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Bucs might try accepting first kickoff to try sparking offense

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.
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.
Published Oct. 14, 2014

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.

"It's another area that we need to look to do something differently, too," Smith said. "I've deferred quite a bit to put our defense out there and especially at home. That's kind of the game plan we like. Again, everything we've done so far, we're looking to possibly change things.

"But as far as starting the game out, you practice the situations and try to prepare the team the best you can … again, we realize the problem as far as starting fast."

Don't expect Tedford back: The Bucs won't get any help from offensive Jeff Tedford, who remains on indefinite medical leave of absence after his heart procedure in August. Smith said he has been pleased with the offense's progress against the Steelers and Saints under quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo.

"We talked about it and we're moving on like (Tedford) won't be with us anymore and that will be the case," Smith said. "Our offensive production wasn't good (Sunday). Before that, the previous two games, it's been pretty good. We're looking at all areas but that probably won't be one of them."

Protection problems: The Ravens sacked QB Mike Glennon five times Sunday and had 15 hits on him. Much of that damage was done by LBs Elvis Dumervil (1.5 sacks) and Terrell Suggs (one).

Dumervil won his battles against RT Demar Dotson and Suggs routinely beat LT Anthony Collins.

"We've played good defensive ends before in the past and we knew we had two good defensive ends we were playing," Smith said. "Defensive end, outside linebackers, guys that rush from the outside. But their guys really played well against us. We had played pretty good ball at the tackle position, also.

"There is a plan, you have to add more people to get them help, whether it's chip help, help with a running back, keeping a tight end in. We tried a lot of different combinations of things. Sometimes you can't get help and you just have to block them, also. … We haven't had to deal with that type of pressure before. We've played it better."

Practice squad shuffling: The Bucs released former Florida RB Jeff Demps and WR Kevin Cone from the practice squad and replaced them with FB Lonnie Pryor and DE George Uko. Pryor spent the first five weeks of the season on Bills' practice squad. He was signed to Tampa Bay's active roster in 2013 and was inactive for six games. He also spent the 2014 offseason and preseason with the team, before being waived Aug. 29.

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Contact Rick Stroud at rstroud@tampabay.com and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow @NFLStroud.

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