New ‘Hard Knocks’ installment humanizes Buccaneers players

The NFL and Buccaneers had waited to determine the extent of destruction Hurricane Irma caused to the Tampa area before determining whether the game at 1 p.m. on Sunday would be adjusted. The team announced the decision Tuesday.

“We have been working tirelessly with the Tampa Sports Authority, as well as the NFL league office, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium would be available to host our season opener against the Chicago Bears this Sunday.” Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said in a statement. “Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days. We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season.”

Aguayo had an up-and-down summer, still struggling with accuracy issues during practice. Friday’s misses were enough for the Bucs to determine he wasn’t the answer.

Giving up on a second-round pick after just one season is a disastrous circumstance for Tampa. But for a team with playoff aspirations, they couldn’t enter the season with a shaky kicking situation. Moving on now is likely the best for all parties. The Bucs have a reliable option in Folk, and Aguayo could use a change of scenery to help clear his head.

Tampa Bay is on the rise, coming off a 9-7 season in 2016. They have a budding star quarterback in Jameis Winston and dynamic offensive players, including Evans. Five-time Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy heads an improving defense.

“Football fans are knowledgeable that something good is taking place in Tampa, but they might not know all the details,” Rodgers said. “That’s what delivers the best Hard Knocks. There’s a lot of juice, more energy in camp because everyone wants to take the next step. You see this collection of talent, and the possibility of what they could be in the coming year.”

You know that warm feeling when you pick a total stud at the top of your fantasy draft — think David Johnson or Julio Jones — and the selection serves as a security blanket as the rest of your draft starts to take shape? That’s what it’s like for “Hard Knocks” producers when they have a camera-ready quarterback to play off. It’s an ace in the hole and another example of how QB1 is the center of everything in the football universe.

Winston, now 23 and entering his third season, is more than just an ascendant talent at the game’s most important position. He is fiery leader straight out of the “Any Given Sunday” playbook. Last summer, “Hard Knocks” had to make chicken salad out of Jared Goff chilling with his bro on recline mode. Now they have this

The Bucs were in need of a veteran behind starter Jameis Winston. They entered offseason workouts with Ryan Griffin, Sean Renfree and undrafted rookie Sefo Liufau as their backups. Griffin has never taken a regular-season snap, and Renfree threw a total of seven passes in two appearances with Atlanta in 2015.

Tampa couldn’t head into 2017 without replacing Mike Glennon with an insurance plan in case Winston suffers an injury. The Bucs are poised to battle for a playoff spot this season — and could be a trendy pick to swipe the NFC South. Adding Fitzpatrick at least provides an experienced signal-caller if something catastrophic happens to Winston.

The professional bio on Hocker is brief: The kicker from Arkansas played for the New Orleans Saints and the then-St. Louis Rams in 2015, appearing in eight games combined and making 10 of 14 field goal attempts. Hocker also made 12 of 13 point-after attempts.

Hocker was drafted in the seventh round (228th overall) by the Washington Redskins in 2014, but lost a training camp kicking battle with Kai Forbath, who also replaced Hocker in New Orleans in 2015 after Hocker missed four of his first 13 field goal attempts.

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