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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. 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....

    In his one season as a starter, Michigan DE Taco Charlton piled up 91/2 sacks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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....

    Hard Knocks could benefit Jameis Winston, about whom negative images could remain from his time at FSU. People will see there’s “nothing that’s not pure” about him, Dirk Koetter says.
  4. 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....

  5. 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.''
  6. 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....

    Bucs Gerald McCoy (93) brings down Saints Drew Brees (9) with the help of Bucs Henry Melton (90) in the 2nd qtr during the Tampa Bay Bucs game against the New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans Sunday 9/20/2015.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. 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....

    The Raymond James Stadium field as seen Tuesday. The Bucs are beginning Phase III of the continuing $150-million renovations to the stadium.
  12. 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.
  13. Would new contract for Doug Martin secure future with Bucs?


    One seldom discussed option for the Bucs in order to retain running back Doug Martin is to attempt to restructure his contract.

    Martin is suspended for the first three games of the 2017 regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs and the Bucs have been non-committal about his future with the team.

    He has apparently completed a rehabilitation period and is in a reflective mood. In a recent tweet, Martin is seated plaintively at the 50-yard line of Boise State’s Albertsons Stadium and quoted saying, “Never forget your past, it's the foundation that built your existence and the secret to your future."...

    Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of the 2017 regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
  14. Bucs boon? Exposure on 'Hard Knocks' not always the negative kind


    TAMPA — It's looking more and more like this might happen. The Bucs believe they are among the top candidates to be chosen for HBO's Hard Knocks, the sports documentary produced in conjunction with NFL Films.

    Right now, they are bracing for it. If selected, they plan to just embrace it.

    Tampa Bay is among eight teams eligible for mandatory inclusion. The Bucs lost their way into contention. You can only be selected if you don't have a new head coach, haven't reached the playoffs in the past two seasons and haven't appeared on the show in a decade....

    In 2012, 'Hard Knocks' viewers watched receiver Chad Johnson lose his job with the Miami Dophins after he was arrested for domestic violence.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
  15. Bucs want to continue preseason joint practices with Jaguars


    A year ago, the Bucs held joint practices during training camp at Jacksonville and at home against Cleveland prior to preseason games with the Jaguars and Browns. Looking back, coach Dirk Koetter believes that might have one been too many.

    “I like joint practices a lot but we went back, we did it right after we finished the second one last year, I sent out a survey to all the coaches and I talked to a lot of the players and we felt like two was a little too much,’’ Koetter said....