BUCCANEER BIRTHDAYS There are three former Tampa Bay players who celebrate birthdays on February 18th but none of them are really household names to most Buccaneer fans. RB DJ Ware played the entire 2012 season primarily on passing downs making one start but gained only just over 150 yards total rushing and receiving as Doug Martin took center stage.  Ware will be 34 today. S Randy Clark (57) played two games late in the 1984 season whilst TE Charles Waddell (66) did not even make that many.  He was a gameday inactive twice and then stood on the sidelines kitted up but never played a down four more times in 1977.  
2019 OPPONENTS HOME:  Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Atlanta, New Orleans and NY Giants. LONDON:  Carolina. AWAY: Jacksonville, LA Rams, Seattle, Tennessee, Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans and Detroit.
REVIEWING THE 2018 SEASON 29  RYAN SMITH Games 16  Starts 6 Started three of the first five games at corner and then three more in December but was primarily a back-up for most of the season although he did record his first NFL interception. Had become a starter during the second half of the 2017 season. Click here for his profile page
FREE AGENCY REVIEW - BUYER BEWARE Early in the 2018 free agency period, some Buccaneer fans were screaming for anyone to be signed to improve the roster.   Within 48 hours, five players had been signed but how did they perform?   Were they value for money? Mitch Blackwood looks into the money paid out for the likes of Ryan Jensen, Vinny Curry and others and wonders if teams should just stay away from the whole process.    Baseball is undergoing a re- evaluation of talent as the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are finding out and a new analytical approach to how to build an NFL roster could well be the result.  For now, look back at the millions of dollars paid out by the Bucs and wonder why. Click here for the full article
OFF-SEASON READING RECOMMENDATION Any regular visitor to the excellent website THERINGER.COM run by Bill Simmons will know about Michael Lombardi.  The former NFL GM has a twice-weekly podcast in which he speaks more deeply about the league and games than any other media outlet and is essential listening for serious fans.  Now he has written a book which I cannot speak more highly of - it is brilliant.   Yes it blows smoke up Bill Belichick’s ass for a number of pages as Lombardi has worked for and been friends with the six- time Super Bowl winner for decades but the stories he tells and the insights he gives into the game are revolutionary.  You will never think about clock management in a game the same way when you have read this.   Buy it - you will not regret it.
ROSTER UPDATE - VINNY CURRY RELEASED Mitch Blackwood does know his stuff - two days after he wrote a piece looking back at the Bucs’ 2018 free agency class and suggesting that the former Eagles DE was a prime target to be released, Vinny Curry was an ex-Buc saving $8M on the salary cap in 2019.    Next week he will give you the Powerball numbers too.
FIVE OFF-SEASON RECOMMENDATIONS One of the best writers at ESPN.com is Bill Barnwell and he has put together a very interesting piece in which he looks at five moves the Buccaneers should consider for their off-season. From salary dumps to salary re-structurings and potential free agents to bring in, Barnwell does talk a lot of sense in this piece.  He also has an excellent podcast which is well worth subscribing to for NFL news throughout the calendar year. Click here for the full article