Tampa Bay's new head coach Lovie Smith met a supportive group of Season Ticket Holders at a meet and greet.
Last year Greg Schiano made the mistake of telling season ticket holders that the team was a laughing stock under the previous regime. Head Coach Lovie Smith made no such blunders tonight in a meet and greet at One Buc Palace.
Smith was roundly applauded, spent 20 minutes taking questions from the crowd and then posed for pictures afterward.
The fans of course would ask silly questions like "Who are you targeting in the draft?" to which Lovie got a chuckle from the crowd when he replied, "So let me see if I understand the question - you'd like me to tell you exactly who we're drafting?"
Smith stayed true to his mantra of building a strong defense and his offense being run oriented and Mike Glennon doing well but has things he needs to improve on.
He was asked about Devin Hester and while not giving a direct answer about whether he was interested in the former Bears returner, Smith said, "I've seen every touchdown Devin Hester has scored in the NFL." and went on to compliment him as a dynamic player.
One fan asked, "How will you tool your offense to compete in the high octane NFC South?" The coach reiterated his mantra of a running game on offense but then added, "I'll take our defense against any offense in the division."
Smith also went on to describe the defense as "The one of Warren Sapp. Of Derrick Brooks. Of the Super Bowl champion Bucs of the past."
He was of course asked about Revis, to which he answered, "When people hear Tampa Two they believe we'll be in a cover two shell all the time. That's not what we do. We'll play a lot of Man. A lot of other coverages. When its an obvious passing situation, Cover Two is our primary go to alignment but it won't be that exclusively. We have a need for all types of good corners and Darrelle is one."
Lovie was asked if after evaluating the tape if the Bucs were better than a 4-12 team. He replied, "Jon Gruden...and I think a few other people have said you are what your record says you are. This was a 4-12 team for a reason. Now, we have some building blocks - some talented players to build around. But no, this team was a 4-12 team and we have work to do."
A fan asked if the Bucs were going to go back to running the ball with power like the Mike Alstott days. Smith was complimentary of Alstott, saying there weren't many out there like him but yes, they were going to run the ball.
Smith also added he wanted speed at every position - even offensive tackle.
Smith wrapped up his Q&A with this: "You have four crucial phases to become relevant in the NFL. First is defense. You have to have a solid defense in the league if you want to compete for championships. Second is special teams, we'll win many games this season with our special teams play. Third is offense, we can have a productive offense with a strong running game and the ability to take shots outside. The final piece is you - the fans. You are really part of the defense. You have to cheer loudly when we're on defense and be as quiet as you can when we're on offense. If you're there, you can make the difference. I know a lot of you have already renewed your season tickets and thats great. We need you. For those of you who haven't yet....get on the train. We're going to make it worth it. We know we haven't been fulling our end on the football field but that will change. "
The Bucs didn't have the new jerseys on display but had a video montage of the pictures already released on the team website. They did have the helmet, I got a good look at it up close. Folks, it's really nice.
Smith was funny, cordial and down to earth. He shook hands, took pictures and had a lot of happy fans leaving One Buc. Toward the end of the night, the TAMPA....BAY....chant ringed loudly through the front hallways.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently want either Josh McCown or Shaun Hill to back up Mike Glennon, or whoever else.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really want to add a veteran quarterback to the mix, whether it's just to upgrade the backup quarterback position, or to compete with Mike Glennon and possible draft picks for the starting position. According to Ian Rapoport, the Bucs will look at both Josh McCown and Shaun Hill.
Both quarterbacks are weak-armed, old, but experienced players who should be able to run an offense efficiently. Neither of them will be able to carry an offense, which is why they're available in the first place, but they should be able to step in and keep the offense reasonably on track if disaster were to strike. Disaster like, say, starting quarterbacks going down with injuries. And their backups. And then those backups. And maybe then we start McCown or Hill.
Shaun Hill was most recently with the Detroit Lions, backing up Matthew Stafford for four seasons, starting 10 games in 2010 and putting up some mediocre statistics. McCown, meanwhile, dominated the stat sheet against a weak slate of defenses last year.
Amusingly, it seems the temporary speculation that Michael Vick could be an option seems to have disappeared. As I've noted before, he seems unlikely to be a fit with Jeff Tedford, who has some control freak about him when it comes to quarterback play. That also explains why they want to look at two veterans who can run a system without actually making things happen.
Teams want to trade for Davin Joseph. Like, actual NFL teams. Supposedly.
According to Dan Pompei, "other teams believe guard Davin Joseph could also be had in a trade (h/t The Pewter Plank). And I'm sure those teams also believe Santa Claus isn't real (sorry kids), Lance Armstrong is a delusional cheater, and Parks and Rec is a hilarious show.
Yes, Davin Joseph is available for trade. Any player slated to make $6 million, coming off one of the worst seasons of ANY NFL starter at his position and over 30 can be had in trade, especially when there's a lot of speculation about him being outright cut. Probably for as little as, I don't know, some backup lineman who probably won't make it out of training camp. But preferably draft picks. The Bucs could really use some extra draft picks.
That said, Joseph is not entirely without value to the Buccaneers. There's a chance he'll bounce back and that his poor season was solely a temporary result of still recovering from patellar tendon surgery. There's also a very good chance that Joseph is nearing the end of his career, and will never recover from what is a very serious knee injury. But Joseph also has tremendous value in the locker room, and he at least knows his assignments and can execute plays as they're meant to be executed.
Losing Joseph would mean surrendering some security and depth along the offensive line, and the Bucs would have to sign or draft a starting guard. Probably sign one, because being forced to select a guard with your second-round pick because you have no other options is not ideal. But signing a new starting guard is likely necessary anyway, and getting a few picks in return for Joseph would be a tremendous return.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will draft a pass rusher to play strongside linebacker, thinks Todd McShay. Nope.
Todd McShay is a boring man, which is why he has the Buccaneers selecting Khalil Mack in his latest mock draft. Somehow, though, he thinks Mack would play Sam linebacker. Which...no.
Analysis: I think that this choice would come down to Mack versus offensive tackle Jake Matthews. While in some respects Mack wouldn't fill a huge need area, as the "Sam" linebacker in Lovie Smith's defense isn't as important as some other positions, what drives up his value is his versatility. He could cover tight ends when they needed him to and he could also be an impact pass-rusher (something the Bucs lacked last season) when they turned him loose off the edge. Mack is one of the four elite players in this class, and teams need guys like him who can create turnovers.
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Khalil Mack, they are almost certain to convert him to defensive end. He would not play Sam linebacker. Maybe that wouldn't be the smart thing to do, but it's what the Bucs will do. See Shea McClellin, the rush linebacker the Chicago Bears drafted in Lovie Smith's final season: he played defensive end.
Similarly, when Khalil Mack went through the drills at his pro day, it was the Bucs' defensive line coach who led the drill. Not the Bucs' linebackers coach. That should tell you all you need to know about the team's intentions if they were to draft Mack.
And that's a pretty big 'if', anyway. I like Mack as a player, especially in a more versatile role similar to Von Miller's. He's one of the best pass-rushers in this draft. But the more I watch him, the more I wonder whether he'd be a bigger impact pass rusher than Adrian Clayborn.
More mock drafts! Mock drafts everywhere!
Mike Evans is an interesting fit for the Buccaneers. He's a similar player to Vincent Jackson, but big wide receivers are becoming harder and harder to find. Having a pair of players who can win at the catch point would help Mike Glennon quite a bit in year two. After running well in Indianapolis, Evans looks like a top-10 pick.
I really like Mike Evans, honestly -- but I'm not sure this is a great fit. For one, he's nearly a carbon copy of Vincent Jackson. That's very positive, as Jackson's a terrific player. The downside is that drafting Evans would give the Bucs three similar wide receivers: big-bodied downfield threats who excel at making contested catches. Those are great assets to have, but the Bucs lack anything else.
Then again, Evans displayed better-than-expected speed at the scouting combine, so he may be more of an explosive athlete than Jackson. Even if Evans wouldn't fill a need, he may be the best available player, and there's something to be said for drafting said best available player. Besides, this one breaks up the monotony of Khalil-Mack-Greg-Robinson-Sammy-Watkins.
All the Tampa Bay Buccaneers news.
Recovering Tynes could learn if he's a free agent or still a Buc | Tampa Bay Times
I imagine he'd be less than happy to return.
Devin Hester hints he’d welcome offer from Bucs
He'd welcome any offer.
You be the Bucs GM: Running back
Do nothing. There. Solved.
Pewter Report 2014 Bucs' Free Agency Preview: WRs-Pewter Report
Some depth would be good.
Former Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson still aiming for No. 1 spot in NFL Draft | AL.com
Visiting the Bucs soon.
NFL free agency: The search for surplus value at center, guard and tight end - SBNation.com
And the Bucs need help at two of those positions.
SB Nation selects... Ron Jaworkski's 2002 QB comparison - SBNation.com
Well, good thing Jaworski isn't a GM.
Devin Hester bids farewell to Chicago via Facebook - Windy City Gridiron
And could come to Tampa. But maybe not.
2014 NFL Draft: Henry Josey embraces adversity - SBNation.com
Prospect interviews, yay.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed their backup running back.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed Bobby Rainey to a one-year contract, the team announced. Rainey was scheduled to be an exclusive-rights free agent, which means he was going to be a near-minimum salary re-signing anyway. The terms of the extension weren't announced, but one can only assume his contract will be very cheap.
Rainey was signed in week seven last season, after Doug Martin went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. When Mike James was also lost for the year, Rainey was promoted to the lead back. He managed to rush for 532 yards on 137 carries with five touchdowns, adding 11 catches for 27 yards through the air. Rainey didn't look like a special back, but certainly appeared to be a capable backup.
With Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainey, Jeff Demps and Michael Smith, running back is probably the one position where the Bucs feel their starters and their depth on the roster is adequate. That means re-signing Bobby Rainey may be the last significant move we see at the position this year.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to upgrade their offensive line this offseason. In today's offseason preview, we discuss what went wrong, and how they can move forward.
The offensive line has been a point of emphasis for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as far back as I can remember. There has never been a time that it wasn't a concern, and this offseason is no different. After the disaster that was the past few years, they have to find a way to move forward.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into the 2013 season with the highest-paid and arguably most talented offensive line in the NFL. They had Pro Bowlers at three different positions, one of them an All-Pro, while Jeremy Zuttah was a solid center and Demar Dotson an up-and-coming, young, right tackle.
And then, everything collapsed. Donald Penn entered a decline, though he was still a solid blocker, but Carl Nicks managed just two games due to a MRSA infection, while Davin Joseph turned in one of the worst starting performances in the NFL. Clearly, he was not fully recovered from the torn patellar tendon he had suffered the year before.
With Nicks sidelined, the Bucs tried out several different backups, but couldn't get a half-decent performance out of any of them. Ted Larsen continued to be a disappointment at guard, while Gabe Carimi apparently forgot all the lessons he had learned in college, and Jamon Meredith once again proved that he's a career backup, and little else.
These struggles on the offensive line had a lot to do with producing one of the worst running games in the NFL, despite a group of talented running backs. Pass protection was a problem as well, predictably, with The MMQB rating the Bucs as the fifth-worst pass protection unit in the NFL. Mike Glennon's reluctance to throw the ball had a lot to do with that ranking, but it's still an indictment of the offensive line as a whole.
Improving the offensive line is one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' priorities this offseason. "We didn't play as well as we need to on the offensive line," Lovie Smith said at the NFL scouting combine. "We put a lot of money into our offensive line. We should have better production from it."
That about sums it up, and the Bucs will have to find ways to improve the offensive line across the board. Some of this is complicated by contracts, however. Donald Penn is still a slightly above-average NFL starter, but he's earning $6.75 (up to $7.75 million) this year. He will be 31 by the time the season starts, and finding a younger and/or cheaper option would make sense.
Similarly, Davin Joseph will not play at his $6 million salary. His performance last year was awful, and while the 30-year-old may be significantly better another year removed from surgery, players his age have usually entered the decline part of their careers.
Carl Nicks presents an entirely different problem: he may not be able to play again. A torn plantar plate kept him out of most of the 2012 season, while a MRSA toe infection saw him play just two games in 2013. Those two issues combined will leave him with pain and discomfort for life, and it's not clear whether he'll be able to resume playing football.
That leaves the Bucs with just two sure starters: Jeremy Zuttah at center and Demar Dotson at right tackle, and no backups worth naming. Even there, Zuttah's $4.5 million salary is hefty, though he's unlikely to be cut. Still, it's clear the Bucs have to find both new starters and more depth across the offensive line this offseason.
The Buccaneers will be players in free agency this offseason, especially when it comes to the offensive line. The Bucs have said they want to fill as many holes as possible in free agency, which means they will have to spend some cap space on offensive linemen.
Branden Albert and Eugene Monroe have been mentioned as possible targets for the Bucs, but neither is likely to be a cheaper option than Donald Penn -- although at least Monroe is younger. Alex Mack has been mentioned quite often due to his history with Jeff Tedford, but the Cleveland Browns used the transition tag on the center, which means he won't be available.
It's more likely the Buccaneers will target one of several starting-quality offensive guards on the market. Geoff Schwartz is the top option, while fellow Kansas City Chief Jon Asamoah could be a very good addition as well. Chad Rinehart and Willie Colon represent two other options. None of these free agents is likely to command top dollar, given the fact they're not top players. But they'd provide some solidity and reliability for the Bucs at the position, something they sorely lacked last year.
The Buccaneers have been linked with several offensive tackles in many mock draft. Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and even Taylor Lewan have shown up as possible options for the Bucs at the top of the draft. Any of those players would likely be an improvement over Donald Penn, and certainly a cheaper and younger option.
Finding quality at guard and center will be more difficult, however. The Bucs' seventh overall pick is too high to select a guard, while a few of the top guards are likely to be gone by the time the Bucs' second-round pick rolls around. Top options at guard would be Cyrus Kouandjio, David Yankey, Xavier Su'a-Filo and Gabe Jackson, while Marcus Martin and Weston Richburg are seen as the top centers in the draft.
PREVIOUSLY: RUNNING BACKS