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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 trade Tim Wright for rookie kicker Kyle Brindza


    TAMPA — Add yet another intriguing new name to the Bucs' search for a starting kicker.

    The Bucs acquired rookie K Kyle Brindza from the Lions on Monday, sending Detroit TE Tim Wright, who was likely facing a cut as the Bucs trim their roster.

    Brindza, 22, wasn't drafted out of Notre Dame but has been impressive in preseason for Detroit. He is 3-for-3 on field goals, connecting from 41, 49 and 51 yards; and 2-for-2 on extra points, and averaged 49.3 yards on four punts (three downed inside the 20). Seven of his eight kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks....

    On Monday the Bucs acquired Kyle Brindza, who kicked for Notre Dame the past three years and punted for the Fighting Irish as well.
  2. Jameis Winston should be close to 100 percent for the regular-season opener against Tennessee after having about two weeks to recover.
  3. Young offensive line struggling for Bucs


    TAMPA — It's preseason, and that's the only excuse you can make. Truth is, the Bucs offensive line already is the worst in the NFL at protecting the quarterback.

    Not just any quarterback. We're talking about the No. 1 overall draft pick, Jameis Winston, who is one hit from turning this Bucs season from one of hope to nope.

    Tampa Bay has allowed 13 sacks in three games, more than any team in the league. Winston has been flattened on seven occasions, making him the biggest pinata in pro football. No other passer has absorbed more sticks....

    Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant sacks Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston on Saturday.
  4. Smith calls offensive line play 'unacceptable' vs Browns


    Having watched his mostly young offensive line lead the NFL in sacks this preseason, Bucs coach Lovie Smtih called the effort against the Cleveland Browns Sunday 'unacceptable.'

    Quarterback Jameis Winston was sacked four times and pressured into throwing an interception in the Bucs 31-7 loss to the Browns. With rookies at left tackle in Donovan Smith and right guard with Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay has allowed 13 sacks in three preseason, the most in the NFL....

  5. Bucs Winston continues an up and down preseason


    If his preseason is any indication, quarterback Jameis Winston is going to take the Bucs on a carnival ride as a rookie in the NFL.

    Five days after a mostly flawless performance in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Bucs No. 1 overall pick was sacked four times, threw and interception, blew some protection calls against the blitz and failed to see the field well in a 31-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium. Winston finished 6-of-15 passing for 90 yards and the INT....

  6. Bucs crumble against Browns


    TAMPA — In what likely was the final dress rehearsal before the regular season for Bucs starters and rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the Browns undressed them.

    Winston was sacked four times, pressured into throwing an interception and did not see the field as well as he had in the two previous preseason games.

    Call it the flaw of averages.

    The up-and-down result of playing rookies at quarterback, left tackle and right guard was on full display in Saturday night's 31-7 loss before 51,521 at Raymond James Stadium. Winston completed only 6 of 15 passes for 90 yards and the interception....

    The Bucs’ Connor Barth (1), signed last week to compete with Patrick Murray, is chagrined after missing a 43-yard field goal.
  7. Connor Barth returns to Bucs full of confidence


    TAMPA — K Connor Barth is so confident in his abilities, the new 33-yard extra point doesn't bother him. He has never missed a field goal from that distance or closer.

    If Barth had his way, the NFL would make the target smaller.

    "I wanted to just narrow the uprights," Barth said Friday. "That would be cool. It'd make play-calling different. It would make guys who are a little bit more accurate … to really thrive."...

    TP_359846_WALL_Bucs_23 (11/11/2012  Tampa) Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth (10) kicks a 45 yard field goal in the fourth quarter to help seal a 34-24 victory of the San Diego Chargers. SECOND HALF ACTION: The San Diego Chargers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 34-24. [DANIEL WALLACE, Times]
  8. Connor Barth, 29, signed a two-year, $2.75-million contract with the Bucs and will have two preseason games to convince the team to give him his old job back.
  9. Bucs D-coordinator Frazier fine with coach Love Smith calling defensive plays


    TAMPA — Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier confirmed what Lovie Smith has been reluctant to say: The Bucs' head coach is handling the defensive play-calling duties this season.

    Frazier also said he's fine with the arrangement.

    "(Lovie) is going to be heavily involved as he's always been with our defense, and he's going to do the majority of the defensive play-calling," Frazier said Thursday. "It really doesn't change my role from a year ago, it really doesn't. My role is to come in and help our defense and help them prepare for every ball game and help our team win. It really doesn't change anything I have to get done."...

    Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, left, says he’s fine with coach Lovie Smith handling the defensive play-calling duties. “It really doesn’t change anything I have to get done,” Frazier says.
  10. Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, left, and head coach Lovie Smith during practice earlier this month at One Buc Place.
  11. Bucs want Winston to play hard but protect himself



    The Bucs know they need to improve their blocking for quarterback Jameis Winston. But he has to do a better job of protecting himself.

    Winston sprained his right ankle in Monday's 25-11 preseason win over the Bengals when he tripped over the feet of center Jeremiah Warren and was sandwiched between defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Wallace Gilberry. The injury was not serious, and he is expected to start Saturday against the Browns....

    Jameis Winston, taking a hit vs. the Bengals, says he has “to learn quickly’’ to limit the risk of injury.
  12. Jameis Winston suffered a sprained right ankle in Monday night’s 25-11 preseason win over the Bengals.
  13. Analysis: Turnovers hold key to Bucs' turnaround



    With the team meeting room serving as his pulpit, Lovie Smith delivers the same emotional speech as nearly every other NFL coach.

    He preaches getting turnovers.

    Saying a Hail Mary is not nearly as important as intercepting one. And the man upstairs — in this case defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier — is always watching.

    So perhaps it's no surprise that entering their second season under Smith, the Bucs are true believers. They caused three fumbles in their preseason loss Aug. 15 at Minnesota. Then in Monday night's 25-11 win over the Bengals at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay intercepted two passes — including one returned for a touchdown by cornerback Alterraun Verner — and forced a fumble....

    Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner intercepts a pass by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on Monday, then gets set to return it for a score. “You transition from defense to offense right away,” Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said. “On Alterraun Verner’s (return), that was a good escort to the end zone. Some good blocks on there.”
  14. Bucs Shepard could have bigger role in offense



    Russell Shepard had two catches for 44 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Glennon on a fade route during an all-out blitz by the Bengals Monday.
  15. Winston's ankle okay, shows improvement in win vs. Bengal


    Jameis Winston's legs have carried him to the end zone twice this preseason, but it's his right arm that has the Bucs excited about their rookie quarterback.

    Winston showed complete command in his second NFL start in Monday night's 25-11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, giving Lovie Smith his first victory at Raymond James Stadium.

    Winston completed 8-of-13 passes for 90 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He went 3-for-3 on the drive that was helped by Doug Martin's 53 yards rushing. The Bucs first overall pick also spread the football around, targeting eight receivers with his first eight passes Monday....

    Jameis Winston left the game early in the second quarter, several plays after he appeared to sprain his right ankle following a sack by Geno Atkins and Wallace Gilberry.