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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs open sharp then let one slip away

Roy Cummings

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Aug 24, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) celebrates his sack on Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (not pictured) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve made it quite clear that while the preseason generally doesn’t mean much, this preseason does have some meaning for the Buccaneers. The Bucs, we believe, needed to establish a culture of winning during this preseason and they can still do that, but it’s going to take some work now.

After winning their first two games of the preseason, the Bucs dropped a 33-30 decision to the Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Friday night. What’s really bad about that is that at one point, the Bucs led 27-6.

This is one the Bucs let get away. With that in mind, let’s look back at what stood out about the Bucs play against the Lions.

Running back Peyton Barber just seems to get better every week. He went into Friday night’s game having run 10 times for 53 yards through the Bucs first two preseason games and he continued to chalk up yards at that pace, running five times for 34 yards and a touchdown on the Bucs first drive.

Barber, who was running behind a largely makeshift offensive line, was responsible for keeping that opening drive alive, turning an early third-and-1 into an 8-yard gain. His 14-yard touchdown run came on a third-and_1 play as well.

Barber has been one of the best players in a Bucs uniform all preseason and there’s nothing to suggest he can’t be that during the regular season as well.

The Bucs got a little of the old FitzMagic out of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in this one. The projected starter for the first three games of the regular season was razor sharp, completing six of seven passes for 82 yards during his lone quarter of play.

Fitzpatrick, who struggled a week ago after performing splendidly in the preseason opener led the Bucs to their first score of the game and was sharp even on his lone incompletion, opting to throw the ball away after scrambling out of the pocket.

If Fitzpatrick can play like this during that three-game stretch to start the season the Bucs won’t have any complaints.

Another strong outing from quarterback Jameis Winston. He was under pressure a lot during the second quarter of play but still managed to complete six of 10 passes for 60 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions for a 110 passer rating. Winston has now thrown three touchdown passes against no picks this preseason.

This is as sharp as he’s looked since coming to the NFL. It’s just a shame he has to miss the first three games of the season. The Bucs can only hope that he plays this well when he comes back, If he does, he’ll eliminate any concern the Bucs or their fans might have about sticking with him as their franchise quarterback.

How about that Bucs return game?

Aug 24, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) returns a missed field goal attempt by Detroit Lions punter Matt Prater (not pictured) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 24, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) returns a missed field goal attempt by Detroit Lions punter Matt Prater (not pictured) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Not only did rookie running back Shaun Wilson return four kicks for 113 yards (a 28.3-yards-per-return average), but Adam Humphries finished off the first half by returning a 63-yard missed field goal attempt for 109 yards and a touchdown. That return by Humphries was worth the price of admission, and we all know admission prices for preseason games are ridiculously high.

You have to hand it to the Bucs first-team defense. They were strong when they had to be yet again in this one. Despite allowing the Lions to reach the red zone during each of their first two possessions, the Bucs forced Detroit to settle for field goals on both of those drives. Not only that, but the pass rush came to life.

The Bucs first-team D generated very little pressure in the first two preseason games but recorded three sacks of Matthew Stafford in the first half alone in this one. Rookie safety Jordan Whitehead, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and Will Gholston scored the takedowns for a unit that has looked stronger than it’s been given credit for this preseason.

Ronald Jones’ struggles continued Friday. After running 12 times for 11 yards through the first two preseason games, the rookie running back out of USC ran six times for just seven yards against the Lions.

You could argue that Jones struggles aren’t all his own doing. After all, he was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on nine of his 12 carries prior to Friday, per ProFootballFocus and that trend continue against the Lions.

That said, Jones is not running with any authority whatsoever. He’s feeling his way and while it still seems unlikely that he’ll be cut, there’s a growing possibility that if this continues, the Bucs will pick up a running back off the street to back up Barber.

Another missed PAT for kicker Chandler Catanzaro in this one. We remind you that he was a perfect 29-for-29 on PATs last year.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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?

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 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.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

Florida Football Insiders

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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?

First, the team released another video with clues about them intending to change their uniform and potentially alter their logo:

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.

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