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 make Gerald McCoy highest paid defensive tackle

    Bucs

    The Bucs may be off to a slow start but at least they know their best player will likely finish his career in Tampa Bay.

    The Bucs made Gerald McCoy the highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL, signing him to a seven-year, $95.2 million contract extension Saturday.

    The deal includes $51.5 million in guarantees and averages $13.6 million per year. That ranks fourth among all defensive linemen behind only the Texans J.J. Watt, the Bills' Mario Williams and the Rams Robert Quinn....

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) leads a portion of his team down the tunnel and out onto the field for warmups. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]
  2. Bucs sign McCoy to 7-year, $95.2-million extension

    Blog

    The Bucs have had trouble buying a win this season, but the smart money may be on their future after the team locked up their best player for years and years to come.

    The Bucs made Gerald McCoy the highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL, signing him to a 7-year, $95.2-million contract extension Saturday.

    The deal includes $51.5-million in guarantees and averages $13.6-million per year. That ranks fourth among all defensive linemen behind only the Texans J.J. Watt, the Bills' Mario Williams and the Rams Robert Quinn.

    "From the moment Lovie and I arrived here, we knew it was vital for us to keep Gerald in Tampa Bay long term as one of the cornerstones of our franchise,'' Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a release by the team. "With the backing of the Glazer family, we were able to accomplish that. On the field, Gerald is one of the best players in the National Football League, who has been extremely productive and will be for years to come. We are happy to reward someone that has a rare work ethic, which not only makes him an elite player, but serves as an example for our entire team.''...

  3. Bucs need to become tougher football team

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Coach Lovie Smith calls it not being physical enough. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier believes it's a lack of play-making. Gerald McCoy says the Bucs are soft.

    By any description, the Bucs are not a very tough football team. Not on the field and certainly not in the film room.

    "Coupled with a new coaching staff and bodies in and out, put those things together, that sometimes equates to details being negated or overlooked," linebacker Jonathan Casillas said....

  4. Gerald McCoy says Bucs defense has earned title of being 'soft'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Gerald McCoy says the Bucs defense is soft. Worse yet, he says, it's on tape for all of the NFL to see.

    "If you look out there on tape and you see a bunch of guys sitting on blocks, are you not earning the title of being soft?" McCoy said Thursday. "I mean, guys get so sensitive around the league, but we have to be men. This is a man's league. We're professionals and guys have issues with criticisms. I've been getting criticized since I've been in the NFL. I don't even feel it anymore. We have to accept what happened like I did last week."...

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says the Bucs have been making too many excuses.
  5. McCoy says Bucs defense has earned title of being 'soft'

    Blog

    Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says the Bucs defense is soft. Worse yet, he says, it's on tape for all of the NFL to see.

    "If you look out there on tape and you see a bunch of guys sitting on blocks, are you not earning the title of being soft?'' McCoy said Thursday. "I mean, guys get so sensitive around the league but we have to be men. This is a man's league. We're professionals and guys have issues with criticisims. I've been getting criticized since I've been in the NFL. I don't even feel it anymore. We have to accept what happened like I did last week.''...

  6. McCoy says Bucs defense has earned title of being 'soft.'

    Blog

    Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says the Bucs defense is soft. Worse yet, he says, it's on tape for all of the NFL to see.

    "If you look out there on tape and you see a bunch of guys sitting on blocks, are you not earning the title of being soft?'' McCoy said Thursday. "I mean, guys get so sensitive around the league but we have to be men. This is a man's league. We're professionals and guys have issues with criticisims. I've been getting criticized since I've been in the NFL. I don't even feel it anymore. We have to accept what happened like I did last week.''...

  7. Bucs coach Lovie Smith "disappointed" in Bowers over PED suspension

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs coach Lovie Smith said he was "disappointed" in DE Da'Quan Bowers' decision to violate the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, resulting in a two-game suspension without pay.

    Bowers is the second Bucs player in a week to face a two-game ban. FB Jorvorskie Lane violated the same policy. Lane's announcement came during the team's bye week, so both players will miss Sunday's game against the Vikings at Raymond James Stadium and the Nov. 2 game at Cleveland....

    Da’Quan Bowers, chasing Rams quarterback Austin Davis, is out for two games without pay.
  8. There's 'not a QB controversy,' as Glennon will start vs. Vikings

    Blog

    Josh McCown is throwing footballs again but Mike Glennon still will continue to be the Bucs starting quarterback against the Vikings Sunday.

    Coach Lovie Smith did not officially name a starter but gave no indication there would be a change even when McCown is healthy.  

    "The quarterback position, it seemed like a lot of cameras were on the quarterback position,'' Smith siad. "We don't have a quarterback controversy. Our quarterback position has been strengthened with Josh coming back.''...

  9. Bucs plan to sign WR/KR Holliday

    Blog

    Bucs plan to sign WR/KR Trindon Holliday following his workout with the team Monday.

    The 5-foot-5 Holliday was released by the Giants Oct. 6. He also played for the Texans (2010-12) and Broncos (2012-13). He runs a sub 4.4 40-yard dash. Holliday became the first player to return a punt and kickoff for a TD in the same playoff game for Denver vs Ravens Jan. 12, 2013.

    The impending signing of Holliday can't be good news for rookie Solomon Patton, the undrafted rookie from Florida....

  10. Bucs retain hope thanks to weak NFC South

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Here's how bad things are in pro football's loser's bracket, otherwise known as the NFC South.

    The 1-5 Bucs awoke Monday after their bye week to discover that despite slumbering through the first six games in the Lovie Smith era, they are only two wins out of first place in their division. That's because the Panthers (3-3), Saints (2-4) and Falcons (2-5) all lost on Sunday.

    In lieu of a real victory, it was something to celebrate at One Buc Place....

    “There is an opportunity,” Bucs All-Pro Gerald McCoy says.
  11. Josh McCown back to throwing at practice

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The bye week was good for quarterback Josh McCown, who returned to practice Monday and had his first extensive throwing session since tearing a ligament in his right thumb in Week 3 at Atlanta.

    McCown, 35, still wore a wrap but didn't appear to have any trouble making short and intermediate throws in individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media.

    "He threw the ball fairly well today," coach Lovie Smith said. "And we're encouraged by his progress."...

    Josh McCown, left, started the first three games and was 0-3 with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He left the loss at Atlanta on Sept. 18 with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
  12. Downtrodden NFC South leaves 1-5 Bucs still in the hunt

    Blog

    It was a perfect Sunday for the Bucs: they didn't lose and gained a half game on all three other teams in the NFC South.

    The Panthers, Falcons and Saints each lost during the Bucs' bye week, leaving 1-5 Tampa Bay rejuventated and only two games behind division leading Carolina (3-3).

    "I watched all the games this week,'' coach Lovie Smtih said, "I know what happened in our division. I realize how many games we're out of first place. We're in it as much as anyone with our record. That's what we're focused on. There's life when you take a little time off to not play a game and you end up in better position than when we started the Sunday...we're excited about that.''...

  13. McCown returns to practice and comes out throwing

    Blog

    The bye week was good for quarterback Josh McCown, who returned to practice Monday and had his first extensive throwing session since suffering a torn ligament in his right thumb in Week 3 at Atlanta.

    McCown, 35, still had a wrap on his thumb but didn't appear to have any trouble making short and intermediate throws during individual drills during the portion of practice that was open to the media....

    Josh McCown returned to practice Monday and had his first extensive throwing session since suffering a torn ligament in his right thumb in Week 3 at Atlanta.
  14. Free agent performance leaves Bucs feeling shortchanged

    Bucs

    TAMPA — On the second play of the season against Carolina, Bucs DE Michael Johnson tried to shed a crack back block from Panthers TE Greg Olson, got caught up on a running play to his right and had teammate Clinton McDonald fall on the back of his left leg. He returned to the game and recorded six tackles, but he had trouble pushing off and was never explosive out of his stance....

    Bucs Michael Johnson (90) runs with the football after recovering Dolphin qtr back Ryan Tannehill’s fumble caused by Bucs Gerald McCoy during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium Saturday night 8/16/2014.
  15. With Bucs on break, coaches seek solutions

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs players scrambled to catch flights after practice Wednesday, headed to parts unknown with the next four days off during the bye week. But coach Lovie Smith and his staff will have to settle for a "staycation" in an effort to solve their problems on defense.

    "Don't assume that because we're in the bye week, everybody is taking it to the Bahamas right now," Smith said. "We have time to really evaluate, to be real with ourselves and see what we need to do."...

    After an ugly loss to the Ravens, the Bucs are tied for 23rd in the NFL in sacks and have allowed a 111.8 passer rating.