Category: Sports News

Chris Archer Ready to Bounce Back in 2017:

2015 was a promising year for Chris Archer. Despite a 12-13 record, he posted a 3.23 ERA and fanned 252 batters. Tampa Bay saw a lot of upside in the young right-hander, who perhaps could be the staff ace in the near future.

 

Then came 2016, and the bottom fell out on Archer. He endured a horrific summer, going 2-11 over 14 starts. He ended the season with only nine wins and led the American League with 19 losses. His ERA ballooned to 4.02, while the Rays finished in the AL East cellar at 68-94.

 

Despite those poor numbers, Archer remains upbeat in spring training. He points to the adjustments in his approach and intent on the mound he made in the second half of 2016 that helped him to an ERA of 3.62 in his final 23 starts. Archer also said he does not get upset when people say he had a terrible 2016 as he is confident in his abilities and feels his teammates know how much work he puts into his game. Your text to link…

 

Archer has some unusual inspiration for believing 2017 will be a bounce back year for him. It is none other than President Donald Trump. Archer said Trump did not have the best reputation going into the presidential campaign, but defied the odds and won the election. That showed him, “This is America. Literally anything can happen.”

 

The Rays have done some retooling this year, with their biggest additions being power hitting catcher Wilson Ramos and speedy outfielder Mallex Smith. Still, if Tampa Bay expects to contend in the tough American League Eastern Division, Archer will have to become the ace both the team and the fans expect him to be.

 

Bucs Are Looking to Buck Up Their WR Roster

This year, teams are looking for wide receivers, especially big playmakers with explosive speed. The Bucs are no exception, and they’ll be carefully checking out the 60 wideouts invited to the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

 

Head coach Dirk Koetter will not only be scouting the Combine, but also free agent wide receivers that will be coming onto the market. He said he feels that Tampa Bay could have advanced into the playoffs with more options for Jameis Winston to throw to. “Not to say that we don’t like the players that we already have,” he said, “but you can always have more.”

 

Although the Bucs have Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Cameron Brate and Adam Hayward, Tampa Bay is not a bad place for a wideout to land. Jameis Winston has thrown 50 touchdowns and totaled 8,000 yards in two seasons, and he’s only 23 years old. He’ll be a career maker for some receivers. Besides, he needs more targets to take pressure off the receiving corps and slow and confuse defenses. Last year, Tampa Bay ranked 29th in the league in overall yards after catch and 31st in average yards after catch per reception.

 

Mike Williams from Clemson, John Ross from Washington and Corey Davis from Western Michigan are all players the Bucs might be interested in. All three are expected to be drafted in the first round. The Bucs might also reach out to some wide receivers that are listed among the NFL’s top 25 free agents this year. The Bears’ Alshon Jeffery, the Giants’ Victor Cruz, Washington’s DeSean Jackson and the Jets’ Brandon Marshall may all be testing the market spotrac.com.

 

What about Tampa Bay’s own free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson? Koetter said he has a right to look elsewhere like anyone else. But both he and Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht made it clear they would be happy if Vincent Jackson stayed. Licht said, “We’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

 

There’s more reason for optimism because Tampa Bay’s receiving corps is young. “Guys improve, and we believe in player development,” Koetter said.

 

 

Gators Basketball Coach Named Finalist for Coach of the Year

Thanks to a great season so far, the Florida Gators are ranked No. 12 are are poised to finish strong in the NCAA tournament. Their coach, Mike White, was recently named a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award.

 

There are 10 semifinalists for the prestigious recognition. The other head coaches on the list are from Northwestern, Baylor, Gonzaga, West Virginia, SMU, Arizona, Louisville, Kansas, and Villanova. The finalists will be named on March 16.

 

White became coach at the University of Florida in 2015, replacing Billy Donovan. He previously head positions at Louisiana Tech as head coach, at Ole Miss as assistant coach, and at Jacksonville State as assistant coach. He was a basketball player at Ole Miss from 1995 to 1999, where he played point guard. He briefly played at the professional level in England and with the now-defunct International Basketball League, which was based in the US.

 

He’s known for building strong relationships with his players and for developing his players’ leadership abilities. This season, he has encouraged players to step up and take responsibility for their team’s performance. His players have held team meetings, in which only players were invited, to discuss how they could get things right in future games.

 

The Gators are currently 24 – 6 and have turned things around after losing to Vanderbilt, who they were heavily favored to beat. In the SEC, they have posted a record of 14 – 3. This is just one year after finishing in the middle of the pack at 21 – 15. Up ahead is a repeat game against Vanderbilt, followed by the SEC conference tournament the second week of March and the NCAA tournament later in the month.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Evaluate NFL Free Agents

After a 2016 season that was not very convincing to local football fans, the ampa Bay Buccaneers are weighing their options with regard to available free agents. According to Cameron DaSilva of Fox Sports, the Buccaneers have more than $65 million in salary cap space, which means that they have the means to develop a competitive roster for the upcoming season.

 

DaSilva has proposed five free agents that could be a good fit in Tampa while Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times has mentioned a few names that the Bucs should steer clear from. One big name that Fennelly believes would not be a good fit is superstar running back Adrian Peterson, who is getting up there in terms of age, and that the team is better off investing in players who can hold the offensive line and safety spots.

 

Here are the names proposed by DaSilva:

 

Martellus Bennett, Tight End

 

Here is a player who has matured and vastly improved in just two seasons with the New England Patriots, a team that proved the importance of the tight end position in the last Super Bowl. The NFL is once again a passing league who needs strong catchers.

 

William Gholston, Defensive End

 

He has played well with the Bucs, why not resign him? The grapevine on this veteran is that he feels comfortable in Tampa and may not ask for a big contract as long as he is paired with good incoming rookies.

 

Tony Jefferson, Safety

 

Here is a safety who has played extremely well with the Cardinals and who may be looking to boost his career with the right signing. Jefferson plays the safety position with the mind of a playmaker; should the Bucs venture into signing him, they will have to make an attractive offer.

 

Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver

 

The Miami Dolphins had a great season thanks in part to this wide receiver who is looking for a new team that can make him a franchise player.

 

Prince Amukarama, Corner Back

 

Defense can always be improved in Tampa, and this is one of the best free agents the Bucs could hope for.

 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Runningback Doug Martin Returns To Action This Sunday

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to get a boost on offense this Sunday when they welcome back Runningback Doug Martin to the lineup. Martin had been sidelined for almost the entire first half of this season due to a hamstring injury suffered in week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. His status was listed on this week’s injury report as questionable since his recovery was a day-to-day process, but Buccaneers’ head coach Dirk Koetter says he’ll be cleared to play by this Sunday’s game. Filling in for Martin had been Mike James and Peyton Barber, the latter of which had led the team in rushing last week in their loss to Atlanta.

 

The Buccaneers enter this week’s game at 3-5, tied for third in the NFC South with the Carolina Panthers and facing a 2-6 Chicago Bears team that is fourth in the NFC North. The offense was not the biggest issue in last week’s 48-23 loss to Atlanta, as their defense surrendered a net of 461 yards and 43 points, but still their offense overall only managed 70 rush yards while quarterback Jameis Winston dropped back 48 times. Thus far on the year, the Buccaneers have averaged 108 rush yards per game, good for 16th in the league, while the Bears have averaged about 96, good for 24th in the league.

 

Doug Martin adds quite a bit of power to a running game that despite having some decent statistics, has lacked the potency that Martin has provided over the last few years. Martin finished the 2015 season 2nd in total rushing yards with 1,402, surpassed only by Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, a huge step forward from two setback seasons in 2013 and 2014. Starting this Sunday he’ll look to get back to last year’s form against a Chicago Bears defense that has given up about 100 rush yards per game, and is ranked 12th overall against the run. The Bears themselves are coming off a big upset win against a stingy Minnesota Vikings defense, against whom they rushed for 158 yards as a team.

 

Time To Rebuild for Lightning:

Two years ago they lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Chicago Blackhawks. Last season, they were one win away from a second straight trip to the Cup Finals. All indications were the Tampa Bay Lightning were on the cusp of becoming one of the NHL’s elite teams.

 

That’s not the case in 2016-2017. The Bolts are 29-25-8 with 66 points and lingering in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. With playoffs seemingly out of reach, Tampa Bay spent the days leading up to the March 1st trade deadline unloading some of its top players and preparing for rebuild mode.

 

First to go was Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay’s mainstay in goal since 2013-2014. He was sent to the Los Angeles Kings, along with a seventh round draft pick, for goalie Peter Budaj (27-20 this season), defenseman Erik Cernak, and two draft picks. Your text to link… A day later, on February 27th, veteran center Brian Boyle was shipped off to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Byron Froese, who had 24 goals and 15 assists in 48 games this season for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, and a draft pick.

 

Deadline day brought the third and final big trade for the Lightning as they eye their future. Valtteri Filppula, who has turned into more of an assist man than a goal scorer over the past three seasons, was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, along with two draft picks, for defenseman Mark Streit, who was immediately sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2018 fourth round draft pick.

 

In losing three prominent players from its roster, the Lightning gained a quality goaltender and four draft picks, five when counting their January 27th deal with Montreal that included defenseman Jonathan Racine, and two prospects in Froese and Cernak. Should the infusion of youth work out, they’ll be added to a roster that already has solid goal scorers like Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. Once Steven Stamkos is healed up and back on the ice, look for Tampa Bay to be back in the Stanley Cup mix.

 

Will Mike Glennon Back Up or Back Out?

Jameis Winston is the quarterback of the future for Tampa Bay. But the Bucs have offered backup qb Mike Glennon a truckload of money to stay on.

 

Glennon, who’ll be a free agent soon, could make about $8 million a year if he remains Winston’s backup. The deal the Bucs offered him is expected to exceed the contract Chase Daniels got from the Eagles, which was three years and $21 million to back up Carson Wentz.

 

But Glennon seems to be weighing all his options, and might want a chance to be a starter somewhere else. The Jets have shown some interest. In 2015, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan wanted him before they acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now ESPN reports that the team is once again considering Glennon, because he’s only 27, has shown potential, and besides, they’re “desperate for a quarterback” espn.com.

 

It remains to be seen if Glennon really has the stuff to be a starter, though. He hasn’t started a game since 2014. He entered the NFL in 2013, and in his first two seasons he started 18 games and went 5-13. His qb rating for those years was 57.6, and he had trouble with accuracy and often caved in to pressure. And some observers think there’s no market for Glennon bucsnation.com.

 

On the other hand, Glennon was 10 for 11 and 75 yards resulting in a touchdown last season against Atlanta. His lack of experience is largely due to Winston’s good health. And it appears that he’s looking carefully at the starting opportunities available, with no intention of joining a team he can’t succeed on. An unstable coaching situation is out, as well as no protection from a poor O-line.

 

So will it be money and security with the Bucs, or high risk, high reward as a starter somewhere else? It will depend on a few things, but mainly, on what opportunities come up.

 

Bucs Not Yet Ready to Commit to Doug Martin

Bucs May Not Keep Around Doug Martin for Much Longer

 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot to consider when it comes to their running back Doug Martin and his potential future.

 

There is a very strong feeling in the air that suggests that the Bucs are looking for someone else to become the starting running back for their team in the 2017 season, because they have readily admitted that they aren’t fully committed to him for this upcoming season.

 

Martin did not dress for the week 16 game at the New Orleans Saints and then found himself suspended for the next four games for violating an NFL policy. Because of this, the Bucs are no longer obligated to guarantee he plays for them next season when he is due for a $7 million salary. Head coach Dirk Koetter, who just finished his first season with the team, noted that Martin was in town the past week, stopped by the office and looked to be completely healthy. After that he is scheduled to go back to California to train until other players return in April.

 

What makes things easier for the Bucs in terms of what to do with Martin is the fact the NFL Draft this year is stocked with several impressive running backs, including Leonard Fournette out of LSU, Dalvin Cook from Florida State and Christian McCaffrey out of Stanford. The team will be looking at all possible options but it is very likely they’ll reach a final decision after the draft.

 

Martin has not been the same player over the course of his five year career. He was drafted out of Boise State in 2012 and ran for over 1,400 yards that year and scored eleven rushing touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl nod at the end of the season. Since that time, he has struggled to stay healthy and at the end of the 2016 season he only played in eight games and had a career low of 2.9 yards per carry.

 

Rays Star Says Team Will Turn it Around in 2017:

Last year, Evan Longoria had a great season with a .273 average, 98 RBIs, and a career high 36 home runs. That was about the only great thing about 2016 for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team finished in the basement of the American League East with a record of 68-94, the club’s worst mark since 2007. None of their starting outfielders hit above .250, the entire team batted .243, and the ace of the staff, Chris Archer, was a 19-game loser.

 

But Longoria believes the Rays made a lot of good moves in the off season, giving them a shot at contending in a very tough AL East.

 

“I think we’ve bettered ourselves a little bit,” the All-Star third baseman told the Associated Press. “I think we’ve positioned ourselves to be right there.”

 

One of the biggest acquisitions Tampa Bay made was catcher Wilson Ramos, who hit .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs for Washington last year. Another key pick up looks to be outfielder Mallex Smith, who played 72 games for Atlanta last year, and has 229 career stolen bases in the minors. Your text to link…

 

The Rays also sought to improve their pitching staff by getting Jose De Leon from the Dodgers. The right hander had a 7-1 record with AAA Oklahoma City, and a 2-0 record when called up to the Dodgers. Tampa Bay also added two veteran relievers to its bullpen with Shawn Tolleson (46 saves the last two seasons for Texas) and Tommy Hunter (2-2, 3.18 ERA with Cleveland and Baltimore last year).

 

Tampa Bay opens the season April 2nd at home versus the New York Yankees. In fact, April will be a good test for the retooled Rays as they face all their AL East foes that month; Yankees April 2-5 and 10-13, Blue Jays April 6-9 and 28-30, Red Sox April 14-17, and Orioles April 24-26.

 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Runningback Doug Martin Returns To Action This Sunday

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to get a boost on offense this Sunday when they welcome back Runningback Doug Martin to the lineup. Martin had been sidelined for almost the entire first half of this season due to a hamstring injury suffered in week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. His status was listed on this week’s injury report as questionable since his recovery was a day-to-day process, but Buccaneers’ head coach Dirk Koetter says he’ll be cleared to play by this Sunday’s game. Filling in for Martin had been Mike James and Peyton Barber, the latter of which had led the team in rushing last week in their loss to Atlanta.

The Buccaneers enter this week’s game at 3-5, tied for third in the NFC South with the Carolina Panthers and facing a 2-6 Chicago Bears team that is fourth in the NFC North. The offense was not the biggest issue in last week’s 48-23 loss to Atlanta, as their defense surrendered a net of 461 yards and 43 points, but still their offense overall only managed 70 rush yards while quarterback Jameis Winston dropped back 48 times. Thus far on the year, the Buccaneers have averaged 108 rush yards per game, good for 16th in the league, while the Bears have averaged about 96, good for 24th in the league.

Doug Martin adds quite a bit of power to a running game that despite having some decent statistics, has lacked the potency that Martin has provided over the last few years. Martin finished the 2015 season 2nd in total rushing yards with 1,402, surpassed only by Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, a huge step forward from two setback seasons in 2013 and 2014. Starting this Sunday he’ll look to get back to last year’s form against a Chicago Bears defense that has given up about 100 rush yards per game, and is ranked 12th overall against the run. The Bears themselves are coming off a big upset win against a stingy Minnesota Vikings defense, against whom they rushed for 158 yards as a team.