The Bucs may be forced to play the final month of the season without rookie middle linebacker Kwon Alexander.
The team on Wednesday received official notice from the NFL that Alexander has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Alexander has five business days, including Thanksgiving, to notfiy the league of his plans to appeal. Therefore, he is expected to play Sunday's game at Indianapolis. The appeal process could take an additional week or two, meaning Alexander may miss the Bucs (5-5) final four games of the regular season....
TAMPA — LB Lavonte David admits he put too much pressure on himself because of his own expectations that came with signing a five-year, $50.25 million contract extension before the start of the season.
David still led the team in tackles, but the game-changing, impact plays were missing from his game.
"It's added expectations from everybody outside and also from myself," David said. "That's why I had to take a seat, sit back and visualize everything. I wasn't playing my game the way I usually play....
Jameis Winston's five touchdown performance in Sunday's 45-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles was historic on its own merit. He tied an NFL record for the most TDs in a game by a rookie held by the Lions' Matthew Stafford. But what made it even more impressive was the Bucs' headsets went out for much of the first two series and Winston navigated a couple of those drives without direct communication from offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter....
Oh, how the Bucs love the way Doug Martin runs. But will they let him walk? • Martin rushed for 235 yards in Sunday's 45-17 win over the Eagles. He is second only to the Vikings' Adrian Peterson among the league's rushing leaders with 941 yards. • And after six more games with the Bucs, he can wear any uniform he wants. • That's because general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith decided not to pick up Martin's fifth-year option of $5.6 million for 2016, making him a free agent at the end of the season. • The next time Gene Deckerhoff says "Martin is gone!', it might be true. • The funny thing is that Licht and Lovie aren't eating their fists or screaming into pillows. • In fact, it made perfect sense when they decided that locking up Martin for another year wasn't a good idea. • For starters, the contract would've been guaranteed in case of an injury. And remember, despite a dazzling rookie season in 2012 when he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl, Martin missed a total of 15 games in 2013-14 with shoulder, knee and hamstring injuries. The "Muscle Hamster" spent too much time on the treadwheel....
PHILADELPHIA — It was Phantasy Phootball come to life in Philly for the Bucs on Sunday.
Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards, and until he lost 3 in the Bucs' last series, he had broken the record for most rushing yards against the Eagles, a mark held by Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith. Not to be outdone, quarterback Jameis Winston tied the NFL rookie record for a game by throwing five touchdown passes, four in the first half....
Bucs rookie middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is facing a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs. The league is expected to notify the Bucs of the suspension in a letter Monday, but team officials are aware of the positive test, the Times has learned.
Alexander is expected to start today for the Bucs against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Once the team is notified, Alexander will have five business days to appeal and that process could take several weeks....
Jameis Winston likes to say he was born to play quarterback and win championships. But before that can happen in the NFL, he has to learn how to win by bringing his team back from behind in the fourth quarter, to overcome his own mistakes, to make clutch throws on a day when not much had gone right until the final drive. • Last Sunday, the Bucs trailed the Dallas Cowboys 6-3 with four minutes left in the game and the ball near midfield. Winston's previous throw had been intercepted, his second of the game. • You think it's easy for a 21-year-old rookie to play quarterback in the NFL? The 40-second clock is ticking, Winston has to cover his ears to hear offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter calling the plays in his helmet speaker, he has to shout the plays in the huddle, change the play at the line of scrimmage, make the right read of the defense, know his progression on pass plays, avoid the rush, keep his eyes downfield and deliver an accurate throw....
TAMPA — Vincent Jackson, who has missed the past three games with a knee injury, returned to practice Thursday but appeared to be limited to some individual drills.
However, it's a good sign for the Bucs, who haven't had their veteran receiver since he injured a knee in a 31-30 loss to the Redskins on Oct. 25.
"It's good to get the guys back there doing something," coach Lovie Smith said. "You want as many options as possible....
Receiver Vincent Jackson, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury, returned to practice Thursday but appeared to be limited to some individual drills.
However, it's a good sign for the Bucs, who haven't had their veteran receiver since he injured his knee in a 31-30 loss to the Washington Redskins Oct. 25.
"It's good to get the guys back there doing something,'' coach Lovie Smith said. "You want as many options as possible....
TAMPA — If you follow Jason Licht on Twitter, it's easy to determine if the Bucs general manager is soaking up another victory.
That's because Licht has kept his promise to his three children that after a win on Sunday, he will jump into the pool with them. The kids are in bathing suits. Licht winds up wearing a wet suit, not a wet suit. The kind made by Elevee Custom Clothing, not Body Glove....
TAMPA — It's hard not to appreciate the love Jameis Winston has for all his teammates. It's endearing. It's genuine. But lately, his postgame news conferences contain more whoppers than Burger King.
Winston is down to one NFL starting receiver — Mike Evans. That's why Winston has targeted Evans 32 times in the past two weeks (16 catches, 278 yards, no touchdowns, eight drops)....
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston lost the football and thought he lost the game. But he got another chance and made sure he got into the end zone.
Winston fumbled the football as he was leaping across the goal line and the Cowboys recovered in the end zone with the Bucs trailing 6-3 and under a minute to play.
But the Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, who had intercepted Winston twice in the game, was called for holding receiver Russell Shepard on the play and the penalty gave the Bucs a first down at the 1 yard line....
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston lost the ball. He thought he had lost the game, as well.
Winston fumbled as he leaped across the goal line for an apparent winning touchdown and the Cowboys recovered in the end zone with the Bucs trailing 6-3 and just under a minute to play Sunday.
"Great play by Jameis trying to get it in the end zone," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "I'm just glad we got another opportunity."...