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TNF Preview: The Bucs Look to Get in the Win Column on the Road in Carolina

The Bucs will look to get to 1-1 tonight as they take on the Carolina Panthers in a place they know all too well – in Carolina.

Here are a couple keys for the Bucs to getting that first win of the season in a game in which they come in as seven-point underdogs.

1. Pound that Rock

Ronald Jones’ opener was successful for the Bucs, as he went for 75 yards on 13 carries, a solid number for a Bucs ground game that had plenty of questions.

Jones’ run style is a breath of fresh air for Tampa, and also if he can’t get the job done early, the team can always turn to Peyton Barber, who had 33 yards on eight carries in the opener.

Look for the Bucs O-line to get a good push up front and open the run game.

2. Keep Winston Clean

The key to success for any Bruce Arians offense is to make sure the quarterback is upright enough to get the ball downfield to the wide outs and tight ends.

Last week Winston was sacked three times for 20 yards in the loss to the 49’ers, a team that threw a lot of looks at the Tampa offense.

Winston knows the Panthers and their D all too well, and it will be up to him to play well starting with the play form the line up front.

3. Tackle Newton

One thing whenever you play the Panthers is bringing down quarterback Cam Newton when you have the chance. The Bucs know this from their past games with him, and will need to do it again in this matchup.

If you let Newton get going and his confidence grows, he’s tough to bring down and tough to beat. There’s plenty of beef in that Bucs front line to put pressure on Newton, but last week they didn’t play well, getting just one sack the entire night.

We’ll see if this time around they play better and make sure they don’t allow Newton to control the game.

Video: Buccaneers Fall to Niners 31-17 in 2019 Opener

The Buccaneers fell in their opener on Sunday, losing to the 49ers 31-17. Check out highlights from the matchup below.

Buccaneers LB Jason Pierre-Paul Cleared to Resume Rehab

Jason Pierre-Paul took a major step Tuesday toward his return to game action, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com reports.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end has been cleared by club and independent doctors to resume rehab activities, sources told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Tuesday. This comes less than four months after Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured vertebra in a one-car wreck.

Pierre-Paul was back at Bucs practice, sans neck brace, on Tuesday for the first time since the injury.

It remains to be seen when Pierre-Paul will be cleared to play again, but Tuesday’s news is undoubtedly a positive development for the veteran edge rusher.

Following the accident in May, JPP had the option to undergo surgery on his neck or let the injury heal on its own. Pierre-Paul chose the latter option, anticipating a five-to-six month recovery and a return to the field around October or November.

Asked last week about Pierre-Paul’s recovery, Bucs coach Bruce Arians did not provide a timeline for his return but was not worried about the veteran DE missing all of Tampa Bay’s offseason work.

“No, because he knows how to rush the passer and that’s all he’s going to do,” Arians said. “He’ll know where to line up. I don’t want him getting bumped on the sideline or anything else.”

Buccaneers DT Vita Vea Won’t Need Knee Surgery Following Second MRI

The Buccaneers got some good news Friday on defensive tackle Vita Vea, who was at one point thought to have to have knee surgery.

The team sent Vea for an MRI on his knee earlier this week, and then the team let the swelling go down and he had another MRI today which gave the team hope.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com states that Vea does not need surgery to repair the injury. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reported earlier this week that the Buccaneers’ hope was that Vea suffered an LCL sprain and the second test appears to show that’s the case.

While Vea doesn’t need surgery, he is expected to miss time in the regular season. Rapoport reports that the belief is that he can return at some point in the first four weeks of the regular season.

Assuming that’s correct, it would make two straight years that Vea has been sidelined to start the regular season. He had a calf injury last year and missed the first three games despite reports that he’d be healthy in time for Week One.

Three Questions About the Buccaneers as Training Camp Gets Going

With Dirk Koetter running the Bucs ship in 2018, the team got off to a shocking start in which they topped the Saints and Eagles to start the season.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for tons of yards out of nowhere, the team sat at 3-3 after an overtime win over the Browns on October 21st.

Then the wheels came off, with poor play the rest of the season, the club went 2-8, ending the season at 5-11 and costing Koetter his job.

Now it’s former Cards coach Bruce Arians running the show, and hoping to turn things around for 2019 and beyond.

Let’s take a look at three questions about this team as camp gets rolling.

1. Arian’s Fingerprints

Bruce Arians brings a great resume to the Bucs, having led the Cards to three winning seasons out of five, including a 13-3 season in 2015.

He’ll make sure to voice his opinion to the current players on the roster, making sure they know that this is now his team, and he’s going to do whatever he can to turn around last seasons 5-11 mark.

Make no mistake, it’s Arian’s team, and he’s going to make it known early and often, and if someone doesn’t agree, they won’t be around long.

2. Winston’s Last Shot

With Ryan Fitzpatrick in Miami, it’s now Jameis Winston’s team to run. He will during camp get every shot to be the guy once again, but you have to wonder if this is going to be the last chance for him to show what a #1 overall pick can do.

Winston last season threw for 19 touchdowns and 14 picks with a QB rating of 71.8. The team was 3-6 when he started.

The 24-year-old is 21-33 in four years as a starter, and while the Bucs have invested a ton into him over these last four seasons, he’s got to step up and show what he can do.

3. A Defense That Needs an Overhaul

Last season the Bucs were 31st in the league when it came to allowing points, and when you look at the schedule, they allowed 30 or more points in eight of 16 games.

Enter Todd Bowles, the former Jets coach who will now be in charge of running the defense and trying to get them back to where they need to be.

This D needs to do everything better, pressure the QB, stop the run and create turnovers.

Look for Bowles to be held accountable for the way this D plays in 2019.

Buccaneers Add TE Troy Niklas and CB Mazzi Wilkins to the Roster

The Bucs are tinkering with their 90-man roster as they get set to open up camp on Friday, and made a couple roster moves with that very roster on Wednesday.

The team signed former Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas and undrafted free agent cornerback Mazzi Wilkins.

Friday but the team still is finalizing their 90-man roster.

The Bucs on Wednesday signed former Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas and undrafted free agent cornerback Mazzi Wilkins.

Niklas was a second-round pick out of Notre Dame under Arians in 2014 and played his first four seasons under the Bucs new coach before sitting out 2018. He had 19 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns in 41 games, including 18 starts. Niklas spent last spring with the Patriots but was released in late July.

Wilkins is a former Plant High and USF player. He participated in the Bucs’ rookie minicamp in May. In 47 games with the Bulls, Wilkins had 110 career tackles and three interceptions.

Video: Charting a New Course: A Look Ahead at the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A Video Look Ahead at the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers…

Bucs Ink Fifth Overall Pick LB Devin White to a Four-Year Deal

The Buccaneers have signed the fifth overall pick from the latest NFL Draft, Devin White to a four-year deal according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.com.

White was late to sign but will not miss any training camp time. After letting Kwon Alexander walk in free agency, the Bucs are counting heavily on White as an every-down starter in the middle of Todd Bowles‘ defense.

A three-year starter at LSU, White won the 2018 Butkus Trophy as college football’s best linebacker and was named first team All-SEC for the second consecutive year.

Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and Panthers linebacker Brian Burns are the remaining unsigned first-round picks.