REAR ENTRIES: Forgotten Men
August 20, 2010 at 11:49am by Scott • 12 Comments »
FORGOTTEN MAN?: I was reading this short piece on Clifton Smith and how he is the “forgotten man” on offense, like the team went and drafted a high-round running back just to piss him off or something, which is bullshit. He’s not forgotten. The only thing that’s been forgotten is that Pewter Report forgot to use the word “fumble” in the article. Seriously, click over there and do a search for the word fumble, I’ll wait.
It’s not there, is it? Isn’t that fucking weird? Smith has touched the ball on offense 18 times and fumbled it four of them. He has also fumbled two kickoffs and one punt return. Keep in mind he has played in a total of 20 career games. That seems like a pretty important stat to just leave out of the story.
To their credit, Pewter Report doesn’t treat it as some conspiracy that Smith doesn’t get the ball on offense like I would expect a couple other local writers to do. Just that he’s forgotten. “Who? Clifton, Clifton… where have I heard that name before? Ohhhh, right. Yeah, the little running back. He just plum slipped my mind.” I don’t think we need Scooby and the gang to figure out this mystery. You fumble, ergo you do not get to touch the precious, precious ball anymore.
VALUE IN THE LOWER ROUNDS: Mark Dominik has taken some lumps this offseason (I won’t belabor what his screw-ups were, but I’d be LYING if I said everything was FINE this year), but I have to give credit where it is due and agree with this article on how seventh-rounders Sammie Stroughter and E.J. Biggers look like the real deal. Stroughter has a year of production under his belt already and, although it’s only been one preseason game, Biggers at the very least has shown that he has the ability to play at a high level. In recent years, you never would have expected anything from those guys except to be camp meat.
Until Stroughter and Biggers came aboard, the Bucs were saddled with a legacy of unproductive seventh-round picks.
Unproductive is being kind. Most of those guys were so awful that they gave eye cancer to the coaches who had to watch them. The only one during the Jon Gruden regime who was worth any shits at all is Mark Jones. We’ll go ahead and blame all those failings equally on Gruden, Rich McKay and Bruce Allen. But Dominik is looking pretty sweet with his seventh-rounders. In addition to Stroughter and Biggers from last year, Cody Grimm quickly became a coach favorite, I personally like Dekoda Watson and think he could hang on as a reserve linebacker for a few years, and Erik Lorig has received early praise from camp.
For Dominik to hit on a few of those late-rounders is important because it provides depth during a time when the Buccaneers are reluctant to sign anyone off the free agent market. And since they work for cheap and have a relatively weak union, they’re basically slaves. And never discount the value of slave labor. If it’s good enough to build a country, it’s certainly good enough for a football team. So congratulations to Mark Dominik on finding quality players in the lower rounds.
CAMP BREAKS: Training camp is over and now it’s back to a reasonable practice schedule and the mundane drudgery of reviewing film and deciding who to cut in a couple weeks. Buccaneers.com celebrates the end of camp and the impending regular season with a video summary of some of the best plays in camp. If you’re having any trouble getting hyped for the season, this should help.