So much for struggling without Jameis Winston

.The Tampa Bay
Buccaneers are not only thriving in the suspended quarterback's
absence ,
they're evolving into an offensive juggernaut that's set to perform on a
national stage when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Monday night.Thanks to Ryan
Fitzpatrick and a talented collection of playmakers that include DeSean Jackson,
Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, the Bucs (2-0) are off to their best
start in eight years and have the NFL's top-ranked offense.The Steelers (0-1-1)
are not far behind at No. 2, however inconsistency on defense has Ben
Roethlisberger and Co. winless through two weeks."I respect what they've done.
I'm not so sure I'm surprised," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Tampa Bay's
emergence with wins against the New Orleans Saints and the reigning Super Bowl
champion Philadelphia Eagles.They've done it with Fitzpatrick, a 35-year-old
journeyman who has thrown TD passes for seven NFL franchises, delivering the
best two games of his career."Man, he's got some explosive weapons. He's
stepping in for Winston, but Fitz is not a step-in guy. This guy has started in
multiple cities," Tomlin said."We've seen him extensively in Cincinnati and
Buffalo. He's a smart guy, Ivy League-educated, always made good decisions.
That's why he's been able to sustain himself and play for the length of time
that he's played."What once looked as if it might be a potentially disastrous
stretch to open the season with Winston suspended three games for violating the
NFL's personal conduct policy suddenly is an opportunity for the team's first
3-0 start since 2005.Very encouraging for a franchise that has missed the
playoffs 10 consecutive seasons ,
the second-longest drought in the league behind the Cleveland Browns
(15).Fitzpatrick believes he's playing the best football of his career."But, I
mean, it's early. Consistency is the biggest thing," the 14th-year pro said.
"Trying to stay consistent with a high level of performance and just continue to
try to win games."As well as things are coming together for the Bucs, though,
it's been rocky times for the struggling Steelers, off to their worst start in
five years.Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell has not reported to the team and
signed his one-year franchise tenderAnd star receiver Antonio Brown made
headlines after shouting at offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline
last week and then responding to criticism on social media from a former team
employee by suggesting the team trade him if it wants to find out how productive
he can be without Roethlisberger.Tomlin, however, isn't flinching."We are two
weeks in. We do not have a large body of work. We are focused on winning this
next opportunity," the coach said."I am not ready to paint with a broad brush
... in terms of where our football team is or what is going to define this
group."Some things to know about the Steelers and Buccaneers:JUJU ON THAT
BEATAll the self-created melodrama surrounding Brown has overshadowed another
significant development for Pittsburgh's offense: the continued rise of
second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.The 21-year-old came on strong
over the second half of his rookie season in 2017 and has picked up right where
he left off. Smith-Schuster is tied for Brown for the team lead in receptions
(18) and his 240 yards receiving ranks fifth in the league."He just has a great
knack and feel for the game, knowing when to sit down in zone, knowing when to
move in man," Roethlisberger said."He uses his body and size at times Womens
Gerald McCoy Jersey
, so I think he's really studied the game, and
studied his game and has really gotten better."RING OF HONORHall of Famer Tony
Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as a player with the Steelers and later transformed
Tampa Bay from a laughingstock into a championship contender as a coach, will be
inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.He joins Hall
of Famers Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, as well as Doug
Williams, Jimmie Giles, Mike Alstott, John Lynch, Paul Gruber, coaches John
McKay and Jon Gruden and late owner Malcolm Glazer as members of the ring.NOT
HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE PASTThe Steelers have made it a habit of stubbing their
toe early in the season only to find their groove at midseason and reach the
playoffs each of the past four years. Not that their resiliency has provided
them any sort of comfort facing the club's worst start since 2013."It doesn't
matter what we've done in the past," defensive end Cam Heyward said. "I'm not
worried about what we've done two years ago, a year ago. Worry about what we've
got to do now Womens
Donovan Smith Jersey
, the present. Be in this moment. Understand
we made some mistakes. Now we've got to correct it."FLAG DAYDefensive breakdowns
and Brown's behavior aren't Pittsburgh's only problems. The Steelers have hurt
themselves under an avalanche of penalty yards.Pittsburgh has been flagged 24
times for an NFL-high 206 yards in penalties through two weeks.Tomlin described
the issues as "popcorn," meaning they're coming from all over the place. If
there's a bright side for the Steelers, it's that they've found a way to clean
things up as the season progresses.A year ago they were called for 23 penalties
through two games and finished with the ninth-fewest penalty yards in the
league.AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this
report.News, notes, and tweets from Buccaneers training camp 7/29/18 It was
another hot day for the Buccaneers during Sunday’s practice. The team
immediately went to work for some 11-on-11 drills, but bad things seemed to
happen right off the bat.Started off with a Ronald Jones II fumble......then an
injury for rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea.Defensive line coach Brentson
Buckner was in midseason form. He tore into defensive lineman William Gholston
after being driven to the ground.Since it was the first open practice, fans were
able to get a taste for the team’s indoor practice facility.Ryan Fitzpatrick was
on and off today. Here he had a botched exchange during 11-on-11s.After some
punt drills inside, the team went to work in some 7-on-7 drills. Quarterback
Jameis Winston was on target, even hitting DeSean Jackson deep for what would
have been a touchdown.What a throw it was...After only working with the first
team during 7-on-7s for the majority of camp, Winston was back in with the first
team for 11-on-11s.
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