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Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist

Tom Jones

Tom Jones writes columns and television/radio commentary for the Tampa Bay Times' Sports section. He has covered everything from high schools to colleges to professional sports since starting with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1986. After the Independent, Tom worked at the Times (1987-91), the Tampa Tribune (1991-96), the Times again (1996-2000), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (2000-03) and returned for his third stint at the Times in 2003. Though he has covered all sports, Tom is a hockey writer at heart. He covered the Tampa Bay Lightning from its first game in 1992 until moving to Minnesota to cover the Wild for three years. He returned to the Times again to cover the Lightning until taking over as writer and editor for Page Two in 2006. He lists Herb Brooks, Lou Piniella and Wayne Gretzky as the most interesting personalities he has covered and the 2002 Winter Olympics as the best event he has covered. Tom co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM. He previously hosted a weekly sports roundtable show on Bright House Sports Network.

Phone: (727) 893-8544

Email: tjones@tampabay.com

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

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  1. Denver Broncos-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: As Bucs bet on Winston & Koetter, champs double-down on defense

    Sports

    TAMPA — Drop back. Throw it. Throw it deep. Throw it often.

    Welcome to today's NFL, where the best way to get from Point A to Point B is by throwing the football. And the best way to go from bottom of the league to the top is by racking up the points.

    Get yourself a franchise quarterback. That's how you win. Get yourself a Cam Newton or an Aaron Rodgers or a Ben Roethlisberger....

  2. Jones: Thank goodness it's time for Lightning

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The Bucs have lost two in a row and have nightmare dates coming up with last year's Super Bowl combatants.

    The Rays are limping to a second consecutive last-place finish.

    Thank goodness for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    The boys are back. Not soon enough.

    Tampa Bay's best sports team is cranking it up. The season starts in less than two weeks.

    Not soon enough....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette (13) chellenges Florida golatender James Reimer (34) at the net during the first period of Thursday's (9/29/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Jones: Ignore the siren call of the SEC, Jimbo Fisher

    College

    Don't do it, Jimbo Fisher. Don't even think about it.

    Order all the Cajun food you can eat. Binge watch Swamp People every night. If you want, go ahead and buy a pet tiger and call him Mike.

    Do whatever you need to do to quench your thirst for Louisiana. But don't you dare leave Florida State for LSU.

    You'll regret it. You have a better job now. You might have the best job in the country....

     Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher during the Camping World Kickoff against the Mississippi Rebels on Monday September 5, 2016 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Final Score FSU 45, Ole Miss 34.
  4. Jones: Same old Bucs lose winnable game

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Can't happen. Just can't happen.

    If the Bucs have any designs on doing anything this season, they can't lose like they did Sunday. You can't lose to a team like the Rams. You can't lose a game like this.

    I know this is the NFL. Any given Sunday and all that stuff. I get it. Any team is capable of beating any other team.

    But, come on, you lose to the Rams? In the home opener? The Rams? ...

    Fans sit in disbelief as the Bucs lose their home opener after being ahead 20-10.
  5. Grading the Bucs: A baffling defeat

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, well that certainly did not end up as planned.

    The Bucs took on a Rams team Sunday that had scored nine points all season, a team that hadn't even scored a touchdown this season. And yet they — the Bucs, that is — found a way to lose. In the home opener.

    Ugh.

    Final score: Rams 37, Bucs 32.

    Uh, did you get that? Thirty-seven.

    So how did it happen? Let us count the ways. Mostly it was because Tampa Bay let the Rams hang around and hang around until the Rams finally decided to say, "Okay, you don't want it? We'll take it."...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries (11) runs for a big first down on a fourth quarter reception against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
  6. Instant analysis: Woeful Rams offense takes game from Bucs, 37-32

    Bucs

    How in the world did this happen?

    The Bucs took on a Rams team that had scored nine points all season, a team that hadn't even scored a touchdown. And yet they — the Bucs, that is — found a way to lose. In the home opener.

    Ugh.

    Final score: Rams 37, Bucs 32.

    Uh, did you get that? Thirty-seven.

    So how did it happen? Let us count the ways. Mostly it was because Tampa Bay let the Rams hang around and hang around until the Rams finally decided to say, "Okay, you don't want it? We'll take it."...

    Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) strides into the end zone on a 44 yard completion as he is pursued by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (21) during the first quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  7. Jones: You never know what you'll get when picking a QB No. 1

    Bucs

    To play or not to play. That is the question.

    When it comes to quarterbacks who were the first overall picks in the draft, there is one thing that is certain and that is nothing is for certain.

    You draft a quarterback first overall. What do you do? Do you throw him to the Lions — and Bears and Packers? Or do you let him percolate on the bench until he is ready to tame the NFL's wild bunch?...

    Rams quarterback Jared Goff, throwing a pass against the Cowboys in the preseason, has yet to see the field in the regular season.
  8. Jones: USF still an understudy for now

    College

    TAMPA — They're just not quite there yet. They're not quite ready for the big time.

    Not for 60 minutes. Not at college football's highest level. Not against a real national power like Florida State.

    For about 10 minutes on Saturday, the USF Bulls looked like they belonged, like they could play with any team in the country. But by the time it was over, as FSU put the finishing touches on a 55-35 blowout that really wasn't as close as the score suggests, it was clear:...

    South Florida Bulls head coach Willie Taggart and Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher meet after the game Saturday, September 24, 2016. Florida State Seminoles defeated the South Florida Bulls 55 to 35.
  9. Jones: Austin Seferian-Jenkins' saga should make you sad, not angry

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Everything about this story is bad. Let's start there.

    Bucs tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was driving around at 4 in the morning, just a few hours before he was supposed to report for work at One Buc Place. That's bad.

    The Florida Highway Patrol says he was driving between 75 and 80 mph in a 50 mph zone, dangerously weaving and cutting off a trooper. That, too, is bad....

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins steps into a car after posting bail Friday morning after his DUI arrest in Tampa. This is his second DUI arrest in three years. His first came while he was at the University of Washington.
  10. Jones: Florida beats Tennessee. That's just how this rivalry works

    College

    I love Bill Murray.

    Put Bill Murray in anything and I'm all in.

    Caddyshack. Stripes. Ghostbusters. Lost in Translation.

    Groundhog Day is about as feel-good as it gets. Heck, I was even cool when he got all serious in that Razor's Edge movie.

    But one of Murray's most underrated movies was one of his earliest. Meatballs came out in 1979 and, in it, Murray played camp counselor to a bunch of misfits as they got ready to take on those snobby jerks over at Camp Mohawk....

    Chris Rainey goes 83  yards for a touchdown during one of Will Muschamp’s four victories over Tennessee as UF coach.
  11. Jones: Rays have to hope solid second half carries over

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG — On opening day this season, the Rays had Logan Morrison at first base. Desmond Jennings was in left. Steven Souza Jr. was in right. Hank Conger was behind the plate. Brad Miller was at shortstop.

    Tuesday night against the Yankees, as the Rays started their final homestand of the season with a 5-3 loss, Morrison and Souza were on the disabled list. Conger and Jennings are players without teams, having been released by the Rays. Miller is now a first baseman and occasional outfielder....

    Brad Miller, who started the season as the Rays’ shortstop, will likely start the next one as a first baseman and occasional outfielder — but, at least, with a confidence-building offensive breakout behind him.
  12. Jones: Letting Winston play late in blowout a really dumb move

    Bucs

    GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston dropped back to pass and immediately was under pressure from the hard-charging Cardinals defense.

    He scrambled to his right, looking desperately for an open receiver. He kept running but soon was tripped up from behind by Arizona's Chandler Jones.

    Now here's the part that makes you shake your head. There was less than a minute left in the game. And the Bucs were down by 33. Which leads to this simple question: Why in the heck was Winston still in the game?...

    Dirk Koetter, right, says quarterback Jameis Winston “would have wanted to finish,” but the decision shouldn’t have been Winston’s.
  13. Bucs Report Card: Grading Tampa Bay's 40-7 loss at Arizona

    Bucs

    GLENDALE, Ariz. — Well, that was depressing. The Bucs ran into a buzz saw Sunday, a Cardinals team that played like it was still ticked off about losing its season opener to the Brady-less and Gronk-less Patriots.

    And that buzz saw cut right through the Bucs, who will not threaten the perfect 1972 Dolphins after all.

    A week after beating the Falcons in Atlanta, the Bucs crash landed back on Earth with a 40-7 loss to the Cardinals. Crash landed with a thud....

    Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) AZMY153
  14. Bucs instant analysis: Could Tampa Bay actually be as bad as a 40-7 loss to Arizona?

    Sports

    GLENDALE, Ariz. — Well, that was depressing.

    The Bucs ran into a buzz saw — a team that looked ticked off from losing a game it should've won in week one against the Patriots. And that buzz saw — the Cardinals — took out their frustrations on Tampa Bay with a 40-7 drubbing Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. Here are some initial thoughts immediately following the Bucs loss:...

    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) AZMY136
  15. Jones: What if Carson Palmer had become a Buc?

    Bucs

    Oh, what might have been.

    Greg Schiano would still be the Bucs' coach. Jameis Winston would not be the Bucs' quarterback. Who knows what would have become of Lovie Smith?

    And there's no telling what Sunday would have looked like.

    Here's what we do know: This afternoon, the Bucs take on the Arizona Cardinals and their quarterback Carson Palmer. Should be a good game with the Bucs looking to go to 2-0 against a solid team that made the NFC Championship Game last season....

    Carson Palmer, pursued by the Bucs in 20113, chose to go to the Cardinals because Arizona, unlike the Bucs, said he could start. [Steve Madden | Times]