FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• The Bucs secondary got called soft last week by head coach Bruce Arians, and rightly so after allowing Teddy Bridgewater to throw for four touchdowns and over 300 yards. But after speaking with some of Tampa Bay’s young defensive backs this week they seem ready to answer Arians’ call and play more physical.
“No one wants to hear that word,” said Bucs rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. “What he said he meant as constructive criticism. We’re a young secondary and we’re all in this together. We’re all we have. We try to grow every day as a team and as a unit, trying to develop our identity. Our identity hasn’t been set yet. We’re all young. We’re all guys that are under 24 years old, and Vern is the veteran of the group. We just have to grow as a unit, and be there for each other when no one else is and be accountable to each other. We have to fight through the adversity and keep going because we know what we’re capable of.”
Fellow Tampa Bay rookie cornerback Jamel Dean was inactive for last Sunday’s game at New Orleans but is eager to get some snaps on defense to help make a difference in the Bucs’ young defensive backfield.
“It’s just a part of our growth process,” Dean said. “We know we’re young and we all have things we need to develop and learn about as the season goes on. We just have to keep growing.”
Murphy-Bunting made some rookie mistakes in New Orleans, but he also recorded his first career interception while covering Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara in the slot in the first half.
“Just it being my first interception of my career, it’s a big deal,” Murphy-Bunting said. “I’ll always remember it. It was against a really good player, too. But at the end of the day we didn’t get the win, and that’s what it’s all about. It did contribute to a touchdown, but it didn’t contribute to a win at the end of the day. That’s something that we’re planning on doing – being more aggressive at the line of scrimmage and creating more turnovers.”
• LONDON BOUND! – The entire PewterReport.com staff gathered at the AdventHealth Training Center to record a pre-game Pewter Nation Podcast before Mark Cook and yours truly depart for London to see the Bucs host the Panthers on Sunday overseas. Tampa Bay is 2-3 on the season after last week’s loss at New Orleans, while Carolina is on a three-game winning streak without Cam Newton since losing to the Bucs in Week 2. As usual, the PR team analyzed this week’s match-up and also about going to London. Which Pewter Reporters picked the Bucs to win? Listen and find out!
And if you missed Monday’s recap of the Bucs vs. Saints game, be sure to listen to it. It was a good one as we examine the struggles of Tampa Bay’s young secondary. Find out what the heck Trevor Sikkema was talking about when he was discussing boats and mystery boxes, and how they relate to the Buccaneers. Click the link below to give it a listen.
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 early Saturday morning at the gym before college football begins. Enjoy your weekend and know that the next Pewter Nation Podcast will be up on Monday afternoon following Tampa Bay’s game this Sunday against Carolina in London.
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• Bucs rookie wide receiver Scotty Miller recorded his first NFL statistic last Sunday in New Orleans when he took an end around for an 18-yard gain in the first half. With veteran speed receiver Breshad Perriman out this week with a hamstring injury, Miller figures to play a more prominent role in Tampa Bay’s offense as the season goes on.
“It felt really good to have the ball in my hands,” Miller said. “It felt good to have that reverse – it’s been a long time since college. It’s been about a full year since I’ve had my hands on the ball in a real game. It felt good to help the team out.
“It’s exciting to hear the play called in the huddle, and we do it at practice, so we know it’s coming all week. You’re waiting for it and you know you’re getting the ball on this play the minute you break the huddle. It’s an awesome feeling. My first thought was, ‘Make sure you grab the ball.’ Then I was going to run as fast as I could and see what happens. It’s also nice having some good blocks. I had some open field once I got going past the line of scrimmage. Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin] had some great blocks and O.J. [Howard] came around. I could run at full speed down the alley.”
Miller, who has sub 4.4 speed, was inactive for the first two games of the year, and only played in the final two preseason games after suffering a hamstring injury in training camp. He caught a total of four passes for 24 yards against Cleveland and Dallas.
“That hamstring injury really hurt me a lot,” Miller said. “I was out of action for two weeks. I got out of rhythm, and with a hamstring you really have to let it get back to 100 percent, especially for me. My game is really predicated off of speed and explosiveness. It took a little bit of time to get that hamstring fully healed. I feel really good about it now and hopefully I can continue to make plays.”
• THANK YOU! PEWTER REPORT IS ON THE WAY TO 34,000 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER! Thank you – Pewter Nation – for following the PewterReport.com Twitter account, as we hit a new milestone last month with 33,000 followers and we’re now up to 33,600. We cover Bucs practices, Bucs press conferences, Bucs games and break news on our @PewterReport Twitter account.
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• Bucs linebacker Deone Bucannon was released this week and the timing was a bit curious with the team being down a linebacker due to Jack Cichy’s elbow injury. But Tampa Bay wanted to make a move on Noah Hawkins, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker out of The Citadel, who was on Cincinnati’s practice squad, so the team swapped out Bucannon for Hawkins, who runs a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash.
Bucannon’s release also serves a major purpose as it aids Tampa Bay’s quest to get a compensatory draft pick in 2020. According to OverTheCap.com, the Bucs are now in line to receive a third-round comp pick because the team has now lost more qualifying free agents than it signed back in March. The final calculation period for compensatory picks is set after Week 9, so the Bucs still had a few weeks to make the move, but wanted to add Hawkins, which is why it was done this week. There was no cap relief from releasing Bucannon because of his veteran status.
Bucannon was mentioned in a recent SR’s Fab 5 column that discussed potential cuts that could aid in Tampa Bay’s pursuit of a compensatory draft pick, but given his special teams value and the injury to Jack Cichy, I wasn’t quite sure if Bucannon was going to be targeted for release, as it leaves the team thin at MO linebacker behind Lavonte David in terms of experience.
Another player to keep an eye on when it comes to cuts for compensatory picks is wide receiver Breshad Perriman. If Perriman is released it would cause the Bucs to get a fourth-round pick for losing wide receiver Adam Humphries in free agency. If Bucs general manager Jason Licht wants to go trade for Arizona Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson – and he should – it will cost a premium draft pick. But landing two mid-round compensatory draft picks in 2020 by cutting Bucannon and Perriman would still give Licht plenty of draft ammunition next April.
• Pewter Reporter Mark Cook, PR’s director of photography Cliff Welch and I will be in London on Friday to cover the Bucs’ practice and the game on Sunday. We look forward to meeting up with British and UK Bucs fans this weekend. As of right now, we will be at the Admiralty Pub on Friday and Saturday night enjoying some Fuller’s, Guinness, Belhaven and whatever other beer I can find in the UK.
Don’t be shy. We’ll gladly let you buy us a beer in exchange for some Bucs stories from the past and some inside scoop about the current team! Stay tuned to @PewterReport on Twitter for updates about where we are around London. We’d love to meet as many British and UK Bucs fans as we can as we stroll through town Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s game. Cook and Welch are leaving after the game, but I’m staying an additional night on Sunday, so I’ll be around would love to have a beer with you. Hit me up on Twitter at @PewterReport on Sunday night after the game and let’s grab a pint.
• I’m taking some time off next week during the Bucs’ bye week, so there won’t be a new SR’s Fab 5 next Friday. Instead, I’ll be taking my 18-year old daughter, Ellie, to my alma mater, Kansas State University, for a campus tour and to watch the Wildcats play TCU at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. We’ll be enjoying some cooler fall weather in the Midwest and watching some college football. So enjoy the Bucs’ bye week, and stayed tuned to PewterReport.com, as we will continue to have fresh content up daily as the team rests and prepares for its next road game at Tennessee.
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