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Tag:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted on: October 27, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Bucs give Tanard Jackson contract extension

                                                                                                                                                                                        (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

After being out of football for 13 months, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson two weeks ago. Jackson started a few days later, and in the two games since, he's recorded two interceptions, two passes defended and six tackles. He's also upgraded Tampa's secondary after Cody Grimm (who, incidentally, replaced Jackson last season) was placed on injured reserve last month.

Just how important is Jackson to the Bucs? The team signed him to a contract extension Thursday, after he missed the first five games of 2011 as part of his suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Details via Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times:
The Bucs saw fit to make sure they kept Jackson around longer, approaching him with the contract extension last week. The new deal calls for Jackson to make a base salaries of $1.454 million this season and $2 million in 2012, according to figures from the NFL Players Association. Before now, Jackson's contract was scheduled to expire at the end of this season and he previously was on the books for $600,000 in base salary for 2011.
"The Bucs have been tremendously supportive of him all along," agent Peter Schaffer said, via Holder. "Tampa Bay believes he's made a positive change in his life and that he's taken every possible step to go in a positive direction. No one's ever out of the woods, but they really believe in him and I believe in him."

A 2007 fourth-round pick out of Syracuse, Jackson was suspended for four games in 2009 for the same issues that got him the year-long suspension last year. He has 48 career starts, all with the Bucs, and the only games he missed were due to the aforementioned suspensions.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:59 pm
 

Local cuisine hampers one Buccaneer

B. Urlacher practices cricket in London (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the Bears and Buccaneers meet this Sunday in London, there’s a decent chance that one or both teams will still be suffering from jet lag (from the long airplane ride to the UK and from the five-hour (Tampa Bay) or the six-hour (Chicago) body clock change).

The other day, we touched on the Bears decision to arrive in London a scant two days before the game and that Lovie Smith said his team surely be fine: “For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing. As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

I wrote, however, that the previous two years have showed that the team that arrives in London first -- whether it’s 17 hours or three days -- has had the easier time adjusting* and also, perhaps not coincidentally, won the game (that hasn’t stopped three of the five CBSSports.com Expert Pickers  from taking Chicago in this one).

*I’ll admit that I’m not sure how playing too much cricket (as you see from Brian Urlacher in the photo) affects your ability to play football.

Well, here’s one caveat to that opinion. Local foods can wreak havoc with your digestive system, and that apparently has what’s happened to Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Clayborn had a meal of fish and chips after arriving with his teammates Monday night. It did sit quite right.

“It didn't sit well with me at all,” Clayborn said. “It messed up my stomach bad. It won't keep me from playing, though.”

So, the counter to jetlag is food poisoning apparently. Unfortunately for the Bears, just about everyone on their team could be jetlagged. Probably not everybody from Tampa Bay will have stomach issues.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:08 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Bucs should have advantage with early trip

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Last year when the 49ers met the Broncos in London, it was clear to then-San Francisco linebacker Takeo Spikes that arriving in England a few days before Denver made a big difference.

“I think it helped (to leave early),” he told me in a Five Questions (or more) interview. “To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time. … I talked to them when they got off the plane on Thursday, and they said they felt fine. But damn, it must have been tough.”

Apparently, Bears coach Lovie Smith still believes the Broncos approach can work for his squad. Although the Buccaneers, who play Chicago this Sunday in London, left for the UK on Monday, Chicago won’t hop on a plane until Thursday, arriving in London on Friday. That means the Bears will have only two days to get their bodies acclimated before playing Sunday.

Smith doesn’t see a potential problem.

“For us, we wanted to keep a regular game-week routine in place and that's what we're doing,” he said, via the Tampa Tribune. “As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk. We're going to go there. We'll be there Friday. We're leaving Thursday from here. That's plenty of time."

Tampa Bay has tried to have a normal work week as well. The Buccaneers took Tuesday off, like they normally would, to sight-see around London and then got ready to have normal practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Getting our players here early and getting them acclimated to the city, letting them have the day off here (on Tuesday) to do whatever they want kind of takes the angst away from coming in at the end of the week,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris said from England.

Another key reason for the early travel schedule. Getting the team acclimated to the Wembley Stadium turf.

"That's why we came here on Monday,” Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. “Because the Wembley field is just like that. It's slipperier than what you expect, so it's important for our guys to be able to practice on it and with the right cleats on.''

The Buccaneers tried the Smith approach two years ago, and they were easily beaten by the Patriots 35-7. New England had arrived 17 hours before Tampa Bay -- which, granted, isn’t a big difference, but it is something. And with the 49ers easily beating the Broncos last season -- when San Francisco got to town three days earlier -- you’d think the Bears would be paying attention to the mini-trend.

But you’d be wrong.

"You can get as much rest as you need," Smith said. "We're going to end up playing the game at 12 o'clock, Chicago time. I don't think that's an issue at all. I think normally when you go overseas, I think the best football team normally wins. It's as simple as that. That's what will happen this time around."

Maybe, or perhaps jet lag will play a big part in a Tampa Bay win.



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Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Keep an Eye On: Week 7's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Saints vs. Colts
New Orleans’ two new weapons
The Saints have redefined their passing attack. It now runs through Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Graham has been far and away the best tight end in football this season. All onlookers could observe last season that the former Hurricanes power forward possessed considerable raw talent, but few could have predicted he’d polish it this quickly.

Graham has a natural feel for gaining positioning against pass defenders (insert obligatory “like a rebounder” comment here) and, best of all, he’s a hands-catcher who snags the ball away from his body. This makes him nearly impossible to defend, given his size and elevation abilities. Helping the cause is that the Saints align Graham all over the formation, which gives defenses fits in deciding what personnel package to use (most, including the Bucs this past week, have been going with nickel and treating Graham like a slot receiver).

Graham is Brees’s go-to guy. Sproles might be Sean Payton’s.

When the Saints are trying to dictate the tempo of a drive, they often look to get Sproles the ball underneath. The key is putting him in positions to run after the catch. This could mean screens, though often it has meant short outs and ins on spread plays where wideouts run deep to lift the coverage. Sproles has remarkable quickness and elusiveness, amplified by a rare-found ability to start and stop. He’s been much better in this offense than Reggie Bush ever was.

So how will the Colts defend the two new weapons? They’re a zone-based defense with fast linebackers. That helps against Sproles, but it does little for containing Graham. If the Saints can find ways to pass protect long enough to run vertical routes outside, that’ll prevent the Colts safeties from running under and over Graham’s routes. This would spell a fifth-straight 100-yard game for the rising star.



Dolphins vs. Broncos
Tebow’s limited resources
You couldn’t ask for more favorable conditions for a new starting young quarterback: two weeks to prepare, a game at Miami (where the weather is nice and the crowd is irrelevant) and facing a defense that, even with a beast like Cameron Wake, has for some reason completely forgotten how to rush the passer.

Trading your No. 1 receiver just days before the game might not seem favorable to a young quarterback, but that receiver was unenthused about playing with Tebow and hadn’t been getting open in Denver’s new ball-control offense anyway. Plus, he was liable to leave after the season, and his spot is ready to be filled by a now-healthy (hopefully) Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas is a possession target, whereas Brandon Lloyd was more of a vertical threat (though not a burner). The Broncos already have a litany of possession targets, such as Eric Decker, Matt Willis and, when healthy, Eddie Royal. This lack of vertical speed compresses the field and narrows throwing lanes, which isn’t good with a slow-reading young quarterback who has a long windup and prefers to improvise outside the pocket.

The Dolphins are healthy at cornerback again; with no downfield threats to worry about, don’t be surprised if this is the week they finally figure out how to reach the quarterback.

Bears vs. Buccaneers (London)
Forces up front
When playing well, these teams offer two of the faster defensive front sevens in football. The Bucs defensive ends – vastly improved Michael Bennett and explosive rookie Adrian Clayborn – feasted on the shoddy Saints tackles last week and should be licking their chops for J’Marcus Webb and Lance Louis (a guard by trade who has taken over for the overwhelmed Frank Omiyale on the right side).

Linebacker Geno Hayes played with instincts and speed against the Saints, which hasn’t always been the case this season. He’ll have a big say in whether the Bucs can contain Mr. Do It All, Matt Forte.

For Chicago, the mission will be attacking right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. Julius Peppers, bum knee and all, is a force who can matchup with Donald Penn on the left side. Same goes for underrated Israel Idonije. But over the years, when it’s rained on Trueblood, it’s poured. He’s the guy to go after.
The Bucs don’t have a backfield star like Matt Forte to build around, though Earnest Graham is a productive receiver who, as he showed last week, can add a dimension of surprising (though subtle) inside quickness and elusiveness.

Don’t be stunned if Graham becomes a bigger component in the run game even after LeGarrette Blount gets healthy. Graham, however, is facing a much greater challenge this week than he faced last week; Chicago’s linebackers are just as fast as New Orleans’ but a lot more physical.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 7 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:31 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 3 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Rodgers  Revis  Hester Schwartz
Prisco   Gore Coleman  Hester  Morris
Brinson Bradshaw  Revis  Hester Schwartz
Katzowitz Bradhsaw Coleman  Hester  Zimmer
Wilson  Cutler Coleman  Hester Harbaugh

Week 6 was -- quite obviously -- all about the handshake. But there are other awards to get to as well. And the Eye on Offense Award was a hotly contested little battle here, but Ahmad Bradshaw, with 104 yards and three teeters in a Giants win, takes home the hardware.

On defense, things were a bit of a toss-up too, as Darrelle Revis' pick six garnered him plenty of support. But Kurt Coleman's three-pick game won the day. Although, yes, we are checking with the judges on whether or not Rex Grossman was eligible.

We're just going to go ahead and rename the Eye on Special Teams Award the Weekly Contest to Be Better Than Devin Hester.

And, as mentioned, coaching was a toss-up too, but Jim Harbaugh gets the Eye on Coaching Award ... simply for entertainment purposes?

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Ryan Wilson
Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
He's undefeated and doing things at the quarterback position we've seen before but rarely. I know, I know. You're sick of Rodgers. Get used to him, though. He's going to be around these here award neighborhoods for some time as the Packers are likely to enter the nine and 10 win range and start entering the 1972 Miami Dolphins neighborhood.
Jay Cutler Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
He was 21 of 31 for 267 yards and tossed two touchdowns against a very good pass-rushing Vikings defense. Perhaps more amazing: Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz left six, seven and sometimes eight players in to block, and, it turns out, Cutler is a pretty good quarterback when he's not getting blasted for 60 minutes (he was sacked just once).
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Frank Gore Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
He ran for 141 yards and scored a touchdown in the team's upset of the Lions. What's truly impressive is that Gore averaged 9.4 per carry. That is special.
Ahmad BradshawAhmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
The Giants fell apart against the Seahawks at home in Week 5, making Week 6's game against the Bills absolutely critical for them. Bradshaw was most critical to the win, running for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Giants win.
Josh Katzowitz
Ahmad BradshawAhmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
In a huge game for the Giants, Bradshaw, without Brandon Jacobs in the lineup, had a tremendous performance, rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns. I imagine Eli Manning appreciated the contribution. 
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Wilson
Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis, CB, Jets
He did get beat a few times against Miami on Monday night but that 100-yard interception return was spectacular. Sure, he practically knocked Brandon Marshall on his butt in a great display of non-called pass interference, but Revis is getting those non-calls now.
Kurt Coleman Kurt Coleman, S, Eagles
Obviously, Rex Grossman shares this award because without him, Coleman's three interceptions wouldn't have been possible. In related news: nothing like a BAD REX unannounced visit to make Juan Castillo seem like he knows how to coordinate a defense.
Prisco Brinson
Kurt ColemanKurt Coleman, S, Eagles
He was benched a few weeks ago, but when inserted back into the lineup he made the most of it against the Redskins. Coleman had three picks of Rex Grossman in the game and had one of his best cover days. He was benched for his poor tackling.
Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis, CB, Jets
I'd love to nominate Rex Grossman, but I'm not sure that's in the spirit of the awards. Instead, I'll give it to the guy who took a pick 100 yards to the house, giving the Jets a 7-3 lead when they should have been down 14-0. Revis showed why he's the best CB in the NFL today.
Katzowitz
Kurt Coleman Kurt Coleman, S, Eagles
Vindication for the Eagles safety. A few weeks after Coleman was benched, he reemerged as Rex Grossman’s biggest foil (well, second to Grossman himself), intercepting three passes and helping Philadelphia to perhaps a season-saving win. Chances are Coleman won’t be benched this week.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Wilson
Devin HesterDevin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
Why kick to him? Why, why, why? One more time: WHY? Kick the football out of bounds. Kick it into the stands. Kick it into the dirt. Anywhere except to him. He burned yet another team -- this time the Minnesota Vikings -- that stupidly kicked to him. And he'll keep doing that until teams finally get smart and stop doing it.
Devin Hester Devin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
I'll repeat what I wrote in Week 4, the last time Hester was our Special Teams Player of the Week. "We'll never understand why any team thinks kicking to Hester is a good idea." The Vikings did it, and Hester scored. Weird how that keeps happening.
Prisco Brinson
Devin HesterDevin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
Can it go to anyone but Hester? He ripped off a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Sunday night against the Vikings. He also returned a punt 27 yards and almost broke that one.
Devin HesterDevin Hester, WR/KR/ Bears
As long as teams continue to kick to Hester, he's probably going to keep winning this award. Hester was the difference against the Panthers two weeks ago; against Minnesota he simply squashed any hope they had for their entire season with one magnificent burst of speed.
Katzowitz
Devin Hester Devin Hester, WR/KR, Bears
He’s made strides as a receiver this season, but as the Vikings -- who, for some strange reason, continued kicking to Hester -- can attest, he’s still awfully dangerous as a kick returner. Early in the third quarter, he returned a kick 98 yards for the touchdown nearly took back a punt as well. He is, as the Vikings know now, pretty good on special teams.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Wilson
Bill BelichickJim Schwartz, HC, Lions
We went to the same high school. I think we played on the same football team together though I only sorta remember him. I was concussed a lot so bear with me. He's obviously a fiery guy and though his scamper after Harbaugh was unneeded most people would have wanted to punch Harbaugh in the mouth after that obnoxious post-game reaction.
Hue Jackson Jim Harbaugh, HC, 49ers
I think Harbaugh is a crazy-arms meltdown away from a tenured professorship at clown college, but the guy has the 49ers believing something not even Mike Singletary could convince them of: they're a good football team. Through six weeks, they're 5-1. Last year, they were 6-10.
Prisco Brinson
Raheem MorrisRaheem Morris, HC, Buccaneers
After his team's horrible trip to San Francisco that saw them get blown out 48-3, he got his team ready to play against the Saints and pulled off a 26-20 upset.  The Bucs were without running back LaGarrette Blount, so Morris turned the game over to Josh Freeman, who had a big game.
Mike MunchakJim Schwartz, HC, Lions
People are complaining about Schwartz' roll in Handshake-Gate (ugh), but here's the thing: Schwartz celebrates on his own sideline. Not at midfield. I'll hand him this award just based on the fact that 90 percent of America would have punched Jim Harbaugh Sunday. He didn't.
Katzowitz
Mike Zimmer Mike Zimmer, DC, Bengals
The Bengals DC continues to be one of those long-time assistant coaches who needs to be rewarded with a head coaching job. The Bengals have the No. 2 D in the NFL, and have allowed just one opponent to score more than 20 points. Cincy hasn’t played a Murderer’s Row of quarterbacks, but still, Zimmer’s unit has been impressive.
 

Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Tanard Jackson will play Sunday

JacksonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson hasn’t played a game since Week 2 of last season after he was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for the third time.

But on Tuesday, after he worked out with his teammates during the lockout, the league reinstated him.

And since he was in such good shape and because the coaches were impressed with him, the Buccaneers, according to Rapid Reporter Scott Purks, have signed him to the active roster and will play him Sunday.

As the Tampa Tribune points out, another reason for his quick activation is that Tampa Bay really needs him after losing safeties Cody Grimm and Devin Holland to season-ending injuries.

In order to make room for him on the roster, the Buccaneers released rookie running back Allen Bradford on Thursday, meaning they have only two healthy running backs (Earnest Graham and Kregg Lumpkin).

But to Tampa Bay, that’s a risk worth taking to have Jackson on the field.

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:26 pm
 

With Blount likely out, time for Earnest Graham

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s looking less and less like Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount, who injured his knee late in Sunday’s blowout loss to the 49ers, will play this Sunday.

Which means that it’s probably going to be Earnest Graham time.

"You guys know Earnest has done everything for us,'' quarterback Josh Freeman said, via the St. Petersburg Times. "Whether it's playing fullback, being the third down back and now this week he's going to get the majority of the reps, the majority of the carries. I mean, he's done it before...he's a guy we know can get it done.''

Blount ranks 15th in the NFL with 338 rushing yards this season. In the past three years, Graham has combined for 249 yards, though to be fair, rushing the ball hasn’t been his role the past few seasons.

I’d also be interested to see if Kregg Lumpkin – who seems to have caught the coaches’ eyes in recent weeks – earns more carries in Blount’s absence.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Report: NFL reinstates Bucs S Tanard Jackson

Jackson should help the Bucs secondary. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Thirteen months ago, the NFL suspended Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson indefinitely for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

At the time, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik said “Tanard is a talented young man whom we hope is able to use this year to put his troubles behind him and ultimately return a stronger man and player. It's up to Tanard whether the team and our fans eventually realize his considerable promise.”

Tuesday, Jackson, who worked out with teammates during the lockout, was reinstated, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Jackson, a 2007 fourth-round pick out of Syracuse, was suspended for four games in 2009 for the same issues that got him the year-long suspension last year. Jackson has started 46 career games, all with the Bucs, and the only games he missed were due to the aforementioned suspensions.

Tampa Bay's defense could use Jackson, too. Cody Grimm, who replaced Jackson last season, was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury last month. And Sunday in San Francisco, the Bucs suffered a 48-3 throttling at the hands of the resurgent 49ers.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com