NFL announces schedule for Divisional Round next weekend

With the wild card round almost done, the NFL has announced tonight the schedule of sites, dates, and times for the Divisional Playoffs on January 16-17.

Saturday, January 16:

NFC:    4:35 PM (ET)  Los Angeles Rams (11-6) at Green Bay Packers (13-3) (FOX, FOX Deportes)

AFC:    8:15 PM (ET)  Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (14-3) (NBC, Universo)

Sunday, January 17:

AFC:    3:05 PM (ET)  Cleveland Browns or Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) (CBS, CBS All Access, ESPN Deportes)

NFC:    6:40 PM (ET)  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5) at New Orleans Saints (13-4) (FOX, FOX Deportes)

Bucs’ Arians on playing world-champion Chiefs: ‘You always want to beat those guys’

On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(7-4) suffered a very disappointing home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Now, they have another formidable opponent coming to Raymond James Stadium in Patrick Mahomes and the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs(9-1) on Sunday.

Every team gets up for the world champions, and usually give their best effort. According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, it does not mean much to the coaches, but it does matter to the players.  

“I think the players get up for it. For coaches, it’s just the next game, but the players get up for it,” Arians said on Friday. “It’s something special– you always want to beat those guys and prove something to yourselves.”

One of the reasons the Chiefs have been very competitive over the years, including a Super Bowl last season, has been their head coach Andy Reid. In eight seasons with the Chiefs, Reid is 122-86 in the regular season, and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady thinks continuity has helped Kansas City be successful over the years. 

“They’ve had some continuity on that side with that system, with those coaches [and] lot of their key veteran players,” Brady said on Friday. “That’s always important – I feel continuity is the most critical aspect to consistent performance because you have to build on year after year, not just game after game or week after week. They’ve been in that system for a while – Coach Reid’s been there for a while [and] he’s a great coach. They do a great job. They’ve got a lot of good things going [and] they’ve been tough to beat for a lot of years now, including when Alex Smith was there. They were pretty good too [and] I played them all those years, as well. They’re doing a good job, and they have some dynamic players.”

At this point, the Buccaneers have little margin for error if they want to have an opportunity to win the NFC South. The Buccaneers are currently one of the three wild card teams(6th seed) in the NFC, but if they’re going to win the division, they have to win and hope the Saints(8-2) without Drew Brees will falter. However, it all starts by beating the Chiefs on Sunday.

 

Buccaneers-Raiders, Seahawks-Cardinals switch times on Sunday

The NFL announced today the following scheduling changes for Week 7:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders game has been moved to Sunday, October 25 at 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX.

The Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals game will now be played on Sunday, October 25 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.

These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that a game would be available for fans on Sunday Night Football.

We expect the Buccaneers-Raiders game to be played on Sunday afternoon. Scheduling decisions are made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts.  

The updated Week 7 schedule (all times ET):

Thursday, October 22

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

8:20 PM

FOX/NFLN/Amazon

​Sunday, October 25

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

1:00 PM

CBS

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans

1:00 PM

FOX

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

1:00 PM

FOX

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

1:00 PM

CBS

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

1:00 PM

CBS

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team

1:00 PM

FOX

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders

4:05 PM

FOX

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

4:25 PM

CBS

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers

4:25 PM

CBS

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots

4:25 PM

CBS

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

8:20 PM

NBC

Monday, October 26

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams

8:15 PM

ESPN​

Week 7 Byes: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings

Bucs’ Arians is confident NFL will play all games in 2020

Major League Baseball started their season last week, and after one week, COVID-19 has put the season in jeopardy. The Miami Marlins reportedly had 14 players test positive for the coronavirus, which has forced the cancellation of games.

At this point, the NFL is preparing for its season, and you wonder after what happened with the Marlins if the NFL could get through the season. However, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians does not believe what happened to the Marlins will occur in the NFL.

“I don’t think our guys are going to get sick in the locker room,” Arians said via a video call on Tuesday. “I don’t think they’ll get sick in our facility. Everybody here is tested [and] they’re clean. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen outside the facility. Is it possible? Yeah, [but] I don’t see it happening. We don’t stay in cities as long as baseball does, and that can be a problem [for them].”

When asked if he felt the NFL would make through all 16 games, Arians said the following:

“I’m very confident. Like I said, the protocols that are in place are extremely safe. It’s going to [take] coaches, players, and staff being smart outside the building. Nobody is going to get sick over here because everybody’s got a negative test that’s in the building, so you’re going to get sick somewhere else. We’ve just got to have a lot of discipline this year, and I have a lot of confidence we’ll get it done.”

It’s going to take a lot of work and maybe some luck for the league to make through the season. What happened in baseball is scary, and unless you have a bubble, making it through the season won’t be easy.

Bucs’ Wirfs on Brady: ‘I was born in 1999, so he’s been in the league almost as long as I’ve been alive’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to do all it can to protect Tom Brady as they traded up one spot with the 49ers to draft Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall pick on Thursday night.

To move up one spot, Tampa Bay surrendered a fourth-round pick and received a seventh-round pick from San Francisco.

Last season at Iowa, Wirfs was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. The 6-5, 320-pound lineman is very athletic. In ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s final mock draft, Wirfs was slated to go the New York Giants at four.

 After the selection, Wirfs addressed the media via a conference call.

Here is what he had to say:

(On his reaction to being selected by the Buccaneers and the moment he sent out on social media earlier in the day rolling out a red carpet for his mother)

“It was a pretty special moment. When your phone starts vibrating, you kind of get this wave of excitement and fear and all of these emotions. Then the red carpet, that was a pretty special deal. We were trying to give her a night kind of like Las Vegas – obviously it’s not near as fancy and we’re not dressed up or [anything], but we just rolled the red carpet out on our front lawn. Still, I was trying to make it special for her.”

(On knowing he will be blocking for Buccaneers QB Tom Brady)

“It’s pretty crazy to think about. Tom Brady has been in the league since 2000. I was born in 1999, so he’s been in the league almost as long as I’ve been alive. It’s pretty cool to get to protect him.”

(On his phone call with Head Coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Jason Licht telling him that he was going to be a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

“That’s pretty much what they told me. Coach [Bruce] Arians said, ‘We just traded with San Francisco. You’re going to be a Buccaneer.’ It’s kind of like a culmination of all of the hard work – blood, sweat and tears – and everything coming together in just a big wave of emotions. It was incredible.”

(On if there was someone he looked to for advice throughout the draft process)

“Coach [Kirk] Ferentz – he always kept telling me, ‘Keep working hard. Never lose that mindset or that mentality.’ That’s what I’ve been trying to do. It’s been different with this whole virus thing going around, but I’ve been lucky enough to have access to a gym so that’s been nice. It’s keeping me busy. But just keep working hard – that’s all you can do.”

(On what he feels his strengths are as an offensive lineman)

“I think I’m a pretty powerful guy. I think I come off the line of scrimmage pretty quick. I know I can pull and get out in space well and I think I can get up to the second level pretty fast.”

(On how he felt heading into the night and where he thought he might land in the draft)

“I think I came into the night pretty calm and collected. Coming from Iowa, we run a pretty pro-style offense and I know when I was at the combine, hearing all the [terminology] that teams were using for fronts and play calls – it was pretty similar to what I was taught and what I heard at Iowa. I just felt like wherever I went I was going to come ready to work. That’s kind of the mentality that was instilled in me at Iowa and I’m going to be coming from a great coaching staff who knows a pro-style offense. I was just excited to see where I end up and I’m ready to go.”

(On how much interaction he had with the Buccaneers during the pre-draft process)

“I had one Zoom call with the Bucs. I thought it went pretty good. I think I had a total of like nine or 10 Zoom calls [overall].”

(On playing at Raymond James Stadium in the 2019 Outback Bowl against Mississippi State)

“Playing at Raymond James, it’s a pretty awesome stadium. I love the ship they’ve got [in the North] endzone or something like that, with the big boat. I loved that game. I got to block Montez Sweat playing against Mississippi State. That was a great game coming out of there with the W (win). I remember I was so hyped up about it. It was incredible.”

Buccaneers re-sign Blaine Gabbert

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that the team has re-signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a one-year deal.

Gabbert, 30, originally signed with the Buccaneers last season, but spent the entire season on Injured Reserve after injuring his shoulder in the preseason.

The nine-year veteran entered the league as a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft, spending three seasons with the Jaguars (2011-13) before playing for the San Francisco 49ers (2014-16), Arizona Cardinals (2017) and Tennessee Titans (2018). Gabbert has appeared in 56 career games, with 48 starts, completing 842-of-1,498 passes for 9,063 yards. He has thrown 48 touchdowns and 47 interceptions, for a 71.7 passer rating. He has also rushed 176 times for 631 yards and three touchdowns.

Gabbert will battle it out with Ryan Griffin to be the backup to newly-acquired QB Tom Brady. Should be interesting to see who gets the job!

Buccaneers re-sign Ndamukong Suh

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, the team announced today.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a one-year deal worth $8 million.

Last season, his first with Tampa Bay, the 33-year-old Suh recorded 41 tackles (seven for loss), 14 quarterback hits, four fumble recoveries, four passes defensed, 2.5 sacks and two defensive touchdowns. He started all 16 games for Tampa Bay, anchoring the NFL’s top run defense (73.8 yards allowed per game), while also ranking third on the team with 14 quarterback hits. His active streak of 131 consecutive starts is the longest among NFL defensive linemen and the third-longest among all players.

Suh’s two fumble return touchdowns last season tied for the most ever in a single season since the 1970 merger. Also, his four opponent fumble recoveries tied for second in the NFL, while his six recoveries dating back to the start of 2018 are tied for the league lead.

Through his first ten seasons in the NFL, Suh has played in and started 158 games, recording 519 tackles (114 for loss), 180 quarterback hits, 58.5 sacks, 36 passes defensed, eight fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles, three defensive touchdowns, and one interception. Since entering the league as the No. 2 overall pick of the Detroit Lions in the 2010 NFL Draft, Suh has earned five Pro Bowl selections and five Associated Press All-Pro honors (three first-team, two-second team).

Since his rookie season in 2010, Suh’s 114 tackles for loss are the seventh-most in the NFL, and his 180 quarterback hits also rank seventh. He stands first among defensive tackles in passes defensed (36), second in tackles (519), second in tackles for loss (114) and fourth in sacks (58.5). Suh’s three career fumble recovery touchdowns are tied for the ninth-most in NFL history.

Bucs’ Arians: ‘Tom(Brady) is the most successful quarterback in the history of our league’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent quarterback Tom Brady to a multi-year contract, the team announced today. 

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a two-year deal.

The 42-year-old Brady comes to Tampa Bay after spending 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, securing 249 overall victories, 14 Pro Bowl selections, six Super Bowl titles, four Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors, three league MVP awards, three first-team All-Pro selections and two Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year accolades.

Brady’s 219 regular-season victories and 30 playoff wins are each the most by a quarterback in league history, and he remains the only player to have won six Super Bowl titles. Winning 219-of-283 career starts, Brady’s 77.4 career winning percentage ranks first in the Super Bowl era among quarterbacks with at least 50 starts. Also, he has led his team to 12 or more wins in a season 12 times, which are the most such seasons by a quarterback in NFL history.

Brady has appeared in nine Super Bowls and 13 AFC Championship Games, tacking on 17 division titles in his 18 seasons as the primary starting quarterback, including 16 consecutive with him in that role. His four Super Bowl MVP honors (2001, 2003, 2014, 2016) are the most by any player in league history. He has also been selected as NFL MVP three times in 2007, 2010, and 2017 and earned Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2009. Additionally, he holds the NFL record with 30 Player of the Week honors and 10 Player of the Month awards throughout his career.

“Tom is the most successful quarterback in the history of our league, but what makes him so special is his ability to make those around him better,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians. “I have had the privilege to work with some of the best passers in our game, and the characteristics they all possessed were the ability to lead and get the best out of their teammates. Tom is no different. He is a proven winner who will provide the leadership, accountability, and work ethic necessary to lead us to our goal of winning another championship.” 

Including the postseason, Brady is the NFL’s all-time leader in total yards (87,197), passing yards (85,959), total touchdowns (642), passing touchdowns (614) and completions (7,402). Solidifying his place in NFL annals, Brady was selected to the 2000s All-Decade Team and was recently honored as part of the NFL 100 All-Time Team, recognizing the best 100 players of the league’s first century of play.

After enduring 30 interceptions from Jameis Winston in 2019, Brady will be a welcomed sight for Buccaneers fans because of his ability to take care of the football. Brady has a 1.79 interception percentage, standing as the second-best ever behind only Aaron Rodgers(among players with at least 2,500 career pass attempts). He has an NFL-record 58 games with three touchdown passes and no interceptions.

With Brady and the weapons that they have on offense, Tampa Bay has a chance to get to the playoffs. However, Brady will be 43 by the time the season starts, so as great as he has been, we all have to consider his age. However, Brady did a lot with very little weapons in New England last season.

Tampa will have to continue to upgrade their defense. They were 29th in points allowed, and 30th against the pass. But, with Brady’s ability to take care of the football, maybe the defense won’t be put in a lot of adverse situations.

It’s a happy time in Tampa Bay, and if Brady can continue to be Brady, it will be even happier times in 2020!

Bucs’ Arians: ‘We are coming into stadiums expecting to win’

While it is probably too late for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to make the playoffs in the NFC, this team has finally started to play well, including Sunday’s 28-11 road win against the Jaguars.

With the victory, the Buccaneers(5-7) have now won three of their last four games, which includes two straight victories on the road. The defense forced four turnovers on Sunday, and QB Jameis Winston(21-33, 268 yards) played well.

“We want to finish this thing strong,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said after the game. “We will add them up at the end and see if it’s enough. We want to hopefully get three in a row at home. We can’t get six in a row; we can only get three in a row. I like where we are at. We are practicing and preparing extremely hard each week. We are coming into stadiums expecting to win.”

Winston agreed with Arians’ sentiments.

“We should expect to win,” Winston said. “So, I appreciate Bruce, and I definitely back that. We’ve just got to continue to do it, and I think we’re just coming together. These past two games have been great games of playing complementary football. Our defense has been incredible, and we have capitalized on opportunities that our defense has given us. We have just got to continue to do that.

“We’ve got to finish better as an offense, and as long as we do that, we’re going to be a tough team to play.”

The Buccaneers have four games left; if they can continue to play at this level, maybe they continue their winning ways, and if Tampa Bay can finish the season strong, perhaps it could give this team some confidence going into next season. However, for now, Tampa can enjoy this victory over Jacksonville and get ready to head home to battle the Colts next Sunday.

 

Arians on Winston: ‘I’m really pleased with where he is at’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston is in an interesting position. Winston’s head coach Bruce Arians did not draft him, which means he is not Arians’ guy. Therefore, Arians does not have any loyalty to him.

At this point, we have more questions than answers when it comes to the former number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In five seasons, all as a starter in Tampa, Winston has yet to lead the Bucs to the playoffs. Additionally, Winston has the most interceptions and turnovers since 2015. However, last Thursday, Winston played a mistake-free game as the Bucs were able to beat the Panthers on the road 20-14.

While the 25-year-old Winston struggled against the Niners in Week 1 with three interceptions(two returned for touchdowns), Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is happy with Winston’s progress.

“I’m really pleased with where he is at,” Arians said during a conference call on Wednesday. “He got victimized a little bit in the first game, played really well last Thursday night. He should have had a couple more guys catch some balls for him; I think for us, it’s just about playing better around him.”

Winston should be able to put up some decent numbers this week as Bucs host the 0-2 Giants on Sunday. New York is rank 30th against the pass, so Winston should have some opportunities.

However, in terms of what happens after 2019 with Winston, all depends on how the season plays out, which will be very interesting to see.