Category: NFL

What Kwon Alexander Got From His Pro Bowl

Kwon Alexander’s Lessons from His First Pro Bowl

 

As far as the end of the NFL season goes, it’s quite an honor to be nominated to the Pro Bowl, whether it’s the first or tenth time doing so.

 

Enter Kwon Alexander, a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl this year as a replacement for an injured player. Despite this, he didn’t feel as though this took anything away from his first Pro Bowl nod in Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

 

When asked about it, Alexander said it was both amazing and a blessing to be there on the same field as other top players in the NFL who earned similar accolades during the year. He added that he had a great time being on the field, enjoyed the practices and just the overall feeling of the game itself.

 

Alexander is only 23 years old, just finishing his third season in the NFL. He’s totaled 335 tackles in that time, as well as six sacks and six interceptions. In the Pro Bowl game he ended the day with six tackles, which actually tied for the most of any other player for the NFC. Granted, the AFC won the game 24-23, after the NFC managed to get a 20-3 lead at one point but at the end of the day the game is just about players having fun, all the while during a rainstorm.

 

Teammate and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was one of the many to sing praises for Alexander, saying that “Kwon deserves it” after he asked McCoy what did he have to do in order to get there. Now it appears that Alexander now knows what it takes and would like to get an All-Pro nod added to his football resume. McCoy himself just notched his sixth straight trip to the Pro Bowl this year.

 

McCoy wasn’t the only older player to spend time with Alexander this past week, as former Bucs players like Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn were also around. Both former players were titled as “Legends” captains for the NFC side of the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Look for Ways to Improve

As everyone prepared for the 2017 NFL season, there were many different teams that people expected to take a step forward and become one of the top teams in the league. One team that was widely considered to be a favorite to make a major Improvement for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers, which had not made the playoffs in more than 10 years, showed a lot of Promise during the 2016 season. A significant amount of this promised had to do with the fact that they had a Young quarterback in Jameis Winston and strong wide receiver in Mike Evans.

During the 2016 NFL season the Buccaneers looked as if they were going to finally fulfill some of their promise. The team had a very promising finish with 9 wins and 7 losses. While the team was not good enough to make the playoffs, they were considered one of the favorites for the 2017 season. While the Buccaneers were expected to be better, the season did not go the way that they thought it would.

The Buccaneers ended up finishing the 2017 season with a record of five wins and 11 losses. In the very top NFC South Division, this was good for last place by more than four games. As the season has now come to a close, the team is looking for unique ways in which it can improve its team. The team will end up having a very high draft pick do to their low finish and is likely to look for ways to improve their defense. The team struggled mightily to keep up with the strong pass attacks of the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers. It is widely expected that Tampa Bay will try and draft a safety or corner back high in the draft.

After the draft, the team will also have to look for ways to improve its depth. The team ended up having some struggles with injuries at the wide receiver position and it seem to have a big impact on them the entire year. While Jameis Winston had a very strong and promising 2016 season, he appeared to take a step back and it is believed that it was because he did not have enough weapons to throw the ball too. He will likely look for some more veteran support to provide more weapons and also leadership for the team.

Charlie Strong is the Man

Many remember Charlie Strong as the coach the University of Texas settled on when they could not get the coach they wanted. Some would say he was sabotaged by the UT boosters. However you perceive his previous tenure, Strong is a leader in the collegiate ranks. He holds his players and staff to the highest of standards. He cleans up the program first and makes an immediate impact on and off the field.

He is highly regarded as a stand up coach and most importantly a man. He understands where his players come from and takes extreme pride in helping them become better men. His ways are unmatched, and his players seem to always respond well personally and on the field. He has outstanding values and his players respect that.
During his time with Texas he took a stand to change the culture, while gutting the players that didn’t comply and applying standards that many programs lacked. The wins didn’t come as he would have liked but he made an impact on his players and their families.

One thing I think is overlooked, is his strength and consistency in recruiting. In his time with Texas he still brought in strong recruiting classes, even with the lackluster record. His strong male presence, leadership qualities and respectful nature has stood out to recruits and to their families. One thing his players know is that Charlie demands full effort on a daily basis. He drives his team to get better every time they step foot on campus. The talent pool in Florida is somewhat endless and with the big time programs all battling for their pick of the best, Strong’s impact will be felt across the region. It says something when players leave Strong’s teams with not just NFL draft numbers but an increase in graduation rates.Your text to link…

Charlie Strong has shown again that he a superior collegiate coach in his first season at the University of South Florida. Everyone involved in the program have and will continue to feel his positive presence, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He has lead USF to a 9-2 record in his first season and they can expect this program to consistently thrive under Strong.

Dirk Koetter Your Time is Up

Many were surprised by the change of power from Lovie Smith to Dirk Koetter. The players did not hesitate to voice their opinions at the time of the change. We see after a solid start to Koetter’s tenure the team has gone in downward spiral. They have under-performed in many ways to say the least. For all the weapons they have acquired, it has got to be time to say something has gone very wrong. It starts with leadership and is now time for a change.

We have to start by going back to when and how the head coaching change was made. Lovie Smith was coming off a 6-10 season after going 2-14 in his first season. Although, they did not make the playoffs we all could see the potential and trajectory of the team. In Lovie’s last season it was evident the team was in a tough conference with Drew Brees and Cam Newton. They competed and fought hard through the last game of the season. As a young team in all areas you could see the fight and drive within the locker room. They laid it on the line for their head coach. One important thing to think about is, Lovie represented his players well and they followed him into battle every week.

I think the way the change was made goes overlooked. The word was that the owner did not want to lose Koetter to other head coaching opportunities, given his so called specialty in running an offense. Doing so, I feel the players observed that their needs were overlooked by ownership’s personal agenda.
The media and some around the league applauded the move, but now we see the result of following in line with outside pressure. They got rid of the coach that the players responded to and felt was the best option for the team.

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Why are we not talking about the lack of leadership qualities that Koetter lacks? They have given him the best overall team talent wise, the Bucs have had since the Tony Dungy Jon Gruden changeover. After adding Desean Jackson and other offensive weapons through the draft, the expectations were high this season to say the least. The talk this year was this team would make a playoff push. We have to exam the leadership and the team’s overall results. The offense has looked sub-par to put it nicely. The talent on defense has gone to waste. Lovie had the defense turning a corner and now they are back to their old ways.

Let’s be real! This team has not responded well to Dirk Koetter and it is time for a change. Go out and get a coach that is what we call a player’s coach. This is a young team with minimal veteran leadership. This has been a major issue with NFL ownership. Stop hiring guys that are in the owner’s circle and really think about what the players need to be successful. This is the opposite of the Dungy era. Jon Gruden took Tony’s players and won the Super Bowl. The players were cited saying they wanted to do it for Tony. In this case it has not happened. Ownership cut the team deep with the move and here is the outcome of that.

O.J. Howard Avoids the Rookie Wall

O.J. Howard Dodges the Rookie Pitfall

The life of a rookie player in the NFL is all about learning and adjusting to any situation, where some players find themselves hitting the rookie “wall” and never picking up steam again. O.J. Howard is not among those players.

For Howard, if there was ever any reason to suspect that he hit the wall then he hasn’t shown it at all because his progress hasn’t slowed down at all with the season dragging on in its final few weeks. In fact, instead of slowing down he’s actually starting being more productive as of late. None of this is a big surprise for Howard, since he has made it a point to improve his gameplay with every passing week.

When asked, Howard simply stated that everything was going as he figured it would, and that there were a lot of learning experiences still going on and he needed to take them all in. He added that every week something new would occur and it was up to him to perform on the field and cut back on making the same mistakes over and over.

Howard is a former Alabama tight end who was the 19th overall selection in this year’s draft, his size, speed and route-running skills being a major contributor to that. In his first nine games, he only caught 14 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns, most of which happened in one game. However, in the last four weeks he managed 11 more catches with 175 yards and another two touchdowns, making him one of the better tight ends in the league over the last months.

Howard has managed to become a very efficient target for the Bucs, bringing in a ton of receiving yards in the last month despite doing so with the lowest number of targets in that time frame. Although he didn’t have many catches earlier on in the season, he did manage to average 16.2 yards per reception at the time, and currently he has the highest receiving average for tight ends in the last month, at 15.9 yards catch.

In short, Howard’s rookie season has been quite productive but according to him he just wants to continue and get better.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans Brings Christmas Smiles To 5th Graders

Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans and wife Ashli, along with the couple’s one-year-old daughter hosted a Christmas party for 13 5th graders from an area school. The party was complete with games to play, snacks, and gifts for the young fans.

The party was but a part of a larger three-day effort on the part of Evans to launch his Mike Evans Family Foundation. Evans and his wife have worked on launching the foundation for some time now and both are proud and active members of the Tampa community.

A fundraiser Monday featured a number of Evans’ teammates including quarterback Jameis Winston and fellow wide receiver Deshaun Jackson. And on Tuesday, Evans visited a Tampa area shelter for abused women and their families.

Both Evans and his wife watch their mothers be subjected to domestic abuse as children being raised in Texas. For Evans, the cycle of violence culminated with his uncle murdering his father.

The couple expressed that their understanding of domestic abuse issues caused it to become impossible for them to not provide whatever help they could for others.

Mindy Murphy, CEO, and President of the non-profit Spring was present at the Christmas party hosted by Mike and Ashli, Murphy had nothing but good things to say. She even commented on the genuine admiration the kids had for the towering NFL star saying they followed Mike Evans around like he was ‘the pied-piper.’

Wednesday’s party put lots of smiles on the young faces attending. The kids were students of Sulphur Springs Community School and were chosen based on academic performance.

The children played games alongside the Buccaneers practice field and Evans, a father of two young children of his own could be seen helping young Adrianna Earnest during a game of bag toss.

When it was time to open presents Evans led the children to a room complete with a tree and wrapped gifts. His simple instructions to the thirteen kids were: Go for it!

Evans reflected on his on upbringing while watching the children. He spoke of how his mom ‘worked three jobs’ and sometimes struggled but always provided Evans and his siblings with ‘the best Christmas’ that was possible.

Losing Season for Buccaneers Causes Speculation of Rift Between Star QB Jameis Winston and HC Dirk Koetter

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL’s NFC South division were expected to do big things this season.

At the end of the 2016-17 season, the Buccaneers missed the playoffs, but had a respectable 9-7 record at the end of their most recent 16-game stretch. Jameis Winston, their franchise quarterback, also threw for over 4,000 passing yards last year. He successfully completed 28 touchdown passes with an overall passer rating of 86.1 percent.

This year, things have not necessarily looked as promising for the Buccaneers or their starting quarterback. As of December 12, 2017, the 2002 NFL World Champion Buccaneers had an overall record of 4-9. Winston’s passing yard total is also down. So far, the former Florida State standout has less than 2,000 passing yards with three games left.

However, the less than stellar play of Tampa Bay’s storied football team cannot be blamed on Winston alone. The disarray going on in the Buccaneers culture falls on the shoulders of one man: Head coach Dirk Koetter. Koetter took over the organization in 2015 after previously serving as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.

According to ESPN, the relationship between Koetter and Winston is being closely monitored. Word is circulating about there being a rift between the two due to the fact that the Buccaneers’ 2017-18 season is not going the way many fans had hoped for. This kind of scrutiny is common in the NFL when seasons start to go south.

However, Winston denies that there are any problems between himself and his head coach. “I’ve been with Coach Koetter since I got in this league, and he has not wronged me since I stepped foot in those doors. I believe in what we have as an organization,” Winston said, according to ESPN.

When Koetter was asked by the press about his relationship with the team’s franchise quarterback, he gave a more coy answer stating simply that he and Winston had an “extremely consistent” chemistry. The comradery of a head coach and starting quarterback is always aggressively analyzed when problems with the team mount.

Winston understands this and said that he has no influence when it comes to his head coach’s job security. “”I don’t control that. That’s not my place. When you lose, everything gets blamed on … the head coach and the quarterback and I’m OK with that … All we care about is each other, our family, and trying to win,” he said.

The Buccaneers will face off against their division rival Falcons at 8:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, December 15, 2017 on their home field.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Looking for a Win in Green Bay With the Return of Winston

After a deep playoff run last year the Green Bay Packers were hoping for another great season, but after Aaron Rodgers was injured earlier in the season the team has been struggling to get wins. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished last season strong with a 9-7 record and barely missing the playoffs, they were hoping to build on that success this year but so far it has been very disappointing. The teams will meet on December 3, 2017 in Green Bay for a much needed win for both teams. Green Bay still has a slim chance to make the playoffs if they can win the rest of their games. Tampa is pretty much eliminated from the playoffs but would like to finish the season on a high note.

The Buccaneers will get Jameis Winston back from injury after a three week absence due to a shoulder injury. They hope his return will give the team a spark, although the team did go 2-1 while he was out. Tampa was supposed to take that next step this year and challenge for the division, but the team has underachieved. The Buccaneers have a good passing attack which should fair well against a Green Bay pass defense that has been playing poorly. Teams have been averaging over 300 yards passing against the Green Bay defense and the Buccaneers hope to continue that streak.

Unfortunately for Tampa, their defense hasn’t been much better. The defense was one of the best last year and this year it is rated last. The Buccaneers have struggled to get pressure on the quarterback and the secondary has been inconsistent. They hope to correct some of these problems against Green Bay. Injuries have continued to plague both teams so this should be an interesting matchup. The loser of this game will have more questions than answers as the season comes to an end.

Recent Tampa sports

Recently, Miami has moved up to no number two in the college football. The team has finished second behind Alabama. Additionally, we have Clemson at position three while Oklahoma comes fourth. Other teams that remained in the top four the next week are Wisconsin and Auburn. Apparently, the top four of the selection committee stayed unchallenged. Coaches are so determined to have their teams winning the game. It is because the competition is very high.

In other news, Coach Campbell is determined to have some achievements to his team. When the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Cardinals on Sunday, he expects nothing else more than best. There two things he wants to bring back from Arizona. These items include an eighth victory and Larry Fitzgerald’s jersey. He would try his level best to ensure that he has things in his possession. Also, he is looking forward to seeing friends and former colleagues. Having seen the previous colleagues he will have that self-satisfaction. Also, he will have a successful homecoming as possible.

Apart from that Ronald scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Also, Florida Atlantic used a late scoring burst to beat Northern Illinois 77-67 in the Gulf coast. In that game, the most outstanding player was Ronald Delph. Apparently, Delph posted his second double while Antony Adger scored 14 points. Gerdarius Troutman scored 14 points while Justin Massey added 13 points to the owls. Jacksonville jaguar’s receiver, Allen Hurns has failed to attend for practice four consecutive times. Therefore, he is unlikely to play at Arizona. He injured his foot in a previous game

Finally, US Supreme Court on Monday rejected to take up a challenge to a Florida law. The law bars people from openly carrying a firearm in public. The case has been on the court for the last six years. It is now clear that no one is allowed to carry guns in public. Carrying firearms in public can affect sports. It is because, in sports, several peoples gather together and there can be an individual who has no goodwill for the people. Such people can cause multiple deaths if allowed to carry the firearm.

Tampa Bay Looks For a Miracle as Winston Returns

The Tampa Bay Buccanneers have had a disappointing season so far. As with every year, hopes were high but a 4-7 record going into December has put a damper on the team’s morale. Their most recent loss was to the Atlanta Falcons, next week the Bucs play Green Bay. The good news is that quarterback, Jameis Winston will likely be returning to his starting position after missing three games to recover from a shoulder injury. It has been less than a month since he was out and coaches are hoping that it was enough time for Winston to properly heal. During his absence, backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took the reigns and came up with an impressive 2-1 record. In contrast, Winston went 2-2 before his shoulder injury then 0-4 until doctors finally decided to pull him out to be treated and heal properly.

It has been an entire decade since the Buccaneers went to the playoffs. The team is hoping for a better wrap up this season and a possible wildcard slot in the 2017 playoffs. The team’s upcoming schedule offers some significant challenges playing against teams with better records. They will be playing Green Bay, Atlanta, Carolina, Detroit, and New Orleans in their final five games of the regular season.

It is uncertain whether or not the Tampa Bay Bucs will be able to grab a coveted spot in this years’ playoffs. The team will have to perform nearly perfect and hope for a lot of errors from their opponents. Head coach Dirk Koetter is likely already plotting his team’s plan of attack, encouraging his players, and testing out Winston’s arm in practice. Even if the post-season doesn’t include the Bucs their loyal fans won’t change allegiance because you know what they say, “Once a Buc, Always a Buc”.