Dirk Shadd/Times/Tampa Bay Times/Dirk Shadd/Times

John Romano: 10 reasons the Bucs will beat the Packers

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — This is what a respectable journalist would tell Bucs fans this week:

Folks, it doesn’t look good. The Packers are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and have won their last seven games by an average margin of nearly 15 points. The weather is going to be in the 20s with a good possibility of snow.

And Green Bay quarterback Aaron ...Read more

Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America/TNS

2021 NFL mock draft: Two rounds

Sports / Football /

College football finished its season and crowned a champion. The NFL remains on schedule to do the same. However, it will continue to be business unusual with the pandemic continuing to rage out of control for the foreseeable future.

A memo informed all 32 pro teams this week the Combine "will be conducted in a different format." In actuality, ...Read more

Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America/TNS

Greg Cote: A journeyman QB's rise to overnight sensation, 13 years later

Sports / Football /

MIAMI — Every once in awhile sports gives us — gifts us is more like it — a little story like this, unscripted, born of random circumstance.

So Chad Henne gets to be the overnight sensation, 13 years later.

"Who is Chad Henne?" read the headline Tuesday. "Five things to know about the AFC divisional round hero."

Miami and ...Read more

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Andrew Whitworth says Cam Akers has groundwork to lead Rams into future

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — After playing 15 seasons in the NFL, Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth knows a potential leader when he sees one.

Running back Cam Akers fits the profile.

“He’s one to get excited about moving forward,” Whitworth said. “He’s going to be a guy who’s not only going to be a good football player, but I would imagine Cam...Read more

Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/Brian van der Brug

Chargers owner calls Philip Rivers one of 'the dadgum best quarterbacks'

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — Chargers owner Dean Spanos called Philip Rivers "the consummate professional" ... "the ultimate gamer" and one of "the dadgum best quarterbacks" ever.

Rivers, who spent the first 16 years of his career with the Chargers, announced his retirement Wednesday after completing a 17th NFL season with Indianapolis.

Spanos also labeled...Read more

Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images North America/TNS

Will Bills employ same defensive strategy against Chiefs, hoping for different result?

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When they met earlier this season, the Buffalo Bills looked to limit Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ passing attack. And that happened. Mahomes threw for 225 yards, well below his league-leading 316-yard average.

But that left Buffalo vulnerable to the run. Rookie Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 161 ...Read more

Douglas R. Clifford/Times/Tampa Bay Times/Douglas R. Clifford/Times

Bucs can clearly see Super Bowl 55 from here

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — The temptation is to look ahead, but the task is to stay focused on the Packers. Keep your eyes locked on the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay. No need to peek too soon.

But as the Bucs learned Wednesday, it’s very hard to avert your gaze from Super Bowl 55 when large banners featuring the Lombardi Trophy hang from Raymond ...Read more

Shawn Windsor: New Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell's philosophy for football is already outdated

Sports / Football /

The Detroit Lions new head coach, Dan Campbell, has never been a coordinator. He has never called plays, on either side of the ball. He has never had to take an offseason and design a detailed, meticulous strategy and stuff it in a binder, or on a computer.

And that's just fine.

Campbell understands the game. Relates well to players — ...Read more

K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/K.C. Alfred

Nick Canepa: History should be kind to retiring QB Philip Rivers

Sports / Football /

SAN DIEGO — Among the athletes I have dealt with in my time around this newspaper game — and, when I began, the newsroom was smoky and nasty and lousy with whiskey and there were presses to stop — Philip Rivers is the most misunderstood.

In the eyes of some, Rivers will retire after his 17 years of NFL quarterbacking as a brash, loudmouth...Read more

Jeff Seidel: Lions taking big gamble with Dan Campbell; at least their plan seems clear

Sports / Football /

DETROIT — We have seen all kinds of Detroit Lions regimes. But this feels totally different.

How all the pieces have come together.

The Lions didn’t hire the people’s choice to be their next head coach. Robert Saleh, from Dearborn, Mich., was scooped up by the New York Jets.

The Lions didn’t go with the familiar. Darrell Bevell, the ...Read more

White House visit by Brian Urlacher preceded Trump pardon of football great's brother, Casey Urlacher, in federal gambling case

Sports / Football /

Early last March, as the spread of the coronavirus was rapidly plunging the world into crisis, reporters were camped outside the White House hoping for word from President Donald Trump when a certain Hall of Fame linebacker made a rather conspicuous appearance.

“Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears was waiting on the lawn with reporters for ...Read more

Jill Toyoshiba/TNS

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes returned to practice Wednesday ahead of AFC Championship Game

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes returned to the practice field Wednesday, three days after an injury prompted his early departure from a playoff game and he entered the NFL concussion protocol.

It’s a potential step toward a return for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, though it’s not the final one.

“He looked ...Read more

Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff/The Baltimore Sun/Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff

Ravens' John Harbaugh ‘totally certain’ QB Lamar Jackson will sign long-term contract extension

Sports / Football /

BALTIMORE — With the Ravens’ shifting into offseason mode after their 17-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round, the clock is now ticking for the team to reach an agreement on a contract extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson.

NFL teams have a May 3 deadline to exercise the fifth-year option for 2018 first-round picks, ...Read more

Wave of departures continues as 49ers lose a high-ranking executive

Sports / Football /

Teams around the NFL continue to pluck from the San Francisco 49ers’ personnel tree.

The Washington Football Team hired Vice President of Player Personnel Martin Mayhew as a “high-ranking executive with a title to be determined,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Mayhew, 55, will join an organization that’s restructuring its front ...Read more

K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/K.C. Alfred

Philip Rivers retiring from NFL after 17 seasons

Sports / Football /

SAN DIEGO — The time has come, dadgummit.

The man whose good-natured hollering was as renowned as his highly unorthodox and highly effective throws is hanging up his helmet to put on a different hat.

Philip Rivers, who came to San Diego in a draft-day trade in 2004 and played quarterback for the Chargers all but his final season in the NFL, ...Read more

Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

Paul Sullivan: Bears Chairman George McCaskey deserves credit for answering his hate mail — even if he isn't really listening to fans’ advice

Sports / Football /

CHICAGO — When Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey and President Ted Phillips held a teleconference with the media last week, most of the questions focused on their decision to bring back general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

That made sense, as it was the reason McCaskey and Phillips made a rare Zoom appearance in the first place...Read more

Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/The Baltimore Sun/Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun

Mike Preston: Here's how the Ravens can improve this offseason

Sports / Football /

BALTIMORE — During exit interviews Sunday, a lot of the Ravens said the right things about their 17-3 divisional-round loss to the Buffalo Bills.

They talked about the need to finish and a lack of execution. Some explained that the wind was a factor, even though center Patrick Mekari’s theory on how that affected his errant snaps made very ...Read more

Dieter Kurtenbach: For the 49ers, there should be no price too high for Deshaun Watson

Sports / Football /

The Texans should take whatever they want from the 49ers. So long as they send their 25-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl quarterback back to the Bay.

There’s only one thing that’s certain about Deshaun Watson’s situation in Houston — he wants to leave.

By release or trade, it doesn’t matter. He’s fed up with the organization and is ...Read more

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Rams target Raheem Morris to be defensive coordinator

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — The search for a new defensive coordinator appears to be moving relatively quick for Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay.

Two days after Brandon Staley left to become head coach of the L.A. Chargers, Raheem Morris emerged as a candidate to replace him, people with knowledge of the situation said.

Morris, 44, was the Atlanta ...Read more

Douglas R. Clifford/Times/Tampa Bay Times/Douglas R. Clifford/Times

Mike Bianchi: One Tom Brady Super Bowl with Bucs would equal six he won with Patriots

Sports / Football /

As the rumors and rumblings mounted several months ago that the greatest quarterback in NFL history was about to sign a contract with the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I wrote that, “Putting Tom Brady on the Bucs would be like hanging the Mona Lisa in Room 217 of the Red Roof Inn.”

Who knew then that Brady would instead turn the Red Roof Inn ...Read more