Don't worry, bud, I'm right here reading away.
Couple of questions...
1) Who's starting next to Antonio Bryant?
2) Wasn't there an injury to a starter that will cost him to miss games? Cause I thought I remember reading something somewhere about a Bucs player getting hurt.
Talk about any other sports here.
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Don't hate yourself in the morning... sleep 'til noon.
Michael Clayton and his $26 million deal. He's missed time during preseason, so I don't know how he's looking, but he's said he's feeling much better and finally able to contribute now that Gruden ain't calling the shots.
And I want to see him performs before I believe a single word... Actually, I'm much higher on Sammie Stroughter than him, and that should say enough.
Well, Tanard Jackson has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season. Aqib Talib is expected to be suspended as well. And Arron Sears is out indefinitely dealing with "personal matters".
You might be thinking about Angelo Crowell, who was expected to take over at WLB, but he's gonna miss the season after tearing his biceps. But I'm not worried about that, as Quincy Black and Geno Hayes are great young players that I'm confident will do a good job.
The only problem is that we're extremely thin at LB. Hayes, Rudd and Black will start, but there's nobody else to replace them in case one of them gets injured.
Ok, let's move on:
* Byron Leftwich has been named the Bucs starter by Rah in a team meeting this morning. And I blame the locker room support Leftwich got more than his performance.
Guess Rah felt like he had no other option, as no coach, particularly a rookie one, wants the top dogs of his locker room pissed off, but McCown did a better job during preseason. Let's hope it doesn't backfire.
wow, new OC Jeff Jagodzinksi got fired today. What the f is going on down there TMC?
Sorry, Bada. I've started my holidays today and I've just arrived home after 12 hours flying. This is the first time I've heard about it.
Let me take a look at the story and I'll post something else. Right now, the only thing I can say is that I'm SHOCKED. It's true our passing game has been pretty poor (and I'm being kind) during the preseason, but we've been playing without our two starters at WR. And the running game has looked really good.
I don't know what to say. It's just nonsense at this point of the season.
Ok, I've finally had some time to take a look at this Jags' fiasco.
In short, he was fired because the team felt he wasn't committed to his position as a coordinator and that he was looking at it as a way to get a head-coaching gig somewhere else.
Seems like his practice methods were subject of criticism by other coaches and the players, and the fact that he didn't even call the plays on offense didn't help his cause. Also, the team didn't feel like he could do anything remarkable with the offense, as most of the work was already being done by his assistants. So, basically, he was just "there", and the team decided to move on without him.
Actually, Jagodzinsky wasn't fired right away, as he was offered the QBs coach position to remain with the team, but he declined it and was subsequently fired.
Greg Olson will be the Bucs o-coordinator for this season, and he seems to have a lot more support from the players than Jags' ever had.
Personally, I was excited at first, with the signigns of Jags and Bates to help Raheem, but, with the lack of big signings even tho we had the most cap room available in the NFL and after all the turmoil with the QB battle and this issue with Jags, now I'd be surprised if we end the season with more than 4 or 5 wins. This is becoming a circus once again, like it was before Dungy and Rich McKay made this a competitive franchise.
I really, really hope we suck so bad this year that the Glazers are forced to fire Rah and Dominik and replace them with Cowher or another proven big name. And I think there's a chance that may happen if we end the season with just a couple of wins.
Ok, no big surprises after the Bucs final cuts. From all the guys we released, only Kareem Huggins looked like a legit player, surely someone that deserved a roster spot and a chance to prove himself in the NFL, but we're already carrying 4 RBs, so there was no room for him.
Matt Bryant was cut, but when the team signs a K like Mike Nugent in the offseason and you're unable to K in the whole preseason... well, the writing was on the wall.
Also, Luke McCown was finally traded to Jacksonville for a draft pick (a 6th that can even be a 5th if he meets certain requirements, although that's pretty unlikely, if you ask me). So, now, we're in Leftwich hand's... and Freeman is already #2 in the depth chart. He's looked so... so much a rookie in preseason that I'm hoping Leftwich doesn't get injured early on, or we may be in some deep sh*t (who am I kidding?. We'll probably be anyway...)
After taking a look at our schedule, here are my predictions for the Bucs' season:
13 DALLAS - L
20 at Buffalo - W
27 N.Y. GIANTS - L
4 at Washington - L
11 at Philadelphia - L
18 CAROLINA - W
25 vs. New England (in London) - L
8 GREEN BAY - W
15 at Miami - L
22 NEW ORLEANS - W
29 at Atlanta - L
6 at Carolina - L
13 N.Y. JETS - W
20 at Seattle - L
27 at New Orleans - L
Not exactly an easy schedule, and we lose one home game for the f*cking London trip. I might miss on which games we'll win, but I'd certainly would be surprised if our record is better than 5-11.
I quite frankly would be suprised to to see the Bucs win 5 games. I think that is their upside. Anywhere from 2-5 wins would be my uneducated guess.
Nah, we're better than two wins. We have playmakers on D (Barrett Rudd is one of the best playmakers at his position of the NFL and other unknown guys like Geno Hayes will certainly surprise you... lots of question marks as well, but there's enough upside there to give them the benefit of the doubt).
As for the offense, I really like our running game and o-line. Caddy (who's been named the starter, although that doesn't mean anything), Derrick Ward and Graham are a three headed monster that should give us a steady performance game after game.
As for the passing game... well, I've got my doubts, serious doubts as well. There's some talent as well (Winslow, Antonio Bryant, Sammie Stroughter...), but with Leftwich or a rookie like Freeman, I don't feel confident at all heading into the year. Still, we're gonna run A LOT, and if we manage to do it well (and early in games), we'll have a chance.
Also, I like Mike Nugent a lot, and having a good K never hurts.
You also posted in the pick'em thread that you believe Rah can be a bit over his head as a coach... and I'm starting to feel exactly like that. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for the first few games, tho.
All in all, I see this team as having more upside than everybody believes... but that upside won't be enough to get more than 4 or 5 wins.
Ok, let's go step by step with this game. Let's start with the good:
* Caddy is back and looking better than ever since his rookie season (97 yards and 1 TD, with 7.5 ypc). Still have to wonder if he'll stay healthy for the whole season, but nobody expected much from him, so let's enjoy this comeback for now.
* Keeping on with the running game, Derrick Ward also looked good when he was in. And it should be noted that Earnest Graham told Morris that Caddy should stay in the game while he was hot, which lead to Earnest number being called just one time in the whole game. Talk about unselfishness!.
It's safe to say that, as long as we stay healthy, our running game can be considered at the top of the NFL. Not for fantasy, of course, but with 3 capable RBs doing their job, we can rest assured of production on the ground.
* Byron Leftwich also had a good game. And he would have been much better if not for a couple of key drops, he would have surpassed the 300 yards mark. He also was pretty effective avoiding pressure (wasn't sacked in the whole game), one of the big question marks coming into the season. I wasn't happy with him coming into the regular season, but he proved to be reliable and able to lead the team to wins now. Seems like Morris did the right thing by picking him above McCown.
* Michael Clayton also had his best game as a Buc since his rookie year. With Bryant out of shape after missing the whole preseason, Winslow going to war by himself (some mistakes in the route-running, one key drop, took some plays off when the gameplan didn't involve him) and only some help coming from Sammie Stroughter, who looked good as a #3 WR, Clayton played really well, with only one drop as a clear mistake. But, overall, also a nice surprise to see him play at that level again.
* Geno Hayes arrived late at the game (and I hope he gets fined for that), and Rah inserted Matt McCoy at his starting WLB spot. McCoy was a non-factor, but Hayes made a few big plays when he finally got playing time. I think we may have a very good player in him.
As for the other LBs, Ruud didn't do much, but Dallas tried to avoid him all day, so it's not surprising that he doesn't appear in the stats. Black also made a few big plays, although he wasn't as good as Hayes.
Still, we should be happy about the performance of our LB corps (at leas the starters).
* The O-Line also played well, opening some nice holes for the running game and, generally, giving enough time for Leftwich to throw.
* The offense, overall, looked really good. Much better with Olson than Jagz. I'm sure Morris did the right thing by firing Jagz, but why did it take so long?.
Now, the bad:
* The D-Line. No sight of Gaines Adams. No sight of Wilkerson. The unit wasn't able to get to the QB, although it was close a couple of times, and only the rookie Roy Miller offered some hope for this unit. This is clearly an area of need for this team.
Not much bad, uh... ok, let's go with the ugly :
* Ronde Barber played well in the secondary. Talib didn't make many mistakes either. The rest of the secondary was god-awful. They were beaten consistently by the Cowboys WRs, looked out of place and not focused enough. Made mistakes everywhere in situation, tackling... just atrocious. Piscitelli in particular looked like a liability every time Dallas decided to go against him. And Jermaine Phillips didn't do much better. Elbert Mack, our nickel CB, also missed some tackles and was beaten a couple of times.
It should be noted that Tanard Jackson was suspended (still out for the next three games), and that's a big loss for the secondary, but the guys that played there were all starters, and Dallas had a field day against them.
It also should be noted that the secondary was Morris' area of expertise, those are his guys, so he should be the one to blame the most for the disgraceful performance of yesterday.
So, to sum it up, I'm really happy about the offense, moderately happy about some aspects of the defense (Geno Hayes, Rudd and Roy Miller, basically) and really concerned about everything else regarding our D, particularly the secondary. It has to improve, obviously, with Jackson back and some more time to get used to the system, but yesterday was a just terrible.
EDIT: To add to an already depressing season, Jeff Faine is gonna miss "several weeks" with a triceps injury. And that matters because he probably was the only player of our o-line without a decent backup.
Personally, I expect the team to bring back Sean Mahan, who has experience there and was cut last week.
btw, Mahan sucks.
So Antonio Bryant won't be available for the Bills game... GET READY FOR THE SAMMIE STROUGHTER EXPERIENCE!!!
(It's not that I dislike Sammie, quite the opposite... it's just how sad our WRs are that we have Sammie as our #2 so early in his career).
My quick thoughts of the week on the depressing Bucs:
* Our D sucks. It wasn't as bad as against Dallas, but still was pretty awful. The only positive is that the young kids keep playing well (the same young kids I've talked about before, Roy Miller, Geno Hayes...). Barrett Ruud had a much better game than in the first outing.
Sabby wasn't as bad as against Dallas. In fact, he was pretty solid, good tackling, on position on coverage... nice bounce back game, but still a long way ahead to prove he deserves to start. Still, I'd rather have him starting than Flip, who once again missed tackles, took wrong angles and was pretty poor on coverage (and looked slow, maybe because of the weight he put up for his aborted move to WLB).
On the other side, Gaines Adams is right on pace to be considered a bust by the end of this season. The D-line (except for Roy Miller) was just brutal, without a doubt the worst unit of the team, and certainly one of the worst in the entire NFL.
So, in short, same old story, solid LBs corp (and very young, with lots of room to improve), awful D-Line and below average secondary. Pick your poison.
Still, I think Hayes, Rudd and Roy Miller are the only long term starters we have on this team. Black and Sabby can be good backups, but I don't think they're good enough to start for a contender. And Talib is the big question mark, he has all the talent in the world to be a shut-down CB... but is he really commited?.
*To keep on with the D theme, time for the scheme. If the team wants to lose the Tampa 2, it's ok, but it looks pretty evident that our guys fit better a Tampa 2 scheme than the current Cover Nothing one we run. Our CBs cannot cover anyone on one on one (well, Talib might have a chance, but that's about it), and if the D-line cannot pressure the QB, they're gonna be exposed every game.
* We're not deep at all. Jeff Faine's absence was a BIG problem and Mahan wasn't able to replace him (what a surprise!!!) on the o-line. With Faine, we have a top 5 line, without him, it's barely average.
* The offense has some talent, but if we rely on them to win, they'll turn it over way too much. Sadly, there's no other option with the kind of defense we have right now.
* Raheem didn't have many answers for the game. He just commited the offense to the passing game (a big mistake, but it's true the o-line wasn't opening any holes for our RBs, so I kinda get why he did it), didn't have answers for the lack of pressure on the QB either and looked over his head for the whole game.
I'm actually kinda hoping we go after Cowher or Shanahan the minute the season ends, because it's pretty painful to watch Rah (mis)managing games. I do like the guy a lot... but chest bumping with your players doesn't translate easily into wins.
Talking about positives, Derrick Ward is playing well, really showing he's worth the deal he signed this offseason. And Caddy wasn't much of a factor on the running game, but did a great job as a receiving option.
Leftwich can be an effective game manager. He's proven that much by this point. But we're in deep trouble if we have to rely on him to win games. At least not with the lack of talent we have at WR. He played well against Dallas, but he had lots of overthrows against the Bills, a horrible pass that led to Whitner's INT and, as always, wasn't mobile at all, which led to a couple of sacks that could have been avoided.
Stovall finally showed up in a regular season game, and that's big. I thought Stroughter was gonna start, but Stovall got the last minute call and was solid. Clayton was a disappointment after his big game against Dallas, tho.
Next week, the Giants. After the way they won the Dallas game, they'll have a field day with our secondary.
Our best bet to win a game will be against the Redskins... but I'm changing my season predictions. A 3-13 season looks more likely than ever...
More bad news for the Bucs, as starting FS Jermaine Phillips is gonna miss 6-8 weeks with a broken finger and might even end up in IR.
He was playing like sh*t this year, but at least he had some starting experience. Tanard Jackson will be out for the next two games and so our starting safeties will be Sabby and Will Allen, with Steven Cargile their primary backup.
Don't be surprised if a couple of Giants WRs end up with more than 200 yards next week.
Oh, and Antonio Bryant is still questionable for the Giants game (and, even if he plays, won't be much of a factor, as he's still experiencing pain while running). Jeff Faine, of course, also will be out for that game.
Ok, I'm gonna call the game right now. Giants 46 - Bucs 21.
I'm just hoping the Saints don't score triple digits when they visit the Ray Jay.
This season can't end soon enough.
GO RAVENS!!!! (Hey, I wanna root for somebody while the Bucs suck).
This week's recap is gonna be quick:
God, this is gonna be a loooooong season...
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