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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs RB Ronald Jones seeks fresh start

Florida Football Insiders

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers get ready for their first preseason game on Friday night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. And while the starters are not expected to play a bunch, one name that has created a lot of buzz, who should see significant action, is second-year running back Ronald Jones.

And for Bruce Arians and his new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, they want to see the Improvement on the practice field at a training camp translate into live action against an opponent.

Arians has repeatedly complemented Jones and the progress he’s made after he basically went unused during his 2018 rookie year.

The design has been to have Jones be the complementary back, who is much more explosive for long runs and big plays than starter Peyton Barber is.

However, Jones had issues, as a lot of rookies do, not only picking up the Buccaneers playbook, but improving with things like pass blocking and receiving to enable him to be on the field all the time.

As Jones struggled to get anything done in the preseason, he obviously got in former coach Dirk Koetter and offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s dog house. To the point, they left the second round pick as a healthy inactive at the beginning of the year for the first three games, apparently trying to send a message to him about work ethic and level of play.

Later in the first half of the season Jones eventually worked his way back to the active roster, but ended up injuring his hamstring in late Octover, which sidelined him for five more games. By the time he returned to health, the Buccaneers season was basically in the tank.

Still, even then, Koetter and Monken didn’t utilize Jones with a single carry despite him being active for final three weeks of the season. And that, despite the Buccaneers being out of any playoff hopes.

Back to this off season, Jones has put on over 10 lbs. of muscle and by his own admission, has gotten better as a pass-catcher and pass-blocker which will enable him to be on the field in more versatile situations.

It is believed Barber will see a little action on the opening drive and maybe a little longer Friday night, but from there Jones will get a good look for several series and maybe even into the second half to see what he can do.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Positive injury update news for Bucs DT Vita Vea

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs coach Bruce Arians gave another positive update Sunday on one of his star defensive players he’s counting on to come back from injury. It looks like hulking defensive tackle Vita Vea is still on track to potentially play in the season opener September 8th.

After the Buccaneers Sunday morning training camp workout, Arians was asked, if there was any new news on Via resting and rehabbing the sprained ligament in his left knee? He told the media:

“He’s getting better and better everyday. No pain (in the knee). So, I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’s gonna be ready (opening day),” Arians said plainly.

The former first-round pick a year ago out of the University of Washington was injured almost two weeks ago in a one-on-one pass blocking drill, crumbling to the ground with the Bucs and their fans holding their breath. However it turns out it was only a sprain ligament that did not require surgery and Vea could still possibly play at the beginning of the regular season, including the opener with the 49ers.

Vea was seen walking on the sideline Friday night during the Bucs preseason game with the Dolphins with the aid of a heavily braced left knee.

This is the second straight training camp that Vea has been sidelined with a significant injury. Last year, he suffered a torn calf muscle on the second day of workouts and missed all of the preseason and the first three games of the regular season recovering from the injury and getting into playing shape.

When he did comeback, Vea came on strong in the second half of the season and began to show signs of promise, as to why the Bucs had picked him in the top 15 of the draft. He had a career high nine tackles in a December game in Baltimore and was all over the line of scrimmage and the backfield causing disruptions.

Then, in Dallas the following week, he was once again making plays early in the game. Although, he had a first-half sack Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott nullified by a face mask penalty, he got another one that counted by blindsiding Prescott on the final play of the first half.

Vea finished with three tackles, the sack and one tackle for loss in that game.  And, in the second half of the season, he ended up with 28 tackles with three sacks and five tackles for loss in eight games.

Vea is being heavily counted on to help the interior of the Bucs defensive line in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3 – 4 defense. He along with new free agent pro bowl veteran Ndamukong Suh are going to be the guys relied upon to get pressure up the middle for the defense.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hoping to practice some form of continuity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly extended the contract of GM Jason Licht.

This after a report Saturday morning from Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, that Licht has been given a five-year contract extension to remain with the team:

A big part of the reason why the Glazer family, which owns the team, wanted to keep Licht is: his ability to lure former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and join them this past January.

Further, Stroud reports that Arians made it a condition of his coming out of retirement that Licht remain with the team long-term and that the Bucs keep embattled starting QB Jameis Winston.

Licht had been given a one-year extension for 2019 before this offseason, and the Buccaneers had already committed to keep quarterback Jameis Winston for the fifth year option of his rookie contract. Then, once former coach Dirk Koetter was fired in January, Licht’s previous relationship with Arians helped the Bucs get their new coach.

Licht was the assistant general manager with the Cardinals, when Arians was hired in 2013 and led them eventually to the NFC Championship Game in 2014.

Licht became the Buccaneers general manager at that the start of that same season, but has had a rocky tenure of results. This includes only one winning season out of five and several free agent moves and draft picks that have backfired.

None bigger than when Licht traded up in the 2016 draft for FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have Aguayo falter and be released the following year in training camp.

Licht has also had free agent busts like former Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker and last year, Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Both of whom we’re paid heavily but did nothing in their one season before being released.

Licht and his staff do deserve some credit for finding unheralded players like tight end Cameron Brate, running back Peyton Barber and former wide receiver Adam Humphries. All of whom were undrafted and have been quality contributors over the last couple of seasons.

The team had no official comment on Stroud’s report of the extension.

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