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.

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E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

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  1. Bucs may be without offensive coordinator for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs' offensive scheme under new coordinator Jeff Tedford has been shrouded in mystery during the preseason, with players and game plans maintaining that concealment. Now there is secrecy as to whether Tedford will be available to call plays in Sunday's regular-season opener against Carolina.

    Tedford, 52, was hospitalized after an undisclosed surgical procedure last week and missed Thursday's preseason finale against the Redskins. Though the Tedford stopped by the training facility over the weekend, the Bucs are preparing as if he won't be at the game Sunday....

    Jeff Tedford, center, came to the Bucs’ training facility over the weekend, days after his undisclosed medical procedure, the team says.
  2. Bucs prepare for Panthers as if O.C. Tedford won't be available

    Blog

    Bucs coach Lovie Smith is fond of saying he spent a lot of time in his basement near Chicago last season watching games, reviewing tape and talking football with former California coach Jeff Tedford, whom he hired as offensive coordinator.

    But Tedford was hospitalized after a  'surgical procedure,' last week and the Bucs are preparing as if he won't be calling plays Sunday against the Carolina Panthers....

  3. Bucs add Jets rookie CB Dixon to the practice squad

    Blog

    Cornerback Brandon Dixon, Jets' sixth-round pick this year out of NW Missouri State, has joined the Bucs practice squad.

    Dixon tweeted Sunday 'Tampa Bay Bucs, here I come.' Three more spots are available on the 10-man practice squad. The Bucs announced they had signed quarterback Mike Kafka, running back Jeff Demps, receiver/returner Solomon Patton, linebacker Brandon Magee, defensive tackle Matt Masifilo and tight end Cameron Brate to the practice squad Sunday....

  4. How the Mankins deal came together for the Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs began internal discussions about trading for guard Logan Mankins in June and their talks with the Patriots began about two weeks ago. It was a good example of how planning and patience can pay off, with the veil of a little smokescreen.

    General manager Jason Licht and Jon Robinson, director of player personnel, both worked for Bill Belichick and are familiar with the Patriot Way of dispensing with high-priced veterans a year or two before their expiration date. Mankins also was asked to take a pay cut from his $6.25 million salary in 2014 right after the Pro Bowl and refused....

  5. Bucs cut PK Connor Barth, go with rookie Murray

    Blog

    The Bucs made a bold move Friday, electing to go with rookie place-kicker Patrick Murray over reliable veteran Connor Barth, who was released.

    Murray, the undrafted free agent from Fordham, won the job based on his toughness and versality. He was an All-America punter and place-kicker at Fordham two years ago.

    The release of Barth ends his remarkable run of consistency with the Bucs after six seasons. He's a career 84 percent career field goal kicker and perfect on all 134 point after attempts....

  6. Patrick Murray beats out Connor Barth as Bucs' kicker

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Patrick Murray was watching a movie — appropriately enough titled Lone Survivor — when he got a call Friday from Bucs coach Lovie Smith informing him he had won the kicking job over reliable veteran Connor Barth.

    "He informed me that I was the kicker and we are going to win a lot of football games this year," Murray said. "It was great to get that phone call."...

    Connor Barth is a career 84 percent field goal kicker and perfect on all 134 point after attempts. [Getty Images]
  7. Bucs fall to Redskins in preseason finale

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Logan Mankins stood on the sideline at Raymond James Stadium trying to get used to his new surroundings. Still reeling from his stunning trade by the Patriots to Tampa Bay, the Pro Bowl guard arrived Thursday morning, received his playbook, held a news conference, ran a few pregame sprints and settled in to watch the dog(s)-and-pony show that is the final NFL preseason game.

    One can only imagine that his first impression of the Bucs was something like this: the Patriots didn't ask for nearly enough in the deal....

    Silas Redd drags Bucs defenders with him on a 1-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium.
  8. Incognito remains option for Bucs after 5-hr meeting

    Blog

    Troubled but talented guard Richie Incognito remains an option for the Bucs after what the team termed a 'constructive meeting,' Monday.

    Coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht had dinner with Incognito and met for about five hours with the former Miami Dolphins lineman who was suspended for the final eight games of 2014. He also took a physical for the Bucs.

    No contract agreement was reached but Incognito remains an option. According to multiple reports, at least three teams are interested in Incognito, who was cleared by the NFL to be signed and begin playing on Monday. Incognito would like to have a deal with a team by the end of the week....

    Richie Incognito met with Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht for about five hours.
  9. Smith on Incognito visit: "I do believe in second chances.'

    Blog

    Committing only to a visit with troubled guard Richie Incognito, Bucs coach Lovie Smith said Monday he believes in giving players a shot at redemption.

    Incognito, the center of the bullying and hazing scandal involving several Miami Dolphins linemen. was suspended the final eight games of 2013. He arrived in Tampa Monday afternoon but the Bucs haven’t decided whether a workout will be involved and no contract negotiations have taken place....

  10. Bucs players say they trust Lovie, would welcome Incognito

    Blog

    Lovie Smith tells his team to embrace any player who walks into the Bucs locker room. Richie Incognito would be no different.

    Expressing complete trust in Smith and general manager Jason Licht, Bucs players asked Monday about the possibility of Incognito joining their team said they would welcome him 'with open arms.'

    Incognito is visiting the Bucs today, making One Buc Place the first NFL facility he has appeared in since being implicated in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal with the Miami Dolphins last season....

  11. Bucs on Richie Incognito: If he can help, then why not?

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Having watched his offensive line get bullied through much of their first three preseason games, Bucs coach Lovie Smith decided to meet with one of the meanest men in the NFL on Monday to determine whether he is worth the fight.

    Committing only to a visit with troubled free agent guard Richie Incognito, Smith said he believes in giving players a shot at redemption.

    Incognito, the center of the bullying and hazing scandal involving several Dolphins linemen, was suspended by Miami for the final eight games of 2013. He arrived in Tampa on Monday afternoon. The Bucs haven't decided whether a workout will be involved and no contract negotiations have taken place....

    The Dolphins suspended Richie Incognito last season after bullying allegations.
  12. Bucs look better in beating Bills

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — There is some video circulating that Bucs receiver Mike Evans would like to erase. The kind TMZ won't pay for. Such as the rookie's fumble at the 1-yard line that turned a touchdown into a touchback last week against the Dolphins.

    All last week, Evans told teammates he would make up for it.

    "I told everybody I'm going to redeem it," Evans said.

    So when Bucs tackle Clinton McDonald returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 27-14 preseason win over the Bills on Saturday, Evans was focused on directing his own YouTube moment:...

    Bucs running back Doug Martin crosses the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown during the first quarter.
  13. Up-tempo is plan for Bucs' offense

    Bucs

    BUFFALO, N.Y.

    Lovie Smith is a slow-talking Texan, but he wants his teams to play fast. That's always been true on defense and special teams, where hyperspeedy athletes fill his roster and swarm to the football. But this season it also could apply to the Bucs' offense, which would like to run a no-huddle, up-tempo, blur attack. "It's a little like in basketball," Smith said. "Do you want that slow-down approach? Or do you want up-tempo, running up and down? We want to be a fast team — period — in all phases, and this kind of leads to that (on offense), too."...

    “We’ve scratched the surface with it,” Bucs quarterback Josh McCown (12) says of implementing an up-tempo offense.
  14. Bucs trade for help on offensive line

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Trying to make the most of the last spots on the 53-player roster, the Bucs traded backup S Kelcie McCray to the Chiefs on Thursday in exchange for Rishaw Johnson, a backup offensive guard.

    "We said we'll continue to look at players we think can help our football team … so we're pretty excited about getting Rishaw Johnson here into the mix," coach Lovie Smith said....

    The Bucs trade backup safety Kelcie McCray, making a tackle against Jacksonville in the preseason opener, to the Chiefs.
  15. Bucs TE Wright responds to criticism with a good week

    Blog

    Tim Wright admits he has struggled at times blocking and there have been a few dropped balls in practice. But what he wasn't prepared for was the criticism aimed at his play by coach Lovie Smith, who said last Sunday the Bucs tight end 'hasn't played well' during the preseason.

    ...