NFL Nation: mark barron

Buccaneers Camp Report: Day 2

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
8:30
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:
  • The Bucs, who had their practice abbreviated by lightning Friday, got their first full workout of camp in Saturday evening and the results were predictable. There was good and bad. No series summarized that more than a couple of plays near the middle of practice. On one play, quarterback Josh McCown threw an interception to strong safety Mark Barron. On the next play, McCown bounced back and hit Vincent Jackson with a perfectly thrown ball. Coach Lovie Smith said he expects the team to be more precise when it puts on pads for the first time on Sunday.
  • Speaking of first practices, Saturday marked the true debut of rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He missed the offseason program due to NCAA regulations and was very limited in the rookie minicamp by a foot injury. But Seferian-Jenkins said his foot is fine now and he practiced with no limitations. After missing so much time, though, Seferian-Jenkins might be a little behind the other tight ends – Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Luke Stocker. “He’s playing catch-up,’’ Smith said. “But he’s catching up.’’
  • It’s usually tough to get players to talk about specific goals, but defensive end Michael Johnson broke that rule of thumb. Johnson set one goal for himself and one for the entire defense. He wants to get back to double-digit sacks like he had in 2012 with Cincinnati. He also said the Bucs want to have the best defense in the league. Those two goals kind of go hand in hand. There’s been a lot of talk about how defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David compare to Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, who were the cornerstones during Tampa Bay’s glory years. But a lot of people forget the Bucs didn’t fully get over the top until they got Simeon Rice as an outside rusher. If Johnson can make an impact anywhere close to what Rice did, the Bucs could end up being a very good defense.
  • I came into camp very skeptical about Tampa Bay’s depth at wide receiver after Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. But I’m starting to warm up to this position group. No one stood out, but guys like Tommy Streeter, Solomon Patton, Russell Shepard, Louis Murphy, Robert Herron, Lavelle Hawkins, Eric Page, Skye Dawson and David Gettis each had some bright moments. I think one of those guys will step up and claim the No. 3 job. That may be all the Bucs need because I’m not anticipating a lot of four-receiver sets from this offense.
  • Read into this whatever you want, but Jamon Meredith worked as the first-team left guard and Oniel Cousins worked at right guard. After the departure of Carl Nicks, I think the Bucs still are trying to figure out what they’re going to do at guard. I wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Omameh and rookie Kadeem Edwards get some looks with the first team.
TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reported to training camp Thursday, but guard Carl Nicks didn’t show.

Nicks was excused for personal reasons, according to coach Lovie Smith. Nicks was excused only for the day, Smith said. Apparently, the personal reasons have nothing to do with the toe injury Nicks is attempting to come back from.

“It doesn’t concern me,’’ Smith said. “It’s part of training camp. It’s part of life.’’

Whenever Nicks does report, his health still will be a question mark. Nicks has been cleared for football activities, but the Bucs have indicated they might bring him along slowly. Nicks missed all but two games last season due to the toe injury and a MRSA infection. Nicks also missed the entire offseason program.

Nicks was the only player not to report as the Bucs get ready for their first practice Friday. Safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson, who both missed the offseason program with injuries, have been cleared and are expected to take part in Friday’s practice.
Lovie Smith’s Chicago Bears were a consistent contender because they played strong defense. The coach will try to get the same result with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the ingredients are there for that to happen.

David
McCoy
McCoy
Smith inherited some special talent in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David. Both are just reaching their prime. Smith has compared McCoy to Warren Sapp and David to Derrick Brooks. Sapp and Brooks were the keys to the defense during Tampa Bay’s glory days. The Bucs believe McCoy and David can fill the same roles in the new generation and that a strong defense will help make the franchise relevant again.

McCoy and David are going to be good for years to come and they form a strong foundation. But the Bucs will need some complementary players to come through for this defense to be really good. Defensive end Michael Johnson was brought in as a free agent because the Bucs believe he can bring pressure from the outside. If he does, that’s only going to help McCoy and Clinton McDonald in the middle.

A strong pass rush will only help a secondary that has good potential, but hasn’t hit it yet. Alterraun Verner was brought in to be the No. 1 cornerback, but the Bucs need Johnthan Banks and Mike Jenkins to step up as the other cornerback and nickelback. Safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron have talent and can form a nice tandem.

Middle linebacker Mason Foster is going to get a chance to play a more significant role than he has in the past. Foster will call the defensive plays and be asked to drop into coverage more than he did in his first three seasons.

This defense will be the key factor in determining if Smith’s regime will succeed. The offense can be average, but the defense has to be special.

Bucs add depth in secondary

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
5:32
PM ET
Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith has reached back into his past to add some more depth for the secondary.

Former Chicago safety Major Wright agreed to terms with the Buccaneers on Friday evening.

The move is somewhat curious because the Bucs appear to have starters at both safety positions with Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. But Goldson has had issues with being fined for illegal hits.

At best, Wright could challenge Goldson for a starting job. But it’s more likely that Wright will play in sub packages and on special teams.
Revis
Verner
In another move that signals the likely end of Darrelle Revis' time with Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers have agreed to terms with Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner.

The four-year deal is worth $26.5 million and the former member of the Tennessee Titans is likely to step directly into Revis’ place as a starting cornerback. Revis is scheduled to make $16 million in 2014 and the Bucs are expected to either trade or release him.

Verner will be a better fit in coach Lovie Smith’s Tampa Two scheme. Revis is known for his man-to-man cover skills and the Bucs don’t want to pay him big money in a system in which he doesn’t thrive.

Verner can start opposite second-year pro Johnthan Banks and Tampa Bay should have a solid secondary with Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron at the safety spots.

Add a guy that had 3.5 sacks last season to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense and what do you have?

Potentially one of the best defenses in the NFL.

That’s what I see after the Bucs came to an agreement with former Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson on Tuesday. The five-year, $43 million deal will be finalized after the league year officially begins at 4 p.m.

Johnson’s production was rather ordinary last season, and this might not seem like a big haul for the Buccaneers. But it is. Johnson is capable of producing a lot more than 3.5 sacks, as evidenced by the 11.5 he posted in 2012. He might have been the best edge rusher on the market, and that is something the Bucs sorely need.

Tampa Bay got only 6.5 sacks from its defensive ends in 2013. Plug in Johnson and the pass rush suddenly gets a lot better -- on paper. Heck, the entire defense gets better instantly.

If Johnson can deliver anything close to what he did in 2012, this defense could be elite. The interior of the defensive line is very good with Gerald McCoy, the linebackers are led by All-Pro Lavonte David, and safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron are well above average.

Adding Johnson to the mix might make Tampa Bay an elite defense.

Kiper mock 1.0 reaction: Cowboys

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
3:00
PM ET
The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2014 NFL draft needing to find as much defensive help as possible, preferably along the defensive line.

In Mel Kiper's first mock draft Insider for 2014, he has the Cowboys selecting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the 17th overall pick. (Kiper has the Baltimore Ravens winning the coin flip that will decide the final positioning at the NFL scouting combine.)

Two defensive linemen -- Florida State's Timmy Jernigan and Notre Dame's Louis Nix -- went to the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers at Nos. 14 and 15. Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt went No. 23 to the Kansas City Chiefs. Oregon State's Scott Crichton went to Denver at No. 31.

Clinton-Dix is a sound pick. The Cowboys need safety help next to Barry Church. J.J. Wilcox, their third-round pick in 2013, and Jeff Heath, who was undrafted, handled that role last season and struggled. Wilcox lost his job to Heath with a knee injury and could not reclaim the starter's role, though he did split snaps later in the year.

Clinton-Dix is athletic and can play the center field safety role. He missed two games last year because of a suspension for accepting a loan from an assistant strength and conditioning coach. He finished the season with 52 tackles and two interceptions. In 2012, he had five interceptions.

The Cowboys' defense is predicated on the pass rush and turnovers. Clinton-Dix could help with the latter, but the Cowboys need a lot of help with the former.

Two years ago, the Cowboys were high on Alabama safety Mark Barron but traded up to get cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick. Barron went one selection later to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Something else to note is Jason Garrett's relationship with Alabama coach Nick Saban. Garrett was on his staff with the Miami Dolphins and considers Saban one of his mentors. He will know all he needs to know about the Alabama players heading into the draft.
NFC Teams: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

TAMPA, Fla. -- The All-NFC South team is out, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fared about as well as you'd expect from a 4-12 team.

Five members of the Buccaneers were chosen to the team, which was chosen by the four writers who cover the division's teams. Let's start with the offense because that will be short.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson was the only member of the Bucs' offense selected. He deserved it because he put up solid numbers despite drawing constant double-teams after No. 2 receiver Mike Williams went out with an injury just before midseason.

Now, let's flip over to the defense, where the Bucs fared pretty well. They placed four players on the defense, and none of them is a surprise. Gerald McCoy might be the best all-around defensive tackle in the game right now. Second-year linebacker Lavonte David had a breakthrough season and established himself as one of the top players in the league at his position.

Darrelle Revis brought the Bucs exactly what they were expecting -- a shutdown cornerback. The final member of the Bucs to make the All-NFC South team might come as a surprise to some but shouldn't be a shock to those who watched closely. In the eyes of the coaching staff and front office, strong safety Mark Barron really blossomed in his second season.

 
Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy(AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackLavonte David (54) and Gerald McCoy (93) are cornerstones for what could be a stellar defense.
TAMPA, Fla. -- On the surface, the jobs as coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not look all that attractive.

But dig a little deeper and it's not hard to imagine candidates lining up to replace Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik, who were fired Monday morning. Look at Tampa Bay's roster, draft position and salary-cap situation, and it's easy to envision a turnaround on the scale of what the Kansas City Chiefs did this year, when they reached the playoffs after a 2-14 season.

Quite simply, the Bucs have too much talent to be a 4-12 team. They have Pro Bowl players in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and cornerback Darrelle Revis. Linebacker Lavonte David should have been selected to the Pro Bowl, but was overlooked. Throw in safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and middle linebacker Mason Foster, and the Bucs have the makings of what could be a very good defense.

Although the offense struggled most of the season, the cupboard is not bare. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson is a top-notch player and if Doug Martin can get healthy, he can be one of the league's best running backs.

In hindsight, Schiano and his staff didn't do a good job. Defensively, they wasted talent by having the defensive linemen stunting too often and the defensive backs playing too much zone coverage. The offense lacked imagination with the running game struggling most of the year and rookie Mike Glennon being thrown in as quarterback after the early-season benching and eventual release of Josh Freeman.

I think the defense can be tweaked, mainly by adding a pass rusher or two, and become very good very quickly. The offense is going to take more work.

But the good news for the next coach and general manager is that the Bucs have the resources to make some significant moves. They'll hold the No. 7 pick in the draft. Plus, Dominik's parting gift was a good salary-cap situation.

As it stands right now, the Bucs are about $10 million under the projected salary cap. Plus, they can carry over almost $7 million in cap space from this year. The Bucs don't have any prominent free agents of their own to re-sign, so they can be significant players in the market.

But the first major choice the new coach and general manager have to make is at quarterback. Is Glennon the long-term answer?

Had Schiano stayed, Glennon was his guy. But look at what Glennon did as a rookie and it's tough to tell if he has any chance of being a franchise quarterback. I think Glennon eventually can be a solid quarterback with a very good team around him.

But, at very least, the new coach and general manager need to bring in someone to compete with Glennon. They probably need to do more than that. They probably need to either sign a high-profile free agent (Jay Cutler?) or use their first-round pick on a quarterback.

They also need to improve the offensive line that's supposed to protect that quarterback. The line was supposed to be a strength this year, but it wasn't. Guard Carl Nicks missed all but two games due to a staph infection and foot problems and there's no guarantee Nicks will ever get back to full health. Guard Davin Joseph and tackle Donald Penn, both 30, are getting older.

It might be time to blow up the offensive line. And the team definitely needs help at tight end.

But that's not a huge to-do list. If the new coach and general manager can make a few upgrades, this team could be a lot better than 4-12 next season.

W2W4: Buccaneers-Saints

December, 28, 2013
12/28/13
8:00
AM ET
Three things to watch in Sunday's game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.

Tampa Bay’s effort. The game means a lot for the Saints and nothing for the Buccaneers. A lot of times in the past, teams without a lot to play for haven't put forth a great effort because they just want the season to be over. It's worth keeping an eye on how the Bucs handle the situation. To date, there haven't been any signs that this team has quit on coach Greg Schiano. If that changes in the finale, it's not going to help Schiano's chances of keeping his job.

The running game. Tampa Bay's running game has been non-existent for the past month. That has to change for the Bucs to have any chance of winning at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It's going to be loud and the Saints have a prolific offense. If the Bucs can’t keep things close in time of possession, they're going to be in big trouble.

Jimmy Graham. When the Bucs and Saints played in Week 2, the New Orleans tight end had 10 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown. Graham is a matchup nightmare for any defense. The Bucs, who could be without injured strong safety Mark Barron, need to at least slow Graham a little bit.

Buccaneers running low on healthy LBs

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
3:04
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be short-handed at linebacker in Sunday's season finale against the New Orleans Saints.

Strong-side linebacker Dekoda Watson (groin) was held out of practice for the third straight day. Ordinarily, Ka'Lial Glaud would be an alternative with Watson hurt. But Glaud is dealing with a knee injury and was limited in Friday's practice.

That leaves the Bucs with starters Lavonte David and Mason Foster and backups Adam Hayward and Danny Lansanah as the only healthy linebackers.

In other injury news, safety Mark Barron (hamstring) was limited in Friday's practice. If Barron can't play Sunday, Keith Tandy likely would start in his place.

Bucs practice report: Change at guard?

December, 26, 2013
12/26/13
4:09
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. – The Buccaneers could have a lineup change at left guard in Sunday’s season finale.

Jamon Meredith had been starting at the position, but he was replaced by Ted Larsen during last week’s loss to St. Louis. That arrangement may continue against New Orleans.

“I wouldn’t say that for sure yet, but [there is a] good chance Ted will be the starter,’’ coach Greg Schiano said.

In injury news, linebacker Dekoda Watson (groin) did not practice Thursday. Safety Mark Barron (hamstring) was limited. Schiano also said that defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday morning, had surgery to clean out his knee.

In other news, Schiano said rookie defensive end William Gholston, whose playing time has been increasing steadily, will get his second career start Sunday.

Injury report: Barron questionable

December, 20, 2013
12/20/13
1:59
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be without starting strong safety Mark Barron against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Barron, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, was limited in Friday's practice and is listed as questionable. If Barron can't play, Keith Tandy would get the start.

Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (knee) and guard Carl Nicks (staph infection) have been ruled out for Sunday, coach Greg Schiano said.

Schiano also said that Bowers' injury was not a recurrence of past problems.

Rapid Reaction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
4:09
PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 33-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

What it means: Another season of double-digit losses for a franchise that has had way too many of them. The Bucs are 4-10, but this one is especially painful because the Bucs squandered a chance to beat a good team for their fourth consecutive victory at Raymond James Stadium. Had that happened, coach Greg Schiano might have saved his job. Now, Schiano is firmly on the hot seat with two road games (St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints) remaining.

Drive of the day: After being bottled up most of the day, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon led an impressive touchdown drive that stretched from late in the third quarter until early in the fourth quarter.

Almost the play of the day: Linebacker Lavonte David appeared to have an interception return for a touchdown, but it was wiped out by an offside penalty on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Ugly play of the day: The Bucs finally tried to get creative when they were trailing 23-14 in the fourth quarter. They attempted a reverse. But a handoff from Eric Wright to Russell Shepard was botched, and the 49ers recovered the fumble and took it in for the touchdown.

Stock watch: There were a fair number of bright spots from the Tampa Bay defense. But there was one consistent problem. The Bucs continually allowed San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick to extend plays by scrambling, and that cost the Bucs dearly.

Injury report: Safety Mark Barron suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and did not return.

What’s next: The Buccaneers play at St. Louis on Sunday.

Four keys for Detroit vs. Tampa Bay

November, 23, 2013
11/23/13
12:00
PM ET
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Over the past three weeks, the Detroit Lions' schedule became a little bit more difficult.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at the time winless and apparently flailing, have played like a different team over the past three weeks. The Bucs played well in a loss to Seattle and then beat Miami and Atlanta in back-to-back weeks in Tampa Bay.

Now, Tampa Bay has to go on the road again, this time to Detroit, a former divisional rival that the Lions have beaten three of the last four times they have played. But this Buccaneers team is one with belief now.

"Guys are just excited," Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "I think that during the time when we were 0-8, it wasn't really, you know, the atmosphere wasn't positive. Guys were moping around and things like that.

"I think we kind of forgot how to win."

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson & Nate Burleson
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsCalvin Johnson (left) should be happy to have Nate Burleson back on the field this week as the Detroit Lions receiver will help in double coverages.
Now, though, there isn't as much of a winning issue in Tampa Bay. How does Detroit stop that from becoming a three-game winning streak? Here are four keys.

Burleson being back: Detroit has done a better-than-serviceable job in the absence of No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson with a variety of players making plays with him out with an broken forearm. Joseph Fauria had a massive game against Cleveland. Kris Durham has become a reliable option on the outside opposite Calvin Johnson. Brandon Pettigrew has seen more targets and production.

But the Lions' offense with the veteran is a much different operation. Burleson offers a reliable option in the slot who can help force teams from focusing too much on Johnson or running back Reggie Bush. And if teams do continue to pay the same attention to those two players, the middle of the field should be wide open for Burleson. Sunday begins the new proving ground for Burleson, who was playing well before the injury.

Rattle Glennon: At this time last week, it seemed an inevitable that the Detroit defensive line would pressure and sack Ben Roethlisberger multiple times. Pretty much everyone else had this season.

But the Lions couldn't really reach Roethlisberger for a multitude of reasons. Roethlisberger was getting rid of the ball faster than any quarterback Detroit had faced this season. They also only blitzed 14.6 percent of the time, the Lions' lowest percentage since a loss to Cincinnati in Week 7. And they only sacked Roethlisberger once and hit him twice. A rookie like Mike Glennon against this defensive line, though, could have some issues.

Keep Johnson involved: Johnson was held without a catch and was only targeted three times in the second half against Pittsburgh, a rarity for the man considered the consensus best receiver in the NFL. Of course, Johnson still had a massive day with six catches for 179 yards, but they need to find Johnson in a more balanced manner to keep the Tampa Bay defense guessing.

Specifically, the Lions should try to target Johnson to the side of the field where Dashon Goldson would have been. The Buccaneers' starting safety won't play this week, so having a talented but relatively inexperienced player in Mark Barron could lead to some mistakes and some ways for Johnson to exploit Revis.

Focus on Vincent Jackson: The Buccaneers' top receiver is quietly having one of the better seasons of his career, already catching 56 passes for 827 yards and five touchdowns. In Tampa's destruction of Atlanta last Sunday, he had 10 catches for 165 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the season.

He'll be a problem for the Lions' inconsistent cornerbacks. Rashean Mathis will likely draw the Jackson assignment initially, but don't be surprised if you see the Lions roll coverage toward Jackson as he has been their only true receiving option.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider