• Bucs inside linebacker Kevin Minter has played for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in three different stops, starting in Arizona as a rookie in 2013. Minter spent most of his NFL career with the Cardinals before attending training camp with the New York Jets last summer where he reunited with Bowles once again before signing with Tampa Bay at mid-season due to injuries in the Bucs linebacker corps.
Now the two are together in Tampa Bay, and over the last couple of years, Minter has seen Bowles’ aggressive style of 3-4 defense pretty much stay the same.
“For the most part, the foundation is the same, but he’s tweaked some things from team to team based on the strengths and weaknesses of the actual personnel,” Minter said. “He’s put in some little tweaks here and there because we have some mean pass rushers here. He wants to give them some one-on-ones. He’s changed some blitzes up, but for the most part it’s the same.”
The fact that Bowles’ scheme hasn’t changed much only helps Minter’s chances of making the team as Devin White’s backup. Minter knows the defense so well that he’s serving as an on-field player-coach, and even some of his fellow linebackers call him “Coach Minter” on occasion.
“I know it – all the installations,” Minter said. “There have been some tweaks, but I know it.”
One other thing Minter knows is the type of impact that new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh can have in Bowles’ defense as the team’s new three-technique defensive tackle.
“He’s proven in this league – great addition,” Minter said. “Suh’s one of those guys that you love to play behind. We’ll see how he does this year. I’m so glad he’s here. I was one of the biggest advocates for us to pick him up. I’m glad we did it.”
• Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson is entering his 11th year in Tampa Bay and will turn 34 this October. He’s in the twilight of his career and is entering what could be his final year in red and pewter as his contract expires after the 2019 season.
Dotson had a down year in 2018 as he was never fully recovered from offseason knee surgery. Now that he’s one year removed from that surgery, he’s feeling much better and likes his chances to see his play return to 2017 levels when he was enjoying one of his best seasons prior to injuring his knee down the stretch.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“It is better, but don’t get me wrong – an old man is going to hurt and ache now,” Dotson said. “It’s a little better now, though. I worked hard all offseason trying to rehab it. Even last year after I had the surgery I busted my tail and worked hard. It’s something I have to stay on top of. It’s not going to get back to 100 percent. Hopefully they take care of me a little bit in training camp and give me some rest here and there and I can preserve it as best I can for the season. That’s the plan going forward.”
Dotson has had a plethora of offensive line coaches through his decade in Tampa Bay, spanning five head coaches. Bucs run game coordinator Harold Goodwin and offensive line coach Joe Gilbert have been hammering the point home that Tampa Bay’s O-line must do a better job of finishing its blocks in 2019 after failing to do that regularly in 2018.
“That’s true,” Dotson said. “Sometimes you think you have a guy blocked and the quarterback might have to hold the ball for an extra second. You have to finish because that’s where strip sacks come in. We do have to work on it and do a better job of finishing. That’s what Coach Warhop used to harp on last year – going to the whistle. He used to coach the same thing and we didn’t do a good job of heeding that coaching and going to the whistle. We definitely need to do that this year.”
• THE PR TEAM DISCUSSES McCOY’S DISRESPECT! Check out our latest Pewter Nation Podcast, Episode 128: The Real McCoy where the Pewter Reporters discuss Gerald McCoy’s appearance on Shannon And Skip: Undisputed this week, in addition to the news about McCoy refusing a pay cut in Tampa Bay that PewterReport.com uncovered. This week’s podcast is over an hour and is packed with great inside scoop and analysis, as well as answers to your Bucs questions that were submitted via Twitter.
In our previous Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 127: Same Uniform, Different Practices, Mark Cook, Taylor Jenkins, Matt Matera and yours truly discuss the Bucs uniforms, training camp practice times and answer a bunch of fan-submitted questions. Listen to it this weekend if you missed it last week.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and PR’s Mark Cook – Photo by: PewterReport.com
We want YOU to be a part of the next couple of episodes this summer! Submit your questions to us on Twitter by using the hashtag #PewterNation and we’ll answer them on the next episode of the Pewter Nation Podcast.
And if you missed our podcast with special guest Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, who dished out some interesting info about his team prior to training camp, you can catch up on that episode right here.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast, which is presented by Chris Garrido of Westshore Financial, than on your drive home from work on Friday or running around doing errands or at the gym on Saturday. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped next week, and we’ll answer some of your questions. Submit them via our @PewterReport Twitter account by using the hashtag #PewterNation
• New Bucs defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers is getting some rave reviews from his players. Rodgers, who has coached with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in Dallas and Miami before becoming Bowles’ defensive coordinator with the New York Jets over the last four years, has been coaching the defensive line at the NFL level since 2003.
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston has had a handful of defensive line coaches since being drafted by Tampa Bay in 2013 and really likes what he’s learned from Rodgers.
“I’ve had quite a few coaches,” Gholston said. “I feel like the simplicity of his explanations is crazy. Him being a former defensive coordinator, it’s easier for him to break down the whole defense and give it to you. I’ve only had a few coaches that could really do that, and it’s showing on the defense. We’re really getting it down.”
• HELP US REACH 32,000 BUCS FANS BY FOLLOWING PR ON TWITTER! The PR Twitter account continues to grow in popularity and there are some big reasons why. We cover Bucs practices, Bucs press conferences and break news on our @PewterReport Twitter account.
So if you aren’t one of the 32,000+ that follows PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs practices, press conferences, injury updates, breaking news and notifications about the latest stories and columns on PewterReport.com. Follow us today!
• Former Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy got bent out of shape about the fact that the Bucs gave Ndamukong Suh his No. 93 jersey immediately after he left and Suh arrived in Tampa Bay. A similar controversy brewed in Green Bay after the draft when Packers first-round pick Rashan Gary opted for the No. 52 jersey that Clay Matthews wore for 10 years for the green and gold.
McCoy has a right to his feelings and he’s entitled to feel disrespected by Tampa Bay, but as I pointed out in Fab 1, Suh is quite an accomplished player with five Pro Bowl appearances and five All-Pro awards, including three when he was a first-teamer. It’s not as if Suh is not an accomplished player, and he’s worn No. 93 for the last four years in the league at stops in Miami and Los Angeles.
This is also not the first time the Bucs organization has given out jersey numbers to other players shortly after iconic players have left. Rookie linebacker Ryan Nece got Hardy Nickerson’s No. 56 jersey in 2002 after Nickerson, a five-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team, left the Bucs in free agency in 2000.
Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson got Simeon Rice’s No. 97 jersey in 2008 – one year after Rice was cut after failing a physical in the 2007 training camp. Rice was a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro in Tampa Bay where he helped the Bucs to the playoffs three times, in addition to winning a Super Bowl. Rice is third on Tampa Bay’s all-time sack list with 69.5 sacks and second in franchise history with 19 forced fumbles.
Panthers DT Gerald McCoy – Photo from Panthers Twitter
The difference between McCoy’s beef and what happened with the jersey numbers of Nickerson and Rice is that Suh is taking over No. 93 immediately rather than a year later, as was the case with Rice’s No. 97 jersey. But as I previously mentioned in Fab 1, the Glazers control which jersey numbers get retired, and they have only reserved the jersey numbers of Bucs legends.
The fact that Suh got No. 93 right away means that the Glazers consider McCoy a great player, but not necessarily a legend. At least McCoy gets to wear No. 93 in Carolina.
• Finally, PewterReport.com welcomes TopShelf Sports Lounge as one of our new advertising partners. Top Shelf Sports Lounge is an upscale sports bar and restaurant in Wesley Chapel located upstairs in the AdventHealth Center Ice, which is right off the SR 56 exit on I-75. I had the great pleasure to dine there on Wednesday night where their delicious wings at just 75¢, and meet owner Joe Boyd, who is a big fan of the Bucs and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boyd told me that TopShelf Sports Lounge hosts Seminoles football watch parties, in addition to Lightning watch parties, and TopShelf is also a great place to catch Bucs games this fall with a huge number of TV screens around the restaurant and the bar area.
Check out their menu on TopShelfTampa.com, which features burgers, potato poutine skillets, sandwiches, wraps and salads, and some unique delicious bowl dishes. I had the nachos as an appetizer before my wings, and they are huge and tasty. TopShelf Sports Lounge is a great place to dine and watch sports on a date night or if you are taking the kids to Center Ice to skate or play hockey. I highly recommend you stop in for some drinks and either lunch or dinner, and tell them PewterReport.com sent you.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
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