The Bucs are hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.
“It’s a hobby of mine that I have a lot of fun with and there’s a ton of interest in my son’s school,’’ Fitzpatrick said. “I think right now, we’re up to six of the 10 who can do it. None of them can beat me yet but there’s one girl who is awfully close. So Sabrina, I hope you’re not practicing.’’
The Bucs are hoping Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.
Fitzpatrick, 34, signed a one-year, $3-million contract with the Bucs, which will be the seventh team NFL team he’s played for since entering the league as a seventh-round pick from Harvard by the St. Louis Rams in 2005.
That kind of experience is what the Bucs are hoping to tap into for Winston. The other quarterbacks on the Bucs roster are Ryan Griffin, who has never thrown and NFL pass in two seasons with Tampa Bay, and Colorado rookie Sefo Liufao. …
Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another chance at landing a Super Bowl in February 2021.
That Super Bowl was awarded to Los Angeles, but NFL rules don't allow a venue to host a Super Bowl in its first season. Los Angeles would seek a waiver to allow the game to stay there as scheduled, but if that waiver wasn't granted, Tampa was a finalist for the last group of Super Bowls awarded this time last year.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports owners are expected to meet this afternoon on the possibility of moving the Super Bowl from Los Angeles to Tampa.
Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.
Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.
For McCoy, it's the fifth straight year he's made the top 100 -- he's up 11 spots from last year's ranking of No. 63, but still down from his high of No. 28 in 2014 and 2015. He is joined by Winston, who went from being unranked a year ago to No. 57 after becoming the first quarterback to pass for 4,000-plus yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. Here's the two-minute video for McCoy, playing up his love of comic-book superheroes, and here's the video for Winston. …
Tampa Bay Buccaneers first round draft pick OJ Howard throws the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is known for his athleticism at 6-foot-6, 251-pounds. As an outfielder, he took his Autuaga Academy High School baseball team to the state tournament in Alabama as a junior.
On Monday, after a little instruction from Steven Souza, Jr., the left-handed hitting Howard started making good contact in the batting cage before throwing out the first pitch in the Rays-Angels game at Tropicana Field.
There was a time, before enrolling early at Alabama and forgoing his senior seaosn in baseball, when Howard dreamed of a career on the diamond.
"It could've been, it's cool to be around it again, definitely I loved it when I played it back in high school, and since I got to college I haven't played it, so I'm having withdrawals a little bit,'' Howard said. "It's a fun game. I'd probably play right, rightfield or leftfield.''
Howard's decision to concentrate on football already is paying off. On Monday, the Bucs' first-round pick signed a four-year contract. Terms of the deal were not released but it is projected to be worth more than $11-million with a signing bonus of more than $6.2-million.
"It feels great, that's something that you look forward to doing, and to finally get it out of the way and sign on the dotted line is definitely very exciting and very encouraging,'' Howard said. "So I was excited it happened today.
"Its exciting because sometimes you see a lot of guys who hold out for a while before they get signed, we had good parties on both ends that were very cooperative and that's the reason it happened so fast.''
Howard said he is anxious to begin full squad acitivities in OTA's which begin Tuesday.
"We got to do a little bit of that last week so now we have OTAs tomorrow and thats very exciting to finally just to finally put everybody on the field together at the same time and work on communiucation,'' Howard said.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience playing for six other NFL teams is what made him attractive to the Bucs as a backup to starter Jameis Winston. But if he has to play, the former Jets quarterback is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.
"I thought it was a great opportunity for me to come to a team that's really on the rise, with a great young quarterback in Jameis, just to come and try to provide some of my experiences," Fitzpatrick told the team’s website Monday. "I just met him for the first time today. He seems like a great kid, though, lots of energy. I'm very excited to work with him and I think he's excited to have me here. We'll get to work pretty soon.
"This is also a place where, if need be, I've got to be ready to step up and play with a pretty explosive offense. So there are a lot of good things about this decision." Fitzpatrick, 34, started 27 games in the last two seasons for the Jets. But he will be a quick study learning a new offense and won’t require as many reps after 12 NFL seasons.
"I think both sides were excited because there are a lot of good pieces here," Fitzpatrick said. "I just wanted to be a part of it and I'm happy they have me here. …
Alabama tight end O.J. Howard has signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option with the Bucs.
The Bucs have begun the process of signing their rookie draft picks and they started at the top.
Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, the team’s first round pick (19th overall), has signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option.
Terms of the deal were not released but it is projected to be worth $11.2-million with about $6.2-million to sign.
Howard is the first member of the Bucs’ rookie class to sign with the Bucs. He was projected to be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft last April. But a run on quarterbacks, running backs and receivers unexpectedly pushed him down to the Bucs. They had not even included Howard in their 30 player visits to the team’s training facility prior to the draft.
At 6-foot-6, 251-pounds with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, Howard is a rare talent, equally adept as a dominating blocker and receiver. …
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is ranking much higher in fantasy football rankings entering his third NFL season.
We're still probably three months away from most fantasy football drafts, but it's not too early to appreciate that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has taken a major step up in the rankings entering his third NFL season.
Winston is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, and much of the buzzz surrounding him is the upgrades made around him in the offseason -- the Bucs signed veteran receiver DeSean Jackson and drafted Alabama's O.J. Howard in the first round. As a result, Winston is being seen as a top-10 fantasy quarterback.
A year ago, Winston was ranking about 20th among QBs in average draft position -- in a 12-team league, that means he wasn't perceived as being in the top half of the backup options going into 2016. But now, it's much more than a sleeper pick to draft Winston -- SI.com released its early top 100 rankings, and Winston ranked eighth among QBs, though amazingly, still fourth in his own division. If you could have made the case a year ago that the NFC South was the NFL's best division for QBs, it's an easier argument now, with three QBs who have led their teams to Super Bowls and Winston as the fourth. …
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was a starter the past two seasons for the Jets, has played for six NFL teams in his career.
No longer content to enter training camp without an experienced backup for Jameis Winston, the Bucs have signed vagabond veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The 34-year-old Fitzpatrick, who was a starter the past two seasons for the Jets, has played for six NFL teams in his career.
All off-season, the Bucs had said they were okay with entering 2017 with two relatively inexperienced quarterbacks behind Winston after Mike Glennon signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears.
But neither Ryan Griffin, who has been with the Bucs as the No. 3 quarterback the last two seasons, nor Sean Renfree, a free agent who attempted seven passes in two years with the Falcons, have any real game experience. In fact, Griffin has never attempted a regular season pass.
“Mike (Glennon) was the ultimate professional,’’ said Bucs quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian Thursday. “I wasn’t surprised at all people came after him and Chicago got him. He was a great support to Jameis. What we lose is that guy that was in Jameis ear. …
Jameis Winston's accuracy and precision is a focus for the Bucs this off-season.
The last interception Jameis Winston threw in 2016, his 42nd turnover in two seasons, was an example of what the Bucs and their quarterback can no longer do.
Tampa Bay trailed 7-3 to Carolina and faced first and 15 from their own 18-yard line. Four receivers and a tight end were split from the line of scrimmage, including Adam Humphries, who was outside the numbers to Winston’s left.
Panthers cornerback James Bradberry backpedaled and was 15 yards in front of Humphries, who got a late break at the snap of the ball. Humphries ran a 5-yard stop route, but Winston’s pass did not hit him between the numbers as planned. It was wide and bounced off Humphries’ left arm. Bradberry tipped the deflection with his right hand and made the pick, returning it to the Tampa Bay 15.
It was the seventh, first quarter interception by Winston, whose accuracy and precision is a focus for the Bucs this off-season. …
J.R. Sweezy missed all of last season recovering from back surgery but is already establishing himself with a physical reputation on the Bucs' offensive line this spring.
J.R. Sweezy has yet to have the first practice in pads with the Bucs, but in advance of next week's start of OTAs, he's already building a reputation as bringing some nastiness to Tampa Bay's offensive line.
It started last month, when Ali Marpet said Sweezy has "a little bit of a mean streak" -- he went so far as to call him a "jerk," later settling on "gritty" as the adjective of choice. Offensive line coach George Warhop continued that sentiment Thursday, saying that Sweezy -- who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery -- brings the same toughness that Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins brought in 2014-15.
"He's got a little bit of Logan to him, which I thought we missed last year," Warhop said of the guard Sweezy was signed to replace. "I don't even know how to describe it, but that beat-the-dog-crap-out-of-you edge. ... He's doing a nice job for us out there. He works his tail off. He brings an edge. I'm excited to see him when we get in pads and it's for real." …
Bucs defensive end Noah Spence has lowered his percent body fat but isn't any lighter entering his second NFL season, according to defensive line coach Jay Hayes.
Just to put to rest any speculation that the Bucs could be shifting to a 3-4 defense this fall, defensive line coach Jay Hayes reiterated Thursday that while Tampa Bay will continue to have multiple looks defensively, they'll do it from a 4-3 base.
"I don't know who (is) speculating that," Hayes said. "We have the potential to do a lot of multiple things. Smitty (DC Mike Smith) has always had multiple packages. Is there a chance we could have a look that looks like a 3-4? Potentially, sure. For us to wholesale change and be a 3-4, I don't see that happening. We're always going to be a multiple front."
The Bucs had occasional looks last year that deviated from the standard four down linemen and three linebackers -- or two linebackers and five defensive backs in their nickel defense. Hayes said the goal is to take advantage of the athleticism at outside pass rusher while keeping offenses guessing as to where pressure will be coming from. …
DeSean Jackson signed a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a Redskins' free agent in March with $20-million guaranteed.
If you think the Bucs will pressure DeSean Jackson to live up to his contract, well, you’re right on the money.
At least that’s the message from offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken to the 30-year-old Jackson, who signed a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a Redskins' free agent in March with $20-million guaranteed.
The Bucs have a pretty good group of receivers with Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin, a third-round pick from Penn State. But by far, the biggest addition this off-season was Jackson, whose speed should draw some defensive heat off of Evans and help stretch the field for quarterback Jameis Winston.
But Monken has informed Jackson he has to be a ‘great player,’ in 2017, because that’s how the Bucs are paying him. Jackson had 56 catches for 1,005 yards (17.9 avg.) last season, but has had only four touchdowns in each of the last two years. …
Bucs tackle Donovan Smith took part in the annual "Turkey Time for the O-Line" event before Thanksgiving last year, providing meals to 1,000-plus families.
As much speculation as there was in mock drafts that the Bucs might use their first-round pick on an offensive tackle, Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop was unwavering in his support for left tackle Donovan Smith and right tackle Demar Dotson.
"I saw that. I'm like 'Really?'" Warhop said Thursday as assistant coaches talked with reporters during offseason conditioning. "Unless they know something I don't."
Smith, a second-round pick in 2015, hasn't missed a snap in two years, and Warhop said he wasn't consistent enough in the first half of last season but continues to play at a high level, with room still for growth to the top of his position. …
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy expressed forgiveness last fall for the teenager who burglarized his home and injured McCoy's father.
The teenager who was charged with the armed burglary of Gerald McCoy's home, injuring the Bucs' player's father hours before a game in November, has been sentenced to five years in prison in a plea agreement related to six other felony charges against him.
Justin Frazier, 18, of Wesley Chapel entered into a "best interest" plea agreement May 3, with credit for 180 days already served in jail, according to court records. He was facing a combined nine felony charges from six incidents, though the largest came in the burglary that fractured the wrist of McCoy's father Nov. 3.
Frazier faced counts of armed burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft from that incident, as well as misdemeanor charges of battery and trespass. He also faced separate charges of grand theft, robbery and dealing in stolen property related to four other incidents between July and November last year. Officially, Frazier entered a guilty plea on one felony count of robbery by sudden snatching, with one concurrent sentence for all the charges against him. He agreed to pay $1,200 to another victim and $665 in court costs in addition to the prison sentence. …
Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith had 13.5 sacks in 2014-15 and should return healthy this fall after missing nearly all of 2016 with a knee injury.
It's largely a formality, but defensive end Jacquies Smith, who had 13.5 sacks for the Bucs in 2014-15 but tore his ACL in last year's season opener, has signed his restricted free agent tender and is under contract with Tampa Bay for 2017.
Smith, 27, is expected to be healthy for the start of the season and part of an upgraded Bucs defensive line in what will be a contract year for him. The Bucs took a gamble by giving Smith the lowest RFA tender at $1.8-million, and while the 49ers brought him in for a visit, they made no offer and the Bucs got him back for another season.
Smith is one of several defensive ends returning healthy from major injuries that limited them in 2016 -- he played a single snap on special teams before his knee injury, George Johnson missed the entire season with a hip injury, and Will Gholston (elbow) and Noah Spence (shoulder) were both limited by injuries as well.
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