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. IT’S TIME FOR THE BUCS TO SUMMON “THE KRAKEN”
As is typical every year, by the third or fourth day of free agency all of the top pass rushers are off the market and have been signed to lucrative deals.
The most important position in the NFL is the quarterback. The second most important position is either the guy that protects the QB – the left tackle – or the guy that rushes the passer – the defensive end. The Buccaneers desperately need a defensive end that can get to the quarterback and their options are drying up quick.
On the second day of free agency, the Buccaneers cut Michael Johnson, the overpaid and underwhelming defensive end that was signed to a five-year, $43.75 million last year. By the fourth day of free agency, there aren’t any names that remain. Tennessee pass rusher Derrick Morgan and Washington’s Brian Orakpo signed with the Titans, while Tampa Bay’s Adrian Clayborn signed a deal with NFC South division rival Atlanta. Johnson remains unsigned, but he’ll likely head back to Cincinnati.
The Bucs didn’t want either Johnson or Clayborn, and Morgan, who visited the Bucs on Wednesday, has never recorded more than 6.5 sacks in a season and has 23 in his four years with the Titans. Orakpo is capable of producing double-digit sacks when healthy, but he has missed 24 games over the past three seasons and will be 29 this summer. He didn’t consider the Bucs, nor did they consider him.
All that may be left is Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, who after notching a sack against Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown in the season opener, missed the final 15 games of the 2014 season after being suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for a domestic abuse arrest, and a conviction by a judge that was later overturned by a jury when the victim, Hardy’s former girlfriend, did not show up for the trial. Hardy and the victim had agreed to a settlement to avoid a civil trial.
Out of all of the available pass rushers available in free agency, Hardy was – and still is – the best one based on production and sheer talent. With the Bucs desperately needing an edge rusher capable of producing double-digit sacks, which he did with 11 in 2012 and a career-high and Carolina-record 15 during the 2013 season, Tampa Bay has to seriously consider the risk of adding the rush end known as “The Kraken.” The Oakland Raiders already are, and could sign him on Friday if the Bucs don’t act quickly.
Hardy’s 15 sacks were the third most in the NFL and earned him his first Pro Bowl, and he has 34 in his career, in addition to 18 tackles for loss, 15 pass breakups and seven forced fumbles. For a team that has an urgent need to hunt the likes of New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Carolina’s Cam Newton, Hardy is the hunter the Bucs have to have.
Of his 34 career sacks, 13.5 have come within the NFC South. “The Kraken” has sacked Ryan six times, Brees four times and the Buccaneers’ quarterbacks 3.5 times during his five years in Carolina. Hardy ended his record-setting 2013 season in style with three sacks over Brees in a 17-13 win in Week 16, and followed that up with a Panthers-record four-sack effort the next week against Ryan in a 21-20 victory at Atlanta.
Imagine how bad he would like to sack Carolina’s Cam Newton as the Panthers ultimately turned the page on Hardy following his suspension from Goodell and didn’t attempt to re-sign him after making the team’s sixth-round pick in 2010 Carolina’s franchise player in 2014.
Hardy has sacked the likes of Brees, Ryan, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Jay Cutler and Eli Manning during his time in Carolina. With Brees, Ryan, Newton, Manning, Cutler, Dallas’ Tony Romo and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck on Tampa Bay’s 2015 schedule, the Bucs defense will have to get pressure on those quarterbacks to have a chance to win.
Signing Hardy will undoubtedly draw some media scrutiny and some fans will revolt over the Bucs adding an NFL player fresh off a domestic abuse charge. But what the Glazers need to determine is just how much of the Tampa Bay fan base will actually dwindle if the Bucs sign Hardy to an incentive-laden, team-friendly contract. With attendance each game hovering about 15,000-20,000 shy of capacity at Raymond James Stadium the Bucs need to attract more fans with wins.
Having Hardy gets sacks to help the Bucs produce victories to gain more attendees will undoubtedly offset any fans that abandon their Pewter Pirates over principle. Most everybody loves a winner, and if Hardy turns his life around in Tampa Bay by being around great influences like head coach Lovie Smith, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who will be side by side with him on a daily basis, it will be a classic American redemption story. Legendary Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and NFL quarterback Michael Vick are prime examples of this.
Although Hardy received $13.116 million last year as the Panthers’ franchise player despite playing in just one game, he would have every incentive to be a Boy Scout in Tampa Bay – except for three hours on game days – in 2015.
Let’s face it. The Bucs haven’t had a double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice notched 14 in 2005. We’re approaching a decade now without an edge rusher that truly scared opposing quarterbacks. It’s no coincidence that the Bucs have only had one playoff berth during those nine years (2007), while Hardy has helped the Panthers make the playoffs in 2013.
What’s holding back the Buccaneers and other NFL teams from signing Hardy is that it is unclear what type of punishment the league will dish out. Even though charges were dropped from his successful appeal, Goodell could still levy fines and suspend him.
Just because Hardy was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last year doesn’t mean he’ll escape a suspension because he’s already had time served. Hardy was paid even though he missed the last 15 games of the regular season, but there still could be a suspension and fines coming.
Still, having Hardy for 12 games, 10 games or even eight games would be better than not having him at all in Tampa Bay, considering how desperate the Bucs are for an edge rusher to complement McCoy. What’s the old adage? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Smith is a strong man of faith and high character and believes that he can help young men walk the straight and narrow. That’s why he was not afraid to sign guard Ritchie Incognito last year (ownership nixed that signing, though) and he’s not afraid to draft Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. Smith shouldn’t be afraid of taking on “The Kraken,” either.
If you want to know more about Hardy’s domestic abuse incident before making up your mind about whether you would want Hardy in red and pewter, excerpts can be found in this article. A full transcript of Hardy’s 9-1-1 call to authorities about his former girlfriend attacking him on the night of his arrest can be found here.
Do you want to see the Bucs pursue Hardy in free agency? Click here to vote in the latest Gerber Collision Pewter Poll question on PewterReport.com.
FAB 2. TAMPA BAY HAD QUICK CASE OF BUYER’S REMORSE WITH JOHNSON
The release of defensive end Michael Johnson was a long time coming. Within the first few months of Johnson becoming a Buccaneer, the team developed a case of buyer’s remorse.
Desperate for a fast, athletic defensive end that could put pressure on opposing quarterbacks in Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme, the Bucs signed Johnson to a five-year, $43.75 million deal based largely on potential rather than production. Surrounded by the likes of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Carlos Dunlap in Cincinnati, Johnson notched 11.5 sacks in 2012, which prompted the Bengals to place the franchise tag on him for the next season.
During an underwhelming 2013 campaign, Johnson didn’t live up to expectations and saw the Bengals draft Margus Hunt in the second round and give big contract extensions to both Atkins and Dunlap. He recorded just three sacks and the writing was on the wall that Johnson was expendable. Cincinnati allowed him to hit free agency last year and Tampa Bay and Minnesota, which had hired Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to be its coach, were the two front-runners for Johnson’s services.
Zimmer was prepared to offer Johnson a nearly identical contract, but he opted to play in the warm South, closer to his home in Alabama than a frigid state like Minnesota. But once Johnson got to Tampa Bay a sprained ankle he had from the 2013 season lingered and he rarely participated in drills during the OTAs and mini-camps.
Johnson was more of a regular participant in training camp, but he severely sprained his ankle in Tampa Bay’s Week 1 loss to Carolina and missed the next game against St. Louis and most of the Week 3 game at Atlanta. The Bucs had waited patiently for him to come to life as a pass rusher, which he did against Pittsburgh the next week, recording two sacks and a forced fumble in Tampa Bay’s 27-24 upset win.
But Johnson didn’t record a sack or a tackle the next week in New Orleans as the Bucs’ lost a 37-31 overtime thriller, and he disappeared for the next five games before notching a second half sack at Washington in a 27-7 victory. As Tampa Bay’s 2014 season came to a close with a six-game losing streak, Johnson notched just one sack – against Green Bay – and recorded just one tackle in three of the last six games of the season. Johnson broke his hand late in the season, which didn’t help his cause.
The Bucs became nervous during the mini-camps and training camp about Johnson’s sporadic playmaking ability. Yet it was after Johnson’s best game of the season at Pittsburgh in Week 4 when the team began to really doubt him and question whether they made a mistake.
In a potential season-shifting game in Week 5 at New Orleans, Johnson didn’t record a single statistic and only got close to Drew Brees once, pushing a lineman into the Saints quarterback to cause a bad pass, which was intercepted. By then, the team knew that he was a docile, soft player that lacked the instincts and awareness they were looking for in a pass-rushing defensive end. Only a strong second half of the 2014 season would save him, and that didn’t happen.
I hinted at the team’s displeasure with Johnson when I called for him to be benched in a SR’s Fab 5 column from October. The Bucs probably would have benched him if they had any other credible defensive ends other than Jacquies Smith on the team, and even slightly considered keeping him this offseason because of that same reason.
But in the end, the Bucs quickly recognized their mistake with the Johnson signing, just as they did with the signings of quarterback Josh McCown and offensive tackle Anthony Collins last year. The worst thing a general manager or a head coach can do is to hang on to a mistake out of pride and ego.
The Bucs deserve plenty of criticism for signing Johnson, Collins and McCown in the first place, as their signings helped contribute to a dismal 2-14 record. But Tampa Bay also deserves credit for cutting bait and for not compounding its mistakes.
FAB 3. CARTER ISN’T ONLY LINEBACKER THE BUCS ARE EXCITED ABOUT
The Buccaneers’ splashiest free agent signing thus far has been adding Dallas’ Bruce Carter, who is expected to move to middle linebacker in the Tampa 2 scheme, which is similar to the defense he played in for Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. But Carter isn’t the only free agent linebacker that Tampa Bay is excited about.
This move didn’t cause many waves when it happened, but the Bucs were thrilled to re-sign Jason Williams, who inked a one-year deal worth $745,000 prior to the start of free agency. Williams was signed late last year when injuries ravaged Tampa Bay’s linebacking corps, and he played in the final three games of the season.
The muscle-bound linebacker starred on special teams, recording two against his former team, Carolina, in his first game with Tampa. He would tally four tackles on special teams in just three games, which tied him for fifth on the team. Williams, who was backing up Lavonte David at weakside linebacker, also got some snaps on defense against New Orleans in the second half of the team’s 23-20 loss to the Saints.
“I was only here for three weeks, but I’ve loved every moment of it,” Williams said at the end of the 2014 season. “Special teams has always been my main thing since coming into the league, but I’m looking forward to any and all opportunities I have to play defense. With Lavonte going down at halftime I had that opportunity, and you need to capitalize on every opportunity you can and that’s what I tried to do.”
“It tested my knowledge of the scheme, which is similar to Carolina’s,” Williams said. “There are some differences, but it was great to be out there competing with my new teammates.”
Williams was a former third-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2009 out of Western Illinois where he tied the NCAA record with 14 forced fumbles, including six as a senior. The Cowboys ran a 3-4 defense at the time that he struggled to adjust to, and he was released during the 2010 season, bouncing between Carolina (2010-11), Philadelphia (2012) and then back for another stint with the Panthers (2012-14).
Williams has notched 64 tackles, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery during his six-year NFL career with a handful of starts. But Williams’ value to the Buccaneers is on special teams where he has notched 40 special teams tackles, a blocked punt and a forced fumble in his career.
“When you are as big as I am and can move like I do, it’s hard to be blocked on special teams one-on-one,” Williams said.
The Bucs are intrigued by Williams’ size, speed and athleticism. At 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, he stands out in Tampa Bay’s smallish linebacking corps.
“I’m the biggest linebacker on the team by far,” Williams said. “I’m 250. That was one of the first things I noticed about Tampa Bay. When they called me and wanted to sign me, one of the first things I did was to Google the roster and looked at the linebacking corps at the guys I would be joining and I think the heaviest guy was 240.
Strongside linebacker Danny Lansanah weighed 250 pounds when he arrived in 2013 before head coach Lovie Smith asked him to shed 10 pounds during the offseason upon his arrival last offseason.
“I haven’t been at or below 240 since my senior year in college,” Williams said. “Lovie already talked to me about that and he wants me to get my weight down.”
Williams weighed 240 pounds coming out of Western Illinois and ran an eye-opening 4.49 in the 40-yard dash with an impressive 1.49 in the 10-yard split. That speed and a 39-inch vertical leap and bench-pressing 225 pounds 26 times caused his draft stock to soar towards the top of the third round in 2009.
Entering his sixth season in the league, the 28-year Williams said he’s just as fast as he was coming out of college. For a team like the Buccaneers, whose defense is predicated on speed, that’s music to Smith and general manager Jason Licht’s ears, which is why he was re-signed.
“I’ve been the same weight the last three or four years,” Williams said. “Speed is something where if you have it, you have it. You really don’t lose it, so I’ve been able to adapt to getting bigger and still being able to move.”
Williams will be battling for the right to backup David as Tampa Bay’s reserve weakside linebacker, but he could also get a look in the middle as a replacement for Dane Fletcher, who wasn’t re-signed this offseason. The Bucs are very high on Williams and are eager to see what he can do with an entire offseason under his belt in Tampa Bay with linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson.
FAB 4. BETTING AGAINST KEYSHAWN JOHNSON
To celebrate my 20 years of covering the Buccaneers I’m going to share with you some of the behind-the-scenes encounters I’ve had over the last two decades. These stories will appear in the first 20 SR’s Fab 5 columns of 2015, which encompasses much of the offseason.
When wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson arrived in Tampa Bay in 2000 I first got to really know him when he did a radio show with Steve Duemig during the 6:00 p.m. hour on Wednesdays after my 5:00 p.m. radio show. I remember asking for Johnson’s phone number and he quickly gave it to me with one caveat.
“Just because I give you my phone number doesn’t mean I have to answer your call,” Johnson said.
Johnson and I ended up hitting it off quite well and we would chat in the locker room during the interview period and usually weekly on the phone. I think Johnson, who grew up in Southern California and went to USC before playing for the New York Jets, was kind of lonely in Tampa. There were some nights he would dial me up and we would talk for hours. Usually he did the talking and I did the listening.
I think Johnson liked to vent to me about his desire to have Bill Parcells come down to Tampa Bay to coach at the end of 2001 when the writing was on the wall for Tony Dungy, how he was underused in the red zone in Clyde Christensen’s offense, and about his love-hate relationship with head coach Jon Gruden from 2002-03. Johnson and I were friendly to the point of us making a little wager on the USC-Kansas State football games in 2001 and 2002.
It started off with me asking Johnson if he wanted to bet on the game our alma maters would play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. K-State came in ranked 11th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 13th in the Associated Press poll, while USC was unranked in the first season with Pete Carroll at the helm. Yet it was a Trojans team that had junior Carson Palmer at quarterback, Kareem Kelly at wide receiver, Justin Fargas at running back, Mike Patterson, Shaun Cody and Kenechi Udeze along the defensive line and Troy Polamalu at safety.
In that game, Polamalu, then a sophomore, had a cheap shot personal foul on wide receiver Aaron Lockett, the Bucs’ 2002 seventh-round pick and the uncle of 2015 NFL Draft prospect Tyler Lockett.
Johnson, who was a multi-millionaire after becoming the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history, asked me if I wanted to bet $1,000 on the game. At the time that was close to one of my paychecks, so I quickly said, “No way!”
Realizing that $1,000 was chump change to an NFL player like Johnson, but a lot of money to me, I countered by saying, “Why don’t we bet paycheck for paycheck?”
Johnson laughed and offered up a $500 wager. With my first-born daughter, Ellie, on the way that was still too rich for my blood. We settled for a $100 bet. I had never bet on a Wildcats game before and it was agonizing watching my team eek out a 10-6. It almost made watching K-State uncomfortable for me because if I lost I would be upset my alma mater last, I would be out $100, which was a lot of money to me at the time, and I would never hear the end of it from the loud-mouthed Johnson.
But I won the bet and Johnson was mad about it on Monday in the locker room. As you could imagine, he was a bit of a sore loser. He said, “You were lucky to hang for the win,” but he didn’t have any cash on him.
So I went back on Wednesday to the open locker room session and confronted him about the $100 he owed me. He said he didn’t have any cash on him at that time, either, and to come back the next day.
“You’ll get your money, Scott,” Johnson said.
When I politely asked him if he had the $100 on Thursday, Johnson said, “Scott, you’re killing me. I don’t have your money.”
You’re probably thinking what I was thinking at the time. How could a multi-millionaire not have $100 laying around somewhere that he could bring to work?
Johnson, feeling bad, went into another player’s locker – I won’t say who – reached in that player’s jeans, pulled out their wallet and gave me five $20 bills.
“There – are you happy now?” Johnson said dismissively.
He turned to put his teammate’s wallet back into the locker and muttered under his breath, “I’ll pay him back.”
So Johnson ended up swiping $100 from a teammate to pay off our bet on the K-State vs. USC game in 2001. Both teams would finish with 6-6 records.
The next year, the 25th-ranked Wildcats hosted the 11th-ranked Trojans, who had the same returning cast, plus Frostee Rucker at defensive end and Darnell Bing in the secondary next to Polamalu. But this time, the Wildcats had a freshman running back named Darren Sproles to play alongside quarterback Ell Roberson, wide receiver James Terry and cornerback Terrence Newman.
Johnson and I made the same $100 bet and the Bill Snyder’s Wildcats beat Carroll’s Trojans again, 27-20. But it was another close game that wasn’t any fun for me to watch with what was riding on the outcome. This time, Johnson had a $100 bill waiting for me the following Monday at One Buc Place and didn’t have to “borrow” it from a teammate. I had won $200 from Johnson over the past two years along with bragging rights.
Both teams finished the season 11-2 and in the top 10. K-State won another thriller in the Holiday Bowl, 34-27, over Dirk Koetter’s Arizona State team led by Terrell Suggs, who set the NCAA record for sacks in a season with 24, including two against the Wildcats.
Because it was agonizing to bet money on my alma mater and stole my joy I haven’t wagered a single dime on watching the Wildcats since those bets with Johnson. I just can’t bring myself to do it anymore. I cover professional football for work, but college football is my release. I watch it for enjoyment – as well as some draft study – and that’s the way I like it.
But my wagering days aren’t quite over. I did bet Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy that he would look good in a K-State hat last year if my Wildcats went into Norman, Okla. and beat the Sooners. I had to wear a Sooners hat around One Buc Place if K-State lost.
I think you can tell by the look on Geraldini’s face (and the hat on his head) that his Sooners were upset at home last year, 31-30.
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• With the Buccaneers having in the neighborhood of $30 million worth of salary cap room left, how are they going to spend it? Per league rules, Tampa Bay is obligated to spend 89 percent of their $144.9 million salary cap per Collective Bargaining Agreement rules. With the Buccaneers’ rookie salary pool estimated to be around $8.1 million, and the team’s manta of “value signings” this year, how will the Bucs eat up all that cap room to become compliant with NFL rules?
Later this spring, probably after the draft and before training camp, Tampa Bay will extend the contract of linebacker Lavonte David, who was an All-Pro in 2013 and a Pro Bowl alternate last year. David could fetch in the $7-$8 million per season range, and like the Bucs did with Gerald McCoy last year, they could really stack David’s 2015 base salary so that it consumes a lot of the available cap space and helps reduce his yearly average over the life of the deal with a front-loaded contract.
McCoy signed a seven-year, $95.2 million deal at the end of October. Even though the average for McCoy’s contract was $13.6 million per year, the Bucs paid the Pro Bowl defensive tackle $20.8 million in base salary to drive his salary cap last year to $21.295 million. In 2015, McCoy’s cap number falls to $14.595 million and then slides to $13 million in 2016.
Tampa Bay could do the same thing for David later this spring and not have to worry about not meeting the league’s threshold for salary cap spending. The Bucs could also give starting offensive tackle Demar Dotson a well-earned raise to eat up some cap room, too. Dotson is making just $2.5 million this season and is one of the league’s most underpaid starting tackles.
Tampa Bay has until the last day of the league year to be in compliance, so there is no concern about not adhering to the league’s spending rule.
• One of the reasons why the Bucs wanted to get Bruce Carter signed to play middle linebacker is that it takes one need off the team’s draft board heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay was faced with the prospect of having to consider a middle linebacker in the second round or an offensive lineman.
With the Bucs not signing an offensive lineman yet in free agency, it takes away the second-round dilemma that the team was faced with having to choose a lineman or a Mike linebacker. The Bucs will now probably use that pick on an offensive lineman and plan on starting that player in 2015. Tampa Bay could draft a second-round tackle like Colorado State’s Ty Sambrailo or Oregon’s Eric Fisher, or trade that high second-rounder and move up into the first round to get Florida State tackle-center Cameron Erving or Miami’s Ereck Flowers.
Of course drafting an offensive lineman isn’t necessarily set in stone. Tampa Bay still has a pressing need for a pass rusher after having released Michael Johnson, and the Bucs may take a liking to a second-round defensive end like UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Utah’s Nate Orchard, Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha or Mississippi State’s Preston Smith.
• Bucs general manager Jason Licht, director of player personnel Jon Robinson and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian were all in attendance at Oregon’s pro day to watch quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is contending with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to be the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, which Tampa Bay owns. But the Bucs weren’t just there to watch Mariota. Nickel cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olumu carried a first-round grade prior to suffering a torn ACL in a December practice preparing for the college football playoff game against Florida State.
That injury caused him not to participate in Thursday’s pro day at Oregon and will cause his draft stock to slip. With his rookie season in jeopardy due to the fact he’s only four months into his recovery, Ekpre-Olomu could slip into the third round where he would be a steal. At 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, Ekpre-Olomu was one of the most physical corners in college football, racking up 244 tackles, 48 pass breakups, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles. He would be an ideal playmaking nickel cornerback for the Bucs.
If Tampa Bay did draft him, it could redshirt him during the 2015 season if it signed Dallas veteran free agent Sterling Moore to compete with Isaiah Frey and Leonard Johnson for the nickel cornerback this year.
• Speaking of nickel cornerbacks, one of the 2015 draft prospects that has caught Tampa Bay’s eye is Arizona State safety Damarious Randall. He’s one of the players the Bucs will be bringing in for a private visit, according to CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler. Randall had a great Senior Bowl and carries a mid-round grade. The Bucs believe he could thrive at either free safety or nickel cornerback.
• If you haven’t noticed, there has been a trend at One Buccaneer Place this offseason in terms of the free agents the Bucs have signed. Safety Chris Conte and defensive tackle Henry Melton were drafted by Lovie Smith in Chicago and know the Tampa 2 scheme inside and out. Melton also played for Smith’s close friend and Dallas’ defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, as did linebacker Bruce Carter.
It’s likely that Marinelli gave Smith a ringing endorsement on two players the Cowboys didn’t have salary cap room to keep, but the key is that the Bucs aren’t messing around with defensive players that aren’t the right fit for the Tampa 2 after whiffing on defensive end Michael Johnson last year. That’s why the Bucs are also interested in Dallas nickel cornerback Sterling Moore, too.
• I’m sure a lot of you following the Buccaneers’ pursuit of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who could be the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, have read the New York Times stories on Winston’s sexual assault investigation and his draft prospects. You’ve also probably heard about Erica Kinsman, Winston’s accuser, appearing in a documentary called “The Hunting Ground” in which he details Winston’s alleged assault.
Well there has been quite a rebuttal issued by the National Review that picks apart her depiction of what happened and chastises the film for quite a bit of omissions of the facts in the case that led Winston not to be charged with any crime. It’s a very insightful read and provides some balance to the New York Times’ report and the stance that “The Hunting Ground” attempts to take.
• If you are disappointed in the lack of activity by the Buccaneers in free agency, you can’t say I didn’t try to warn you. Faithful readers of SR’s Fab 5 learned last week that the Bucs were going after more “value” free agent signings like Clinton McDonald a year ago, rather than the “splash” signings of defensive end Michael Johnson.
Then on Monday, I tried to temper your enthusiasm for high-priced, over-paid mediocre linemen like Orlando Franklin, Mike Iupati and Bryan Bulaga by saying that the team should (and ultimately would) pass on them and draft starting-caliber linemen instead. On Sunday we had Bruce Carter as the No. 1 Bucs’ Best at linebacker for Tampa Bay, and on Tuesday we had Chris Conte as the No. 2 Bucs’ Best Bet at defensive back in our free agency previews.
There’s a reason you visit PewterReport.com. You want the inside scoop on the Buccaneers, and that’s what we try to deliver.
• If you haven’t already, please take the time to vote in the Gerber Collision Pewter Poll. PewterReport.com – and specifically the weekly SR’s Fab 5 column – is widely read at One Buccaneer Place by the Glazers, the front office and the coaches. There are some public relations aspects to pursuing defensive end Greg Hardy, so if you want “The Kraken” in Tampa Bay, vote now on the front page of PewterReport.com and let your voice be heard.