All right, so no negativity. That’s what Gerald McCoy told us, right?

(Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.)

On Thursday, there were some injury updates to be had for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both running back Doug Martin and defensive end Robert Ayers had cleared concussion protocol and should be good to go for Sunday’s game against the Lions. However, safety T.J. Ward is still in the protocol. Still no practice for cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, but the team did get back defensive end Ryan Russell after he was absent on Wednesday.

Beyond the injury round up, these were the five things we learned from One Buc Place on Thursday.

Winston Fully Healthy?

Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken kicked things off this morning with his weekly presser.

In it he talked about the running game in Green Bay, the connection starting quarterback Jameis Winston has with tight end Cameron Brate and a few other details around the offense. But, to us, the big takeaway was when Monken said that this is the healthiest Winston has been all season.

When Winston was finally shelved after the New Orleans game to try to get his throwing shoulder back to 100 percent, there was speculation about just how hurt Winston had been playing this season. We’re not exactly sure ourselves, that’s for those on the inside to keep close to the chest, but regardless of how hurt Winston was, it appears he’s in the best shape he’s been in since starting the season.

Who’s Starting At Running Back?

Bucs running back Peyton Barber rushed for 102 yards on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, and that was the first time a Bucs running back had rushed for more than 100 yards in a game this season.

Barber got the feature role because the usual starter, Doug Martin, was sidelined with that concussion injury. Since Martin has now cleared the concussion protocol, our obvious question was whether or not he would automatically get his feature carries back after Barber performed so well.

Monken’s answer to the question was a bit complicated.

He basically gave the standard, “well, it’s a good problem to have.” That’s great, but what about my fantasy team? I’m kidding. But, really, no one will know who the feature back is going to be this Sunday until, well, Sunday.

The Bucs have gone with a rotation of backs, even when all were healthy, so expect the same regardless of who gets the first one.

Winston And The Kids

Winston took to the podium Thursday for the first time in a while as the starting quarterback after a game. The media asked him all sorts of questions about how his shoulder feels and how he thought he did in his first game back, but what really got Winston going was when we asked him about his recent trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa with some of the kinds from the local Boys and Girls Club.

We’ve never seen Winston smile the way he does when he gets to talk about helping kids. His eyes light up, he talks more with his hands; he’s joyous.

Winston loves the game of football. He loves to be competitive and win. But he loves helping kids just as much, maybe even more.

Football Is Fun, Sir?

It’s no secret that the Buccaneers struggle to bring their mojo on the road, especially on defense.

Today we asked linebacker Kwon Alexander why that might be, and as you’d assume, he, the rest of the players and the coaching staff really don’t know. If they did, they’d have fixed it by now.

Alexander did say that they just seem to have a lot more fun playing at home. Surely the energy from the crowd has something to do with it, but maybe the team is “too” business-like on the road and needs to loosen up?

They should enjoy what they do just as much on the road as they do at home – at least the game part.

Koetter Hates The Pro Bowl

During his post-practice media availability, one of the question asked of Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter was about his defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and the Pro Bowl.

Koetter got a little negative towards the question, but not to McCoy, to the Pro Bowl voting system.

Koetter said that when the coaching staff is in-season they don’t have the time to watch all the guys who might deserve Pro Bowl recognition. He said he “hates it.”

We understand where he’s coming from. The system is kind of silly, especially when we know that’s how many players are judged when their careers are over.

Perhaps the system needs a revamping.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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4 years ago

I will be shocked if Martin doesn’t start Sunday. Not shocked because he deserves to, but because Licht, and Koetter will keep trying to prove they were right bringing him back, and not drafting a R.B. in a draft class. Stupid is as stupid does.

4 years ago

I fully realize and anticipate this is Martins Swan Song in Tampa. Peyton Barber has had a few strong outings especially last week against GB. I would, however like to take one last look at the two players in head to head competition. We have nothing to lose. Koetter still insists Martin’s performance is predicated on OL performance and appears to support and justify his efforts accordingly. We have the opportunity to compare both in real time and probably bid Doug farewell with no regrets at the end of the season. I just don’t want to be sitting here at… Read more »

Dilly Dilly
Dilly Dilly
4 years ago

Let’s see what Barber can do the last 4 games looked great in Greenbay.