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. BANKS HAVING A SOLID ROOKIE SEASONRegardless of whether the Buccaneers would be able to acquire Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis in a trade with the New York Jets, cornerback was going to be a high priority in the 2013 NFL Draft. Playing in the pass-happy NFC South division, teams couldn’t have enough talented cornerbacks, especially Tampa Bay, which had the league’s worst pass defense in 2012.
So it came as no surprise when Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, head coach Greg Schiano and director of player personnel Dennis Hickey reached a consensus and drafted Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks just weeks after trading for Revis. There were plenty of good cornerbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft, but the Bucs had Banks rated the highest due to his size and his ball skills, and were thrilled he fell to them in the second round due to questions about his speed after some sub-par 40-yard dash times.
Tampa Bay was not as high on Alabama’s Dee Milliner, who was the first corner drafted and has been benched three times now as a Jet, didn’t have good hands, and the team didn’t think Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes, who went to Minnesota in the first round, was as good of a football player as he was an athlete. Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant, who went to Atlanta in the first round, was viewed as a good player, but one that had a lower ceiling than Banks.
With Tampa Bay liking tall, rangy corners in a division that has some big receivers, such as Atlanta’s Julio Jones and New Orleans’ Marques Colston, Banks was the perfect fit. He was the player the team wanted to use its first pick in the draft on, especially with Revis onboard to serve as a mentor and accelerate his development.
With 40 tackles, five passes defensed and two interceptions with four games remaining, Banks has had a solid rookie season and has arguably been the best rookie cornerback in the draft thus far. Yet Banks doesn’t carry a chip on his shoulder for every team in the league passing on him in the first round, nor is he concerned about how other rookie cornerbacks are faring.
“I don’t really care,” Banks said. “I get to learn from guys like Revis and Dashon [Goldson] and Mark [Barron]. God has a plan for us all. He put me where He wanted me to be. I’m happy where I’m at and I’m just thankful I’m here.”
Banks loves the fact that he can learn from Revis, who is one of the league’s best cornerbacks, on a daily basis.
“It’s good to have a guy like that in my room to watch film with, watch what he does, what he says, how he thinks and how he approaches the game,” Banks said. “When he’s gone years from now, hopefully I can do what he’s doing.”
Revis appreciates how Banks pays attention and absorbs everything he can from the coaching staff and other Tampa Bay defensive backs.
“Johnthan has been great,” Revis said. “He’s been a sponge and he’s learning everything he can. He’s getting better. He did a great job on Calvin Johnson in the second half of the Lions game and stepped up to the plate. We can build off that. We can build off him being more confident and playing great ball.”
One of Banks’ two interceptions this season came in Tampa Bay’s 24-21 upset win at Detroit when he was covering Johnson, who is arguably the best receiver in the NFL, after Revis missed the second half with a groin injury. With the game on the line and less than a minute remaining, Johnson momentarily caught a deep pass at the Tampa Bay 5-yard line before being rocked by safety Kelcie McCray, who jarred the ball loose. Banks was right there and caught the deflection one-handed to seal the win for Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano was thrilled that the moment wasn’t too big for Banks and that he stepped up and made a game-winning play as a rookie.
“I’m really proud of Johnthan Banks,” Schiano said. “We weren’t sure how we were going to do it. Were we going to totally go away from the plan [when Revis went down]? Were we going to adjust the plan? We ended up adjusting it a little bit, but Johnthan stepped into Darrelle’s role – and against one of the greatest players to ever play that position and really did a good job.”
Revis was also proud of the way Banks rose to the occasion and came up with such a big play in Detroit. He knows that Banks looks up to him and said it’s rewarding to be able to help out a young cornerback with so much promise and potential.
“From a mentor perspective I do take pride in [his development],” Revis said. “It’s something you have to grow into, but once you grow into you accept it. You don’t want to be talking just to talk, though. You want to have meaning behind what you say. It’s good to give back and help younger guys in the league.
“It’s always good to pass a torch and give what I’ve learned to someone else and better their game and help them grow into a great player. Passing the torch is easy and fun to do.”
It’s one thing to earn the praise of a fellow defensive back. It’s another to earn the respect of the receivers that Banks is facing every day in practice, and that’s what he’s done.
“John has done a great job,” Bucs Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson said. “He’s such a coachable player. He’s ambitious and hungry, and hungry to learn and be one of the great cornerbacks in this league. He has great guys and leaders around him in Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis. We’ve had good competition in practice and I’m very impressed with how he’s worked.”
Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood has also been impressed with Banks’ quick maturation process during his initial season in the NFL.
“Johnthan has come a long way and he’s very athletic,” Underwood said. “He has great height and very long arms. That definitely helps a defender. As a receiver, you like to go against a guy that can’t really get his hands on you from afar. I think the sky is the limit for that kid, as long as he learns from guys like Darrelle. With experience he’s just going to get better and better.”
Banks has high expectations for himself, but isn’t ready to pat himself on the back for a successful rookie season just yet.
“I think I’ve had an up-and-down year,” Banks said. “I’ve had a good season. I’ve played like a rookie sometimes and I’ve played like I’ve expected to. Through it all I’ve learned a lot. I’m glad I’ve gotten this experience.”
Not only has Banks had a good rookie season in the NFL in 2013, he’s also had one of the better rookie seasons for a cornerback in Tampa Bay history.
Best Rookie Seasons For A Tampa Bay CBDonnie Abraham – 1996: 60 tackles, 12 pass breakups, five INTs, two fumble recoveriesLeonard Johnson – 2012: 41 tackles, nine passes defensed, three INTs, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one TD Aqib Talib – 2008: 23 tackles, nine pass breakups, four INTsJohnthan Banks – 2013: 40 tackles, five passes defensed, two INTSBrian Kelly – 1998: 27 tackles, five passes defensed, one forced fumble, one INTDwight Smith – 2001: 26 tackles, three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumbleRonde Barber – 1997: four tackles
It’s interesting to note that Banks has had a better rookie season statistically than the three cornerbacks on Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl team – Barber, Kelly and Smith. With four games remaining, the Mississippi State product has the chance to surpass Talib and his teammate, Johnson, and become one of the best rookie cornerbacks in team history.
“I try not to let stats get in the way,” Banks said. “I just try to keep getting better. I want to be in this league a long time. I love playing football. I think I’ve had a pretty decent rookie season and keep getting better and doing what my coaches ask me to do. I’ve bought into this system and it’s worked out pretty well for me. Anything I can do to make myself better as a player I’ll do.”
Banks has a strong relationship with God, and is full of confidence after making some splash plays this year, most notably his game-winning interception against the Lions.
“I feel like I can do anything,” Banks said. “If Coach Schiano wanted me to go inside and play nickel – even though I prefer playing outside – I’d do it. I’m a team player. I’ll do anything the team wants me to do.
“I started off slow, but I kind of picked it up. I think I’ve had a better second half than I did in the first half. I think it’s going to be good for me next year. I can’t wait.”
FAB 2. JOHNSON COMING ON AS A NICKEL CORNERBACKBuccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson stepped on to the scene after Aqib Talib was traded last year and had a surprisingly robust rookie season. Johnson, an undrafted free agent in 2012, had 41 tackles, nine passes defensed, three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
A lot was expected of the Iowa State product in his second season, and while he beat out newcomer Michael Adams for the role of the nickel cornerback, he lost his role as a starting cornerback when the team traded for Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis and drafted Johnthan Banks in the second round this past offseason. After making several splash plays over the second half of his rookie season, Johnson spent the first half of his second year in the NFL in largely unassuming fashion.
It wasn’t until the Bucs’ 24-21 win against the Detroit Lions in Tampa Bay’s 11th game of the year that Johnson finally recorded his first interception of the season. But that INT was worth the wait as he stepped in front of tight end Brandon Pettigrew to record a pick off a pass and return it 48 yards for a touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Johnson is the fifth-leading tackler in Tampa Bay with a career-high 49 stops, seven pass breakups, which ranks second on the team, a forced fumble and a key interception return for a touchdown, which came in the Bucs’ 24-21 victory at Detroit.
“This is Leonard’s first year playing nickel,” Revis said. “He started a bunch of games last year at cornerback and there’s a big difference. He’s had his bumps – so has Johnthan. Both of them have, but they are improving. It’s only going to help our secondary get better. They’re doing great for the amount of experience they have.
“I was so proud of Leonard making that interception. I wasn’t too fond of his flip at the end, though. I thought he hurt himself. I’m proud of both of those guys. They’re hard workers and they are developing. That was a big game for both of those guys.”
In less than two years into his NFL career Leonard already has recorded two pick-sixes.
“I just talked to [former NFL cornerback] Terry Cousins and asked him how many pick-sixes he’s had,” Johnson said. “He told me one, and he played for a long time. It’s a blessing to score a touchdown in this league. Prior to the one I had last year I hadn’t scored a touchdown since high school. It was big and I was excited for me to get that in Detroit. I’m looking forward to continuing to get better.”
Johnson acknowledges that having a player with tremendous gravitas like Revis on the team has helped develop his game.
“Revis is awesome,” Johnson said. “He’s a coach and the leader of our secondary. He has everything that we want in terms of the success he’s had. If he doesn’t verbally come out and coach you, he coaches you by what he does and going through the motions in practice. You can see him work and learn a lot from him. He’s a nice guy, too.”
Johnson admits that the transition from playing outside at the cornerback position to inside covering slot receivers hasn’t been without some growing pains this season.
“The year for me is going good,” Johnson said. “I’m playing nickel now – not corner. I’ve had to learn both. It’s just a learning process for me, finding out what I can and can’t do. I just have to continue to grow and develop into a ‘star’ player. We say ‘star’ instead of nickel, so essentially I’m a nickel corner. Our dime package is called ‘dollar,’ and our nickel package is called ‘star.’ That’s our Buccaneers terminology. I’ve got a long way to go before I can be elite at this level. I’ve got a lot of guys helping me and supporting me along the way, though.”
One of those players that have been providing a tremendous amount of support and influence isn’t even playing football anymore. Johnson, a native of Clearwater, Fla. and a long-time Buccaneers fan, had the privilege of playing with his idol, Ronde Barber, last year before the legendary defensive back retired this past offseason.
Barber left the Buccaneers as the team’s all-time leading interceptor with 47 picks and set the standard for playing nickel cornerback – not just in Tampa Bay, but in the NFL. Johnson soaked up as much knowledge from the legendary Buccaneer as he could last year, and still seeks him out for wisdom and encouragement.
“I love Ronde Barber,” Johnson said. “I just love that guy. I still reach out to him. He’s meant so much to me with my confidence. I’ve got his number and whenever I text him because I’m stressed out or I need him, he’s always there for me. He’ll tell me, ‘Hey, man. You’re doing a great job. Just relax.’
“It helps me to watch film on him because he did so many great things in the nickel. Seeing someone do it in the same system is a real blessing for me.”
Johnson’s confidence is growing, as is his comfort level of playing in the slot.
FAB 3. WANNSTEDT HAS BEEN A GREAT ADDITION TO COACHING STAFFOne of Tampa Bay’s best personnel moves this offseason was not just acquiring Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis – but also getting his college coach, Dave Wannstedt, to become a Buccaneer. Outside of a couple of blocked punts by linebacker Dekoda Watson last year, including one that was returned for touchdown by linebacker Adam Hayward, Tampa Bay’s special teams were stale and lifeless at times under former special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky.
Enter the fiery and personable Wannstedt, who replaced Ligashesky in the offseason, and new life has been breathed into the Bucs’ kicking game, coverage units and return game this season. Wannstedt’s energetic demeanor is reminiscent of that of former special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who became a cult hero in Tampa Bay for his work from 2002-08 working under Jon Gruden.
“I love Coach Wannstedt,” said Watson. “He’s so passionate about his work. When you are passionate about your work and you believe in your players, guys are willing to work their butts off for that person. Coach Wannstedt is a guy that I would go out there and lay everything on the line for him because of what he believes in and how he loves the game. I love his schemes, too. When I make plays it’s a way of me showing that I believe in the schemes and I like what you are doing. I think he’s a great addition to the team.”
Watson had a blocked punt against Atlanta in Tampa Bay’s second win of the season and leads the NFL with three blocked punts over the past two seasons. Bucs cornerback Danny Gorrer blocked a punt the following week in an upset win at Detroit.
Against the Falcons, Wannstedt called for a surprise onside kick that was successfully recovered by wide receiver Russell Shephard. He also called for a successfully executed fake punt run by strong safety Dashon Goldson, which picked up 22 yards in a 13-10 loss against Arizona.
“Dave has made a great impact for us,” said Bucs linebacker and special teams captain Adam Hayward. “He’s a great coach that puts us in great situations. He figures out what is going to work best and he puts us in situations where we can be successful.
“Dave has been around for a long time. He knows things and he’s seen things. He does a great job of talking to players, especially when you mess up. I messed up one play and he said, ‘It is what it is. Forget about it and move on to the next play.’ His message gets through to us.”
Fellow linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who is leading Tampa Bay’s special teams with nine tackles, said Wannstedt’s reputation around the NFL quickly earned him respect in the locker room. Wannstedt was a defensive coordinator with Dallas (1989-92) under Jimmy Johnson before becoming a head coach in Chicago from 1993-98. He then became the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 1999 and then replaced Johnson as the head coach in 2000 where he remained until 2004.
“Dave demands us to play at a high level,” Casillas said. “I didn’t know too much about him other than he has name recognition and he was a head coach before in the pros and in college. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a longtime defensive coordinator, so he knows defense. He’s been around the league, so he knows the ins and outs of an entire team with the offense and defense – not just special teams.”
Wannstedt began working in the college ranks in 1975 and had a notable stint at the University of Miami from 1986-88 under Johnson as the Hurricanes defensive coordinator. After being fired by the Dolphins, Wannstedt returned to the college ranks to coach at Pitt, his alma mater, to serve as the head coach and special teams coordinator. Revis played for Wannstedt in college, and Tampa Bay safeties coach Matt Hafley worked under him at Pitt.
After being fired from Pitt, Wannstedt was hired by the Buffalo Bills to serve as the teams’ assistant head coach and linebackers coach (2011) and defensive coordinator (2012) before being ushered out when head coach Chan Gailey was fired this past offseason.
After having a relationship with Schiano from the University of Miami and also in Chicago, where Schiano was an assistant defensive backs coach, Wannstedt was hired to coach special teams in Tampa Bay and has had a very positive impact in his first season with the Buccaneers. Sources tell PewterReport.com that Wannstedt, who is known as a players coach, has played a big role in ushering in some positive changes with Schiano, his good friend and boss, that has helped him develop a better relationship with the players.
“He’s very personable, but he demands perfection and he’s got us playing on a high level,” Casillas said. “Special teams has been the real good constant for us during our start and we’re going to keep it up. He’s getting us ready and the scheme that he has us running is magnificent.
“He talked to us about this a couple of weeks ago that it’s not all about X’s and O’s. It’s about scheme to a degree, but what football really is about is doing your job, and doing it better and harder than the person across from you. That resonates with me because at the end of the day it’s 11 against 11. If you’re not getting double-teamed you are probably going to have to beat the man in front of you to get your job done, and I love that approach.”
While the offense and defense have had their respective struggles this season, Tampa Bay’s special teams units have played pretty good, consistent football this year, which speaks to Wannstedt’s ability to relate to the players.
“Honestly, it’s great to have Dave,” Hayward said. “He’s been a head coach, so he knows how to relate to players. It’s not so much yelling and screaming and throwing temper tantrums. He knows how to talk to guys because he’s led men before in this type of situation. He’s very good at coming to you and finding out what the problem is and fixing it without jumping down your throat. It’s a relief to have that.”
Wannstedt has been part of a more relaxed atmosphere at One Buccaneer Place since midseason, and that has created the environment for more wins as a result.
“I think Coach Wannstedt has done a great job, he and Phil Galiano, with the group,” Schiano said. “Even though we didn’t score off that blocked punt [in Detroit], it was like a heavyweight fight, and at the end, we were making sure that we won the decision, if you know what I mean. We didn’t have it to go for the knockout, but we wanted to make sure we won the decision. That blocked punt helped us get to the decision. So, yeah, special teams have done some really good things this year.”
With the exception of one big return by Seattle’s Golden Tate, which set up a Seahawks touchdown, the Buccaneers coverage units have been solid, allowing just 13 yards per punt return and only 20.3 yards per kick return. Perhaps more importantly, Wannstedt was able to find a capable return specialist in newcomer Eric Page this season. Page has averaged 11.1 yards on punt returns with a long of 52 yards, while averaging 26.6 yards per kick return with a long of 44 yards.
“The first thing he does is bring energy,” Page said of Wannstedt. “He gets you pumped up and you feel like you are learning a lot. He’s intelligent and he has us playing hard. As a coach he’s a legend in my book.”
If Schiano stays on as Tampa Bay’s head coach in 2014, the Bucs will contemplate changing a coordinator or two in the offseason, but Wannstedt is more than safe. In fact, Wannstedt has been so impressive that the team has ruled him out as a possible replacement for defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan if the team wants to make a move there. Wannstedt has made such a big impact on special teams the Buccaneers don’t want to rock the boat and want to continue with him as that unit’s leader.
FAB 4. GLENNON’S ACCURACY IMPROVING, AND HE MUST BE ACCURATE THIS WEEK• Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is coming off his worst NFL game in a 27-6 loss at Carolina, but has played his best football since the team’s 27-24 overtime loss at Seattle. Tampa Bay has won three of its last five games with Glennon playing much better, and the difference is the amount of throws the rookie quarterback is making.
Glennon threw no fewer than 43 passes in any of his first four NFL starts this season, averaging 45.3 attempts per game. His 181 passes in his first four career games set an NFL record. In Glennon’s last five games he’s thrown the ball just 109 times, an average of only 21.8 times per game.
Throwing fewer passes has not only led to the first three victories of the season for the Buccaneers, it has significantly improved Glennon’s completion percentage. In the last five games, Glennon has completed 76-of-109 (69.7 percent) passes for 965 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, and he’s only had one game in which he completed less than two thirds of his passes.
Bucs QB Mike Glennon’s Last Five GamesSeattle: 17-of-23 (73.9 percent) for 168 yards with two touchdowns Miami: 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) for 139 yards with one touchdown and one INTAtlanta: 20-of-23 (87 percent) for 231 yards with two touchdownsDetroit: 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) for 247 yards with two touchdownsCarolina: 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) for 180 yards with one interception
Led by defensive lineman Mario Williams’ 12.5 quarterback captures, the Bills lead the NFL in sacks with 43. That’s four more sacks than Carolina, who sacked Glennon five times last Sunday. That was the most amount of sacks Tampa Bay has surrendered in a game this season. Buffalo’s defensive front will present an even greater challenge for Glennon and Tampa Bay’s offense this week.
Glennon will have to be accurate on Sunday against a tough Buffalo defense that will present the rookie quarterback with a lot of multiple looks designed to confuse him and force him to hang on to the football.
“You need it to if you’re going to be successful,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said about Glennon needing to be accurate. “You’re not going to stand back there very long with the football, because they lead the National Football League in sacks over 12 games. That’s a pretty good sample size. It doesn’t matter who they’ve played, they’ve gotten to the quarterback. We need to get rid of the ball and that comes down to reading it out, which Mike has been very good at. Because you’re going to get rid of it more quickly, the accuracy, I think, is going to allow your receivers to run after the catch, and you’re going to have to do that in some situations, I think, to get the first down.
“To stand here and say that, [on] a third-and-14, you’re going to stand back there and wait for these deep routes to get there – not so fast, probably. That’s where it all comes together now. We just have to help him. We have to be smart with what we’re doing, give him a chance to be successful, and I think Mike will handle it fine. He’s burning the oil on this one, because they’re hard to prepare for – multiple looks. Now, if you can get it, you’ve got opportunities, because there are some holes there, but you’ve got to find them, and you can’t find them when you’re on your back. That’s the key, I think, offensively.”
FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5.
• For the second straight year, Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David has surpassed the 100-tackle mark with 107 stops. Not only is David leading the team in tackles, he is 25 tackles ahead of the nearest Buccaneer, strong safety Mark Barron, who has 82 stops. David has a team-high 15 tackles for loss and is six more tackles for loss away from beating his franchise record of 20, which he set last year as a rookie.
While David is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season, team sources tell PewterReport.com that not having strong name recognition and playing on a losing team will hurt David’s chances of being named to the NFL all-star game. However, the publicity he would get for being snubbed this year would bolster his chances of making the Pro Bowl after the 2014 season if he once again lit up the stats sheet.
According to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, David currently ranks ninth in fan voting at outside linebacker, so the snubbing is already in full swing.
If you want to help David’s chances of making the Pro Bowl, there’s still time to cast your ballot by clicking here and voting.
Insiders tell PewterReport.com that the team expects to have just one Pro Bowler this year in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who made the Pro Bowl for the first time last year after recording five sacks. McCoy has a career-high and team-leading six sacks this season along with a fumble recovery, 33 tackles and 11 tackles for loss.
• Tampa Bay has gained at least 300 yards in only five of its 12 games this season. The Bucs are coming off season-lows in total offense in games against the Panthers and the Lions. Tampa Bay gained just 206 yards at Carolina in a 27-6 loss, and only 229 yards in a 27-24 win at Detroit.
If head coach Greg Schiano is retained for the 2014 season he may have to make some staff changes in order to stay. One of those changes might be at offensive coordinator and Mike Sullivan’s job may be in jeopardy.
If Schiano makes a change at offensive coordinator he might turn to quarterbacks coach John McNulty. However, McNulty only has one year’s worth of offensive coordinator experience, which was at Rutgers in 2008. After starting that season 1-5 while averaging 17.5 points per game, Rutgers won seven straight games while averaging 38.8 points per game to end with an 8-5 record. McNulty left the following year to become the Arizona Cardinals wide receivers coach.
Yet the Glazers may not feel like McNulty has enough experience to be handed the reigns of Tampa Bay’s offense in a critical year for Schiano in 2014, and may want a more proven playcaller with NFL experience at the helm.
• If the Buccaneers lose another player to injured reserve this season it could be left guard Carl Nicks. Tampa Bay’s front office and coaching staff has waited patiently to see if the former Pro Bowler could return to action after battling a MRSA infection for much of the 2013 season, but it’s looking less likely that Nicks will play another down for the Bucs this year.
After missing the first two contests of the 2013 season, Nicks has only played in two games this season – at New England and versus Arizona – before missing the rest of the year when the MRSA returned during the bye week. Nicks had surgery on his foot to remove some infected tissue and has had some lingering pain in his foot ever since that prompted him to go see a specialist.
Nicks has only suited up for nine games as a Buccaneer – seven in 2012 and two this season – and has already been paid his guaranteed money, which is $25 million. Tampa Bay certainly hasn’t gotten the bang for its bucks due to a season-ending toe injury in 2012 and the MRSA infection in 2013, but that’s nobody’s fault. Neither general manager Mark Dominik nor Nicks could have prevented the massive guard from getting injured.
If Tampa Bay deems that Nicks can’t successfully return to action next year or simply doesn’t want him back due to his injuries Dominik can release him without any dead salary cap room due to the innovative way he structures contracts. Instead of giving players signing bonuses that are prorated over the life of deals, Dominik guarantees the first year or two of a player’s contract and typically dishes out a healthy base salary over that duration.
That was the case with Nicks, whose deal averaged $12.5 million per season for the first two years of his contract. Nicks’ base salary in 2014 is slated to be just $7 million.
• The holiday season is upon us, and if you are looking for the perfect gift make it some delicious wine from Keel & Curley Winery, celebrating its 10th year as Plant City, Florida’s winery. Visit the Keel & Curley website where you can shop online for their special fruit-infusion wine.
I highly recommend the Sweet Blackberry, Tangerine Tango, Wild Berry and the Sangria. Keel & Curley ships anywhere in the country, and you can place your order online by clicking here.
• And finally, if you need catering for a family function or corporate event this holiday season, please call Holy Hog Barbecue. Growing up in Kansas City, I’ve become quite the barbecue connoisseur, and I can tell you that in my 18 years of living in Florida, Holy Hog is the best I’ve had in this state and reminds me of growing up in the Midwest.
Whether it is savory ribs, moist pulled pork, smoked sausage, brisket or a smoked turkey you’re after, you will find it all, plus some delicious side dishes at Holy Hog that will make your family get-together or company holiday party the best. Whether it is carry out or catering with an onsite smoker and fire pit, Holy Hog Barbecue is dedicated to serving up hot, home-cooked meals for any occasion.
Visit their two Tampa locations at 3501 N. Armenia Avenue (just five minutes away from One Buccaneer Place) or at 4004 Henderson Boulevard. For more information or to place your order online visit HolyHogBBQ.com or call 813-846-7476.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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