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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Falcons commit to Quinn-Dimitroff before finishing with Bucs Sunday

Florida Football Insiders



Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As the Atlanta Falcons prepare to head to Tampa for their finale’ with the Buccaneers on Sunday, their owner has made a clear commitment to his football staff for the future.

Owner Arthur Blank and the team announced Friday morning that coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff will both be back for the 2020 season:

While this seems like a given with the way the Falcons have been playing over the past few weeks, earlier in the year there was serious uncertainty, as Atlanta got off to a dismal 1 – 7 start.

However, after their bye week, Quinn promoted defensive backs coach Raheem Morris to part-time defensive coordinator and the Falcons stunned New Orleans in the Superdome shutting down Drew Brees in a blowout win. They followed that up with another easy victory the next week at Carolina and suddenly Atlanta’s fortunes had turned around.

But then, in mid- November playing without star running back Devonta Freeman and most of the game without a banged-up Julio Jones, the Buccaneers sacked Matt Ryan five times and Jameis Winston overcame two early interceptions to throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs. And, Tampa Bay bested Atlanta 35-22 in Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Four nights later, the Saints hammered the Falcons in a Thanksgiving rematch dropping them to 3-9 and there was once again uncertainty as to whether Quinn, who led the Falcons to the playoffs two years ago, would be back.

However, Atlanta has pulled things together with a dramatic win at San Francisco two weeks ago, and then an easy victory at home last week over the Jaguars. So now, they have an opportunity to get to 7 – 9 with a win on Sunday.

As for Morris, as part of the Blank announcements, the former Buccaneers coach from 2009 – 11 will be promoted to full-time defensive coordinator next season.

The Falcons also have former Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter as their offensive coordinator. He returned to the role that he had previously held earlier in this decade after Tampa Bay fired him as coach after back-to-back 5 and 11 seasons ended last year.

Meanwhile, the Bucs are looking to sweep Atlanta Sunday and finish 8-8 for only their second non-losing season in the last nine years.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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