The last week has been a whirlwind for the Bucs coaches, players and the fans with Hurricane Irma’s path causing the NFL to reschedule Tampa Bay’s first game of the season with the Dolphins. Now, the Bucs, after surviving the storm, are in opening week mode, preparing to take on former quarterback Mike Glennon and the Bears, who lost a tough game to the Falcons on Sunday.

After spending the day at One Buc, this is what we learned from the players and coaches.

Bailey Bounced, Insert Ward


The Bucs have yet to play their first game, yet they have already made a roster move. Granted it was on the practice squad.

From the Buccaneers Communications Department:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that the team has signed defensive lineman Channing Ward to the practice squad and released defensive end Sterling Bailey from the practice squad.

Ward (6-4, 279) entered the NFL as a college free agent with the Buccaneers last season, playing in five games, with one start, registering five tackles. He spent this past offseason and preseason with Tampa Bay A native of Aberdeen, Mississippi, Ward played collegiately at Mississippi. He will wear No. 71 for Tampa Bay.

The Bucs, like most teams, are looking for defensive line depth, and for whatever reason decided Ward was a better option that Bailey at this point. The practice squad stays pretty fluid during the season, and changes happen as injuries to the 53-man roster start piling up.

Execution? Monken Is For It

Offensive execution? Former Bucs head coach once quipped he was all for it. Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Todd Monken may not be too far behind McKay with the current Bucs red zone execution. On Thursday during his first podium press conference of the season, Monken said there shouldn’t really be any excuses as the talent is there. Monken told the media it comes down to coaching and execution.

“It was something we tried to focus on in the off season. What do we have to do? We have to coach it better and rep it better during the week so we can execute it better come Sundays. I don’t think it was a lot of things schematically. Although, we have to look at that. We obviously have to coach it better. We have to do a better job of being able to run the ball in when we get those opportunities. The teams that’s are best in the red zone can run it in. That is what they are able to do. We have to do a better job there and we have to do a better job when we get opportunities on the perimeter of making plays that are afforded us.

“That’s really it. It is a priority to us. We need to continue to improve there. In the preseason we didn’t get it done like we need to get it done starting Sunday.”

Winston Back To Bama

Jameis Winston experienced his first hurricane in Tampa. Sort of. Like many, including the staff, evacuated the area prior to the arrival of the unpredictable Irma. Winston talked about the storm on Thursday at the podium.

“I went back home. For me, it was just making sure my family was safe. Other than that, I was truly concerned about everyone else’s safety. I know that we are privileged to play this great game of football. I was blessed to be able to get my family out and back home. At the end of the day, my thoughts and prayers were with everyone that could possibly be affected by it. It’s bigger than me.

“I was prepared to bunker down, but at the end of the day, like a lot of Floridians, I was concerned about safety. Probably the best bet was to get out of here. Those who weren’t able to make it, my thoughts and prayers were with them.”

Koetter High On Winston

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs head coach was in no mood to answer questions on Wednesday from the media. He, like his players, appeared to be tired of talking about the game, instead ready to get things going. Still Koetter forged on with the barrage of media questions even if he would have preferred to be back in his office watching film. asked Koetter about how far Winston has come in the three years since Koetter has been with him.

“Of course he was a rookie then and we all remember what happened on the very first pass of his career. My own opinion is, if you are going to draft a quarterback that high, then you should play him. That’s how he is going to get his experience. 32 games into that, I still believe that. As we’ve said many times, Jameis will continue to get better and better. My confidence in Jameis is as high as it possibly could be. I’m sure it will get even higher if we go further together, if we go as long as some of those other coaches have been with their quarterbacks. We’ll see how that goes.”

Tampa Bay has a shorter practice on Friday and then take on the Bears this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.


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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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4 years ago

What if . . . and hear me out here . . . we improve our red zone defense by constantly firing the cannons when our opponents are in the red zone. When they’re in the hiddle, pre-snap, during the play, just constant and random cannon fire.