I Guess Field Goals Add Up If You Have Enough Of Them
November 17, 2008 at 11:55am by Scott • 1 Comment »
This whole Jeff Garcia thing is getting frustrating. He made some excellent plays yesterday and dug the team out of some pretty big holes, but he also missed on some wide open receivers. Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton and Joey Galloway were all open on different occasions for some big gains and touchdowns and he, instead, chose to take the checkdown or even throw the ball away. I’m less angry about it now than in past weeks because in most cases he kept the play alive for a couple extra seconds, but something needs to be corrected. Is he not tall enough to see a good throwing lane? Is he running around too frantically to be able to see the whole field? He said himself that he’s kind of afraid to throw an interception. Maybe that’s it.
I’m a big running game advocate and I appreciated when they went for it on fourth-and-one with a run up the middle even though they came up short. It shows balls. But after a few of those attempts on third-and-one didn’t go anywhere and it was obvious that the Vikings were selling out to prevent it, maybe it’s time to throw the quick slant or a smoke route — something cheap to get the first down. Maybe they won’t be able to commit so many guys to the box next time that situation comes up if you burn them with a couple of those.
But that toss right to Warrick Dunn at the goalline was doomed before the play started. I think Garcia checked into that play, too, which means it’s his fault. There just weren’t enough guys to block on that play and the Vikings got immediate penetration.
In keeping with the trend for the last few weeks, the offensive line had an excellent day pass-blocking and an awful day run-blocking. The only time Garcia was sacked was when he fell down on a scramble. Even when he go happy-feet, the line was able to protect him and give him time to set up.
Jared Allen was a total non-factor. Donald Penn completely negated him.
Does Jeremy Trueblood need a code red to make it clear that he can’t keep pulling stupid shit at critical times? How many red zone drives is he going to single-handedly fuck up before Jon Gruden just starts withholding paychecks from him? We love it when we hear that offensive linemen have “nasty streaks” because it means they’ll be aggressive in the trenches, but they have to know when to shut it off, too.
It’s not like that nasty streak helped Trueblood much yesterday. Some plays he hung in there pretty solidly, but he was also beaten by Ray Edwards a number of times. Pretty badly, too. The second round pick could learn a little bit about poise and technique from the undrafted free agent on the other side of the line. If there’s an award for the most unused potential, it probably goes to Trueblood. Bill Muir needs to ride him like a fucking donkey this week and straighten his ass out.
Speaking of Ray Edwards, that late hit he put on Garcia was not only not close, it’s wasn’t close to being close. If the league doesn’t fine him a bazillion dollars, there will be an anti-NFL uprising in Tampa. On top of Ike’s hit not getting fined, there will be enough evidence to proclaim a conspiracy.
Dunn filled in like a trooper when Earnest Graham went down again. He’s so elusive and has such great balance. It’s a shame Graham wasn’t there to pound on the defensive line a little more to wear them down because I think Dunn could have had an even bigger day if he had.
How many times has Clifton Smith fumbled now? Two on offense and two or three on special teams? He looks like he could be a special runner, but there’s no way he’s good enough to wipe out that many fumbles. Now that Graham is injured again (he left the stadium in a boot yesterday), I wonder if Gruden regrets getting rid of Michael Bennett.
Smith’s special teams performance, though, will keep him on the roster. He flew down the field and tackled the runner three separate times. That’s some serious hustle.
B.J. Askew was blocking like his old self again and it was nice to see him get a touchdown. Jameel Cook will now probably be mostly a special teams player with Askew back.
Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton were the only two wide receivers to make catches yesterday. I’m not counting Ike Hilliard‘s one catch for a loss which never should have been thrown to him in the first place. But they got open a lot more than that. Garcia is going to be embarrassed when he looks at the tape.
Clayton is obviously having his best season since he was a rookie, and it can’t be a coincidence that it’s a contract year for him.
Jerramy Stevens was clutch. He was the leading receiver and had a pretty good day blocking, too. And that holding call on him was ridiculous. I watched that several times and there was no holding. His dude fell down.
You want to know what really won this game for the Bucs? Defensive line play. They kept constant pressure on Gus Frerotte and finally figured out how to stop Adrian Peterson in the second half. The line by itself had five tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, three sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defensed.
You know who else got a sack? Ronde Barber. Oh, he also got beat like a mouthy wife on several different occasions and got called for holding which gave the Vikings first and goal from their 7. They scored a touchdown on that drive, too. One game, Ronde. One game where you make all the right moves and take all the right angles and tackle cleanly and don’t fall down. Please? Just one to let me know you can still do it.
From what I can tell, Derrick Brooks is coming out of the game more and more, and I think it’s helping his overall performance. He got beaten once in the first quarter (by Visanthe Shiancoe of all people), but after that he came up big in the game’s most crucial situations. I think he’s able to save a little more energy when he sits out for a couple plays and then has more burst to be able to run with guys down the field or to deliver a little extra juice on a tackle to keep the runner from breaking free.
How awesome is Sabby Piscitelli? Really awesome. Besides that one long Peterson run where both he and Ronde missed, he seemed like he was always laying guys on their backs. I looked back and he only had four tackles, but it seemed like a lot more. I know Jermaine Phillips is having a good year, but I don’t think the Bucs will lose much if they let him walk away in free agency next season and give Piscitelli the full-time gig.
This was a good win against a good team, but this is not championship football. I don’t know what kind of voodoo happens to the Bucs in the red zone, but this shit has to be corrected soon or come playoff time, some team’s gonna stomp them a new mudhole. Right now they have as many touchdowns as the Seahawks who we can all agree suck this year. The Bucs have only two more touchdowns on the season than the winless Lions. So far it’s been enough and the defense has come up huge. But a team like the Giants or the Cowboys are going to put and end to the party real fast in January if they can’t convert some of those field goals into touchdowns. The Lions would be a great team to really just try to beat the shit out of and get in that mode of thinking. Don’t play down to their level, stay aggressive, beat them by 30. There are a lot of former Bucs on that team that don’t want to see that happen, which is all the more reason to do it. I’m actually more concerned about this upcoming Lions game than I was about the Vikings because of the familiarity and pride factors. Come on guys, make this one a rout.