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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.

Phone:

E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

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

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  1. McCown or Glennon? For Bucs, it's the wrong question

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As debates go, whether Josh McCown or Mike Glennon should quarterback the final five games of the season isn't an argument really worth having.

    At 2-9, Glennon supporters would point out, the Bucs aren't going anywhere despite the two-game separation from first place in the NFC South standings (which is more like three games since they've lost both games to 4-7 Atlanta and are 0-1 vs. New Orleans)....

    Coach Lovie Smith sticks with Josh McCown because he believes the quarterback gives the Bucs the best chance to win each week. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times

  2. Bucs' Mason Foster back to form after shoulder injury

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Shut up and play is the command in the NFL, where every player is bad to the bone, even broken ones.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Johnson have each gutted it out this season with a fractured hand. Injuries are just a part of the game and stitches are the thread teams use to sew up a playoff spot.

    In a sport where the best ability is availability, linebacker Mason Foster knew he was only hurting his team when he dislocated his left shoulder in Week 2 against the Rams. On a simple running play, Foster extended his left arm to corral running back Tevon Austin when he was hit in the shoulder by tight end Corey Harkey on a 3-yard gain....

    Mason Foster
  3. Hamstring injuries continue to hamper Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Hamstring injuries have hamstrung the Bucs this season, particularly on defense.

    Nose tackle Clinton McDonald, the only starter on defense not to miss a game this season, has not practiced this week due to a hamstring injury. The same ailment forced All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David to miss the first game of his career Sunday, at Chicago, and he missed a second day of workouts Wednesday....

    High flying Bucs Clinton McDonald (98) prompts Rams qtr back Austin Davis (9) to fall down for his own safety during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Rams at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon 9/14/14.
  4. Bucs are hamstrung with leg injuries

    Blog

    Hamstring injuries have hamstrung the Bucs this season, particularly on defense.

    Nose tackle Clinton McDonald, the only starter on defense not to miss a game this year, has not practiced this week due to a hamstring injury. The same ailment forced linebacker Lavonte David to miss the first game of his career last Sunday at Chicago and he missed a second day of workouts Wednesday.

    All told, at least a half dozen players have missed games or significant practice time with hamstring injuries since end of Oct., a list that includes cornerback Alterraun Verner....

  5. Doug Martin regains health, but can Bucs' running game?

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Doug Martin has done a lot of running for the Bucs this season. Running in the pool. Running on the treadmill. Running between cones. Unfortunately, his hardest running hasn't been out of the team's backfield since his rookie year.

    "Since I've been here, the injuries have stopped Doug's progress," coach Lovie Smith said. "But no, I haven't seen anything to say he can't and he won't get back to form. The injuries would stop anyone. He's back healthy now. So we're looking for him to finish strong these last five plus games."...

    Bucs running back Doug Martin has played just 11 games total over the past two seasons.
  6. Bucs coach Lovie Smith disappointed with offensive line

    Bucs

    TAMPA — A priority for the Bucs in the offseason was re-tooling their offensive line, as they said goodbye to such mainstays as left tackle Donald Penn, guard Davin Joseph and center Jeremy Zuttah in one fashion or another.

    They essentially were replaced by three veterans — tackle Anthony Collins, guard Logan Mankins and center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

    But following a 21-13 loss at the Bears on Sunday, coach Lovie Smith said the changes haven't worked as well as planned....

    Holdover Demar Dotson, foreground, says the offensive line isn’t doing its job.
  7. Bucs Smith says re-tooling of the O-line has not worked

    Blog

    A priority in the off-season for the Bucs was re-tooling their offensive line as they said goodbye to mainstays such as left tackle Donald Penn, guard Davin Joseph and center Jeremy Zuttah in one fashion or another.

    They essentially were replaced by three veterans -- tackle Anthony Collins, guard Logan Mankins and center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

    But following a 21-13 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday, coach Lovie Smith said that the changes on the offensive line haven't worked as well as they planned....

  8. Bucs coach Smith says re-tooling of O-line hasn't worked

    Blog

    A priority in the off-season for the Bucs was re-tooling their offensive line as they said goodbye to mainstays such as left tackle Donald Penn, guard Davin Joseph and center Jeremy Zuttah in one fashion or another.

    They essentially were replaced by three veterans -- tackle Anthony Collins, guard Logan Mankins and center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

    But following a 21-13 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday, coach Lovie Smith said that the changes on the offensive line haven't worked as well as they planned....

  9. Turnover costly as Bucs fall to Bears

    Bucs

    CHICAGO — It began as a lovely homecoming of sorts for Lovie Smith and Josh McCown at Soldier Field on Sunday, with such an outpouring of warmth that temperatures even rose to a relative balmy 54 degrees at kickoff. Former teammates hugged. Relatives reunited.

    "That's always a good thing, when you get to see people you love, man," McCown said.

    As with most reunions, gifts were exchanged....

    Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea levels Josh McCown in the third quarter, knocking the ball loose. McCown recovered.
  10. Lovie Smith back in Chicago as Bucs coach

    Bucs

    CHICAGO — He has had a lot of coaching jobs, and lived in many places. That's all Lovie Smith wants you to know.

    He rattles them off like items on a grocery list. Big Sandy (Texas) High School, Arizona State, Kentucky, Ohio State, Tennessee, the St. Louis Rams. He's proud of the fact that in one calendar year, he cashed checks from four different employers.

    "This is how I feel about it," Smith said. "We've got an NFC opponent, a chance to get a win. I used to coach there a while back. … What's the rest of the story?"...

    Lovie Smith is the Bucs' third coach in four seasons. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
  11. 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 revived his career with the Bears last season, going 3-2 and throwing 13 scoring passes while substituting for injured Jay Cutler.
  12. 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....

    Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, even as he loses his helmet, demonstrates the type of pressure Lovie Smith wants in a sack of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on Sunday.
  13. 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....

  14. 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.
  15. 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."...

    September 7, 2014

As his team trails 17-14 to Carolina, Dashon Goldson agonizes over a missed interception in the 4th quarter. Carolina went on to win 20-14.


[Jim Damaske | Times]