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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. Bucs WR Mike Evans likes what he sees from Jameis Winston

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs WR Mike Evans says he preferred new teammate Jameis Winston to Marcus Mariota because he delivers the ball from the pocket, though Evans caught passes from scrambling QB Johnny Manziel while the two were at Texas A&M.

    "Out of him and Mariota, I liked Winston more," Evans said Tuesday. "He doesn't run as much. With that being said, I think he'll come in and do well for us. He can sit in the pocket and deliver the ball. That's more opportunities for the receiver. Mariota can play ball as well."...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) fends off Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) and Atlanta Falcons strong safety Kemal Ishmael (36) for a first down in the third quarter during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons won 27-17. (Brendan Fitterer/Tampa Bay Times/MCT)   1159811
  2. Bucs' Evans preferred Winston because he stays in the pocket

    Blog

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans says he preferred Jameis Winston to Marcus Mariota because he delivers the ball from the pocket, even though he caught passes from scrambling quarterback Johnny Manziel while the two were at Texas A&M.

    "Out of him and Mariota, I liked Winston more,'' Evans saId. "He doesn’t run as much. With that being said, I think he’ll come in and do well for us. He can sit in the pocket and deliver the ball. That’s more opportunities for the receiver. (Marcus) Mariota can play ball as well....

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans says he preferred Jameis Winston, pictured, to Marcus Mariota because he delivers the ball from the pocket.
  3. Bucs don't pick up Doug Martin's fifth-year option for 2016

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's starting to look as if this could be Doug Martin's last season with the Bucs.

    Tampa Bay decided not to pick up their fifth-year option for Martin, a first-round pick in 2012, meaning he will become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season.

    Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie, has been limited by injuries the past two seasons, playing in 17 games during that stretch....

    Bucs running back Doug Martin, trying to hold off Packers linebacker Sam Barrington, has seen his production slip.
  4. Bucs decline 2016 option for RB Doug Martin

    Blog

    The Bucs will not pick up their fifth-year option for running back Doug Martin, meaning he will become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season.

    Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie, has been limited by injuries the last two seasons. Backup Bobby Rainey was the team's leading rusher last year until the final week of the season, when Martin passed him. ...

    Doug Martin is tackled by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Sam Barrington in the third quarter of the Dec. 21 game at Raymond James Stadium.
  5. Again, offense is the emphasis for Bucs in draft

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It starts with freshly minted quarterback Jameis Winston. From there, the only way to cure the sick dog that was the 2-14 Bucs is to surround him with as many young, fast and talented players as possible during the rest of the NFL draft.

    That was the weekend plan for general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith. While the arrival of Winston, the No. 1 overall pick, quickens the pulse, it doesn't mean anything if he has no time to throw and slow, plodding weapons surrounding him....

    After making Jameis Winston the first overall pick in the draft, the Bucs tried to surround him with as many young, fast and talented players as possible. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  6. Bucs draft two offensive linemen in second round

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Only hours after signing quarterback Jameis Winston to a four-year, $25.35 million contract, the Bucs on Friday went about the business of protecting their investment.

    Tampa Bay grabbed a pair of offensive linemen in the second round of the NFL draft in Chicago — Penn State tackle Donovan Smith and guard Ali Marpet from tiny Division III Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. — to improve a unit that gave up 52 sacks last season, tied for third worst in the league....

    The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Donovan Smith is the No. 34 overall pick, the highest draft choice used on an offensive lineman by the Bucs since they took guard Davin Joseph at 23 in 2006.
  7. Bucs trade up five spots with Colts for Hobart T Marpet

    Blog

    The Bucs search for offensive line help took them to tiny Div. III Hobart College for offensive lineman Ali Marpet.

    Tampa Bay swapped positions in the fourth round (from 109 to 128) to move up five positions back into the second round and select Marpet with the 61st overall pick.

    The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Marpet got a big break when he was invited to the Senior Bowl, where he caught scouts' attention. He ran a 4.98 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, the fastest among liinemen....

    Ali Marpet was a tackle for the Statesmen but could project as a guard or center for the Bucs.
  8. Bucs get protection for Winston, draft Penn State LT Smith

    Blog

    Wanting to protect their investment in quarterback Jameis Winston, the Bucs selected Penn State left tackle Donovan Smith with the 34th overall pick as the NFL draft resumed Friday.

    The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Smith started 31 games in his career with the Nittany Lions, protecting the blind side of Penn St. quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg. He allowed 3 1/2 sacks in 2014.

    Smith said he was excited to be tabbed by the Bucs to block for Winston....

    Penn State offensive lineman Donovan Smith celebrates with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Bucs with the 34th pick.
  9. Bucs encourage Jameis Winston to remove photo of postdraft crab legs celebration

    Blog

    Jameis Winston's crab legs weren't the only thing that landed in hot water.

    The Bucs' No. 1 overall pick posted a photo on his Instagram account Thursday night of him in front of a plate of Alaskan king crab legs.

    The picture received negative reaction on social media from some who felt Winston was making light of the crab leg incident at a Publix in Tallahassee in which he was given a civil citation for leaving the store wiithout paying for the $34 worth of crab legs and crawfish....

  10. Bucs pick Jameis Winston No. 1 in NFL draft

    Sports

    TAMPA — Time and time again, they watched Jameis Winston operate in the clutch. Give him a pressure situation, a little adrenaline, and he would block out all the distractions of linemen and lawyers and take his Florida State football team to the promised land.

    He climbed out of all the holes, many he dug for himself, to produce a 26-1 record and capture a Heisman Trophy and a national championship. Everyone had confidence he could win....

    A big screen indicates the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ selection of Jameis Winston as the No. 1 overall pick Thursday in Chicago. Neither Winston or Marcus Mariota, the Oregon quarterback selected second by the Titans, chose to attend the draft in person.
  11. Bucs poised to take Winston No. 1 in NFL draft

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    Last Sunday, Lovie Smith stood only a few feet away from Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston during the Derrick Brooks Charities golf pairing party and blackjack tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Just outside the ballroom, the slot machines spun wildly and card players pushed their chips to the middle of the table.

    It was the perfect venue for an analogy regarding the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. Are the Bucs going to gamble on Winston, who might have few peers on the field but owns a damning pattern of poor decisions off it? Or is the safer bet Oregon's Marcus Mariota, who's more athletic and accurate but might need more time to develop?...

    FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, asked why he should be the No. 1 overall pick, replied “because I’m the best player in the draft.’’ The Bucs have been preparing the Tampa Bay community for possibly drafting Winston.
  12. Bucs likely to beef up offensive line in draft

    Sports

    TAMPA — The Bucs put quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota through dozens of passing drills — watching them take three-, five- and seven-step drops while evaluating every branch of the route tree. But what might have been more valuable is determining which player can throw from their rear end.

    That's because the Bucs' offensive line is among the most porous in the NFL. Last season, Tampa Bay allowed 52 sacks, which tied with the 49ers for third most in the NFL, behind the Redskins (58) and Jaguars (71)....

    Bucs guard Logan Mankins was acquired from the Patriots just before last season.
  13. Jameis Winston is not JaMarcus Russell

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    If there's one thing that NFL scouts and personnel executives should be ashamed of this time of year, it's serving as one of the unnamed assassins that seem to surface the week before the draft in an attempt to devalue players.

    The latest example appeared last week in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in which a reporter Bob McGinn surveyed 19 NFL executives in personnel, revealing that they think Jameis Winston is much more likely to be a bust than Marcus Mariota....

    JaMarcus Russell, drafted by the Raiders in 2007, is perhaps the poster child for NFL quarterback flops selected No. 1 overall.
  14. Bucs weigh risk vs. reward in dealing No. 1 draft pick

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    NFL draft-day trades — particularly those involving high picks — are rare and risky.

    For every sage, there's a sucker.

    Jimmy Johnson made the Cowboys a dynasty by shipping running back Herschel Walker to the Vikings for what he turned into a collection of eventual Pro Bowl players. Mike Ditka destroyed the Saints by swapping his entire draft with the Redskins to select running back Ricky Williams....

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 14:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks on during warm-ups prior to their game against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on December 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
  15. Bucs open 2015 season against Titans

    Sports

    TAMPA — Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have both won the Heisman Trophy, played in national title games, met in the Rose Bowl and been courted by many of the same NFL teams heading into next week's draft.

    But that may not even be the beginning of their NFL quarterback rivalry story.

    If they are selected with the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks as speculated, they may begin their pro careers on opposite sidelines....

    Heisman Trophy- winning quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is being eyed by the Bucs and Titans, ran all over the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, leading Oregon to a 59-20 win.