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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Silence continues on if Bucs Vincent Jackson retires or signs elsewhere

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Icon Sportswire
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The days of Vincent Jackson catching passes and mentoring young wide receivers for the Buccaneers appear to be over. We’ve known that, since the Bucs hinted strongly that they were ready to move on during the NFL Scouting Combine.

What you have to wonder now is whether the days of Vincent Jackson catching passes and mentoring young wide receivers anywhere else in the NFL are over as well?

The last we heard anything publicly about Jackson was a report from ESPN’s Adam Caplan, who cited an unnamed source (probably Jackson’s agent) saying that Jackson had no intentions of retiring.  That report came amid great speculation that Jackson might indeed be calling it quits.

It was an indication that Jackson felt he still had something to give a team, and he actually may, but here we are three weekends into free agency and we’ve yet to hear a peep about interest in Jackson.

If indeed we have reached the point where no team sees any value in Jackson, it’ll make for a sad end to a great career. But if Jackson is healthy again after missing parts of the last two seasons, because of the same coincidental knee problem, then he could be a worthy pick-up.

No, Jackson is no longer the kind of player you can build your offense around. He’s lost some speed and even when he was healthy last year he struggled to get open and sometimes even to catch the ball.

But Jackson is a consummate pro, and there’s little to suggest he couldn’t at least provide a team with a solid possession-type element coming out of the slot, where his size would almost surely give him an edge over smaller third or nickel corners.

He’d probably come rather cheap, too. Spotrac.com has put Jackson’s market value at $4.6 million, but a team may be able to get him for a little less. After all, Jackson is now competing for work right along with all the members of the 2017 draft class.

Or, at 33, after repeatedly talking on the record about putting down roots in Tampa, Jackson may be done. All we have at the moment is silence.

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.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs moving up in our latest power rankings

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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With conference championships now over, all focus will shift to bowl games in college. Florida Atlantic was the lone state team playing for a title last week, defeating the UAB Blazers in blowout fashion. In the NFL, the Bucs made it three straight victories.

The Dolphins almost made it two in a row before the late-game drama. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense fell flat at home in a blowout defeat. That all leads into how our top 5 looks heading into this weekend:

Florida Gators- The Gators stay on top despite not participating in the SEC title game. They may not have played a game, but they still got a win by being selected to the Orange Bowl. Dan Mullen is now two for two in his Gators career in gaining entry into the “New Years Six.” Two seasons of a row with a big bowl win can only help the gators getting back to where they want to be, and that is competing for championships.

Florida Atlantic- The Owls were able to win the C-USA championship destroying UAB 49-6. This was the second title in three years for the Owls, and their great success under Lane Kiffin. All good things come to an end in this day and age in college football for non-power five schools. And so, Kiffin is now on his way to “the Grove” and will be the head coach of Ole Miss. The Owls reward is to play host to SMU in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs are riding a hot streak right now. They are now on a three-game winning streak. The offense continues to put up big numbers behind QB Jameis Winston. Winston, who threw for a career hight 456 yards Sunday, has the second-most yards and touchdowns, but leads the league in INTs by a large margin.

The defense has been playing very well during this winning streak. Next, the Bucs will go on the road to face a struggling Detroit Lions team.

UCF Knights- The Knights had a rare off week during the AAC Title game. They had won the previous two and Saturday the Memphis Tigers won this one, avoiding the Knights. UCF, however, still won 9 games and will look to make it 10 in the bowl game. They will head an hour south to play Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa.

Many wanted the Knights to draw an in-state team like FSU or Miami; instead, it will be Marshall. It is important for UCF to end the year strong with a decisive victory.

Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins didn’t win this past weekend over the New York Jets. They did, though, show a lot in this contest. For a team that looked down and out the whole first half of the season, they have completely turned it around.

If it wasn’t for a late review on pass interference, the Dolphins likely would have won their fourth game in their last six. Head coach Brian Flores was livid after the game, and that heart and passion has put his name in the running for coach of the year.

No, he won’t win the award, but what he and this team have done has been impressive with the lack of talent on the roster.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs QB Winston in limbo with injured thumb

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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The Bucs are very much concerned and waiting to see the status of quarterback Jameis Winston injured thumb suffered in Sunday’s wild victory over the Colts.

And they have to be prepared to be without their starting quarterback this weekend in Detroit.

First, credit to Pewterreport.com which was at teammate Mike Evans’ charity bowling event Monday evening, and where the fifth year quarterback participated bowling left-handed with a brace seen on his right hand and thumb:

Winston injured the thumb at some point late in the second quarter of the 38 – 35 victory over Indianapolis. Coach Bruce Arians relayed after the game that Winston came out for the second half warm up and couldn’t grip the ball, when he was trying to get ready for the third quarter.

He went inside for an x-ray and backup quarterback Ryan Griffin ran the team for the first series of the second half. Winston returned and threw for over 200 yards in the second half including the game-winning touchdown to Breshad Perriman in the final five minutes of the game.

After the game Arians revealed that Winston had what he described as “a slight, slight crack in the thumb” that showed up on the X-ray.

On Monday afternoon at his regular news conference, the Buccaneers coach said that it would be day by day evaluation, that Winston had swelling on the thumb and would be getting a second opinion from a specialist:

The injury comes at a time of great debate about whether Winston will be kept on for the Buccaneers beyond this season.? He’s currently playing on the 5th year option of his rookie contract for $20 million.

As we wrote last week, Arians made it clear that the evaluation will begin after the season as to whether Winston will be back for 2020 and long-term.

The former number one overall pick is still leading the NFL in interceptions this season with 23, but he is also second in the NFL in touchdown passes and yardage. And, the Bucs have responded with three straight wins late in the year to keep their NFC wild-card hopes barely alive.

Tampa Bay had hoped use veteran Blaine Gabbert, if something happened to Winston, but Gabbert was hurt in the preseason with a separated left shoulder, placed on injured reserve and will not be able to be activated down the stretch of the season.

So that means if Winston cannot play, Griffin, a six year veteran who has played well in the last two preseasons, will be expected to get his first start Sunday.

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