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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Bucs Report

A Pro Football Blog by Roy Cummings and Ira Kaufman

Go behind the scenes with Buccaneers beat writers Roy Cummings and Ira Kaufman as they offer their insights on the latest happenings with the team.

Veteran Moore squeezed out of Bucs’ CB competition

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By Roy Cummings

— The decision by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday to release veteran cornerback D.J. Moore came as a bit of a surprise, and not just to Moore.

There was a sense around One Buc Place at the end of the team’s offseason workout program last month that Moore might have taken the lead in the battle for the third or nickel cornerback spot.

He was getting a lot of reps with the first-team defense there, and his four previous years of experience in Coach Lovie Smith’s defense, all seemed to be working in his favor.

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Why practice in late afternoon? Bucs’ Smith has reasons

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By Roy Cummings

— The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open the 2014 season with two home games, one against Carolina that has a 4:25 p.m. kickoff and a second against St. Louis that has a 4:05 p.m. kickoff.

The starting times of those games is one reason why Bucs coach Lovie Smith has decided to tempt Mother Nature by starting most of his training camp workouts at 4:30 p.m. The fans are the other reason.

“I know that most people work all day, and that’s the time where if you’d like you can come over and still be able to catch some of our practice after you go to work.’’ Smith said. “We want to be fan-friendly with it.”

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Pats owner Kraft mourns death of Malcolm Glazer

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By Ira Kaufman

— The passing of Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer hit Robert Kraft particularly hard.

The owner of the Patriots had grown close to Malcolm and other members of the Glazer family since 1995, when the Bucs were sold for a then-record $192 million, five months after the death of Hugh Culverhouse.

“Malcolm was a very special man,’’ said Kraft, who boasts three Super Bowl rings since purchasing the Patriots in 1994. “We had dinner with he and (wife) Linda many times. He was someone who was a great fixer. He could go into any sick situation and it turned around.’’

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Ex-Bucs TE Becht holding football camp

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By Roy Cummings

— Aspiring Tampa Bay area football players will have a chance to learn the game first hand this summer from some of the greatest players in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.

The occasion is the Anthony Becht Football Camp, which will be held June 16-18 at Land O’ Lakes High School.

Becht, a former tight end with the Bucs, has secured an all-star cast of instructors that includes former Bucs fullback Mike Alstott, 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Derrick Brooks and former coach Jon Gruden.

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Experience gives D.J. Moore an edge at nickel corner

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By Roy Cummings

— Cornerback D.J. Moore’s career has been in a bit of a tailspin the last couple years.

A fourth-round pick of the Bears out of Vanderbilt in 2009, Moore served as then-Chicago coach Lovie Smith’s nickel corner for two years. Like Smith, though, he was let go following the 2012 season.

Moore’s 2013 season ended in similar fashion, though much sooner for the Lakeland native. After signing as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers in March, he was let go in October after playing in two games.

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Speedy WR Herron could contribute immediately

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By Roy Cummings

— Nothing defines draft value better than a late-round selection who can step in and contribute — or better yet, start right out of the box.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have secured just such a value pick in rookie wide receiver Robert Herron, their sixth-round selection out of Wyoming.

Herron has been working mostly at the slot receiver spot since joining the Bucs and his raw speed is something they may want to take immediate advantage of.

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Bright future predicted for Bucs’ Dotson

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By Roy Cummings

— The play of their since-dismantled offensive line was one of the biggest reasons the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked dead last in the NFL in total offense last year.

It was a line that struggled not only to protect its quarterbacks, allowing the sixth-most sacks in the league (47), but struggled to open holes for its running backs, who ranked 25th in the league with a 3.8-yards per carry average.

In the midst of the line’s struggles, though, a secret superstar emerged. Or so says the numbers crunchers at ProFootballFocus, which is so enamored with right tackle Demar Dotson, they ranked him worthy of a Pro Bowl berth.

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NFL scout expects big things from DE Gholston

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By Roy Cummings

— It’s one thing to hear Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith or general manager Jason Licht rave about their players, especially at this time of year, when everyone is playing the equivalent of flag football.

It’s quite another when an accomplished third party talent evaluator with no ties to the organization says the Bucs have something special, which is what longtime NFL scout Greg Gabriel has done.

A veteran of 29 NFL seasons, including 16 with the Giants and nine as the director of college scouting with the Bears, Gabriel now pens columns for the National Football Post.

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Harvard’s Brate impresses Bucs with smarts, athleticism

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By Roy Cummings

— Even in the wake of the recent dismissal of Tom Crabtree, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have a crowd of players at the tight end position.

With Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Austin Seferian-Jenkins leading a group that also includes longtime holdover Luke Stocker, the Bucs are a half-dozen deep at that position.

The sheer numbers can make it difficult for a young player trying to work his way into the league to make a good impression on his coaches, but one such hopeful seems to have done that.

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Owusu stepping up after injuries to top WRs

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By Roy Cummings

— Outside of talent, undying effort and an exemplary work ethic, the thing coaches want most from their players is consistency.

Prove you can perform at the same high level day in and day out and a coach will usually find a place for you on his team and in his game-day lineup.

He may even single you out when asked if anyone has unexpectedly caught his eye in practice, which is what happened to Bucs WR Chris Owusu this week.

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