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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs hit by injuries to right side of offensive line

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Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs lost more than just a game Sunday afternoon in the Super Dome against the Saints, as news comes that two of their offensive linemen will be out, at least for a little while.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians said at his Monday press conference that second-year right guard Alex Cappa actually broke his left arm in the second quarter of the 31 – 24 loss. Yet, Cappa didn’t have an x-ray and continued to play on through the injury:

Well now they have x-rayed the arm, and Cappa will be out of action at least for this week’s game in London against the Panthers and then, will be re-evaluated after the Bucs bye week.

Cappa will be replaced by veteran Earl Watford, who previously played for Arians in Arizona. We wrote earlier this offseason that Watford’s size, versatility and knowledge of Arians’ offense made him valuable to the Bucs, at least for death purposes.

Cappa’s injury was only one of the two significant ones on the right side of the line, as veteran right tackle Demar Dotson suffered a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of the game. Dotson was replaced by veteran Josh Wells at right tackle.

Wells, who previously has played for the Dolphins and the Jaguars as a tackle, will be pressed into duty starting with the Carolina game in London.

The Buccaneers offensive line had done a good job up until Sunday of mostly protecting Winston. However, the Saints pass rush swarmed him, particularly in the fourth quarter (above) where he was sacked four times, and six times total in the game.

Tampa Bay knows that they will get a good test from a Carolina team that has won three games in a row and has revenge on their minds after the Bucs defeated them 20-14 in week 2 in Charlotte.

This also means that former Buccaneer defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will get another opportunity to go against his old mates and even some directly against the backup guard Watford. McCoy had four tackles in the Panthers 34 – 27 defeat of the Jaguars on Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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