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. 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."...

  2. 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.
  3. 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.

    ...

  4. 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]
  5. 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....

  6. 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....

  7. 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?...

  8. 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 went from being a little-used receiver to a captain at Florida last season.
  9. 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....

  10. Bucs' Doug Martin develops his pass-catching skills

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Though RB Doug Martin caught 49 passes as a rookie in 2012, the Bucs felt they could use another pair of hands in the backfield.

    That's why in the third round this year they drafted West Virginia RB Charles Sims, who hauled in more than 200 passes in college. At 6 feet, 215 pounds, Sims is a bigger back — but he will miss at least half of his rookie season after tearing a tendon in his right ankle....

    Bucs running back Doug Martin caught 49 passes for 472 yards and a touchdown as a rookie in 2012, and 12 passes in six games in 2013 before an injury ended his season.
  11. Oft-injured Stocker now healthy and in Bucs' TE mix

    Blog

    Luke Stocker always looked the part of an NFL tight end, but looks have been deceiving. Hip injuries during his rookie year and last season has prevented the former Tennessee star from realizing his promise as a fourth-round pick in 2011.

    Stocker, 26, was injured in his inaugural training camp and missed the first two games. Then last year, he was placed on injured reserve after hurting his hip the second game and was lost for the year....

  12. Lovie Smith happier with Bucs offense in Game 2

    Bucs

    TAMPA — If the Bucs' performance on offense in Saturday's 20-14 preseason loss to the Dolphins didn't completely turn coach Lovie Smith's frown upside down, at least it erased it.

    "Last week I had a frown on my face when I was talking," Smith said Sunday. "I'm not frowning right now.

    "We made progress from last week and that's what we wanted to see. We wanted to see progress in all areas. Everybody wants to talk about the offensive line. We're concerned about it and other positions, too. The offensive line got better (Saturday) night."...

    Bucs QB Josh McCown is dragged down by Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick in the first quarter of Saturday’s preseason game at Raymond James Stadium. “This offense was better this week than last,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said.
  13. Tim Wright finding it hard to duplicate 2013 success

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Tim Wright switched from receiver to tight end last year and as a rookie finished second on the Bucs in receptions (54), receiving yards (571) and touchdowns (five). But this preseason, quarterbacks can't find him and he is in danger of disappearing from the roster.

    "I'll just kind of jump on where he's been. He hasn't played as well as he should be playing," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "He's dropped some balls. If you've been watching him at practice, he's dropped balls. He's a big part of what we want to do with the two-receiver, two-tight end set. Tim hasn't blocked as well inside....

    Tim Wright, catching a TD last season, has had trouble this preseason, coach Lovie Smith said.
  14. Bucs close to settling on 'imporoving,' offensive line

    Blog

    If the Bucs’ performance on offense in Saturday’s 20-14 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins didn’t completely turn coach Lovie Smith’s frown upside down, at least it erased it.

    “Last week I had a frown on my face when I was talking,’’ Smith said Sunday. “I’m not frowning right now.

    “We made progress from last week and that’s what we wanted to see. We wanted to see progress in all areas. Everybody wants to talk about the offensive line. We’re concerned about it and other positions, too. The offensive line got better last night.’’...

  15. Bucs lose to Dolphins in preseason home opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The turf at Raymond James Stadium is as good as any in the NFL, but the Bucs are playing on a lopsided field.

    The defense has shown the ability to dominate. The offense — well, it has a much longer way to go.

    So in Saturday's 20-14 preseason loss to the Dolphins, Gerald McCoy moved the end zone a little closer for them.

    McCoy, the Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle, sacked Ryan Tannehill early in the second quarter, stripping him of the football, which was recovered on a bounce by defensive end Michael Johnson and returned to the Miami 25-yard line....

    Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson scores on a 
7-yard pass from quarterback Josh McCown.