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Thomas Bassinger, Times Staff Writer

Thomas Bassinger

It all began late 1991 with a Nintendo controller and a game cartridge that read, in gold block letters, "Tecmo Super Bowl" (Ready! Down! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut!). That's when a young Thomas Bassinger discovered the fearsome Ronnie Lott, the dominant QB Eagles and the superhuman Bo Jackson and spent countless hours taking their 8-bit counterparts up and down the football field (Remember Wayne Haddix, Bucs fans?). He's been hooked on football and statistics ever since. Today, he contributes to coverage of the Buccaneers and the NFL for the Tampa Bay Times. He is the author of the Turning Point postgame analysis and studies All-22 game film for the weekly scouting report of the Bucs' upcoming opponent. Follow him on Twitter during the games @tometrics.


  1. NFL draft, Day 3: Buccaneers take a running back (finally) and a very big and very old man


    Here are some things you should know about running back Jeremy McNichols and defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, the Buccaneers' final two selections of the NFL draft:

    Jeremy McNichols


  2. 2017 NFL draft, Day 2: Buccaneers add a safety, a receiver and a horseman


    Day 2 in a word? Toughness.

    With their first selection Friday night at the NFL draft, the Buccaneers added an aggressive safety in Justin Evans (50th overall), a competitive receiver and capable run blocker in Chris Godwin (84th), and a hard-hitting linebacker in Kendell Beckwith (107th). This team is going to be physical....

    Justin Evans was the seventh safety taken in the NFL draft. [Icon Sportswire]
  3. NFL draft: The Buccaneers and the value of a fourth-round pick


    Fourth-round picks might seem like middling assets. There is more to their value, however, than meets the eye.

    Every now and then, teams land a starter in the fourth round, as the Buccaneers did in 2015 when they drafted linebacker Kwon Alexander. Often, though, teams use the pick to move around the draft board.

    Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has done just that in each of the past three drafts. The one year he didn't — 2014 — he didn't have a fourth-round pick. That pick went to the Jets as part of the compensation for the Darrelle Revis trade that predecessor Mark Dominik executed. Late Friday night, Licht packaged the Bucs' 125th and 204th picks (fourth and sixth rounds) to move back into the third round to take LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith....

    Bucs general manager Jason Licht [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. O.J. Howard wanted to bring his white girlfriend to prom. His school said no.


    One of the biggest unexpected developments of the first night of the 2017 NFL draft was tight end O.J. Howard's fall out of the top 10 to the Buccaneers at No. 19. Here are some things you should know about Howard, some of which might surprise you:

    1. Howard's high school headmaster told him he couldn't bring his white girlfriend to his prom: According to an report, the Autauga Academy (Prattville, Ala.) headmaster said he was following instructions from the school's board of directors. Howard's parents confronted the board, but no one admitted to the discrimination. The headmaster later apologized at an assembly, and Howard ultimately took his girlfriend to the prom....

    Three of O.J. Howard's seven touchdowns at Alabama came in national championship games. [Getty Images]
  5. 2017 NFL draft: Bucs can't bet on Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers repeating 2016 success


    Good morning, and happy NFL draft day!

    No more mock draft critiquing and big board tweaking. At last, we're about to learn what the Buccaneers will do with their No. 19 overall pick. In today's Tampa Bay Times, columnist Tom Jones listed 19 things they could do, from drafting Dalvin Cook to taking a … kicker?...

    Cornerback Brent Grimes celebrates after intercepting a Cam Newton pass during the Bucs' 17-16 win over the Panthers in last season's finale. He and safety Keith Tandy led the team with four interceptions each. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  6. 2017 NFL draft: Why it's a bad idea to wait on running backs


    You can find a running back here.

    Jordan Howard and Jay Ajayi in the fifth round.

    You can find a running back there.

    Alfred Morris and Latavius Murray in the sixth round.

    You can find a running back anywhere.

    Ahmad Bradshaw and Rashad Jennings in the seventh round.

    It seems good running backs are easy to find in the NFL draft. In the fifth round. The sixth. The seventh. The nonexistent eleventh. Wave a magic wand! They appear, like coupons from Bed Bath & Beyond!...

    From left: Latavius Murray, Jordan Howard and Ahmad Bradshaw. [Times photo illustration/Getty Images]
  7. 2017 NFL draft: Of the top running back prospects, Dalvin Cook is the most explosive. Here are the numbers.


    It can be easy to overthink football.

    Allow Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter to stop you.

    "I've said many, many times that we believe — besides turnovers — explosive plays are the next biggest factor in winning and losing."

    It's that simple: Make more big plays than the other team.

    Tampa Bay didn't do that last season. The defense allowed more explosive plays than every team except the 49ers. The offense, which was expected to take a step forward, saw a 20 percent drop in such plays....

    Former Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, widely regarded as one of the draft's top home run hitters, could be in play for the Bucs when it's their turn to pick Thursday. [Icon Sportswire]
  8. The problem with the Buccaneers' 2017 schedule that needs to be fixed now


    Some thoughts on the Buccaneers' 2017 schedule, which was unveiled last night:

    Danger ahead

    Because Tom Brady and the Patriots need the help, the NFL schedule overlords have offered the Bucs as a Week 5 sacrifice in front of a national audience on Thursday Night Football.

    The problem with this stretch of Tampa Bay's schedule isn't that it plays the Super Bowl champions just four days after it plays the New York Giants. It's that the game against the Giants is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. instead of 1 p.m....

    The Bucs host the New York Giants on Oct. 1. Four days later, the Patriots visit Tampa. [Getty Images]
  9. Buccaneers and HBO's Hard Knocks: Who has control over what you see?


    HBO on Wednesday called Hard Knocks "the groundbreaking gold standard of sports reality TV."

    But just how real is it? How much control over the content will the Buccaneers have?

    At the official Hard Knocks announcement in Tampa, NFL Films director and producer Matt Dissinger cited the trust level his company has built with teams since it was founded 55 years ago. If there's sensitive material, NFL Films and the Bucs are going to talk about it, he said....

  10. Why you shouldn't worry about Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy


    Gerald McCoy wanted the truth.

    So at the Pro Bowl in January, the Buccaneers defensive tackle sought feedback from three "credible sources." He revealed Monday that those sources — which he wouldn't name —offered similar evaluations. The gist: He hasn't done enough to lead the team....

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  11. Flowchart: Which Tampa Bay Rays shirsey should you wear?

    The Heater

    Regret. Shame. You're sick over how much money you spent.

    I'm not describing how you feel on Saturday mornings. I'm describing, of course, your last jersey purchase.

    You tried to forget it. You don't want to talk about it. You know the one. The Josh Freeman. The Darrelle Revis....

  12. NFL overtime proposal takes aim at a problem that doesn't exist


    UPDATE (4 p.m.): Owners have tabled a vote on a proposal that would have put a 10-minute time limit on overtime. It is not clear when they will reconsider the recommendation.

    • • •

    NFL owners will vote today on a proposal that would limit overtime during the preseason and regular season to 10 minutes.


    When the Bucs played the Raiders in October, the defense was on the field for more than 90 snaps. With less than two minutes left in overtime, it allowed Derek Carr to complete a 41-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Seth Roberts. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  13. DeSean Jackson did WHAT?! The Bucs receiver's most unbelievable moments


    It'll be another six months before we see how the Buccaneers offense operates with deep threat DeSean Jackson in the fold. Until then, here's a look at some of the most memorable moments of his nine-year career:

    Sept. 7, 2008: Rams vs. Eagles

    During his first nine seasons as Eagles head coach, Andy Reid never started a rookie receiver in an opener. Jackson not only ended that streak but also made an immediate impact by catching six passes for 106 yards in a 38-3 win. He became the eighth rookie since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to rack up 100 receiving yards in his team's first game....

    On the first play of a Monday Night Football game against Washington in 2010, DeSean Jackson caught an 88-yard touchdown pass. LaRon Landry, the safety responsible for covering Jackson, had taunted him before the game. [Associated Press]
  14. WATCH: New Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson's fastest plays of 2016


    You might've heard: DeSean Jackson is fast.

    But do you know how fast?

    Let's say a brown bear approaches you and Jackson. You're dinner. Jackson? He stands a chance.

    The Bucs' preference, of course, is that their new receiver continues to win foot races against beasts that weigh 200 pounds, not 400. That's why they promised this week to pay the free agent at least $20 million over the next two seasons....

    DeSean Jackson beats Leodis McKelvin for an 80-yard touchdown in Washington's 27-22 win over the Eagles in December. [Getty Images]
  15. 2017 NFL free agency: DeSean Jackson's miracle punt return


    Dec. 19, 2010. The Eagles, my hometown team, trailed the Giants 31-10 in the fourth quarter.

    And I felt sad. Very, very sad.

    I hated everything. The Eagles. The Giants. Football. Even the decorations Fox puts on its score bug during Christmastime. Stupid lights....

    In 2010's "Miracle at the New Meadowlands," DeSean Jackson became the first player in NFL history to return a punt for a game-winning touchdown as time expired. [Associated Press]