Ernest Hooper, Assistant Sports Editor

Ernest Hooper

Assistant Sports Editor

When I look in the mirror every morning, I realize I like the guy looking back at me. Don't get me wrong. The man in the mirror comes with flaws. He needs to eat less, exercise more and try not to get so caught up in his own thoughts. But I still like him. I like having a wife willing to put up with all my flaws after nearly three decades of marriage. I like that God has blessed me with three children -- two sons and a daughter -- who have grown to become great young adults. I like that every morning I awaken excited about journalism, the awesome opportunity to connect with readers in ways both big and small. I love coffee, but serving Times readers represent my true caffeine. Most of all, I like that guy looking back at me -- all of his loves, all of his memories and all of his weird personality traits -- because he's still pushing to do more, be more and learn more. Nothing matters more than looking in that mirror and appreciating the man who looks back at me because that drives me to be better.

Tampa Bay Bucs-N.Y. Giants picks: Can a rookie be subdued?

Bucs running back Peyton Barber will be key in helping Tampa Bay elevate its struggling defense. Mike McCarn  |  AP
New York enters with quarterback Daniel Jones starting his first NFL game

Can the Bucs defense sustain its success?

Linebacker Kevin Minter and the Bucs defense have played well. Can they keep it up? Mike McCarn  |  AP
After two games, the unit has allowed only one touchdown. How do they keep it going?

What’s up with the Bucs’ slow start on offense?

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston hopes to have his team dressed for success as the season moves forward, but to do so he'll need to generate more offense. Tampa Bay plays host to the Giants on Sunday. Brian Blanco  |  AP
In 2018, Tampa Bay fielded one of the league’s best passing units. Now it’s struggling.

After seeing two games, do we rethink our Bucs predictions?

Bucs coach Bruce Arians has helped the team to a 1-1 record. The won-loss mark isn't surprising, but how they've done it has turned some heads. Brian Blanco  |  AP
For some Times staff writers, the outlook appears a little brighter. Others? Not so much

Tampa Bay-grown NFL players could make for a powerful lineup

San Francisco running back Matt Breida (22) is one of the Tampa Bay area products shining in the NFL. The region is one of the national leaders in producing pro football talent. Gary Landers  |  AP
On ‘The Road To Miami Gardens,’ you can find an array of area players; plus shoutout to former Gator Eddy Pineiro