The Buccaneers don’t seem to be in any great hurry to get rid of struggling kicker Nick Folk. In fact, at the rate they’re going it seems they’re more likely to keep Folk than let him go.
That may seem ludicrous to some. After all, Folk has now missed five of his last six field-goal tries and an extra point, leaving a total of 16 points on the field in the last two games alone.
And many, Folk included, will argue that it was Folk who cost the Bucs their chance to beat the Patriots, who hung on for a 19-14 victory on Thursday largely because Folk failed to put the dagger in them.
It was before that game even ended, of course, that Bucs followers everywhere began calling for the foot of Folk, but the pace at which the Bucs are looking for a possible replacement suggests he could survive.
For starters, sources tell us the Bucs have decided to wait until Monday at the earliest to start looking at potential alternatives, which means Folk is likely to survive at least through the weekend.
It also means Folk will be left twisting in the wind a bit, but that may not be the case because what the Bucs will do on Monday is no different than what they do almost every Monday and Tuesday during the season.
It’s normal for teams to hold position-specific workouts on those days in an effort to get an idea of the talent-level and readiness of players currently on the street so they can act quickly should a need suddenly arise.
Despite the apparent need at kicker, that’s what these workouts are more than likely aimed at and it’s possible, even likely, the Bucs have told Folk that because the Bucs admit they didn’t see his slump coming.
Granted, it started two games ago, but the game in which it started was played only four days before the game last Thursday in which it blossomed into a mushroom cloud of a problem.
With so little time to prepare for the Patriots the Bucs probably didn’t have time to look at kickers in the days leading up to the Patriots game and they might not have even felt a need to look at kickers in those days.
Sure, Folk had a bad day against the Giants. But before his bad day turned into a bad week he was kicking “lights out’’ in practice, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said, including hitting a 56-yarder one day.
Throw in the fact the Bucs are only four games into the season and with no kicking problems to concern themselves with prior to this they probably didn’t feel there was a reason to look at kickers prior to now.
Remember, the Bucs settled on Folk as their kicker way back at the beginning of the preseason and it’s not like anyone has hit the street since that would cause them to consider a change.
It’s quite possible then that the Bucs were simply caught off guard by Folk’s failings. It’s also possible that they’re not all that enamored with the kicking talent that’s out there.
Sure, Mike Nugent has been around but Folk has been the more consistent kicker the past few years. And it’s not like Andrew Franks or Patrick Murray have proven track records.
Given what’s on the street then, keeping Folk may indeed be the Bucs best option, and it’s possible the Bucs have already decided that and are simply hoping that this slump of his is a short one.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.