FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• The Bucs received some great news last week on the injury front with regards to many players. Defensive tackle Vita Vea has a very good chance of playing in the season opener against San Francisco next Sunday. Call it an 85 percent chance.

If Vea somehow does miss the 49ers game the expectation with his knee injury is that he would play against Carolina on Thursday Night Football five days later. Vea has been able to heal his LCL (lateral collateral ligament) injury with rest and without surgery

Bucs LB Lavonte David - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The optimistic prognosis is also good for starting MO linebacker Lavonte David, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. David is expected to start in the season opener on Sunday, but might not play the whole game due to the fact that the Bucs play the Panthers on a short week. Expect to see Deone Bucannon get some series at MO linebacker next to Devin White versus the 49ers to rest David.

Tampa Bay should also have tight end Cam Brate back for the season opener, and there is an outside chance that free safety Justin Evans gets some playing time versus the 49ers if the soreness leaves his Achilles and he returns to practice this week.

Rookie safety Mike Edwards should also return from his hamstring injury, and the Bucs are also excited with the fact that rookie outside linebacker Anthony Nelson might be ready to return to practice from his MCL injury. Nelson has missed the entire preseason due to his knee injury to his knee.

And finally, Blaine Gabbert’s dislocated shoulder wasn’t as bad as originally thought and he might be out just one or two more weeks because it’s his non-throwing shoulder. Tampa Bay isn’t quite completely healthy yet – but by kickoff of the season opener, the Bucs should be almost at full strength.

• One of the most encouraging things about Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston’s preseason was that he had no turnovers. Winston is a proven playmaker, accounting for a franchise-record 88 passing touchdowns and nine more scores on the ground. But what has held him back from greatness – and the team back from the playoffs – is his penchant for untimely turnovers. Winston has thrown 58 interceptions, and has fumbled 38 times, including 18 that have resulted in turnovers.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The good news is that Winston didn’t have any fumbled exchanges with any running back in August, and on 39 pass plays he threw the ball 29 times without an interception. Despite being sacked six times and scrambling on three other occasions, the fifth-year starting quarterback didn’t lose the ball after being hit by a defender.

“He didn’t fumble,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said after Winston’s final preseason performance against Cleveland, in which he was sacked five times. “He got hit a couple times. The one time he tried to scramble out of there and got hit from behind, that’s been a fumble in the past. But, he had two hands on the ball. We converted some third downs early. Then, the protection just broke down on him. So, it’s hard to evaluate him. He was fine as far as I’m concerned.”

• THE PEWTER NATION PODCAST RETURNS! The Pewter Reporters are back at it with a new Pewter Nation Podcast once the Bucs’ roster cuts are announced. Stay tuned for that later during the Labor Day weekend.

If you missed our last podcast where we analyzed the contract extension of Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht and looked at the players on the bubble ahead of the team’s preseason game against Cleveland make sure you check it out.

Click here to listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 139: To Play Or Not To Play

Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and I also had a post-game podcast following Matt Gay’s 48-yard game-winner to beat the visiting Miami Dolphins in the Bucs’ second preseason game. This was a really good podcast with plenty of instant analysis.

Click here to listen to Pewter Nation Podcast 138: Folks, The Bucs Got A Kicker

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 immediately after the Bucs vs. Browns preseason game.

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. And of course the Pewter Nation Podcast is also available on iTunes. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

• Playing in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme has meant the career rebirth for several Buccaneers, such as Noah Spence, who is now an outside linebacker after spending three years as an undersized defensive end, and cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Carlton Davis, who are much better suited for press-man coverage. Add Patrick O’Connor’s name to the list, too.

O’Connor likely makes the 53-man roster as the final defensive lineman on the depth chart after a great preseason that saw him post 13 tackles and a team-high two sacks. He’s not the biggest interior defender at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, but his initial quickness works better inside as a 3-4 defensive end or defensive tackle than it did as an edge rusher as a 4-3 defensive end.

Bucs DL Pat O'Connor
Bucs DL Pat O’Connor – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“It fits because I have a quick twitch get-off and fast hands so I can get on the blocker,” O’Connor said. “I was given the opportunity at linebacker to go fly around and make plays. Now I’m inside. Yeah, I like it a lot – even being an undersized three-tech or four-I (defensive end) because speed always beats the bigger boys. That’s where I take advantage of it and we’ll see what happens.”

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• All the talk that the Bucs would miss Gerald McCoy’s locker room presence and that Ndamukong Suh would somehow be a locker room cancer has turned out not to be true. The Bucs players have clearly moved on from McCoy with outside linebacker Carl Nassib becoming more of a vocal leader on the field and in the locker room in his absence, and also with Jason Pierre-Paul’s absence.

As for Suh, he’s been a great teammate that has quickly earned the respect of the Bucs players.

Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“He’s a monster,” said defensive lineman Patrick O’Connor. “He’s so strong and he can beat everyone with power. Out of nowhere he’ll make an inside move and make them look silly.

“He brings wisdom as well as being a good energy dude. He’s a good teacher. He always helps out the younger guys and myself. I would say he’s just an overall good vet in the locker room.”

Bucs inside linebacker Kevin Minter echoed O’Connor’s sentiments.

“Very impressive dude,” Minter said. “I was looking forward to playing with him when I heard we were going to get him and I haven’t been disappointed. He brings that attitude that we’ve needed around here. You can tell he’s a guy that knows how to get to the playoffs.”

• And finally, Hurricane Dorian is closing in on Florida and is expected to make landfall on the East Coast on Labor Day. Residents in the Tampa Bay area and the West Coast of Florida won’t feel the direct impact of the storm, but it could still be a category 1 or 2 hurricane by the time it moves across the state and reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

That means high winds, which could damage your home and garage doors. If your garage doors get blown off and massive winds enter your garage it could put your roof in jeopardy. If you lose the roof, your house is wiped out.

It might be too late to do anything about Hurricane Dorian, but you know that the next tropical storm is right around the corner in September if you live in Florida. Secure your home with hurricane-proof garage doors from Discount Garage Doors, the official garage door company of PewterReport.com.

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Give Discount Garage Doors a call at 1-866-420-DOOR and tell them PewterReport.com sent you. And to all Floridians this weekend, please stay safe.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

26 COMMENTS

  1. Shaq Barrett looks special, could be sack leader.

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  2. Hudson, Cichy and O’Connor should make this team. Sorry Spence, time to finally be released from this roster.

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    • With how many sacks. 4?

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  3. Good Fab 5 Scott. For the first time in a very long time, I’m feeling like the team is a real NFL team. I still have some doubts about a few areas, but they have diminished over the course of training camp. I don’t know how well this team is going to behave, but I feel like that the so called ‘experts’ have written us off and are going to be surprised.

    I’m pretty certain the defense is going to be a lot better than people expect.

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  4. Unless JPP blew all his money he’s made on fireworks, and expensive cars which he probably has, why would he want to risk his health with this neck injury? Gronk hung it up due to the pain of playing, and Luck shocked the football world by walking away while he can still walk. JPP has made more money then Gronk during his career so why? Love of the game, I doubt it. As you can tell I’m a skeptic by nature so I think he’s just trying to get his last 7 million he’ll ever make as an NFL player. Most of Licht’s FA signings end as badly as his second round picks, so I doubt the JPP saga ends well for the Bucs.

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  5. If he actually gets to play enough, Shaq Barrett will lead this team in sacks as long as JPP is out

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    • I must confess that Shaq Barrett has impressed me. I wasn’t sure what we were getting come over from Denver but he has shown that he’s going to have to be accounted for coming off the edge. Speed Rush, Bull Rush, a Spin Move occasionally he’s mixing it up pretty good in there and I think he leads us in sacks this year. The other thing I can’t way to see is when Vea lines back up next to Suh, if its anything like camp where we saw lineman bodies being thrown off the field we could see sacks coming from everywhere. I don’t want to make any predictions but with this aggressive scheme Bowles runs up front & these young hungry DB’s this team is looking more & more like Defensive threat rather than the Offensive threat we saw under Koettter.

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  6. I like the rising of Cichy and really the overall depth we have at just about every position whereas before I believed us to be a bit shaky in areas. I believe alot of guys will shine but I see our safeties and linebackers blowing up. Sure our CB’s will impress but I’m of the mind they’ll find their footing after 3 or 4 games but believe the safeties and linebackers will hit the ground running.(pardon pun)

    I’m hopeful Cappa learned something in Cleveland and all the “correctable stuff” verbiage is right on. I feel it to be. And, when we’ve heard an area that needs focusing on by an individual or a positional group, well those areas have then been addressed and improved. I have faith in the coaching now, they’ve walked the walk so far so who’s to say all that will just stop.

    The players seem to have bought in as well and you can just tell this team is about to make a big splash. It’s all going to look and feel very different.

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  7. I do not know! I do not think anybody knows who will come forward on the D , The mystery will start to unfold on the 9th against 49ers, I think that game will be a big tell for the season, Bucs have had no trouble beating 49ers last few years, this year there’s so many changes with a different system, coach and a lot of new faces and there is also the Jimmy G Factor.
    At this point it is a waiting game.

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  8. This coaching staff has made a world of difference. Looking on the sidelines, you see and feel a real difference. The game management, especially at the end of games has been extraordinary. I like BA’s not-so-quiet confidence. I expect there might be some early struggles but after the first six games, most of the teams on the schedule are beatable. Fans need to stay positive. This coaching staff has credibility and they are imposing the will of accountability. I think we can win any game we hold the opposition under 25 points.

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    • Did I miss something here? since when did coaches start making sacks? You might be right though. With this defensive line of the Bucs? Coaches might need to suit up!!!

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      • Ha! Of course coaches don’t literally make the sacks. But coaching puts players in position to make the sacks. The scheme is modern–finally. It’s an attacking, aggressive mode of defense grounded in deception. It will take time to master, but I really trust Bowles and his defensive staff, particularly the secondary coach who is worlds ahead of what we’ve had since Lake left.

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  9. I think Lavonte David will lead the team in sacks. Last time he had a legitimate chance to rush the qb consistently i believe was under greg schiano and he posted 7 sacks i believe. I could see him getting to a similar number in this scheme which I think would lead the team

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  10. Suh leads in sacks if Vea plays next to him most of the year.

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  11. Interesting tidbit re: McCoy’s complaint about his jersey # being given to Suh; Clay Matthews’ # was given to a rookie after he wasn’t re-signed after 10 years with the Packers. It’s a business for sure..

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  12. Bill Belicheat has trade for 3 OL in the last 48 hours for depth. Licht hasn’t done anything.

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    • That’s because the New England Pats and Belicheat are WINNERS. They have a burning desire to WIn.To stay on top. They identify deficiencies and take care of them quickly..not in 3 or 4 yrs. The Tampa Bay Bucs are somebody’s hobby. And I feel sorry for the fans who have to watch the hype and consistent losing year after year. The O line we have is just a tad above average. It needs some reinforcement badly. But the defensive line is even worse..as you shall see. GO BUCS…Just try to Win 8 games and a lot of us will be happy. Not Bellacheat 8 wins for him is a losing season. That’s the difference.

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  13. I have really been pleasantly surprised with many of the developments this year. Going into camp and the pre-season, after the draft I had last year’s defensive backs in a precarious status to even make the team. I thought MJ would likely not survive the cuts. I had Carlton Davis making the team but only has a backup. And Whitehead struggling too. I was completely wrong. Davis will likely be a star in the secondary. MJ has really played well. And Whitehead looks to make the team and likely start. The negative surprise is that Bunting looks overwhelmed, Dean seems inconstant, and Edwards looks banged up. On to the front 7. The best news is that Vea and David will be returning. Hallelujah! If Spence and Nassib play well and the new guys step up we should be fine. I am nervous about the OL, and I am sure Coach is even more nervous. But I see some depth at RB. And I did not expect that. Tanner Hudson has been a blast to watch. I hope he makes the team. Anderson too. I am excited. Will we go to playoffs? Probably not. But if we can reach 8-8 I will be thrilled.

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  14. 8-8 Neha but now 9-7 and I will be happy.

    Go Bucs !!!

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  15. Winston hasn’t held this team back from the playoffs, the defense and it’s ex so called leader have.

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  16. Would love to see a rundown/appraisal of our competition in the NFC South. Now is the time. Assuming Brees stays healthy and does not play like a 40 year old, hard to see any other team finishing ahead of them. But are Carolina and Atlanta improved?

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  17. Broderick Thomas had 11 sacks in ’91, which was the last time a non defensive lineman led the team in sacks. I have an autographed poster of the “Sandman” tackling Barry Sanders in my office. Great poster.

    This defense is going to be fun. I think they have a chance to be a shut down defense. They’re all swarming to the ball with attitude and the defensive backs are playing fast and physical. The front 7 are bringing heat from everywhere and batting balls down. They could use more turnovers, but I think that will pick up during the regular season when starter play the entire game. Can’t wait.

    I’ve had nothing but great impressions from watching this coaching staff come in and handle their business. They have been bold in their vision. Impressive moves include:

    1. Unearthing talent by running two practices at once. More reps for everyone is a proving ground.
    2. Common sense rules: No blaring music at practice. Focus on learning your job.
    3. Adept at handling adversity. Kicking curses and JPP’s self inflicted accident have been no story.
    4. Diverse coaching staff which employs two female coaches, one on the defensive line.
    5. Accountability: Jettisoning low effort players like Desean Jackson and Gerald McCoy was step #1 and #2. Obvious no brainers that required guts.

    Can’t wait to see this season unfold. Go Bucs!

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  18. Surprisingly, Bob has had a couple of positive comments recently. Even garnered a few thumbs-up. Could it be that twspin is gaining on him as the most doom and gloom poster? Say it isn’t so Ethel.

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    • Voting on comments, especially down votes, is cowardly and lazy. When a post doesn’t conform to a person’s rose-colored thinking they down vote instead of making a well reasoned reply. It seems like the comments section around here are consistent for the most part and that’s partially because of the voting feature.

      For the record, I gave you a thumbs up because of your avatar.

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  19. I think they may share the same Bridge 😂 Don’t let Trolls fool you, their compliments are underhanded and any praise is only to lure you in.

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  20. Re: “But what has held him back from greatness – and the team back from the playoffs – is his penchant for untimely turnovers.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Since Jameis has been QB, the Bucs have posted all of one season where they weren’t 21st or worse in scoring defense. What happened that year? The Bucs went 9-7 and barely missed the playoffs. We’ve all seen comparisons of Winston to some great QB and how their TD/INT ratio was not much better than Winston’s and often was significantly worse, and those “great QBs” won tons more games… but EACH of them played on a team with a top defense. Certainly QBs get the credit or blame for their team winning or losing games, but when it comes to the Bucs in the previous 8 years, they’ve had a decent scoring defense in all of 1 of those years. Every single other year their scoring D was 21st or worse, and was THE worst one year, and the 2nd worst last year. Simply put, you can have a great scoring offense, but if you can’t stop your opponent, it doesn’t much matter–your QB is going to have to try incredible things if you’re going to have any chance of winning.

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