FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• One more thing about Fort Hays State defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd. I asked him which NFL players he watched on tape and his answer kind of surprised me.
“Since I went to Fort Hays I’ve always been a fan of Brandon Williams, who plays in Baltimore,” Shepherd said. “He actually played in my conference at Missouri Southern. He was a small school guy, so just to see what he can do is great, and I believe he was drafted in the third round by Baltimore. He is a big inspiration for me.”
Williams is a shorter, squattier nose tackle at 6-foot-1, 335 pounds. It’s interesting that Shepherd didn’t say a person with a similar body type, such as Tampa Bay’s Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who is 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, but the kid draws inspiration from different places.
• There was a day when the Buccaneers would take a shot on a player that has fallen from grace, such as former New York Jets defensive lineman Mo Wilkerson. Under Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay took on its share of reclamation projects, ranging from running back Thomas Jones to defensive tackle Chris Hovan to wide receiver Antonio Bryant, but the difference was that these players were typically aging veterans that came with cheap contracts – often one-year, prove-it deals.
The other big difference that is keeping the Bucs from taking those types of chances is that Gruden, Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl-winning head coach, had established a winning culture. The Bucs won NFC South division titles in 2002, 2005 and 2007 and had veteran captains like linebacker Derrick Brooks and cornerback Ronde Barber that had been to the playoffs for half of their careers and set the standard.
Tampa Bay hasn’t been to the postseason since 2007 and has posted just two winning seasons since then. Bucs general manager Jason Licht has grown leery of taking chances in free agency on players that have questionable character or work ethic as several moves, including signing defensive tackle Chris Baker and linebacker Bruce Carter backfired.
• Make sure you listen to the two latest Pewter Nation Podcasts this weekend if you haven’t listened to them already. Last week we had Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson as our special guest and he spoke candidly about a wide range of Bucs topics for more than half an hour. Dotson discussed the play of running back Peyton Barber, offensive linemen Ali Marpet and J.R. Sweezy, talked about Todd Monken’s promotion to full-time offensive coordinator, spoke about the Hard Knocks debacle, the Bucs’ red zone woes and more. You can click here to listen to Episode 62: Deep Dive With Demar Dotson.
Our most recent Pewter Nation Podcast, Trevor Sikkema, Mark Cook and I talk about the Bucs’ latest roster moves and preview the NFL Scouting Combine. You can click here to listen to Episode 63: Bucs Moving On, Moving Forward.
If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast yet, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your lunch on a Friday afternoon or battle rush hour traffic on your way home from work. 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.
• Thanks to Tampa Bay salary cap wizard Mike Greenberg, the Buccaneers have just $951,165 in dead cap money, according to Spotrac.com, which is among the lowest in the NFL. A total of 22 teams have at least $1 million in dead salary cap money. The highest amount of dead salary cap money belongs to Buffalo ($18,681,120) followed by San Francisco ($15,029,233) and Kansas City ($14,935,824).
Former Tampa Bay kicker Roberto Aguayo’s signing bonus proration of $573,662 accelerated into the 2018 season and accounts for most of it. Another $197,835 comes from the prorated signing bonus of running back Jeremy McNichols, last year’s fifth-round pick. Center Joe Hawley was given a signing bonus last year and the remaining $125,000 hits this year’s cap. Former wide receiver Derel Walker’s $50,000 signing bonus proration hits in 2018, as does the signing bonus amounts of linebacker Richie Brown ($3,334) and defensive end Evan Panfil ($1,334).
• Stay up to date with the latest Bucs news and draft reports from the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend by following us on Twitter. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.
And visit PewterReport.com all weekend for the latest stories and recaps LIVE from Trevor Sikkema, who is covering the NFL Scouting Combine from Indianapolis. Here is Sikkema’s first Combine Scouting Notebook: Nelson Is Bucs’ Dream Prospect; RB Kelly Meets With Tampa Bay.
• After reflecting on Tampa Bay’s disappointing 5-11 season, Bucs general manager Jason Licht found some optimism in looking at all that transpired during the year.
“We feel like we are very, very close and I know the season didn’t show that with five wins,” “But we had a quarterback who was in a lot of pain on a throwing shoulder. As we sit back and look at it now, a lot of the throws he couldn’t make affected our offense and Jameis is a super-competitive guy, as you know. We wouldn’t put him out there if he was in danger of injuring the shoulder worse, but when you have a starting quarterback affected by his throwing shoulder things just aren’t going to go … it’s not going to be a fine-tuned machine out there.
“We had turnovers, and we had 10 games where we were within seven points. I think we were 2-7 in games in six or less points. We didn’t close out games well. If I had to point out two things (I would say) the pain Jameis was going through, and the inability to close out games and turnovers. These are all things we think we can fix.”
• And finally, it’s time to think about your future, your retirement and the future of your family if something happens to you. When it was time for me to talk retirement and life insurance, I turned to my good friend Keith Moseley. You’ve probably seen his banners on PewterReport.com over the past year. It’s never too late to start retirement planning and to get a a life insurance policy, and I urge you to give Moseley a call today if haven’t made those critical plans for your future.
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