was the worst second-round draft pick in the history of sports is on hiatus. The Bucs kicker was a perfect five-for-five in his NFL debut, booting home four extra points and a 43-yard field goal. On our pass/fail grades (that's how it works with all kickers) Aguayo gets a ... GRADE: Pass.

GREAT BOOK

In Sunday's Tampa Bay Times, we told you how Dirk Koetter's favorite book is Dr. Suess' Oh, The Places You'll Go. But Koetter's best book might be his offensive playbook. Koetter did a masterful job getting the Bucs offense going after a slow start by quarterback Jameis Winston. Mixing in running plays and screens, along with some well-timed deep balls, Koetter directed the Bucs to 31 points. That makes Koetter's playbook a must-read. GRADE: A.

WHY I OUGHTA

Play turned a little chippy Sunday with several personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to go along with the usual griping and complaining about the other guy that you get in a divisional game. Should make for an interesting rematch when the teams meet Nov. 3 at Raymond James Stadium. In the meantime, as far as the conduct of the players? GRADE: Unsatisfactory.

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The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
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Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

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Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Published: 05/25/18
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Published: 05/25/18
Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

TAMPA — If the first few days of OTAs are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"A lot of interceptions,'' coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday' afte...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Published: 05/24/18
Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

The dust has settled from another NFL draft, and Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made three promotions in his scouting department as a new year of player evaluation begins.Byron Kiefer, entering his 14th season with the Bucs and fourth as a nati...
Published: 05/24/18
NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

ATLANTA — The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams enacted a new national anthem policy Wednesday designed, they said, to compel players to stand if they’re on the sideline for the playing of the anthem prior to a game."Clearly our objective as a leagu...
Published: 05/23/18