Morris: Stroughter Suited For Slot Receiver

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010 season kicked off Training Camp on July 31, and preseason starts this weekend. Oh, and if you need more Bucs, visit BucsNation.

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Buccaneers To Line Receiver Sammie Stroughter Up In Slot

Despite being just 5’10" and only 180 pounds, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play to deploy wide receiver Sammie Stroughter in the slot this coming season. Head coach Raheem Morris has stated that Stroughter is the most likely candidate to be named the No. 2 receiver opposite Mike Williams, but Morris feels like Stroughter is well suited to do work over the middle of the field:

“Inside that slot, it takes a little bit of a different man,” Morris said. “It takes a guy with a big heart to go in there and who is not afraid.”

Stroughter, a seventh-round pick in 2009, also has potential to be a dynamic kick returner. He averaged 29.5 yards on 11 kickoffs last season. But if Stroughter starts at receiver, he might return punts and kicks only in certain situations to take some wear and tear off of his smaller frame.

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Raheem Morris Doesn't Want To Hear About Low Expectations

Yes, the Tampa Bay Bucacneers are one of the NFL’s youngest and least experienced teams. And yes, the Bucs are coming off a season in which they won just three games under first year head coach Raheem Morris. But that doesn’t mean that Morris is willing to accept a dismal fate for his team in 2010. Just two days before his team’s second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Morris reiterated that he believes that his young group can make big strides and be competitive each week:

“Last year doesn’t matter right now. We’re 0-0,” Morris said, adding that dwelling on 2009 does about as much good as pointing out the 2002 Bucs won the Super Bowl.

“You can’t go back and dig up a championship, just like you can’t dig up a bad season. The message that I give these guys is we’re getting ready to get in the starting blocks … and it’s a race to 10 wins for the whole league. Once you get there, you give yourself a chance to get into postseason play.”

Hey, it may be a longshot to think about playoffs for this year’s squad, but like Morris said, everybody’s 0-0 and in the hunt for now.

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Clifton Smith Battling Injury, Huggins, Ward

From Tampabay.com

Running back Clifton Smith said he plans to get back on the field this week after missing last week’s practices and the preseason opener with a hamstring injury.

“I’m going to definitely go this week,” Smith said. “I was counting back and it’s been about nine months since I last played in a game (he went on IR last season after two concussions). I’m excited and I’m ready to get back out there and play. I’m tired of sitting out and watching my teammates have fun.”

But Smith is attempting to fight off some competition, too.

In the backfield, he has stiff competition from Kareem Huggins, who has probably overtaken Smith for now and is a threat to No. 2 Derrick Ward, too. And even as a return man, Smith acknowledged he has work to do in his effort to retain his kick- and punt-return duties. That’s where he’s fighting with accomplished returners Sammie Stroughter and Micheal Spurlock as well as newcomer Preston Parker.

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Morris: Bucs Ready For Action

Thursday Camp Notes: The Bucs’ young and enthusiastic roster passed a Raheem Morris test Thursday, telling the coach his players are ready for the upcoming games.

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Rookie Wide Receiver Mike Williams Not Satisfied With Early Accomplishments

Rookie wide receiver Mike Williams fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft this past April for reasons unrelated to physical talent and ability. Injuries and character concerns were responsible for sliding down teams’ boards. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Williams has for now earned himself a starting role in Tampa Bay’s young offense. It certainly doesn’t to him.

Williams, who will be the team’s ‘X’ receiver during Tampa Bay’s first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, had this to say about the accomplishment:

“I’m not satisfied. Even if I was to go out there and be No. 1 on opening day, that’s not my goal,” Williams said. "My goal is to be rookie of the year and help this team. I’ll be satisfied after that and proving all those people wrong about me off the field.

“I’m not satisfied with that [depth chart]. That’s just a step toward the right direction.”

Talk is cheap, but for now, Bucs’ fans have to be excited about the young kid’s confidence, talent and drive to be great.

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Cadillac Williams Continues Quest To Get Career Back On Track

When he first stormed onto the scene as a rookie in 2005 and rushed for over 1,110 yards, it appeared that running back Cadillac Williams was destined for a monster career. Well, things change in the NFL, particularly at the running back position where it’s so remarkably difficult to stay healthy. Williams played a full 16 game schedule last year for the first time in his career, but the Cadillac had been kept in the garage for the most part in ’07 and ’08 when he played a total of only 10 games.

Williams joined the airwaves in Tampa on Monday to talk about staying healthy again this year and putting up even better numbers now that Tampa’s offense appears like it will be more versatile and consistent in ‘10. Here’s an interesting quote or two from the Caddy during the interview on WDAE.

On how big it has been for him this offseason to not have to deal with injuries:

"Oh wow. That’s big. Coming from two knee injuries and rehabbing to get ready for the season not kinda knowing how my knee is going to react and not really working on my skills, but just really working to get back on the field and then this offseason a little more me. Working on my skills and at the same time continuing to strengthen my knees, but more or less focusing on my skill set. It’s a totally, totally different mindset."

On whether or not he feels like he can be the featured back in Tampa Bay:

"First of all, I think the opportunity is going be there for me to do it this year at an elite class. I think as a whole and as team we’re going to play much better. Coach Olsen came in with his scheme, we’ve been in it, we’re clicking like an offense, and I think we’re going to be much more competitive, we’re all gonna get more carries and things. I feel the more carries I have, the more I’m going to produce."

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Buccaneers Add Two, Drop Two On Tuesday

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have claimed reserve tight end Martin Rucker off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles and signed safety Vince Anderson, who became the first NAIA player to ever sign a professional contract in the NFL. The Buccaneers released defensive end George Johnson and wide receiver Mario Urrutia to make room for the two additions.

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Bucs Practices Hot, Hot, Hot

Which NFL teams have to battle the heat the most each summer? Compiling National Weather Service 1971-2000 average August temperatures, high temperatures, and number of 90-degree days, The Weather Channel came up with a list of the top 10 hottest NFL training camps.

Your Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the third-hottest training camp in the NFL:

During the regular season, Tampa has the league’s most 90-degree days of any NFL city without a retractable-roof or domed stadium (19 days). With an average August high of 90 degrees and morning lows in the muggy middle 70s, training camp isn’t a breeze either.

This may serve the Bucs well in their 2010 schedule. All four pre-season games are in the heat of Florida or Texas. Two of their first three regular season games are at home. The other, in potentially warm Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers.

Tampa is also the wettest NFL training camp site, on average. While taking an edge off the heat, you could argue the typical Florida thunderstorm simply adds to the humidity.

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Derrick Ward A Big Believer In Josh Freeman

Part of what makes the preseason fun in recent years is listening to the bold statements and predictions made by players and coaches each summer. Coaches I suppose are much more guarded in what they say, but it’s much tougher to keep hundreds of jacked up young men ready to compete from opening their mouth from time to time.

Running back Derrick Ward doesn’t exactly qualify here, but he does have some bold statements comparing quarterback Josh Freeman to Eli Manning of the New York Giants, who Ward played with earlier in his career.

“The kid is light years ahead of any quarterback I’ve seen going into his second year,” said Ward. “I was telling him the other day that I got drafted with Eli and Eli going from his first year to his second year he is light years ahead of Eli. Eli has won a Super Bowl and been to the Pro Bowl. [Freeman] is doing great. I don’t want to get his head too big, but he is very grounded for a franchise quarterback.”

Read on though. Ward is not so much putting down Manning as he is pumping up Freeman. He has some interesting takes on Freeman’s maturation from year one to two though that are encouraging to read.

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Raheem Morris Talks About The Need To Win Now

It’s unfair to say that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to make the playoffs if head coach Raheem Morris realistically expects to keep his job beyond the 2010 season, but it is probably safe to say that the Buccaneers need to win at least six games and remain competitive throughout the course of the entire ‘10 season. Morris knows that he won’t survive the chopping block if his team were to go 3-13 again. That’s why training camp is off to an intense start for the Buccaneers, as they try to mold their slew of young players into game-ready warriors come early Septemeber.

Morris joined WDAE in Tampa Bay to talk about his job security, Warren Sapp spending time working with some of the young defenders on the team, and a number of other interesting topics. I’ve included a few choice tidbits from the interview.

On Warren Sapp’s involvement with the young players on the team:

“Warren, make no mistakes about it, he is always going to be a teacher. Warren Sapp is an excellent teacher. You may not like his tactics but he is excellent teacher and if you sit down and listen he is probably saying the right things. I remember being a quality control coach and when Warren would get into the building and he talked everybody didn’t like what he had to say but a lot of times he was telling the truth. You have got heat to that and right now he has talked to these young men and they are talking back and they are able to listen and gain some knowledge from. Any time you can get that from that type of guy it is awesome. Speaking of excellence, we were able to bring in Angelo Dundee in here to our training camp and he is able to come in and see some of our football team and talk to our team, whenever you can surround yourself with that type of knowledge, that type of people, you have no choice but to get better.”

On what the number one lesson he learned last season will bring with him into this season:

“The beauty of it is that it is all blown up, everybody is 0-0. The number one thing that you bring into it is the angry, working mentality that we always talk about. Ronde Barber is the greatest example of them all. I always tell people all of the time that he is still pissed off that he wasn’t drafted in the first round, he is still angry that he wasn’t elected to every Pro Bowl, he is still angry that he didn’t start his first year, he is still angry that the Bucs tried to replace him with a different corner every year. He is still angry that he wasn’t the highest-paid corner in the National Football League for the last nine years and that is what keeps him going right now. He is still angry that people say what he can’t do, he is still angry that he is thirty-five playing football and he loves that and he thrives in that. That is what this whole team has to feed off of and take that angry, working mentality and put it into the football field and apply it and go out there angry as we race to ten.”

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Gerald McCoy Getting Pointers From Warren Sapp

Gerald McCoy, the team’s first round draft pick this past April, is signed, at training camp and improving daily. Former Buccaneers standout defensive lineman, Warren Sapp, can be thanked partially for his early development. Sapp gave the former Oklahoma Sooners pointers one day this offseason during the Bucs’ OTAs, including things like what to expect at training camp.

“I worked out with him a little bit while I was still here at OTAs. Everything he showed me, I went and worked on it, worked on it and worked on it,” said McCoy, who is being counted on to plug a hole that’s existed in Tampa Bay’s defense since Sapp left the Bucs following the 2003 season.

“He showed me a lot of minor things. He said personally, he can’t do it in one summer. We have to keep working and keep working to get where he thinks I can be – just like he did. He just kept working, and eventually he got better until he was unstoppable. That’s where he wants me to be, but he said it’s going to take time.”

Read more about McCoy’s work with Sapp, as well as the early performance of fellow DL Trevor Price at camp. And of course, check in at Buc Em for more commentary and analysis as the first full week of training camp continues.

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Buccaneers Reach Agreement With 1st-Round Draft Pick Gerald McCoy

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly reached a five year agreement with 1st-round draft pick Gerald McCoy. Terms have not been clarified yet beside contract length, but McCoy is set to participate in affternoon drills during this first day of Buccaneer training camp.

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Buccaneers, Penn Finally Agree To Terms On Contract Extension

Well, well, well. The saga is finally over. Veteran offensive tackle has finally received the contract extension he so diligently held out for on Friday NFL.com is reporting. One caveat though – the specifics of some of the clauses have yet to be ironed out.

The sides have come to terms on the major issues of a deal, but they’re still working out some language, according to the source. Both Penn and his agent, Rocky Arcineaux, were en route to Tampa on Friday night, and they will meet with Bucs officials Saturday, when the lineman is scheduled to sign the deal.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Penn situation and other Bucs’ camp news as they unfold.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010 season kicks off with Training Camp on Saturday, July 31, at One Buccaneer Place and culminates with the popular Night Practice at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, August 7.

TRAINING CAMP: JOIN THE FREE ONE BUC CLUB TO RECEIVE COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS

• Saturday, July 31 – Friday, August 6
• Featuring Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Practices
• All One Buc Club members may receive up to six (6) tickets to each practice
• Appearances by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders and Captain Fear
• Incredible Photo and Autograph Opportunities
• Discounted Concessions
• Merchandise Tent
• Free Parking

NIGHT PRACTICE AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM: FREE EVENT, TICKETS NOT REQUIRED

• Saturday, August 7 at 7:00pm
• Fireworks Show
• $1 hot dogs and soft drinks
• Free Parking

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