Top Buccaneers News
Buccaneers' Jameis Winston: Ready to work with Leftwich
New offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich confirmed Winston will be the Buccanners' starting quarterback in 2019, Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times reports.
Leftwich said he and Winston will be "connected at the hip" throughout the process of implementing head coach Bruce Arians' vertical offense. The 39-year-old is expected to get his second shot as an NFL play-caller, after taking over in Arizona when Mike McCoy was fired midway through the 2018 campaign. Despite some initial improvement, Leftwich ultimately was unable to turn things around in the desert, faced with the limitations of a rookie quarterback playing behind an atrocious offensive line. The situation in Tampa Bay is vastly superior, albeit far from perfect. Winston's strong arm and aggressive nature make him a natural fit working with Arians and Leftwich, but there's still a lot of work to be done when it comes to ball security and establishing a running game. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard (ankle) will be back in 2019 to lead the Tampa Bay receiving corps, while Adam Humphries, DeSean Jackson (Achilles/finger) and Cameron Brate (hip) all face uncertain futures. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old quarterback is signed for just one more season under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Cameron Brate: Recovering from hip surgery
Brate is on the mend following arthroscopic surgery on a torn labrum in his hip last week, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
In addition to the aforementioned injury, bone fragments were removed from Brate's hip. According to Laine, Brate opted to play through the injury for most of the season, missing no practice time in the process. On a positive note, Brate is expected to be healthy by the conclusion of the offseason program in June. In the recently concluded campaign, he fell far short of his yardage totals from 2016 (660) and 2017 (591) -- 289 at 5.9 yards per target -- but his six touchdowns still tied for fourth most among tight ends. Both Brate and O.J. Howard (ankle) are locked into contracts through at least 2020, but the more experience gained by the latter, the less the former may be able to fulfill the six-year deal he inked last offseason.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Kwon Alexander: Progressing in recovery
Alexander (knee) posted a video Tuesday on his personal Twitter account highlighting his progress as he rehabs a torn ACL.
Alexander initially suffered the knee injury during a Week 7 loss to the Browns and underwent surgery Nov. 14. Barring any setbacks, the linebacker has a shot at being back to full strength for the start of the 2019 season. It's uncertain whether the Buccaneers are planning on retaining Alexander, who is set to hit free agency this offseason.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Alan Cross: May switch to full-time coaching
Cross (shoulder) accepted a position last week as an assistant coach for the University of Memphis football team, Jonah Jordan of The Daily Memphian reports.
Cross played 14 games for the Buccaneers in 2018, logging two catches for nine yards on five targets before ending the season on injured reserve due to a shoulder issue. Set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, the 25-year-old now faces the decision of whether to continue his playing career or return to his alma mater as a coach on a full-time basis. At least for the time being, Cross is keeping his options open for 2019 and could play if he receives the right offer, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Ryan Fitzpatrick: Demonstrates value in '18
Fitzpatrick completed 164 of 246 passes (66.7 percent) for 2,366 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions across eight games during the 2018 season. He also rushed 36 times for 152 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and two more scores.
The 36-year-old had an interesting campaign, to say the least. Plugged in as the starter for the first three games of the season while Jameis Winston served a suspension, all Fitzpatrick did was set the NFL on its ear with three straight 400-yard performances and an 11:4 TD:INT. That trio of stellar outings afforded the veteran the right to a fourth straight start against the Bears in Week 4, despite Winston's active status, but Fitzpatrick lasted just one half in which he completed nine of his 18 attempts for 126 yards and an interception before getting the hook. The roles were reversed Week 8 when Winston faltered, with Fitzpatrick nearly leading a miraculous second-half comeback against the Bengals with two touchdown throws. That performance yielded him two more starting assignments, one which led to his fourth 400-yard outing of the season, but a three-interception first half Week 11 against the Giants sent Fitz to the bench for good. He was then inactive for the final two games of the season while Ryan Griffin assumed backup duties behind Winston, although that was framed as nudging Griffin closer to his first taste of regular-season action. Fitzpatrick played on a one-year, $3.3 million deal in 2018, so his future for next season remains firmly up in the air, especially with a new coaching staff on the horizon in Tampa.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Brent Grimes: Rare interception-less season
Grimes, who was credited with five solo tackles and three passes defensed in a Week 17 loss to the Falcons, finished the 2018 season with 48 tackles (42 solo), one forced fumble and six pass break-ups across 13 games.
Grimes was as active as ever in the tackle department, and he's now managed no fewer than 48 stops in the last nine seasons in which he's played at least 12 games. However, the veteran also failed to record an interception for the first time in a season in which he suited up for at least that many contests, as Grimes had only logged a combined three appearances in the other two campaigns (2007 and 2012) in which he'd failed to nab at least one pick. Moreover, the 35-year-old's six defensed passes qualified as his lowest figure since 2008. Grimes played 2018 on a one-year, $7 million contract, and he could therefore well be on the move this offseason, especially with a new coaching staff imminent.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Vinny Curry: Pedestrian production in '18
Curry, who was credited with two solo tackles, including one for loss, in a Week 17 loss to the Falcons, finished the 2018 season with 21 tackles (15 solo), including three for loss, and 2.5 sacks across 12 games.
A somewhat heralded free-agent addition this past offseason, Curry wasn't a starter by season's end, ceding the defensive end spot opposite Jason Pierre-Paul to Carl Nassib (shoulder). Curry did run with the first team in the season finale due to Nassib's inactive status, but the latter was considerably more productive on the season with six sacks. Looking ahead to 2019, Curry is on the books for a cap hit of $8 million, but per Spotrac, Tampa can cut ties with the veteran without penalty. Therefore, it remains to be seen if the 30-year-old will be in a Bucs uniform next season, especially with a new coaching staff on its way into town.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Vita Vea: Solid as rookie despite injuries
Vea, who was credited with four solo tackles in a Week 17 loss to the Falcons, finished his rookie season with 28 tackles (21 solo), including two for loss, and three sacks across 13 games.
A calf injury that Vea suffered in a July 29 camp practice cost the rookie significant time, delaying his NFL debut until Week 4 against the Bears. Vea was then held off the stat sheet in his first two games, and he managed just 3.5 total tackles over the subsequent five contests. His season finally started trending in the right direction Week 12 against the 49ers, and he finished the campaign averaging 4.2 stops over the final six games of the season. Despite Vea's massive presence in the middle, the Buccaneers still allowed over six more rushing yards per game in 2018 than the year prior -- 123.9, compared to 117.5 in 2017 -- so the hope is a full training camp and regular season in 2019 will help both Vea and the team statistically.... See More ... See Less
Buccaneers' Corey Nelson: Signs with Tampa Bay
Nelson signed a reserve/future contract with the Buccaneers on Thursday, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.
Nelson played one game with the Falcons in 2018, logging 18 snaps on special teams without a defensive statistic before parting ways with the team. The 26-year-old spent the first four seasons of his career with the Broncos and will now attempt to carve out a depth role in Tampa Bay.... See More ... See Less
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