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June 13, 2014 @ 9:21 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/5 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 6-13

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Does Hardy Nickerson think Lavonte David has Derrick Brooks-type qualities? Will David continue to blitz in the Tampa 2 defense? Which Bucs backups starred during the offseason? Why is Tony Dungy coming around One Buc Place so often? Get the answers to these questions and more 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. NICKERSON SEES AN AWFUL LOT OF BROOKS IN DAVID

While Hardy Nickerson is clearly the best middle linebacker to ever play for the Buccaneers, he’s only the second-best linebacker in Tampa Bay history. The best linebacker – and greatest Buccaneer of all-time – is Derrick Brooks.

While some may argue that defensive end Lee Roy Selmon or defensive tackle Warren Sapp – both Hall of Famers – deserve that distinction instead of Brooks, his list accomplishments suggest differently.

Selmon, who played in Tampa Bay from 1976-84, was a six-time Pro Bowler and a three-time first-time All-Pro, in addition to being named the 1979 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team and a Co-MVP of the 1981 Pro Bowl. Selmon is also the Bucs’ all-time leading sacker with 78.5 sacks and was the first member inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor in 2009, which was two years prior to his death from a massive stroke. He was the first Buccaneer enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

Sapp, who played for the Bucs from 1995-2003, was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a four-time first-team All-Pro selection. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999 after a 16.5-sack season, and is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and the 2000s. Sapp, a Super Bowl champion, is the second-leading sacker in Tampa Bay history with 77 sacks and was inducted into the Bucs’ Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brooks, who played in Tampa Bay from 1995-2008, was an 11-time Pro Bowler and a five-time first-team Pro Bowler – both franchise records. The Florida State product also won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, which was the same year he became a Super Bowl champion, and the Walter Payton Man of the Year honors in 2000. Brooks was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s and was the Pro Bowl MVP in 2005. Brooks will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August and will also be the latest member of the Bucs’ Ring of Honor later this year. In addition to being the team’s leading tackler with 2,198 stops, Brooks set the records for most games started (221) and played (224) until cornerback Ronde Barber broke them in 2012.

But as great as Brooks was, linebacker Lavonte David is on pace to possibly stake claim as the greatest Buccaneer of all-time if he can stay injury free over the next decade and remain in Tampa Bay. Of course those are big ifs, but David, who became an All-Pro performer for the first time in his career in 2013, has the talent and production to become a legendary player over time. In fact, David has clearly outperformed Brooks when comparing the players’ first two NFL seasons.

Brooks’ 1995-96 Seasons
• 212 tackles
• 5 tackles for loss in 1996 (no tackles for loss reported in 1995)
• 16 passes broken up
• 3 forced fumbles
• 1 sack
• 1 interception

David’s 2012-13 Seasons
• 284 tackles
• 39 tackles for loss
• 1 safety
• 14 passes broken up
• 2 forced fumbles
• 1 fumble recovery
• 8 sacks
• 6 interceptions

In his first two years in the league David has recorded 72 more tackles than Brooks did over that span, in addition to 34 more tackles for loss, seven more sacks, five more picks and a safety. Despite the awesome production, Nickerson, David’s new position coach, isn’t ready to place him in Brooks’ class yet, likely out of respect for the fact that he played alongside him from 1995-99. But Nickerson admits that David’s play resembles that of the legendary No. 55.

“I absolutely see it,” Nickerson said. “You see flashes. When you’re watching film, 54 shows up an awful lot. Just like 55. He’s a great player. He’s got a lot of great things ahead of him.”

David’s teammate, two-time Bucs Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, an avid fan of comic book superheroes, might believe that the team’s weakside linebacker has special powers with the way he performs on the field.

“I called him ‘The Flash’ last year,” McCoy said late last year. “I know you all remember me calling this guy [The Flash]. I didn’t know who this guy was – just some rookie we drafted – but this guy is lighting fast. And his instincts, last year, you guys asked how he did on opening day and how poised he was with his composure. He was just so calm, cool and collected. He picked up the defense so quick. Well this year, now his talent is just taking over. Now he knows the game. Now he’s just being who he is. His speed is ridiculous. And for him to be in the low 200s – I don’t know how much he weighs – and hit people the way he does, he’s just all over the field.  He’s a ball hawk. He’s got five picks and six sacks. Whether you’re coming free or not on the sack, you’ve got to be fast enough to get there. You have to be in the right spot. That guy is so overly talented, it’s ridiculous.”

Nickerson has liked what he’s seen thus far on tape and in OTAs from David, who will be playing Brooks’ role in the new Tampa 2 scheme, and can’t wait until the regular season.

“He’s a very good football player,” Nickerson said. “He’s explosive. He closes on ballcarriers really well in the open field. He can cover anybody. He’s a dynamic player. He’s a great young man. I’m looking forward to getting on the field and working with him.”

David is thrilled to be working with a Buccaneers legend as his position coach.

“It’s amazing,” David said. “He always has a smile on his face. He’s always getting guys amped up. He always has this adrenaline, like he wishes he was out there, and when you see that as your coach it kind of raises your level. You want to put a smile on his face the way he coaches us and the way that he teaches us.”

David, who has already enjoyed some early individual success in the NFL, said that Nickerson has already given him some great career advice.

“Never get complacent,” David said. “Take it one day at a time. Everyday you can always learn something new. It’s a great privilege for us [learning from Nickerson].”

I remember watching the on-field and off-field relationship between Sapp and Brooks develop when I first started covering the team in the 1990s and I see parallels between that pairing and the dynamic duo of McCoy and David. The two-time Pro Bowler from Oklahoma calls David his “little brother” and the on-field and off-field relationship between the next generation under tackle and the weakside linebacker seems like a blast from the past.

FAB 2. DAVID NEEDS TO CONTINUE TO BLITZ IN SMITH’S TAMPA 2 DEFENSE
Former Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin preferred to use the 4.5 speed and athleticism of legendary linebacker Derrick Brooks in coverage taking away opponents’ running backs and tight ends rather than send him on quarterback blitzes. Brooks had an astounding 26 career interceptions, including one in Super Bowl XXXVII that he returned for a pivotal touchdown, but only had 13.5 sacks in his 14-year career in Tampa Bay.

The Bucs are fortunate to have a weakside linebacker in Lavonte David that has the speed, athleticism and instincts that rival those of Brooks. Under former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, David’s 4.5 speed was utilized both in coverage, evidenced by his 14 pass breakups and six interceptions, and on blitzes as he racked up eight sacks in his first two NFL seasons.

There may be some concerns that David’s pass-rushing talents won’t be put to use in Lovie Smith’s version of the Tampa 2 and that he will be asked to almost exclusively drop into coverage the way Brooks was under Kiffin. Smith used Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs in a similar manner in Chicago’s version of the Tampa 2 defense.

Briggs had 71 pass breakups and 14 interceptions, but just 12 sacks playing for Smith from 2004-12, and didn’t have a year with more than three QB captures. Briggs had great production with 13 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and five defensive touchdowns while mostly dropping into coverage.

David undoubtedly could put up similar numbers against the pass as he has already shown a knack for coverage and picking off passes. But on a team that has struggled in getting to the passer in recent years despite the emergence of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier would be foolish to not use David’s pass-rushing abilities on a few well-timed blitzes per game and break away from the tradition of the weakside linebacker typically running away from the QB rather than towards him.

Regardless of how he’s used, David is an ideal fit for the Tampa 2 defense because like Brooks, he has the speed and athleticism to do it all.

“If you look at all our linebackers, there is a prototype: [be] athletic and run,” Smith said. “They don’t have to be 250 pounds. We’re not looking for those iso linebackers. We want guys that can play in space.

“Lavonte David … I’m amazed at how little publicity he gets as a linebacker. I shouldn’t say little. He was voted All Pro, so that’s not a little. But he’s an outstanding player that doesn’t do a whole lot of talking. He’s in the facility every day it seems like just working hard and he’s excited to work with Hardy Nickerson.

Whatever he ends up doing on Sundays, whether it’s blitzing, racking up 12 tackles in run support or getting that long-awaited pick-six opportunity in pass coverage, David will excel in the Tampa 2 defense just like he has in the first two years of Schiano’s defense and just like Brooks did in the Tampa 2 playing for Smith and another former Bucs linebackers coach, Joe Barry, back in the 1990s and 2000s.

“You couldn’t ask to be in a better defense for a linebacker,” Nickerson said. “In my opinion, this is the best defense to be in as a linebacker. Lavonte fits it really, really well.”

FAB 3. THESE BUCCANEERS BACKUPS ARE ON THE RISE
After watching nearly a dozen mini-camp and OTA practices at One Buccaneer Place this offseason, here are a couple of behind-the-scenes players that have caught my eye and created a buzz with the Buccaneers coaches and scouts. These seven players have created some momentum for themselves heading into training camp and have put themselves into early contention for roster spots.

TE Tim Wright
No other Buccaneers offensive player has stood out more consistently in practice than Wright, who was the team’s starting tight end as a rookie in 2013. Second-round draft pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins is currently nicked up with a foot injury and missed the mandatory mini-camp due to an archaic NFL rule not allowing players from Pac-12 schools to attend NFL OTAs and mini-camps until those respective schools hold graduation ceremonies, which are typically several weeks later than other colleges around the country. The former Washington standout is behind in the learning curve due to that rule and Wright has taken full advantage of extra reps to really impress the coaching staff.

“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 the matchup, though: tight end versus safety, tight end versus linebacker – with 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.”

Wright routinely beats Bucs linebackers and safeties in 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills, and the only player that can even come close to hanging with the fast tight end is All Pro Lavonte David. Wright has improved his route-running and will see a good deal of playing time this year despite the acquisition of Seferian-Jenkins in the draft and veteran Brandon Myers in free agency.

RB Jeff Demps
As expected, Demps, who has world-class speed, has excelled in non-contact environments like the Bucs OTAs and mini-camps. If you were drafting a player to play tag or flag football, you would start with Demps, who has juked several Tampa Bay defenders this offseason into silliness this offseason. The question is how effective Demps can be once the pads come on and can the 5-foot-7, 190-pound back stay healthy and withstand the punishment every Sunday in the fall. But his speed and receiving ability have certainly made a huge impression on the coaching staff this spring and summer.

“He is definitely the fastest guy in the NFL and you see that quickness,” Smith said. “We have to find a way to use that speed. He has good hands.

“There are some things you can do with a guy like that, whether it be with returns or – it’s on us now to find some ways to use him. He’s been here every day and I saw a lot good things from him.”

Demps will be used a lot in the passing game out of the backfield and as a slot receiver more than as a running back taking handoffs. This guy is a real weapon and should make the team along with Doug Martin, Charles Sims and either Bobby Rainey or Mike James. Look for Demps to be in the mix for Tampa Bay’s kick return job, and he’s been practicing fielding punts this offseason, too. That special teams value should secure his roster spot.

WR Chris Owusu
The Bucs have been developing Owusu behind the scenes for two years now and he was making serious strides in the 2013 training camp before having a key fumbled punt and two big drops in the preseason opener against Baltimore. That bad performance and the fact that he sustained an injury buried him on the depth chart last year. But Owusu has had a strong start to 2014 and armed with a 6-foot, 196-pound frame and 4.36 speed, he’s put himself into early contention for a roster spot as both a slot receiver and a wide receiver.

“Chris Owusu, he’s been pretty good from Day One,” Smith said. “He’s a guy that’s been around here, all of the players have been around, but he’s one that’s caught my attention from the first mini-camp all the way through. I hate to point out guys this early in camp. We’re running around in underwear right now, you can’t see an awful lot from that, but when you talk receivers you can at least go on the guys that are catching the ball and running good routes and all of that.”

Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Louis Murphy are locks to make the team, and that leaves an opening for two or three more receivers. Competition is pretty tough with Lavelle Hawkins, Robert Herron, Solomon Patton, Eric Page, Tommy Streeter and Skye Dawson also in contention, but Owusu has made an outstanding first impression on the new coaches with his consistent playmaking ability.

G Patrick Omameh
Omameh was signed from San Francisco's practice squad midway through last season, which may have the deepest group of talented guards in the NFL. Tampa Bay likes Omameh’s strength, athleticism, business-like attitude and nasty demeanor. The release of Davin Joseph and the uncertainty surrounding the return of Carl Nicks has created two vacancies at the guard position in Tampa Bay. Omameh has earned the chance to start at both left and right guard at times this offseason and those opportunities will continue into training camp.

“For him to be working with the group, tells you what we think of him and what he’s done right now,” Smith said. “I think he’ll be in the mix. I’m anxious to see, but for a lineman – if we talk about some of the wide receivers, some of the DBs, you can probably go a little bit more on what you’ve seen so far – but for a lineman it’s really about some technique without anyone on the other side and you can only get so much from that. We like where he is, he’s done everything, I’m excited about the prospects of him being a good lineman for us, but we need to get to training camp.”

There aren’t any frontrunners for the guard spots in Tampa Bay right now as Omameh, Jamon Meredith, Oniel Cousins and rookie Kadeem Edwards have all spent time with the starting unit this offseason. That’s not a knock on the fact that no one has stood out. Conversely, it’s an indication that the Bucs may have a talented – albeit unheralded – mix of talent at the guard position.

CBs Danny Gorrer and Rashaan Melvin
Both Gorrer and Melvin came on strong during the OTAs and mandatory mini-camp, drawing praise from their position coaches as well as Smith. The 6-foot, 180-pound Gorrer has cross-trained at both cornerback and nickel corner and shown he can play both. Gorrer has taken advantage of injuries to both D.J. Moore and Leonard Johnson and broken up passes and snared interceptions inside covering slot receivers. The 6-foot-2 Melvin has shown increased confidence in his playmaking ability and tighter coverage and interceptions have been the result.

“It’s been healthy competition; it’s been good for our team,” Smith said. “Danny Gorrer, he’s fighting for a spot. Rashaan, he’s fighting for a spot, we’ve got some depth at corner and it’ll all shake itself out once we get to training camp, we get the pads on and get through the preseason, but right now it’s been very heated and very good for our team.”

The Bucs will likely keep four cornerbacks and two nickels, and Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks and Michael Jenkins appear to be locks. That means there are three more roster spots to go and that Gorrer and Melvin are in contention with Moore, Johnson, Deveron Carr, Keith Lewis and Quinton Porter, who has also flashed in practice. Tampa Bay likes big cornerbacks, and Melvin’s size is an advantage, while Gorrer’s mix of size and speed, in addition to his versatility increases his chances of making the team.

DE Steven Means
A banner rookie class in 2013 played a big role in helping the Buccaneers on the field last year. From Banks to quarterback Mike Glennon to defensive linemen Akeem Spence and Will Gholston to running back Mike James and Wright, an undrafted free agent, nearly every rookie earned playing time and made some sort of an impact – except for defensive end Steven Means. Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick rarely saw the field as the step up in tempo and competition seemed to get the best of the Buffalo product during his rookie season. But a renewed spirit of vigor and an improved work ethic have him currently running as the backup to Michael Johnson at right defensive end.

“If you just look at size, speed, long arms, you notice him on the hoof a little bit. He’s that prototype guy that we’re playing with, with that speed,” Smith said. “He’s not the biggest guy around. We don’t care about really, so much size, but want to have a lot of fast guys that can come off the edge and rush the passer. He’s been here working extremely hard, but again like I said, we were talking early about some of offensive lineman; we’re just getting the guys all in position right now. We have excellent defensive line coaches in Joe Cullen and Mike Phair working with the guys, but I can’t wait of course to see those guys go against them. Our one-on-one battles offensive versus defensive lines should be something to see.”

While Means’ work ethic has gone up, the same can’t be said of that of Da’Quan Bowers, who just seems disinterested at times during practice. Bowers is still out of playing shape, which is inexcusable for a fourth-year player entering a contract year, and Means has put himself in great position to take advantage of that. With Johnson, Adrian Clayborn and William Gholston locks to make the team, Means is in contention for the fourth defensive end spot on the depth chart, and appears to have the early edge over Bowers, Chaz Sutton, Scott Solomon and newcomer Ronald Talley heading into training camp.

FAB 4. THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING YOUR KIDS TO A BUCS GAME
I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and granddads out there. We have a 97 percent male audience, as you could imagine, so this Sunday will be a big day for a lot of you, and I hope you enjoy some quality rest and relaxation with your family.

I lost my stepfather, Jim Dunleavy, to cancer two years ago just a day before the 2012 NFL Draft, and I dedicate this SR’s Fab 5 column to him and to my mother, Judy, who had 32 wonderful years of marriage with Jim.

Unlike most men, I didn’t get my love of football from my father or my stepfather. It came from my mother, who grew up a Washington Redskins fan, became a Kansas City Chiefs fan once we moved to Overland Park, Kan. and then a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan when she moved to Lakeland, Fla. in 1996. Although Jim wasn’t as into football as my mother and I, he always made sure to take us to one Chiefs game every fall from the time I was in elementary school through high school. Attending those Chiefs games fueled my fire when it came to my love of football and played a huge role in me choosing in this profession and covering Buccaneers football for nearly 20 years.

I know that Bucs ticket prices are high. I know that the economy is still feeling the grips of a recession. I know that the stadium gets super hot – even into November sometimes – and watching games at home on 60-inch TV screens in air conditioning and drinking reasonably priced beer instead of paying $10 for one beer at the stadium seems much more enjoyable than seeing live football and paying through the nose to do so.

But dads and granddads, I encourage you to buy some tickets for a Bucs game this year and take your kids. I don’t get any commission or credit with the Bucs for saying this, nor do I want to be a shill for the team. I’m just saying there is something about a kid seeing a live football game and being part of the roar of the crowd that can work wonders within a child.

I remember the days of my mom, my stepdad and I watching Chiefs linebacker Derrick Brooks sack opposing quarterbacks and running back Christian Okoye ramble and rumble for 100 yards in many a Chiefs win. I remember seeing NFL legends like Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen and John Elway in person.

Attending those Chiefs games with my family made an impact on me. It made me want to play high school football. It made me want to intern in the sports information department at Kansas State and work with the Wildcats football team. It made me want to intern at Buccaneer Magazine in the summer of 1994 and it made me want to move to Tampa in 1995 after I graduated and begin a career that would last for two decades and allow me the privilege of serving as your personal conduit for news and inside scoop on your favorite team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I know that Tampa Bay home games have largely been a bummer for fans over the last couple of years under Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano. Wins have been hard to come by and it stinks paying $500 to take your family to a game in which the Bucs get crushed or lose a heartbreaker at the end.

But I really do think that’s about to change under new head coach Lovie Smith. There have been fleeting instances of optimism in the past with the arrival of players like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Darrelle Revis and others in past offseasons, but there is a sense of legitimacy around One Buccaneer Place now with the new regime.

Former Bucs legendary coach Tony Dungy senses it, too. After staying away from One Buccaneer Place since the day he was fired in 2001, Dungy has already been to a couple of practices this summer to see Smith, his good friend and former pupil, and he’s fired up about this team. This a Bucs team worth rooting for and they need a homefield advantage to win games in the rugged NFC South division. When the Bucs are playing good, winning football there is nothing like the electricity at Raymond James Stadium with 65,000 Tampa Bay fans in attendance.

Dads, tell your wives that what you want to do for Father’s Day is take the family to one Bucs game in the fall. Pick a game on the schedule and go for it. But don’t do it for yourselves, dads. Do it for your kids.

Who knows? Doing so may turn one of them into a future Pewter Reporter like me.

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

• I was digging through my notes for some quotes I had about Bucs linebacker Lavonte David and this one from former Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis stood out. Revis, a four-time Pro Bowler, doesn’t dish out heavy praise lightly, and I wanted to share this with you.

“I think he’s the best linebacker in the league,” said Revis of David. “There are some guys – no disrespect to Patrick Willis and a number of guys that have been playing for a long time, but he’s on my team – when you pop on the film and watch our defense, Lavonte David is everywhere on the field. From sideline to sideline, in the run defense, he’s there. In the pass defense, he’s there. Is he leading us in interceptions? Yeah. So maybe we might move him to safety or something. He’s everywhere, he’s flying around on the field. He was one of the first guys I saw and got excited about when I first came down here in April.”

Trust me, defensive backs don’t like to see linebackers lead the team in interceptions. Picking off passes is their job, but David is the most complete linebacker the Bucs have had since the legendary Derrick Brooks roamed Raymond James Stadium, and David may be the most complete linebacker currently in the NFL, too.

• I haven’t been as optimistic about the return of guard Carl Nicks as others have this offseason. League sources tell me that after two surgeries on his big toe, which was infected with MRSA, he’s having a hard time coming back. That information has me pessimistic about his return despite the rhetoric from Nicks about his own timetable in being ready for training camp.

Still, new Tampa Bay left tackle Anthony Collins is excited about the prospects of playing with Nicks should he return to the field this summer.

“We have to get him back on the field,” Collins said. “He has to get back on the field. Until then I’m playing with the guys next to me. I would love to play with a Pro Bowler. That makes it very easy playing with a big boy like that.”

I’ll remind you that Davin Joseph returned to action last year after missing 2012 with a devastating knee injury and started all 16 games at right guard. Yet he was a shell of his former self. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nicks comes back the same way, unfortunately.

And if Nicks does come back healthy, I’m not terribly sure the 360-pound left guard is in optimal shape for the tempo with which the Bucs offensive line will be playing at this year. Tampa Bay could certainly use a Pro Bowl performer at left guard, but I have my doubts about Nicks’ return. We’ll see.

• The Buccaneers plan on taking a page out of Seattle’s defense at times and rushing the passer with three defensive ends on obvious passing downs this year. Expect to see defensive ends Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn on the outside with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end William Gholston on the inside. Tampa Bay did that to a degree last year by moving Gholston inside as a nickel rusher and having Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers on the outside.

Gholston recorded his first sack, which came in the final minutes of the team’s win over Miami, from the defensive tackle position, but having Johnson on the field instead of Bowers this year should make Tampa Bay’s nickel rush package even more potent. In fact, don't be surprised if Bowers doesn't even make Tampa Bay's 53-man roster this year.

• It’s been great to see former Tampa Bay legendary coach Tony Dungy around One Buccaneer Place watching practices with his friend and former linebackers coach Lovie Smith. Dungy also had Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier on his staff in Indianapolis serving in the same capacity. Expect to see more of Dungy at Bucs training camp as the NBC Sports commentator still lives in the Tampa area.

“I think it’s documented on what Tony means to me and what he has done for a lot of us,” Smith said. “Leslie, a lot of the guys around here, when you have a mentor like that and a football mind like that, why wouldn’t you want him to be around as much as possible?

“When I first got here, it went without saying. ‘Tony, we want you around here as much as possible. Show up. You don’t have to tell us you’re coming, just show up and get that football fix that I think all coaches need when they’re away from it.’ It’s good for him to come out and give a few pointers here and there. A lot of the players come up to Tony and start talking to him. [Cornerback] D.J. Moore was picking Tony’s brain. It’s special for our guys to have a guy like that around.”
 
• And finally, more details about our pre-training camp Pewter Report get-together at Keel & Curley Winery, the official winery of PewterReport.com, just off of Interstate 4 west Plant City, Fla. The event will take place on Saturday, July 19 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. and you will need to make reservations. Look for a front-page story announcement on PewterReport.com on Saturday for more details on how to RSVP.

The PewterReport.com editorial staff, including yours truly and editor-in-chief Mark Cook, will be on hand to answer any Bucs-related questions, in addition to a Q & A session with Tampa Bay tight end Tim Wright, who will be available to take pictures and sign autographs.

We will have special pricing for PewterReport.com visitors who attend to partake in some wine or beer drinking. You will be able to take a group tour of the Keel & Curley Winery and do a wine tasting of some of the most delicious wines you’ve ever tasted for just $5. That’s half off for PewterReport.com fans, and it’s a great activity to do with your significant other.

If wine is not your beverage of choice, Keel & Curley is also home to Two Henrys Brewing Company, so there is plenty of beer to sample and drink, too, amid all of the Bucs knowledge that will be flowing. I highly recommend The Standard chocolate stout. Pints of beer will be on sale that day to PewterReport.com visitors for just $5. Stay tuned to the front page of PewterReport.com on Saturday for more details on this July event.

Before I let you go, please help out our good friends and business partners, Keel & Curley Winery, by signing this petition to help them save their wine-tasting room. It will only take two minutes of your time and I would greatly appreciate it.

The Keel family is absolutely great and has been a real asset to the Plant City community for well over a decade with their blueberry farm and winery. Thank you in advance for helping with the petition and feel free to share the link with others.

Last modified on Friday, 13 June 2014 11:56
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Scott, pay no attention to Deacon Blues, I thoroughly enjoyed the article as most people I'm sure. I grew up without a father, but my oldest brother is 14 years older than I, and in 1977, he took me to my first Bucs game, which was the last game of the year against the St. Louis Cardinals, (our first ever home win). The experience is so etched in stone with me, I was hooked from that day forward, I even became a bit obsessive/compulsive for the team through the years, but that's ok, it's my home team, it's an honest hobby/passion of mine and we are so lucky to be 1 of 32 cities in the world to have one. I love your writing and take on our Bucs, I'd say you're one of the best writers in this area, if not thee best! I remember (late 80's early 90's) receiving "The Buccaneer" in the mail every week, it was a massive newspaper style magazine, but it came after each game, but it didn't matter, I couldn't get enough on the Bucs, and so I've witnessed you grow in your career and am glad you chose to report on this team, no one does it better, just look how far this publication and ultimately website has come. I don't care if you sandbag stories for future articles or not, they're all well thought out and very relevant in my opinion!!
  • avatar


    Thanks Iabucfan! The same goes for you!
  • avatar

    Thank you!
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    The Fab 4 brought back some memories for me. I have two daughters who were 6 and 7 years old in 1976 when we got the Buccaneers. I dressed them up in orange outfits and took them to several events and a few games. Now in their mid-40's, both are still Bucs fans and sports fans in general. Our son came along a few years later. Took him to some practices and his first game when he was 8 years old. He thought the coolest part of the game was sitting in the rain. He ate a sno-cone that upset his stomach and asked if we could go home in the 3rd quarter. I told him we never leave before the game is over to which he replied, "what if I get really sick?". I told him he's not going to die from blue syrup. He then countered with, "what if I did die here?". I told him his body wouldn't start to stink until the game was over so we would stay. Now 26, he goes to every game with me and has never asked to leave early. Is subjecting him to staying and absorbing the barbs of the victorious opponent's fans considered child abuse?
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    I enjoyed it as well Scott. I look forward to this segment and every article you guys work hard to produce on a daily basis. We're all hungry for some Bucs football right now which is why for me at least, Pewter Report is my most visited site logging on several times throughout the day anxious for what is next. Happy father's day weekend everyone, I will be enjoying my kids (and surely sneaking on to PR for reprieve at times) this weekend!
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    Very good report Scott. I enjoyed it. I sure hope we get a guard in a trade. Time is running out. This is our weak spot for this season.
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    Horse they most likely aren't trading for a guard. If they were going to give up a draft pick for one, they would have just drafted one this year. They like the group they have, although they certainly wouldn't try and improve the position if someone is cut that they feel is an upgrade. Not addressing it in free agency or the draft makes that pretty clear. And I had someone confirm that off the record recently. They aren't jumping up and down with excitement thinking it is a strength, but they also do not share the same concern a lot of the fans and media have. Most GMs will tell you that guard is a position you can manufacture a quality starter in a sense. Still a chance Nicks makes it back, but my guess is Omameh and Meredith end up and starters with Cousins and Edwards as backups.
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    I for one appreciate stories like Fab 4 as I've gone back and forth on that very subject. I need to update my avatar sometime this offseason because I have two little girls now. I oldest daughter is only 2 years old but LOVES football (perhaps more than me). I look forward to teaching them about the game if they remain interested as they get older.
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    pinkstob, congratulations on having two daughters! I always enjoy your post and wish nothing but the best for you and your family.
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    Im glad to hear Tim Wright is on the rise. I think the WR/TE hybrid position he plays is a tough matchup for most teams. Adding Myers and ASJ makes the TE unit diverse and talented with great size. Think of the Pats, Saints, Broncos, and 49ers great TE play and TE play calling. How do you match up? Add two towering receivers to the outside and a deep group at RB. It should be fun to watch McCown make the most of his last great shot.
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    For what it's worth: I pay and I don't feel the least bit ripped off. I think that the attendance problems that the Bucs have been experiencing for years and years are about to become a thing of the past. I can't remember having the feeling of quiet competence that we seeing develop since the Dungy/Gruden era. We'll see how everything comes together once the pads go on and the hitting begins, but the speed and the simplicity of the defensive schemes have me drooling. I am so ready for football!
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    Carl Nicks came out for the mandatory mini-camps . . . just a week or so after I had went telling my father that I was afraid that nothing is being said about Carl because this could be bad. Obviously it's scary(my family has seen some scary infections), but with nobody saying anything about Carl throughout the offseason, I got scared.
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    So, it was really great to see the pictures and interviews over at Bucs.com of Carl Nicks.
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    Assuming Carl Nicks gets over the Mrsa infection, we should at least have him back for next season!
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    Flash, Thought he was over MRSA a long time ago. It's the surgeries on the toe that are causing the problem. Read somewhere that he may have had a bad toe when he got here.
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    I've seen the Derrick Brooks/Lavonte David stats comparison before; still, I think everyone is so stunned by them . . . people just seem to turn away and try not to think about it, out of respect to Derrick!
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    Of course, if Derrick Brooks is giving all his knowledge to Lavonte, then this can all be explained!
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    Thanks Scott, I loved it all. Keep it coming with whatever you can dig up for us.
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    Snore.. Repeats. All the inside info and Buccaneer stories you've collected and never shared this is the Fab 5 this week... : {
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    The importance of taking your kids to a football game does not merit a position in the Fabs. If I were paying for it, I'd feel ripped off.
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