Sunday's notebook starts with the Bucs' efforts to reshuffle an offensive line that struggled last season: Rick Stroud writes about right tackle Demar Dotson, who had the best 2013 season of any Bucs offensive lineman according to new general manager Jason Licht. "He's athletic. He's tough. He's tremendously improved his technique from what I saw a couple of years ago," Licht said. "He's a smart player. He's dependable."...
TAMPA — Bucs coach Lovie Smith has said he does not believe the Bucs got their money's worth from some offensive linemen last season. On Saturday, he put some action behind those words.
The Bucs released right guard Davin Joseph, their first-round pick in 2006 who started 99 games over the past seven seasons, including 16 in 2013. He was set to make $6 million in 2014.
Joseph's release came after Tampa Bay failed in an attempt to trade him and a few minutes after the noon start for teams to contact free agents. ...
Quick, who was the Bucs' best offensive lineman in 2013?
LT Donald Penn? Nope, he gave up too many sacks. RG Davin Joseph? Not even close. He struggled in his return from a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, was poor in pass protection, lacked power to open running lanes and was released Saturday. LG Carl Nicks played in only two games, so we'll eliminate him. C/G Jeremy Zuttah? Nah....
Bucs coach Lovie Smith said he did not believe the Bucs got their money's worth from some offensive linemen last season. On Saturday he started doing something about it.
The Bucs released guard Davin Joseph, the team's first round pick in 2006 who started 99 games the past seven seasons. He was scheduled to make $6 million in 2014.
Joseph's release came after the Bucs failed in their attempt to trade their Pro Bowl guard and minutes after the the noon deadline for teams to begin contacting the representatives for free agents....
TAMPA — Lovie Smith is a soft-spoken coach, hired to do a hard job. Without raising his voice, his message this offseason has been delivered with pot-and-pan-clanging clarity.
The Bucs, coming off a 4-12 season, are not good and need to retool at darn near every position.
"I'll just say we're trying to upgrade our entire roster," Smith said.
That process begins at noon today when NFL teams begin a three-day period of contacting and negotiating with free agents. The start of the 2014 league year begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, when players also can sign contracts with teams other than their own....
Lawrence Tynes could find out as soon as Monday if he will be a free agent or still under control of the Bucs. But it will take more time for the 35-year-old veteran to discover whether he can be effective as a place-kicker again.
“He’s been working his butt off and is in tremendous physical condition,’’ said Tynes’ agent Ken Harris. “But place-kickers all wear a shoe that is about two sizes smaller than their foot. Because his condition wasn’t detected for several weeks, and he underwent considerable tissue damage as a result of the surgery, he still has to see how he will hold up to the rigors of being an NFL place-kicker.’’...
NFL teams may begin talking with free-agent targets on Saturday, and the Times' Rick Stroud writes that several key Bucs players may be gone by then as the team works to clear room under the salary cap for more free-agent acquisitions. Davin Joseph? Jeremy Zuttah? Donald Penn? Michael Koenen? They're all possibilities, Stroud writes ... ...
TAMPA — Lovie Smith makes sure his big men — players on the offensive and defensive lines — sit in first class on the team charter while flying to games. But it doesn't mean he's not looking for more economy from those positions.
With the new league year approaching March 11, the Bucs are completing their evaluations and Smith has determined the offensive line was overpaid and it underperformed....
INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL is a copycat league, so given the success of the Super Bowl champion Seahawks and their wave of pass rushers, you would expect teams to attempt to copy that formula.
"They're Super Bowl champions, but that's been our blueprint all along," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "When (I was the coach) in Chicago, we brought in Julius Peppers, one of the best moves we ever made there. We're always looking for defensive linemen....
TAMPA — Teams have contacted the Bucs about trading for Darrelle Revis and many believe the Pro Bowl cornerback could be dealt by March 11, the start of the league year.
Though the Bucs did not initiate the talks and are not shopping Revis, several teams at the NFL combine in Indianapolis began to explore whether Tampa Bay would consider a trade that would save $16 million on the salary cap. That would allow improvement in other areas while potentially netting more draft picks....
Teams have contacted the Bucs about trading for Darrelle Revis and many believe the Pro Bowl cornerback could be dealt by the start of the league year.
Although the Bucs did not initiate the talks and are not shopping Revis, several teams at the NFL combine in Indianapolis began to explore whether Tampa Bay would consider a trade that would save $16-million on the salary cap to improve in other areas while potentially netting more draft picks....
INDIANAPOLIS — He walked to the podium inside the club section of Lucas Oil Stadium, tracing the steps of dozens of other players invited to the NFL scouting combine.
Under normal circumstances, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, projected to be a mid round draft pick, would attract a small contingent of reporters during his media session. But Saturday, a large bank of cameras and lights encircled him and microphones were thrust like bayonets toward his face....
INDIANAPOLIS — QB Aaron Murray and RB James Wilder, teammates at Tampa's Plant High, shared the stage during media interviews at the scouting combine Friday.
Murray, who tore his left ACL Nov. 23 against Kentucky, is unable to participate in workouts but is meeting with teams. He said he will be ready to go for Georgia's pro day April 16.
"I'm pretty much doing everything already, just not at full speed," Murray said. "I'll continue to build up, get more flexible every day."...
INDIANAPOLIS — Bucs coach Lovie Smith believes a quarterback worthy of the seventh overall pick will be available when the team makes its first-round selection in the NFL draft.
So don't be surprised if the Bucs take him, Smith said.
"I know enough about that draft to know, yeah, there's someone that would be (a quarterback) worthy of the seventh pick because everything is on the board right now," Smith said Thursday at the NFL combine. "Whenever you have a chance to get a franchise quarterback, you have to consider that."...
INDIANAPOLIS — The Bucs had one of the highest paid offensive lines in the NFL last season, but new coach Lovie Smith said it didn't play that way.
With RG Davin Joseph coming off knee surgery and LG Carl Nicks limited to only two games because of complications from MRSA, Tampa Bay struggled to find consistency and ranked last in the league in total offense and 30th in points per game....