Revis’ Progress Chronicled on NFL Network

The Buccaneers currently have 89 players on their offseason roster, including RB/KR Jeff Demps, whose status hasn’t been fully clarified since the team acquired his rights from New England in a draft-weekend trade.  Of the other 88 players, not one was missing when the Buccaneers gathered for the first of their 10 allotted OTA practices on Monday.

That’s impressive, of course, but not entirely unexpected.  The OTAs are voluntary but usually draw most of the roster, at least in Tampa.  The most recent collective bargaining agreement reduced the amount of time a team can practice during the offseason, so most players want to make use of all the field work they can get.

Of those 88 players on hand at One Buccaneer Place on Monday, 85 were in practice gear and on the field for the full 100-minute session.  Starting offensive guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks spent that time with the team’s trainers as they near the final stages of their recoveries from knee and toe injuries, respectively.  And Darrelle Revis, the prized cornerback for which the Buccaneers traded their first-round pick a month ago, split his practice time between mental reps on the sideline and rehab work on his knee with the medical staff.

The Bucs have expressed confidence that Revis will be on the field for opening day this September – coincidentally in New York against his former team, the Jets.  To get there, they have to help him finish his recovery from last September’s injury and they have to get him comfortable in Tampa Bay’s defense.  Thus, the splitting of time between observing and rehabbing during OTA practices. Continue reading

Spence Gets Quick Lesson in Tempo

The very first full-speed, full-team practice snap that Akeem Spence took as an NFL player ended in a little “extracurricular activity,” as they say, a brief after-the-whistle skirmish with veteran teammate Jeremy Zuttah.

That might seem like either bad luck or bad anger management on the rookie’s part, but in reality the first snap was where this breakout was most likely to occur.  The disagreement was over proper tempo in the trenches, where “practice etiquette” is most important, and Spence learned an immediate but important lesson on behalf of all the team’s rookies. Continue reading

Revis Remains in Top 100

Last offseason, Darrelle Revis placed fifth on the NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 Players in the league.  This year, he comes in at #67.  It’s hard to say which honor is more impressive.

The NFL Network has compiled its Top 100 list, using exclusively ballots cast by NFL players themselves, since the 2011 offseason.  In each case, the series of shows revealing the list has been titled with the current calendar year; i.e. this year’s series is called “The Top 100 Players of 2013 Presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.”  However, since the votes are cast near the end of the previous year’s regular-season, it is clear that the list reflects who the players believe are the best of their peers at that time.

And that’s what makes Revis’ placement in 2013 a rather striking complement. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Which NFC South foe has most thoroughly addressed a weakness from last season?

I’ve heard, from multiple sources, that using the NFL offseason to analyze your football team, identify your weak points and address your team needs through free agency, trades and the NFL Draft is a good strategy.

I’m no general manager, but this theory does sound pretty good to me. And taking a look at a couple numbers from the Buccaneers in the last few seasons shows that Mark Dominik, Greg Schiano and company are certainly making the moves to make this a better team and make the push to the next level. Continue reading

Another Buc in the NFL Network Top 100

NFL Network began counting down “The Top 100 Players of 2013″ on the last night of the draft, and Buccaneer fans immediately had a reason to tune in.  Two of the first 10 players revealed on the list proved to be Buccaneers, as S Dashon Goldson landed at #96 and DT Gerald McCoy at #92.

Three weeks later, the network is set to divulge the 61-70 portion of its list – a new group of 10 is unveiled each Thursday night – and Buc fans get to play the guessing game again.  There is definitely a Tampa Bay player in that group; who will it be, and where exactly will he land?

The latest episode of the aptly-named Top 100 Players of 2013 Presented by Buffalo Wild Wings series airs on NFL Network at 8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 16.  At 9:00 p.m., the weekly reaction show follows, with analyses from Warren Sapp, Michael Silver and host Lindsay Rhodes.

This is the third year that the Network has counted down the Top 100, and the first time that Goldson and McCoy have been on the list.  Last year, three players who were or are now Buccaneers made the Top 100: T Donald Penn at #97, G Carl Nicks at #76 and CB Darrelle Revis at #5.

While the Top 100 list was created by voting from NFL players themselves, fans can still get in on the process here on NFL.com.  You will be presented with a series of “matchups” between two top players, and after casting 30 votes you can begin producing your own “Top 10″ list.

Possible Buccaneer Firsts in 2013

Last year, the Buccaneers finished the season with the NFL’s top-ranked run defense.  That was the first time that had ever happened in franchise history.  In addition, Josh Freeman recorded the first 4,000-yard passing season in team annals and the Bucs won a game in Oakland for the first time ever.

So what first-time accomplishments could be on the horizon for the NFL’s 27th franchise this coming fall?  Here are a few possibilities: Continue reading

An Imminent Feeling of Success

Ronde Barber arrived in Tampa in 1997, just as the Buccaneers were beginning a long-awaited franchise revival under new ownership and a new head coach.  Tony Dungy’s 1997 Buccaneers went 10-6 and won a Wild Card game in ’97, breaking a 14-year stretch of losing campaigns.

Barber didn’t play a lot that year, until the very end, but in the ensuing seasons he was a big part of taking the team from that 1997 starting point to the NFL’s pinnacle.  He helped create a culture of winning at (the old) One Buccaneer Place, and shared in reaping the rewards.  It was possible to create that culture, Barber said last week after he finally called his career to a close, because everyone knew the roster was talented enough to win, and win big.

As he walks away after a remarkable 16-year-run, Barber does it knowing that he could be leaving just as another Buccaneer renaissance is right around the bend.  Continue reading

Ronde Barber: By The Numbers

At his retirement press conference on Thursday, future Hall of Famer Ronde Barber admitted that he only recently got a better grip on some of the amazing career numbers he posted during 16 years in the NFL.  That is, he knew he had played more games than the vast majority of players, for instance, but he didn’t know the exact number was 243, et cetera.

Most of those numbers have been part of the public discussion for years now.  As he racked up the interceptions and sacks through the years, he frequently became members in new clubs, until the point where he became the only man in the 40-interception/25-sack club.  Listing all of his accomplishments takes a while, but finding a new angle on Ronde’s numbers isn’t easy to do anymore.

That said, the Captain’s Blog has a new one for you, and it speaks to Barber’s incredible durability and career longevity. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Which 2013 Buccaneer Opponent Improved the Most During the Draft?

Nowadays, everyone agrees that instant-reaction draft grades are essentially meaningless…and, of course, everyone does them anyway.  So if nobody is really being held to these grades in the long run, then here is my assessment of the Buccaneers’ 2013 draft: A+++.  Full scholarship to Harvard in the mail.

I might be a bit lacking in objectivity, however, so let’s turn our attention to something draft-related that, hopefully, we can address with some fairness and neutrality.  Specifically, let’s look at the 13 teams on the Buccaneers’ 2013 regular-season schedule and try to determine which one(s) just got harder to beat.  Forget about how these teams have helped themselves two or three years down the road; we’re only worried about which team made themselves a more formidable foe for the Buccaneers this fall by their actions on draft weekend.

Andrew, I will let you go first, since your accuracy rate is a bit south of that of a broken clock (twice a day!). Continue reading

Links to Like

If you’re a Buccaneers fan looking for something to get you excited during this relative downtime between the draft and the start of OTAs, all you have to do is surf around the web a little bit.  In fact, we’ll help.  Here are a few entertaining and/or optimistic links we found on Tuesday while avoiding actual work: Continue reading