Buccaneers announce dates, times for preseason schedule

On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed the dates and times of the team’s 2023 preseason slate, which will feature matchups with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.

Tampa Bay will kick off its 2023 preseason with a home game at Raymond James Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, August 11, at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Buccaneers have played five prior preseason contests against the Steelers, with the most recent coming in 2019.

In preseason Week 2, the Buccaneers will travel to face the New York Jets for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, August 19. It will be the first preseason matchup between the two teams since 2006. Prior to the game, the teams will conduct joint practices with one another in Florham Park, New Jersey. More details regarding joint practices will be provided at a later date.

The Buccaneers will close out the 2023 preseason at home against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, August 26, at 7:00 p.m. ET, marking the second ever preseason game between the two teams.

Last season, Tampa Bay(8-9) won the NFC South. The Buccaneers’ season would end in the Wild Card round at home against the Cowboys.

Bucs’ David: ‘I’ve been there my whole career and wouldn’t want to be [anywhere] else’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed linebacker Lavonte David, the team announced Thursday.

According to reports, it’s a one-year, $7 million contract. The 33-year-old has spent his entire 11-year career with Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl with the team in 2020.

Last season, David recorded a team-high-tying 124 tackles – his most since 2015 (147) – and added 10 tackles for loss, five passes defensed, and three sacks. He was one of just four players in the NFL to hit each of those benchmarks during the 2022 season. According to Pro Football Focus, David was the third-highest-graded linebacker in 2022.

The 2022 season was up and down for the Buccaneers, and fortunately for them, they played in a weak division, which helped them win the NFC South and get to the playoffs with an 8-9 record. Ultimately, the Cowboys would defeat them in the wild-card round.

On Thursday, David, who met with the Tampa Bay media, discussed the highs and lows of the 2022 season.

“I would say the whole season – not just the end of the season – everything was so up and down and wasn’t consistent,” David said. “We’re a better football team than what we displayed. That playoff loss, losing at home in the wild-card game, we basically played the worst game of the season. We [were] outmatched; we didn’t play the way we know how to play football. Obviously, that factors in. When you’re a competitor and a competitor like me, I feel like the best place was to redeem myself was in Tampa Bay – to stay in Tampa and kind of finish what I started. I’ve been there my whole career and wouldn’t want to be [anywhere] else.”

Tampa Bay’s roster will look different in 2023 as they hope to replace the great Tom Brady, but even without Brady, David is confident there is enough talent in Tampa Bay for the team to be successful.

“With the guys who have been around, who’ve been in it and know what it takes,” David said. “For the most part, we’ve got a lot of those core guys that have been in the locker room and know what it takes to get there. We know how to do it, and all you’ve got to do it is just pass it on to the guys that are new in the building. But, like I said, we did lose a lot of key people who are going to have some people filling in their roles, and they’ll have some big shoes to fill, but I feel like with the locker room we have, everybody will fit in really well.”

David, who has served as a captain from 2014-22, ranks third in franchise history in tackles and 10th in sacks. He has led the team in tackles eight times (2012-15, 2017-19, 2022) and tackles for loss six times (2012-16, 2022). During his time in Tampa Bay, David has earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. 

The Buccaneers originally selected him in the second round (No. 58 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Nebraska. 

Buccaneers release Fournette, Brate

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today released tight end Cameron Brate and running back Leonard Fournette, the team announced on Friday.

Fournette and Brate contributed to the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl-winning team in 2020.

Fournette, 28, played in 43 games for the Buccaneers, logging 466 carries for 1,847 yards and 17 touchdowns while adding 178 receptions for 1,210 yards and five touchdowns.

The sixth-year veteran holds the franchise record for most postseason rushing yards (362) and postseason yards from scrimmage (572). The Buccaneers originally signed him as a free agent in 2020.

Brate, 31, appeared in 126 games across nine seasons for the Buccaneers, totaling 273 receptions for 2,857 yards and 33 receiving touchdowns. The eight-year veteran’s 273 receptions are the second-most among tight ends in team history.

The Buccaneers originally signed him as a college free agent in 2014 out of Harvard University.



Bucs part ways with OC Leftwich, five other coaches

After getting routed by the Cowboys on Monday night, it’s clear, Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles felt the team needed to make some changes, and on Thursday, it started with the coaching staff.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, specialists coach Chris Boniol, wide receivers coach Kevin Garver, offensive quality control Coach Jeff Kastl, assistant Defensive Line Coach Lori Locust and Running Backs Coach Todd McNair. In addition, Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen, Senior Offensive Assistant Rick Christophel, and Outside Linebackers Coach Bob Sanders have decided to retire.

“We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles via a press release from the team. “As a collective group, we did not meet the high standards that had been set for this past year, and my focus now is on doing what is needed to ensure a successful 2023 season. These were very difficult decisions, but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward.”

The Buccaneers won the NFC South but had a disappointing 8-9 record and struggled throughout this season.

The 43-year-old Leftwich, who spent four seasons in Tampa Bay, was one of the hottest head coaching candidates over the past two seasons due to the success the Buccaneers’ offense had with Brady. However, after the way the team struggled on offense this season(18.4 points per game), Bowles and the Buccaneers felt they needed to go in another direction.

It should be interesting to see the impact this move has on soon-to-be free-agent quarterback Tom Brady, who the Bucs reportedly want to bring back. 

‘Bucs’ Brady: ‘It’s not really who is favored or not favored’

The 2023 NFL playoffs could be Tom Brady’s last ride, and of course, he wants to go out on top, but according to Vegas, the Buccaneers’ season will end Monday night in Tampa Bay against the Cowboys(12-5) in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

The Buccaneers(8-9) are home underdogs(Cowboys 2.5 point favorites), but according to Brady, none of that matters.

“It’s not really who is favored or not favored; it’s who plays the best,” Brady said Friday. “I’ve never really paid attention to those things. I just try to go play the best I can.”

During the 2020 Super Bowl run, the Buccaneers wore white jerseys, pewter pants, and helmets. In addition, Tampa Bay defeated the Cowboys 19-3 in the season-opener, but Brady knows that the jerseys and the previous matchups don’t matter. 

“Yeah, they’ve got a great team,” he said. “I’ve played them quite a bit over the years, and I have a lot of respect for the organization, their history, a lot of great players. But all of its about three hours on Sunday – Monday night – and everything’s going to come down to what we do those three hours. Nothing in the past, nothing about the color jerseys we’re wearing. It’s who’s playing, what we’re doing, how we’re executing, how we’re executing under pressure. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

For the Buccaneers, it’s win or go home, and Brady, who won seven Super Bowls titles and has the most playoff wins in NFL history, knows this all so well.

“Yeah, I feel there’s a lot urgency naturally this week,” Brady said. “Everyone knows what we’re playing for – you’re playing for a chance to move on. There’s no, ‘Oh, we were close,’ or, ‘It was almost there. Two more plays.’ Look at two seasons ago – we ended up winning it all [and] there was a lot of really close plays. Last year, it comes down to plays at the end of the game that they made, and we didn’t. You’re going to have make the plays at the end. It’s tough because there’s good teams, and there’s little margin of error. All these teams are well-coached, they’ve got good offenses, good defenses, they’ve got a lot of good playmakers. These are the best teams that are playing right now, and you’ve got to play [well] if you want to advance.”

Before losing to the Falcons in a meaningless game in their regular-season finale, Tampa Bay had won two straight, and in the NFL, as we’ve seen in the past, it’s not the best team that always wins, but it’s the teams that are playing the best, which Brady discussed on Friday.

“It’s not the best team that wins; it’s the team that plays the best [that] wins,” he said. “I was part of a team that won every game until the Super Bowl, and we didn’t play the best that day, and we lost, and you don’t end up reaching your goal. I’ve been on the other end of it where I was a big underdog, my first year starting against the Rams, and we played better than they did that day. But that’s all that matters. That’s what single elimination is all about. You’ve got to be at your best in that moment.”

By record and on paper, the Cowboys are the better team, but as we’ve seen throughout his 23-year career, Brady can still make things happen but at age 45, and with the talent on the Buccaneers, that might be a tall order.

Playoff scenarios for Week 17 in NFL

As we enter Week 17, five of the seven teams in AEC have clinched(Bills, Chiefs, Ravens, Bengals, Chargers), while in the NFC, four teams(Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, Cowboys).

Below are the playoff scenarios for Week 17 in the NFL:



Buffalo Bills – AFC East division title

Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West division title

Baltimore Ravens – playoff berth

Cincinnati Bengals – playoff berth

Los Angeles Chargers – playoff berth


Week 17 – at Cincinnati (11-4), Monday, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC

Week 18 – vs. New England (7-8)

Buffalo clinches homefield advantage and AFC’s lone first-round bye with:

  1. BUF win + KC loss


Week 17 – vs. Buffalo (12-3), Monday, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC

Week 18 – vs. Baltimore (10-5)

Cincinnati clinches AFC North division title with:

  1. CIN win + BAL loss or tie OR

  2. CIN tie + BAL loss


Week 17 – at New England (7-8), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS

Week 18 – vs. New York Jets (7-8)

Miami clinches playoff berth with:

  1. MIA win + NYJ loss or tie OR

  2. MIA tie + NYJ loss + PIT loss or tie



Minnesota Vikings – NFC North division title

San Francisco 49ers – NFC West division title

Dallas Cowboys – playoff berth

Philadelphia Eagles – playoff berth


Week 17 – vs. Indianapolis (4-10-1), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS

Week 18 – at Philadelphia (13-2)

N.Y. Giants clinch playoff berth with:

  1. NYG win OR

  2. NYG tie + SEA loss or tie + WAS loss or tie


  3. NYG tie + SEA loss or tie + DET loss or tie OR

  4. NYG tie + WAS loss or tie + DET loss or tie + GB loss or tie OR

  5. SEA loss + WAS loss OR

  6. SEA loss + DET loss + GB loss or tie OR

  7. WAS loss + DET loss + GB loss


Week 17 – vs. New Orleans (6-9), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX

Week 18 – vs. N.Y. Giants (8-6-1)

Philadelphia clinches NFC East division title with:

  1. PHI win or tie


  2. DAL loss or tie

Philadelphia clinches homefield advantage and NFC’s lone first-round bye with:

  1. PHI win


  2. PHI tie + MIN loss or tie


  3. DAL loss or tie + MIN loss + SF loss or tie


Week 17 – vs. Carolina (6-9), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX

Week 18 – at Atlanta (5-10)

Tampa Bay clinches NFC South division title with:

  1. TB win


Week 17 – vs. Cleveland (6-9), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX

Week 18 – vs. Dallas (11-4)

Washington clinches playoff berth with:

  1. WAS win + SEA loss + DET loss + GB loss or tie

Brady on Bucs’ offense: ‘Our job is to go out there and score points, so we haven’t’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers(2-1) suffered their first loss of the season as they fell to the Packers(2-1) 14-12 in Tampa Bay on Sunday. 

The talk all week was this possibly being the last matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but the defenses ruled the day as both teams combined for 26 points.

However, despite their offensive struggles, the Bucs almost sent it into overtime. Late in the game, the Buccaneers had an opportunity to tie the game on a two-point conversion after Brady connected with Russell Gage on a one-yard touchdown pass.

But, on the two-point conversion try, the Buccaneers got pushed back five yards after a delay of the game penalty. After the penalty was marked off, the Buccaneers attempted the play, but Packers LB De’Vondre Campbell deflected Brady’s pass, and the Packers held on.

After the game, Buccaneers head Todd Bowles discussed his reaction to the penalty.

“We got a delay of game, we didn’t get set up fast enough, and it’s something that can’t happen,” he said.

“It wasn’t just that moment; there were a few things that happened that we can’t let happen. We got six crucial penalties at different times that cost us the ball game –shooting ourselves in the foot to give us a chance to win. We know they’re a good football team – hats off to them, but we made some dumb mistakes ourselves.”

Brady, who completed 31-of-42 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown, said it was bad execution on the two-point conversion try.

“There’s a lot to it, so bad execution on offense at a time where we needed good execution, and we didn’t get it,” he said. “There was a lot of other times where we had a lot of other bad execution, and I think the reality is when you do that, you don’t have the opportunity to score points. There were too many plays where we were behind the sticks and not good on third down – penalties, turnovers, missed opportunities. Defense played great, we [have to] play better on offense – we [have to] do [much] better job – we haven’t scored many points all season, so three games, we [have to] get a lot better.”

In the first three games, Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled, and they have not scored over 20 points this season. Yes, not having Chris Godwin(hamstring), Julio Jones(knee), and Mike Evans(suspension) on the field against the Packers doesn’t help, but according to Brady, in the end, the team’s execution has to be better.

“Our job is to go out there and score points, so we haven’t – we’re just not doing it, but you’re not going to score points if we don’t execute well,” Brady said. “They did a better job than us. They have a good defense – a good physical defense. I give them a lot of credit. They forced us to make a lot of good plays, and we just didn’t do a great job on execution.”

Tampa Bay has to be better on offense. The defense got the job done as they held the Packers to 14 points, and on most days, that should be enough. However, because of Tampa Bay’s offense, it wasn’t enough.

Bucs’ Bowles reacts to Mike Evans’ suspension

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended without pay for one game for violations of the NFL unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, the league announced on Monday.

He will be eligible to return to the Buccaneers’ active roster on Monday, September 26, following the team’s September 25 game against Green Bay.

Evans was involved in an off-field scuffle with Saints corner Marshawn Lattimore in the Bucs’ 20-10 victory over the Saints on Sunday in New Orleans.

NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan, who issued the suspension, wrote the following letter to Evans explaining the suspension.

“After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates engaged in a confrontation with Saints’ players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation. You knocked your opponent to the ground, and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”

After the suspension came down, Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles gave his thoughts on what happened.

“Yes, he’ll get one game,” Bowles said about Evans’ suspension. “I found out about 10 minutes ago. He’ll have a one-game suspension. Like I said, the fighting alone loses a player for the next game [and] it hurts our team because we lose a very good ballplayer. We don’t want that, we don’t condone it, and we’ve got to move forward and try to find a way to win without him. But that should be a lesson to all of our other players.”

Evans appeared to be defending Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, but according to Bowles, there’s a “right way” to stand up for your teammates.

“It’s always a fine line,” Bowles said. “This is a controlled-aggression game. It’s a controlled-aggression game, and you try to protect your teammates, but you’ve got to do it the right way.”

Bucs’ Bowles gets college degree while working full-time

Last week, Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles completed his requirements for a bachelor of science in youth and community development from Mount St. Mary’s University.

Bowles began his studies in 2020 during the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl-winning season. The 58-year-old attended Temple University until 1985, before he entered the NFL.

Thirty-seven years later, Bowles finally came through on his promise to his mother.

“As a coach, I don’t think I can use it very much,” Bowles said about his degree. “As a father, it’s a good time to get it because I have a sophomore at Rutgers, and I have one that’s a senior now and one that’s in sixth grade. So, just getting that hopefully helps them get theirs, and they can do something with it. For me, it was a personal thing as far as a promise I made to my mother before she passed that I would go back and get it. Sometimes life gets in the way, and things come up, and you finally put your foot down, and you try and do it. So, it’s something that I just did.”

Bowles got his degree while working full-time as an NFL coach, which wasn’t easy.

“It’s tough, it’s tough,” Bowles said of working full-time and going to school. “I get to work early, do some work early, listen to some podcasts early, do some online stuff early, then do a little bit late and you make the best of it.”

While Bowles got his degree later in life, he recommends that people get their degrees as early as possible.

“I think you need to get [a degree] early as possible so you can do something with it – but at the same time, for the people that go back and get it, it’s a sense of personal accomplishment, and hopefully, it gives someone hope that it’s never too late,” Bowles said. “You’d rather get it earlier than later, but better to get it when you can.”

Bowles plans to attend the commencement ceremony in May 2023.

Bucs’ Brady: ‘Guys choose this team because of the team, not because of me’

In March, Tom Brady decided to return for his 23rd season, and he told the world at the time that he had some “unfinished business.”

Brady, who has won seven Super Bowls and wants another one, will be 45 on August 3, so the time is now.

On Monday, Brady addressed the media for the first time during training camp and discussed his comments about unfinished business.

“We’re just going to do the best we can do,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of work between now [and then] – it’s August 1. There’s a lot of time. Nobody knows what the team is going to look like – you think you have a center, and then he gets injured, so the team is different in one day. There’s a long time between now and the first game.”

Over the past few seasons, the Buccaneers have grabbed some decent talent in free agency, and they recently signed seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones. Brady has been around a long time, but according to him, he’s not always the reason players want to come to Tampa Bay.

“Naturally, I’m an older player, and I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of guys,” he said. “Guys choose this team because of the team, not because of me. We have a great organization, great teammates, and I think people are excited to come join a great group of people and great group of men. It’s never about one person – it has never been what this sport has been about. It’s the ultimate team sport, and I love playing with players that our professional, players that want to work hard, and players that put the team first.”

One thing that could cause some issues for Brady is the injury to Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen, who is expected to miss significant time due to a left knee injury. Without Jensen, Brady will have to count on second-year center Robert Hainsey.

“He’s worked really hard,” Brady said about Hainsey. “Obviously, everyone’s heartbroken with what happened, Ryan [Jensen]. So, that’ll take a little time, but ‘Haines’ (Robert Hainsey) has to step into the job and do a great job. He’s worked hard last year, really gained the trust with a lot of people, and he has to go earn it. Like all of us, it’s not what you did [or] how hard you worked in the offseason; it’s how good of a football player are you. It’s to be determined for all of us.”

The moment Brady announced his return was the moment the Bucs were all in on 2022. They finished their business in 2020, and they hope, with the help of Brady, to take care of their unfinished business in 2022.