Overcast66° WeatherOvercast66° Weather

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.

Phone:

E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

link
  1. Bucs' Josh McCown meets expectations at last

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    Everyone at One Buc Place agrees this is the Josh McCown they expected to see. • This is the 35-year-old veteran quarterback they remember playing in Chicago, a picture of poise and control, dropping dimes into receivers' hands, pumping his fist and leaping into the meaty arms of an offensive lineman. It's the player who passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in Sunday's 27-7 win at Washington. • "It's what we envisioned, Josh playing football like he did this past Sunday," coach Lovie Smith said, "and for him to continue playing ball like that." • The performance came one week after McCown began his news conference after a home loss to Atlanta with all the emotion of a Miss Teen USA contestant, his eyes about to spill over like full sinks. But his tears didn't extinguish the fire or competitiveness he needed to have one of his best performances as a pro against the Redskins. He completed scoring passes of 36 and 56 yards to rookie Mike Evans, and finished with a 137.5 passer rating....

    Josh McCown has thrown for 589 yards and four TDs in the past two games.
Associated Press
  2. Smith sticking with program

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The vindication was as overwhelming as the victory for Bucs coach Lovie Smith.

    In dominating the Redskins — his description — the Bucs proved you have to believe in the plan to win.

    Since arriving in January, Smith has preached pressure on the quarterback rushing only four down linemen, causing turnovers, and scoring on defense. It all paid off Sunday when the Bucs forced the first of three turnovers on the game's first possession, sacked Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III exactly VI times and rode hot rookie receiver Mike Evans to a 27-7 win at FedEx Field....

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans pushes Redskins cornerback David Amerson away during the second half of Sunday’s game.
  3. Bucs Evans in rare rookie company with 209 yards, 2 TDs

    Blog

    Although he is still doesn’t know all the ropes, Mike Evans is learning on the fly and while running the fly pattern.

    Evans had seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns’ in the Bucs’ 27-7 win over the Redskins, equalling rookie marks set by the likes of Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin.

    But it’s his stunningly fast growth as a dominant NFL receiver that was on display Sunday....

  4. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Bucs rout Washington, 27-7

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Mike Evans is only a rookie, so there is a steep learning curve. He's going to make mistakes. You can't expect him to be a finished product at age 21.

    "I don't know what to do when I get in (the end zone)," Evans said dejectedly.

    So Evans is patterning his end zone celebration after some of the league's greats. After scoring his second touchdown in Sunday's 27-7 win over Washington, the rookie from Texas A&M split his arms apart, just the way he ripped open the Redskins defense with seven catches for 209 yards and two scores....

    Bucs cornerback Johnthan Banks heads for the end zone after a first-quarter interception.
  5. Secondary becomes a primary problem for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — They caged the Hawk. Bucs safety Dashon Goldson was pulled off the field during some critical passing downs last week in what coach Lovie Smith called a "safety rotation." Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said the team just wanted to get a look at seldom-used Bradley McDougald.

    Goldson, the NFL's fourth highest-paid safety at $8.250 million per year, described it as a "certain package" the team wanted to deploy. "It is what it is," Goldson said. "We've all got to play our roles. It's cool."...

    Dashon Goldson agonizes over a missed interception in the fourth quarter this season against the Panthers.
  6. When it comes to Koenen, Bucs may just punt

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Show of hands. When the Bucs decided to release place-kicker Connor Barth to keep Patrick Murray, a rookie from Fordham, who was skeptical? The move saved the Bucs $2 million. They said at the time it was a football decision. But it seemed more like a they can a-Fordham one.

    But darned if Murray hasn't gone 9-of-13 in field-goal tries, and more impressively, 4-of-5 from 50 yards-plus....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Michael Koenen (9) kicks during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, September 8, 2013. The Jets won 18-17.
  7. Bucs' Doug Martin won't play Sunday

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Doug Martin still has a bad wheel and isn't ready to roll against the Redskins on Sunday. Martin was ruled out Friday by coach Lovie Smith, meaning the former first-round pick will miss his third straight game with an ankle injury.

    Martin did not practice Wednesday and was limited over the past two days. The Bucs will have Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey, Mike James and FB Jorvorskie Lane at running back....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) during Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday, August 12, 2014.
  8. Bucs RB Martin to miss his third straight game

    Blog

    Running Doug Martin was ruled out Friday against the Washington Redskins, meaning he will miss his third straight game with an ankle injury....

  9. Dashon Goldson could be next Bucs safety gone

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs have traded one starting safety and now have begun looking at options to eventually replace Dashon Goldson.

    Goldson has one interception in 20 games since joining the Bucs as a free agent before last season. In Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Falcons, Goldson was replaced on numerous passing downs by Bradley McDougald, a second-year pro who was claimed off waivers from the Chiefs last November....

    Dashon Goldson, the former 49ers Pro Bowl safety who is in the second season of a 5-year, $41.25-milllion contract, has only $3-million of the $18-million in guarantees owed after 2014. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  10. Bucs already looking at options to replace Goldson

    Blog

    The Bucs have traded one starting safety and now they have begun looking at options to eventually replace Dashon Goldson.

    The former 49ers Pro Bowl safety, who is in the second season of a 5-year, $41.25-milllion contract, has only $3-million of the $18-million in guarantees owed after 2014.

    Goldson has one interception in 20 games played since joining the Bucs. In Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Goldson was replaced on numerous passing downs by Bradley McDougald, a second-year pro who was claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs in Nov. 2013....

    Dashon Goldson has one interception in 20 games played since joining the Bucs.
  11. Bucs punter Koenen: There are reasons for poor average

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Michael Koenen heard boos after each of his three punts Sunday, which traveled 37, 23 and 31 yards.

    He may rank last in the NFL among punters, but his job was to prevent the Falcons' otherworldly return man Devin Hester from taking it to the house. In the teams' Sept. 18 meeting, Hester got loose for a 62-yard return for a touchdown.

    For the men who put the foot into football, theirs is a somewhat thankless job that can change the outcome of games. Fans generally are not happy to see them because it means a drive has stalled. Then there are those who get their kicks hurling insults after every wayward boot....

    The arms of Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Craig Robertson are raised to block the punt of Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Michael Koenen in the fourth quarter.    (John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)  November 2, 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland
  12. Despite effort to avoid returns, Koenen says he can do better

    Blog

    Michael Koenen heard the boos after each of his three punts for a 30.3-yard average in Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Koenen ranks last in the NFL among punters, but his job was to prevent the Falcons' otherworldly returner Devin Hester from taking it to the house. In the teams' previous meeting in Sept., Hester got loose for a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown.

    ...

  13. Lovie Smith unhappy with Seferian-Jenkins' post of TD pose

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Captain Morgan was forced to walk the plank by Bucs coach Lovie Smith on Monday.

    Not happy with Austin Seferian-Jenkins' Instagram post that included a picture of his penalized touchdown celebration — posing with his arms folded and one leg balanced on the football as an imaginary keg of rum — Smith confronted the Bucs' rookie tight end and had the entry taken down....

    Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith leaves the field after losing to Atlanta on Sunday game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times] 
  14. Seferian-Jenkins confronted by Smith about Instagram picture

    Blog

    Captain Morgan was forced to walk the plank by Bucs coach Lovie Smith Monday.

    Not happy with Austin Seferian-Jenkins' Instagram post that included a pictuure of his penalized touchdown celebration, Smith confronted the Bucs' rookie tight end and had the entry taken down.

    It was the second 'teaching moment,' between Smith and Seferian Jenkins within 24 hours. On Sunday, after scoring on a 1-yard touchdown reception to give the Bucs a 17-16 lead early in the fourth quarter, Seferian-Jenkins drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for standing on the football and posing like the Morgan Rum captain....

    Austin Seferian-Jones' Instagram post — later deleted — celebrating his touchdown celebration.
  15. Emotional McCown shows how Bucs hurt after 1-8 start

    Blog

    This one must have really hurt, for crying out loud.

    Bucs quarterback Josh McCown fell into the arms of offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo in the locker room and sobbed like he had lost more than a football game Sunday. On his way to his post-game press conference, he hugged coach Lovie Smith's wife, MaryAnne, and the tears flowed. When he got to the podium and was asked why he was so emotional after the 27-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, McCown looked down and took five seconds to compose himself before answering....

    Making his first start since injurying his right thumb against the Falcons in Week 3, Josh McCown passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns before throwing two late interceptions Sunday.