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Raiders’ receivers present huge challenge to Bucs’ cornerbacks

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Think of it as a game within a game. When the Oakland Raiders visit the Bucs on Sunday, there will be a lot of factors that determine the winner. One of them, however, will be the play of Raiders’ receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree against Tampa Bay corners Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes. Cooper is tied for sixth in the NFL in receiving with 40 catches. Crabtree is tied for 11th with 39. “Those two receivers, Cooper and Crabtree,…

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Russell Shepard latest Buc to become an essential player for team

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One of the highlights of the two-game winning streak of the Tampa Bay Bucs has been the emergence of unheralded players. Over the past two games, the Bucs have had major impacts from Jacquizz Rodgers, from Davonte Lambert and from John Hughes. And now, there is Russell Shepard. Shepard, normally a special teams standout for the Bucs, found himself thrust into the playing rotation after the injury to Vincent Jackson. Shepard, who had only seven catches in his first three…

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Patchwork defensive line playing well for Tampa Bay Bucs

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They are not exactly the Fearsome Foursome, but the Tampa Bay Bucs are getting production from an under-appreciated defensive line. The Bucs have had to patch and spackle lately, but they’ve still won two games in a row. During that time, defensive ends William Gholston and Noah Spence and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy have played well. “I think Gerald gets a bad rap sometimes,” said Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter. “People don’t appreciate what he brings to the table. Having coached against him, you’ve got to double team him or…

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Bucs come from behind to beat 49ers as Jacquizz Rodgers shines

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The Tampa Bay Bucs have ridden a new weapon all the way to a 3-3 record. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers, claimed off waivers during the season, has made it so the Bucs don’t miss running back Doug Martin — second in the NFL in rushing a year — nearly as much. Rodgers ran 26 times for 154 yards Sunday as the Bucs beat San Francisco, 34-17. In less than two weeks, Rodgers has rushed 56 times for 255 yards to…

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Bucs face challenges from Chip Kelley, Colin Kaepernick

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Forget whether he kneels before the game. Just worry about whether Colin Kaepernick is upright during it. Kaepernick, the controversial quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, is certain to continue his protest on Sunday when San Francisco is home against the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Bucs have a chance to get to 3-3 on the season with a victory. But the 49ers can be a challenge with the offense of coach Chip Kelly. “They run a whole bunch of different…

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The Predictions: USF to face a trap game against Temple

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For USF, this is the kind of game you can trip over. Temple (4-3) is a decent team. The game is in Philadelphia. And USF has won big, but in its first halves recently, it hasn’t been gangbusters. Temple’s defense (16th nationally) is good enough to keep the game close. So, as they sit on the outskirts of the top 25, are the 6-1 Bulls ripe for the plucking? Oh, USF is as explosive as ever with quarterback Quinton Flowers…

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Despite Doug Martin’s setback, Bucs need to run more consistently

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The Tampa Bay Bucs had hoped to have running back Doug Martin back after their bye week. Evidently, it is not going to happen. “Doug, unfortunately, did suffer a setback a week ago Sunday and we’ll just have to see when he can make it back,” said Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter. “There’s no timetable on that right now, again, that’s not my department. There will be an injury report, but Doug did suffer a little setback. And just that whole…

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