FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• One of the funnier exchanges in the ProFootballTalk interview that Mike Florio and Chris Simms had with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was about Simms’ spleen – or lack thereof – of course.
Simms: “First order of business in Tampa Bay, did you put some pictures of me in the facility?”
Arians: “I haven’t seen one.”
Simms: “Oh, damn. They totally forgot about me. Geez, lose a spleen for a team and can’t even get a picture!”
Florio: “The one guy who almost died on the field and can’t get a picture up.”
Arians: “I’m going to go down by the training room and make sure we have one.”
In my exclusive interview with Simms at the NFL Scouting Combine, I asked him about rupturing his spleen in that game against Carolina in 2006, which nearly cost Simms his life. Simms, who took a hard hit in the game that caused the injury, said he was lying down on the floor in the locker room after the game and team physician Joe Diaco made the call to rush Simms to the hospital just down the street. Minutes mattered with his internal bleeding and Simms’ life was saved, but he would never be the same quarterback after having his spleen removed.
I asked Simms if he ever played the “what if?” game in his head regarding the sudden demise of his NFL career.
“It hurts still to this day because I was never the same after I got hurt,” Simms said. “I went to Tennessee and Denver. Yeah, I was still good, and had starting quarterback qualities, but my 100 miles per hour fastball didn’t have the same snap, or the curve at the plate like a good pitcher would. I just wasn’t as special throwing the football after that injury. My what-ifs go like this. I don’t go, ‘Oh what if? I would have won a Super Bowl.’ I just know I had a chance to be real good. I had talent.
“That’s what maybe drives me crazy is that the people that saw me after my injury seeing me throwing or working out throwing footballs or practicing, saying ‘Okay, he was good, but he wasn’t special.’ They didn’t get to see me at my best when I think I could have opened some eyes. I have a quote in my house from Jon Gruden after a training camp practice where he said that I had a stronger arm than Brett Favre. He said that – that’s as good as it gets. I have the article framed. It was special. I knew I had the chance to be something good, but it didn’t work out. Now I’m trying to be good at something else in the media.”
• 2 NEW PODCASTS THIS WEEK! The PewterReport.com staff was on fire this week dropping tons of knowledge about the Bucs’ 2019 offseason plans in two new Pewter Nation Podcasts. The first of which featured Pewter Reporters Mark Cook, Matt Matera and Taylor Jenkins previewing the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine and discussing their own Bucs Battle Plans for PewterReport.com. Listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 109: Offseason Battle Plan Review by clicking here.
The second Pewter Nation Podcast this week came from yours truly, live from Indianapolis as I dived into some analysis of Jason Licht and Bruce Arians’ meetings with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine. Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 110: SR Calls B.S. In Indy is must-listen podcast, and you can do that by clicking here.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast 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 during the middle of next week.
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.
• Last year, PewterReport.com nailed three of the Bucs’ Best Bets in our pre-draft coverage in forecasting the selections of defensive tackle Vita Vea, offensive lineman Alex Cappa and wide receiver Justin Watson. We spend an awful lot of time watching college football, attending the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, as well as the NFL Scouting Combine, and collecting our draft information. Nobody works harder – for you, the rabid Buccaneers fan – when it comes to draft coverage, and our work is already paying off.
I’ve done three mock drafts – the first two were the official PewterReport.com 2019 Bucs’ 6-Round Mock Drafts that featured Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the third round and Elon right tackle Oli Udoh in the fifth round in our first mock draft, followed by our second mock draft, which featured Boston College right guard Chris Lindstrom in the second round and Memphis running back Tony Pollard in the fifth round.
Lo and behold, the Bucs have had formal interviews with Henderson, Pollard and Lindstrom, and the offensive line coaches have met with Udoh. Coincidence?
In my own mock draft for my Bucs Battle Plan, I have Henderson going to Tampa Bay in the second round and Northern Illinois offensive tackle Max Scharping being drafted by the Bucs in the third round. Scharping also had a formal interview with Tampa Bay.
Another coincidence? Hmmm. Make sure you stay tuned to PewterReport.com this offseason for the best Bucs draft coverage.
• Be sure to check out my video segment on WFLA.com with News Channel 8 sports anchor Dan Lucas live from the Indianapolis Scouting Combine for more Buccaneers news. You can do that by clicking here to watch the video.
• Our @PewterReport Twitter account is streaking towards 32,000 followers. Thank you to those Bucs fans that recently followed us!
If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. Bucs OTAs begin next month and there will be a pre-draft Bucs mini-camp. Don’t miss out on the action – follow us today!
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• Kansas State running back Alex Barnes opened some eyes by leading all running backs with 34 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press on Thursday at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. That could continue with a solid time in the 40-yard dash. Barnes’ former teammate, right tackle Dalton Risner, who had a formal interview with the Bucs at the Combine, predicted that Barnes would do over 30 reps on the bench press about 30 minutes before accomplishing that feat.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) February 28, 2019
Longtime PewterReport.com readers know that I’m a Kansas State alum and that I wouldn’t tout any Wildcats that I don’t think would fit what the Bucs were looking for in an NFL Draft prospect. This is the first time I’m mentioning Barnes after watching him for three years, and the only reason I am is because he interviewed with Bucs running backs coach Todd McNair at the Combine and is on Tampa Bay’s radar.
“I’ve heard a lot from the Colts, the Texans – the Titans have been talking to me recently – and the Buccaneers,” Barnes told me. “Those are the main four. Last night we went and met with all of the position coaches – it was basically speed-dating session. It was pretty neat, pretty cool and a little overwhelming at first, but it was a lot of fun.”
I asked Barnes, who said he’s heard that he could be drafted anywhere from the third to the seventh round, if he feels like he’s flying under the draft radar.
“Absolutely – I will raise my profile here,” Barnes said. “That’s something I’m going to do. I’m going to put up some pretty good numbers on the bench and in the 40. That’s something I’m very excited about. … I’ve never really been one to make comparisons. I’ve always wanted to define myself being unique, but James Connor is a guy in the league now that I feel have a lot of similar attributes, and Arian Foster back in the day in his prime. He was a big guy that had long strides and was smooth. He didn’t look like he was fast but he was pulling away from people. I think there are some [similarities] there.”
Barnes should have been the featured back at K-State for three years because of his obvious talent, but the previous offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, liked to rotate the backs. Barnes did suffer some injuries during his first years in Manhattan, but was completely healthy last year and was the primary ballcarrier with 1,355 yards and 12 touchdowns on 256 carries (5.3 avg.). Barnes rushed for 2,616 yards and 25 touchdowns on 458 carries (5.7 avg.) and had 12 100-yard games at K-State.
Although he checked in at an impressive 6-foot, 226 pounds and has good hands, despite being underused in the passing game for the Wildcats, Barnes may resemble Arizona running back David Johnson – but he’s not Johnson. Barnes needs to run with a greater sense of urgency, run behind his pads more often and do a much better job in pass protection. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Tampa Bay because I think he has talent and could help the Bucs, but I wouldn’t draft him before the fourth round. Here’s Barnes’ highlight video for you to evaluate his talent.
• And finally, over the last week the PewterReport.com staff, consisting of Scott Reynolds, Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema, Matt Matera and Taylor Jenkins, devised their own Bucs Battle Plans For The 2019 Offseason that feature free agent signings, trades, roster moves and draft picks designed to aid Tampa Bay’s quest to end its 10-year playoff drought.
Remember, these Bucs Battle Plans were how the PewterReport.com staff members would reshape the team this offseason – not necessarily what we think Tampa Bay will actually do in free agency and the draft, although there could be some overlap with certain players the team may be targeting.
The Bucs start the 2019 offseason with approximately $16 million in available salary cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. Salary cap information and contract data from both OverTheCap.com and Spotrac.com were used in the Bucs Battle Plan series.
Read and review all five Bucs Battle Plans and vote for your favorite on the Ford’s Garage Pewter Poll question.
The PewterReport.com staff will read over the entries and select a winner who will receive a $50 Ford’s Garage Gift Card.
The contest will be open through Monday, March 11. Have fun, be creative but make sure to be realistic with you 53-man roster and stay within the Bucs’ salary cap.