"There are those with immense talent and others with great passion. And then there are those who galvanize an entire organization. @jaboowins" — Tweet from Bucs director of player development Duke Preston.
TAMPA — Sure, sometimes it looks as if he has anvils for feet. He has thrown only six touchdowns and three interceptions in the past four weeks. And you wondered at times if anything could wipe off that cantaloupe grin. But when the season was about to fall like a bad souffle, Jameis Winston knew exactly what to do and what to say to pump belief back into the Buccaneers....
SAN DIEGO — The hit came on their third play.
Receiver Cecil Shorts ran a little square-in and Chargers safety Jahleel Addae went low, the way the new rules have given defensive backs the right to knee-cap receivers like loan sharks. Aim high, and they face a penalty for a blow to a defenseless pass catcher and a hefty fine.
Shorts somehow made the catch for 14 yards, but the Bucs believe he probably tore every ligament and dislocated his right knee....
TAMPA — Lost in its defense-driven three-game winning streak is the Bucs' sudden inability to score many touchdowns.
Well, it's not lost on coach Dirk Koetter. His team has produced three offensive touchdowns in its past two games. After scoring on two surgically executed series to start last week's 14-5 win over Seattle, the Bucs were shut out the rest of the way.
Against Kansas City two weeks ago, the Bucs kicked four field goals before a fourth-quarter touchdown put away a 19-17 win....
TAMPA — Bucs C Joe Hawley said he was spat on by a Seahawks player in Sunday's win, and Friday, a Seattle rookie fired back, denying the accusation.
"They were hitting me late and when I got up, when I got all fired up, one guy actually spit in my face after one of the plays and I got all fired up because I don't think that should be part of the game at all," Hawley said Thursday during his weekly radio show on 620-AM. "It's one thing pushing, shouting, yelling, but as soon as he spit in my face, I was pretty fired up about that. … It's disgusting."...
TAMPA — The locker room at Raymond James Stadium is so cramped, Bucs players gather in the showers before games. It's the only place big enough to hold all 53 players, fully dressed and ready for battle.
It was there last Sunday, before the game against Seattle, that Gerald McCoy laid his emotions bare, before his teammates.
Two days earlier, cornerback Alterraun Verner had been pulled from a team meeting to be told his father had died of a heart attack at Verner's home in Tampa. Robert Lee Verner had been visiting for Thanksgiving....
Bucs center Joe Hawley said he was spat on by a Seattle player during Sunday’s 14-5 win over the Seahawks.
Although Hawley said he cannot be sure, he believes the expectorating player was Alabama rookie defensive tackle Jarran Reed.
"They were hitting me late and when I got up, when I got all fired up, one guy actually spit in my face after one of the plays and I got all fired up because I don’t think that should be part of the game at all," Hawley said Thursday night during his weekly radio show on 620-WDAE. "It’s one thing pushing, shouting, yelling, but as soon as he spit in my face, I was pretty fired up about that."...
TAMPA — Gerald McCoy is credited for being the first NFL draft pick to really get his hug on commissioner Roger Goodell when he was taken No. 3 overall by the Bucs in 2010.
But now, almost any outward display of emotion during games often results in a penalty and/or fine.
"We don't get a chance to express ourselves a lot. That's why so many fines are going on, a lot of flags going on. We've got handcuffs on," McCoy said Thursday. "I believe the NFL's put handcuffs on us and not letting us express ourselves. It's very hard to make a play in the NFL and to do it consistently. Doing it once, that emotion comes out."...
TAMPA — The best receiver in the NFL today is Mike Evans. Tomorrow? He could be better.
"I just know what Mike is capable of, and he's just scratching the surface," Bucs receivers coach Todd Monken said.
Declaring Evans, 23, the best receiver in pro football is subjective. You can argue the point until the red-faced guy on the other end of the sports bar shouts you down, but nobody really knows....
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has received his share of game balls during his short career.
But on Wednesday, he began his weekly press conference by presenting a game ball to Tampa Bay fans for their support at Raymond James Stadium during the 14-5 win over Seattle on Sunday.
"I really just want to give this game ball to the fans," Winston said, holding up a football in his right hand. "They did an amazing job. This game ball goes to all the fans. You did an amazing job. I hope that’s in our future every Sunday at Ray Jay. This is for you, fans."...
Bucs sack leader Gerald McCoy, who wore a walking boot out of Raymond James Stadium following Sunday's 14-5 win over Seattle, has said he will play against the San Diego Chargers this week.
Appearing on SiriusXM NFL radio Tuesday, McCoy said, "I will be out in San Diego and ready to rock against the Chargers in Week 13."
McCoy, who leads the Bucs with six sacks, underwent tests Monday but the ankle/foot injury was not considered serious....
TAMPA — Noah Spence was told his rookie season was probably over. In Week 4 against the Broncos, he dislocated his right shoulder and suffered a slight tear in his labrum. The options were to have surgery and wait until next year or endure the pain and wear a restrictive harness that would limit his range of motion but enable him to play.
Spence didn't seem ready to resume playing games. He seemed ready for a gurney. Beating 300-pound tackles off the edge in the NFL is tough. Try doing it with one arm. Other than that, he was good to go....
TAMPA — The moment came late in the first half with the Bucs clinging to a 14-5 lead that their inspired defense unbelievably made stand up. Seattle's Russell Wilson threw a pass in the left flat intended for receiver Paul Richardson that cornerback Alterraun Verner intercepted at the Tampa Bay 15.
By the time he was tackled at the Bucs 31 in the middle of the field, Verner, whose 61-year-old father unexpectedly died Friday while visiting the family, disappeared under the warm red blanket of swarming teammates....
TAMPA — Let's hype the hyperbole. Let's add some buzz to an electric atmosphere. Let's overinflate the football about to be played at Raymond James Stadium.
When was the last time there was a game bigger than this for the Bucs?
Tampa Bay has temporarily returned from the abyss and at 5-5 has a chance to truly announce it is back in the playoff picture for the first time since — what, 2008?...
Watch the ball and you will miss the game. So today, pay attention to the best battle that likely will determine the outcome of the Bucs-Seahawks game: Bucs receiver Mike Evans against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
There will be hand fighting, elbows, body blows and more trash talk than at a sanitation workers meeting. Push might come to shove.
Then the game will start....
TAMPA — Roberto Aguayo dabbed his head with a towel but could not wipe the smile off his face Sunday after kicking four field goals in the Bucs' 19-17 win over the Chiefs.
He had fallen one field goal shy of the club record held by Martin Gramatica, who sent him a congratulatory text message that he read in the jubilant visitors locker room at Arrowhead Stadium. When the NFC named Aguayo its special teams player of the week Wednesday, quarterback Jameis Winston had a message for those who had been trolling the rookie....