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Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud covers the Bucs and the NFL for the Times. He joined the paper in 1983 after graduating from Arkansas St., where he played baseball. He has reported on national sporting events including more than 20 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud's stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. He began covering the Bucs in 1990. Since then, the team has undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum and a Super Bowl XXVII victory. He co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM.



Blog: Bucs Beat

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

  1. Bucs-Vikings: Instant analysis from Tampa Bay's 34-17 loss


    MINNEAPOLIS — Here's the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team's instant analysis from the Bucs' 34-17 loss at Minnesota Sunday.


    The Bucs can't beat Case Keenum. He is 3-0 against them in the last three years as a starter and 7-16 vs everyone else. Injuries hurt the D but where was the offense?

    — Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud


    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) dives over the pylon for a touchdown as  Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith (29) defends. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem


    MINNEAPOLIS — On the Bucs team charter flight Saturday, receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans sat next to each other and became outraged reading the comments that President Donald Trump made at a political rally in Alabama a night earlier.

    Trump referred to NFL players who protested the national anthem as "sons of b------" and encouraged team owners to fire any player who would not stand for the Star-Spangled Banner....

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Bucs journal: Vikings rule QB Sam Bradford out for Sunday's game


    TAMPA — Vikings QB Sam Bradford was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Bucs with a knee injury.

    That means Minnesota will start Bucs killer Case Keenum, who has beaten Tampa Bay each of the past two years with the Rams. Keenum has passed for three touchdowns of 43 yards or more in those games. In the Bucs' other 31 games since the start of 2015, all other opposing quarterbacks have totaled three touchdown passes of 43 yards or longer....

    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford runs from Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving, right, during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King) MNCN116
  4. Bucs-Vikings: What could make Tampa Bay's defense elite again


    TAMPA — The last time the Bucs had a top-five defense also happens to be when they last appeared in the postseason.

    A decade has passed since 2007, a decade without that rock to lean on.

    Now, fortified by a couple sterling draft classes and led by former Falcons head coach Mike Smith, the D in the Bucs DNA is back.

    "I get so excited playing with these guys because at every level there's something special, at every position," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said....

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    "You never want to leave anything out there on the field, and I told DeSean, 'We left a lot out there. I missed you a couple times, and we've got to connect on those,' " Winston said of his locker room conversation with Jackson....

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  6. Bucs journal: Bucs still high on Vikings RB Dalvin Cook


    TAMPA — Coach Dirk Koetter spent a lot of time before this year's draft evaluating RB Dalvin Cook. At one time, the Florida State star and former teammate of QB Jameis Winston was considered the player the Bucs most likely would draft 19th overall.

    "He's a really good back," Koetter said. "He can run with power. He can run with speed. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he's demonstrated all that the first two weeks of the season. He's a really good football player."...

    Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook (33), a standout at Florida State, is third in the league in rushing after two games and fourth in average yards per game.
  7. McCoy, Alexander, Baker among those missing practice


    Bucs DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) and LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. DT Chris Baker and DE Jacquies Smith with out with an illness. CB Brent Grimes (shoulder) was limited. LB Devante Bond (knee) had full participation....

  8. A rendering of the Bucs' indoor practice facility.
  9. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings


    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    It nearly happened. Tampa Bay was set to select Cook in the first round, but Alabama tight end O.J. Howard unexpectedly tumbled to them with the 19th overall pick. Howard was one of the cleanest players in the draft due to his production and character and was projected to be gone with the first 10-15 picks....

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  10. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for Vikings


    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    It nearly happened. Tampa Bay was set to select Cook in the first round, but Alabama tight end O.J. Howard unexpectedly tumbled to them with the 19th overall pick. Howard was one of the cleanest players in the draft due to his production and character and was projected to be gone with the first 10-15 picks.

    The Bucs were very familiar with Cook, who as a teammate of quarterback Jameis Winston at Florida State. Had he come to the Bucs, running back Doug Martin may not be on the roster instead of serving a three-game suspension. Cook lasted until the ninth pick in the second round, most likely due to some off-field concerns....

  11. Day off? Bucs, you have a lot to learn


    TAMPA — What happened to Victory Monday?

    "That's what I'm trying to figure out, man," Bucs tackle Demar Dotson said. "Dirk (Koetter) took it away."

    Typically in the NFL, when a team wins a game, particularly the way the Bucs curb-stomped the Bears 29-7 Sunday, players are given an extra day off and return to work Wednesday.

    But despite the four-takeaway performance against the Bears, players were back at One Buc Place on Monday being shown all the things they did wrong. Koetter, the Bucs head coach, took the whole dominating victory thing with a pound of salt....

    Mike Evans and his teammates get back to work after win.
  12. Bucs defense dominates and we should have seen it coming


    TAMPA — They were fast. They were flashy. A bunch of the new guys stood out. One made his debut by scoring a touchdown. The scoreboard was lit.

    Not the Bucs offense, mind you.

    Like the cannons in the north end zone of Raymond James Stadium that were quiet because of a mechanical issue, Jameis Winston and all his new weapons lacked firepower Sunday.

    That may have been the most surprising thing about the Bucs' 29-7 rout of the Chicago Bears. It was the Bucs defense, which has gone largely overlooked, that made a statement....

    Bucs defensive back Robert McClain (36) celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  13. Jameis Winston's next step: The deep ball


    TAMPA — Even though he has the arm for it, the long ball was one of Jameis Winston's few short-comings.

    But deep passes, defined by those that travel at least 20 yards through the air, will be back for the Bucs this season.

    Tampa Bay was the only team in the NFL that didn't have an offensive play of 50 yards or more last season. That led to the signing of DeSean Jackson to a three-year, $30.5 million contract with $20 million guaranteed....

    Jameis Winston enters the season opener for the Bucs against the Chicago Bears Sunday at Raymond James Stadium as the only NFL player to pass for more than 4,000 yards each of the past two seasons. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  14. Jameis Winston's miracles from mistakes, and vice versa


    TAMPA — A look at some Jameis Winston mistakes that were nearly miracles, and some miracles thatwere almost mistakes:


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) avoids a sack and gets free before throwing a deep completion to Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the second half of a game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016.
  15. Taking the Jameis Winston risk assessment


    TAMPA — "I'm a risk taker."

    That's what Jameis Winston told Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer last month in a postgame conversation. It was a candid moment that sums up the Bucs' dilemma with their quarterback.

    Coach Dirk Koetter laughed when he saw the exchange on HBO's Hard Knocks.

    "Yeah, duh!" he said.

    Winston has never met a play he didn't like, never attempted a throw he thought he couldn't make. Those attributes have served him well....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during warmups before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times