Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Unity, turnover evident in Bucs' secondary

TAMPA

It took all of one practice to illustrate the changes that have taken place for the Bucs, particularly in the secondary. Coach Greg Schiano has a favorite saying he repeats in practice: leaders lead. And so it was after that initial organized team activity, former 49ers S Dashon Goldson brought the entire team up with everyone putting a hand in the pile. Schiano noticed, and he loved it.

The biggest acquisition of the offseason was Jets CB Darrelle Revis, still recovering from surgery to repair his torn ACL. The Bucs used their second pick on Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks, and they also restructured the contract of CB Eric Wright.

The popular belief is Revis and Wright will start, with Goldson and second-year pro Mark Barron at safety. When opponents use three receivers, Wright might move inside to cover the slot receiver with Banks entering as the nickel corner (fifth defensive back).

Sounds good, but I don't think the Bucs are done tinkering.

Two second-year players, CB Leonard Johnson and S Keith Tandy, saw some action last week in the dime package. And when the team went to that defense, Barron was frequently in the slot, close to the line of scrimmage. Tandy will push former Gator Ahmad Black for playing time as the third safety.

Wright, 27, has a base salary of only $1.5 million for 2013, the last year on his contract. Schiano didn't exactly offer a ringing endorsement of Wright.

"He's doing some good things. And again, it's all about the competition and we won't know until we get going," Schiano said. "Because there are some guys who finished the year that think it's their position. And Eric thinks it's his position. So we'll see. I'm not sure exactly how everything will turn out, nor do I care. I know I like the guys that are right now competing. That's the most important thing, and we'll let it all play out."

Wright is a playmaker and maybe he'll hold off the younger (cheaper), eager competition.

But the Bucs drafted Banks to play right away, and they like Barron close to the line in multiple receiver sets. They also like their young safeties. It's an area where more changes could take place.

Boys will be boys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is attracted to the camera like a moth to a flame, but he might want to find a better backdrop for his TV hits than the team's draft board. A website called Blog the Boys captured Dallas' draft board by piecing together a series of screen shots from Jones' interviews.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes there is no consensus among teams about a player. But consider where the Cowboys scouts and front office had ranked some of the Bucs' choices.

Banks earned a sixth-round grade from the Cowboys. He was taken 43rd overall by the Bucs.

Illinois DT Akeem Spence, taken in the fourth round by Tampa Bay, got a fifth-round grade from Dallas. Finally, QB Mike Glennon, the Bucs' third-round choice from North Carolina State taken 73rd overall and the third passer taken, rated a sixth-round grade by the Cowboys.

Then again, Florida State QB E.J. Manuel, who went 16th overall to Buffalo and was the only quarterback selected in the first round, earned a fourth-round grade from the Cowboys.

Keep an eye on: DE Aaron Morgan, who joined the practice squad in October after being released by the Jaguars and was promoted to the active roster in Week 9. He played seven games and made two tackles, one on special teams, before a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve.

"Aaron is a really effective pass rusher," Schiano said. "He hasn't had a ton of opportunities in games because we got him and we're trying to work him into things. But now that he's been with us for a while, he understands our concepts and what we want to do. But he's got good burst and explosion. Each time he got close to playing something happened, he got injured. If he can stay healthy, I think he can have a positive impact on our pass rush."

Comments
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
Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy, who handled the Bucs' kickoff and punt returns for much of last season, is back with Tampa Bay again.Reedy, 26, was signed on Wednesday, one day after the Bucs began OTA workouts. Thomas Sperbeck, the former Boise State r...
Published: 05/23/18
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Published: 05/23/18
New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

And you thought our headline would be "Mariota hosts NFL draft before Winston."The NFL owners are meeting in Atlanta this week, and that means a new batch of future Super Bowls getting announced for their homes.A year ago, Tampa got the huge news, an...
Published: 05/23/18
Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
Published: 05/23/18
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Published: 05/22/18
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Published: 05/22/18
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Published: 05/22/18
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Published: 05/22/18