Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Sports

Rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander works with Bucs starters

TAMPA — A day after coach Lovie Smith praised the play of rookie LB Kwon Alexander, he promoted him.

Alexander, a fourth-round draft pick from LSU, worked with the starting defense in Monday's training camp practice. Smith raved about Alexander's play in Saturday's 26-16 preseason loss at Minnesota in which Alexander was credited with four tackles. He took over for free agent Bruce Carter.

"What happens when you make plays? You get an opportunity to make more plays," Smith said. "We are looking at different combinations. … We wanted to see (Alexander) working with the different groups (Monday). That's what we got.

"We are pleased with what he has done as a rookie. Rookies, though, have a long way to go still. He's doing some things to make us notice."

Alexander, who turned 21 on Aug. 3, said he has played with a chip on his shoulder since lasting until the fourth round of the draft despite being a first-team All-SEC performer.

"It's a blessing just to be with the ones (starters)," Alexander said. "It's my dream. I wanted to come up here and start. I'm still trying to start because the decision has not been made. I'm just out here working, trying to grind and get better and better every day."

Spence suspended one game: DT Akeem Spence, already sidelined likely until October as he recovers from back surgery, has been suspended from the regular-season opener because of his arrest on a possession of marijuana charge in January 2014.

The suspension is a standard punishment for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Spence was stopped in Escambia County, Ala., two weeks after Smith was named coach. Spence was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession, and he finished a pretrial diversion program to have the charge dismissed.

Moving over: Sterling Moore, who played at cornerback and nickel in Dallas last year, had worked exclusively at corner in camp, but he made the move to nickel Monday. Tampa Bay gave up 284 passing yards to the Vikings.

Moore, who will compete with Leonard Johnson for the starting nickel job, said the transition shouldn't be hard and his first practice went well.

"So far, so good," he said. "I felt comfortable there. I felt like I read everything pretty well. It's just about getting some time in there. Obviously things happen a little faster when you're on the inside. I just have to get some run reads down."

The Bucs had said they were concerned about their depth at corner behind starters Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks, but Moore should upgrade the nickel package, which the Bucs used for 34 of 69 defensive snaps Saturday.

This and that: In addition to RT Demar Dotson being sidelined with a knee sprain, T Kevin Pamphile was held out with a sore triceps, leaving backup Reid Fragel to work as the first-team right tackle. … DE Jacquies Smith was held out with what Lovie Smith said was a sore shoulder, and S Chris Conte remained out with a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since the first day of camp. … Backup LB Orie Lemon was also out with an undisclosed injury. … After Garrett Gilkey struggled Saturday with two snaps that were fumbled, the Bucs had former USF lineman Jeremiah Warren as the second-string center, with Gilkey at right guard.

Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow @NFLStroud. Contact Greg Auman at [email protected]

Comments
Rays’ Kevin Cash third in AL Manager of the Year voting

Rays’ Kevin Cash third in AL Manager of the Year voting

ST. PETERSBURG – Kevin Cash led the Rays to 90 wins this season, but he lost out on the AL Manager of the Year award, finishing third behind Oakland's Bob Melvin and Boston's Alex Cora.Cash received five first-place votes, six for second and 14...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Bucs linebacker Lavonte David has MCL sprain, could miss this week’s game at Giants

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David has MCL sprain, could miss this week’s game at Giants

TAMPA — Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David could miss Sunday's road game against the New York Giants with an MCL sprain in his knee.David hasn't yet been ruled out for this week's game, but his absence would be another major hit for a lineba...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Bucs are starting a journeyman over Jameis Winston. Here’s what that means

The Bucs are starting a journeyman over Jameis Winston. Here’s what that means

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter didn't take long to figure out who his starting quarterback will be this week. Less than 24 hours, to be exact.Fairly soon after the Bucs limped off the field following Sunday's embarrassingly futile 16-3 loss to Washington, K...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Why Blake Snell should win the AL Cy Young award

Why Blake Snell should win the AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell deserves to win the American League Cy Young award.Really, it's as simple as that.Look at what Snell did this season for the Rays, leading the AL with a 1.89 ERA, 21 wins (vs. five losses), .178 opponents average an...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs place Evan Smith and Shaun Wilson on IR; sign Dare Ogunbowale, Kevin Minter

Bucs place Evan Smith and Shaun Wilson on IR; sign Dare Ogunbowale, Kevin Minter

The Bucs promote Ogunbowale from the practice squad and re-sign Minter, who may play a bigger role with LB Lavonte David nursing a knee injury
Updated: 2 hours ago
Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

With elections in the rearview mirror, focus shifts to efforts to move the Tampa Bay Rays to Ybor City.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jefferson shakes up coaching staff, finds playoff spark

Jefferson shakes up coaching staff, finds playoff spark

Three weeks ago, Jefferson was upset by Robinson 22-19 in the regular-season finale. It was the fourth time the Dragons lost by five points or fewer this season. Despite being 5-5, first-year Jefferson coach Joe Midulla was confident his team wo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ever wondered what your sports cards are worth? This guy can help

Ever wondered what your sports cards are worth? This guy can help

Michael Osacky will be in Tampa on Thursday to appraise items from before 1975.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Blake Snell wins … the Warren Spahn award as top lefty

Blake Snell wins … the Warren Spahn award as top lefty

With a bigger prize to be presented on Wednesday, Rays top starter Blake Snell on Tuesday was named the winner of the Warren Spahn award given to the game's top lefty pitcher.The award, based on wins, ERA and strikeouts, is given in the name of the H...
Updated: 3 hours ago
FanSided: No NFL seat is hotter than the one underneath the Bucs’ Dirk Koetter

FanSided: No NFL seat is hotter than the one underneath the Bucs’ Dirk Koetter

Dirk Koetter tops FanSided's ranking of eight NFL head coaches on the hot seat, among the top headlines today on Sports Illustrated's website.
Updated: 3 hours ago