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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.

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E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

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

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  1. Glennon still believes he's the Bucs QB of the future

    Blog

    The Bucs have been eliminated from the playoffs, have the worst record in football and currently own the No. 1 pick in a draft that's top heavy with Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks.

    Sounds like a time to look to the future, right?

    But despite throwing 12 interceptions and losing four fumbles, the Bucs have decided to stick with veteran Josh McCown. Does Mike Glennon, who went 1-4 as a starter this season, still think he is the team's quarterback of the future as stated by coach Lovie Smith?...

  2. Gerald McCoy, two other Bucs out for season

    Bucs

    TAMPA — When he made a cut, the grass tore away from under his foot and his right knee gave out. Then came the pain in a leg that had helped him chase quarterbacks down for 8½ sacks this year. Coaches still haven't let him watch tape of the play that ended his season Sunday. When they called for the cart at Bank of America Stadium, Gerald McCoy stood up, pushed everyone away and walked off the field....

    The Bucs on Monday placed Gerald McCoy on injured reserve for the third time in five seasons. [Associated Press] 
  3. Season is over for Bucs McCoy, Seferian-Jenkins and Murphy

    Blog

    For the third time in five years, Gerald McCoy's season will end prematurely with an injury.
    McCoy, who played only 18 snaps in Sunday's 19-17 loss at Carolina before suffering a right knee sprain, will be placed on injured reserve, coach Lovie Smith said Monday.
    Smith said he will be joined on I.R. by rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who was unable to return from a back injury at Chicago last month, and receiver Louis Murphy, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday's game.
    McCoy, the 'face of the franchise,' who leads the Bucs with 8.5 sacks, will wind up missing three games this season. He did not play in the 56-14 loss at Atlanta Sept. 18 because of a broken hand. But at 2-11 and with games against Green Bay and New Orleans remaining, the Bucs weren't going to take any chances with McCoy's future. Smith said McCoy will not require surgery.
    “Of course you want to finish the games with your guys but you have to look at the bigger picture and that’s my overall health,'' McCoy said. "The reality is we’re not going to be in the playoffs. We fought hard, but things didn’t go this season the way we wanted. So I’ve just got to look at the bigger picture and more long-term.''  
    Earlier this year, McCoy signed a 7-year, $98-million contract extension. McCoy's first two seasons were cut short after he tore both biceps in each arm. He now will have missed 16 games in his career, the equivalent of a full season.
    "You know how Gerald took the news. He didn't go off on a cart yesterday. When you're the leader of a team, you want to be there right up until the end,'' Smith said of McCoy. "Of course, it wasn't a decision Gerald was going to make. He wanted to continue to play. First off, he has an injury and he can't play. We'll take every precaution with him. Going through a year like this, you want to finish it with the troops. But he'll have a chance to get started on next year.''
    Smith said he knew of McCoy's reputation as a player but was impressed with his leadership this season.
    "You have an idea, you've heard quite a bit about him, his reputation at least,'' Smith said.  "But you know reputations, you want to see it first hand. We saw it first hand. Initially, just coming in, 'hey, I'm Gerald McCoy, this is what we're going to do. What do you need me to do? What's my role on the team?' He's done everything we've asked him to do. Showed up every day, leading every drill, great player. Face of the franchise for good reason. His future is so bright, and again, we've been through a lot. We've been down here together, it's going to be fun rising up together but we will rise up based on players like him.
    "He was a great player on tape.  When you can see him up close and personal and when you get to game day, more impressive. That's how you want superstars to be like him. They put in the time to play and they deserve to be a great player like that.''
    McCoy refused to be carted off the field and said he was cautioned about trying to go back in the game at Carolina by teammates such as Vincent Jackson, Clinton McDonald and Lavonte David.
    "I don’t know if anybody saw me, but I was pretty upset. We have a great medical staff here. All the coaches are very smart coaches and I think they made the best decision to hold me out.
    "Cliinton, Vincent Jackson, Lavonte said, "Sit down! Sit. Down.''
    Seferian-Jenkins showed flashes of being what the Bucs hoped when they drafted him in the second round out of Washington. He caught 21 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. But his most memorable plays may have been two rookie mistakes. He fumbled on the first play of overtime in a loss to Minnesota and drew a 15-yard penalty for his Captain Morgan-like pose in the end zone following a go-ahead touchdown in a 27-17 loss to Atlanta two weeks later.
    Seferian-Jenkins said he didn't think he played up to his potential.
    "Honestly, I don't think I made enough plays out there,'' Seferian-Jenkins said. "I don't think I was even close to what my potential is and what I can be. This year, personally, has been a disappointment for myself. I'm looking forward to getting out there next year and showing eveyrbody what I can do, showing my teammates what I can do.''
    Smith said Seferian-Jenkins, who started nine games, will benefit from the experience he got as a rookie.        
    "It's tough when you don't finish the year,'' Smith said. "But I think he got from it, all the way back from training camp coming in, making us take notice right away, he's done enough around here for the people who have seen him to know he has a bright future ahead of him. But you still want it to end a certain way. But now you know the season will be ending and now it's about next time up, "now that I've tasted some success, I want to get back out there.''
    Murphy, a St. Petersburg native who starred at Lakewood High School, was originally cut the day before the season opener and returned in Week 4 and had six catched for 99-yards in leading the Bucs to a come-from-behind 27-24 upset at Pittsburgh. Murphy will become a free agent but Smith said the Bucs would like to have him back next season.

    ...

    Gerald McCoy, who played only 18 snaps in Sunday's 19-17 loss at Carolina before suffering a right knee sprain, will be placed on injured reserve, coach Lovie Smith said Monday.
  4. Bucs McCown disagrees with fumble ruling in 19-17 loss to Panthers

    Blog

    Bucs quarterback Josh McCown thought it was an incomplete pass. And say this about McCown – the man has a lot of experience throwing passes that don’t connect with anyone.

    Having missed more than 50 percent of his receivers the past three weeks, McCown launched a ball Sunday as his arm was hit by Carolina safety Roman Harper that traveled 19 yards downfield in the fourth quarter. But the play was challenged by Panthers coach Ron Rivera and referee Ron Tolbert reversed the original call, ruling it was a fumble recovered by cornerback Bene Benwikere....

  5. Turnovers kill Bucs in loss to Panthers

    Bucs

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Bucs' Josh McCown thought it was an incomplete pass. And say this about McCown: The man has a lot of experience throwing passes that don't connect with anyone.

    McCown, who has missed more than 50 percent of his receivers the past three weeks, launched a ball 19 yards downfield Sunday as his arm was hit by Carolina safety Roman Harper early in the fourth quarter, falling for an apparent incompletion. But the call was challenged by Panthers coach Ron Rivera, and referee Ron Tolbert reversed it, ruling it a fumble and awarding the ball to Carolina....

    Bucs quarterback Josh McCown fumbles as Carolina Panthers' Mario Addison sacks him in the second half. [AP photo]
  6. Bucs say motivation still there to play spoiler

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Josh McCown has played the role of spoiler, turning another team's season as sour as month-old milk.

    On the final regular-season game of 2003 against the Vikings, McCown's Arizona Cardinals faced fourth and 25 when he was flushed from the pocket and heaved a desperation pass to Nate Poole in the end zone as time expired.

    Poole caught the ball and was ruled forced out by Denard Walker and Brian Russell and awarded a touchdown, knocking the Vikings out of the playoffs and giving the Packers the NFC North title....

    Josh McCown
  7. Could the Bucs be the 1 in draft?

    Bucs

    It's going to happen in the next three weeks. Some chronic NFL loser is going to win. By losing three more games, it will win the rights to the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft.

    Right now that slot belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who at 2-11 are the sorriest team in the sorriest division in the league. That matters, because the Jets, Titans, Jaguars and Raiders also have won only twice and could wind up first by finishing last in the league. The first tiebreaker is opponent records. Playing in the NFC South helps the Bucs in this case....

    FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014, file photo, Oregon's Marcus Mariota passes down field against Michigan State during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore. Mariota goes into Saturday's Dec. 13, 2014, Heisman Trophy ceremony as the clear front runner.  (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch, File) NY150
  8. Smith irked by 3-4 LB's pushing David down in Pro Bowl vote

    Blog

    Bucs coach Lovie Smith considers Lavonte David the best outside linebacker in the NFL. Admittedly, he's biased, but has a pretty good track record of identifying talent at that position, having coached Bucs Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks and Bears linebacker Lance Briggs at that position.

    But David is currently eighth among outside linebackers in Pro Bowl balloting, something that Smith disagrees with. In fact, he says, his problem is with the system that lists 3-4 outside linebackers who are primarily pass rushers in the same category as David, who is asked to drop into coverage and rarely rushes the passer. Smith says those players would be defensive ends in the 4-3 scheme....

  9. Lavonte David gets clearance to play against Panthers

    Bucs

    TAMPA — LB Lavonte David has been medically cleared and is "good to go" Sunday after completing the league's concussion protocol, coach Lovie Smith said Thursday.

    "He seemed like he's back to 100 percent," Smith said.

    David left Sunday's game against the Lions after his head collided with WR Calvin Johnson's knee. He was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice because of a possible concussion....

    The Bucs’ Lavonte David, against the Vikings on Oct. 26, was being evaluated for a concussion.
  10. McCoy says he wouldn't let knee injury keep him off the field

    Blog

    Gerald McCoy wouldn't reveal the exact extent of the right knee injury that forced him to leave Sunday's game at Detroit for a few series. Coach Lovie Smith called it a bruised knee. What wasn't in question was McCoy's determination to return to the playing field even if he was less than 100 percent....

  11. Bucs stick with Josh McCown as starting QB

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Maybe it's because he proved to be as tough as a truck-stop steak. The way Josh McCown kept getting up, hit after hit Sunday against the Lions, certainly didn't bruise his confidence or the faith in him demonstrated by coach Lovie Smith.

    Whatever the reason, despite the Bucs being 2-11 and eliminated from the playoffs, Smith has decided McCown's present still is better than Mike Glennon's future and is sticking with his 35-year-old quarterback the remainder of the season....

    “Obviously it’s encouraging to have another opportunity to go at it and build momentum (for) 2015,” Josh McCown says.
  12. Despite being out of contention, Bucs sticking with McCown

    Blog

    Josh McCown has been part of other organizations that have turned to a younger quarterback when the team was eliminated from playoff contention. So it would not have surprised him if the Bucs had decided to give backup Mike Glennon another chance to start Sunday at Carolina.

    That's why McCown is grateful that coach Lovie Smith is sticking with him.

    "I've been around long enough and been in situations where they do that,'' McCown said. "Where an organization will say, "Let's do this.' For me, it was just about trying to help this team win and onto the next week. I know a lot of football people say this, but it's kind of one day at a time...that's really been my mindset and I've not been told otherwise....

    Josh McCown is 1-7 as a starter this season with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
  13. Bucs, out of contention, to re-evaluate quarterbacks again

    Bucs

    TAMPA — His team is eliminated from the NFC South division fiasco. He awoke Monday with a 2-11 record and the Bucs currently owning the first overall pick in the NFL draft that many believe will be used on a quarterback — either Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Florida State's Jameis Winston.

    The only thing left for coach Lovie Smith to decide in the final three games is whether Josh McCown or Mike Glennon should be the guy to potentially serve as the bridge to the eventual franchise quarterback. At the least, Glennon could stir some potential trade value....

    Mike Glennon is 5-13 overall as the starter for the Bucs — including 1-4 this season with 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions.
  14. McCown, Bucs taking beating at hands of Lions 34-17

    Blog

    Josh McCown’s chin was bloodied, the result of a forearm across the jaw he took in the first quarter Sunday from Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was penalized for roughing the passer on the play. He walked like a penguin in a tight tuxedo to the post-game press conference with enough ice taped around his back to build an igloo.

    "I’ve got so much respect for that man,’’ receiver Vincent Jackson said of the Bucs’ 35-year-old quarterback. “It’s been a rough year for him. He’s taken it, he gets off that ground and dusts himself off every time. I’m going to take him out to a nice dinner when we’re all done this year, maybe help him get some ice bags and take them over to his house. He’s really one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around.’’...

  15. Eliminated from playoffs, Bucs will consider playing Glennon

    Blog

    With his team officially eliminated from the playoff picture in the downtrodden NFC South, Bucs coach Lovie Smith said among the things they will consider the final month is playing quarterback Mike Glennon.

    ...

    Mike Glennon went 1-4 as a starter earlier this year.