Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs expected to announce they'll play Sunday in Tampa

RECOMMENDED READING


Coach Dirk Koetter went to his office at One Buc Place to work on Sunday, with televisions tuned to both NFL games and the Weather Channel watching Hurricane Irma.

"All good here,'' Koetter said in a text Monday morning. "Just waiting now. More anxiety.''

Koetter's wait will end soon. The Bucs are expected to announce today that Sunday's home opener against the Chicago Bears will be played at 1 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium as scheduled.

The Bucs were still working through a bunch of logistics problems Monday. First they had to wait to see what damage to the infrastructure was done in Tampa Bay the giant storm. But it appears much of the area avoided what could have been a worse wallop.

The Bucs plan to have a team walk-through workout on Tuesday evening and begin workouts and a normal schedule Wednesday at One Buc Place. The team had made a contingency plan to practice at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday. Gophers' head coach P.J. Fleck was a receivers coach on the Bucs' staff under Greg Schiano. But it never came to that.

A good sign came early Monday when Tampa International Airport announced that they would resume full flight and terminal operations Tuesday. The Bucs ownership chartered five small planes Saturday to take 130 football and business staff members, players, coaches and their families to Charlotte, N.C.

But many players are scattered throughout the country. Quarterback Jameis Winston is at his family home in Alabama. Gerald McCoy returned to Oklahoma. Some players returned to the west coast.

"Good morning,'' McCoy tweeted Monday. "Praying everybody is ok. And made it through the night.''

Getting 53 players and 10 practice squad members to reassemble in Tampa Bay by Wednesday is no easy task. Some will have to rely on commercial airline carriers, others may need charters. Still others could have to navigate highways strewn with debris from the storm.

That doesn't include the support staff the Bucs rely on to operate One Buc Place and host a game at Raymond James Stadium. In some cases, homes may not be accessible or could be damaged, meaning the team will need to secure hotel space in Tampa.

The Bucs regular season opener against the Dolphins in Miami was postponed until Nov. 19. As a result, players were excused for their bye week. The Bucs planned all along to begin practice Wednesday. The Dolphins relocated about 150 staff members, players, coaches and family to Oxnard, Calif., on Friday. The team plans to practice at the Dallas Cowboys training camp practice facility before playing the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday.

Despite all the contingencies, the Bucs are very committed practicing and playing the Bears in Tampa on Sunday.

Contact Rick Stroud at stroudbucs@aol.com. Follow @NFLStroud

Comments
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winston’s off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Published: 11/22/17
McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

The Bucs aren't faring well in early Pro Bowl fan voting, with DT Gerald McCoy as the only Tampa Bay player ranking in the top 10 at his position.McCoy, seeking his sixth straight Pro Bowl selection, ranks seventh among NFL defensive tackles, one wee...
Published: 11/22/17
NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Happy Thanksgiving! It's already week 12 of the NFL season, and the football feast is set to begin. It all starts at at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Lions try to win their fifth straight Thanksgiving Day game against a Minnesota team out to bec...
Published: 11/22/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman takes a closer look at the three former Bucs who are semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.He also looks at the constant churn on the Bucs’ practice squad and why Julio Jones’ stats have dropped off this season,...
Published: 11/22/17
Bucs’ Barber, Lynch, Rice among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Bucs’ Barber, Lynch, Rice among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Ronde Barber, John Lynch and Simeon Rice — teammates on the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl championship team — are among the 27 semifinalists to be considered for this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame class.Lynch is a semifinalist for the sixth st...
Published: 11/22/17
Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

It’s a Thanksgiving Football Wednesday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones preview the Bucs-Falcons game, USF-UCF, Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and more.The guys agree on the Bucs game outcome with Rick saying they can’t win. They also agree that Tha...
Published: 11/22/17
Bucs-Falcons: It’s time to start believing Miko Grimes

Bucs-Falcons: It’s time to start believing Miko Grimes

TAMPA — The most valuable player for the Bucs is Brent Grimes.It felt odd typing that, but it’s time to say it.In Grimes’ two seasons in Tampa Bay, the Bucs haven’t won a game without him. This season they are 4-3 when he plays, 0-3 when he doesn’t.H...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17