An injury on the practice field Tuesday led to a trio of roster moves for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, all related to the wide receiver position.
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Wideout Donteea Dye was hurt during Tuesday’s practice and has been placed on injured reserve, bringing his season to an end. The Bucs filled the resulting opening on the active roster and the fifth spot on the receiving corps by promoting first-year wide receiver Bernard Reedy from the practice squad. And, to keep the overall numbers at wideout the same, the team signed former Tampa Bay Storm receiver Kendrick Ings to the practice squad, replacing Reedy.
Donteea Dye wasn’t quite ready to return to game action last weekend, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to give him an opportunity to get back to that level.
Dye, a second-year wide receiver who played in 10 games for the Buccaneers last year, was re-signed to the practice squad on Tuesday. He first returned to the team last week, signing with the practice squad on Monday and then getting a promotion to the active roster on Wednesday. However, after a week of practice it was determined that Dye needed a bit more time to round back into game shape, so his spot on the 53-man roster went instead to wide receiver Freddie Martino.
The Buccaneers had previously waived the former undrafted free agent on August 30, during the league-wide roster cuts from 90 to 75 players. Because Dye was waived with an injury settlement, he was prohibited from re-signing with Tampa Bay for a period of three weeks plus the length of the settlement (three regular-season games). That meant that the earliest possible return day for the young receiver was this past Monday. Dye could have signed with any other team in the interim.
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The Buccaneers also placed starting wide receiver Vincent Jackson on injured reserve on Tuesday and got wide receiver Cecil Shorts back on the practice field after a three-game absence due to a hamstring injury. In addition, wide receiver Louis Murphy, who has been on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list since the start of the season, started practicing this week in anticipation of a possible return to the active roster.
Jacquizz Rodgers is stepping up in the absence of Doug Martin and Charles Sims. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers actually hope he follows in the footsteps of Fozzy Whittaker, Christine Michael, Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson and LeSean McCoy.
That first pair of backs represented the Buccaneers’ outstanding 1-2 punch returning from 2015, as Martin and Sims were the only pair of running back teammates to each surpass 1,000 yards from scrimmage last year. However, Sims is now on injured reserve with a knee ailment and Martin is out indefinitely after aggravating a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action since Week Two.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gone from light on tailbacks to fully stocked in less than a week. On Tuesday, the team announced the signing of sixth-year veteran back Jacquizz Rodgers, who played his first four seasons for division-rival Atlanta. Rodgers fills the roster spot created on Monday when defensive end Jacquies Smith was placed on injured reserve.
Rodgers is averaging 4.7 yards per carry as he continues to fill in for an injured Doug Martin. As it stands, Rodgers’ 154 rushing yards are the third-most of any running back in Week 7, though the Broncos and Texans have yet to play this week.
Just one other running back appeared on PFF’s list – Miami’s Jay Ajayi, who picked up 214 yards and is currently the league-leader for Week 7.
Rookie RB Peyton Barber salted the game away in the fourth quarter with a 44-yard touchdown run.
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The Buccaneers had a handful of undrafted rookies see significant playing time in 2016, with DaVonte Lambert taking 424 snaps, Peyton Barber taking 295, Alan Cross taking 266 and Javien Elliott taking 212. Lambert started five games while Elliott started one.
Rodgers’ biggest play in Sunday’s win over the 49ers was a 45-yard run in the second quarter, which set up a Roberto Aguayo field goal. That was the longest run of his career, and it was the Bucs’ longest of the game, but only barely. Rookie RB Peyton Barber salted the game away in the fourth quarter with a 44-yard touchdown run, the longest of his (very brief) career.
After a standout performance against the 49ers in Week 7, Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber has been nominated for the NFL’s Rookie of the Week award. Barber rushed for 84 yards and buccaneers jerseys cheap a touchdown on 12 carries, averaging seven yards per attempt. Only one running back in the league with 10 or more carries averaged more yards per attempt than Barber in Week 7. Barber had just three carries for five yards in his previous five games.
After a dominant performance against the Seahawks in Week 12, Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence has been nominated for the NFL’s Rookie of the Week award. He is the second Buccaneer rookie to be nominated for the award this season after Peyton Barber was a finalist in Week 7.
Spence recorded 1.5 sacks against Seattle, a career-high for him, along with a forced fumble and five tackles. Of his five tackles, two were solo. He was a part of a six-sack effort as Tampa Bay upended Seattle, 14-5, at home. Spence has 5.5 sacks on the year, the second-most among rookies. Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue leads all rookies with six sacks.
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On Friday, the Buccaneers placed Bond, a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft, on injured reserve and filled his roster spot by re-signing linebacker Josh Keyes. Bond had not played in the first two games of the season as he recovered from a preseason hamstring injury but had returned to full participation in practice to start the week. However, Bond was not able to practice on Thursday, presumably due to a setback with the hamstring.
Those three drafts have also produced defensive starters in Hargreaves and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, a 2016 Pro Bowl alternate. That number could eventually double depending upon the development of Spence and Smith, the latter of whom will go back to cornerback in 2017 after an attempted conversion to safety. Devante Bond, a linebacker picked in the sixth round last spring, spent his rookie season on injured reserve.
The only player on the 53-man roster who did not practice at all on Wednesday, was tight end Luke Stocker, who sat out with a back ailment. Rookie linebacker Devante Bond, who missed the final two preseason games with a hamstring strain, is on the injury report as well, although he was able to practice in a limited fashion. Rookie safety Ryan Smith rounds out the Bucs’ list; he has a hand injury but was able to participate fully in Wednesday’s workout.
A year ago, the Buccaneers signed veteran linebacker Daryl Smith to a one-year deal in free agency and then drafted Oklahoma linebacker Devante Bond in the sixth round a month later. With the “Mike” and “Will” positions in Tampa Bay’s defense filled more than ably by Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, respectively, this looked like a two-part approach to addressing the “SAM,” or strongside linebacker, spot.
As expected, Smith stepped in as the SAM starter and provided the steady play the Bucs anticipated getting from a 13th-year veteran with experience in Mike Smith’s system. Bond was expected to make an early impact on special teams, and at the same time he would have had a chance to learn defense with a shot at possibly starting down the road.
When Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David was chosen by Team Irvin in the 2016 Pro Bowl Draft and Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin was selected by Team Rice.
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It set up the very real possibility of some Buccaneer-on-Buccaneer violence. As it turned out, David and Martin ran into each other on the very first play that both Bucs were on the field Sunday.
Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David believes all children have the ability to persevere on and off the field. That belief drives his commitment to mentoring underserved youth through his tireless work as a national ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
By most accounts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David has been playing at a Pro Bowl level since at least his second season in the NFL. The reason he had failed to get official Pro Bowl recognition was no mystery: The outside linebacker spots in the all-star game were mostly taken by 3-4 edge rushers with gaudy sack totals and completely different game-day assignments.
As much as he’s enjoying the week, David hasn’t quite let go of that feeling of being passed over the last couple years, and almost a third time in 2015. That’s good news for Buccaneers fans – David is clearly motivated to take his game to a level where he won’t have to wait for a last-minute call to Hawaii.
“Yeah I feel validated, but at the same time, I was an alternate,” he said. “I want to be one of those guys that’s automatically voted in from the get-go. I’m embracing this; it’s a great moment, something I can put on my résumé. But hopefully in the years to come I can be one of the first guys voted in.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters is so important because it is a chance to impact a child’s life,” said David. “Being in the position I’m in, I feel like there is a great need for me to go back and help the youth in the community and let them know I care about them and want them to succeed in life just as much as I have.”
Lavonte David elite jersey and his outreach work with youth and mentors embodies Bucs for a Better Bay, the Buccaneers far reaching commitment to improving Tampa communities now and for generations to come.
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III with the 11th overall pick in April, then set about determining exactly what role he would play in their defense. If there was ever any doubt that role would be a large one, it didn’t last long. By the team’s mandatory mini-camp in June, Head Coach Dirk Koetter was already making it clear that his rookie corner could excel on the outside or in the slot.
On Friday, the Buccaneers’ rookies took the field at One Buc Place for their first practice in Tampa Bay, albeit in helmets and shorts. It marked the first practice for first-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves, who the Buccaneers selected No. 11 overall last weekend. With media members in attendance, Hargreaves worked in the slot as well as on the outside during the 90-minute session.
Hargreaves, who is coming off perhaps the best game of his young career in Sunday’s win at San Diego, agrees and attributes that to greatly-increased comfort level in Mike Smith’s defense.
“The ball was in the air and I have to make a play,” he said of his first interception. “It’s not that complicated. It was fairly simple. At the end of the day, I have to make a play. It’s simple, it’s always about the ball. Everything is always about the ball. I have to find a way to stay close to it and make a play on it.”
The 6-3, 305-pound Coe entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Akron with the Dallas Cowboys this past spring. He racked up 12 tackles for the Cowboys during preseason play but was waived during the roster cutdown to 53 players. Also an undrafted rookie, Hansbrough went to training camp with the Buccaneers and was signed to the practice squad last week after being waived in the same round of cuts.
Pirate Line Defender Kwon Alexander was selected as the NFL rookie this week.
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Kwon Alexander of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been suspended without pay for the team’s final four games of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
The Buccaneers are not particularly deep in linebackers at the moment, although the top of the depth chart is very strong with weakside linebacker Lavonte David and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander. Those two occupy key spots in the Bucs’ 4-3 front and have been an ultra-productive duo over the last two years. Since Alexander arrived as a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, he and David have combined for 472 tackles, 14.0 sacks, 28 stuffs, nine forced fumbles, 33 passes defensed and Tampa Bay Buccaneers jerseys seven interceptions.
In addition to Alexander’s takedown of Ryan, which came on a third down in the fourth quarter, ending one drive near midfield during the Falcons’ comeback attempt, the Bucs also got single sacks from defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Robert Ayers. Ayers got his QB takedown in his Buccaneer debut after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent in March. Dating back to last season when he was with the New York Giants, Ayers has recorded at least one sack in each of the last six games he has played, with a total of eight sacks in that span. That’s the longest active streak of games with a sack for any defender in the NFL.
After a standout performance against the Falcons in Week 8, Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander has been selected as the NFL’s Rookie of the Week. Alexander recorded a team-high 11 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in Tampa Bay’s victory over Atlanta. He also recorded an interception, his second of the season.
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The Buccaneers gave a qualifying offer to linebacker Adarius Glanton, making him an exclusive rights free agent and ensuring he would be back in training camp in 2017. Glanton was a core special teamer for the Bucs last fall but might also have a shot at winning that strongside spot. There are only two other linebackers on the roster at the moment: Cameron Lynch and Jeff Knox. Lynch was another good special teams player for the Buccaneers who was picked up after the Rams let him go in September. Knox will give the NFL a go after standing out for two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League. Tampa Bay can only hope Knox approximates the success of another linebacker they got from the CFL in the ’90s, eventual Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ Shelton Quarles.
After 11 games, there should be few questions left to answer. Mike Evans has established himself as one of the NFL’s top receivers, with numbers to back that claim up. He has 1,020 receiving yards, marking his third-straight 1,000-yard season. Just one player, Atlanta’s Julio Jones, has more receiving yards thus far. And with 10 touchdown receptions, he’s tied for the league-lead.
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Wide receiver Mike Evans, who leads the NFL with eight touchdown catches, will be able to play on Sunday against Chicago after exiting the concussion protocol on Thursday.
Evans was evaluated for a concussion late in last Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. He then entered the league’s concussion protocol but made steady progress through its steps. Evans practiced on Monday and Wednesday and then passed one final examination before being fully cleared on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the NFL announced that five players have been nominated as the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year. Among them is Mike Evans for his game-winning catch against the Panthers in Week 17. Evans catch is one of five players nominated for the award, along with Marcus Mariota for his game-winning touchdown in Week 2, Derek Carr for his late-game drive in Week 12, Khalil Mack for his strip-sack fumble recovery in Week 13 and Antonio Brown for his game-winning touchdown in Week 16.
James Winston is the first player in the history of the NFL to be more than 4,000 yards in the first two seasons.
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Originally a seventh-round pick by the Falcons out of Duke in 2013, Renfree saw action in two regular-season games in 2015, completing three of seven passes. Though he spent his rookie season on injured reserve he was Matt Ryan’s backup during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Dirk Koetter, now the Buccaneers’ head coach, was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator for Renfree’s first two seasons with the Falcons.
My point is, there are numbers that the Bucs are clearly avoiding giving out again, even if they’re not retired. The 14, although not worn since Brad Johnson, is not one of them. In fact, it could make its return as soon as this season. Jameis Winston is entrenched as the team’s starting quarterback, but it appears there will be a pretty good battle for the top back-up spot between Ryan Griffin and newcomer Sean Renfree. Renfree has been assigned 14, at least for now. (He wore 12 while with the Falcons, and 12 is currently available with the Buccaneers, so there doesn’t seem to be any specific number attachment for Renfree). If Renfree wins the job, or even makes the roster along with Griffin, there could be another 14 sighting at some point.
Of course, all of what I’ll be passing along is specific to the Buccaneers, but I’m pretty certain every team has some sort of nutrition program. It’s just too obvious of a thing not to do in the ongoing effort to help players make the most out of their abilities.
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The Buccaneers employ a Team Sports Dietitian by the name of Kevin Luhrs, and believe me, he is very much involved with the players on a day-to-day basis. And this isn’t a new development: Luhrs is heading into his eighth season with the Buccaneers. As his bio notes, Luhrs’s “duties include the coordination of all meals and snacks for all players. In addition, Luhrs instructs players how and what to eat based on their individual goals and nutritional needs. He is heavily involved in player rehydration and weight management programs, along with recovery strategies.”
Luhrs helps some players craft very specific meal plans. He’s more than happy to walk with a player through what he calls the “training table” in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers jerseys dining room at One Buccaneer Place, pointing out exactly what he should put on his plate. Even beyond that, however, everything that is served in that dining room is marked with nutritional information using a “traffic light system.” Green is good, yellow is okay on active days and red should be avoided. If you’re going to eat something that maybe isn’t so great for you, you’re going to do so knowingly.
The top of the depth chart at this position remains unchanged, obviously. The first player in NFL history to pass for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, Jameis Winston is rapidly turning into that “franchise quarterback” for whom the Bucs have long pined. Tampa Bay has steadily improved as a team during Winston’s two years in town, to the point that they only missed the playoffs on a third-level tiebreaker last season. The Buccaneers fate for the foreseeable future is almost surely tied to that of Jameis Winston.