Licht is on the point for the Lightning franchise..

Thursday, 4 a.m.

In this particlular War Room, he is Mars.

Jason Licht sits at the head of the table, and once again, he tries to steer the ship in the proper direction. He is the general manager, and he does his heaviest lifting in the off-season, in the free agency chase, in the draft maneuvers.

It it his job, as much as anyone's, to turn the Bucs from a last-place franchise into one that matters again.

Four years in, and how is he doing?

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Robertson is hitting .340 on the year for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Robertson is hitting .340 on the year for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 3 a.m.

Four pitches. It doesn't sound like much, does it?

Three sliders and a fastball. Simple as that.

Two strikes looking, a ball and a groundout to third. Just that.

For relief pitcher Jonny Venters, however, it meant everything. It was the culmination of getting up three times after being struck down by  the baseball gods. It was five years of sweat and recovery. It was the realization of a dream that never stopped.

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Dissecting this year’s NFL draft

by Gary Shelton on April 25, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston hopes tings are looking up./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston hopes tings are looking up./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

A look at the NFL draft:

5 Players the Bucs Might Draft

1. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

2. N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb

3.  Notre Dame guard Quenten Nelson

4. FSU safety Derwin James

5. Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick


(Who they might pick)

Round one: FSU safety Derwin James

Round two:  Georgia running back Nick Chubb

Round three: No pick

Round four: Boston College cornerback Isaac Yiadom

Round five: Idaho State guard Skyler Phillips

Round six: FSU defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi

Round seven: Penn State defensive end Garrett Sickles

Areas of Need (ranked)

1. Running back

2. Cornerback

3. Offensive line

4. Defensive line

5. Safety

10 Best Draft Choices in History

1. Derrick Brooks, linebacker, FSU (28th overall): He made 11 Pro Bowls, the Hall of Fame and won a Super Bowl.

2. Lee Roy Selmon, defensive end, Oklahoma (1):  The original star of the Bucs. He made the Hall of Fame, six Pro Bowls and an NFC title game.

3. Warren Sapp, defensive tackle, Miami (12): Sapp was the drink-stirrer for the Bucs' best team. He made the Hall of Fame and seven Pro Bowls.

4. John Lynch, safety, Stanford (82): Lynch was a hard-hitting safety who has been on the verge of the Hall of Fame for years.

5. Ronde Barber , cornerback, Virginia (66): One of the NFL's most instinctive players. He could rush the passer or intercept the pass.

6. Mike Alstott, fullback, Purdue (35): Often, he led the NFL in sheer effort. A tough player who made six Pro Bowls.

7. Warrick Dunn, running back, FSU (12): He gained 10,967 yards for the Bucs and Falcons.

8. Mike Evans, wide receiver, Texas A&M (7):  Evans is young, but he's already one of the best Bucs ever. In four years, he has 309 catches for 4,579 yards and 32 touchdowns.

9.  Doug William, quarterback, Grambling (17): Williams was the spiritual leader in the early successes of the Bucs. His impact was beyond his statistics.

10. James Wilder, running back, Missouri (34) Wilder gained 5,957 yards to lead the Bucs during his time.

10 Worst Draft Picks

1. Booker Reese, DE, Bethune-Cookman (32): (1982) Reese would have been a bust if the Bucs, as intended, took him in the first round. Instead, they gave up their first-round in 1982, which could have been Dan Marino. Reese had two sacks.

2. Eric Curry, DE, Alabama (6): (1993) In five years with the Bucs, Curry had 12 sacks.

3. Charles McRae, OT, Tennessee (7): (1991) The Bucs always thought McRae had the size and quickness to be a player. He didn't have the desire, however.

4. Keith McCants, LB, Alabama (4): (1990) McCants was a wrecking ball in college, but he never had a defined position. In three years, McCants tried to play linebacker and defensive end, neither successfully.

5. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (4): (2007) Adams was supposed to be the next Simeon Rice. It didn't work out that way. he had just 13 1/2 sacks in his three years.

6. Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian State (58): (2008): At a time when the Bucs desperately needed receivers, they drafted Jackson ... who never caught a pass. He was gone after a year.

7. Kenyatta Walker, OT, Florida: (2001)The Bucs traded a first- and a second for Walker. Walker was unable to play left tackle, however.

8. Brett Moritz, LB, Nebraska (44) (1977): He never started and played in only six games for a new football team. Not enough for a second-round draft pick.

9. Demetrius Dubose, LB, Notre Dame: (1993) He looked the part of a player, but his on-field performance never measured up.

10. Roberto Aguayo, K, FSU: Aguayo had a horrible first season, so horrible he didn't get a second season.

(Note: Bo Jackson doesn't make the list. His problem was the Bucs' inability to sign him, not his ability).

10 Forgettable Draft Trades

1. Traded a No. 1 pick in 1983 (17th) to draft Booker Reese. The Bucs meant to draft Reese No. 1 in 1982, but flubbed it. So they traded their No. 1 pick in '82 for Reese, who was a massive bust. What made it worse was the departure of Doug Williams. If the Bucs didn't make the trade, they could have drafted Dan Marino.

2. Sent the No. 4 overall pick for Chris Chandler,1992: Chandler never won a start with the Bucs.

3. Traded  third-round and fourth-round picks to move up to the second round to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo, who was the worst kicker in the league..

4. Traded a second-round pick for Steve Spurrier, 1976. Spurrier lost all 12 of his starts with the Bucs.

5. Traded No. 4 overall pick for Wally Chambers, 1979: Chambers started only 18 games for the Bucs.

6. No. 1 overall pick traded for quarterback Jack Thompson, 1984: Chambers lasted two years and won just three games.

7. No. 13 overall pick to N.Y.Jets for Darrelle Revis. Revis played only one year for the Bucs and was hurt during much of it.

8. The Bucs traded a first- and a second-round pick to move up to take Kenyatta Walker in the draft. Walker didn't play well and eventually moved to right tackle.

9. Traded their No. 3 draft pick in 1978 to the Rams for guard Greg Horton.

10.Traded a second-round pick to Miami 1982 for running back Gary Davis and defensive back Norris Thomas.

Best and Worst of the Bucs' Drafts 

                                         Best                                 Worst

1976                        Lee Roy Selmon (1)      Jimmy DuBose (2)

1977                        Ricky Bell (1)                 Randy Hedberg (8)

1978                       Doug Williams (1)         Brett Moritz (2)

1979                       Dave Logan (12)            Greg Roberts (2)

1980                       Scot Brantley (3)          Ray Snell (1)

1981                       James Wilder (2)          Denver Johnson (8)

1982                      Sean Farrell  (1)             Booker Reese (2)

1983                       Randy Grimes (2)        Weldon Ledbetter (7)

1984                      Chris Washington (6)  Keith Browner (2)

1985                      Donald Igwebuike (10) Mike Heaven (4)

1986                      Jackie Walker (2)           Rod Jones (1)

1987                      Ricky Reynolds (2)        Vinny Testeverde (1)

1988                      Paul Gruber (1)              Lars Tate (2)

1989                     Broderick Thomas (1)    Danny Peebles (2)

1990                    Reggie Cobb (2)                Keith McCants (1)

1991                     Lawrence Dawsey (3).     Charles McRae (1)

1992                    Mark Wheeler (3)             Roderick Green (5)

1993                    John Lynch (3)                 Eric Curry (1)

1994                    Errict Rhett (2)                 Trent Dilfer (1)

1995                    Derrick Brooks (1)            Melvin Johnson (3)

1996                    Mike Alstott (2)                Nilo Silvan (6)

1997                     Ronde Barber (3)            Reidel Anthony (1)

1998                     Brian Kelly (2)                 Jacquez Green (2)

1999                     Martin Gramatica (3)     John McLaughlin (5)

2000                     Cosey Coleman (2)        David Gibson (6)

2001                     Dwight Smith (2)           Kenyatta Walker (1)

2002                     Jermaine Phillips (5)    Marquise Walker (3)

2003                    Chris Simms (3)               Lance Nimmo (4)

2004                   Will Allen (4)                     Michael Clayton (1)

2005                   Carnell Williams (1)         Chris Colmer (4)

2006                  Davin Joseph (1)               Alan Zemaitis (4)

2007                  Aron Sears (2)                   Gaines Adams (1)

2008                  Aqib Talib (1)                    Dexter Jackson (2)

2009                  Roy Miller (3)                   Josh Freeman (1)

2010                   Gerald McCoy (1)             Brian Price (2)

2011                     Luke Stocker (4)             Da'Quan Bowers (2)

2012                     Doug Martin (2)             Mark Barron (1)

2013                    William Gholston (4)     Johnthan Banks (2)

2014                    Mike Evans (1)                Austin Seferian-Jenkins (2)

2015                    Jameis Winston (1)        Kenny Bell (5)

2016                   Noah Spence (2)             Roberto Aguayo (2)

2017                  O.J. Howard (1)               Jeremy McNichols (5)

Five of the Best Trades

1. Traded back and drafted defensive tackle Warren Sapp in 1995. With the ammunition gained, they moved up and drafted Derrick Brooks later in the round. Both made the Hall of Fame.

2. Swapped two No. 1s and two No. 2s for coach Jon Gruden. When Gruden won the Super Bowl, it was worth it.

3. Traded a seventh-round draft pick in 1977 to the Jets for Batman Wood.

4. The Bucs traded quarterback Craig Erickson to the Colts for a No. 1 draft pick, with which they picked Marcus Jones. Jones had 13 sacks in 2000.

5. The Bucs sent tight end Harold Bishop, a third-round draft pick who had not worked out, to Cleveland for a second-round pick. Bishop lasted only one year with the Brows.


Best Hidden Gems

(Fifth Round or Later)

1. Chidi Ahanotu, defensive end, 1993

2. Jermaine Phillips, safety, 2007

3. Ian Beckles, guard, 1989

4. Bruce Gradkowski, quarterback, 2006

5. Mike James, running back, 2013




Not even the mockers had the Bucs trading up for a kicker./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Not even the mockers had the Bucs trading up for a kicker like Aguayo./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

The first truth about NFL mock drafts is this: Everybody does one.

The second truth about NFL mock drafts is this:  No one has any idea what they're talking about.

Between the truths, you will find the essence of the draft, the most hyped, talked about event under this (or any other) sun. There has never been more opinions wrapped around less knowledge in the history of the planet. A bunch of guys -- some of whom don't know that a football team gets four downs at a time, counting the ones on which they punt -- want to convince you that they, and only they, know what they're talking about.

And they don't.

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Review: Alou’s is a journey well worth sharing

April 24, 2018 Baseball

By Scott Myers Tuesday, 3 a.m. If you are a MLB baseball fan, then I strongly recommend to you the book – “Alou – My Baseball Journey”, written by Felipe Alou with Peter Kerasotis. I reflected briefly on what I knew about Felipe Alou right before I began reading the book.  I remembered that he […]

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Gomez powers Rays to completing sweep of Twins

April 23, 2018 general

Monday, 2 a.m. Except for the drama of the moment, the fly ball was ordinary enough. It sailed, high and far, its  flight path taking it to center field and providing the suddenly hot Tampa Bay Rays with an 8-6 win. And then the fun began. There was never a doubt that the blast by […]

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Step four: Lightning send the Devils packing

April 22, 2018 general

Sunday, 4 a.m. Next? Boston? Toronto? If the Tampa Bay Lightning plays like this, with a purpose on defense, with solid goaltending, with offense from throughout its roster, does it matter? The Lightning beat the Devils again Saturday, winning its opening series 4-1 over a team that had swept all three regular-season games. It wasn’t […]

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Rays finally take offense in easy win over Twins

April 22, 2018 Baseball

Sunday, 3 a.m. Who are those guys? You know, the guys with the heavy lumber? The guys scattered all over the bases? The guys who keep crossing the plate? Could those be … the Tampa Bay Rays? Really? The Rays finally showed up with their bats Saturday evening, bashing the Twins in a 10-1 victory. […]

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Random thoughts: Bucs rank among bad uniforms

April 22, 2018 general

1:30 a.m. In parting, let’s agree the New Jersey Devils were pretty good. They just couldn’t score. — Which makes you wonder if the Bolts’ defense was quite as good as it looked. — Something to worry about over the next few days. — I like Mike Mayock, and I find it interesting that he […]

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Rowdies keep home record perfect with win

April 22, 2018 general

1 a.m., Sunday The Tampa Bay Rowdies, more than ever, love playing at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies won their third straight home match, handing the Real Monarchs their first loss of the season. Tampa Bay, coming off a 5-0 loss to New York, beat the defending regular-season champion Monarchs 2-0. Joe Cole and Georgi […]

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