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 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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....

  4. 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....

  5. 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.
  6. 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:...

    Josh McCown throws a pass past Bills end Jarius Wynn, left, and linebacker Brandon Spikes in the first quarter. McCown goes 13-of-16 for 112 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
  7. 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."...

    Quarterback Josh McCown says the Bucs’ offense has to learn how to push the tempo without letting the speed affect execution.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

    ...

  10. Injury could cost Da'Quan Bowers spot with Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Da'Quan Bowers' disappointing career with the Bucs could be nearing an end.

    Bowers, the oft-injured defensive lineman, is nursing a groin strain that's hurting his chance of making the team, coach Lovie Smith said.

    Bowers, who had three tackles (including one for a loss) and a quarterback hit in the preseason opener Aug. 8 at Jacksonville, did not play Saturday against the Dolphins and hasn't practiced in more than a week. It was uncertain Wednesday whether he would play Saturday at Buffalo....

    Da'Quan Bowers, the oft-injured defensive lineman, is nursing a groin strain that's now hurting his chances of making the team, coach Lovie Smith said. [Getty Images]
  11. Bowers injury could hurt his chances of staying with Bucs

    Blog

    Da'Quan Bowers' disappointing career with the Bucs could be nearing an end.

    Bowers, the oft-injured defensive lineman, is nursing a groin strain that's now hurting his chances of making the team, coach Lovie Smith said.

    Bowers, who had three tackles (including one for a loss) and a quarterback hit in the preseason opener at Jacksonville, did not play last Saturday against the Dolphins and hasn't practiced in more than a week. It's uncertain whether he will play Saturday at Buffalo....

  12. Bucs claim OL Coughman off waivers from Bills

    Blog

    With several offensive linemen on the injury list, the Bucs claimed tackle Edawn Coughman off waivers from the Bills Wednesday.

    Coughman spent last season on the Bills' practice squad. He went undrafted in the 2011 and played nine games with the Toronto Argonauts. He was cut by the Argos in 2012. Before joining the Bills' practice squad, he had brief stay with the Cowboys and Seahawks.

    Bucs tackles Matt Pachan and J.B. Shugarts did not practice Wednesday due to injuries....

  13. McCoy believes Bucs defense can do more

    Blog

    No Bucs player is having a better preseason than DT Gerald McCoy, who has two quarterback hits, a sack, forced fumble and four tackles, including two for a loss. But as a defense, McCoy believes they can do more.

    "Yeah, we have to because if the other team can’t score they can’t win," McCoy said. “Who’s to say we can’t win the game on defense? That’s not taking anything away from our offense. I think our offense is awesome. But who says we can’t just go win the game on defense? Let’s say the offense isn’t having a good day. Why can’t we take the ball away twice and put it in the end zone?...

  14. Solomon Patton gets a grip on Bucs' kick return job

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Solomon Patton was going to be crushed and there was nothing he could do about it. As a kick returner, it's part of the job description. You need steady hands, fast feet and lots of intestines. So the 5-foot-9, 176-pound former Florida captain closed his eyes and braced for the collision.

    The first to greet him near the Bucs bench were two of his biggest teammates. They slapped him on the back. They pounded him on the helmet. He gladly took the punishment....

    Solomon Patton, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Bucs in May, has played his way to the top of the Bucs' depth chart as the team's punt and kick returner. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  15. Carrying the football in his left hand will be new to WR Evans.

    Blog

    Receiver Mike Evans played exclusively on the right side of the formation during his two seasons at Texas A&M. Therefore, he learned to carry the football in his right hand.

    That's what led to his fumble through the end zone after a 41-yard reception instead of a touchdown in Saturday's 20-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins. As he ran down the left side line with a pass from Mike Glennon, the ball was stripped by cornerback Brent Grimes just before Evans reached the goal line and rolled through the end zone for a touchback....