Tag:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 11:05 pm
 

Former Cowboy, Ron Springs, 54, has died

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Ron Springs, a running back for the Cowboys and Buccaneers who played from 1979-86, has died from complications of a surgery that occurred four years ago, according to the Associated Press.

Springs’ best season came in 1981 as a Cowboys fullback, used mostly as a blocker for Tony Dorsett. He started 13 of 16 games and rushed for 625 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 46 passes for 359 yards and two scores. He also finished ninth in the league in receptions (73) during the 1983 season.

Springs had been in a coma since 2007 after surgery to remove a cyst from his forearm went awry at Medical City Dallas hospital (which is also where he died). He had been considered brain impaired, but not brain dead. One of his teammates in Dallas, Everson Walls - who actually donated a kidney to Springs - said the death came as a surprise and that funeral arrangements are pending.

Springs was 54.

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Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:02 pm
 

Alex Magee arrested on drug charge

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

There have been so many NFL players arrested this offseason that I’ve stopped trying come up with clever ledes or snarky remarks when we hear about yet another one.

Magee That said, we’ll play this one straight: according to Bay News 9, Buccaneers DE Alex Magee was arrested today and charged with possession of marijuana and having an expired tag.

Magee was driving his 2009 Dodge Charger when officers pulled him over at 1:13 p.m. According to the report, the officer smelled marijuana, searched the vehicle and found a misdemeanor level of the drug.

In his two-year career with the Chiefs and the Buccaneers, Magee has started one of 25 games and has accumulated four career sacks and a forced fumble.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: May 5, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: May 5, 2011 9:00 am
 

Talib's case will move forward

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A Dallas County (Texas) grand jury will hear evidence against Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib on his charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in an incident involving his mother and the live-in boyfriend of his sister. That's according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Talib's timeline
As we’ve discussed in the past, Talib likely is on his way out of Tampa Bay after numerous run-ins with teammates and the law, and even though the Buccaneers waited until the seventh round to take a CB in last week’s draft (Anthony Gaitor from Florida International), it seems pretty clear that the Buccaneers have had enough drama.

Even if Talib is one of the most talented DBs in the NFC.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:02 pm
 

NFC South draft truths revealed

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the best things about the draft is that from it we can find out what teams really think about their current players. Excluding examples of teams filling obvious needs, here are some of the more revealing draft picks from 2011, with a quick blurb of what the team was really saying by making this pick.

Atlanta FalconsJ. Jones (US Presswire)

1st round, Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
We’re one playmaker away from being Super Bowl-bound. (And if you couldn’t figure for yourself that this was our reason, you might as well stop following pro football right now.)
 
5th round, Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
We wish Jerious Norwood could stay healthy, but we’ve been disappointed too many times.
 
Carolina Panthers


3rd round, Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida
Derek Landri and Nick Hayden played hard for us last year, and both were decent against the run, but we’re looking for a little more dynamite inside.
 
3rd round, Sione Fua, DT, Stanford
Again, more dynamite.
 
New Orleans Saints

1st round, Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Yeah, we didn’t hardly notice Alex Brown last year either.
 
1st round, Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
He may have been productive as a rookie, but we’re not buying into Chris Ivory (there’s a reason the guy was undrafted). Also, no way in hell we’re going to pay Reggie Bush a single dime more than he’s worth to us. If Bush is looking to roll major bank, he’d better call his realtor.
 
3rd round, Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
We aren’t disappointed with Randall Gay per se, but we’re not exactly thrilled with him.
 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1st round, Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
2nd round, Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
We’ve told you before: we rebuild our roster in bunches. Two years ago we stunk at defensive tackle and wide receiver. This past year, we stunk at defensive end. Problems solved (we hope).
 
3rd round, Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
We’ll move him to the middle and not re-sign Barrett Ruud. Why? Because the biggest secret in football is Ruud is iffy if not terrible. Why do you think we’re always finishing near the bottom of the league in run defense?

Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 3:21 pm
 

Ted Larsen rescues three teens at sea

Posted by Andy BenoitT. Larsen

As proof that the NFL isn’t only about court documents and mock drafts, we offer up this feel good story about Bucs guard Ted Larsen. Per NBC17.com (Fla.), the 23-year-old Larsen was fishing with his girlfriend Wednesday afternoon in choppy
waters in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa when he heard a Coast Guard boater in distress signal (a fancy equivalent of yelling HEEELLLLLPPPPPP!)

Larsen checked the coordinates and realized the issue was occurring close to his location. He approached an area called
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Honeymoon Island and saw three teens – two in the water holding their kayak and one still in a kayak. Larsen helped the three teens (and their kayaks) onto his boat.

While cockier mainstream heroes like to come up with snazzy slogans to cap their heroics, the either humble or utterly unimaginative Larsen simply said that when boating, "You've always got to be aware of the weather.”

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:57 am
 

Ranking the NFL's 32 final draft decision makers

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are many ways a person could rank the top draft decision makers for each NFL team. Among those criteria: team history of success; number of first-rounders who have panned out; the number of late-round gems discovered; consistency of the players developed within the organization.

But without a scientific formula, sometimes the best rankings can derive from a standard eyeball/smell/gut test. Thus, here is a ranking of all 32 “final draft decision makers” in the NFL.

Lists like these tend to attract criticism and rebuttals. Have at it -- this is meant to be a discussion starter.

1. Bill Polian, ColtsB. Polian (US Presswire0
Sticks unwaverlingly to his formula: invest in a small handful of elite skill position players on offense and playmakers on defense, and then surround them with low cost youngsters who fit your scheme. In the 2000s he led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl win and annual division titles. In the '90s he ushered in the most successful expansion franchise in NFL history (Carolina Panthers) and oversaw the four-time AFC Champion Buffalo Bills.

2. Kevin Colbert, Steelers
Doesn't get much attention because A) he rarely does interviews; B) the Steelers are often drafting late in the first round and C) he's almost always looking two or three years ahead when drafting players, which minimizes the hype of Pittsburgh's rookie class. These methods have brought in guys like LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons, Mike Wallace and Maurkice Pouncey to name five.

3. Ted Thompson, Packers
It took major intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger on Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was still on the roster and many believed the 2005 Packers were in position to "win now." Virtually the entire Packers Super Bowl roster this past year was comprised of players who were drafted by the organization and in their prime. That's perfect planning paying off.

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4. Bill Belichick, Patriots
The best trader of picks the NFL has seen since Jimmy Johnson. Like an alchemist, he regularly turns one late first-round selection into two or three solid contributors who fit the Patriots' ever-changing system.

5. Mickey Loomis, Saints
Is batting about .750 with his high-round draft picks, and has managed to snag several small-school gems in middle to late rounds (See: Jahri Evans, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, who was primarily a basketball player at Miami).

6. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens
Simply has a knack for connecting on stars. His latest include Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and (maybe) Michael Oher and Joe Flacco. Because of good mid-round drafting, depth is generally a plus for this club. The only true black eye on Newsome’s resume is the Kyle Boller pick, for which Brian Billick shares equal blame.

7. A.J. Smith, Chargers
Supposedly not the most likeable guy in the room, but that's in part because he has a gift for ruthlessly getting the most out of his resources. Part of that is replacing players a year too soon rather than a year too late.

8. Andy Reid, Eagles
Aside from Green Bay, Philadelphia is the only NFC team that has consistently drafted for the future first and the present second. Because of that, the Eagles are able to stay afloat when they do miss on a high-round pick.

9. Mike Holmgren, Browns
Jury is still out in Cleveland, obviously. But a person's track record has to count for something, right? And Holmgren's is pretty good.

10. Mike Tannenbaum, Jets
Home runs (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis -- who was a grand slam -- and possibly Mark Sanchez) outnumber strikeouts (Kellen Clemens, Vernon Gholston). Willing to be aggressive and trade up to get his guy. So far, it's worked well.

11. Jerry Reese, Giants
Has done a superb job building off the foundation that Ernie Accorsi put in place.

12. Thomas Dimitroff, FalconsT. Dimitroff (US Presswire)
Ex-New England front office executive instantly turned the rudderless post-Vick Falcons around by nailing the Matt Ryan pick. Has since retooled the offense with solid role players and upgraded the speed on defense.

13. Mark Dominik, Buccaneers
Made the bold commitment for the Bucs to get younger on both sides of the ball. Already, those young players have turned out a 10-6 record, putting the team a year or two ahead of schedule. The decision to draft Josh Freeman one day could lead to a Lombardi Trophy.

14. Marty Hurney, Panthers
For the most part, Panthers have been consistently competitive for 10 years despite the absence of a star quarterback. How? Solid offensive line (Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil were successful high draft picks), good running game (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were two more successful high picks) and a staunch defense (Jon Beason has more than lived up to first-round billing).

15. Scott Pioli, Chiefs
Was an integral part of the Patriots dynasty and is showing a knack for finding players who fit the Chiefs’ scheme.

16. Billy Devaney, Rams
Has not been at the helm long; will soar up this list if his 2011 draft class turns out to be anything like his 2010 class.

17. Mike Shanahan, Redskins
A nod to experience more than anything. Shanahan The GM has never been as good as Shanahan The Coach. But Shanahan The GM has still been around the block a time or two and knows exactly what he wants. Having Bruce Allen handle some of the technical GM duties is helpful.

18. Ken Whisenhunt/Rod Graves, Cardinals
Only one player they've taken in the first three rounds has not contributed (Cody Brown). The rest all have been part of a club that has won postseason games two of the past three seasons.

19. Jerry Angelo, Bears
Seems to have a slightly better feel for the veteran market than the rookie market, but we're nitpicking. Has done a fine job finding players who fit Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 defense. Offensively, he’s building around Jay Cutler (for whom he traded significant picks to get).

20. Mike Reinfeldt, Titans
The assumption is he occasionally has to cater to the demands of Bud Adams, which could be a challenging wrinkle to his job. Overall, has constructed a deep roster and seen a few gambles pay off (notably Chris Johnson in 2007).M. Reinfeldt (US Presswire)

21. Rick Spielman, Vikings
Too many busts early in his tenure, though some of that was beyond Minnesota's control (Kenechi Udeze's health issues, Erasmus James' injuries). While forcing a few picks into the lineup, the Vikings also have gotten their money's worth from top picks Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Adrian Peterson (considered a risk because of injury problems at Oklahoma).

22. Jerry Jones, Cowboys
Yes, the Cowboys have a talented group. But a bulk of that talent was acquired when Bill Parcells was around.

23. Martin Mayhew, Lions
Still waiting to see what becomes of the major investments on offense (outlook appears good but still not certain).

24. Jeff Ireland, Dolphins
Brand new in his role as top decision maker. It wouldn't be fair to judge him based on what his former boss (Parcells) did.

25. Gene Smith, Jaguars
In two years has shown willingness to rebuild in bunches by using back-to-back draft picks on the same position. In that time, not a lot has changed in Jacksonville's bottom line, though there is legitimate optimism about this franchise's direction.

26. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
It's way too early to judge. His first draft class looks like it could turn out to be spectacular at the top (Russell Okung has star traits, Earl Thomas has shown flashes and many like Walter Thurmond) but very few men have successfully worn the GM hat while coaching.

27. Trent Baalke, 49ers
The Niners' draft record during his two years as VP of Player Personnel was iffy, but he wasn't the final decision-maker then. His first draft class will likely prove to have produced long-term starters with the first four picks (Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Taylor Mays and NaVorro Bowman). Iupati, in fact, seems destined to be a perennial Pro Bowler.T. Baalke (US Presswire)

28. Buddy Nix, Bills
Bills are full of overachievers, but part of overachieving is not being very talented. The Aaron Maybin air ball in 2009 puts a damper on what was otherwise a solid draft class. But Nix, a national scout at the time, wasn't fully responsible for that draft class. His 2010 draft class is off to a slow start but its still in the judgment phase.

29. Rick Smith, Texans
Houston is overhauling its defensive scheme after spending five years investing first-round picks on players who were supposed to fit that scheme.

30. Mike Brown, Bengals
He would be a great fantasy drafter because he always takes the best player. Problem is, in the real draft, team chemistry needs to factor into your decisions. Those "best players" Brown takes are often available because of character red flags.

31. John Elway, Broncos
No track record to evaluate.

32. Al Davis, Raiders
One apparently solid draft (2010) does not erase years of atrocious ones.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Cats should take biggest gamble: Pass on Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

No less than 48 hours ago, I told a relative at Easter that I had "fully talked myself into the Panthers taking Cam Newton." That's a by-product of several things, including: a) the franchise's need for a "face" that people care about, b) the unparalleled upside that Newton represents, c) the lack of any decent quarterback on the roster and d) the need to sell tickets and get fans re-invested.

When I woke up on Monday though, I felt entirely differently, and now I'm pretty sure that the Panthers absolutely need to pass on Newton, acquire as many decent assets as they can, and focus on getting Andrew Luck in 2011. (Quite conveniently, Clark Judge is hearing they'll do just that.)

That's not saying they should "tank" -- and, disclaimer time: I'm actually a Panthers fan, so that would be kind of miserable for me. They shouldn't. No one should tank in the NFL because, unlike the NBA or MLB, things can change quickly, and teams can become successful overnight.

But have you seen Carolina's schedule? It's nuts. There are -- at most -- five winnable games on the slate in 2011, and it wouldn't matter who they had quarterbacking, as long as that person is either a rookie or a second-year Jimmy Clausen, because it's going to be a struggle.
Panthers' Problems

Obviously the Panthers get the Falcons, the Saints and the Buccaneers twice in 2011, and only an insane optimist could expect more than two wins against those three times total. Two, which is dangerously hopeful, would include a win against the Bucs at home and either a random upset of Atlanta or New Orleans, or a late-season win where one of those teams doesn't trot out their full "A-team" because their seeding decision has been settled.

Look at the rest of the schedule, and the even the most bullish fan would find a hard time arguing that, with Cam Newton and/or Jimmy Clausen at the helm, the Panthers will win five games. I mean, where are the wins? Against the Cardinals, in Arizona, during the opening week of the season? Maybe.

Week 2 against the Packers can already be ruled out, as can Week 12 against the Colts in Indy and the Week 15 matchup against the Texans in Houston; all of those teams have too much offense for the Panthers to compete. So let's say they lose those three games and go 1-5 in the division.

That leaves a home matchup against Jacksonville in Week 3, a trip to Chicago in Week 4, a home matchup against the Redskins in Week 7 followed by the Vikings coming to town in Week 8, a Week 10, post-bye matchup against the Titans in Charlotte and a trip to Detroit in Week 11. Winning three of those games, based on the success that the 2010 team had, would be considered a tremendous success. That's a 4-12 record for the season, a miserable year, and a learning experience with regard to whether Jimmy Clausen can be the future of the franchise (my answer is no, but Marty Hurney apparently still wants to find out).
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It's also probably good enough to land them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, which will net them Andrew Luck of Stanford, unless he decides he really loves graduate school.

And yes, I understand that this is a game of chicken that no NFL front office can reasonably play; it predicates itself on thinking that your team will be awful, and that's not a mindset you see in the NFL. But the schedule is what the schedule is, and then there's this: everyone in this draft is pulling trigger on a quarterback.

Most folks believe that there's a chance six -- SIX! -- quarterbacks could be gone as early as the first round. If six of the 10 (or so) teams that are truly desperate for quarterback help take a first-rounder, there's a pretty good chance that they won't even be looking for Luck come next year, significantly improving the Panthers chance that they would wind up with the most coveted option in the 2011 draft, even if they didn't finish with the worst record. (For instance, if the Bills draft Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton third overall and finish 2-14, are they taking Luck? They can't.

And that should be the scariest fact for Hurney and new coach Ron Rivera when they start looking at their options for the coming season: even if they do take Newton, they could finish with the worst record in the NFL (in fact, one could argue drafting Newton improves their chances ...) and be faced with a decision on having to draft their third straight franchise quarterback. That's something that isn't even considered an option. Even if Luck was there, Carolina would have to think defense, which would be a shame.

Look, landing Luck vis-a-vis the No. 1 overall pick next year is far from a guarantee. But the odds of it happening for Carolina are at least as good, if not better, than hitting a home run with Cam Newton.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Report: Bucs will release Talib

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The last month of the offseason apparently has shown the Buccaneers why they need to part ways with the ultra-talented, often-troubled CB Aqib Talib.

That’s the report from the St. Petersburg Times, which writes that, barring a last-minute changing of the mind, Tampa Bay will release Talib as soon as the NFL reopens for business.

Talib's timeline
As you know, Talib has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly pistol-whipping the live-in boyfriend of his sister and then firing gunshots at him as he tried to flee the area in Garland, Texas.

And this is not the first time Talib has created drama around himself or his teammates. At the rookie symposium in 2008, he fought a teammate, and in 2009, he used his helmet to crack CB Torrie Cox in the head (it might or might not have been an accident, as Talib was going after T Donald Penn). He also agreed to a plea deal last year for a battery charge involving a cab driver – which led to a one-game suspension.

As the Times’ Rick Stroud writes, “As far as the Bucs are concerned, the outcome of the (latest) case won't matter. They know Talib at the least faces a long league suspension. The Bucs have reached a point where they believe Talib's talent no longer justifies the trouble he generates. They believe it's only a matter of time before he runs afoul of the rules again. That's why general manager Mark Dominik made it clear last week that the Bucs have altered their draft plans to include selecting a cornerback.”

As some would say, it’s probably about time Tampa Bay came to that conclusion.

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