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Thomas Bassinger, Times Staff Writer

Thomas Bassinger

It all began late 1991 with a Nintendo controller and a game cartridge that read, in gold block letters, "Tecmo Super Bowl" (Ready! Down! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut!). That's when a young Thomas Bassinger discovered the fearsome Ronnie Lott, the dominant QB Eagles and the superhuman Bo Jackson and spent countless hours taking their 8-bit counterparts up and down the football field (Remember Wayne Haddix, Bucs fans?). He's been hooked on football and statistics ever since. Today, he contributes to coverage of the Buccaneers and the NFL for the Tampa Bay Times. He is the author of the Turning Point postgame analysis and studies All-22 game film for the weekly scouting report of the Bucs' upcoming opponent. Follow him on Twitter during the games @tometrics.


  1. Bears-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 2: When was it over?


    Well, that escalated quickly.

    One moment, the Bears were dinking and dunking their way down the field. The next, they were giving the ball away. In a six-minute stretch over the first and second quarters, they turned the ball over three times. Interception. Fumble. Fumble.


    Jacquizz Rodgers scores a touchdown Sunday in the Bucs' 29-7 win over the Bears in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  2. What we learned from NFL Week 2


    1. Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, 74, wasn't on the set for his current gig as an analyst on Fox's NFL Sunday show because he was working on his Florida Keys home in Tavernier that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma. He told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Don't feel sorry for me. I can rebuild. I have the money. I feel bad for people who lost their house and don't know what to do. Those are the ones to feel sorry for, the ones who need help right now."...

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy hits Bears quarterback Mike Glennon during Tampa Bay's 29-7 victory at Raymond James Stadium. Is it time for rookie Mitch Trubisky to replace Glennon as the starter?  [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Chicago Bears-Tampa Bay Buccaneers Scouting Report: Mike Glennon will be Mike Glennon


    While football players spent last Sunday running around a rectangle, I, like millions of Floridians, spent the majority of the day huddled in a corner, knees to my chest, head in my hands, fearing the wrath of a hurricane.

    Once I emerged from my anxiety-induced psychosis sometime early Monday morning, I tried to catch up on all things NFL. As I scanned the Week 1 box scores, I started shaking....

    Is there a difference between Mike Glennon, Bucs quarterback and Mike Glennon, Bears quarterback?
  4. Mike Evans by the numbers: Where the Bucs receiver ranks among the NFL's best


    To our readers: Mike Evans' 2016 NFL Catch of the Year and the big Bucs' offseason catches — DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin — inspired us to mark the start of the 2017 season with a series of stories celebrating "The Catch." We hope you enjoy them....

    [Getty Images]
  5. 2017 Bucs/NFL preview: Expectations are high, but there's always a catch


    To our readers: Mike Evans' 2016 NFL Catch of the Year and the big Bucs' offseason catches — DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin — inspired us to mark the start of the 2017 season with a series of stories celebrating "The Catch." We hope you enjoy them....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) celebrates after intercepting a pass from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) and returning it for a touchdown Jan. 1, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
  6. 2017 Bucs/NFL preview: How Mike Evans beat Richard Sherman


    To our readers: Mike Evans' 2016 NFL Catch of the Year and the big Bucs' offseason catches — DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin — inspired us to mark the start of the 2017 season with a series of stories celebrating "The Catch." We hope you enjoy them....

    Cornerback Richard Sherman allowed two touchdowns all of last season, one of which was to Mike Evans in the Bucs' 14-5 win over the Seahawks in November. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  7. Madden NFL 18 predictions: No playoffs for the Buccaneers


    For the first time in years, the Buccaneers are bona fide playoff contenders.

    The optimism is justified. On offense, the supporting cast around Jameis Winston is deeper than ever. On defense, coordinator Mike Smith is back to lead a unit that made significant strides during the second half of last season....

    [EA Sports]
  8. Is Bucs kicker Nick Folk a significant upgrade over Roberto Aguayo?


    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter made it clear.

    And he used some Hard Knocks language.

    Nick Folk was the team's bleeping kicker.

    With that, the Roberto Aguayo saga ended Saturday, less than 16 months after it started. It's Folk's job, at least for now.

    On Thursday against the Jaguars ­— his first game post-Aguayo — Folk got off to a shaky start. Jacksonville blocked an extra point, and a 47-yard field goal try late in the game veered wide right....

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk is entering his 11th NFL season. He spent three seasons with the Cowboys and seven with the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  9. Teams like the Rays are striking out more, and Mike Schmidt thinks it's a problem

    The Heater

    "I don't like that today's hitters have been allowed to adopt a carefree attitude toward the strikeout."

    Those are Mike Schmidt's words, published in a 2014 column about baseball's ever-increasing rate of strikeouts. I came across his piece recently while doing research for a story about the Rays and their record-breaking pace....

    Mike Schmidt played 18 seasons for the Phillies. His career strikeout rate was 18.7 percent. The major-league average today is 21.6 percent. [Associated Press]
  10. Bucs' Jameis Winston quickly finds chemistry with 8-year-old receiver


    Jameis Winston stayed after practice Tuesday to throw a few extra passes to Cameron Brate, Alan Cross, O.J. Howard and someone hoping to one day latch onto an NFL roster.

    That player? Eight-year-old Michael Vernon II of Brandon, who was a mere autograph seeker until Bucs assistants invited him onto the field....

    Jameis Winston (3) signs autographs for fans following practice Friday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  11. Gerald McCoy on Brian Price video, CTE: 'It hurts you to your heart'


    TAMPA — Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, drafted 32 picks apart in 2010, were supposed to anchor the interior of the next great Bucs defense.

    McCoy has gone on to earn All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Price, however, is now coping with life after football.

    A video published this week by a Michigan television station shows police confronting the former lineman outside an auto parts store in April. During the exchange, Price, 28, suddenly charges toward the store's glass door and dives through it. As if nothing happened, he walks away from the shards of glass and lies down in the parking lot....

    Price, shown here talking to head coach Greg Schiano during a 2012 practice, played two seasons in Tampa Bay. [Times]
  12. Think strikeouts are bad? You're wrong. And the Rays are proving it.

    The Heater

    Baseball is changing, and it's changing in a way that runs counter to everything we've been taught.

    "Put the ball in play and good things will happen" is the axiom.

    But that's not the Tampa Bay Rays' style. Far from it.

    They struck out 874 times in the first half, the most in baseball. If they maintain this pace, they'll be the latest team to break the major-league record....

    The hitting philosophy of Rays first baseman Logan Morrison: "I'm not going to beat anything out on the ground. I'm slow. I'm just trying to hit the ball in the air and in the gaps, and hopefully they go out for me." [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  13. How the Buccaneers will benefit from O.J. Howard


    Myles Garrett fires his hands into O.J. Howard's chest and churns his legs as the Alabama tight end tries to hold his ground. As they collide, Garrett extends his arms, driving Howard back.

    Whether the play is successful hinges on Howard's next move. If he cedes more ground to the Texas A&M defensive end, the lane for the running back will close....

    With the offseason additions of O.J. Howard, above, and DeSean Jackson, the Bucs might have one of the NFL's most potent offenses. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  14. Ranking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason moves


    1. Signing receiver DeSean Jackson

    Jameis Winston can throw only so many screen passes to Adam Humphries. For coach Dirk Koetter's offense to reach its explosive potential, the Bucs needed a speedy deep threat, and over the past decade no player has played that role better than Jackson....

    Since DeSean Jackson entered the NFL in 2008, he has caught a league-high 57 passes that have resulted in gains of at least 40 yards. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  15. Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate is a Pro Football Focus "secret superstar"


    Two years ago, Cameron Brate was clinging to the Buccaneers roster. Now, he is being called a "secret superstar."

    Over at Pro Football Focus, Sam Monson identified one player on each NFL team who has received little national recognition relative to his high production, and the tight end was his pick for the Bucs....

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate catches a go-ahead touchdown pass against the Cowboys in December. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]