Busy Week For Bucs

What a week it has been for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s not much of a surprising statement, given that the start of free agency always results in a lot of activity around the league. But I wasn’t expecting it to be quite like this.

It all started even before free agency began, when word leaked out that the Bucs were shopping Darrelle Revis. He ended up signing with New England. One year and $16 million later, he’s out of Tampa. That didn’t take long.

So who’s new? They picked up cornerback Alterraun Verner from Tennessee, and defensive end Michael Johnson from Cincinnati.  Verner had five picks for the Titans last season. And two years ago, Johnson had 11 1/2 sacks for the Bengals. Throw in former Seattle defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and it’s clear Lovie Smith and Jason Licht are overhauling just about everything on the defensive side of the ball. A few extra sacks this season would be a nice return on this investment.

There is also a change on the offensive line. Donald Penn is gone, and Anthony Collins is now a Buc. Like Johnson, Collins spent the past few years in Cincinnati.

But the biggest surprise may have come at the quarterback position. Josh McCown signed a two-year, $10 million contract. Signing a QB may not be a shocker. What is surprising, is that Lovie Smith has pretty much named McCown the starter already. So there won’t even be any competition with Mike Glennon? Will the Bucs draft a rookie QB in the draft? Who knows if we’ve heard the last of this quarterback situation.

Photo Courtesy: tbo.com

Bucs Part Ways With Joseph

We have our first indication that the Buccaneers’ offensive line in 2014 is going to look much different from a year ago.

On Saturday, the team released right guard Davin Joseph, a former first-round pick out of Oklahoma.  Joseph spent eight seasons in Tampa, made 99 starts and went to the Pro Bowl twice.  But he missed the entire 2012 season due to a knee injury during the preseason, and never really regained his form.

There is a new GM calling the shots now (Jason Licht) so it was inevitable that we’d see some changes.

This move also clears up some cap space for Tampa Bay, as Joseph was due to earn $6 million next year.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today Sports

The New-Look Bucs

When the Buccaneers unveiled their new helmets recently, it ended up being more of an enhancement of the old look.

Well, now we have our first look at the team’s new uniforms. And they are VERY different. There’s even a little orange mixed in there. In the past 24 hours, I’ve read a lot of comparisons to the uniforms worn by XFL teams, and I think that’s accurate.

For those who do not care for them: if Doug Martin rushes for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns in that outfit, then who cares?

Photos Courtesy: buccaneers.com

Derrick Brooks Part of 2014 Hall of Fame Class

No. 55 is heading to Canton.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks found out Saturday night that he’s one of seven players who’ll be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in just his first year of eligibility.

Brooks was one of the stars of the team’s outstanding defense in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He was a Pro Bowler eleven times. When the Bucs won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, he was AP Defensive Player of the Year. And I will never forget his interception-return for a TD in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal against the Raiders. He had 25 interceptions for Tampa Bay over his 14-year career.

Brooks will join Warren Sapp and the late Lee Roy Selmon as the only Buccaneers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two other Bucs – former linebacker John Lynch and head coach Tony Dungy – did not make it this year. But it’s probably just a matter of time before they do.

Photo Courtesy: buccaneers.com

Bucs Bring Back Lovie Smith as Head Coach

The Buccaneers have a new head coach – and he’s someone very familiar to Tampa Bay fans.

Welcome back to Tampa, Lovie.

Lovie Smith was a defensive assistant assistant under Tony Dungy, so he knows how things used to be in Tampa when the Bucs had a nice run during the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Not only that, he has previous NFL head coaching experience – something Greg Schiano did not have. Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl seven years ago, and was 81-63 in nine seasons in Chicago. In other words, he knows how to win. From a public relations perspective, this is a great move – one that I agree with 100%.  Whether it translates into success on the field remains to be seen.

Lovie’s staff is also starting to come into focus. According to ESPN, former Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier will be the Bucs’ new defensive coordinator, and former Cal coach Jeff Tedford will be running the offense.

We’re still waiting to see who the Glazers will choose to be the new general manager.  That will be the next big move they make.  In the meantime, Smith will be formally introduced at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Photo Courtesy: AP

Bucs Fire Schiano and Dominik

I’d love to sit here and write, “I told you it was coming.” But with the Glazers, you can never tell.

On Monday, “it” did happen. The Buccaneers fired head coach Greg Schiano, who went 4-12 in his second season and 11-21 during his two-year tenure. The axe didn’t stop there; Mark Dominik is also out after five seasons as general manager. During those years, the Bucs were 28-52.

Yes, it was time for a change.

Remember back to last year, when the Bucs were 6-4 after ten games and right in the middle of the playoff hunt? Since then, they’ve gone 5-17. Schiano will be more remembered for incidents like telling his team to rush Eli Manning during a victory formation. Then there was the ugly saga involving former quarterback Josh Freeman. The Bucs got off to an 0-8 start, and never recovered.

Then there’s this: Tampa Bay hasn’t made the playoffs in six years. The Bucs haven’t won a playoff game since they won the Super Bowl.

So who are the potential candidates for the head coaching job? One name I see mentioned a lot online is former Bucs’ assistant coach Lovie Smith, who also has head coaching experience with the Bears. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get the job. But who knows; the Schiano hire came from out of nowhere.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images