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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DeSean Jackson believes Buccaneers will “light it up” this year

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – On Friday it was kicker Roberto Aguayo and quarterback Jameis Winston who had their best days yet at Buccaneers training camp. On Saturday it was wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

In front of a massive crowd of fans that spilled out of the stands, filled up the backside of two fields and ran halfway down another, Jackson showed off the speed and skill that makes him so special.

Jackson was literally un-coverable on Saturday, catching two touchdown passes in an 11-on-11 red zone drill and then beating the secondary on a go route in which Winston dropped another deep ball into the bucket.

“DeSean had a great day,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “He got off to a fast start and one of his best plays, I don’t know if the fans were able to see because it was over on that (middle) field.

“In the last period there, he caught a quick out (along the sideline) and broke the tackle and then he was gone. So yeah, a big day for DeSean. It was good to see.’’

The outing will lend more credence to the growing belief the Bucs could have one of the most potent offenses in the league this year. That’s ab belief that Jackson shares.

Citing the explosiveness that he brings and the talent of several of the players around him, Jackson didn’t argue with a suggestion the Bucs could average close to 30 points per game this year.

“I don’t see why not,’’ Jackson said. “We have the playmakers and the skill. But we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves. We just want to go out there and have fun.’’

Jackson provided the massive crowd with a lot of fun moments on Saturday, but it may be the start of the regular season before he provides those kinds of thrills again.

The Bucs will begin their preseason schedule next week and while Jackson is likely to get some limited work in those games, he doesn’t plan to show off all his skills until the games matter.

“I’m going to try to keep my plays for the regular season, when it counts,’’ Jackson said. “Obviously the preseason is something we have to go through and it will be good for us.

“I’m sure I’ll get some reps, get some plays there, but I don’t want to show too much just yet because we’re expecting to have a big year this year. We think we can come out and light it up.’’

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 will put former defensive coordinator Kiffin in Ring of Honor

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs are looking forward to their future with a second year under new coach Bruce Arians, but on Friday night, they reached back to their past to honor one of their top assistant coaches in franchise history. And. this fall they will put him in their “Ring of Honor.”

Monte Kiffin, who along with coach Tony Dungy were the architects of the Buccaneers “Tampa 2” defense will become the team’s 14th member of their Ring of Honor in the 2020 season:

The Buccaneers made the announcement Friday night as Kiffin was being honored by the organization, his former players, friends and family, as part of his 80th birthday celebration.

Kiffin who came with Dungy in 1996 to the Bucs and led the defense for 13 seasons, helped Tampa Bay’s defense become one of the youngest fastest and fiercest in all of the NFL in just a few short seasons.

Led by now Hall of Famers, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, plus Hall of Fame finalists John Lynch and Ronde Barber, the Bucs defense rose to the number one in the NFL in 1999 and again, in 2002. That season, led by new coach Jon Gruden in his first year and Kiffin’s defense, Tampa Bay won their first and only World Championship cementing Kiffin’s legacy.

Kiffin left the Bucs to go coach at the University of Tennessee, when his son Lane became the head coach for one season in 2009. He then left Knoxville after that season when Lane Kiffin took the USC  job. He has spent recent years, as a defensive coach/consultant with the Cowboys and also the Jaguars.

The last couple of seasons he had been with Lane Kiffin in an advisory role at Florida Atlantic.

The Bucs have put 13 previous former players, coaches and even owner Malcolm Glazer, in their Ring of Honor. And, that list includes Sapp, Brooks Lynch and Barber, who was inducted a year ago. Kiffin will be the first assistant coach to be honored. Previously, Gruden (2017) and Dungy (2018) have also both been put in as head coaches, with the architect of the original Buccaneers, John McKay also being inducted also back in 2010.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Should RT Jack Conklin be on Bucs free agent radar?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As NFL teams continue to do their due diligence on not only their own potential free agents, but what others might be out there too, an interesting name has emerged that could give the Bucs, and other teams, some offensive line help.

It appears that the Titans, fresh off a tremendous playoff run into the AFC Championship game may be willing to part with former number 1 pick, starting right tackle Jack Conklin. And if they’re going to let the former Michigan State star test free agency, Tampa Bay may have a real interest.

First, the Bucs are looking at options on their line, as the senior member of their roster, right tackle Demar Dotson, who’s played his entire 11 year career in Tampa and will be 35 years old this fall, is slated to be a free agent, as well.

And while Dotson has been a mainstay over the course of the last decade on the Bucs offensive line, GM Jason lick and Coach Bruce Arians maybe looking to get younger and some better play out of that position.

Tennessee elected not to pick up Conklin’s fifth year option on his rookie deal and there are some concerns about his ability to pass block. However, there’s no doubting that with power back Derrick Henry, Conklin was part of the unit on offense that played “smash mouth football” throughout the postseason. And, they scored upsets of the Patriots and the Ravens in part behind their tough ground game before falling at Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game.

Next, earlier this week, NFL.com’s reporter/writer Nick Shook, matched Conklin as a possible free agent fit with Tampa Bay, as free agency begins in March.

Conklin did suffer an ACL injury in his second season but is fully healed from that now, and he could be a very cost-effective option four teams looking to solidify their offensive line. Conklin made only $2.7 million in the final year of his initial four year deal with the team declining his $12.9 million option.

As for the Bucs, they already have massive money invested in center Ryan Jensen, guard Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith on their line, but at the same time, the Bucs also have close to $85 million under the cap once free agency begins.

Clearly, their top priorities are figuring out whether to bring back QB Jameis Winston (and at what price?) and also, how many free agent to be defensive linemen out of Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre Paul and Ndamukong Suh they can also fit under their cap.

Still, you cannot have enough good lineman, and perhaps grabbing the Titans former starter off a playoff team would improve their run game, which sputtered a lot of 2019.

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