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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.



Blog: Bucs Beat

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers' pin hopes on Jacquizz Rodgers, their couch-to-30-carries back


    TAMPA — When his number kept getting called over and over and over again, the first six plays and 10 times overall during the first possession of the game at Carolina two weeks ago, Jacquizz Rodgers was actually praying for the Bucs to let someone else have the football.

    "That was the first time ever I was hoping a pass play was called in," Rodgers said. "Because I needed a blow."

    You can't blame Rodgers for being out of gas, even though he knew he had plenty in the tank when the Chicago Bears cut him days before the season. He sat in his apartment, packing his belongings to ship home to Texas, keeping out a pair of cleats because he wasn't ready to box up his career....

    Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy (94) tries to slow up Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) during the first half at Bank of America Stadium on Monday, October 10, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS)
  2. Pick a Buc — multiple Bucs — to help alleviate loss of Vincent Jackson


    TAMPA — Even though Vincent Jackson's receiving numbers were in decline, you can measure the man's worth by the number of people it will take to do his job.

    It's going to take a village to replace Jackson, in part because the Bucs don't have anyone with his toolbox.

    Want someone who can stretch the field on occasion? The Bucs may have to utilize Donteea Dye, a second-year pro who was waived injured in August but re-signed this week. He has 11 career receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown....

    The Bucs’ Donteea Dye makes a fourth-quarter catch last season against the Cowboys, one of his 11 career receptions.
  3. Bucs studying cause of excess in soft-tissue injuries


    Forecasters say a cold front is approaching Tampa Bay that should bring cooler temperatures this weekend, but not soon enough for the Bucs, who practiced in 88-degree heat on Thursday.

    For a team that has been hit hard by a series of soft tissue injuries to some of their biggest stars, how much is dehydration factoring into all those muscle pulls and strains?

    Running back Doug Martin, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and receiver Donteea Dye, who was waived injured in Aug. before re-signing this week, all have suffered hamstring pulls. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy missed the Oct. 10 game at Carolina with a calf injury....

  4. Bucs' Winston says he second-guesses choice of FSU over Stanford


    TAMPA — Some people may want to take a Tomahawk Chop at Jameis Winston when they hear this.

    On a conference call with San Francisco bay area writers Wednesday, Winston indicated he still second-guesses his decision to choose Florida State over Stanford when he was recruited by both out of high school.

    Winston's regret still exists despite him winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy and national championship with the Seminoles and becoming the No. 1 overall pick by the Bucs in the 2015 draft....

    FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2013 file photo, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (5) smiles before the start of an NCAA college football game against Miami, in Tallahassee, Fla. Winston envisioned winning the Heisman Trophy before signing with the top-ranked Seminoles. He is one of six finalists for the award and will find out Saturday if his dream comes true. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File) NY159
  5. Bucs' Vincent Jackson out with ACL injury; career in jeopardy


    TAMPA — This is not the way it's supposed to end. Vincent Jackson has meant too much to the Bucs to limp away from the season, and maybe the NFL. He is supposed to pour champagne with teammates after a championship, not draw the short straw.

    But there it was, five years in a Bucs uniform perhaps reduced to five paragraphs in a release from the team Tuesday: "The team has placed wide receiver Vincent Jackson on Injured Reserve after an MRI revealed an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)."...

    Vincent Jackson makes a catch, one of his 15 this season, against the Rams on Sept. 25.
  6. ACL injury puts Bucs' Vincent Jackson on injured reserve


    TAMPA – Vincent Jackson was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after an MRI revealed he suffered an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the Bucs' 17-14 win at Carolina on Oct. 10.

    Depending on his rehabilitation, Jackson could be the Bucs player designated for return from IR. But it calls into question whether he has played his last snap in Tampa Bay or in the NFL, for that matter.    ...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) makes a first down catch late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 37-32.
  7. Knee injury likely to bench Vincent Jackson


    TAMPA — Hopeful of getting back some key players from injury for Sunday’s game at San Francisco, the Bucs have learned they now may be without starting receiver Vincent Jackson.

    Jackson, 33, suffered a knee injury in the Bucs’ 17-14 win at Carolina Oct. 10 and did not practice with the team Monday. The 12-year veteran is undergoing further testing today but it’s believed the injury is serious enough to force him to miss time on the playing field....

    Vincent Jackson makes a jumping catch in the first quarter of the Oct. 10 game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.
  8. Rest was nice for Bucs, who gain ground in NFC South race


    TAMPA — For five glorious days, football was not on the mind of tackle Donovan Smith, who used the Bucs' bye week to push the reset button and make rest and recovery his biggest priorities.

    "I did withdraw from football," Smith said. "I'm not going to lie. I had nothing to do with football."

    If Smith had checked out any NFL action, he would understand that for a team that didn't play, the Bucs (2-3) had a pretty good weekend....

    Bucs running back Doug Martin has been out with a hamstring injury but might return for Sunday’s game against the 49ers in San Francisco.
  9. Despite winning field goal, doubts persist about Bucs' Aguayo


    TAMPA — Roberto Aguayo's 38-yard field goal on the final play to beat the Panthers 17-14 Monday night not only won a crucial game for the Bucs, it bought the organization more time to decide which direction to go with their wayward kicker.

    The Bucs are going to have to deal with the Aguayo situation soon because if his failures cost them games, it could cause a schism between the coaching staff that is judged on wins and losses and the front office that wants its gamble on drafting the Florida State kicker in the second round to pay off....

    The Bucs’ Roberto Aguayo converts the winning field goal on the final play of Monday’s game against the Panthers.
  10. Koetter's coaching a big reason for Bucs' win over Panthers


    TAMPA — Three of the four starters on the defensive line were out, replaced in part by two undrafted free agents. Down to his third running back. Young quarterback who needed protection, not only from defenders, but from his penchant for throwing interceptions. A rookie kicker playing Army with field goals. (Left, right, left).

    And all he does, with the season on the line, is go on the road to their house, knock over a few lamps, break the fireplace vase and walk out with a 17-14 win on Monday Night Football over the NFC champions that had beaten the Bucs six straight times?...

    Roberto Aguayo enjoys his winning kick Monday at Carolina. That capped a well-balanced 11-play drive in the final 1:49.
  11. 'Berto late than never: Aguayo hits game-winner


    Robert Aguayo looked up and saw the kick tumbling end over end, perfectly splitting the uprights as it traveled 38 yards through the cool air at Bank of America Stadium.

    The crowd of 73,425 grew silent as church prayer when they realized the field goal meant the Bucs (2-3) had beaten the Carolina Panthers 17-14 on Monday Night Football.

    "I looked up and it was going down the middle and everybody was coming at me," Aguayo said. "For some reason, I was telling everyone, “We are going to get a penalty.’ But the game was over."...

  12. Aguayo kick at the buzzer lifts Bucs over Panthers



    Roberto Aguayo looked up and saw the kick tumbling end over end, perfectly splitting the uprights as it traveled 38 yards through the cool air at Bank of America Stadium.

    The crowd of 73,425 grew silent as church prayer when they realized the field goal meant the Bucs (2-3) had beaten the Carolina Panthers 17-14 on Monday Night Football.

    "I looked up and it was going down the middle and everybody was coming at me," Aguayo said. "For some reason, I was telling everyone, 'We are going to get a penalty.' But the game was over."...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jameis Winston, left, is sacked by Carolina Panthers' Robert McClain, right, in the first half. [AP photo]
  13. Bucs banged up on D-line heading into Monday night's game


    CHARLOTTE — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the NFL's reigning MVP, wasn't super except as a spectator Monday night, out with a concussion.

    The Bucs had several megabucks stars lining the sideline and also out of uniform. Running back Doug Martin, defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald and defensive end Robert Ayers all were out with various injuries.

    How soon those players come back — with the real possibility each could return after the bye week for the Oct. 23 game at San Francisco — could affect the Bucs' fortunes....

    uf-oh: Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston can’t escape as Robert McClain closes in for a sack during the first half.
  14. Bucs coach Koetter's future tied to Winston improving



    The single biggest reason for the Bucs' hiring of Dirk Koetter as head coach was to continue the growth of quarterback and designated savior Jameis Winston.

    But what happens if Winston not only doesn't win games but becomes the chief reason the team is losing?

    If 1-3 turns into 2-8 or 4-12, Koetter might not have enough sweat equity and professional bandwidth to avoid becoming a one-and-done coach given the Glazer family's impatience and desire to win....

    Dirk Koetter seems to have struggled with clock management in his first year as Bucs coach.
  15. In NFC South, expensive QBs mean defenses built on the cheap


    TAMPA — Welcome to the NFC South, where high-flying offenses with $100 million quarterbacks raise goose bumps while their defenses offer all the resistance of speed bumps.

    The division with arguably the best collection of quarterbacks in the league also has four of the five worst scoring defenses.

    The Saints are marching in place in the gumbo muck, allowing 32.5 points per game, the most in the NFL. ...

    FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif. The Falcons visit the unbeaten Denver Broncos on Sunday, Oct. 9, when Ryan and Julio Jones bring the league's No. 1 offense to Denver. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) NY201