Winslow undergoes fifth knee surgery

According to the Pewter Report, Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow was held out of the start of OTAs Monday after undergoing his fifth knee surgery in the last six years.

The report states that the knee surgery was a minor arthroscopic procedure, or a “clean up” of the knee. That said, this was Winslow has already had two knee operations since undergoing microfracture surgery in 2007. At 26 he may be able to recover without much problem, but how long will he be able to play after having all these surgeries? The body obviously breaks down with age, so this isn’t a good sign for the tight end’s long-term health.

The Bucs need a healthy Winslow heading into the season so young quarterback Josh Freeman has a primary weapon he can use in the middle of the field. If not, the team will have to count on rookie Arrelious Benn or a hodgepodge group of receivers in Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall, Mario Urrutia, Reggie Brown and Mark Bradley.

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With Bucs’ QB job Leftwich’s to lose, is trade coming for McCown or Johnson?

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback job is Byron Leftwich’s to lose. Unless he’s absolutely brutal in this week’s preseason game against the Dolphins, it appears that Leftwich will be under center for the Bucs in Week 1.

On a related note, is reporting that the Bucs are gauging trade interest for Leftwich, Luke McCown and Josh Johnson.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris originally planned to name a starter after Saturday’s preseason game against the Jaguars, then postponed the decision for at least one more week. Veterans Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown have been competing for the job, with first-round draft pick Josh Freeman the quarterback of the future.

Two NFL sources said the Bucs have been calling teams, willing to listen to offers for Leftwich, McCown or second-year pro Josh Johnson, a player thought of highly internally but who likely wouldn’t have great trade value.

“They sounded like they’re willing to deal any one of those three,” one executive said. “They’re looking for someone to make the (starting quarterback) decision for them.”

I think it’s safe to assume that the report doesn’t apply to Leftwich now, but that doesn’t mean that Tampa won’t try to ship McCown or Johnson out of town. And considering McCown threw two touchdown passes in the Bucs’ second preseason game, he seems to offer the best value in a trade.

Then again, given Leftwich’s troubles with inconsistency and with rookie Josh Freeman off to a slow start, the Bucs may want to hang onto McCown for the time being. It doesn’t make sense to hang onto four quarterbacks, but it’s not like the Bucs have a clear-cut starter out of the group either.

I don’t see Johnson netting much (if anything) in a trade.

Bucs’ Jackson suspended, Talib arrested

In the course of two days, the Buccaneers’ secondary has taken a significant hit after free safety Tanard Jackson was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and cornerback Aqib Talib was arrested for simple battery and resisting arrest.

Jackson, who was entering his third season, has emerged as one of Tampa’s better young defenders. He started all 32 games for the Bucs over the past two seasons and made defensive calls for the team in the secondary. Given that Will Allen is his replacement, this is a significant blow to the Bucs’ defensive backfield.

Talib showed promise as a rookie last year and was likely going to be promoted to starter this season. But his starting status is now very much in question following his arrest, not to mention he was also punished for striking teammate Torrie Cox in the face with his helmet at the conclusion of a recent practice.

The Bucs lost one of the better defensive minds in football when long-time coordinator Monte Kiffin left the team to coach with his son at the University of Tennessee. Now they have to deal with the loss of Jackson for four games and concern themselves with disciplining Talib.

This isn’t a good sign for a team that is trying to adjust to a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator.

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