Jason Licht & Lovie Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
They were the worst team in the NFL last year. They have a familiar, media-friendly head coach in Lovie Smith. They have two well-known coordinators in Leslie Frazier and Dirk Koetter.
They have an energetic, interesting and charismatic team leader in three-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. They have two 1,000-yard receivers in veteran Vincent Jackson and rising star Mike Evans. They are a young team deemed to be on the rise after a very good draft.
They drafted a lightning rod of a player in Famous Jameis Winston, the former Florida State star, Heisman Trophy winner and national champion. The team also signed Jamal Young, a former sprinter at Southern Miss, who played just one year at Jones County Community College and was cutting meat at Wal-Mart just two weeks ago.
The NFL might look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and say the team is ripe to be picked for HBO’s Hard Knocks series due to series of compelling storylines. Bucs general manager Jason Licht doesn’t want that to be the case.
“I hope not,” Licht told PewterReport.com. “I guess there is a chance, but I’m just not a big fan.”
Hard Knocks is a training camp-based mini-series that takes cameras into typically private sanctuaries, such as the locker room, training room, meeting rooms and the general manager’s office to give fans an all-access look at an NFL team in the month of August as it builds it’s 53-man roster and prepares for the upcoming season.
The series has produced nine seasons, starting in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002 before a four-year hiatus. The series returned to feature Kansas City in 2007, Dallas again in 2008, Cincinnati in 2009, and the New Yorks Jets in 2010.
HBO and the NFL did not produce a Hard Knocks season in 2011 when no team volunteered to be filmed in training camp. The series returned in 2012 with Miami, followed by Cincinnati in 2013 and Atlanta last season. The NFL has stated that if no team volunteers for Hard Knocks that it will select a team that has not been to the playoffs in two years and does not have a rookie head coach. Tampa Bay fits that criteria.
Licht hopes the Bucs aren’t the team the NFL chooses for several reasons. Tampa Bay just drafted a rookie quarterback in Winston that the organization is preparing to be an opening day starter and doesn’t need any distractions. Sometimes players, especially young ones, can play to the cameras for attention and lose focus on the job at hand, which is winning a roster spot or a position battle.
With Winston being sued by Erica Kinsman, who accused him of sexual assault at Florida State in 2012, and Winston countersuing Kinsman, the Bucs also don’t want to see that drama unfold on HBO.
For Licht, who is in his second year as a general manager, he doesn’t like the ever-present cameras in his office capturing the raw emotion of cut-down day when every team’s G.M. and head coach have to let players go to get down to a 53-man roster.
“I just don’t like when players [get cut],” Licht said. “For some of them it’s just the toughest day of their lives when they get released. To see that emotion on that day … for everyone to see … I just think it’s tough. I’m crossing my fingers on that one.
“It’s a tough day for me, it’s tough for Coach [Smith].”
What’s also tough is the distraction Hard Knocks cameras can present to an organization. The Falcons went 6-10 last year and fired the coaching staff, including Koetter, after a disappointing season. The Dolphins went 7-9 in 2012.
Jameis Winston photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
To be honest, Id be surprised it Tampa isnt the pick. Just too many storylines. Its got to be between Cleveland and Tampa. JFF is last years news though…
I think he should be worrying more about who’s going to play DE…
NFL is too risk averse. JW’s accuser’s attorney’s have proven they love to use a big stage to smear the kid, and I’m not sure the league wants to tee itself up to have to address that in any sort of raw way should they organize a protest outside OBP or some sort of flash demonstration at a practice session to take advantage of HBO’s cameras
HBO will want Tampa but the NFL will veto that. No way they want Winston scandal played out after last year. Also I think it is pretty stupid of Winston’s people to counter sue. Tough to prove you were damaged when you are the #1 draft pick.
TEN would have been a good choice but they drafted Dorial Green-Beckham which could scare off the NFL.
ClEV will lobby hard not to be chosen with Manziel coming out of Rehab.
Oakland would have been great but Del Rio is in first year.
Vikes – AP?
Looks like the GMen are the best candidate.
Washington, Cleveland, Tennessee, Miami, Minnesota, NY Giants, St. Louis, Tampa, and Miami are the only teams I can think of that haven’t made the playoffs in two years and don’t have a new head coach. Miami, Washington, and the NY Giants should head the list, but I could see Tampa’s story lines being juiciest.
Stupid to counter sue? That was the perfect move for an innocent person to do. JW would lose a lot of income from endorsements unless he clears his name. Anyone who has read the 87 page police report will conclude that he did nothing wrong. JW needs to drive a stake into the heart of this lie about him. The best way to do that is not to settle the extortion threat and to expose the liar with his own lawsuit.
Winston has to counter sue. He has to stand up for himself. If he doesn’t, he will look weak and guilty. But, I do not think he is smart enough to take the stand. Best not.
I don’t subscribe to HBO but I would be compelled to do so if our favorite team was featured. I’m in agreement with Jason Licht that it would be more of a distraction. I say, let the Cowboys take center stage. Goodness knows Jerry Jones would relish another opportunity to show his oft-lifted face. We could try to catch Randy Gregory rolling one, Dez Bryant melting down, and Rod Marinelli exploding when he realizes his defense is nothing special.
Well I don’t get HBO and I really don’t care to HBO to explore the young rookie and rest of new classmates. I want little exposuer to HBO. I want Tampa come on like gang buster like the year tampa went 5 &0 and got into the playoffs at 9&6. Go Bucs in 2015.
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I’ve never been a big fan of this show as it gives too much away for teams. It’s also a distraction we don’t need. I hope we don’t get selected, but for ratings sake, I guarantee HBO would love to have the Bucs do it.
I watched the Falcons last year on HBO “Hard Knocks” and really liked the show. As a Bucs fan I could not think of a better year to watch this team going through training camp and preseason. The storylines on how Winston adjusts to the NFL and with his teammates. Mike Evans, the new OL, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Afro Thunder, LB battle between Alexander, Lansanah and Greene. McCoy, Melton, David, Conte and Swearinger. To good to be true. I bet the Titan’s with Marriota get the call.
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