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Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud covers the Bucs and the NFL for the Times. He joined the paper in 1983 after graduating from Arkansas St., where he played baseball. He has reported on national sporting events including more than 20 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud's stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. He began covering the Bucs in 1990. Since then, the team has undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum and a Super Bowl XXVII victory. He co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM.



Blog: Bucs Beat

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  1. Bucs guard Mankins misses practice with groin injury


    TAMPA — The Bucs could be without their most experienced offensive lineman Sunday against the Jaguars.

    G Logan Mankins was held out of practice Thursday with a groin injury, with backup T Kevin Pamphile getting work at left guard in his place.

    "He hurt his groin a little bit in practice (Wednesday), so we held him out," coach Lovie Smith said.

    Mankins, 33, hasn't missed a start since 2010, when he played only nine games with the Patriots....

  2. Bucs being patient with interception-prone Winston


    TAMPA — The Bucs' giddy anticipation has turned to exasperation regarding the play of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.

    The former Florida State standout entered the league with the reputation of being prone to interceptions. He has done nothing to dispel that label after a wobbly 1-3 start.

    Over the first month, Winston didn't handle the pressure cooker, passing for six touchdowns and seven interceptions, including four picks and a lost fumble in Sunday's 37-23 loss to the Panthers. For the second straight game at Raymond James Stadium, his first pass attempt resulted in a pick six....

    Jameis Winston has thrown seven interceptions in his first four NFL games.
  3. Bucs Koetter: Don't base Winston's career on four games


    Rookie Jameis Winston entered the league with a reputation of a quarterback prone to throwing interceptions and the Bucs rookie has done nothing to dispel that label after a 1-3 start this season.

    Winston has thrown six touchdowns and seven interceptions, including four picks and a lost fumble in Sunday's 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers. For the second time at Raymond James Stadium, his first pass attempt resulted in a pick six....

    Jameis Winston has thrown six touchdowns and seven interceptions, including four picks and a lost fumble in Sunday’s 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
  4. Bucs bring back Connor Barth as kicker


    TAMPA — Connor Barth used his Twitter account to remind the Bucs he was available for the right price while their rookie kicker was missing two field goals and an extra point Sunday.

    After Barth worked out with four other kickers Tuesday, the Bucs took him up on that offer, signing him to a two-year contract.

    Barth, 29, replaces Kyle Brindza, the rookie from Notre Dame who went 6-of-12 in field goal attempts and missed two extra points, leading to his release on Monday....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth (1) misses a field goal in the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday, August 29, 2015.
  5. Bucs go back to the future and sign PK Connor Barth


    Connor Barth tweeted he was available for the right price.

    Following a workout Tuesday morning, the Bucs met that demand and signed Barth to a two-year contract.

    Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11. He was cut last season when the team opted to go with rookie Pat Murray.

    Barth went 15 of 16 in field goal tries in five games for the Denver Broncos last season....

    Connor Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11.
  6. Bucs waive Kyle Brindza, who was part of downward trend for kickers



    Something awful is happening to NFL kickers. The league moved the snap for extra points from the 2-yard line backward to the 15 and it has completely messed with the 6 inches between their chin strap buckles.

    Now everything seems like a pressure kick, even the 33-yard point after attempt. It has turned veteran kickers with the calm of a Buddhist monk into yipaholics.

    Week 4 in the NFL included 14 missed field goals and four missed extra points before Monday night's game. It has been four years since the league has seen 18 missed kicks in one week of play....

    The Bucs cut Kyle Brindza on Monday, a day after he missed two field goals and an extra point in a loss to the Panthers.
  7. Erratic Kyle Brindza will not miss another kick for the Buccaneers


    Kyle Brindza will not miss another kick for the Buccaneers.

    The rookie from Notre Dame was informed this morning by coach Lovie Smith of the team's plan to release him.

    Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.

    Smith stood by his kicker after he missed three field goals and an extra point in the Bucs' 19-9 loss to the Texans last week. But that decision burned the Bucs Sunday when Brindza missed field goals of 29 and 43 yards Sunday in a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers....

    Kyle Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.
  8. Jameis Winston's mistakes doom Bucs against Panthers


    TAMPA — A steady rain sent fans ducking under ponchos at Raymond James Stadium by the end of the national anthem Sunday. On the second play of the game against the Panthers, Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston did not handle the exchange of a wet football from center Joe Hawley, resulting in a lost fumble.

    Then on his first pass attempt, Winston stared down tight end Brandon Myers and Panthers cornerback Josh Norman broke on the ball for an easy interception he returned 46 yards for a touchdown....

    Carolina Panthers free safety Kurt Coleman (20) gains yardage after intercepting a pass in the second quarter of a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015.
  9. First half observations Carolinia 17, Bucs 10


    The Bucs played giveaway in the fisrt half against Carolina and trail the Panthers 17-10.

    Some first half observations

    --Winston has to learn to take care of the football, especially early in games.

    His first pass in each home game not only has been intercepted, it was returned for a touchdown. Winston also fumbled a snap and had a tipped pass intercepted, leading to all 17 of Carolina's points....

  10. Bucs coach Lovie Smith sticks by kicker Kyle Brindza



    Loyalty is hard to find in professional sports, much less from NFL coaches.

    So it's admirable that Bucs coach Lovie Smith decided to stand by K Kyle Brindza after the rookie from Notre Dame missed three field goals and an extra point in Sunday's 19-9 loss at Houston.

    Brindza, who was acquired in a trade with the Lions for TE Tim Wright, has an exceptionally strong leg, evidenced by his 58-yard field goal to start the game against the Texans, the second longest in club history. His kickoffs routinely boom through the end zone for touchbacks....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Kyle Brindza (2) reacts after missing a field goal attempt against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider) TXEG141
  11. For Bucs' Kwon Alexander, actions speak louder than words


    TAMPA — Rookie middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is the only player who is supposed to speak up in the defensive huddle. It's ironic, because the quiet catalyst for the Bucs is someone who rarely has too much to say otherwise.

    "He's opened up more," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "When he first got here, he didn't say a word."

    Also silenced are any concerns that the 21-year-old pro from LSU might not handle the responsibilities that come with being the quarterback of the Bucs' defense....

    “There’s a lot of things that he just hasn’t seen so far,” Bucs linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson says of Alexander, center.
  12. Mike Alstott is Bucs' Mr. Popularity



    In the first three minutes after he sat down at a table on the outdoor patio of a Panera Bread on Tuesday, Mike Alstott was greeted by one of his former high school players, a fellow football coach and a broadcaster from a local radio station who once interviewed him. • Alstott jumped to his feet, extended a hand, looked each in the eye and thanked him for stopping to say hello. • Who wouldn't want to be like Mike? • There have been more accomplished players for the Bucs. Three of them — Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks — are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But has there ever been a more popular player in Tampa Bay than Alstott? • His connection with fans almost from the first day he arrived in 1996 as a second-round draft pick from Purdue was obvious. • "I cared about them as much as they cared about me," Alstott said. "I never wanted to let anybody down." • So he didn't. Not during his playing career, when the running back bulldozed his way to 5,088 career rushing yards and 58 rushing touchdowns, the most in franchise history. He wasn't just one of the first building blocks to an eventual Super Bowl XXXVII champion, with six appearances in the Pro Bowl, he was the hardened cement that held the foundation together....

    In his Bucs career from 1996-2006, Mike Alstott rushed for 5,088 yards and 58 touchdowns, the latter a team rushing record.
  13. Bucs, Hillsborough County hit snag in Raymond James Stadium renovation


    TAMPA — The owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have proposed a deal to pay as much as $75 million toward a $100 million makeover of Raymond James Stadium, but Hillsborough County and Tampa Sports Authority officials are balking at some of the stipulations.

    The Bucs seek the right to play an additional "home" game in another city, which has become a major sticking point, because county officials fear it could be used as leverage in future stadium negotiations....

    Tampa Bay fans celebrate before the start of the NFC divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Raymond James Stadium. Attendance has fallen in recent years.
  14. Bucs Winston following footprints left by Cam Newton


    They entered the NFL with expectations that come with being a Heisman Trophy quarterback and national champion. Both were the No. 1 overall picks and went to the worst team in football coming off a 2-14 record.

    So if there is anyone who knows what it's like to be Jameis Winston, it's the Panthers' Cam Newton.

    "For him, we had some of the same similarities of the whole process,'' Newton said Wednesday. "The thing that myself and he had to learn is that it's a long process. The thing he had and I also had was that determination of success and winning but you're coming into a league where you're going to the worst team. So it's a learning curve and a learning process but he'll be all right with his forte of him being him and the whole gambit of being a Heisman Trophy winner and the first overall pick. It's something he's learned to grasp and accept it with open arms.''...

    Jameis Winston, left, and Cam Newton, right.
  15. Bucs defense lacking a strong point so far



    It's not my proudest moment but they say confession is good for the soul.

    Until Sunday, I'd never heard of Alfred Blue. If my wife had told me she was painting our daughters' bedrooms Alfred Blue, it would've sounded like a great color to get behind.

    But there he was, Alfred Blue, running like a spilled quart of Sherwin-Williams all over the Buccaneers defense on Sunday. The Texans tailback rushed for 139 yards on 31 carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run. A bolt from the Blue....

    The Texans' Alfred Blue runs against the Bucs during the first half of Sunday's game in Houston.