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May 23, 2014 @ 7:03 am
Current rating: 3.40 Stars/5 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 5-23

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Why will bigger Bucs CBs like Johnthan Banks and Rashaan Melvin expected to thrive in Lovie Smith's Tampa 2 defense? What can new nickel CB D.J. Moore bring to the Bucs? Will Tampa Bay's new TEs mean less playing time for Tim Wright? Is this the end of the Bucs' 2011 draft class? Get the answers and more insight in this edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1. BIG CORNERBACKS LIKE BANKS SHOULD THRIVE IN TAMPA 2
We know that Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith likes big wide receivers, evidenced by his decision to draft Texas A&M giant Mike Evans and pair him with Vincent Jackson. That gives Tampa Bay two wideouts that stand 6-foot-5 and weigh over 230 pounds.

Smith also likes big cornerbacks, too. In Chicago, Smith had 6-foot-2, 198-pound Pro Bowler Charles Tillman, in addition to Zack Bowman and Shedrick McManis, who each measured 6-foot-1, and close to 195 pounds.

Smith loves the fact that second-year Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks is 6-foot-2, and is intrigued by the skill set of reserve cornerback Rashaan Melvin, a second-year player that is 6-foot-2, 193 pounds.

“We like our corners, Johnthan Banks – all of those guys are really getting better,” Smith said. “Johnthan Banks, you talk about our receivers and the length we have, we need to be able to matchup in our division too; our division got taller. There’s a place for those guys [like] Rashaan Melvin. There’s a place for some of those 6-foot-plus corners in our league.”

Smith is referring to the fact that Carolina used its first-round pick on Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, and also signed 6-foot-5, 220-pound Marcus Lucas out of Missouri after the draft.  New Orleans already had 6-foot-4, 225-pound receiver Marques Colston on the roster and drafted 6-foot-6, 220-pound Brandon Coleman, who played at Rutgers, this year. Atlanta has the best receiver in the division in Pro Bowler Julio Jones, who is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, added Boise State receiver Geraldo Boldewijn, who is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, after the draft.

“When I sat down and met with [the coaching staff] they said I had real good size like Charles Tillman,” Melvin said. “He’s a big, long guy at 6-foot-2. When you have big guys playing corner it puts more stress on the offense. We can cover a lot more ground as taller guys in the secondary.”

Super Bowl champion Seattle, another team that runs a version of the Tampa 2 defense, has adopted Smith’s idea of featuring big cornerbacks and taken to a whole new level. Led by Pro Bowler Richard Sherman, who is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, the Seahawks had six cornerbacks that stood at least 6-foot-1 on last year’s roster.

Here’s a look at Seattle’s enormous cornerbacks from the 2013 Super Bowl squad (Browner has since moved on to New England) from largest to smallest:

6-foot-4, 221-pound Brandon Browner
6-foot-3, 195-pound Richard Sherman
6-foot-2, 220-pound DeShawn Snead
6-foot-2, 202-pound Tharold Simon
6-foot-1, 207-pound Byron Maxwell
6-foot-1, 189-pound Chandler Fenner


The Bucs also added an undrafted free agent cornerback in Virginia-Lynchburg’s Keith Lewis, who checks in at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. The team now has three cornerbacks with very good size to have in the mix on the outside along with 5-foot-10, 187-pound Pro Bowler Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins, a 5-foot-10, 197-pounder.

“Being tall you have to be flexible because you’re not as quick as the 5-foot-9 corners,” Melvin said. “Your steps may be longer and your technique is a little bit different, but there is always room for improvement in my technique, which is new to me. I still have a long way to go.”

Melvin flashed some ability and showed some real promise in training camp last year before his rookie season ended prematurely on injured reserve. However, Banks, who was Tampa Bay’s second-round pick in 2013, had more ups than downs in his rookie campaign and finished the season with 55 tackles, five pass breakups and three interceptions.

His first pick came in the end zone in a 13-10 loss to Arizona, but the Mississippi State star’s second INT was a game-winner in Detroit and came when Bucs safety Kelcie McCray hit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson at the Tampa Bay 5-yard line and knocked the ball loose and into the surprised hands of Banks.

“I think I ended the season on a good note,” Banks said. “I played really good. I think my best game was my last game at New Orleans. I only gave up one pass. I had fun. I learned a lot in my rookie season, I had a lot of ups and downs, and overall I thought I had a pretty decent season.”

Starting alongside former Buccaneer Darrelle Revis, Banks was thrown into the lineup early and got his baptism by fire in a joint practice session with the Patriots in New England when Tom Brady targeted the rookie early and often and picked him apart.

“That was my first ‘holy crap’ moment, when I went out there and it was Tom Brady,” Banks said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s Tom Brady!’ I was kind of star struck going into some of those games, going against Roddy White, Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez, Calvin Johnson and those type of guys. It was exciting, but I got all that behind me. It’s time to go out there and compete and be one of those guys now.”

Banks’ toughest assignment of the year might have come in the second half of Tampa Bay’s 24-21 win at Detroit when he was matched up against Johnson when Revis was injured right before halftime and sidelined for the second half. Johnson had seven catches for 115 yards against Tampa Bay, but only caught half of the passes thrown his way. Banks only gave up two catches to Johnson – a pair of 21-yarders – and was covering him on both occasions in which Matthew Stafford’s passes intended for Megatron were picked off.

“I think that gave me motivation,” Banks said. “If I can go out there and play with Calvin Johnson and hold my own against him, I can play with anybody. That’s probably the best receiver to have played this game. No disrespect to Jerry Rice, but those two guys are two of the better receivers. I’m not going to say that Calvin Johnson is better because Jerry won Super Bowls, but I held my own against Calvin Johnson.

“It just gave me the confidence to know that I can go out there and compete with anybody. I get Round 2 with Calvin this year. It’s going to be fun.”

After playing in more of a man coverage style defense last year under Greg Schiano, Banks is excited to play in Smith’s version of the Tampa 2 defense. Cornerbacks coach Gil Byrd has had Banks watch a lot of Chicago and Tampa Bay footage, and Banks has studied the likes of Tillman, as well as Bucs legends Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly.

“You got to watch a little bit of both of those Tampa guys, they are both different players,” Banks said. “But I’m really just focusing on what we’re doing with this defense there have been a lot of changes to the defense since then.

“I like this new defense a lot. It’s a lot of what I did in college. I’m pretty used to what they are doing. I mean it’s going to be exciting. I was just thinking back to my college days to when I played in this defense and I made a lot of plays in this defense. I’m excited to get out there and compete.”

In college, Banks picked off 16 passes, which is a Mississippi State school record, and returned three for touchdowns. He also had four forced fumbles and had three sacks.

“I had a lot of interceptions in college because they would let me look at the quarterback in our defense,” Banks said. “[Last year] I wasn’t able to look at the quarterback. Now you can see the ball come out. I look forward to get out there competing and making a lot of plays.”

Melvin, who had six career interceptions at Northern Illinois, also likes the fact that the cornerbacks will be watching the quarterbacks eyes more than looking at the receivers in the Tampa 2, which features a lot of zone coverage.

“It’s definitely a different story,” Melvin said. “Last year we had to look at the man a lot more. This year it’s more of a zone scheme where we’re looking back at the quarterback and we’re playing the man through the quarterback. It’s a lot different. You get to see more of the field. You have to open your vision up. You get to see more things as long as you see your man first.”

In the Cover 2 defense, the cornerbacks play the underneath zone nears the sidelines on both sides of the field and can take more chances on making plays on the ball knowing that they have safety help over the top.

“We don’t necessarily gamble, we react to whatever we see,” Melvin said. “It’s always good for cornerbacks to play with their instincts and anticipation. That’s what you make a lot of plays doing. When you see more of the field you are able to anticipate and jump the ball a lot more.”

For Melvin, the pressure is on this big cornerback making a big impression on the coaching staff and making the 53-man roster once again. For Banks, it’s a different pressure. It’s the pressure of keeping his starting job as Jenkins, a six-year veteran, was brought in to compete with him for the right to start opposite Verner.

“I’ve got to pick up where I left off,” Banks said. “I’ve got to get better and better. I’m going to be more comfortable than I was last year coming in with this mini-camp. I’m ready to have fun. I was nervous this time last year. I didn’t really know what I was doing at this time last year. I know how to play this game. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and having some fun.”

With the prospects of covering the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Johnson again when Tampa Bay plays Detroit, as well as Carolina’s 6-foot-5, 240-pound rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin – not to mention the task of covering the Buccaneers’ behemoths in Jackson and Evans on a daily basis in practice – Banks will be in for some big fun, literally.

FAB 2. MOORE BRINGS TAMPA 2 EXPERIENCE TO BUCS’ NICKEL CORNERBACK SPOT
Cornerback Johnthan Banks said that the version of the Tampa 2 the Buccaneers are playing is different from the one first deployed in Tampa Bay by former head coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin in 1996. New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith, who served under Dungy as the team’s linebackers coach from 1996-2000, has made some modifications to the defensive scheme since he took the Tampa 2 and left for St. Louis to become the Rams defensive coordinator in 2001.

Smith continued to tweak the scheme when he became the head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2004, most notably blitzing the middle linebacker more often and playing less Cover 2 than Kiffin did while in Tampa Bay. Now that former Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier, who coached with Dungy in Indianapolis, is running the Tampa 2 as the Bucs defensive coordinator, will the scheme undergo any more changes?

That’s the question I posed to the only Buccaneer to play in the Bears’ version of the Tampa 2, cornerback D.J. Moore, who was a nickel cornerback in Chicago and played for Smith from 2009-12.

“No, it’s the same defense,” Moore said. “It’s the same scheme. Leslie Frazier ran the exact same defense in Minnesota. I don’t know if he used different terminology, though. We’ve only installed Cover 1 and Cover 2 thus far. We’ve kept everything kind of basic. If wrinkles are thrown in they’ll be later once we install more stuff. From what I can tell, it seems like the exact same thing as it was in Chicago.”

Moore spent part of the 2013 season in Carolina, but was cut after only playing in three games due to a knee injury. He’s battling with Leonard Johnson, last year’s starting nickel cornerback, and Deveron Carr for a roster spot and playing time. In four seasons with the Bears, Moore registered 118 tackles, 10 interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and one forced fumble.

To say that Moore, a native of nearby Lakeland, Fla., is excited to reunite with Smith is an understatement.

“I was excited because I got hurt last year and didn’t get picked up [after being released by the Panthers],” Moore said. “For me it’s like this is my last chance to play [in the NFL] I feel. If you can’t do it with your old coach, then who else is going to want you? I’m happy for the opportunity.”

Moore saw firsthand how the nickel cornerback – or slot corner – is differentiated in Smith’s system. Under Kiffin and former head coach Raheem Morris, who ran his version of the Tampa 2, the nickel cornerbacks were taught the same techniques as the outside cornerbacks. When Smith got to Chicago he separated the nickels from the regular corners and had his son, Mikal, coach the nickel cornerbacks independently. In Tampa Bay, Larry Marmie is the team’s designated nickel cornerback coach and works on the different techniques necessary for the defensive backs playing in the slot.

“It is its own position and in today’s NFL, and I would say we play about 70 percent of the plays,” Moore said. “The way Lovie does it, he calls [the nickel cornerback] the 12th starter, so you get to run out of the tunnel. The nickel is a really important position because usually you are out there on third down. You have to know everything the Sam linebacker knows. We do the exact same thing from in the run the running game as far as gap control to covering the slot receiver. That’s why he wants you to be real specific. Some teams just have a third cornerback go in and play a little bit. But when it’s a zone concept and a team defense concept, he wants you to know everything the Sam does. You have that gap.”

Moore has watched a ton of film on Ronde Barber, the man who defined the nickel cornerback position not just in Tampa Bay, but around the NFL. In addition to being the Bucs’ all-time leading interceptor with 47 picks, Barber had a couple of 100-tackles seasons, which speaks to Moore’s point about the nickel cornerback also playing the role of the Sam linebacker on obvious passing downs.

“When I was in Chicago we always watched Ronde’s film,” Moore said. “In Chicago he would always tell stories about him. Lovie also coached [Rams nickel cornerback] Aeneas Williams, but he would tell us how Ronde always ran full speed to the end zone every time he picked a ball off. When you play that position, you know Ronde is the best guy that’s done it.

“We played the Bucs overseas in London [in 2009] and you want to impress a guy like that. I had an interception in that game and you knew he was watching because that was his position. I wondered if I impressed him. I hope I did.”

Moore is hoping to impress Marmie, Frazier and Smith enough that he show he’s recovered from his knee injury from a year ago can make Tampa Bay’s roster and beat out Johnson for the right to be the Bucs’ 12th starter on defense.

FAB 3. DON’T RULE OUT WRIGHT RECEIVING PLENTY OF PLAYING TIME AT TIGHT END
When the Buccaneers signed five-year veteran Brandon Myers this offseason it might have seemed like the team wasn’t happy with Tim Wright, an unheralded wide receiver-turned-tight end that came out of nowhere as a rookie to become the team’s second-leading receiver behind Vincent Jackson last year.

When Tampa Bay spent a second-round draft pick on 6-foot-5, 262-pound tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins a few weeks ago, it must have seemed like Wright had fallen out of favor within the organization and that the team was trying to replace him.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bucs are thrilled with the Rutgers product, and despite having a higher priced veteran on the roster like Myers, who signed a two-year, $4.25-million deal, and a player with a high draft status in Seferian-Jenkins, Wright is very much in the mix for playing time.

“Tim is a guy I should have talked about more because he’s another guy that does something well it seems like every day,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said. “Nowadays, with the emergence of the passing game and you’ve got to be able to pass to win. And this good stuff, the matchup, though – tight end versus safety, tight end versus linebacker – Tim, we have a good matchup with Tim Wright. He of course can do things in-line, but he can split out. He can run all of the passing tree. He’s natural moving out and running routes, too. I’m very pleased with him and all he’s done since Day One. He’s a guy that’s been here every day and we’ve seen him doing that.”

Several teams like New England and Cincinnati have successfully featured two tight ends on offense. In Cincinnati, the Bengals invested a first-round pick on Jermaine Gresham in 2010 and came back in 2013 and spent another first-rounder on rookie Tyler Eifert last year. Gresham had 46 catches for 458 yards and four touchdowns, while Eifert had 39 receptions for 445 yards and two TDs in his NFL debut season.

But no team has had a more successful tight end combination than the Patriots, who paired Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez together from 2010-12. In 2011, Hernandez had 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns, while Gronkowski had 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and an amazing 17 scores.

Wright caught 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns last season, which was better than the 47-catch, 522-yard, four-touchdown campaign Myers had last year in New York. But Myers did have a 79-catch, 806-yard, four-TD year in 2012 while in Oakland, so he has had a better statistical season than Wright has had in his brief NFL career.

“It exceeded my expectations,” Wright said. “I worked very hard and good things come to those wait – work hard and take advantage of the opportunities. I felt that’s what I did. That’s something I worked for. Once I got put into that situation to start I just took advantage of my opportunities.

“I got great confidence from that. All I want to do is pick up where I left off and get better, learn from the guys in our room and learn from other guys around the league.

In three years at Washington, Seferian-Jenkins recorded 146 catches for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns in his Huskies career, including a 69-catch, 852-yard, seven-touchdown season as a sophomore in 2012. While he has the credentials, in addition to an intriguing mix of size and speed, to emerge as a starter in Tampa Bay, he has yet to play a down in the NFL, while Wright spent the 2013 campaign proving he could play in this league. Wright doesn’t feel threatened by the fact that the Bucs added Seferian-Jenkins in the draft.

“I think we can counter off each other and definitely learn from where we’ve all been, the offenses that we’ve been in,” Wright said. “I think we have the players to use it, just looking at our room and the size we have and the attributes that we bring to the table. If they put us in position, we’ll succeed. I’m definitely loving this offense – the versatility and the things that it allows our playmakers to do. We’re put in position to have great success and make big plays.”

Wright has had a great offseason thus far, making a handful of great catch-and-runs in each practice. His ability to quickly separate from defenders and catch the ball cleanly has stood out in Jeff Tedford’s offense, which features two tight ends with great regularity.

With Seferian-Jenkins at 262 pounds and Myers at 252 pounds, Wright is the smallest tight end on the roster, although he has increased his weight since arriving in Tampa Bay last year as a 220-pound wide receiver.

“When you look at your game there are always some areas you could fine tune and get better at,” Wright said. “Putting on some size will help excel with my in-line blocking. I definitely want to put some pounds on. I’m about 235 right now. Getting to 245 would be nice, but the main thing is keeping what you are already good at. I don’t want to jeopardize my speed by adding a few pounds. I want to find an effective weight where I can gain some size and not lose anything.

“I’m in the high 230s, but I don’t know what that will bring me to in camp with the heat out here. But whatever I feel strong at and what the coaches feel comfortable with, that’s what I’ll play at.”

Wright looks noticeably bigger this offseason in the chest and shoulders, but he has mainly been concentrating on his legs to help with his in-line blocking.

“I’ve worked on my lower body,” Wright said. “I feel like I have good enough strength up top. Obviously putting on some mass upper body-wise would help, but lower body is where I need to work. You start with your feet first at that position, so I’m going to definitely work on my lower body.”

In addition to preparing his body for another year of NFL battle, Wright has also sharpened his mind.

“I’m going to dive right into the film and be very critical of watching myself and watching the games and comparing myself to the great tight ends out there and seeing where I have to improve,” Wright said. “Film study is going to be a big part of my game, and identifying my weaknesses and making them strengths.

“I’m watching the greats like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Shannon Sharpe, Vernon Davis does a lot of great stuff. K2 and his dad, the original Kellen Winslow.”

Wright doesn’t have the financial investment in him that Myers has, nor does he have Seferian-Jenkins’ draft status, but he does have improving hands and good speed. And he’s making a very favorable impression on the coaching staff.

Tedford’s offense will feature two tight ends in several different formations, and Wright’s versatility to play the traditional tight end spot as well as being flexed out like a slot receiver will ensure that he will see plenty of playing time alongside Tampa Bay’s other two tight ends this fall.

FAB 4. 2014 IS A BIG YEAR FOR BUCCANEERS’ 2011 DRAFT CLASS
The release of cornerback Anthony Gaitor last week marked the departure of yet another failed Tampa Bay draft pick. Gaitor, a seventh-round pick in 2011, couldn’t stay healthy and didn’t make the most of his opportunities to develop when he wasn’t injured. More importantly, Gaitor was another member of the Bucs’ 2011 draft class that is falling by the wayside in a similar fashion to the team’s draft classes that came before it.

The fact that only one player, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a first-round pick in 2010, remains in Tampa Bay from any Buccaneers draft prior to 2011 is astounding, and a big reason why former general manager Mark Dominik and former director of college scouting Dennis Hickey are no longer with the team.

With a different regime that features a new head coach in Lovie Smith and a new general manager Jason Licht, the 2011 Tampa Bay draft class doesn’t have any allies in the building outside of director of pro personnel Shelton Quarles. Of the 2011 draft class, sixth-round pick Allen Bradford, a running back from USC, and Greg Hardy, a tight end from Idaho, didn’t make the active roster out of training camp the year they were drafted.

The release of Gaitor and safety Ahmad Black, a fifth-round pick in 2011 who was released early during the 2013 season, leaves Tampa Bay with just four players left from that draft class – first-round defensive end Adrian Clayborn, second-round defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, third-round linebacker Mason Foster and fourth-round tight end Luke Stocker.

Of those four players, the oft-injured Stocker seems the next likely to depart. The former Tennessee tight end actually has two fourth-round picks invested in him, as the Bucs traded up in the fourth round in 2011 to get him and gave up the team’s 2012 fourth-rounder to do so.

The emergence of Tim Wright last year, the signing of veteran Brandon Myers this offseason and the drafting of Austin Seferian-Jenkins has pretty much set the Bucs’ depth chart at the tight end. For Stocker, who lacks speed and isn’t much of a receiving threat, to have a chance at making the team he will have to hope another tight end gets injured during training camp for a change while he stays healthy.

Bowers is also not a lock to make the 53-man roster this year. The previous regime thought Bowers, who has also battled a myriad of injuries, didn’t love football and wasn’t willing to max out to make himself better. Despite four years of being in the NFL, Bowers still has a rather soft body and hasn’t made the necessary strides to put himself in position to start at left defensive end.

Last year, the Bucs opted not to re-sign Michael Bennett and anointed Bowers the starter last offseason. Bowers didn’t take the opportunity seriously and showed up to training camp out of shape and lost the starting gig to Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, who was so bad he only notched one sack during the entire year. Yet Bowers couldn’t beat out Te’o-Nesheim and then got passed on the depth chart by rookie Will Gholston, who could be the team’s future starter at left defensive end. Bowers notched just one sack last year and has just 5.5 in his three seasons in Tampa Bay.

Clayborn successfully came back from a torn ACL that cost him much of the 2012 season and recorded 64 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a career-high 19 tackles for loss, which was the second-most on the Bucs defense in 2013. Clayborn’s play last year approached that of his rookie level when he notched 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2011.

However, with the signing of Michael Johnson to play right defensive end, Clayborn must not only battle for a new contract in 2011 as his fifth-year option with the team was not picked up by the team, he must also battle Gholston and Bowers for the right to start. Clayborn’s aggressive style of play and his starting experience give him the edge over Gholston for now, but as the 6-foot-6, 281-pound Michigan State product gets more playing time he – not Clayborn – could be the future starter at left end.

Foster could enter his fourth year as Tampa Bay’s middle linebacker once he fends off newcomer Dane Fletcher for the starting duties again. Outside of Fletcher, who was a reserve in New England, there aren’t any in-house candidates to possibly succeed Foster as the Bucs’ man in the middle of the Tampa 2. That isn’t the case at defensive end as the Bucs have Gholston and Steven Means as additional options under contract past 2014.

It will be interesting to see if Foster and/or Clayborn will be re-signed. Both starters, in addition to Bowers and Stocker, are entering a contract year in 2014. If the Bucs decide to go in different directions at defensive end and middle linebacker after this season, Tampa Bay will have nothing to show for another recent draft class and there won’t be any Buccaneers left from the 2011 draft. That is becoming a disturbing trend – one that both Smith and Licht hope to put an end to.

FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• Do you want to hear a weird Buccaneers statistic? Second-year cornerback Johnthan Banks is only 14 months and 10 days younger than Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner, who is entering his fifth season in the NFL. Verner was born on December 13, 1988 and is 25, while Banks was born on October 3, 1989 and is 24 years old. Yet despite the fact that they are so close in age, Verner has an additional three years worth of experience in the NFL.

 “I was thinking about that,” Banks said. “This guy is going into his fifth year and I’m going into my second? I haven’t been held back in school or anything, and we both came out as seniors … it’s weird.”

• New Buccaneers left tackle Anthony Collins is one of three former Bengals that were signed in free agency. He loves the fact that a player he’s squared off against for years in Cincinnati, defensive end Michael Johnson, will continue their practice battles in Tampa Bay.

“We made each other better,” Collins said. “We got each other to another spot. Now it’s going to continue to be great work.”

Collins also had high praise for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who started his NFL career in Cincinnati, but played last year in Seattle where he recorded 5.5 sacks as a backup to nose tackle Brandon Mebane.

“He’s tough,” Collins said of McDonald. “He’s rock solid. He works hard. He’s going to give you everything. Bringing that Super Bowl ring here helps us a lot. Our D-line, our defense is going to be strong. I can’t wait to see them play.”

Collins also can’t wait to see the Bengals again, and will get that opportunity to play his old team on November 30 in Tampa Bay.

“Most definitely,” Collins said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun – me and Mike and Clinton. We have a lot to prove still – with chips on our shoulders. That was my home for six years. I can’t wait for them to come down to this humid heat.”

• Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown has been incredibly impressed with Mike Glennon’s intelligence and how quickly he processes information. Glennon learned the Bucs’ new playbook at the same rate as McCown, a 12-year NFL veteran, did.

“He asks questions all the time,” McCown said. “He loves the game and wants to get better. That’s all you can ask from a young player. It’s impressive to have a guy like that around. I’ve enjoyed every day coming to work with the guy.”

While McCown has already been tabbed the starter for the 2014 season by head coach Lovie Smith due to his experience, the veteran revealed that he is being pushed by Glennon and is taking nothing for granted as the team prepares for training camp.

“Absolutely,” McCown said. “He lines up and makes throws and makes plays. It’s exactly what you want from your position groups – guys pushing and pulling. The old guys, or the starters, are pulling the young guys along, and those guys pushing the older guys. It’s a good relationship with us. Our ultimate goal is to make our team better.”

• April 15 came and went, but that doesn’t mean that tax season is over for everybody. If you are struggling with your corporate or individual taxes and have problems with the IRS, call my friend and long-time PewterReport.com partner Gil Munoz of Munoz & Company. Gil is a certified public accountant and has decades of resolving IRS problems and coming to the rescue of his clients – both corporate and individual.  I encourage you to visit his new website www.gjm-cpa.com and download his FREE monthly Taxing Times pamphlet or give Gil a call at 1-888-856-1688 to set up a free consultation. Tell him that PewterReport.com sent you.

Last modified on Friday, 23 May 2014 08:15
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    I love Fab1. I can't count the number of times I have read SR & especially CC (No longer here) rave about how great this 5'10 CB is. Drove me nuts. It's not just the Seahawks that run big corners in zone coverage. Arizona being a big exception, lots of teams do it. Welcome to the modern age of football Bucs' fans. I do feel that Ronde's spirit lives on in the Nickle Corner Coach. The skill set & diversity of defensive calls--what a fun position that must be to play. As far as Foster goes, (the idea that he's not going to make the active roster??) that's coo-coo talk. That guy is a hard working, football loving, football player. He's not going anywhere. He's suffered through Ra Ra, and Sch-IDK. With solid coaching and a solid scheme he will thrive. Is he a better SAM than a MIKE? Probably. Still a good football player.
  • avatar


    Is there an explanation for the Verner - Banks? Did Verner jump some years in HS? Moore's game vs. The Bucs in London was the 2011 Bears game. 2009 was the Patriots embarrassment.
  • avatar


    @BucWild02: Agreed. It finally feels like the Bucs will have some REAL threats at WR & RB. IMO, the QB position will be just fine. It will be critical for these coaches to work with the O-line on their communication & aggressiveness. From what I see so far, we have the right coaches to do just that...as well as players who want to listen & learn. ON PAPER, the defense appears to be far better than last year.To sum up, this may be the most exciting season for us fans for many years.
  • avatar

    Talk about a passing attack! V.Jax, Evans, ASJ, Wright, and RB Sims in at the same time. That gives the Bucs a great size advantage. Plus everyone is a threat to catch the ball. Even with Myers in for Wright/ASJ and Martin in at RB, you won't know who to key on. I just hope the offensive line will hold up.
  • avatar


    Good Article Scott; I enjoyed it. I am confident that we will have a competitive team. I am not sure how much that translates into wins. We have made a lot of mistakes in player selections based on play schemes and poor coaching made it worse. We are behind the eight ball, but I hope this time the ship has a rudder and someone is at the wheel and knows where they are going. How many times have I said that these past few year. Go Bucs!
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    Good stuff Scott. For the first time since Jon Gruden (the president of the FFCA not the Az poster) was shown the exit, I feel like the team is being guided by a coaching staff that actually knows what to do to win in this league and is confident in their plan. I'm looking forward to training camp and the pre-season games. It has got to be a better showing than a year ago. Hopefully there will be some buzz and excitement generated by what we fans see and read instead of the "ho" followed by "hum" apathy that been prevalent since Chucky prowled the sidelines. Maybe the season ticket holders will be inclined to actually go to the games instead of selling their tickets to the enemy and subjecting Scubog to "Who Dat?", "Who Dey?" and the dreaded "Go Pack Go" chants.
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    I wonder if PR realizes that it's been almost 6 months since the last issue. -_-
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    hopefully all the people now know domindork ruined this team and to think people at pr would defend him this guy sucked from the get go
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    Last year Sapp would say, I don't know what defense they're running over there in Tampa, but it ain't the Tampa 2. Nice to know we have a real coaching staff, with a real plan. If our D can play as well as Lovie's Bears did, we're in for a lot of ten win seasons.
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    WOW, This SR's FAB 5 was some great reading. I t actually got my blood boiling I am so looking forward to the new season. I am more of a offensive guy but some of the points made really got me going. I think H.C. Lovie is on to something here. I was happy when the BUCS hired Lovie I knew it was time for a change but he really knows what he is doing. He picked all the right coach's and for a defensive minded coach he really put together a good talented offense. Now we just have to sit back and watch this team gel together. If this group of players play as a unit the sky is the limit. And the thing that really gets me is that I don't think Lovie is finished I think there are a couple of players out there that coach want's to get. There is still some moneys left in the bank to improve this team.Of cause we know some players need to go but there is ALWAYS room for improvement. " GO BUCCANEERS "
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    Glad to see we could have another Fab5 free of any godstuff.
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    My 1st thought when the Bucs select ASJ in the Draft was, are the Bucs planning on using Wright as a Slot WR on designated plays? It would appear so. I remember talking to SR in a early camp practice last year. I asked Scott who #81 was because he was making catches from Glennon all over the practice field. I think Scott quipped that he was one of Schiano's Rutgers boys and he was going to make the 53 man roster. The more practice I went to, the more I started believing what Scott said. All the talk about this offense is getting me awfully excited.
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    No doubt that Dom did leave the roster thin. Looks like Bowers is going to be another 2nd round bust.
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    As usual, great information, Scott! I sure wish the Bucs would go ahead and cut Stocker right now and give his spot to another Offensive Line Hopeful. If one of our top TEs gets hurt, we could hire TEs off the street better than Stocker, who is a bust and a half! I also wish the Bucs could have given a one year prove it contract to Bowers with big conditions in the contract such as he gets no money if he doesn't show up with himself in top shape for football, and then give him bonuses for sacks, tackles behind the line of scrimmage and even hurries. He has a ton of talent but keeps shooting himself in the foot. Perhaps the Defensive Line Coach can get in his head this year and turn him around. I don't think anyone can beat our Gholston once he gets to start at LDE. Not so sure he won't out produce Johnson when he gets more reps. Also good to hear how tough McDonald is. I am hoping he has a real breakout year. I am feeling real good about our Defensive Line.
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    Great article, thanks! Just one error in your math... Banks is 9 months 21 days younger than Verner, not 14 months/10 days. Which just makes the difference in NFL experience even more stark.
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    Great read SR. I hope Banks performs better. I like reading that he acknowledges that he had an up and down rookie season. Five passes defensed when you play across from Revis in a defense that plays a lot of man coverage is not good. I'm not a size guy when it comes to CB's. I don't care if you're 6'3" or 5'8" like Tim Jennings. Can you play or not? Can you stop WR's from catching passes or not? Can you use your instincts to pick off passes and take the correct angle to make tackles or not? I hope Banks plays better this year because nobody wants to see another 2nd round pick flame out.
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    Great read, Scott. Very reassuring to hear positive things about our young Bucs. Would love your assessment of our O-Line strengths and weaknesses, where they need to go from here! I would also like to peek behind the curtain of Tedford's offense. Kind of a well-kept secret now, but would love to hear your take! Have a good Memorial Day weekend!
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    SR good read.///fab4- dead on. Throw in lousy choices in coaches, and you can see how Dominik killed the Bucs during his tenure.
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