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 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....

  2. 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’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 Sunday … we’re excited about that,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith says of being idle Sunday while all three of the other NFC South teams lost.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.''...

  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bucs might try accepting first kickoff to try sparking offense

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Lovie Smith is considering changing something in an effort to improve the Bucs' slow starts on offense — he might not defer until the second half if his team wins the coin toss.

    Tampa Bay has scored a total of 27 points in the first half of six games this season, an average of 4.5 points. Smith has elected to start games on defense when the Bucs win the coin toss....

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans hangs onto a 17-yard touchdown from Mike Glennon while being hit by Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
  9. Lovie Smith says Bucs will improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Six games and two blowout losses into his first season as the Bucs coach, Lovie Smith is pleading for patience while recognizing it is in short supply with Tampa Bay fans.

    Smith said Monday it was "disheartening" to watch the Bucs trail the Falcons 56-0 and the Ravens 38-0 in a span of three weeks. But he insists that while those performances didn't show it, the Bucs are getting better and asked for more time to get it right....

    Lovie Smith has been part of turnarounds as a Bucs assistant in the 1990s and again as Chicago’s head coach in the 2000s.
  10. Bucs coach Smith to disappointed fans: 'Give us time.'

    Blog

    Six games and two blowout losses into his first season as the Bucs coach, Lovie Smith is pleading patience while recognizing it is in short supply with Tampa Bay fans.

    Smith said it was 'disheartening,' to watch the Bucs trail the Atlanta Falcons 56-0 and the Baltimore Ravens 38-0 in a span of three weeks. But he insists while those performances didn't show it, the Bucs are getting better and asked for more time to get it right....

  11. "We're not a good football team,' after 48-17 blowout to Ravens

    Blog

    t was an ugly day, coming just three weeks after a stunningly similar ugly loss....

  12. Bucs historically bad in loss to Ravens

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was an ugly day, coming just three weeks after absorbing a stunningly similar lopsided loss.

    So after the Bucs' 48-17 defeat to Baltimore in which Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco fired five touchdown passes in the first 16:03 of the game Sunday, players and coaches were left only to compare massacres.

    Was trailing the Falcons 56-0 on Sept. 18 at the Georgia Dome worse than trailing the Ravens 35-0 just 1:03 into the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday? How do you compare your worst flu viruses? Or flat tires?...

    Steve Smith pulls in a 56-yard TD pass, Joe Flacco’s fifth in the first 16:03 of the game. “It was definitely a fun day,” Flacco says. “You don’t get those too often.’’
  13. Bucs try to shake off early season woes

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Losing is not the end of the world. It's not even the end of the NFL season.

    These are the sort of things the Buccaneers have to remind themselves of after a 1-4 start under new coach Lovie Smith. Since Oct. 16, 2011, the Bucs have lost 35 of 47, or roughly three of every four. For their long-suffering fans, most of the time it's Deja P.U.

    Perhaps that's why after practice Friday, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy gathered team captains and a few core players for a five-minute meeting to tell them it's time to mop up the mistakes and play a clean game today against the Baltimore Ravens....

    Bucs guard Logan Mankins (No. 70) was part of nine consecutive winning seasons with the Patriots including two Super Bowl trips.
  14. Bucs face some unusual challenges

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs offensive players failing to line up properly, delay of game penalties, defensive calls coming in too late. These are the silent assassins that can wipe out a season and such has been the case lately with the Bucs.

    Some of the miscommunication certainly can be attributed to playing in loud, hostile environments such as Heinz Field and the Superdome the past two weeks.

    But the loss of offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford and a change of vantage point for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier also have been a factors....

    Ten days after watching the Bucs get blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 56-14 Sept. 18, Leslie Frazier, right, decided to leave the playing field for the coaches' box to get a better look at the opponent's offensive personnel groupings.
  15. Lovie Smith misses Bucs practice for funeral

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Coach Lovie Smith left the Bucs Thursday to travel to Ohio to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, Robert A. Ford, 91, who died last week.

    Mr. Ford served three years with the Army in World War II, according to his obituary. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Margaret Ann, as well as five children, including Smith's wife, MaryAnne.

    Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier ran practice in Smith's absence. Smith was scheduled to return Thursday night....

    Lovie Smith was scheduled to return to Tampa Thursday night. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]