Posts Tagged ‘albert haynesworth’
February 15, 2012 at 03:40pm by Scott • 2 Comments »
In a move that will surprise precisely no one who knows how to add, the Bucs cut Albert Haynesworth today.
Haynesworth, claimed off waivers in November after Gerald McCoy‘s season-ending biceps injury, immediately stepped into the starting lineup for Tampa Bay and had a noticeable impact. But his play and effort level tailed off toward the end of the season. The Bucs considered cutting him during the season.
The reviews of his “effort” level are not all in agreement. Some say he was playing hard, so say he wasn’t. It’s generally along the same lines of who thinks the team quit of Raheem Morris and those who don’t. But it really wouldn’t have mattered if he looked awesome, the Bucs weren’t going to tie up another $6.7-million in his salary for 2012 when they already have so much invested in the defensive line out of the draft.
With an entirely new coaching staff, I was thinking Haynesworth could end up back in Tampa if the price is right. He didn’t burn any bridges and he had some games where he played well. But the way Mark Dominik phrased it doesn’t make it sound like he’s too eager to bring him back for depth.
“I appreciate Albert playing for us after some key injuries this past season,” general manager Mark Dominik said. “He was very professional and we now wish him all the best as he moves forward.”
Sounds pretty definitive. So for those of you who were hoping to get the biggest defensive disappointment of the last ten years back on the team, you’re out of luck. Maybe Mike Mamula is looking to make a comeback.
January 04, 2012 at 01:38pm by Scott • 10 Comments »
HEY HEY HEY: Albert Haynesworth would like Buccaneers fans to know that, according to him, he has hit rock bottom.
“This year right here, you’ve probably seen me at my worst,” Haynesworth said. “I mean just as far as my play. I still did some good things, but I just think that next year I’ll be a hell of a lot better, back closer to my ’08 form.”
Neither of those statements are true, by the way. This season wasn’t completely terrible for Haynesworth in Tampa Bay. His 2010 season in Washington was miserable, much worse than this year. I actually wouldn’t mind having him back if he can show that he’s willing to work during the offseason and can do something about that $6.7-million salary that he’s due. But being back to his 2008 form? Please. In 2008 Haynesworth was 27, in the prime of his career, and playing in a contract year as the Defensive Player of the Year. The motivation and ability to play at the top of his game was HUGE. Now, Haynesworth has enough money to decide whether or not he ever wants to work again and even if he decides to, does he care enough about his reputation to play up to his potential? The Bucs need depth at DT and Haynesworth is probably better than a lot of guys out there, but for him to expect to be back to his 2008 form is like expecting Jennifer Love Hewitt to be back to her 1998 form. By which I mean impossible.
DROPSY: For some reason, Pat Yasinskas‘s headline made me laugh: “Guess who led the NFL in drops?” It’s not often you hear a real reporter start a story with “Guess who”, which is too bad since most of them are just guessing anyway. But if you guessed Roddy White, congratulations, you win a game ball that Roddy tipped into a cornerback’s hands. But if you guessed the Bucs’ own Mike Williams, you weren’t far off.
Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams finished third in the league with eight drops.
The Bucs finished sixth in the league overall with 29. Josh Freeman threw 29 balls that were catchable but the receiver let him down. If they had all been caught, Freeman’s completion rate jumps from 62.8% to 68.1% and his passer rating goes from 74.6 to 81.3 (assuming the same yards per completion and none of them would have been for touchdowns). That’s pretty significant. Of course, the Bucs would have still gotten the shit kicked out of them, but we wouldn’t be feeling quite so down about Freeman now, either. I guess my point is that Freeman overthrows a lot of receivers, so when he doesn’t, you gotta catch the thing.
ANOTHER INTERVIEW: According to paragraph in this article, the Bucs will also interview Mike Mularkey for the head coaching position.
The Bucs plan to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who has been instrumental in developing quarterback Matt Ryan. Mularkey began his coaching career in Tampa Bay in 1992 as an offensive quality control assistant under Sam Wyche. He was the Buffalo Bills head coach from 2004-05, resigning with a 14-18 record.
Mularkey is another guy that seems competent enough but doesn’t really inspire me to renew my Sunday Ticket yet. His time in Buffalo was a little less than mediocre, but it’s Buffalo. But Atlanta seems to be clicking along pretty well offensively right now and Matt Ryan survived his sophomore slump. But does he have the personality to be able to handle this locker room full of kids? I don’t think he’ll be anyone’s friend, which is fine. But will he inspire the players to give him everything they’ve got? That’s my biggest question.
November 21, 2011 at 12:29pm by Scott • 7 Comments »
So, yesterday’s game wasn’t a wretched piece of shit that makes you embarrassed for yourself and your community, and that’s a definite step forward. In fact, it was actually a pretty good game by the Bucs and if they had played it against just about any other team, they probably would have won. But they played the Packers and they’re made of pixie dust this year and Aaron Rodgers is the perfect combination of EVERYTHING so here the Bucs sit at 4-6. At least my Volunteers beat Aaron’s brother, Jordan, who plays for Vanderbilt. But even that was too close for comfort. If the Vols had lost that one, I would have had to add the Rodgers family to my list of families to kill. But first, the Baldwins. Except Alec. I still loves me some 30 Rock.
Josh Freeman calmed down and had a relatively decent day. I’d still like to see him pull the ball down an run a little more when the opportunity is there (like on his interception to Tramon Williams when he had Arrelious Benn in front of him to block), but overall he wasn’t bad. He wasn’t betrayed nearly as much by his wide receivers as he has been in the past either, making for a 78% completion percentage.
Mike Williams looked like his old self. Maybe he called Fred Biletnikoff and bought some of his super-secret invisible Stickum. I didn’t notice any drops, so whatever works. Beautiful touchdown slant, too.
All the other receivers — Benn, Dezmon Briscoe, Preston Parker — came through in clutch situations. I’m guessing Eric Yarber changed the punishment for dropping a pass from carrying a football around in your arms all week to carrying it around in your ass like Christopher Walken did with Butch’s watch. Sometimes you just need the right motivation.
I’d like to point out that Connor Barth is kicking at over 90% right now. I’m not kidding when I say he should be considered for MVP of the team so far.
Hey, LeGarrette Blount had 18 carries and broke a long one for a touchdown. Who’da thunk it? Oh wait, ALL OF US THUNK IT. I don’t care if you give Blount the ball ten times and he gains nothing. There’s a very good chance that on the eleventh one, he’s going for 60 yards. He ran for 107 with a 5.9 YPC average and one of the mod spectacular runs you’ll ever see. That run is up there with the best of Mike Alstott‘s.
Adrian Clayborn and Brian Price were twins yesterday, both getting a nice sack and a tackle for loss. I still can’t help but wonder how dominant Price would be if he were allowed to play 3-technique. Albert Haynesworth is playing it and didn’t have a great game.
Rodgers tested Aqib Talib because he’s been on the skids lately, but Talib really stepped up with three passes defensed.
E.J. Biggers: Still awful. And then Myron Lewis replaced him and he was no better. Is Elbert Mack really their best option as a third corner right now? It may be time to bend the rules of the new regime and pick up a good veteran cornerback in free agency next offseason. Lewis is a third-rounder and isn’t quite panning out.
Raheem Morris chewed Quincy Black a new asshole after he gave up that touchdown. I really hope it gets through to him. Black has all the physical tools to be awesome, but somehow he keeps missing plays. I thought this linebacker corps was going to be the strongest unit in the defense and maybe one of the better ones in the league, but it’s really been disappointing. Yesterday wasn’t terrible and the Packers’ running game was held to under 100 yards, but then again the Packers aren’t really a running team.
Morris’s decision to go for two early in the fourth quarter was fucking stupid and someone needs to tell him. I’m sure it seems real tough and gritty to go for two and it says that you have confidence in your offense, but you can’t leave any points on the table against a team like the Packers. If they had just kicked the PAT, they would have actually been in the game at the end. You only go for two when time dictates no other option. The onside kicks didn’t bother me, although someone needs to work with Michael Koenen on getting the ball ten yards down the field. Successful onside kicks can really flip momentum and steals a possession from a hot offense like Green Bay’s. So yeah, go for them. But take your points where you can.
What a shame about that early punt that never happened. Punters are so well protected by the rules that Jacob Cutrera wasn’t going to just tackle him like he could have. So I don’t blame the Bucs for that one — it was just a freak play. I can’t believe I actually used Cutrera’s name in a write-up.
If the Bucs can keep up this level of play, they can win between 4-6 of their next games. At this point, I’m not seeing playoffs in the future, but I can see them ending the season on a positive note. I just hope that a good ending doesn’t make them forget the shit they went through in the first ten games and that they remember the deficiencies and holes in their team when the offseason kicks in.
November 11, 2011 at 02:52pm by Scott • 10 Comments »
ANDRE JOHNSON OUT FOR TEXANS: This gets the top spot because it’s such good news. You saw how the Bucs did against Calvin Johnson. They didn’t need yet another Johnson all up in their faces. Yes, I said it that way on purpose.
BLOUNT DISCUSSES THE CHEAP SHOT: LeGarrette Blount spoke about his personal foul last Sunday.
“That’s one of the things that always beats us. When we lose a game by three or four points, we can always look back at it and say there was that one foolish penalty that stalled our drive and we could have put seven (points) on the board. That is one thing that we have to cancel out and be aware of and not commit those penalties anymore.”
It sounds like he understands that those kinds of penalties are bad, but he never really says he’s sorry or anything. He never uses the word “I”. Watch out for that.It’s a sign that you’re not really remorseful or taking responsibility. Yeah, I took a Psych 101 class 20 years ago and so I know exactly how the world works.
FENNELLY IS STILL AWFUL: Martin Fennelly did his bit on Albert Haynesworth.
Meet Albert Haynesworth, all of him.
I don’t want to meet all of him. That’s gross. And if Martin has, that’s grosser. But the article is interesting in a couple places if you can stomach the writing. Like Raheem Morris saying that Haynesworth practiced with his “sweat bag” on. Nice. Martin Fennelly quoting Raheem Morris. And English teachers all over the country simultaneously got chills up their spines.
A bonus clicky this week. I meant to post it for Halloween but forgot about it until now. Consider it a Veteran’s Day clicky. It kind of works, right?
November 10, 2011 at 12:35pm by Scott • 5 Comments »
HAYNESWORTH PRACTICES: Albert Haynesworth was just claimed off waivers yesterday afternoon and is already practicing today, so that’s at least something. He’s wearing #95, the same number John McCargo was wearing, which somehow seems extra mean.
The Bucs have three healthy defensive tackles with Haynesworth in the fold, with Frank Okam still sidelined by a calf injury today.
I didn’t know this, so the waiver claim make a little more sense now. A little.
Haynesworth participated in all segments of practice that were open to media, essentially the first 30 minutes of the workout. Part of that period was dedicated to individual defensive line drills, which Haynesworth handled seamlessly.
I heard that although he is in a 4-3, one gap scheme now, the grass on the field was not to his liking. “What is this? Bermuda? I’m a fescue player, everybody knows that! I can’t play on this shit. I think I got cramps,” he was not quoted as saying but probably did.
DOMINIK DISCUSSES HAYNESWORTH: If you want to feel a little better about the Haynesworth claim, you can read Mark Dominik‘s conference about it here. He says he watched every snap Haynesworth played for the Patriots and was impressed enough to take him. Or, probably more accurately, not disgusted enough to pass on him.
I counted seven quarterback pressures, No. 1. That was important. I counted about 15 disruption plays. I counted eight total tackles, which isn’t tremendous. But again, he’s playing in a 2-gap system. I’ve always felt that Albert Haynesworth is a 1-gap player, and I feel Albert Haynesworth feels that way as well.
I never doubted that Dominik would do his homework on a player, so I’m assuming he sees enough out of his performance to justify claiming him. That’s not even really my concern. The question of his character and his not-performance-related issues was never addressed or at least isn’t in the article I just linked to. If he embarrasses the Bucs in front of the Tampa Bay community by drunk driving or going 90 in a school zone or some other bullshit, that’s going to be a black eye that will take a long time to fade (that’s not a face-stomping pun).
PRACTICE UPDATE: Tanard Jackson, Ronde Barber and Mike Williams all practiced today after missing yesterday. Jackson and Williams were both nursing minor injuries and Barber was having his head waxed. That’s CHAMPIONSHIP BALDNESS, baby!
November 09, 2011 at 05:35pm by Scott • 7 Comments »
Here’s a headline I never thought I’d be linking to:
Bucs claim Albert Haynesworth off waivers
Everyone here knows that I will overlook a WHOLE MESS OF SHIT if you’re a Volunteer who is looking for a home in the NFL. Age, minor crimes, lack of talent… a Volunteer can overcome any of that shit and be at the very least a solid contributor to the team. But ever since his contract years with the Tennessee Titans, he has been what can only be described as an abject failure of biblical proportions. His first year in Washington was average, then he threw the world’s biggest hissy fit when he was asked to play in a 3-4. So for his two years in Washington, the Redskins ended up paying him something close to $50-million before they decided he wasn’t worth it. What was he worth after sinking all that cash into him? A fifth-round pick. In 2013.
The Patriots are also a 3-4 team, but if you’ve been watching their games this season, they line up in a 4-man front a whole lot. Haynesworth prefers a 1-gap scheme and I honestly couldn’t tell you if they were running that or not, but it shouldn’t matter. If the whole argument against the Redskins in 2010 was that they were running a 3-4 and he’s not a good 3-4 player, shouldn’t a team like New England be able to use a talent like Haynesworth in a 4-3 for the bargain price of a fifth-round pick? Bill Belichick is a brilliant defensive coach who can take any corpse off the scrapheap and make him a contributor. And he had no use for him.
The Bucs surprisingly claimed Haynesworth off of waivers Wednesday, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. They will take the rest of his contract he signed with New England.
The article doesn’t mention that they released John McCargo for Haynesworth. The Bucs are really fucking with that poor guy.
Haynesworth has been ordinary on the field this year, and it sounds like he wasn’t giving much effort in New England.
The Bucs’ locker room is a tenuous area right now if you ask me (and if you are on this site, I am assuming you did). They have set Josh Freeman up as the king of the offense and Gerald McCoy as… I dunno.. the archbishop of the defense. This system works because the team is full of babies so you don’t really need years to be the leader. At this point, draft status and work ethic seem to be the criteria for being a leader. But now an old guy like Haynesworth comes in and who is he going to listen to? Who is going to keep him in line? McCoy? He’s not playing so his contribution is greatly diminished. Ronde Barber? Ronde has never been a vocal ass-kicking kind of leader. He can’t even keep Aqib Talib in check when he isn’t supervised. The team is without a Warren Sapp presence to be the general on the field. A physically ominous presence, a loud one, one who will get in a motherfucker’s face when he isn’t giving 100%, one who will always give 100% himself so he can be beyond reproach in the locker room. Honestly, f Haynesworth had that work ethic himself, he could be that guy. But he doesn’t and he never will.
That leaves Raheem Morris to be the babysitter. We know that if a player isn’t performing, Raheem has no problem canning him. We also know that Raheem will tolerate all sorts of other bullshit. And the bullshit Haynesworth brings can poison a locker room if it goes unchecked for too long.
He just doesn’t sound like a player that Morris would want to take on. The risk doesn’t seem worth the reward for a team like the Bucs.
That’s where this gets fuzzy. What’s the real risk? Is he going to make the team worse somehow? Again, if he can’t play the game to Raheem’s standards, he’s going to be gone. So at worst, he gets McCargo cut again and maybe McCargo is better than Haynesworth at this stage of their respective careers. Haynesworth wasn’t going to kill the cap — the Bucs are on the hook for $706k in salary for the rest of the season along with another $4.3-million in incentives, which the Bucs certainly wouldn’t mind paying if he reaches them.
The real risk is in the attitude he brings and the risk that he will pick fights with teammates, pout if his number isn’t called enough (or is called too much, either way), paralyze someone when he hits them while speeding in his Ferrari, knocks up a stripper, gets road rage and punches another driver in the face, gets accused of sexual assault or stomps on an opponent’s face. That’s the risk. As I said, I don’t think the locker room is 100% solid right now and introducing a HIGHLY unstable element like Haynesworth into it for the very slim chance that he produces at a high level is too risky for my taste. I don’t think Haynesworth qualifies as “youngry”.
August 26, 2010 at 12:54pm by Scott • 9 Comments »
STROUGHTER PROBABLY STARTING: We’ll know for sure on Saturday when the Bucs are supposed to take the field with the group that will be starting the regular season, but if they needed to play a game today, it sounds like Sammie Stroughter would be the other starter along side Mike Williams.
“He’s got the most production in the camp, he has the most production in the season,” Morris said. “He’s got the most production off the grass for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
I’m so happy for him because he’s done everything the right way. Maurice Stovall was said to have an edge on him, but Stovall’s injury knocked him down a notch. The Bucs brought in Reggie Brown who has great speed and some good experience with the Eagles. They still have Michael Clayton who obviously has incriminating video of the Glazers or perhaps has kidnapped one of their children or something. And Sammie beat them all out despite their athletic or blackmaily advantages.
A lot of you aren’t ready to toot Mark Dominik‘s drafting horn yet, but just make a mental note that a fourth-round rookie and a seventh-rounder from a year ago are the starting wide receivers. We’ll talk at the end of the season about their performance and if Dominik deserves some kudos for his value drafting.
SAINTS CUT MARK BRADLEY: I thought it was dumb at the time when the Bucs cut Mark Bradley because the coaches were talking about using him as a model for route running and he had experience and good hands, but I guess the Saints know a thing or two about wide receivers.
It comes less than three weeks after Bradley signed a one-year deal with the team.
Whether he was originally signed just as camp meat or they really thought he had a chance to make the team, it’s not a good sign for Bradley. But it’s a great sign for the Bucs who obviously knew when to cut ties with him, and that’s pretty much all that matters. How many positive articles have I written in the last couple days? Three or four? Wow, it feels good to sound like a fan again.
WARREN SAPP TALKS HAYNESWORTH: It’s my kneejerk reaction to defend Tennessee Volunteers pretty much regardless of what kind of bullshit they pull. Hell, I’m even 1 for 2 on defending the ones that have actually taken human lives. But Albert Haynesworth is just a ridiculous jackass and his nonsense with the Redskins is indefensible. And I’ve always hated the cheating and orange-skinned Mike Shanahan, so trust me, I was looking for any old reason to be on Albert’s side here, but there’s not any shred of worth to hold onto. Warren Sapp agrees.
“[Albert's] wrong. He knows he is. He’s not in his first year. He’s not in his fifth year. He knows exactly what he’s doing. This is a man who stepped on another man’s face on the football field one time.”
That man was Andre Gurode and that time was 2006, so a lot of people might have forgotten about the incident, but if you start adding all this shit up, Albert is not a good dude. And now that he has enough guaranteed money to buy the Falkland Islands outright (although, who would want to?) he really doesn’t care what we think of him. Or, for that matter, what his boss thinks of him.
“Well, the check isn’t going to change. And that’s the whole key to this situation. He doesn’t care how many plays he plays. The plays that I’m watching he’s just jumping to one side ripping. I mean, he has no awareness of where the ball is. He doesn’t care. So if we’re talking about evaluation of his play compared to the check that he’s getting, he knows what it is. ‘I get eight plays and a big check, that’s not bad.’ It’s wrong, though.”
Fuck-ups like this ruin it for good guys like Barrett Ruud who deserve a new contract but don’t get it because management is scared that they’ll get all soft and doughy and lazy when they finally deposit that signing bonus. Haynesworth is putting in just enough effort to fulfill his contract so he can go on to collect his $41-million guaranteed. And the Bucs almost had this guy. For some reason, even though Tampa offered him more money, he went ahead and signed with Washington. That’s relief along the lines of getting a clean AIDS test after a bachelor party trip to Haiti.
April 05, 2010 at 09:41am by Scott • 6 Comments »
Pat Yasinskas must not be getting any quality letters in his mailbag because what he’s choosing to publish is just silly. One of his readers named JC offers up the following scenario:
Reports say that Washington really loves Sam Bradford? If the Rams pass him up do you think it’s possible for Tampa to draft him and trade him to Washington for a very unhappy Albert Haynesworth? Tampa has the cap space and the obvious need of dominant DT.
After reminding this moron that there is no salary cap this year, Yasinskas placates him by entertaining this ridiculousness:
But I do see some logic to your scenario. If the Rams pass on Bradford, that probably means the first two picks in the draft will be used on defensive tackles. That would leave the Bucs in a tough spot.
In a season where the ability to grow facial hair makes a player too old for the Bucs, why would they ever consider trying to acquire a guy with eight years of wear on him? At defensive tackle, no less — a position guaranteed to get hit on every play. And on top of that, to use the #3 overall slot to get him? Oh, and let’s also have the Bucs draft a player that even people in comas know they don’t want to keep, giving them very little leverage to be able to move him for a premium price. Draft Bradford? Are you insane? Pat, stop humoring these fools. You’ve got to be smart enough to know that scenario makes no sense.
October 01, 2009 at 11:28am by Scott • No Comments »
I hate to call out a Volunteer, but Albert Haynesworth is talking out his ass. Even though it’s ancient history, I guess with the upcoming game against the Redskins, people felt the need to ask Haynesworth yet again about how the Buccaneers offered him this huge pot of gold only to have him turn it down in favor of the deal he signed with the Redskins. Didn’t we just do this in June? Here’s what he said back then:
“They offered me a whole lot more, and even with their tax situation, it could have been 20 percent more. But you look at Washington, they’ve got a lot of the pieces together. They’re right there. They’re in a huge market. It’s one of the largest markets in the world. You’ve just got a large, huge media outlet and it can be life beyond football. Going to Tampa, I mean, great city. Looking at it from the off-season standpoint, I love the water. I love to be out in the sun. It’s just awesome, but it would’ve been like another Nashville. Tampa doesn’t have that big market and they don’t have a huge fan base like the Washington Redskins do, so I think it was just a choice just to look at it that way.”
But now, it’s a little different.
“Tampa was probably my first choice,” Haynesworth said. “It was kind of a repeat of when I was coming out of college where (Georgia) was my first choice and I went to Tennessee. I like water, I like boats and I like sun. Coming to Tampa, there was a whole lot there. I have a whole offseason. If I went to Tampa, it would have been too much of a mix.”
And don’t forget the comment he made about how the Bucs cutting all their veteran leadership turned him off, too. So first the Bucs don’t have a large enough market and the team doesn’t have its act together. Now, IT’S TOO NICE! I mean, have you seen Tampa? Holy shit, all the beaches and bars and strip clubs. So many fun and unique ways to drink and drive. How could he possibly get any work down down there with the practical conveyor belt of pussy leading up to his front door? Nope, for the good of his career, he had to move to the crack-addled shithole that is Washington D.C.
Seriously, D.C. is one of the worst places to live in the country. How bad is it? Baltimore residents feel fortunate. Don’t buy for a second that Haynesworth would intentionally move to that swamp out of some sense of responsibility and self-discipline. He didn’t want to be an employee of the Buccaneers because he didn’t think it would make him a big enough star. And now he’s backpedaling because he doesn’t want to give the Bucs any bulletin board material by publicly stating that they suck so bad that they couldn’t buy him at any price. “Too much of a mix.” Fuck you blind, Albert.
And that crack about UGA being your first choice is below the belt. Seriously? Athens was too tempting? There’s nothing there but tractors and cows. Or as they call them in Athens, cheerleaders.
September 22, 2009 at 11:15am by Scott • 1 Comment »
Ugh, I was going to ignore this steaming pile from John Romano, but I kept thinking about the picture he used as the teaser: Terrell Owens in his Jesus Christ pose, having just scored on the Bucs. And it just gnawed at me.
His whole thing is (AGAIN) that the Glazers aren’t spending enough money to buy a Super Bowl. Remember, he did this less than three months ago when Jason La Canfora‘s report came out about team spending over the last five years. My response is here, and I’ll try not to repeat too many of the same points. But it’s sad that Romano has to use the team’s recent losses to continue to cram his agenda of Buccaneer hate down our throats.
The Bucs went from spending more than most teams on player payroll to spending less than every team. And not just for one season. Based on reports, the Bucs have been the cheapest team in the NFL since 2004, which is around the time soccer became a family business.
We already covered all this.
So before you skewer Raheem Morris, you may want to consider the circumstances he has been given. Before you blame Mark Dominik, you may want to ask yourself how much of this is beyond his control.
Rational people aren’t “skewering” anyone yet because we’re only TWO GAMES IN. Just like everyone we talked about yesterday, Romano thinks it’s the end of the world because the team isn’t winning right out of the gate despite having a completely new coaching staff, offensive and defensive scheme.
The next two paragraphs are about how much money the team isn’t spending and what they could get for that money. You don’t mind if I skip them, right?
As much as you might want to start with a new quarterback, the truth is the Bucs have tied themselves to Josh Freeman‘s future. So we’ll accept Byron Leftwich as a temporary caretaker. And, besides, there are plenty of other areas that need upgrading.
Quarterback is where he’s going to stand pat? Even with Freeman being the future, I can think of other quarterbacks I’d like for him to learn from more than Leftwich. Watching Leftwich perform is not exactly like receiving a crash course in quarterbacking fundamentals.
Greg Ellis was available fairly cheap. Sure, he’s 34, but he also has had 20.5 sacks the past two seasons. Right on cue, he has three sacks in two games with the Raiders. And all for a reported $10 million over three years. Bertrand Berry is another 34-year-old working cheap. He has two sacks in two games on a one-year, $1 million deal.
By saying all this, Romano is implicitly skewering Morris himself. The whole idea of this season was to have a youth movement. You find young players that you think have potential, throw them in the water and see if they can swim. That was the purpose of the veteran purge. What would the fans have said if the team had cut Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn but brought on a couple other old guys? Hell, they could have just kept Kevin Carter if they were interested in old defensive ends. They’re not. Despite it being explained by various leaders from the Buccaneers, Romano obviously does not get what their plan is. Young players are cheaper than old players. When they figure out who they want to keep, they’ll pay them more.
As for interior linemen, the Bucs let Jovan Haye go because he was supposedly too small for Jim Bates’ new scheme. You may recall the run defense went into the tank last season when Haye got hurt, and it has yet to recover. Haye signed in Tennessee for $16.2 million over four years. And if you’re insistent on a bigger defensive tackle, 330-pound Colin Cole signed in Seattle for $21.4 million over five years.
Romano’s on crack if he thinks that Haye and Cole are better than the Ryan Sims, Chris Hovan, Roy Miller combo platter.
If Romano was being fair or impartial in any way, this is the part of his article where he would mention that the Bucs offered Albert Haynesworth more money than Washington did to try and land him at the beginning of free agency. But he didn’t. The word “Haynesworth” does not appear in his article at all. Haynesworth did not want to come to Tampa despite the extra money. You can’t spend money on something that isn’t available to you.
With Quincy Black, Geno Hayes, Sabby Piscitelli and Aqib Talib, the Bucs have four new starters at linebacker and defensive back. I understand the need for new blood, but the Bucs could have gone after a better blend. At 32, linebacker Mike Peterson still has good days left, and Atlanta got him for $6.5 million over two years. He has one interception, two passes defensed and 16 tackles.
For what purpose would you bring in Peterson? He is a middle linebacker by trade and the Bucs already have a franchise middle linebacker. Why bring a 32-year old linebacker to switch positions when you could just go with young guys who have already trained at those spots. I will grant that switching Peterson to a WLB makes more sense than switching Jermaine Phillips to WLB, but it didn’t work out that way anyway. And, to reiterate, if the Bucs had brought in a 32-year old linebacker to play WLB when they had just cut Derrick Brooks, there would have been a mutiny in Tampa.
The offensive line is promising, and the Bucs upgraded at running back and tight end. Still, it would have been nice to have another receiving threat. They were available, and they weren’t expensive. Jabar Gaffney ended up in Denver ($10 million for four years), Devery Henderson remained in New Orleans ($12 million for four years), Nate Washington went to Tennessee ($27 million for six years) and even Terrell Owens was a relative bargain in Buffalo (one year at $6.5 million).
And this is where I went insane.
He’s really lamenting the loss of Jabar Gaffney?!? That’s fucking sad. The Bucs made Henderson an offer and he decided to stay in New Orleans. Washington hasn’t helped the Titans win any games yet with his 44 yards so far. And then there’s Owens. Can you even comprehend the shitstorm that would have been wrought on the Buccaneers by bringing a volatile personality like Owens into a locker room that had just been picked clean of strong leadership? Morris, more than anything, wants to build team chemistry. And for all his physical talents, Owens is not a team guy. He’ll block, he’ll catch across the middle, he’ll do the dirty work — but in the end if he’s not catching touchdowns, you’re fucked.
Oh what would the Tampa papers have said if the Bucs had released Brooks and signed a 35-year old Owens to their youth movement? Romano would have been in a race with the rest of the Bucs beat writers to see who could eviscerate Morris, Dominik and the Glazers first and with the most melodrama. It would have been a media bloodbath and Romano would have provided the Luffa. For him to say otherwise is insincere at best.
Dominik says — much like Bruce Allen before him — that the Bucs need cap space so they can tie up core players. Except they rarely do that. Barrett Ruud is their best player on defense, and he’s annoyed because he doesn’t have a long-term deal. Antonio Bryant was the team MVP, and he’s ticked because he’s on a one-year deal.
This is the only part of his story that has merit. The team should be locking up good, young players so they don’t hit free agency. We have speculated why they haven’t on here before and one obvious possibility is that the Glazers are, in fact, being cheap. We have no way of knowing, and neither does Romano. But if he had wanted to investigate that topic further and lay out his reasons, I wouldn’t have commented on it because it’s a valid concern. But not signing old and/or crap players for big money just because the Glazers have money to spend? That’s smart business that is in line with the goals of the coaching staff to develop a team from the ground up.