Trying to make sense of the Tampa Bay Bucs… playoff contender?

It’s no secret that I’ve been high on the Bucs all season. I wrote about their sudden transformation in the summer, then picked Greg Schiano as my coach of the year candidate. But too often, they’ve earned hard-fought, tough losses instead of wins. It made them a quick team to forget about when it comes to the playoff picture. But did last night change things? Did their 36-17 beatdown of the home Vikings alter their course? Forget about being a rare road team to win on Thursday… though they are. They took down a 5-2 team in a game that wasn’t close with the nation watching in the best way. They ruined everything the Vikings were trying to do, forced Adrian […]

How the Tampa Bay Bucs expect a trade-style acquisition on the defensive line soon…

The Tampa Bay Bucs were dealt a harsh blow last Sunday, and I don’t just mean the loss to the Cowboys. Disruptive defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn, a former first-round pick, went down for the season with a knee injury. He tore his MCL, partially tore his ACL, and will almost certainly need surgery. For a Bucs D-line that has stopped the run better than anyone, it stings. And that’s especially true because they haven’t been quite as effective pressuring quarterbacks. Clayborn has no sacks this year, but he’s definitely tough to block, generating a lot of attention. How will the Bucs defense make up for this loss? Well, temporarily, they signed DE Jeff Charleston. But for the long term, they […]

Bucs coach Greg Schiano: “It’s important that our guys understand what we’re walking into.”

It was an interesting and slightly tumultuous week in Tampa Bay. Following a late loss to the Giants, one that saw them squander a big lead, Bucs coach Greg Schiano saw his end-game tactics widely debated. He was a target. How did his team respond? Were they focused. How ready are they to play the Cowboys? That’s one of the things I asked Schiano when we spoke yesterday. “I’m just honest with them,” Schiano said, answering my question about how to get the team to react properly. “I’m as disappointed as they are, but this is the National Football League. It’s not like you’re going to win every game, that doesn’t happen. We just gotta get back to work and […]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers go back to basics a week after losing a lead to the Giants

The Bucs have been in the news this week, which really isn’t something you said in 2011. But with the last-second kneel-down vs. the Giants drawing a discussion, that’s reality. In fact, there will be a fascinating interview with Bucs coach Greg Schiano by Melissa Stark on Sunday morning’s First on the Field. Lost in all this is that the Bucs let a late lead slip against the Giants, losing after being up 11. Now, they’re gearing up to face the Cowboys, which is the game I’m covering Sunday. For some prep work, I spoke with Bucs DT Gerald McCoy about the week. First of all, he began the phone call with a memorable introduction: “Iaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn!!!!” McCoy said. “If you […]

Wondering if Bucs coach Greg Schiano will prove one advantage of hiring from college…

The hiring of Greg Schiano as Bucs coach had to be one of the more stunning developments of this offseason. Any time a college coach gets “promoted” to the NFL, eyes roll. Many think of epic disappointments like Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban and see it as a mistake. Shoot, go all the way back to Ray Perkins if you want. But those guys came from major programs. And all had a pedigree that, at least, made it understandable to hire them. Not Schiano. Nope, he came from Rutgers, didn’t have any national titles, and did I mention he came from Rutgers? Never mind that he could’ve secured big-time jobs if he had wanted to leave Rutgers… it was still stunning. […]

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