Sat Aug 18 11:28pm ET
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson, center right, celebrates with Shaun Wilson, center left, after Watson caught a touchdown pass against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson (17) catches a touchdown pass ahead of Tennessee Titans cornerback Kenneth Durden (38) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) catches a touchdown pass in front of Tennessee Titans defenders Kendrick Lewis and Kenneth Durden (38) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston looks for a receiver as he scrambles in the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis, left, pushes Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Brent Grimes (24) away in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) carries the ball past Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Vinny Curry (97) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes as offensive tackle Brad Seaton (60) blocks Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry (58) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Officials break up Tennessee Titans linebacker Jayon Brown, left, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard Ryan Jensen, right, in the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jameis Winston gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a potent reminder of what they will miss when the quarterback sits out his three-game suspension to start the regular season.
Winston threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns after coming off the bench in the second quarter, and the Buccaneers beat the Tennessee Titans 30-14 Saturday night in the teams' second exhibition game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick started for a second straight week as the Buccaneers (2-0) prepare the veteran to run the offense while Winston sits out for violating the league's personal conduct policy after the NFL investigated an allegation Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016. Fitzpatrick helped the Bucs hold the ball for 9 minutes of the first quarter, but they settled for a field goal as the quarterback was 5 of 13 for 46 yards passing.
Winston completed eight of his first nine passes and left with a 151.4 passer rating. He threw for big chunks, hitting Mike Evans for 38 yards and then DeSean Jackson on a 54-yarder . Winston found Chris Godwin in a pack of Titans in the end zone for an 8-yard TD and connected with Justin Watson for a 21-yard TD that gave the Bucs a 20-7 halftime lead.
Marcus Mariota left before Winston entered the game featuring the top two draft picks of 2015. Mariota played two series in the first quarter, and he was 4 of 7 for 80 yards with a 47-yard TD to Taywan Taylor off a screen pass.
First-year coach Mike Vrabel continues looking for his first preseason victory with the Titans (0-2).
Taylor, a third-round pick out of Western Kentucky a year ago, got a shout-out from LeBron James on the NFL's Instagram account for his first TD. James wrote: "SPEED KILLS! Sheesh." Taylor finished with four catches for 95 yards and two TDs. He caught a 3-yarder from Blaine Gabbert in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay didn't dress 12 players, with cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III the only starter out. Titans starting cornerback Malcolm Butler did not play, and three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker left Thursday's practice early with an undisclosed injury. Tennessee had two other starters on the physically-unable-to-perform list in right tackle Jack Conklin and wide receiver Rishard Matthews.
Buccaneers running back Charles Sims was declared out with an injured knee in the opening minutes. Cornerback Jordan Whitehead hurt a shoulder and cornerback M.J. Stewart hurt a foot. Neither returned.
Titans safety Kendrick Lewis hurt his foot in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers lined up on the sideline with no visible protests. The Titans did the same, and three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey changed his approach. The lineman said in London in July and confirmed on the opening day of training camp that he would keep raising his first at the end of the anthem to bring attention to how the justice system treats minorities. Once the anthem ended, Casey raised his right hand to his forehead and saluted instead of raising a fist.
Buccaneers: Host Detroit on Friday.
Titans: Visit Pittsburgh on Aug. 25.
The Detroit Lions released wide receiver Bruce Ellington, safety Glover Quinn and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby on Friday. Ellington signed with the Lions after they traded Golden Tate to the Eagles and became their slot receiver until he landed on Injured Reserve on Dec. 22. He had 23 catches for 132 yards in four games for Detroit. Ellington's best year came in 2017 with the Texans when he had 29 catches for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Wherever he signs, he'll battle for a roster spot in training camp.
The Buffalo Bills released tight end Charles Clay on Friday. Clay provided only 21 catches (36 targets) for 184 yards (career-low 8.8 yards per catch) and no touchdowns in 13 games for Buffalo in 2018. He was rarely in the game plan for the Bills the last two seasons and won't be a very popular target on the free-agent market. His best season came in 2013 with the Dolphins when he had 69 receptions (103 targets) for 759 yards and six scores over a full season. The days of Clay being on fantasy rosters is over.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles would "probably" be interested in playing for the New York Giants if they decide to move on from Eli Manning, according to one person with knowledge of Foles' thinking. Foles landing with the Giants would be less likely if the Eagles place the franchise tag on him, which is unlikely. The Jaguars are another team to watch out for, and there is mutual interest between them and Foles. After winning Super Bowl MVP two years ago and playing well as a starter again in 2018 when Carson Wentz was injured, Foles should earn a starting gig on the open market with several teams looking for a signal caller. While Foles has QB1 upside in the right matchups, his 2019 fantasy value will ultimately depend on where he winds up.
All indications are that the Pittsburgh Steelers plan to use the transition tag on running back Le'Veon Bell by the deadline on March 5. It's expected to have a value of $9.5 million to $14.5 million for one season and gives the Steelers a chance to match any offer he'd receive on the open market. Pittsburgh doesn't plan on matching any offer to retain Bell, but only to trade him. However, even if the Steelers find a taker in a trade, they'd need Bell to sign the transition tag first, which is highly unlikely. This situation continues to get uglier, but Bell won't be playing in Pittsburgh in 2019 no matter what. Despite having 1,229 rushing attempts in five seasons, Bell is in the prime of his career and has reached the 1,000-yard mark three times. He's one of the more versatile backs in the NFL and should remain an RB1 in his next home.
Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson will return to shadowing the top opposing wide receivers in 2019, according to defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
Free-agent RB Mike Gillislee (Saints) worked out for the Detroit Lions Thursday, Feb. 14.
Miami Dolphins WR Danny Amendola could fill the slot receiver role for the Detroit Lions in 2019 because of his connection to head coach Matt Patricia, in the opinion of Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com.
Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles') said he is no longer wearing a walking boot but still has a 'slight limp' when walking around.
Fantasy Spin: After suffering an Achilles' injury late in the year, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Sanders miss time in 2019. He showed last year that he can be a WR2 as the top option in Denver's passing attack, but fantasy owners will need to be patient as he returns to form.
Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams caught 37 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2018 and had two catches or less in all but two games.
Minnesota Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell averaged 5.7 yards per target last year, the fourth-worst mark among receivers with at least 50 targets, and Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com expects Treadwell's fifth-year option to be declined.
Fantasy Spin: The former first-round pick has been a bust, and he didn't show any signs of righting the ship despite a bigger role in 2018. Even in dynasty formats, it may be time to give up on Treadwell.
Philadelphia Eagles impending free-agent WR Golden Tate and Washington Redskins impending free-agent WR Jamison Crowder are options to fill the need the Green Bay Packers have at slot receiver, according to Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: The Packers need a dependable option to support Davante Adams, and both Tate and Crowder would quickly become potential WR3 options if Aaron Rodgers is throwing them the ball.
Atlanta Falcons SS Keanu Neal (knee) posted a video of himself going through agility drills without a brace on his injured left knee.
Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy (leg) was seen without any braces or supports for his injured leg.
Los Angeles Chargers impending free-agent LB Denzel Perryman will be re-signed this offseason if the Chargers have their way, according to a source.
Updating a previous report, free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick (49ers) desired at least $20 million to play in the Alliance of American Football, according to a source.
Free-agent QB Nick Foles (Eagles) is expected to 'keep tabs on' the New York Giants this offseason, according to NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt. A source with knowledge of Foles' thinking said the former Super Bowl MVP would 'probably' be interested in starting for the Giants if they were to release QB Eli Manning.
Fantasy Spin: There are many pieces that must fall in order for Foles to the Giants to work out. It's a sensible destination, though, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley leading one of the most talented offenses in the NFL. Foles could be the piece that makes them take a forward step. Were this signing to come to fruition, Foles would demand QB1 consideration given the pieces that would be around him.
Free-agent QB Nick Foles (Eagles) is not expected to return to the Philadelphia Eagles as the backup to Carson Wentz.
Fantasy Spin: Foles deserves a starting job. He won't want to play as a backup and make less money when there are teams willing to pay him to be their starter. He can be a part of the QB1 conversation if he lands in the right spot. Of course, when Wentz is healthy he too has QB1 appeal.
Free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick (49ers) and former NFL QB Tim Tebow were asked if they wanted to join the Alliance of American Football, according to league co-founder Bill Polian. Polian said he doesn't know what transpired with Kaepernick, but added that he spoke personally with Tebow, who declined.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown and Steelers impending free-agent RB Le'Veon Bell are not expected to be intensely pursued by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. The Colts will have the most salary cap space in the league this offseason and will do their due diligence, but Brown's off-field drama and Bell's asking price may be too much for the Colts.
Fantasy Spin: The Colts did just fine last year without the services of Brown or Bell. Brown seems like more of an immediate need, but general manager Chris Ballard wants a cohesive and cooperative locker room. While the fantasy marriage of Brown and/or Bell with the Colts might be ideal, don't get your hopes up.
Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee is considered a strong candidate to be cut this offseason, in the opinion of NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal. Lee's extensive injury history, $10 million cap hit and the presence of fellow LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith don't bode well for a possible return.