Category: Tampa Bay Buccaneer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Look To Take Advantage Of Rule Changes In Kicking Game

Due to several rule changes adopted by National Football League owners, kickoffs occurring in the game will look drastically different. The changes are intended to reduce the number of dangerous collisions that take place during kickoff returns and there is a list of them:

 

 

  • The kicking team must line up with five players on each side of the football

 

  • The ball must be kicked before players on the kicking team can run to cover the kick

 

  • The return team must line eight players in a set-up zone prior to the kick

 

  • Return team players cannot block opponents while in the 15-yard setup zone. On most kicks, this zone will be located from the kicking team’s 35-yard line to midfield

 

  • Wedges are no longer allowed to be formed by members of the return team

 

 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers special team’s coach Nate Kaczor is giving careful scrutiny to the rule changes in hopes of determining how they will affect his unit. Many in the league, including the man many consider to be the top coach, Bill Belichick believes the special teams game to be an integral ingredient in deciding the outcome of an NFL football game.

 

The main issue for Buccaneers players, as well as players of all the league’s teams, is to be afforded more safety in kickoff plays while not sacrificing any of the game’s excitement. Smart coaches like Kaczor also recognize that the rule changes in the kicking game can be used to improve his team’s chances of scoring more points.

 

The fact that players covering kicks of the kicking team will no longer be afforded a running start is huge. A fast running NFL player can cover approximately ten yards in a single second and by having them remain stationary until the ball is kicked will give kick-returners more room to operate.

 

Running lanes are also likely to be a little broader because by requiring that five coverage personnel line up on each side of the football teams can no longer overload the side of the field where the ball will be kicked.

 

Kaczor and other special teams coordinators will no doubt look to load up on speedy return men to take advantage of these rule changes as a team that has returned a kickoff for a touchdown in an NFL game have been victorious 62% of the time over the last ten years.

Bucs Are Thrilled to Have Rookie Ronald Jones II

Bucs Are Excited for Rookie Running Back Jones Start

 

In the NFL, drafting new rookies for the team is always exciting to see because of the potential for greatness, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no exception to this.

 

For the Bucs, running back Ronald Jones II is one of their new players that they couldn’t be more excited about right now. Drafted out of USC in the second round this year, the Bucs picked up Jones as a way to address their problems with their running game, especially concerning the drama of current running back Doug Martin.

 

Bucs director of college scouting Mike Biehl spoke to the press on why Jones is a perfect fit for the Bucs offense. He stated that Jones was one of his favorite running backs during the draft and also one of the top ones available behind first round pick Saquon Barkley. He also stated that Jones II could provide the team with the long term successes that they needed, such as speed and being physically tough.

 

Biehl specifically emphasized Jones’ speed, stating that it would add a dimension to their team and give them a quality that they hadn’t seen in some time. He also mentioned that he may not have been given a ton of opportunities to catch passes in college but he believes that Jones could be a pure three-down running back. Diehl went on to note that Jones II is only 20 years old and still has a lot to learn from being in the NFL but does have the right attitude, something he thought many of the guys drafted this year also had.

 

As far as rookies go, Jones II was ranked as one of the top three running backs in the draft and is very likely to start alongside Peyton Barber this upcoming season. With all of this in mind, plus the lack of a strong running game over the last few years, it’s no wonder that the Bucs are very excited to see Jones II take the field.

ESPN Not Showing Much Respect For Bucs Upcoming Season

The kickoff to the 2018 National Football League season is now less than a 100 days away and that means it is time for prognosticators to make preseason projections.

 

On Tuesday, ESPN’s annual Power Index Rankings were released and the publication does not think highly of the Bucs chances to succeed in the 2018 season. In fact, ESPN predicts that Bucs will finish dead last in their division.

 

The FPI’s prediction is bad news for team General Manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter who both may need a playoff run by the team to retain employment for another season. The Bucs are rated as the 22nd best team in the league by the publication and has been given a 10% chance of making it to the playoffs. The Bucs odds of reaching the playoffs in the opinion of FPI is higher only than the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.

 

The offseason overhaul of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive unit has been much publicized by the team but has not impressed the prognosticators that produced ESPN’s FPI. The publication has rated the defense 28th in the league. The offense, which is led by star quarterback Jameis Winston is predicted to be in the middle of the pack.

 

NFL schedule makers obviously did the team no favors as they have the toughest schedule in the NFL. Nine of the team’s games this year would be against teams rated in the top ten by the FPI.

 

The good news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the report is that the team has a near 30% chance of landing a top-five pick in next year’s National Football League draft.

 

Players and coaches with the team do not take these predictions seriously and understand it is merely fun for fans. In fact, the Buccaneers organization is optimistic about the team’s prospects for the upcoming season and are expecting to see a great improvement over last year’s defensive performance.

 

Justin Evans, a second year player as a safety with the team expressed that there is a big difference in team chemistry with the defense than was present with the team a year ago. Evans says that the defensive coaching philosophy entails the unit improving in all aspects of their play.

Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken Wants QB Winston To Stop Trying So Hard

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken has an important message for starting quarterback Jameis Winston as the team begins preparation for the 2018 NFL season: Stop trying so hard.

Monken explains that there is so much pressure on starting quarterbacks to perform in the league and many young quarterbacks press too hard to live up to expectations. Monken goes on to say that he and other team coaches could see this happening to Winston throughout last season both on the field and in the locker room and says that it is important that his fourth-year quarterback realize that he does not have to try so hard to be the leader that he already is.

Winston left a week 7 game against the Arizona Cardinals last season due to a sprain to his throwing shoulder that would sideline him for three games. Sources close to the team report that Winston actually suffered the injury in a week 3 contest against the Washington Redskins and had been playing with the injury since that time.

Winston, while dealing with the injury and the suffering of his team through the first of two five-game losing streaks continued to try to be an inspiration to his team. An unfortunate incident caught on camera during this time was of Winston giving a pregame pep talk to teammates who seemed unconcerned with his words.

Various media sources used the incident as a reason to criticize Winston for what they say was an obvious sign that he was out of touch with the pulse of his team. DeSean Jackson, a wide receiver, and teammate of Winston came to his quarterback’s aid, saying that the star quarterback is always blamed when things don’t go right with a football team.

Things not going right is unfamiliar territory to Winston after a college career in which he lost no games, nor had he missed any games due to injury in his football career before last season.

Monken is looking to make his young quarterback understand that he is only human and that adversity will happen throughout his playing career. The important thing is to keep playing the game, Monken says, and in the case of Winston his natural leadership abilities will shine through.

Buccaneers Look Forward To Unleashing Retooled Backfield

Not many people with knowledge of the NFL found it surprising the that Tampa Bay Buccanneers used their second pick in the league draft to select a running back. This was especially so since the team had just released its starting running back for most of the last half a dozen seasons, Doug Martin.

However, the team is not in the middle of a total makeover in the backfield as last year’s end of the year starter, Peyton Barber, returns to provide more production for the team. Other returning running backs is the all-around skilled Jacquizz Rodgers and the accomplished receiver out of the backfield Charles Sims. As training camp approaches, the team also has once undrafted free agent Dalton Crossan, and Shaun Wilson, a draft pick in this year’s draft are also on the roster.

The mix of running backs the team possesses gives the Bucs a variety of styles to showcase in their offensive backfield. The drafting of USC running back Ronald Jones with the 38th pick in the draft was not to replace Barber but to complement him. The team felt like the two ballcarriers could be formidable working as a tandem. Jones will be depended upon to provide a big play element to the rushing attack that was absent a year ago and Barber is looked to for the ground and pound style already seen from him.

Tim Spender, the running backs coach for the Bucs, when asked of his initial impressions of his rookie addition, immediately mentioned the speed and quickness possessed by Jones. Spencer explained that Jones has decent size and will in all likelihood fill out more, but said that his agility and long-run capability is what he and the others on the coaching staff find truly attractive. Spencer also says that Jones has already shown he is a fast learner.

It is likely that the team will expect Jones to one day become a feature back as evidenced by the high draft pick used to secure his services, but in the meantime, they are quite excited about the tandem that he and Barber are expected to become.

Buccaneers Defensive Lineman Gerald McCoy Receives Help In Draft And Free Agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach, Brentson Buckner, recently had a sit down with the team’s top defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to inform him that he would no longer be asked to single-handedly save the day for the team’s defensive line.

McCoy is 30 years old now and in the ninth year of a stellar NFL career which has included trips to the Pro Bowl the last six seasons. McCoy has led his team in sacks since the 2013 and is welcoming of what Buckner characterizes as a “group of super friends” that team has assembled to play with him.

Team General Manager Jason Licht, decided a complete rebuild of the defensive line, with McCoy remaining as the centerpiece, was in order after watching his team’s defense finish the 2017 season dead last for all NFL teams.

Beau Allen of the Philadelphia Eagles, along with Mitch Unreign and Vince Curry of the Chicago Bears was signed in free agency to join the Buccaneers defensive line. But the biggest splash was made when Licht was able to trade away a third-round draft pick to secure the services of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Licht then used the team’s first-round draft pick to select defensive tackle Vita Vea.

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith has been quite forthcoming in his assessment of how dismal the performance of his defense was a year ago. Smith says the play of his defense “must be better” and “more consistent.”

The Bucs defense finished last among the 32 team league in quarterback sacks and the team knows that good defense starts with controlling the line of scrimmage. The need to pressure the quarterback takes on an added importance for the Bucs who play in a division that includes top quarterbacks Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan.

The lack of pressure applied to quarterbacks a year ago resulted in the Buccaneers secondary being scorched for the most passing yardage in the National Football League at 4,169.

Buckner states that his philosophy is that a defensive back is never responsible for a long passing play by another team. This, he says, is because the defensive line is closest to the opposing quarterback and has the opportunity to make a play long before the other team’s receiver can complete a long route.

Bucs Defensive Coordinator Wants to Do Better

Bucs Coordinator Mike Smith Expects Better from the Defense

Like every other team in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have set themselves a set of goals to try and accomplish by the end of the season. An improvement on team defense is a major one of those goals.

The Buccaneers ranked last in the league in terms of sacks last year and were at the bottom for most passing yards allowed by a team. They also allowed the most offensive yards per game, so needless to say there is no desire to repeat that performance for 2017. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith has made it clear he expects lots of improvements for the upcoming year, aided by the fact that the team spent a lot of free agency money on defense.

In an interview, Smith stated that the team “has to be a hell of a lot better than what we put out there last year.” He added that the statistical numbers they put up were nowhere close to what they were hoping for or what they needed to do in order to become a better team. He then went on to state that more consistency is something they need to have more of and it starts in the meeting rooms and helping to build trust among everyone working on the team.

Of course, adding more talented defensive players to the team is also a crucial step in ensuring the team can do a lot better in the future. In the last few months the Bucs signed defensive linemen Vinny Curry, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein in free agency. They also traded a third round pick in the draft to get Jason Pierre-Paul.

Furthermore, the team also spent five of their eight picks in the 2018 draft on defense, with their first-round pick being defensive tackle Vita Vea out of Washington. Vea is slated to be a starter this year and will be heading a solid defensive front as a way to help the team make some defensive improvements this year.

Mike Smith Knows His Buccaneers Defense Much Play Better Football In 2018

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith does not need to be informed of the need of his defense to perform much better in 2018. The unit performed dismally a year ago and was dead last in both sacks and passing defense among the 32 teams that compete in the National Football League.

While addressing the media on Wednesday Smith stressed that his defense must perform better and says that the process starts now. Smith also explained that the numbers the defense posted a year ago are not close to representing an acceptable level of production.

The organization has been supportive of Smith’s rebuilding efforts with multiple personnel moves made this offseason. The team totally revamped the defensive line by signing defensive end Vince Curry along with defensive tackles Mitch Unrein and Beau Allen. The later trade of a third-round draft pick netted the team former pro bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

The theme continued during the recent NFL draft as three of the top four picks of the team was used on the defensive side of the football. These selections included defensive tackle Vita Vea in the first round followed by cornerbacks Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart, both selected in the second round of the draft.

Smith is hopeful that by both upgrading and adding depth to the defensive line will allow his linebackers the needed freedom to make plays on the ball. He also wants to see the line put much more pressure on the quarterback which will help his much-maligned defensive backfield.

Mike Smith told the media that he believes in the character of his defensive players and was proud of the way they fought through the adversity of injury and two five-game losing streaks while continuing to play hard during the 2017 football season.

Smith is confident that the will to fight he has seen in the players signed in the offense will combine with the resiliency the defense has already shown to produce an extremely fiery group.

Both Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans and team management hope that the assessment of their defensive coordinator proves to be true.

Lightning Bolts in Tampa Bay Aimed at the Stanley Cup

In a city where the average year-round temperature is above 80 degrees, one might not expect to find an ice hockey team, but that is exactly what you will find in Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Bay Lightning Bolts are not just an ice-hockey team, but they are playing against the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

Fans thundered after the Bolts won the first round series against the New Jersey Devils. The Bolts now face the Boston Bruins in the Second-Round.

The Bolts started the series with a disappointing 6-2 loss to the Bruins in the first game. There was concern from the start since the Bolts have only won 10 out of 57 games against the Bruins in the past. They found their aggressive edge, turned things around and won in games 2 and 3. Fans are hopeful as the Lightning are set to face the Bruins in Game 4 on Friday, May 4, 2018.

During an interview, Jon Cooper, head coach of the Bolts said one of the biggest assets of the team is their ability to skate. Cooper further described the Bolts by saying, “I guess, use the word relentless. That’s what they’ve been. And, there’s been no quit in them. They don’t give up on plays, and it’s been really effective for us.” Cooper also acknowledged that this is not a time to stop and relish in their victories.

The Tampa Bay community has come together to support their team. For Friday night’s game, there will be watch parties at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Friday night’s event will take place from 4-10 p.m. The starting time for the game is at 7 p.m. The public can expect plenty of family-friendly activities, food, live music, and beer for the adults.

In session 2003-04, the Bolts won the Stanley Cup championship. Fans are looking forward to seeing their team win to continue the series and have another opportunity to bring home the Cup.

Tampa Bay Bucs’ Lavonte David Excited About Bringing His College Teammate And Friend To Town

The NFL draft has concluded and the season is still months away, but for the Tampa Bay Bucs the optimism is pretty high right now. It’s high not only because they picked a big high-ranking defensive tackle to strengthen the middle of that defensive front, but also because linebacker and defensive captain Lavonte David will once again be playing with his old college teammate, Jason Pierre-Paul. The Tampa Bay Times caught up with David during spring conditioning workouts to get his take on what it would be like having Pierre-Paul now playing in Tampa and he was absolutely thrilled with it. The way David described it was that he and Pierre-Paul were always in sync and that the defensive end’s long arms allowed him to shove offensive linemen right out of the way and wreak havoc on the QB.

The Bucs have their work cut out for them as they come into the 2018 season, and their hope is to get back to what they failed to do last year which was build on their 2016 season. They surprised the NFL in 2016 when they finished 9-7 and second in the NFL South under first-rate Head Coach Dirk Koetter, but they failed to meet expectations in 2017 when they dropped to last in their division with a 5-11 record. The offense had its share of problems contributing to that with injuries that included quarterback Jameis Winston for several weeks, and the suspension of runningback Doug Martin who is no longer with the team. But David points the finger at himself and the defense.

The Bucs ranked last in 2017 in two main categories which were sacks and passing yards allowed. In David’s words, those results were “embarrassing” and there is now a sense of urgency with his teammates to get better in all of that. The confidence that they can do that certainly has risen since the arrival of Pierre-Paul who David played with at both a Kansas junior college and the University of South Florida before the defensive end was drafted in 2010 by the New York Giants. He now enters his 9th season in the league.