Player News - Buccaneers

Date: Team: Pos:

Bucs GM Jason Licht blamed injuries for the team's struggles in 2017.

Licht said he did not want to use the injuries "as excuses" before proceeding to use the injuries to Jameis Winston and several defenders as excuses for why the Bucs are keeping the coaching staff intact despite a season which fell well short of expectations. "We feel like it's continuity," Licht said. "The answers are here in terms of the coaches, the personnel people and we have a lot of good players we feel like in this locker room that can turn this thing around." If that does not happen in 2018, Dirk Koetter and company probably will not be as lucky next January.
Jan 16 - 9:44 AM

Bucs GM Jason Licht said Doug Martin "wasn't ever the same" after returning from suspension.

Martin looked great in his first game back, rushing for 74 yards and a score on just 13 carries against the Patriots, but it was all downhill from there. He was disciplined for a team-rules violation in Week 13, and he watched Peyton Barber jump him on the depth chart. The Bucs can wipe all of Martin's $6.75 million salary off the cap by cutting him. It would be a shock if that did not happen.
Jan 16 - 9:34 AM

Bucs TE/FB Alan Cross is recovering from sports-hernia surgery.

The combo lead blocker/tight end played 117 snaps in 2017. He has 11 catches in two seasons. With coach Dirk Koetter returning, Cross should retain his 53-man roster spot for 2018.
Jan 11 - 3:10 PM

Bucs S T.J. Ward was arrested for marijuana possession Wednesday morning.

It's a misdemeanor, and Ward is already out of jail. Signed ahead of Week 1 after surprisingly being released by the Broncos at the end of last summer, Ward was a flop in Tampa Bay. He played 405 snaps as the Bucs' No. 3 safety, showing well in run defense but expressing frustration with his role under DC Mike Smith as a part-time player. Ward is 31 and will be a free agent in March.
Jan 3 - 12:59 PM

Dirk Koetter said he will not give up play-calling duties in 2018.

The coach also said there have been no changes to his staff, although he left the door open for that to change. Keeping the status quo is an odd decision for a team which dramatically underachieved in 2017, but it looks like that is what the Bucs will do. Koetter's offenses have finished in the bottom half of scoring each of his three years in Tampa.
Source: ESPN
Jan 1 - 1:20 PM

Impending free agent CB Brent Grimes said the Bucs would like to bring him back.

Grimes will turn 35 in July, but he is coming off yet another quality season. It is unlikely anyone offers multiple years of guaranteed money at his age, but Grimes is certainly worth bringing back and would likely get offers from contenders if he hits the open market.
Jan 1 - 1:18 PM

Cameron Brate caught 3-of-5 targets for 37 yards in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

After leading all NFL tight ends in touchdown catches in 2016, Brate took a 2017 step back as he lost significant playing time to rookie O.J. Howard. Brate wraps his third NFL season with 48 catches for 591 yards and six scores. Brate has proven to be a useful possession and red-zone tight end, but Howard is the future in Tampa Bay. Expect Howard to take over as the Bucs’ full-time tight end in 2018. Brate will likely regress into even more of a passing-down-only, sub-package role.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 08:11:00 PM

Adam Humphries caught 7-of-11 targets for 102 yards in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

Humphries wraps his third NFL season with 61 receptions for 631 yards and a touchdown, averaging fewer than 10 yards per catch. Sunday's big finale was the byproduct of extreme volume in Tampa Bay's comeback win; Jameis Winston attempted a whopping 51 throws. A replacement-level slot receiver, Humphries is now ticketed for restricted free agency, where he doesn’t figure to draw much outside interest. The Bucs need to find ways to get Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Godwin on the field together in 2018, which would likely mean moving Godwin into the slot to play ahead of Humphries.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 08:07:00 PM

Peyton Barber rushed 17 times for 71 yards and a touchdown and caught 2-of-4 targets for 18 yards in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

A former undrafted free agent out of Auburn, Barber took over as the Bucs’ late-season lead back due to Doug Martin’s utter inefficiency, logging touch totals of 29 > 13 > 16 > 15 > 19 over the final five weeks. Barber is mostly a get-what’s-blocked runner with limited elusiveness and receiving ability, but he will be worth keeping on the 2018 roster as a backup. The Bucs flirted with Dalvin Cook in the 2017 draft and will likely pursue a running back upgrade this offseason.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 08:00:00 PM

Charles Sims rushed once for six yards and missed his lone target in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

The Bucs’ lightly-used passing-game specialist, Sims finishes the season with just 35 catches and 344 yards from scrimmage, essentially backing up Doug Martin and later Peyton Barber. Sims’ 2015 season in which he totaled 1,090 yards and caught 51 balls seems forever ago. At age 27, Sims will enter 2018 free agency in search of a niche receiving-back role.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 07:57:00 PM

Jacquizz Rodgers caught 2-of-2 targets for 20 yards in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

Rodgers struggled in three starts to begin the year in place of Doug Martin (suspension), then faded into a bit role the rest of the way, sharing time with Charles Sims behind Martin and later Peyton Barber. Turning 28 in February, Quizz has shown himself to be a replacement-level back lacking standout traits. The Bucs have Rodgers under contract for $1.6 million in 2018, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he were cut.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 07:54:00 PM

Doug Martin lost three yards combined on three carries in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

Martin was a trainwreck after returning from his three-game suspension to begin the year, struggling mightily for any kind of rushing efficiency, getting disciplined for a team-rules violation in Week 13, and ultimately losing his starting job to Peyton Barber. Turning 29 in January, Martin appears to have very little left. He is owed $6.75 million in 2018 and will certainly be released.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 07:47:00 PM

Chris Godwin caught 7-of-12 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

His 39-yard touchdown was the game winner in the fourth quarter. Godwin wound up making three rookie-year starts, logging stat lines of 5/68/0, 3/98/0, and 7/111/1 in them. A third-round rookie out of Penn State, Godwin warranted more playing time but was stuck behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries all year. We would love to see Godwin tried in the slot, upgrading on Humphries. Ideally, the Bucs’ coaching staff will give Godwin that opportunity during OTAs. It’ll be something to watch for this offseason.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 07:45:00 PM

Mike Evans caught 5-of-13 targets for 55 yards in the Bucs' Week 17 win over the Saints.

Marshon Lattimore got the better of this matchup, but Evans' 55 yards did get him over 1,000 for the fourth straight season despite missing a game due to suspension for violating the NFL’s on-field disciplinary code. Evans’ production was also hindered by Jameis Winston’s in-season throwing-arm troubles. Recency bias could easily make Evans a 2018 value pick in fantasy drafts. Still only 24 years old, Evans has scored 32 touchdowns through his first four NFL seasons.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 07:41:00 PM

Jameis Winston completed 28-of-51 passes for 363 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in the Bucs' Week 17 comeback win over the Saints.

The Bucs finished their season on a high note with a comeback win to push the Saints to 11-5. The dagger was Winston's 39-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Chris Godwin. Although Winston’s 2017 was an all-in-all disappointment due largely to a recurring throwing-shoulder injury, he did finish strong with a 10:5 TD-to-INT ratio and nearly 70-percent completion rate across his final five games. Winston never quite got on the same page with DeSean Jackson, however, and the Bucs failed to realize their theoretical potential at least partly due to Winston’s penchant for random boneheaded turnovers. Nevertheless, Winston will be a bounce-back target in 2018 fantasy drafts as a late-round quarterback pick. The Bucs’ decision to retain Dirk Koetter was widely panned, but it ensures Winston will maintain offensive scheme continuity with his arrow still pointing up.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017 07:37:00 PM


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