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Jon Gruden putting some of his “Buccaneers Band” back together

Roy Cummings

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Having been reintroduced as the Raiders head coach on Tuesday, the task now for Jon Gruden is assemble his coaching staff.

And not surprisingly, just like being the “rock and roll” fan that he is, Gruden is looking to put some of his “Buccaneers Band” back together.

When last we saw Gruden on the sidelines, it was in Tampa Bay in 2008. And his new Raiders coaching staff is already displaying connection to that staff with the Bucs.

Gruden announced Tuesday afternoon that his offensive coordinator will be Greg Olson. Olson should be a familiar name, as he has previously been the offense of coordinator of the Raiders from 2012-14. More importantly for this situation, he was Gruden’s quarterback coach his final year in Tampa Bay. He stayed on with new coach Raheem Morris, after Gruden was dismissed, and was the Buccaneers offensive coordinator from 2009-11.

Olson spent this past year in Los Angeles with the Rams, as Jared Goff’s quarterback coach and helped with his rapid development in year two.

Next, Gruden announced Tuesday that current Cowboys Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia will be coming with him. Biasaccia was the Special Teams coordinator for the Buccaneers Gruden’s entire seven years in Tampa Bay. It’s also well-known that he’s one of Gruden’s best friends in all of coaching, and so, that move is a natural. Bisaccia is a fiery leader in the Special Teams room, players will gravitate to his personality and Gruden knows that.

As for defensive coordinator Gruden is hiring Paul Guenther, who is late of the Cincinnati Bengals in the same position. Guenther was not with Gruden in Tampa Bay, or in Oakland, but obviously, is his hand-picked choice to lead a Raiders defense that regressed and was poor at times in 2017.

Gruden also made it clear Tuesday that he was moving quickly off of a predetermined list along with GM Reggie McKenzie to make position coach hires, shortly.

One intriguing name that had been on Gruden’s Tampa Bay staff and was available was Gus Bradley, who was the Chargers defensive coordinator last year. However, it looks as though Bradley is remaining in L.A.

Some of the position coaches may have connections to his former staff in Tampa Bay, or may go all the way back to his original days with the Raiders

It cannot be emphasized enough that the individual instruction from those coaches will be critical to the Raiders taking the next steps.

And, being familiar with or having coach with Gruden and his style is something that’s obviously important to the new Raiders boss.

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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NFL

Latest on Bucs, Dolphins and Jaguars injuries

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With all three Florida teams in the NFL undefeated, their games take on added significance in week three. And there will be more scrutiny over everything, including the injury status of key players in their games.

Let’s begin in Miami with the Dolphins match-up coming Sunday with the Raiders. Miami safety Reshad Jones has been limited with a shoulder injury during practice this week and the Dolphins officially listed him as “questionable” on their Friday injury report. Even though Jones is a veteran, the fact that he was not able to practice this week has to be concerning.

Further, DeVante Parker is now off the injury report with a broken finger that is healed. However, even though he was active for the game last week, Parker was held out on a coach’s decision by Adam Gase. It will be curious as to whether Gase chooses to have him active, again and utilize him in this situation with Oakland.

For the Raiders their most significant injury is to veteran running back Marshawn Lynch who has been Limited in practice with his own shoulder injury. The Raiders did not designate Lynch’s status on their Friday injury report. However, limited practice for all three days would naturally indicate Lynch is questionable to play in the game at Hard Rock Stadium. Oakland has veteran Jalen Richard as a backup.

Next, in Jacksonville is the AFC South showdown with the Tennessee Titans. We have already documented that the Jaguars running back situation is up in the air with both Leonard fournette and T.J. Yeldon questionable with leg injuries. Corey Grant would be the back to fill in for Doug Marrone’s team, if needed.

A late add on Friday to the injury report is defensive back Jalen Ramsey with an ankle injury. He is officially listed as questionable and will likely at least try to play on Sunday.

Meanwhile for the Titans, two significant injury situations exist. One quarterback Marcus Mariota, who could not play last week with the nerve injury in his elbow that is keeping his fingers and hand tingling and numb has still been slowed at practice.

Mariota is officially listed as questionable on the Titans injury report. Veteran backup Blaine Gabbert played the game last week with Houston, which Tennessee won.

So it’s anyone’s guess as to what Mike Vrabel the Titans coach will do at quarterback for this week. Also injured for Tennessee is running back Derrick Henry with a back injury, but after being limited in practice earlier in the week. He was a full go for Friday and should be able to play Sunday afternoon.

Finally, for Monday nights Buccaneers match up with the Steelers. Both teams concluded their final full practices of the week on Saturday. For the Buccaneers, they have already ruled out rookie first round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea, who just returned to practice this week with an injured calf. This means Vea will have not played in the first three games of this season.

The good news is veteran defensive back Brent Grimes (above) has been back at practice with a groin injury and is officially listed as questionable. Grimes is expected to play and be covering Pittsburgh All Pro WR Antonio Brown during much of the game.

The Steelers biggest injuries are to offensive linemen David DeCastro (hand) and Marcus Gilbert (hamstring), who are both questionable. for Monday.

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NFL

Some week one Fantasy “start’em or sit’em” advice

Florida Football Insiders

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the opening weekend of the NFL season, and also, fantasy football fans are rejoicing at seeing their season is getting underway, too.

So, with the fact that there’s so much interest in the beginning of the year and there are some unknowns involving the three Florida pro football teams, we decided to give out some quick “start or sit” fantasy football advice.

First up is the Buccaneers matchup with the Saints in New Orleans.

And while Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will be the focus of the Saints secondary, they have veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to them.  They are probably both still worth the “start” on Sunday, especially Evans, who is off a disappointing season by his standards.

If you’re looking for a “sleeper,” it’s third receiver Chris Godwin, who really came into his own down the stretch of 2017. That included catching the game-winning touchdown pass in the final seconds against the Saints in week 17 .

More than likely, running back Peyton Barber (above) isn’t one of your primary backs in your league, but he will be the guy that gets the ball in key situations, including in the red zone and the goal line.

If you drafted rookie 2nd round pick speedster Ronald Jones, don’t expect much this week. While Jones will likely be active, he will probably be third-string behind Barber and Veteran Jacquizz Rodgers. And, he may not see the feel very much.

As for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill is back at the helm and that means receivers Kenny Stills and free agent newcomers Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson are guys he will look to spread the ball around to against Tennessee.

As a Fins sleeper? We’ve been touting second round draft pick tight end Mike Gesicki. He will especially be a threat to score TDs in the red zone.

Similarly with Barber for the Bucs, Kenyan Drake will likely get the bulk of the carries in this game. However, different from the Tampa Bay situation, it’s veteran Frank Gore is in the Miami mix. And, no one is not clear yet, who will get the ball in the red zone and on the goal line.

So therefore it’s dangerous to play Drake, if you have other options.

As for the Jaguars who are in New York to play the Giants, Leonard Fournette is always going to be a “must-play.” He looks to get his second year off to a big start against a shaky Giants front seven.

The real question becomes whether you trust Blake Bortles to get the ball to any of Jacksonville’s receivers, if you drafted them?

With Marqise Lee lost for the season with his ACL injury, Donte Moncrief will assume the role as the number one receiver. Players like Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are also good options. And we will have to  play the” wait-and-see game” with how much rookie second-round pick wide receiver D.J. Chark will be used?

Again, most of the Jags receivers would be in the “sit’em” category, if you have other options.

Good luck with your team and roster and just remember this advice is worth every penny that you paid for it

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Bucs, Dolphins, and Jaugars had surprises on cut down day

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a tough day all over the NFL has every team had to be down to 53 players at 4 p.m. eastern time. That meant for the Bucs, Dolphins and Jaguars, as well as everyone else, you were saying goodbye to 37 players that have been with you throughout the off-season and training camp.

There were some surprising names put on the waiver wire by each team:

In Tampa Bay, coach Dirk Koetter and staff parted with veteran safety and special-teams ace Keith Tandy. This one was a bit of a surprise because the six year veteran Tandy had moved into significantly more playing time the last couple of seasons. He started five games at the end of 2016 with 41 tackles and four interceptions. And by all accounts, he was a very hard-working and popular player. Bucs will apparently go with rookie Jordan Whitehead and also may move rookie defensive back MJ Stewart to safety some to compensate.

The Buccaneers also released two receivers in Bernard Reedy and Bobo Wilson, who saw a bunch of playing time and each had five catches in the final preseason game with Jacksonville.

Meanwhile for the Dolphins, they also released a veteran defensive back in Tony Lippett Saturday. Lippet had battled back from an achilles injury last year, but obviously was not effective enough for Adam Gase and staff to keep him on board. The Fins do have young DBs in Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley, as well as veteran Bobby McCain.

Miami also released fourth string QB Bryce Petty who had an oblique injury the last two weeks of camp. The Fins kept David Fales as the third string QB behind Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler. Also, Miami cut WR Leonte Caroo, who was a third round pick in 2016.

In Jacksonville, a bit of a surprise, as the Jaguars did not keep third string quarterback Tanner Lee. Lee a rookie from Nebraska fared well on Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Buccaneers. However, for now, the Jaguars seem to be content to go with Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler as the only two quarterbacks on the roster. Lee could come back on the practice squad.

Jacksonville cut veteran WR Shane Wynn and also injured tight end Ben Koyack in their moves.

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