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Bucs-Panthers ready to write more history on Christmas Eve

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Photo by Icon Sportswire

(The Buccaneers are traveling to Carolina to play the Panthers yet, again, this time on Christmas Eve. Our resident Bucs professor of history, Paul Stewart of Bucpower.com, is back with three different famous games in the series. Click the scores for pictures and videos from his site, as well.)

THE BUCS IN CAROLINA
This will be Tampa Bay’s 18th trip to Carolina to play the Panthers dating back to their expansion season of 1995, a game that was played at Clemson Stadium. We looked at three of the best home games with the Bucs’ division rivals earlier in the year, so we now feature a trio of games played on the road.

Sunday 1 October 1995 at Memorial Stadium, University of Clemson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 Carolina Panthers 13

The arrival of the Panthers and Jaguars into the NFL brought a far more generous method in stocking the expansion franchises than the Buccaneers saw back in 1976 together with the ability to sign free agents from a zero salary cap standpoint. The result were two teams who were competitive from Day One and this Week 5 clash saw Carolina give Sam Wyche’s team all the trouble they could handle during their infamous “Five-dash-two” start to the 1995 season.

QB Trent Dilfer went out with a concussion so it was back-up Casey Weldon who came in during the first half and he scored the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak on the first play of the 4th quarter. The game also featured punter Reggie Roby’s first NFL completion as he hit Tony Booty with a 48-yard pass on a fake punt. “(Roby) wasn’t proud of it,” joked Booty. “He needs to go to quarterback school.”

“You’ve got to drop that word `expansion,’ ” said Bucs LB Hardy Nickerson, asked about Tampa Bay’s 0-4 opponent. “Let’s just call it a team in its first year. Don’t say expansion. Expansion leads everyone to believe this team should just get wiped out by the No. 1 high school team in the nation. This was a very good team we played today.”

The Bucs and Panthers would wind up with identical 7-9 records by season end but Wyche would pay the price for a fourth straight losing season, one in which he seemingly fought the press and some players on his team on a weekly basis.

Sunday 18 November 2012 at Bank of America Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 Carolina Panthers 21

Greg Schiano’s first season as Tampa Bay head coach had begun with a 16-10 home win over the Panthers on opening day and two months later, he made it a season sweep in far more dramatic circumstances.

The Bucs’ trailed by 11 with just over four minutes left in the game but a Connor Barth fieldgoal and a defensive stop gave the offense one last chance to tie the game. Josh Freeman led his team downfield, hit Vincent Jackson with a 24-yard scoring pass with 12 seconds remaining and then hit the same player again for a successful two-point conversion to take the game to overtime.

Just over four minutes into the extra period, Freeman found his veteran TE Dallas Clark from 15 yards out, a play that was eventually confirmed after replay, the first time the former Colt had ever scored a game winner in that fashion. “No, I’ve never done that before — anywhere,” said Clark, who signed as a free agent after nine seasons in Indianapolis. “And it was kind of weird, because looking at the sideline afterward, everyone was rushing onto the field, which was really fun. It was like at the end of a basketball game.”

This was the Bucs’ fourth straight win under Schiano taking them to 6-4 on the season but that would be their highpoint and they would ultimately lose their next five games before finishing the year at 7-9.

Monday 10 October 2016 at Bank of America Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 Carolina Panthers 14

It was Monday Night Football in Carolina and the Bucs were 1-3 after having won Dirk Koetter’s opening game as head coach. Without Doug Martin, Koetter turned to one of his former Atlanta players, Jacquizz Rodgers, to lead the ground game but wound up having to put his faith in his much-maligned rookie kicker, Roberto Aguayo.

The 2nd round pick had connected with a pair of first-half fieldgoals and had missed two others. The defense kept giving him chances by forcing four turnovers from a Panther team missing QB Cam Newton including a pick in the endzone by Brent Grimes to end one apparent game-winning Carolina drive.

Jameis Winston led his team 66 yards in 11 plays inside the final two minutes to set up Aguayo who potentially saved his career and the Bucs’ season by nailing the game-winner from 38 yards as time expired. “I looked up and it was going down the middle and everybody was coming at me,” Aguayo said. “For some reason, I was telling everyone, ‘We are going to get a penalty.’ But the game was over.”

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Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston

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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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Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

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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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