FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• The NFL issued its new policy regarding the National Anthem this week and naturally it pleased some and upset others. Most of you know my stance on this issue, but if you don’t, I side with Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.

At the same time, I’m against police brutality and support the players’ right to speak up about issues. Yes, you can actually be in favor of all of the above, and I think that Colin Kaepernick and the players would have been more successful in rally more people to his cause and avoided the issue of upsetting a good of deal of America by demonstrating any other time than during the National Anthem. That’s just my opinion.

There have been lots of opinions on this matter ranging from President Donald Trump’s to Eagles defensive end Chris Long to Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin and on and on – and I respect most all of them. Speaking of Trump, I don’t think it was his place to inject his viewpoint into the business of a private entity like the NFL. I don’t think it was appropriate.

Bucs WRs DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs WRs DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images

But one opinion that dumbfounded me was Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, a noted liberal and Trump critic, who told the San Francisco Chronicle: “They’re basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, peacefully protesting.”

Kerr realizes that the NBA makes standing for the National Anthem mandatory, right? The new NFL policy closely mirrors the NBA policy, which says on page 61 under the Player/Team Conduct & Dress section:

(2) Players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.

Also, I don’t understand the “fake patriotism” part of Kerr’s comments. That patriotism is 100 percent real to a lot of Americans, myself included, who got upset over the protests during the National Anthem. If he – or others – feel it’s fake patriotism that’s on them and that’s their right, but don’t deny my patriotism or others that feel the same way by calling it fake.

After two years of dealing with this topic, this is an issue that clearly not everyone is going to see eye-to-eye on, and that’s okay. We can agree to disagree, which brings me to my next point.

Thank God Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee and protest – even though I objected to it at the time and still object to the premise of kneeling during the National Anthem.

Why?

Because Kaepernick’s protest started dialog between Bucs fan and PewterReport.com reader Kenric Montgomery, who is an African-American veteran, and myself about this issue on Twitter when it first happened years ago. After some staunch exchanges on social media, we took our discussions offline and met for lunch to further our conversation. As you might expect, he and I differ on some political and cultural issues in addition to the protest issue.

But what Montgomery and I have done over the past two years is continue to meet for lunch, and text, and call each other regularly. We’ve become very good friends as a result. As an African-American man who is a few years younger than me, Montgomery has had far different life experiences than I have, including serving in the U.S. Army.

Without delving too much into his personal business, Montgomery has shared with me the fact that he has been pulled over by the police simply because he’s a black man driving a nice car in certain parts of Tampa. That’s something I have not been subjected to, and I’ve listened to him and empathized with him on several issues that affect the African-American and minority communities that don’t really affect the white population, such as needless, excessive use of force by some members of the police. It’s been eye-opening.

And I’ve shared my views with him on other matters that he has found enlightening because I have a different perspective on some topics than he does. There has been a great information give-and-take between us.

I don’t know that either one of our positions on certain issues has necessarily changed, but what has changed is our understanding of each other’s opinions and points of view. I have a profound respect for his point of view and I believe he has the same for me.

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick - Photo by: Getty Images
Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Photo by: Getty Images

We talk, but more importantly, we listen to each other. We’ve never called each other a name or put down one another. We simply listen and take in what the other person is saying.

You can’t gain understanding, empathize or sympathize without listening. That’s a fact. In today’s society and culture that’s unfortunately driven by smarmy hot takes and gifs on Twitter, listening is becoming a lost art.

As a middle-aged white guy, I know I have a much better understanding of black culture and the viewpoints of minorities from listening to Montgomery and because of my friendship with him. I think what Kaepernick wanted all along was to start dialogue about the issue of police brutality. To that I say, “mission accomplished” – at least for me personally.

If it weren’t for Kaepernick taking a knee, I wouldn’t have forged a great friendship with Kenric Montgomery, who is someone I have the utmost respect for. So thanks, Kaep.

Montgomery (@kenric1) is a cool Twitter follow, too.

My hope is that whatever side of this issue – or any issue – you’re on, that you’ll find somebody with a differing point of view, have a conversation with them, and most importantly, listen and learn.

• Memorial Day weekend is here and if you are hitting the beach, traveling or just relaxing at home this weekend is a great time to get caught up on the latest Pewter Nation Podcasts. I have conveniently linked the last five podcasts right here for your listening pleasure so you can get caught upon all of our insight and analysis this offseason. Be prepared to be informed and entertained by Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and myself with nearly five hours of Bucs analysis and insight.

Here is our most recent episode, which was recorded on Thursday following the first two OTAs where Sikkema and I reviewed all the action and discussed the things that stood out the most. You can click here to listen to Episode 75: All About OTAs.

The PewterReport.com staff had a chance to interview all of the Bucs assistant coaches during the media sessions two weeks ago and you can get our insight on those interviews right here.  You can click here to listen to Episode 74: A Long Way To The Top

Sikkema, Cook and yours truly offered up our expert opinions as we reviewed Tampa Bay’s rookie mini-camp. Be sure to give it a listen. You can click here to listen to Episode 73: Rookie Mini-Camp Recap

The PewterReport.com staff discussed the undrafted free agents that Tampa Bay signed and offered up more commentary about the Bucs’ 2018 draft class. This one got a lot of listens. You can click here to listen to Episode 72: New Kids On The Block.

Pewter-Nation-Podcast-Pewter-ReportIf you missed PewterReport.com’s post-draft edition of the Pewter Nation Podcast where we analyze the draft picks of Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter make sure you listen to this one. This is the most listened to Pewter Nation Podcast we’ve done thus far. You can click here to listen to Episode 71: Locked In On Licht’s Draft.

The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

• The NFL Draft is called the “Super Bowl for scouts” because of all their hard work during the year scouting college prospects, and that climaxes in three days in April. While general manager Jason Licht, director of pro personnel John Spytek and pro scouting director Rob McCartney can continue to tweak the Bucs’ roster year-round, director of college scouting Mike Biehl can’t tweak his draft.

The players you pick are the players you pick. There are no do-overs.

“Your draft is your draft, and there are 31 other teams picking,” Biehl said. “You’d love to pick all the ones you want, but it doesn’t work out that way. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck with the way things fall, too. When they fall the way you like it, it’s like a cherry on top of the cake. I think it fell the way we wanted it to this year.

Bucs director of college scouting Mike Biehl and director of pro scouting Rob McCartney - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs director of college scouting Mike Biehl and director of pro scouting Rob McCartney – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Jason is great at working trades and did that this year, but it’s also a team. Mike Greenberg, Spytek, Rob McCartney and I work on that with him. I’ve heard Jason say it many times that when you are prepared for every scenario and you go into a draft it makes it easy. Nobody’s nervous. We were prepared.”

How do NFL teams prepare for something as unpredictable as the draft? With plenty of mock drafts, of course.

“We do quite a few,” Biehl said. “We do a lot with the scouts, too. This year where we were picking, it was a lot easier than when we were at 19 last year. Next year we are hoping it’s going to be even harder at No. 32. We start the process after the Combine and the closer you get to the draft you start really doing it. I would say we do literally dozens of mock drafts.”

Tampa Bay’s 2018 draft got some very favorable reviews from the national media, and the team’s drafts in 2015 and ’17 stockpiled the team with some elite talent on both sides of the ball. So what happened to the 2016 draft class that featured underachieving cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III in the first round and two second-round picks in defensive end Noah Spence kicker Roberto Aguayo, who was cut after just one season?

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht - Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

“I don’t think the 2016 draft is that bad,” Biehl said. “Of course there are still some question marks about it – more than in 2017 – but I think the jury is still out on that. We’ve now figured out exactly what we want, and from a personnel standpoint, the thing we can control is the type of guy we bring in. That’s where the preparedness of our scouts comes into play. They just know the kid from a personal standpoint, from a character standpoint – the way he’s made. The more we know and the more guys that fit the mold of the kind of guys we want around here – that helps. I think we’ve done a very good job of that in the last couple of years – even going back to the 2015 draft with Jameis.”

• Do you want up-to-the-minute news and observations from next week’s Bucs OTAs, which are open to the media? Make sure you become one of the 29,400 Twitter followers of @PewterReport. If you want updates from Bucs press conferences, Bucs OTAs this offseason and new PewterReport.com story notifications be sure to follow us on Twitter and help us grow to 30,000. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.

• If it seems like Bucs general manager Jason Licht has thrown a lot of resources at beefing up the team’s defensive line, which needed an overhaul after Tampa Bay posted a league-low 22 sacks, it’s because he has. Licht signed three free agent defensive linemen in Vinny Curry, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein, traded for Jason Pierre-Paul and drafted Vita Vea.

But this isn’t the only time that a general manager has thrown a ton of resources at the defensive line. Former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik spent four premium draft picks and a total of seven picks in the first four rounds from 2009-2013 on defensive linemen. Unfortunately most of those players didn’t pan out.

Former Bucs DEs Adrian Clayborn and Da'Qaun Bowers and current DE Will Gholston - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs DEs Adrian Clayborn and Da’Qaun Bowers and current DE Will Gholston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

In his first year as general manager, Dominik drafted defensive tackle Roy Miller in the third round in 2009. Dominik then selected defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price in the first and second rounds of the 2010 draft, and then used his first- and second-round picks on defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers the next season. Because Price and Bowers were immediate busts, Dominik had to replace them with a pair of fourth-round picks in 2013 in defensive tackle Akeem Spence and Will Gholston.

Of those seven draft picks, only McCoy has been to a Pro Bowl and Price and Bowers are out of the NFL. While he wasn’t a draft pick, Michael Bennett, an undrafted free agent in 2009, did make an impact and led the team with nine sacks and three forced fumbles in 2012, which was his only year as a full-time starter. Unfortunately, other players made little impact in Tampa Bay as pass rushers, and only McCoy and Gholston remain with the Buccaneers.

DT Roy Miller – 2009-2012 – 3 sacks
DE Michael Bennett – 2009-2012 – 15 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
DT Gerald McCoy – 2010-current – 48.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries
DT Brian Price – 2010–11 – 3 sacks
DE Adrian Clayborn – 2011-2014 – 13 sacks, 5 forced fumbles
DE Da’Quan Bowers – 2011-2015 – 7 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
DT Akeem Spence – 2013-2017 – 5.5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble
DE William Gholston – 2013-current – 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

• And finally, I wanted to wish every one of our PewterReport.com readers a Happy Memorial Day weekend, and I hope everyone has a fun, safe time. Try to stay dry this weekend if you’re in the state of Florida! I’ll be remembering the fallen U.S. soldiers that fought and served in the American Armed Forces over the last century, including my grandfather, Claude R. Smith, who played a big role in my life and helped me gravitate towards the business world with his business acumen.

With my kids out of school today, we’ll be celebrating tonight with a trip to the Wesley Chapel Ford’s Garage restaurant for a well-deserved meal after a year’s worth of hard work. For me, it will be a beer and a burger – they’ve got the best in town. Ford’s Garage has restaurants all across the Tampa Bay area with locations in Countryside, Westchase and Brandon, in addition to its new location in downtown St. Petersburg. For a complete listing of locations and a full menu to browse, visit FordsGarageUSA.com, and visit the closest Ford’s Garage location to you this weekend for a great meal or happy hour – and tell them that PewterReport.com sent you.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

53 COMMENTS

  1. I agree that everybody was way too enthusiastic about the Bucs chances last year. But, who wrote this Fab Five?
    Chicken Little?

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  2. Stacking wins should not be a saying heard at One Buc. Dirk should have learned by now. This, along with other things he does, makes me hesitant to believe. I would be willing to bet most every playoff team is looking at the next game, and then the next. Cant look past the next one in this league. Shoot at this point they shouldnt look past the next practice.

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  3. my biggest concern for the upcoming season, is COACHING! The fact that Koetter and Licht decided to pass on Alvin Kammera, TWICE, and trot Doug Martin out there doesn’t instill much confidence in the putting together a playoff team. My biggest fear is they continue their stubborn ways, and start Barber over RoJo, even with RoJo’s far superior skills.

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    • jb – I agree with the coaching statement. Better decisions in the RedZone and getting players involved at the right moment/play. I was dumbfounded when we kept Martin and then used him no matter the production he had. I think they learned their lesson. That brings me to the second point; as much as I love to see RoJo starting, he hasnt done anything in this league to warrant a start over Barber. I think even himself will tell anyone that. He wants to start but he also wants to prove himself and earn that starting nod. Barber has paid his dues and does deserve to start. That should fuel RoJo to make himself better to become the starter.

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    • I’m not so sure on this one. Rojo hasn’t proven to be starting caliber…yet. Barber on the other hand has proven to be a beast out there.

      I say give Rojo a lot of touches in preseason and see where he’s at. Barber is ideal for those tough short yardage situations. I also worry about Rojo’s size and ability to carry the load at the next level. Setting up a good rotation throughout the season will limit the mileage on both backs and keep them fresh, much like the DL rotation will do.

      May the best man win…but maintain the rotation regardless.

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  4. Maybe I was lead to believe something that wasn’t true but isn’t one of the things that the American flag stands for and represents, freedom?? So how is it anyone’s right to say what freedoms one can exercise and what freedoms one can’t when everything is completely legal and within their constitutional rights that lots of people fought for amd died for in order for people to have those freedoms to do so. Go Bucs!!

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    • I think I understand what your asking, and maybe this will answer it. The first amendment protects you freedom of speech and your right to protest from the government itself. It does not protect you from your employer. When you are employed, you have to adhere to the rules of the employer to remain employed. You can say or protest what you want, but they have the ability to punish or fire you for it. They can also make rules that dictate what is expected from it’s employees. This is why players get fined for celebrations, having stuff written on their cleats, and wearing certain things during football games.

      Basically you choose not to exercise certain rights to remain gainfully employed. If you decide to say or do something that your employer doesn’t like or affects their bottom line, then you will likely be finding gainful employment somewhere else. Also, GO Bucs!

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      • Agree

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      • While I understand that point your point of view, there are limits to what an employer can ask you to do regardless of who owns the business. An employer cannot require me to pray, they cannot force me to believe something or do things that violate the law. As with all rights, there are limits.

        The question of whether a professional athlete must stand for the flag is a question between the owners and the union that represents the players bargain for. In the case of the NBA, they bargained that piece in their contract. If the union agrees to something and you are a member then you either agree to it or forfeit your rights, conversely if management violates their end of the deal, the union can advocate on their behalf and management has to take the consequences of their violation.

        If I understand correctly, and maybe I’m mistaken, but standing for the flag was not part of any NFL policy, hence why Kaep and others didn’t get fined or suspended. Then the NFL decided, without the presence of the union who represent the players to make a unilateral change to their policy by fining the TEAMS for the conduct of a player who doesn’t stand (ie the players aren’t directly being punished, but punished by proxy). It’s a cute little workaround the NFL did, because, again, they never bargained for the standing of the anthem like the NBA did during their last contract. It’s why this continues as a topic.

        As much as people want to think of things in simple black and white terms, things are rarely that simple. The NFL owners don’t player their players millions of dollars because they feel generous, they do so because that’s the bargain they made with the players union which was the result of past player strikes and other leagues that have attempted to take their market share.

        Being an owner doesn’t make you a king, and while some people would like to think that ownership means you can do whatever you want with your employees, that isn’t actually the case. For anyone that has ever worked for someone else before, I hope we can agree that it’s good that there are such limits.

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    • The employer argument is the only logically valid argument against the anthem protests. Employers do have a right to constrain behavior during work hours. The only question is whether they should limit some forms of speech and expression. Some owners want to, and others don’t.

      The flag means different things to different people. Military people don’t own the flag or the national anthem. Protest is protected free speech (unless it’s on somebody else’s dime).

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      • Agree

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  5. Nice work, Scott… I particularly like the piece on Bowers. I wonder if Licht or staff go through every single draft choice that the team has picked and done analysis on how and why that player failed to live up to expections? Then, using that data moving forward? Interesting to hear the inside story. I also don’t believe that mandating patriotism is the correct way to go with the NFL. If you want to set a policy of “free market” principles, the NFL should that that any player that is perceived to being disrespectful to the flag can be cut without further justification. And, every player should realize that if they wish to exercise their opinion in the NFL forum, they risk job security. There is onus and responsibility for both the individual owner and player at that point.

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  6. I’m a Buc fan. I’m always cautiously optimistic. It’s in my DNA. Twelve seasons of no playoffs (not since January 2006) justifies my guarded optimism, but I still remain optimistic because as I do every year I see enough change to start to believe again!

    Are we there yet? No! But we look pretty darn close this time. We already had the offensive skill pieces in place and with the addition of a quality RB, they have the table set to be a complete offense. A couple of questions remain on the O-Line, but I think those questions will be answered in training camp. The D-Line on paper looks to be significantly improved and the depth is substantial. The secondary is still a work in progress, but the draft pieces added will be an upgrade and should benefit from the improvements in the D-Line. Second free agency is just beginning and there may be another experienced piece added so there is room for a little more confidence.

    So what’s left? All eyes should be on the coaching. GM Licht went all out to give them the pieces to be successful. Now it’s incumbent on the coaches to mold and shape this team into a contender. Licht may have bought himself another year, but the coaches now have the floor and it’s all eyes on them! On this front, I should be more optimistic, but we shall see. Koetter/Smith you are now center stage! No excuses! Go Bucs!

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    • Agreed Mac… It’s on Koetter & coaches at this point.

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    • Agreed 100% Licht and the rest of his team have done well adding quality pieces. It’s time for Koetter and the coaching staff to put the puzzle together. If they can’t do so this year with the pieces available to them, they should be gone. I do feel that regardless of the coaching staff’s fate, Licht and his crew should stay. They have proven to be able to learn from their mistakes and adjust course accordingly. The pieces they are adding now fit the “mold” of what we want on the roster and will continue to improve this team “on paper.”

      It’s time to find a coaching staff that can put all the pieces together on the field. Hopefully the staff we have now will be up to the task. If not, onto the next…Buckner should be a prime DC candidate and Monken seems to have the right make up. I just wish Koetter would let the OC, u know…coordinate the offense. He seems to have too much on his plate as he did well as OC, but hasn’t faired as well as HC.

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  7. Yep, impossible to get hyped for this season. Week by week hope for the best.

    As far as the anthem thing goes, didn’t care then, don’t care now. I just want to watch football. I think these athletes should use their platform to raise social awareness but it is clear this way was too divisive.

    I am glad you shared the story about gaining perspective from sharing time and viewpoints with someone who has learned from different experiences and has opposing opinions. Most people don’t understand that is the only way to truly educate yourself on issues. This is why cable news is the worst thing going. People on the right only watch Fox News and become more entrenched in their views and people on the left do the same with MSNBC or whatever.

    Wake up people, step outside the bubble that is 100 miles around your house and try to walk in the shoes of other human beings, who didn’t choose their circumstances, just like you didn’t and empathize to open your mind and heart.

    Go Bucs!

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    • So agree.

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    • I wish i could put my self in their shoes. But that is not possible. I can only imagine Africa Amricans fear and disgust when being confronted with racism spewwed out by White people.
      My thought is this.
      The entire Black race should be commended and applauded for protesting in such a civil and non-violent manner. I’m not sure if i was in their shoes I would show such restraint.
      GO BUCS

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  8. The nfl made a bigger mess with this rule. I hope you know “a great deal of Americans” are upset these players voices have been silenced. Protests are supposed to make you uncomfortable. During the 60’s blacks would have sit ins in White only restaurants. It was uncomfortable for both but it was needed and it changed the black of segregation. Just because some were offended, the message these players were making is necessary. Nothing makes me more mad then comments made in the comments section saying that police brutality towards minorities is a false narrative etc. We see it everyday. I am not sure you were aware Scott but a lot of people did not watch football last year due to Kaepernick not having a job and many more have come out now and have said they won’t watch due to this ruling. The nfl should not have touched this. I have attended many bars where no one has stood for the national anthem and the beers are poured, people are laughing and talking. If it is such a tradition/rule to stand for the anthem, then it should be done any where the anthem is playing but it does not happen. That is what Kerr was talking about with his “fake patriotism” remark and I totally agree. Whenever a first responder is driving with flashing lights, the rule is you get over and give them the right a way regardless if you are in a traffic jam or on the rode by yourself. If standing for the anthem is not a rule any where you are, then it is foolish to force these players to do so. Either it is a rule for all America like getting out of the way of first responders or its not. And based on the bars in downtown tampa I have been to, its not a rule to stand. The nfl got this wrong.

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  9. Some good stuff, but Bowers isn’t deserving of a spot in the Fab 5.

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    • On his merits, no. Due to the fact that we are in the doldrums of late May and this is more of a “whatever happened to” human interest story – yes. I think the theme of passion runs across every section of the Fab 5 – from getting talent to gel, to seeing which players want to start and also to lead, to getting insight into the mind of the scouting team and front office, to see what makes players walk away, and what makes them kneel or not – the common thread is passion.

      When reading this article I couldn’t help but have the words of coach McKay resonate, “Passion is the most overrated thing in football. My wife is passionate, but I don’t want her to return kickoffs.”

      Although McKay was cheeky to prove a point, I think we can all see a group dwindle because there aren’t enough people putting their heart into a project. Probably all of us have experienced that in our own lives several times. Pro ball is no exception. Some people have gobs of talent but only come in because of the paycheck – those players are not only doomed to fail but run the risk of jeopardizing team objectives. Passion is as important to spot as it is to channel.

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  10. In the spirit of trying to help, “I don’t understand the “fake patriotism” part of Kerr’s comments”

    Kerr was making a comment that purporting to be patriotic because one shows deference (i.e., standing at attention) to an inanimate object, in complete contrast to the underlying values that that object is in fact representing (e.g., freedom of expression), seems like fake patriotism by that individual (i.e., not real patriotism, which would be the respecting of the underlying values).

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  11. Scott, very powerful! I have a new level of respect for you and your logical, approach to the flag issue. Hopefully, the rest of your readers will agree to disagree, in a respectful manner.

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  12. Scott, I think the “fake patriotism” that Steve Kerr was speaking of was the bloviating windbaggery of King Cheeto, a man not known for respecting much of anything, and hardly a patriot. Trump is a fake patriot because he whips up issues around the flag not out of deep conviction, but out of desire to whip up resentment among his voting base. He’s the disinformer-in-chief. And the NFL policy is a direct result of this lunatic’s unhinged attack on the NFL players and especially African-Americans. He’s invested energy in dividing the country along racial lines and along issues of patriotism. Not exactly the actions of a man who cares about the country. Not a patriot… thus fake patriotism…

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    • King Cheeto.
      Love it

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  13. I’m one of the more liberal people you’ll meet. I also worked for a government agency for 34 years. We had rules we had to follow one of them being no political talk on the work room floor. I did not feel like that rule infringed on my rights. I was being paid to work after all not talk politics. I don’t believe players, or anybody at their job should be forced to stand for an anthem, or pledge of allegiance, or listen to, or have to say a prayer. I see the new NFL rule as a good compromise. The players aren’t being forced to do anything, don’t want to stand for the anthem, fine sit in the locker room. You’re at work, do your job, go home do whatever protests you want. The owners ponied up some serious bucks for social issues. Maybe some of those funds, along with some player union dues could’ve went to some 30 second spots during games to explain the players concerns over social issues. Like you said Scott you became more aware of problems faced by black men talking with your new friend. Perhaps some public service announcements would be a better way to go then making it look like you’re against the flag by kneeling.

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    • Agree Scott is opening his eyes and listening too; I respect Scott because he change.

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    • That’s a great idea with the tv spots. I think most will agree that the message was never the issue here. This was a case of “right message, wrong platform.” I for one, never had any issue at all with the message of addressing police brutality and racism. However, choosing to protest during the National Anthem and “disrespecting the flag” (depending on personal opinion) created more divide than was intentioned. I think this is why so many players who originally knelt, decided against doing so later.

      As you said Scott, the dialogue has definitely been opened up though so…mission accomplished in that sense.

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  14. Good Article Scott. I was born and live in the TB area for 72 years and there is no doubt in my mine Tampa PD is rougher on blacks than whites. The Tampa Bay area was very racist up into the early 1960’s. If you were born after this time frame then please listen to white people like me, because I saw it over and over. Sports was no different, and if a few of us white kids wanted to play with black kids back then, there was hell to pay for our actions by family, friends, and the community. Pay attention what is happening to our country now and look and see what some are doing. Racism is coming back, not going away. Only we can stop it. Same thing for freedom of religion. Stand up and go vote these people out and stop this!

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    • Horse. Awesome as usual. I remember when the pads started being passed out first day of practice.
      There was actually a separate pile for the black kids. Damn, that was long ago.
      GO BUCS

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  15. It’s the time of year again when you can be optimistic, pessimistic, or any combination of the two emotions. Everyone is right and we can celebrate an imaginary Super Bowl in 2018, or like so many fans who have spent the last decade angry and disappointed during the playoffs and off season because we were all wrong. I think fans who follow teams like the Buc’s should condition themselves to appreciating good football when it happens, and like a CB who has to have a short memory when they get beat on a rout or miss a tackle move on to the next play. I don’t like putting it all on the coaches and management, they have a group of professional athletes to work with who can only perform at a level their physical bodies and athleticism can endure and their mental aggression, motivation, and desire to win can sustain. Divide that by 32 teams and factor in multiple variables including luck and you find it is what it is and anyway you try to paint it, its simply football.

    PS Can’t wait to see 53 players waiting in the locker room during the National Anthem.

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  16. This team has 1 major talented Defence player McCoy one major talent offence player in Evans those 2 should go back to pro bowl based on their own talent they have others Winston included that could be really good but they are going to need help from coaches, someone once said there are no bad teams just bad coaches.
    Last year the coaching left a lot to be desired, the head coach and OC DC are back, I did not see any great moves draft or free agency, this is the toughest schedule I ever remember.
    I have been very negative with these posts but Scott Reynolds is right in in the hands of the coaches now this is the players they have to work with, what kind of team can they build with these players, Now is time to see.

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  17. Scott,

    I was dreading that you would inevitably wade into the National Anthem topic, as you’ve missed no opportunities thus far to talk politics on this site, including the past times Bucs players have knelt, making readers fully aware of your feelings on the topic.

    But I will say I was pleasantly surprised in how you wrote this article. Usually your attempts to take a middle ground are ham-handed and show that you’re really just trying to prove a point which roughly half the readers disagree with and more object to. This wasn’t one of those times. You made a point to see both sides of an issue and did so respectfully.

    I hope in future cases where you desire to take a political angle in one of your columns(as I know you will), you can find someone who you respect who doesn’t agree with you and at least flesh out their viewpoint or argument. I think if you can do that going forward, and find others who may not watch or listen to the same people you do, maybe the respect you have for them will be shown in your writing like this one has.

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  18. Scott, your little story about you and your black friend is a little sad. There are other points of view?! Wow, what a revelation! But, hey, I’m glad you learned something.

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  19. I am one that would love to see politics left out of football, Last year NFL saw 10-15% drop due to politics in football, Football is a place to escape problems in our lives, Politics should be left outside football, Go ahead stand a protest in the locker room and watch another year of declining ratings does not seem real smart to me.

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  20. Wow have the Bucs wasted Gerald McCoy’s talent he may surpass the waste of talent waste of James Wilder who could have been in the greatest RB of all time had he played for another team. His pass catching was way ahead of his time for an every down RB.

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    • Absolutely correct about James Wilder. He was easily best back of all time playing on one of our worst teams. The youngsters should take a few minutes to watch a few of his highlights.

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      • Yes, agree. Best running back we ever had.

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  21. I really hate when this “football fan” site turns into a political forum. People always wanting their own rights to be recognized, but have no problem rejecting or shouting down the rights of others who might be a bit different from their own. Back to football.

    I’ve entered each Buccaneer football season for the past 42 years with optimism and hope. Often exiting with disappointment and worse yet, brief apathy. Even the most critical fans [Mike. Seven and sometimes Pinkstob] care. They just try to shield themselves from the disappointment, that has so often surrounded us, by being a bit more dubious from the start. Don’t get too high up that shaky ladder to limit the inevitable fall. Over the years, I too have kept my excitement in check.

    It’s the growing apathy, not the negativity, that concerns me the most. Already, we are in an area where the football fan is all too quick to revert back to their former team. After a decade of floundering, few will believe any sort of hype. No matter what positive signs line the road to the season ahead, the “casual fan”,as BF47 called them, will be unimpressed until the results are on the field.

    This Memorial Day I’d like to remember the Buccaneers who were taken from us way too soon. Lee Roy Selmon, Ricky Bell, Cecil Johnson and Dave Logan are in my thoughts.

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  22. The Anthem issue is truly a case study on society. People are upset because others choose to sit or kneel during the playing of the song. When you have bigger issues like school shootings police brutality homelessness poor education and high Healthcare.

    In the grand scheme of things which is the gigantic big universe we live in that flag and that song is about insignificant as a tick.

    As for the Bucs I’m more worried about coaching that I am skill set of our players, we have plenty of talent to win and win that.

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  23. Though I’d like to join the Anthem discussion, I’ll bring it back to football for a sec-
    Sweezy is injured again??? WTF

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  24. I see we got six interceptions during one of the practice days during OTA’s, but how did our pass rush look, Scott? I know there are no pads, but would like to read about a some hope for a pass rush this season compared to last year.

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  25. As a Veteran who was not drafted but volunteered to serve my Country during the Vietnam War as my Father did also though entitled to a deferment as an only son during WWII and survived the Battle of the Bulge, I was not happy to see players refusing to show our flag respect during a football game. But I didn’t boycott the NFL as a protest either. I respect the right of any citizen to peaceably protest at the proper time and place but a football game is the wrong time and place. It should be non political place where Americans of any race or political party should be able to enjoy the game together. Likewise I think this place should be a neutral place to discuss football issues respectfully period, and not a place to debate political points of view that divide us. I think the NFL made a big mistake by supporting divisive protests by players at football games, and was correct in trying to correct their own mistake in a way that gave players a way to not disrupt football games without forcing them to abandon their deeply held beliefs.
    Lets get back to discussing football which 90 percent of Scott’s Article did so brilliantly!

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    • Thank you for your service @owlykat – and your father too! I agree that Sunday’s at the games should be about football, not national anthems….it was and is a strange oddity to be playing national anthems at sporting events.

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  26. I hope Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea plays for more than the “3 days” Bucs director of college scouting Mike Biehl is quoted as saying he will. 😛

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  27. Don’t forget…Bowers is also the reason Michael Bennett isn’t still a Buc. You could argue that pick was as bad as Aguayo

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    • The clear reason why Bowers is nowhere near as bad a pick as Aguayo and the comparison is laughable:

      1. Bowers showed potential as an elite pass rusher in his Jr year with 15.5 sacks and 26 TFL.
      2. Bowers was a 5 star prospect coming out of HS so his production was not unexpected.
      3. If you have a player with elite pass rushing production/ability you take him high. Usually in the top 5. You never take a kicker in the top 5.
      4. Aguayo was coming off his worst year with only 80% FG and a blocked kick which cost his team a game. The opposite of Bowers Jr year
      5. Kickers hardly ever get drafted in the first two rounds. Taking one in round 2 means you predict Aguayo will be a Perrenial Pro Bowl kicker.
      6. Aguayo cost more to put on the field as the worst kicker in the NFL than Bowers did.
      7. Bennett not being resigned is a separate decision than drafting of Bowers as Bowers was taken a full year ahead of it. It wasn’t a bang-bang decision.

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      • Well said @devasher

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      • We’re making two different points. Your point is that when they actually made the picks, Bowers in the 2nd round was a much better selection than Aguayo in the 2nd round. I agree with that 100% and also agree it isn’t even close. My point was hindsight and the long term impact the picks have had on the franchise

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  28. Samuel Johnson said it best years ago.
    “Patiotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
    He should have added religion as well.

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  29. It’s simply hysterical when someone who dodged military service four or five times, is a serial cheater on his wife and has a campaign staff that met with the Russians in an attempt to rig the election can question anyone’s patriotism and loyalty.

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    • Yes – but it would be less hysterical if he didn’t have his finger on the nucs.

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    • Mr. bone spurs thinks he can.

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