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Former Bengals- Bucs coach Sam Wyche died Thursday

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Colorful and offensively innovative former Bengals and Bucs coach Sam Wyche died Thursday after a brief bout with cancer at age 74.

Wyche is famously revered in Cincinnati for having lead the Bengals with quarterback Boomer Esiason and their no huddle attack, to the Superbowl in 1988. The Bengals came within an eyelash of upsetting the 49ers before Joe Montana lead the game-winning touchdown drive and hit John Taylor in the final seconds for a 20 – 16 win.

The irony of that loss was that Wyche was the quarterback coach for 49ers mastermind Bill Walsh for four seasons (1979-82) and helped develop Montana earlier in his career. He coached on the staff is San Francisco, when they won their first Super Bowl in 1981.

The following year after coming so close to the title, Wyche very famously took to the microphone during a Bengals home game, when fans began to throw snowballs and other debris on the field to tell them to stop.

And, he simultaneously poked fun at the rival Cleveland Browns and their fans, too. Re-live that moment here:

Wyche compiled only a 61 – 66 record in Cincinnati over eight seasons and was fired after a 3 – 13 season in 1991.

That’s when Wyche, known for his offensive innovations was quickly hired as the fifth ever coach by Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse for the 1992 season. The Buccaneers were a franchise mired in a losing skid of 9 consecutive 10-loss seasons.

Wyche did little to change that, as the Bucs finished 5 – 11, 5 – 11, and 6 – 10 in his first three seasons to extend the streak to an even dozen.

Tampa Bay had a monumental draft in April of 1995, where they acquired both Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, who turned the franchise into a Super Bowl winner and are both now in the Hall of Fame. The Buccaneers began that season 5 – 2.

Wyche very famously after the fifth win that year said in his postgame press conference to his media adversaries that they had to make sure that whatever bad they were going to say or write about the Buccaneers, that they had to get the record right of in his words:  “Five- DASH- Two.”

Unfortunately, for  Wyche, the humor and the short-lived fun of being three games above .500 unraveled as the Bucs lost seven of the next nine games to finish 7-9. And, Wyche was fired by the team’s new owners, the Glazer family, and replaced with Tony Dungy.

Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer reacted to the news of his former coach’s passing Thursday evening:

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Sam Wyche earlier today. Sam’s innovative approach to offense left a lasting mark on the game of football. As our head coach in the early 1990s, Sam was instrumental in drafting cornerstone players such as John Lynch, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, who were all key foundational parts of our eventual Super Bowl championship. The Buccaneers organization sends its heartfelt condolences to his wife, Jane, and the entire Wyche family.”

Wyche did some commentary for CBS is NFL game coverage for a couple of years in the late 1990’s, but later had voice surgery that damaged one of his vocal cords and his ability to talk with anything other than a raspy voice. That was pretty much the end of his broadcasting career.

In the 2010s Wyche became in need of a heart transplant and received organ donation that came by he and his family’s admission within days of him probably dying in 2016.

Peter King of Pro Football Talk reported Thursday that Wyche was surrounded by his family at his home in Aiken, South Carolina, when he died from the complications with cancer.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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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