TAMPA — At 34, Josh McCown is the oldest of 75 players on the Bucs roster and one of just four 30 or older. So there's a natural leadership that extends beyond his role as starting quarterback.
And as the Bucs have brought in four quarterbacks for visits in the past two weeks to evaluate their merits as high draft picks, McCown has had a chance to meet the young phenoms who could challenge him for playing time this fall....
TAMPA — DT Gerald McCoy has seen the Bucs add what they hope will be key contributors to the defensive line in DE Michael Johnson and DT Clinton McDonald. But he's also excited about the progress he saw at the end of last season from rookie DE William Gholston.
"Especially in this defense, Will is one of those rare guys with his size and ability," McCoy said. "He has potential. He can do things he doesn't even realize he can do."...
While much has been made of the Bucs' offseason overhaul, with new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht already signing 23 new players and cutting key veterans from last year's team, the organization has been busy with changes behind the scenes as well.
Tampa Bay will have a new lineup of team physicians and surgeons for 2014, with John Zvijac, the team's head orthopedic surgeon for the previous 16 seasons, not returning. Zvijac has been replaced by Chuck Nofsinger, who has worked as a team physician at USF since 2006 and an assistant professor and director in the university's College of Medicine Orthopedic....
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy saw his team add two new key contributors to the defensive line in end Michael Johnson and tackle Clinton McDonald, but he's also excited about the progress he saw at the end of last season from rookie end William Gholston.
"Especially in this defense, Will is one of those rare guys, with his size and ability," McCoy said. "He has potential. He can do things he doesn't even realize he can do."...
Josh Freeman's long downward spiral -- from Bucs starter to Vikings backup to a month of waiting in free agency -- ended Wednesday as he agreed to terms on a contract with the Giants as a backup to Eli Manning, according to multiple reports.
It's a fresh start for Freeman, 26, who once seemed headed for a lucrative contract extension after throwing for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2012. But then-coach Greg Schiano turned instead to rookie Mike Glennon and cut Freeman loose; as an unrestricted free agent, he saw 21 other quarterbacks sign this offseason before landing with the Giants....
TAMPA — The uniform design is contemporary. Some players still need directions to One Buc Place, and the coaching staff is new.
But as disruptive as the changes might be, the Bucs and tackle Gerald McCoy hope a nostalgic return to the Tampa 2 will create more havoc on defense.
"It's definitely going to be different," McCoy said. "We're playing the old-school, traditional Tampa 2 defense, and all we've been watching is old Chicago tape when (new Bucs coach Lovie Smith) was there. When (the Bucs) were in their prime, from 1996 to 2002, we've been watching all that tape because that's when the Tampa 2 was really thriving and took over the league. I'm excited about it."...
New Bucs starting quarterback Josh McCown met some of the draft prospects who made visits to One Buc Place last week but said even if the team uses the No. 7 overall pick on a quarterback, it won't change his approach to the upcoming season.
"If you're picking somebody in the first round, you're hoping they can help your team at some point, (but) my focus won't shift," McCown said to reporters in the second week of offseason team workouts. "My focus is, whether it's me or Mike Glennon or Mike Kafka or somebody else, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks to play good football and to help their team win football games. That wouldn't change."...
Five months after a promising rookie season ended with a broken ankle, Bucs running back Mike James said he's pleased with his recovery and already running and cutting as he eyes a healthy return for the 2014 season.
"The healing process is going well," James said to reporters in the second week of offseason workouts for the team. "I've got a good opportunity to do what I need to do to get back in the swing of things and get acclimated with everything."...
Former Plant and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr., an NFL draft prospect who visited the Bucs on Friday, was arrested in Tampa on Sunday night on an outstanding warrant related to a charge of driving with a suspended license with knowledge.
Wilder, 22, was arrested in Tampa at 7:21 p.m. and released on $1,000 bond at 12:20 a.m. Monday. He is the son of former Bucs running back James Wilder, who remains the team's career rushing leader....
Former Plant and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr., an NFL draft prospect who visited the Bucs last week, was arrested in Tampa on Sunday night on an outstanding warrant related to a charge of driving with a suspended license with knowledge.
Wilder, 22, was arrested in Tampa at 7:21 p.m., booked at 9:41 p.m. and released on $1,000 bond at 12:20 a.m. Monday. He is the son of former Bucs running back James Wilder, who remains the team's career rushing leader. Wilder was one of 26 local prospects who worked out for the Bucs this week and is expected to be selected in next month's NFL draft....
NFL teams are allowed to bring in 30 draft prospects for pre-draft visits, but they're also allowed a mass workout for local prospects who played high school or college football in the area. The Bucs took advantage of that Friday with 26 locals at One Buc Place, and while the team declined to release a list of names, we've been able to identify 21 of the 26 players.
The biggest name of the group looks to be former Plant and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr., whose father James remains Tampa Bay's all-time leading rusher. The team did confirm Wilder's visit, even tweeting a picture of him looking at a picture of his father in the hallways of the team's facilities....
TAMPA — The Bucs continue to bring in the top quarterback prospects in next month's draft, confirming Friday that Fresno State's Derek Carr will visit One Buc Place on Wednesday.
He'll be the fourth one to visit the Bucs in a 10-day span, following Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
Carr has close ties to Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who he has known the 23-year-old since his brother David played for Tedford at Fresno State (1997-2001). Carr also trained with Tedford after last season, before he joined the Bucs under new coach Lovie Smith....
The Bucs' firsthand evaluations of the draft's top quarterbacks will continue next week, with a fourth confirmed visitor due at One Buc Place on Wednesday: Fresno State's Derek Carr.
Carr, whose draft projections range from a top-10 pick to the second round, will be the fourth top QB in 10 days to visit the Bucs, following Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel this week. If the Bucs aren't seriously considering using the No. 7 overall pick on a new franchise quarterback, they certainly want the rest of the NFL to think they are....
A busy week of visits from some of the top QB prospects in next month's draft continued Thursday as the Bucs confirmed that former Texas A&M star and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was at One Buc Place.
Manziel, a potential match for the Bucs' No. 7 overall first-round pick, is the third quarterback to visit this week, following Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo. It remains to be seen which passers will be available at No. 7 -- most mock drafts have one or two taken in the top six picks, which could leave the Bucs to address another position with their top pick....
TAMPA — A kitchen fire in the home he rented last summer continues to cause problems for Bucs receiver Mike Williams, who faces a lawsuit from the insurance company that paid for repairs.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Tampa by United Property & Casualty Insurance Co., seeks $54,453, its cost to repair the damage, "plus interest, court costs and other costs."
Williams, 26, previously agreed to pay $43,000 in damages — not specifically limited to those from the fire — to the homeowner, Warren Gold of Lutz, in November....