Buccaneers’ draft all about helping Jameis Winston flourish

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are confident they’re on the verge of becoming relevant again.

Jameis Winston believes it. So do coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht, the tandem trying to provide the young quarterback with everything he needs to lead the team back to prominence.

Winston is coming off a strong rookie season after being the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NFL draft. Winston threw for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns to validate the decision to make him the centerpiece of a rebuilding project that began eight years and three coaching changes ago.

"It’s what every head coach, owner, general manager, staff member strives for, to have the franchise quarterback. It puts that to rest, hopefully," Licht, entering his third draft with the Bucs, said.

The job, though, is far from complete.

The Bucs improved from two victories in 2014 to six with Winston taking every snap in his first year. The offense is much better after the team devoted the past two drafts to upgrading talent on that side of the ball. The defense needs fixing, so it won’t be a surprise if Licht and the usually offensive-minded Koetter seek help for an inconsistent pass rush or porous secondary with the ninth overall pick this year.

"This is a very good draft, the more we dig into it and the more meetings we have, the more tape we watch. It’s very deep at certain positions — a lot of positions," Licht said.

"We’ve spent a lot of time on defensive players … whether bringing them in or working them out. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to pick a defensive player at nine, or wherever we are in the first round," Licht added. "We did some things in free agency that gave us some flexibility. We have several needs on this team. We need to get better, there’s no getting around that. We still strive to pick players where ‘best available’ and ‘need’ intersect."

Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who played high school ball in Tampa and went on to star at nearby Florida, would be a popular choice. But so would a defensive end or tackle capable of making the pass rush better.

An offensive tackle, if say Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley is available, would make sense, too, considering protecting Winston and ensuring Doug Martin continues to be a productive runner are priorities, too.

"You strive to have the perfect team, you strive to have the best player at every position, even though that never works out," Licht said. "But you keep striving for it."

Some things to know about the Buccaneers, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2007:

TIME TO GET DEFENSIVE: Licht and former coach Lovie Smith used 12 of 13 selections over the past two drafts to bolster the offense, following a carefully constructed plan to get better on that side of the ball before seeking reinforcements on defense. Smith was fired after a four-game season-ending slide left the Bucs with an 8-24 record under him. However, the plan remains intact. DE Robert Ayers, CB Brent Grimes, LB Daryl Smith were added in free agency, but incoming defensive coordinator Mike Smith needs more pieces to work with.

AN EDGE RUSHER WOULD BE NICE, BUT: The perpetual search for an edge rusher continues. Licht isn’t discounting the impact defensive tackle can have on putting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"I know it’s just one game, but if you watched the Super Bowl last year — Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware had their share of success there, but really the interior pressure had a big, big effect on that game, so there are other ways to do it," Licht said. "We all want a great defensive end, or two, or three, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way."

DECEPTIVE RANKING: Despite improving from 30th to fifth in total offense last season, the Winston-led unit is still a work in progress. Besides bolstering the line, the Bucs could use a receiver capable of turning short completions into big gainers and touchdowns. Despite ranking near the top in yards gained, Tampa Bay was 20 in points scored.

NICE TRACK RECORD: Six players from the past two drafts became immediate starters, four of them (Winston, LT Donovan Smith, RG Ali Marpet, LB Kwon Alexander) from the 2015 class.

COME ON IN: Winston is eager to meet and greet his help. "I can’t wait. … I’m going to be like, ‘Bro, be yourself. That’s the easiest way that you can have success quickly in this league," the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner said.

Bay News 9 – local-news

April 28, 2016 |

Helping Girls In Need Sparkle On Prom Night

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Operation Prom dresses and tuxes


Macy’s Makes Every Girl Shine Bright This Prom Season

Through a partnership with Operation PROM, Macy’s is donating prom dresses to girls in need.


Macy’s is helping every girl reign supreme as the prom style queen with a breath-taking assortment of dresses and accessories. With styles that range from fairytale princess to Old Hollywood glamour to cool girl edgy, Macy’s has all the latest trends to make girls stun on the big night. By partnering with Operation PROM, Macy’s is helping to ensure all girls look and feel special on prom night through the “Buy 1, We’ll Donate 1” program. On March 26th, for each prom dress purchased, Macy’s will donate a brand new dress* to Operation PROM to help girls in need sparkle on prom night.

“Prom night is a night girls dream about,” said Stephanie Muehlhausen, vice president/fashion director of ready-to-wear and millennial, Macy’s. “With our selection of gorgeous dresses and accessories, we want to make sure girls look and feel as extraordinary as they’ve dreamed. We’re also very proud to partner with Operation PROM to help make that dream come true for girls in need as well.”


Macy's Prom Dresses

Magnificent Dresses
Runway-inspired dresses, shoes, bags and jewelry turn up the volume on dance floor-ready prom looks. Channeling the red-hot 70’s trend, sleek halter-neck dresses rendered in vibrant colors and metallics let girls channel their inner Bianca Jagger. Stark black-and-white dresses are perfect for the girl with the mod flare, while ethereal strapless dresses with delicate lace and embroidery embody regal elegance. Flirtatious openings and sheer stratums of chiffon reveal a chic focus on skin, and cutout details and geometric illusion patterns on column gowns are strikingly contemporary.


Shop for prom accessories at Macy's

Delightful Accessories
Polishing off a dazzling prom look are equally dazzling accessories. Two-piece ankle strap sandals are de rigeur and complement sleek looks, while chunky platform sandals in graphic prints are stellar punctuation points for dresses minimalist in design. Caged shooties are daring and attention-grabbing, and pointy-toed d’orsay pumps with a bow on the toe are perfectly prim for lady-like looks. Lucite box clutches, embellished minaudieres, and striped envelope clutches are fabulous ways to carry phones and prom night essentials. Pile on the bling with gemstone-encrusted bib necklaces, 90s-chic chokers, modern cuffs, and exquisite earrings, from demure studs to fierce ear cuffs to jaw-dropping chandelier earrings.


Operation PROM
Prom night is a magical evening, and Macy’s has partnered with Operation PROM to bring that magic to young women in needOperation Prom. Macy’s invites customers to help girls glow on prom night by participating in its “Buy 1, We’ll Donate 1” program, benefitting Operation PROM. On Saturday, March 26th, for every prom dress purchased, Macy’s will donate a prom dress to Operation PROM, which provides formalwear to students who are in financial need, homeless, sick or disabled. This amazing cause brings joy to the lives of countless young women and helps them to feel as wonderful and beautiful as they are.

*Up to 5,600 new dresses. Only regular-price prom and social dresses trigger the donation. Purchase is not tax deductible.






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Tampa Bay Metro Magazine & Blog

April 1, 2016 |
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