Rugby – A Fun Offseason Sport To Take Your Mind Off The Buccaneers

You’ve watched the Buccaneers tough 2017 season come to a close. You’ve followed the NFL Playoffs and patiently are awaiting to see if the Patriots or Eagles will hoist the Lombardi Trophy Sunday evening in the Super Bowl.

After that’s said and done, there won’t be another football game for some eight months.

In other words – time for lack of football depression to set in.

There’s got to be more out there in the world to pass the time, other sports or other activities to make you enjoy the time until there is another Buccaneers football game that means something.

How about this – how about following Rubgy this offseason?

Yes, that’s right – Rugby, which can teach football a lot this offseason, more so for those that play the books with the use of VAR (video assistant referee review), a stat that Rugby is using with great success.

There are plenty of things that Football teams can learn from Rugby when it comes to VAR, including how and when to use it, and letting the technology of the plays speak for themselves, taking all the risk out of the hands of the officials on the field in a week in and week out basis.

It’s also a great way to invest your time, watching the days, weeks and then months go by until there’s another NFL football game to speak of, one that will again include the Buccaneers.

VAR is already being used in Rugby, and with great success in both the FA and EFL Cup, two big Rugby tourneys that were both fun to watch and even more fun to be abreast on with the use of VAR.

It took all the guess work away from the officials, and they were able to make the correct calls using VAR instead of drawing the ire of the crowds not knowing what way to go.

The NFL’s use of instant replay still has way too many flaws, and even on plays that seem cut and dry, officials are spending way too much time under a tent watching a small monitor trying to make a critical call in a game right.

How great would it be for NFL Commish Roger Goodell and the competition committee to adopt some of the same VAR rules that Rugby is already using, and even more so use them to the success that Rugby is using them.

Take in some Rugby this offseason, and watch for the awesome use of VAR, you’d be surprised the NFL hasn’t started using it already.

Buccaneers LB Kwon Alexander Says Everyone in Pro Bowl Was Trying to Win

Sunday’s Pro Bowl participants have a message for those coming with the hot takes about effort in the NFL’s all-star game: Be quiet.

Several players in the weekend’s exhibition contest, which ended in an entertaining 24-23 win for the AFC squad, told ESPN.com the quality of football was definitively up to league standard, Edward Lee of NFL.com reports.

“We’ve only got one speed, and we were just out there playing hard, trying to win,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander said.

Added Seattle Seahawks pass rusher Michael Bennett: “Everybody was playing pretty hard and trying to get a win. We didn’t get a win though, so that was f—ed up. Everybody had a good time though. It’s always about having a good time with a bunch of good players. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about.”

The Pro Bowl took heat several years ago, when the game resembled much more of a two-hand touch or flag football game. Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the issue in 2012, telling media he’d rather not play the game if the effort wasn’t there.

If anybody can be the official judge of that, it’s Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who’s an 11-time Pro Bowl player. By his estimation, Sunday’s bout was perfectly acceptable.

“I think it was because there were so many great fans out there and guys wanted to put on a good show and really get this Pro Bowl up to the standard that we wanted it to be at,” he said.

Saints Coach Sean Payton Denies Bad Blood with Buccaneers Coach Dirk Koetter

Saints coach Sean Payton on Wednesday denied that there is any bad blood with Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter, despite a rather animated exchange when their two teams squared off in Week 17, a game the Bucs won 31-24, Jenna Laine of ESPN reports.

“Not at all,” said Payton, who is serving as the head coach of the NFC team at the Pro Bowl.

“Listen, he’s a great coach and a good friend and when you get into these games, you just get going 100 miles an hour,” Payton said. “I know he’s building his team, and I like just meeting some of [Koetter’s] guys who are out here. But it’s all good.”

Payton and Koetter exchanged aggressive, friendly chest slaps during the coaches’ handshake. Then Payton brought up the Week 9 scuffle in which Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans launched himself into the back of Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore after quarterback Jameis Winston tapped Lattimore on the back of the helmet. Evans was slapped with a one-game suspension while Winston was fined.

In video captured by Tampa’s Fox 13 WTVT-TV, Payton can be heard telling Koetter, “Here’s the thing, I got pissed in the last game,” before Koetter replied, “Because I couldn’t see it.”

Payton grimaced and started to walk away before Koetter said, “Hey, Sean, if I would’ve seen it …”

But Payton said, “Come on,” and walked away.

Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy: He and the Team Leaders Need to Be More Accountable

Speaking from the NFC locker room following Pro Bowl practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told 620-WDAE Wednesday that he and other team leaders need to do a better job of accountability during practice and in the locker room, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“Whether it was preparation. How guys prepared. How guys played,” McCoy said. “We just shot ourselves in the foot a lot with penalties and mental errors. And then there were times where we just got beat as a team. The team was just better than us. That comes from experience. Guys have to band together. We’ve got to come together as a team and unit and get on the same page. We weren’t always on the same page.

“I think myself and Lavonte (David), we take a lot of blame for that. Not doing enough in the room or at practice. If this thing is going to change, we need to take this thing over and make sure it changes.”

McCoy, who is playing in his sixth Pro Bowl and was named a team captain for the NFC Wednesday, said he has had time to reflect on the disappointing 5-11 season and believes much of the fault lies with the players for not doing their jobs.

“The coaches would be giving us the scheme and we would run the scheme, but if you if you’re supposed to be in the B gap, be in the B gap,” McCoy said. “If you’re supposed to set the edge, set the edge. If we’re in man, be in man. If you’re supposed to drop to a certain spot, then drop to that spot.

“It wasn’t that guys were being rebellious. I’m not saying that. But we’ve got to be more in tune as a unit and just more professional. But that just comes with time.”

McCoy said much can be learned from the Bucs watching the league championship games last weekend.

“There’s something different about them and you see it,” McCoy said. “And I played against Jacksonville, we practiced against them multiple days. I saw the team they were then and what they became. They were a completely different group of guys and it was accountability. You never have to worry about whether a guy was going to do their job or where they were going to be. And the Patriots were the same way. They play all four quarters the same way, regardless of the outcome. If I got the B gap, I’m not going to jump in the A or do anything outside of that. I think guys try to do too much or didn’t do enough.

“The leaders on the team, myself, Kwon (Alexander), Jameis (Winston), myself, Mike Evans and Josh Robinson, Lavonte were all the captains. If you’re a captain, or just the leaders, it’s our job to make sure it gets done. And I think we did, it’s not like we lacked it. We’ve just got to more holding guys accountable. The coaches, they can’t always do it.

“I talked to (Warren) Sapp and (Derrick) Brooks and one thing they did, they did it. They took it over. We’ve got to do a better job of taking it over. A lot of what I’m saying is it’s my fault things didn’t go the way they were supposed to go. But we’re going to face that.”

Video: Top 100 Plays in Tampa Bay Buccaneers History

There’s been plenty of great ones – but here’s a very cool video breaking down the Top 100 plays in Bucs history!

Enjoy!

See Who Mel Kiper Has the Buccaneers Taking with the Seventh Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Mel Kiper’s first mock draft is out – and the draft ‘expert’ has the Bucs going offensive guard in round one, taking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson with the seventh overall pick.

Here’s the tweet with the breakdown of the first 10 overall picks.

Will the Bucs Turn it Around in 2018? One Former Player Personnel Guy Feels They Are Close

The Bucs were a team expected to make a playoff run in 2017, but instead won just five games and were hit with a number of key injuries that stopped the team from moving forward.

One person who for sure took notice of the Bucs is that of Gil Brandt, long time player personnel guy for the Dallas Cowboys, and now NFL Media senior analyst.

Thursday Brandt released an article on NFL.com talking about teams that have chances to go from ‘worst to first’ in 2018, and while he doesn’t say the Bucs will do that, they do have a very good chance to be back and ready to compete in 2018.

Here’s what he had to say about the Bucs:

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South, 5-11)

Jameis Winston is primed for a breakthrough 2018 season. His yards-per-attempt mark of 7.93 ranked fourth in the NFL in 2017, ahead of players like Tom Brady (fifth, 7.88) and Carson Wentz (11th, 7.49), while his completion rate (63.8 percent) ranked 12th. The offensive line needs to stay healthier — by the end of the season, the unit was relying on backup-types. The 32nd-ranked defense was a weakness, and with the team compiling a league-low sack total (22), it’s clear that pass rusher is a big need. Yes, the NFC South includes three other formidable teams. Still, this is a well-coached group, and if Winston can continue to learn to incorporate coaching going forward, he can be a factor and make Tampa Bay truly dangerous.

Dirk Koetter Staying as Head Coach of the Buccaneers in 2018

Dirk Koetter will return as the Bucs head coach in 2018, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The Glazer family, which owns the team, made the decision Friday afternoon and general manager Jason Licht informed Koetter that he would be back next season despite a 4-11 record which includes a pair of five-game losing streaks.

“Obviously, I’m very grateful to the Glazer family of their support,” Koetter said Friday night on his weekly radio show. “But I think that anything further on my status or the status of the staff or what we’re going to do in the future should wait until after the game on Sunday.

“Everybody is evaluated at the end of the year, including me, and we’ll start that process come Monday.”

Koetter is 13-18 in his two seasons as head coach but has been instrumental in the progress of third year quarterback Jameis Winston.

In coaching a third season, Koetter is getting an opportunity not afforded to to former Bucs Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith before him.

Among the reasons for sticking with Koetter includes the fact that Winston suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to miss three games and saw him struggle to play three others while hurt.

Over the past four weeks since returning from his injury, Winston leads the NFL in passer rating (114.5) and yards per attempt (9.25) while ranking third in completion percentage (72.0), fourth in yards (1,221 and tied for the fourth most touchdown passes with eight.

There had been much speculation in the past few months that former Bucs coach Jon Gruden, the star of Monday Night Football, was closer to returning to coaching and that he might considering taking his old job in Tampa Bay if it became available.

Gruden was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor on December 18 as the Bucs lost to the Falcons 24-21 on Monday Night Football.

A year ago, Dirk Koetter went 9-7 and the Bucs missed the post-season by the third tie-breaker to the Detroit Lions.