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Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud covers the Bucs and the NFL for the Times. He joined the paper in 1983 after graduating from Arkansas St., where he played baseball. He has reported on national sporting events including more than 20 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud's stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. He began covering the Bucs in 1990. Since then, the team has undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum and a Super Bowl XXVII victory. He co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM.



Blog: Bucs Beat

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  1. As NFL draft nears, Dalvin Cook's stock falls, Bucs might trade down


    TAMPA — No player has been as linked to the Bucs in draft speculation as much as Florida State running back Dalvin Cook in recent months.

    There are plenty of reasons for that. His talent and production jump out on tape. At FSU he was a teammate of quarterback Jameis Winston, who will put his hand on the scale. The Bucs' refusal to commit to running back Doug Martin, who is suspended for the first three games of next season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy. ...

    No player has been as linked to the Bucs in draft speculation as much as Florida State running back Dalvin Cook in recent months. [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
  2. Bucs' opportunity to trade down may depend on QB market


    A robust quarterback market and a run on that position will give the Bucs their best opportunity to acquire more picks by trading down in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft.

    Tampa Bay has discussed the possibility of moving down from the No. 19 overall pick with more than three teams. As many as four quarterbacks could go in the first round this year, although none are considered locks to become franchise passers such as Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, who went 1-2 to the Bucs and Tennessee, respectively, in 2015....

    North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky is among the quarterbacks that will receive first-round consideration.
  3. NFL draft: Addressing the Bucs' greatest need


    TAMPA — When it comes to the NFL draft under Bucs general manager Jason Licht, the offense has played with too many men on the field.

    The first two years, Licht took only one player on defense: LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round in 2015 — a terrific talent who already is among the league's best at his position.

    In fact, only five of the Bucs' 20 draft picks under Licht have been used on defense, including four last year....

    ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Mike Smith, defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stands on the field during pregame warmups prior to facing the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 11, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
  4. Bucs' draft wish list: Players coming at you like a wrecking ball


    TAMPA — There is a running back for every occasion in the NFL draft this year. You have power backs (Leonard Fournette), slashing/three-down backs (Dalvin Cook) and even Swiss Army knife backs (Christian McCaffrey).

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has watched them all, and there is a chance his team will be lucky enough to grab one when Tampa Bay picks 19th overall Thursday.

    But regardless of the position, what Koetter says is more important in the first round is finding a player who can single-handedly change the outcome of games....

    Washington receiver John Ross ran a record 4.22 40-yard dash during the NFL scouting combine, and he had production to match.
  5. Bucs' 2017 schedule lets Jameis Winston take on a parade of great QBs


    TAMPA — Here comes the Lord of the Rings. Here comes Captain Comeback. Here comes Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

    His first regular-season visit to Raymond James Stadium will be Oct. 5 for a Thursday night nationally televised game against the Bucs on CBS.

    Brady is Leonardo DiCaprio with a chinstrap. Model wife. Drives a Brink's truck. He has won five Super Bowls, more than any quarterback in history. FBI agents deliver his shirts....

    Tom Brady makes his first regular-season visit to Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 5 — presumably minus his latest Super Bowl trophy — when the Patriots take on the Bucs in one of Tampa Bay’s two prime-time games in the 2017 season.
  6. It's official: Bucs and 'charismatic' roster set for 'Hard Knocks'


    TAMPA — On the day Hard Knocks, HBO's NFL reality series, announced it was going to training camp with the Bucs, coach Dirk Koetter's reaction reflected that of most head coaches about the show.

    "I like watching the show," Koetter said. "I wish I wasn't on it."

    Quick to note "they picked us," Koetter nonetheless has accepted that the fans' pleasure may be worth his pain. For five weeks this summer, the Bucs will be the focus of the award-winning series that started in 2001 and is done in conjunction with NFL Films. The premier episode is 10 p.m. Aug. 8....

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter faces his second go-round with HBO’s Hard Knocks. He was with the Falcons during their 2014 run.
  7. Hard Knocks selects the Bucs, calls them a 'team on the rise'


    On the day that Hard Knocks, the HBO sports reality series, announced they were going to training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dirk Koetter’s reaction was reflective of most head coaches in the National Football League.

    “I like watching the show,’’ Koetter said. “I wish I wasn’t on it.’’

    But for five weeks, with the premier episode scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 10 p.m., the Bucs will be the focus of the award-winning series in conjunction with NFL Films....

  8. Bucs' major announcement? 'Hard Knocks'


    It’s a Hard Knocks life for the Bucs.

    All indications are that the HBO sports documentary series, in conjunction with NFL Films, has chosen to go to training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team has scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. Wednesday for an undisclosed ‘major announcement.’

    However, for the past several weeks, everyone from co-chairman Joel Glazer to general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter have been bracing – if not embracing – the inevitability that they would be chosen for Hard Knocks this year. Both Koetter and Licht will be available to the media Wednesday, the team said....

    "The whole world gets to see how great of an organization this is,'' Jameis Winston says, "and see the great people that we have within the organization.''
  9. Bucs' Gerald McCoy vows to change 'everything'



    He heard it once. Then twice. Three different times. From three "credible sources" at the Pro Bowl in Orlando last January, Gerald McCoy was given a humbling critique of his career, which has included zero playoff appearances in seven seasons.

    McCoy said he was told that he has not produced enough fourth-quarter sacks with everything on the line in order for the Bucs to win football games....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy Jr. heads to the locker room after the team lost in overtime to the Oakland Raiders at Raymond James Stadium last month. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  10. Bucs' Gerald McCoy: 'I haven't done enough to lead this team'


    Gerald McCoy says in the Bucs defensive meeting room there is a quote from L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers: Average players want to be left alone, good players want to be coached, great players want to be told the truth.

    McCoy explained that he learned the truth about himself from three unnamed ‘credible sources,’ at the Pro Bowl in January who told him separately that in effect he hasn’t done enough in his seven seasons to lead the Bucs....

    The Bucs have not reached the postseason since Gerald McCoy became the third overall pick by the team in 2010.
  11. Bucs begin off-season workouts, await schedule and HBO


    The Bucs begin phase one of their voluntary off-season workout program today. For players, think of it as the official start of the 2017 season, one certainly to be filled with burgeoning expectations and exposure.

    Some introductions will be made with the addition of receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive tackle Chris Baker, safety J.J. Wilcox and place-kicker Nick Folk.
    General manager Jason Licht, quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be available to the media this morning at 11:30 a.m....

    Nick Folk (2), shown here celebrating his game-winning field goal for the New York Jets' 30-27 victory against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on October 20, 2013 in East Rutherford, N.J.
  12. Truth and lies: Tales of the Bucs and the draft


    TAMPA — A year ago at the NFL scouting combine, I wrote about only two players: cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and defensive end Noah Spence. They offered solutions at positions of need for the Bucs, and it figured the team might target one or both early in the draft.

    The Bucs selected Hargreaves No. 11 overall, then nabbed Spence in the second round with pick No. 39.

    Genius foresight? Hardly. When it comes to the draft — this year's is next week in Philadelphia — unless a team owns one of the top three picks, your guess about whom it takes is as good as Mel Kiper's. Besides, it's all a big game of liar's poker. Nobody wants to show his hand....

    Remember Mike Mamula? The Bucs allegedly were high on him for the draft in 1995. Reality? They were after better draft positioning, which helped them land Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks that year. (AP Photo/1997)
  13. How is Christian McCaffrey evaluated by the Bucs?


    Christian McCaffrey is one of the top three running backs in the draft. But his pass catching and route running skills make him one of the best offensive weapons available. Saints coach Sean Payton compared him to Darren Sproles, but with a more physical running style....

    At Stanford, Christian McCaffrey rushed for 1,603 yards as a junior. In three seasons, he caught 99 passes for more than 1,200 yards and 10 TDs.
  14. Bucs fans, players will benefit from RJS enhancements (w/ video)


    It’s been a year of franchise movement in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers relocating to Los Angeles and the Raiders announcing plans to leave Oakland for Las Vegas, all due to poor stadium situations....

    Bucs Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford speaks during a news conference Tuesday at Raymond James Stadium.
  15. Bucs at Jaguars on ESPN highlights preseason schedule


    If you loved the Bucs' preseason schedule last season, you'll be at least very fond of the slate for 2017.

    The Eagles are out and the Bengals are in. That's the only real difference.       

    The Bucs open the preseason with road contests against two familiar AFC teams and their exhibition schedule also features a nationally televised game on ESPN against the Jaguars....

    The Bucs will play a Thursday night game at Jacksonville Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. that will be televised by ESPN.