Josh Freeman

Archive for March 2013

Dotson Locked In, First Pick In Air

March 29, 2013 at 01:28am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Huh huh... #69.
Well, it may not be exciting or sexy, but at least the news of the Bucs signing Demar Dotson to a four-year deal is boring as shit.

“He brings incredible work ethic and focus and commitment to get better,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said of Dotson at the NFL owners meetings.

Dotson was already under contract, so this seems like a nod that he is the starter at right tackle for the foreseeable future. I was always torn between Dotson and Jeremy Trueblood for the last couple years. When one would piss me off, I’d scream for the other one, then repeat the process in reverse a week later. Dotson is huge and athletic, but still gets beat. He’s still just in his third year of playing offense, so everyone knew there’d be a learning curve. I guess Schiano saw everything he needed to see to make the decision.

I still think it would be smart to draft some competition for him, but it looks unlikely that that’s going to happen in the first round now. There won’t be a corner or linebacker worth taking at #13. So a defensive tackle, then? Sharrif Floyd (Florida) will be off the board and I don’t know how comfortable I’d be drafting Star Lotulelei with a diagnosed heart condition after Gaines Adams, you know, died. Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) is a 3-technique and the Bucs already have a first-rounder there. Any other DT at #13 is reaching. This could be a case where they really need to trade down or just take the BPA regardless of position. Which opens the door for my homerism and Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee). FAIR WARNING: If he becomes a real possibility, I will be insufferable for the next month.

I Hear There Are Still Some Corners Available

March 28, 2013 at 01:45am by Scott   •  10 Comments »

Think the Bucs might like a couple of them this year?
With possibly the worst draft class in at least ten years and nothing at all happening with the Bucs right now, I may be forced to give a shit about world events and news. Or worse yet, spring training.

The ongoing lack of a cornerback with more than a half-page resume remains the top Buccaneer concern, and Stephen Holder did us the favor of looking at the more notable free agents and telling us why they won’t be coming to Tampa.

Nnamdi Asomugha (Eagles): He reportedly is nearing a deal with either the Saints or 49ers and hasn’t been connected to Tampa Bay. But he’s among the best cornerbacks still available despite his struggles last season.

Bucs reportedly aren’t interested. Like, at all.

Brent Grimes (Falcons): Grimes is coming off a ruptured Achilles and seems to have initially set his asking price too high. He’s now generating quite a bit of interest, but the Bucs, we’re told, aren’t going to be his landing spot.

Rick Stroud seconds this assertion. I thought he’d be a good one.

Antoine Winfield (Vikings): He’s 35, so he’s not a great option, but he’s experienced and can still play at a pretty high level. Some see him as a better fit in the slot, though he can obviously play on the perimeter, too. Winfield reportedly is visiting the Redskins on Wednesday.

If the Bucs were going to draft two corners high, then this would be fine. But if they’re planning on holding onto someone for more than a year, you can’t pick a 35-year old corner. Ronde will probably be coming back to take over nickel, and then you’ve got almost 80 years of corner trying to defend Julio Jones. No.

Quentin Jammer (Chargers): This former first-round pick is also getting up there in age, now 33. He’s been a starter for his entire 12-year career, including last season when he made three interceptions for the Chargers. In any case, I’m told the Bucs haven’t contacted him so this might be a moot point.

Jammer has been hot and cold in his career, but he’s not a bad option.

Tracy Porter (Broncos): He didn’t have a good 2012 season, starting just four games for Denver, but he’s young (26) and has some ability. Porter was instrumental in the Saints’ 2009 championship season, and his past in the NFC South means the Bucs’ front office is familiar with him. The Saints and Raiders reportedly are interested.

Another halfway decent option.

DeAngelo Hall (Redskins): Hall has superb ball skills. Always has, evidenced by his 39 career interceptions. But Hall’s weakness – man coverage – could be problematic for a team like the Bucs, who use the tactic extensively. Probably not the best fit for Tampa Bay.

Because a team can never have too many neck tattoos.

Mike Jenkins (Cowboys): He experienced his share of struggles in Dallas last season, losing his place in the starting lineup. But Jenkins, formerly of USF, has put solid play on tape in the past. The 28-year old is from Manatee County and would likely find the Bucs appealing, but there’s been a very soft market for him to this point.

So this is what it’s come to?

Joselio Hanson (Raiders): He’s been a reliable slot/third cornerback for most of his eight seasons, and that doesn’t appear likely to change. Whoever signs Hanson wouldn’t be doing so with plans of him being one of their top cover men. But he would provide far better depth than the Bucs had in 2012.

You’ve probably got opinions about all these guys (except the last one, who isn’t known to anyone besides his mother) and have completely valid reasons for not wanting the Bucs to sign any of them. But if the Revis deal doesn’t happen, are you really comfortable with what they’ve got now? Even if they were to get Dee Milliner (Alabama) in the draft (which they won’t unless they move up to get him), they need more depth. Any of the above corners would be better than what they’ve got, at least in the short term. Maybe Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer will be good one day and maybe that day is soon, but it’s not now and unless the Bucs want to go for back-to-back “Worst Passing Defense” trophies, they need someone who knows when to jump to break up a pass and not bite on out-and-ups. How much could any of those dudes possibly be for a season?

No News Is No News

March 26, 2013 at 01:20am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

corners1

The only Bucs news happening right now is non-news and it involves cornerbacks not doing anything. Eric Wright is on the trading block but it’s silly to think any team will give up anything more than a free buffet coupon for him since there are still a ton of decent corners on the market already and Wright is one Pepsi Max away from a year-long suspension. Also, Ronde Barber told NFL Network today that he doesn’t know if he’s coming back and he has as long as he wants to think it over. Oh, and Darrelle Revis may not even be available for a trade since the Jets have no idea what they want for him. Wasn’t free agency supposed to be more fun than this?

(If that free buffet coupon is from Shoney’s, though, it might be worth it. Good french toast.)

Who Needs Cornerbacks Anyway

March 22, 2013 at 01:27am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

This is Danny Gorrer. No, you were not expected to know that.
If you didn’t think the Bucs’ cornerback situation could get any worse, you don’t have enough faith. The Redskins signed away E.J. Biggers, the only cornerback on the team qualified to start that hasn’t been busted for using “Adderall”. I”m going to go ahead and just copy and paste the Bucs’ current cornerback roster because you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you who was on it.

36 Gorrer, Danny CB 6-0 180 26 4 Texas A&M
29 Johnson, Leonard CB 5-10 202 22 2 Iowa State
28 Rogers, James CB 6-1 183 23 1 Michigan
37 Tandy, Keith CB 5-10 205 24 2 West Virginia
21 Wright, Eric CB 5-10 200 27 7 Nevada-Las Vegas
26 Gaitor, Anthony DB 5-10 182 24 3 Florida International
23 Lewis, Myron DB 6-2 203 25 4 Vanderbilt

Gorrer and Johnson have each had their moments and have potential as developmental projects, but neither is a legitimate starter now. I have honestly never heard of James Rogers and think he may just be a name the Bucs made up to fill out the roster. Tandy has made a total of 3 tackles in his NFL career. We already discussed Motorhead. Gaitor is in the same category as Gorrer and Johnson, although he may have a higher ceiling. And Lewis has been given every opportunity and still can’t seem to get on the field even though the three aforementioned non-qualified starters can.

And I know I railed against trading for Darrelle Revis, and I still think it’s a bad idea. But at least it’s an idea. I mean, if the trade goes down, they would have something to work towards and look forward to, right? That deal looked dead a couple days ago, but now it appears to have picked up some steam.

A source “close to the negotiations” between the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tells King that the Bucs likely would be willing to give their first- and second-round picks in the 2014 NFL Draft for Revis. The Jets are expected to get no less than first- and third-round picks in a possible deal, according to King.

The Bucs want the first round pick to come in 2014 and the Jets want this year’s pick. That’s the hold up. Otherwise, it sounds like the Bucs really want to get this done.

Both King and the New York Daily News indicate that the Bucs are willing to pay Revis big money. They are willing to give up valuable picks. They clearly want Revis. It shouldn’t be that hard to settle on what the picks are before the NFL draft.

So that explains why they haven’t snagged one of the several respectable corners left on the market. But it’s not like they don’t need a couple options. They could get Revis, Nnamdi Asomougha and still select a corner relatively high in the draft and be justified in doing it because you know those older guys are only a one or two year Band-Aid.

If the Bucs don’t do something about the corner situation, I recommend just blitzing 11 on every play. The first couple times they did it, at least it would be fun to watch.

A Week Into Free Agency

March 19, 2013 at 01:08am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

I don't need no fancy foods like beans with ketchup!
A few more personnel moves happened over the last couple days, most of which fall under the category of, “Well, they had to do something.” Like signing Tom Crabtree away from the Packers. He has been a good blocking tight end and is a can be an outlet receiver in a pinch (he caught eight passes last year), but no one thinks he’s the missing piece to the Super Bowl puzzle for the Bucs. I don’t even think he rules out the team using a high draft pick on a tight end next month. But he has more experience than Luke Stocker and, while Stocker got better as the season went on, probably isn’t the starter in Greg Schiano‘s run-first offense.

Speaking of the running game, apparently LeGarrette Blount is still on the trading block even though they re-signed him a couple weeks ago. The Bucs weren’t willing to let him go just for nothing, so they gave him a deal that was fair while still being palatable to another team who might need a running back. Blount’s contract contains no guaranteed money, so the team can still cut him without being out any cash or cap. I still think it’s a good move to hold onto him. If Doug Martin rips a knee apart, they’ll be glad Blount is still around.

One player that is no longer on the trading block, mostly because they actually traded him, is Arrelious Benn. The Bucs moved Benn to the Patriots Eagles for a sixth round pick this year and a conditional pick next year (no one knows what round it’s in, but it’s got to be really low), but the Bucs also had to give up a seventh this year. It’s probably all they could get for him, but it’s yet another second-round disaster for the Bucs and a total washout of the 2010 second round for Mark Dominik. The deal doesn’t make me feel any differently about Dominik — I still think he’s an excellent GM and a good talent evaluator — but letting Benn go for practically nothing has to sting. Especially considering Rob Gronkowski was taken three slots later.

Oh, and Roy Miller signed with the Jaguars. And Michael Bennett signed with Seattle (I think I covered that last time). It will be interesting to see who the Bucs want to replace Miller, who I thought was one of the better nose tackles out there.

So, to sum up the last week:

IN: Dashon Goldson, Tom Crabtree, Kevin Ogletree, Jonathan Casillas
OUT: Michael Bennett, Quincy Black, Jeremy Trueblood, Roy Miller, Arrelious Benn
STILL DON’T KNOW: Ronde Barber, Dallas Clark, LeGarrette Blount, E.J. Biggers, Andrew Economos, Brandon McDonald

Did they really not pay Economos yet? They’re not planning on arguing over a few dollars for a really reliable long snapper, are they?

Now that I look at that summary, it’s not the most glamorous free agency, is it? I’m sure they have a plan, but it would be nice if it involved them actually getting more than one really good player.

T-Shirt Update

March 15, 2013 at 11:20am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Everyone who prepaid for a T-shirt just got an email from me with an update. If you paid for a shirt and didn’t get an email, check your spam folder because I sent it to everyone and I keep meticulous records. What, you calling me a liar? Why I oughtta…

Comings And Goings

March 15, 2013 at 12:01am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood will have a dumbest hair contest this preseason.
Hey, things happened!

The Bucs made several signings over the last 24 hours, the most noteworthy being WR Kevin Ogletree who was with the Cowboys. Wait, did I just say that was the most noteworthy? Maybe not as many things happened as I originally thought. But Ogletree has shown flashes here and there and will give Tiquan Underwood a good run for his money. Arrelious Benn is as good as gone and the team is making no effort to re-sign Sammie Stroughter, who is an unrestricted free agent, so the bench was pretty shallow before Ogletree’s signing.

The team also signed LB Jonathan Casillas away from New Orleans. Casillas missed all of 2010 with an injury and hasn’t done a whole lot in his time with the Saints, but he is on the rise and had a great game against the Bucs in 2012. And the Bucs need to bolster their linebacking corps since they released Quincy Black today, too. His arm wasn’t getting any better and it was pretty likely that he wasn’t going to play at a high level again, if at all. So that leaves Mason Foster, Lavonte David, Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson as the known commodities at linebacker before the Casillas signing. Not the most glitzy name they could have gotten, but I think he’s solid.

And in the “guys who really didn’t have a choice” category, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Corvey Irvin both signed their tendered. Irvin I can take or leave, but keeping Te’o-Nesheim is a good move.

Jeremy Trueblood signed with the Redskins today, putting the Redskins at 1st and 15 before the season even starts. Stephen Holder has a few kind words to say about Trueblood and, to be fair, he definitely had some good moments. But his proclivity for false starts and personal fouls at the worst possible moments was infuriating and I will not miss it. DRAFT A RIGHT TACKLE IN THE FIRST ROUND.

Nothing yet has happened with Darrelle Revis, although it is said that the Bucs are the only team seriously interested in trading for him. Supposedly, the dollars are all worked out with Revis, they just need to agree with the Jets on draft compensation. I hear the rumblings that this is a weak draft overall and would be a good year to give up a first-round pick for a known superstar, but that viewpoint ignores the fact that those people are dumb as shit. The #13 slot is still very valuable for several positions, all of which the Bucs can use help with. If they were drafting in the mid-20s and were a cornerback short of a Super Bowl, I’d be more likely to get behind it. But this team is still a couple years from truly competing for a championship. Build up that offensive line, get a franchise tight end (sorry, Luke), get the best corner possible — something other than spending it on a player still getting over an ACL and who is a known locker room problem. I’d also say get another strongside linebacker, but there’s no one worth taking at #13 except maybe Jarvis Jones whose value is all over the board right now.

It’s not quite the haul it was last year, but I’m liking most of the moves I’m seeing from the Bucs.

Dashon Goldson Is A Buccaneer

March 14, 2013 at 01:27am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

goldson1

The Bucs announced today that they signed their first free agent this season, safety Dashon Goldson, formerly of the 49ers. Did you know they picked him up in their private plane and flew him to Tampa? I did, because it was covered so much that you’d think the story was about the plane ride and not his $41-million contract. How many hookers did they have on that plane to make it so important?

“I was encouraged that we recruited him hard enough to get him on the first flight,” general manager Mark Dominik said of the charter Goldson took to Tampa on Tuesday. “There were times I was nervous and wondering if we were able to make this come together.”

Kudos to Rick Stroud for foregoing the “Struck Gold” pun.

It’s a great signing, but it leaves Ronde Barber in the position of “go corner or go home”. The Bucs would probably welcome him back as the nickel corner since he’s still good at it and the next best corners they have under contract are Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer. Seriously. E.J. Biggers is an unrestricted free agent, as is Brandon McDonald. Eric Wright has no future with the team and Myron Lewis is doing exactly what we expected a Vanderbilt player to do in the NFL. So the name of the game tomorrow is, “How do we make Ronde happy?” Remember, an airplane full of hookers is never the wrong answer.

“We’re going to wait and see how Ronde feels,” Schiano said. “I’m going to let Ronde make his decision and celebrate Dashon’s signing and everything that goes with it.”

He’s playing it cool, but Schiano needs Ronde more than Ronde needs the Bucs. They’ll have to use a high draft pick and hit free agency to get the corner situation taken care of. Dunta Robinson already signed with the Chiefs, but there are still some interesting options out there. Was Nnamdi Asomugha overrated in Oakland or just a bad fit in Philadelphia? He could be had for a pretty reasonable price, I think. Derek Cox from the Jaguars just signed with San Diego, so he’s out of the mix. I thought he was a good young prospect. I thought Brent Grimes would be re-signed by Atlanta after they let Robinson go, but he’s still out there. DeAngelo Hall is still only 29 and not nearly the douchebag he was when he was with the Falcons. One of those guys plus a first (unlikely) or second (more likely) rounder will keep the Bucs from depending on guys who simply aren’t ready to start yet.

First Day Of Free Agency Is Not Interesting

March 13, 2013 at 02:05am by Scott   •  11 Comments »

I like a safety who just punches the receiver.
The first day of free agency came and went for the Bucs and it was a lot like last year, except instead of three big name free agents they got zero. But that doesn’t mean they’re not looking around. In fact, Dashon Goldson is making Tampa his first free agent visit.

On Tuesday, the 49ers All-Pro boarded a private jet charted by the Buccaneers and flew across the country to Tampa Bay where he could become among the highest-paid safeties in the NFL today.

And somewhere Ronde Barber is regretting playing so aloof with his retirement talk. If the Bucs sign Goldson, the only way Barber comes back is as a backup safety/nickel corner and he’s not the kind of guy to take on that kind of role.

And the Darrelle Revis to Tampa talk is still getting traction in the media.

The Jets are believed to be seeking a first-round pick. Even if the teams agree on draft compensation, the Bucs would have to reach a contract extension with Revis, who wants $15 million to $16 million per year despite playing in only two games last season because of a torn ACL in his left knee.

And we all know Mark Dominik is smart enough to not cash in the #13 pick for a player who is going to cost so much coin and still won’t be happy with it next year. Then again

Devious pranksters with too much time of their hands appear to have conducted an interesting (and probably illegal) experiment that put Bucs general manager Mark Dominik on Front Street.

On Friday, just before the start of the NFL’s three-day free-agent negotiating period, the pranksters, after making a call to Bills general manager Buddy Nix posing as Dominik, somehow got access to the eventual callback from Nix to Dominik.

They surreptitiously recorded the 5-minute call and shared the clip with Deadspin.com. In it, Dominik laments the uselessness of the negotiating period and discusses his efforts to trade running back LeGarrette Blount and receiver Arrelious Benn (he claimed there’s some interest in both).

Just kidding, Mark. This isn’t your fault. And “probably” illegal is bullshit. It’s definitely illegal. Florida’s wiretapping law is very clear about both parties needing to give consent to record a call. Reading the article, Dominik didn’t say anything out of line or even anything very surprising. He wanted to trade Blount? The hell you say! And I actually didn’t remember Benn was on the team until I read this article, so if he can get anything at all for him, he wins Trade of the Year honors.

The only thing that was a little revealing is that he is looking to move Jamon Meredith, which may tip his hand that he is looking to take a right tackle early in the draft, which I think is great because the draft is deep at tackle. D.J. Fluker (Alabama) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) will both still be there and should even be available lower than #13 if the Bucs can trade down. Fluker is a monster and paired up with Davin Joseph on the right side will provide running lanes on the right all day long. Fluker has slow feet, though, and needs to work to be more nimble if he is going to be an elite tackle. Johnson is the opposite — quick feet and an excellent pass protector, but only an average run blocker. That’s because he doesn’t have the same size as Fluker (he is a former junior college quarterback) but he’s got all the smarts and skills to keep Josh Freeman clean on the right.

So yeah, kind of a waste of a prank and a wiretap. Next maybe they’ll catch Dominik reading a grocery list to his wife. And then they can try to make something interesting out of that. “Dominik, in a stunning revelation, said he prefers RC to Coke or Pepsi. We always knew the Bucs were cheap!”

Catching Up With Actual Bucs News

March 10, 2013 at 11:59pm by Scott   •  7 Comments »

And if that doesn't scare you, wait until you see all the tattoos on his head.
Several things have been going on with the Bucs over the last few days, so just like a typical blogger, I’m going to give you the news several days after it all happened and with the added benefit of being unfunny and completely uninsightful. And apparently not smart, either, since my spellcheck just said “uninsightful” isn’t a word. But it also doesn’t like “Bucs”, so maybe it’s not completely my fault.

The Bucs re-signed LeGarrette Blount without having to use a restricted tag on him, which is great since they actually paid him less than a second-round tender would have gotten him. Blount has shown he can be an effective back when he is used the right way. And by “the right way”, I mean lowering his head and destroying smaller linebackers. Free agent running backs and hit and miss (anyone remember Derrick Ward?) but they know what they have in Blount and it was worth $1.75-million on a one-year deal to them to hold on to him. Good move.

Despite reports that the Bucs weren’t sure if they wanted to bring Ronde Barber back, the Bucs have said they want to bring him back. Which is why anonymous “reports” almost always suck. Barber spends time hemming and hawing (no spell check there? Seriously?) every year and always comes back, and there’s no reason to think he won’t come back again. Until his level of play drops to where you see him on the field and just know he’s going to be out of position (this is known as “The Sabby Syndrome”), he’s better than most options out there. It may seem counterintuitive to think that the league’s worst pass defense should keep anyone from last year, but I don’t think Ronde was the problem. Like everyone else, he missed some plays, but he was generally effective and it just seems wrong to cut him before he’s totally worthless.

Michael Bennett won’t be returning to the Bucs. The team plans to start Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn as their defensive ends and that doesn’t leave any room for another starting-caliber player. At least not one who wants to play. Seems pretty dangerous to me to put all their eggs in the baskets of players who have missed significant time due to injury. Bowers may have a higher ceiling than Bennett, but Bennett is always on the field and led the Bucs in sacks last season. It’s a numbers game and the Bucs are making their choice, but they better invest significantly in depth at defensive end this offseason.

One of the players they may invest in is John Abraham. There’s apparently no report about actual interest; just Florio speculating. Abraham will be 35 when the season starts but still put up ten sacks last season and has been really consistent throughout his career. He hasn’t missed any significant time since 2006, so maybe he’s the depth the Bucs are looking for. When Clayborn or Bowers gets hurt (and one of them will), Abraham can step in and be effective. He’ll have other options, but this wouldn’t be a bad pickup. He won’t command an elite price, but he’ll be somewhat expensive. The Bucs may have to convince him that being a backup isn’t so bad, and one way to do that is to pay him almost-starter money.

So there you go. I cleared out the inbox that had been piling up and actually got an entry posted. And if you’re wondering about the clickys, sorry, I haven’t really been in a clicky mood this week. And look, you survived. Hey, some anticipation builds character. I’ll see what next week brings.