Lovie Smith finally makes a move for a proven return man by signing the shortest player in the NFL, Trindon Holliday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will announce the signing of proven return man Trindon Holliday this week, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. The Bucs' interest in Holliday was first reported by Jenna Laine.
Holliday has four career regular season return touchdowns, two on kickoffs and two on punts, since his NFL debut in 2011. He had one of each kind of return in the same playoff game in 2013 as a Bronco against the Baltimore Ravens, and remains the only player in NFL history to accomplish that feat, per Stroud.
The Bucs have struggled on special teams so far this season, as undrafted rookie Solomon Patton has not been able to break any big plays as a return man, and has shown poor judgment as to when and where to take the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs.
Holliday has previously shown a tendency to drop punts and struggle with ball security, but once the ball is in his hands, he's one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. His speed is undeniable, and he has the vision to see blocking unfold and make his move upfield.
The Bucs will have to announce a corresponding roster move if they wish to sign Holliday, and Patton would figure to be a strong candidate to lose his spot on the team. Neither player figures to play into the Bucs plans at wide receiver, and having two return specialists on the roster would be a waste of valuable spots on the squad.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw their original starting quarterback return to the practice field, but does that mean he'll re-gain his starting job?
Josh McCown returned to practice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, according to Roy Cummings. The quarterback hasn't taken the field since week three of the regular season, when a thumb injury forced him to the sideline. That sprained thumb had kept him sidelined until this week, with Mike Glennon filling in admirably. It's not clear whether McCown's return to the practice field will also mean a return to the starting lineup.
Mike Glennon played reasonably well, although he struggled in his last game against the Baltimore Ravens. Glennon was far from perfect, but he certainly looked better than Josh McCown did the first couple of games, especially in his willingness to pull the trigger on downfield throws. However, Lovie Smith has refued to commit to either Glennon or McCown as the team's starter going forward.
The Bucs also had a number of other players sitting out practice today, including starters Vincent Jackson and Anthony Collins as well as Keith Tandy and Danny Lansanah, per Jenna Laine. Safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Johnthan Banks both returned to practice, per Chris Fischer, so at least the struggling secondary should be healthier.
Collins' and Lansanah's absences are new. That may just be routine maintenance, but if the team's starting left tackle can't play the Bucs will have yet another problem to deal with on an already depleted offensive line. Vincent Jackson is probably just resting his injured wrist and ribs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an easy schedule over the next few weeks. Can they turn around their season?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been terrible this season, but all is not yet lost. Not only is the division bad, but their next three opponents all lost in ugly fashion this past weekend: the Minnesota Vikings, the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons.
The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Buffalo Bills not by turning the ball over, but by being unable to consistently move their offense down the field. Bridgewater's dink-and-dunk offense couldn't create any explosive plays, and he was sacked five times over the course of the game.
The Cleveland Browns lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars despite forcing three Blake Bortles interceptions. The running game went nowhere: they averaged 2.3 yards per carry on 30 attempts, while Brian Hoyer completed just 16 of 41 passes. Against one of the very worst teams in the NFL.
And finally, the Atlanta Falcons were curbstomped by the Baltimore Ravens, who cruised to victory the way they had against the Bucs a week earlier. Washington did win this weekend, though they only barely managed to eke out a victory against the Charlie Whitehurst-led Tennessee Titans, while the Chicago Bears (week 12) and Cincinnati Bengals (week 13) both lost.
In other words: the NFC South sucks, and the Bucs have a fairly easy schedule over the coming weeks. If they're going to turn this ship around, now is the time.
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A first look at the 2015 NFL draft order after seven weeks of NFL football.
After seven weeks of NFL football, the Oakland Raiders are in pole position to get the top pick of the 2015 NFL draft. Because the Raiders seem to get a top pick every year, and yet somehow manage to lose again -- every single year. Just like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two of the other top five teams in this early draft order.
As for parity: four of the five worst teams had a top ten pick last year. The exception being the New York Jets, who picked eighteenth in the 2014 draft but are now the second-worst team in the NFL. The NFL certainly has some elements providing some semblance of long-term parity, but it can only do so much in one offseason.
Playoff teams have not been projected, so this draft order is based solely on record. This version includes Sunday Night Football's result. The strength of schedule is based on each team's full season of opponents.
|Pick||Team||Record||Strength of Schedule|
|1||OAK||0 - 6||46 - 36|
|2||NYJ||1 - 6||39 - 40|
|3||JAX||1 - 6||51 - 39 - 1|
|4||TB||1 - 5||43 - 47 - 3|
|5||ATL||2 - 5||41 - 41 - 3|
|6||WSH||2 - 5||46 - 45|
|7||MIN||2 - 5||41 - 40 - 1|
|8||TEN||2 - 5||47 - 44 - 1|
|9||NO||2 - 4||50 - 48 - 3|
|10||STL||2 - 4||41 - 29|
|11||CHI||3 - 4||41 - 46 - 1|
|12||NYG||3 - 4||54 - 38|
|13||CLE||3 - 3||45 - 56 - 3|
|14||PIT||3 - 3||45 - 56 - 3|
|15||CAR||3 - 3 - 1||39 - 44 - 1|
|16||MIA||3 - 3||49 - 53|
|17||KC||3 - 3||43 - 46|
|18||HOU||3 - 3||48 - 51 - 1|
|19||SEA||3 - 3||50 - 38|
|20||CLE via BUF||4 - 3||47 - 51|
|21||SF||4 - 3||45 - 31 - 1|
|22||CIN||3 - 2 - 1||43 - 41 - 1|
|23||DET||5 - 2||39 - 54 - 1|
|24||NE||5 - 2||39 - 46 - 1|
|25||SD||5 - 2||42 - 47|
|26||BAL||5 - 2||42 - 45 - 3|
|27||GB||5 - 2||46 - 48 - 1|
|28||IND||5 - 2||50 - 47 - 1|
|29||DEN||5 - 1||38 - 44 - 1|
|30||PHI||5 - 1||42 - 37 - 1|
|31||ARI||5 - 1||48 - 42|
|32||DAL||6 - 1||46 - 45|
The NFC South is so horrible that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could genuinely win it. I'm not kidding.
The NFC South is horrible. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a bye week, but every other NFC South team lost today. None of them can play defense worth a damn. Three of those teams have genuine franchise quarterbacks, but it doesn't matter: they're still losing way too many games.
Which leads me to one shocking conclusion: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are two games out of first place in the NFC South.
Yes, the team that's been blown out twice, one by the Atlanta Falcons. The team that was 40 seconds away from being winless. The team that's been inept throughout the season. That team, is now two games out of first place in its division.
|NFC South standings|
|New Orleans Saints||2-4|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1-5|
To be fair, the Bucs aren't really two games out of first place. They're two-and-a-half games behind the Carolina Panthers, and given that they're 0-3 in the division and 0-5 in the conference, they're liable to lose every tiebreaker at the end of the season. So for all practical purposes, they're three games out of first place.
That's a lot, but it's hardly insurmountable. And it's not all that unrealistic for the Bucs to turn around their team quite suddenly. Most of their problems are due to individual breakdowns on specific plays, rather than massive schematic issues, as well as a slew of injuries.
It's not impossible for the defensive scheme to finally click for most of the back seven. That's been the biggest problem this season. And it's not that the Bucs don't have the personnel to run this defense, but that the personnel is just not doing what they're supposed to be doing. If they can get their defense to be more disciplined, they still have the same pieces to be a pretty good team. Or at least win a few more games.
As we said before the weekend, it's a small ray of hope. A very, very small one. But a little bit of hope is better than no hope at all.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a bye. Here's your open thread for today's NFL games.