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Last spring I spoke to Stocker for a story after watching him destroy the blocking sleds in one of the OTAs. It was clear Stocker was not only healthy, but also very strong. The former Tennessee standout told me he was trying to carve out his niche in the NFL and in order to do that he needed to stay healthy. It appears Stocker has done just that and with an offensive line still in limbo and trying to adjust with four new starters, having Stocker as an extension of the running game as an additional blocker has earned him a place on the Bucs 53-man roster. While it isn’t a definite that Stocker makes the roster, the Bucs could decide that Myers would be adequate in that role, it is looking much better for the former Volunteer. Much better than most – maybe even Stocker himself – expected earlier this year.
• The Buccaneers wasted little time in signing QB Josh McCown during free agency in March and I will admit I wasn’t overly impressed at the time. Handing the keys to a new offense to a well-traveled journeymen quarterback seemed a little strange, even if McCown had impressed during an eight-game stretch in relief of an injured Jay Cutler for the Bears in 2013. But meeting and speaking to him during his introductory press conference, it was clear that he offered a sense of confidence and leadership that had sorely been missing at that position for a number of years in Tampa Bay.
Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
Once the offseason workouts began McCown was impressive. Decisive, athletic and appearing to have a firm grasp on the offense McCown wowed most of the media in attendance with his accuracy and above-mentioned adjectives. However when it was time for the real bullets to fly three weeks ago in Jacksonville, the McCown we had witnessed during the offseason was missing in action. How much better was McCown than Glennon was what I was asking myself early in the preseason? Thankfully for Bucs fans – and Lovie Smith – the veteran QB settled into his role and it was no coincidence that the offensive line also started playing better last week. Saturday’s game created a huge sigh of relief throughout the Bay area as McCown finished 13-of-16 on the night. RB Jeff Demps should have caught one of those incompletions, and one incompletion was an interception where tight end Brandon Myers slipped. If those two passes had been completed it was a 15-of-16 night for the veteran signal-caller, with the only other incomplete pass being one to Mike Evans that sailed high.
There are still question marks left to answer, and no one is ready to call McCown the next Tom Brady or the late-in-his-career salvager Rich Gannon. However McCown needed a night like Saturday night and Bucs fans across the country woke up feeling a little better about their team and their quarterback on Sunday morning.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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