Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘chargers’

Bucs Are Over .500 In November

November 13, 2012 at 12:10am by Scott   •  13 Comments »

chargers2012

Well, what do you know. The Bucs can win even without Doug Martin running for a dozen touchdowns with the whole team on his back. This time with Martin running just enough to keep everyone out of his quarterback’s grill, Josh Freeman did it with efficient passing and a whole lot of help from the defense and special teams and Philip Rivers.

I have heard some criticism of the defensive line over this game, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. According to Gerald McCoy, the line was being asked to do too much stunting in the first half. When McCoy asked the coaches to let the line go up the field more, they said yes and the whole dynamic of the game changed. Rivers was under pressure for most of the second half, causing his passer rating to drop by almost 50 points from the first half. After the defensive line clamped down, the Bucs took the game over.

Part of the credit goes to the linebackers, too. I say this every week, but Lavonte David was everywhere and did everything. Sadly, Quincy Black was having his best game of the year before he sustained a neck injury and had to be carted off. And while Mason Foster did give up a touchdown in coverage, he got after Rivers quite a bit, sacking him once and also notching a tackle for loss.

The secondary continues to suck for a good portion of the game, then has a couple splash plays to make it all seem okay. It’s not all okay. E.J. Biggers gives up at least one touchdown every game. I think he’s a solid backup right now but not starting material. He has had good games, but not recently. Leonard Johnson is really starting to make a name for himself with three interceptions in three games. And that’s all well and good, but let’s not pretend yesterday’s interception was a great feat of coverage. He hauled in a desperation pass that Rivers just chucked up for no good reason. Remember Larry Brown picking off Neil O’Donnell? Yeah, that’s what happened. Johnson was the beneficiary of being where he was supposed to be, and that’s better than the alternative. But before we go crowning him Johnson Island (which would be a great name for a gay reality show), let’s let him play a few more games. But so far, so good. Do you want to know how little faith the Bucs have in Myron Lewis? LeQuan Lewis was put in instead of Myron and looked pretty sweet in his first action as a Buccaneer (besides fumbling a kickoff in the endzone). One interception (a better one than Johnson’s, even though the pass was underthrown) and another pass broke up in relatively limited playing time. Even Ronde Barber played some corner instead of putting Myron back on the field. Ahmad Black missed a couple tackles, Mark Barron was beaten for a couple completions… it just wasn’t consistent.

Mike Sullivan has just about given up the charade that he has any other running backs besides Martin. LeGarrette Blount had one run for 3 yards and D.J. Ware botched a direct snap that lost a yard. That’s it. Martin was everything else on the ground, with 68 rushing and another 51 receiving. Not as impressive as his last couple games, but it was enough to remind the Chargers who he was and that they needed to respect the run.

Josh Freeman was excellent. He only threw the ball 20 times (completing 14), but 2 of them went for touchdowns, none of them were picked and he ended the day with a passer rating of 137.5. With a productive running game, that’s all he needs to be. He’s more than a game manager, of course, but I think he is identifying his strengths (the long ball with a solid pocket) and playing to them. That’s the mark of a mature quarterback. He may not have thrown for 400 yards yesterday, but I really thought it was one of his best games as a pro.

And hats off to Dekota Watson and Adam Hayward for that blocked punt. There are fewer things more satisfying than seeing a punter get laid out on a perfectly legal play. They flop and draw so many bogus penalties so much, it’s nice to see one just get hammered every now and then. I know he looked hurt and he started staggering and shit, but he was well enough to continue punting and holding, so he’s fine. If you put on a helmet and take the field, you’re a target.

Awesome game. The Bucs have 7 more of them. The Panthers, Rams and Eagles should be wins. If they can beat New Orleans (which they have done even when the Saints were a better team and the Bucs were a worse team) and get just one of the Falcons games, that’s a 10 win season. Whether or not that makes them a playoff contender is anyone’s guess right now. But if you had heard that a 10 win season was a real possibility back in March, you’d be ecstatic. Props to the players, coaches and management for making this happen in such short order. There’s a long way to go, but I’m much more impressed than I thought I’d be at this point.

“Stats Are For Losers” Illustrated

October 19, 2010 at 11:59am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

They also lead the league in passing offense and passing defense.

The Chargers are currently 2-4. The Bucs may be scraping the bottom on some of these stats, but they’re still in a better position than the league-leading Chargers. Al Davis may be a batshit crazy skeleton, but his philosophy of “Just win, baby” holds up.

Cromartie For Ward?

February 17, 2010 at 09:20am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

This was Cromartie's third interception of Manning in that game.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN (through a link I saw on Adam Schefter‘s twitter) is claiming that SOURCES have told him that San Diego is shopping cornerback Antonio Cromartie to trade for a running back.

With LaDainian Tomlinson‘s career in San Diego declared all but over and Darren Sproles facing free agency, the Chargers are exploring possible trade scenarios that include dealing cornerback Antonio Cromartie to acquire a running back, according to league sources.

Hey, I know a team that has a running back that disappointed the hell out of them last year. A trade for Derrick Ward might be a good move for both parties. If the Chargers are losing Tomlinson and his salary, picking up Ward’s contract wouldn’t be a big deal for them. Ward is healthy and would probably welcome a trade to a contending team. Meanwhile, the Bucs get to rid themselves of Ward’s contract while acquiring a young cornerback that can take over for Ronde Barber after he retires.

Cromartie had a monster 2007 when he had ten interceptions and another 18 passes defensed in only eight starts. His numbers have fallen of over the last couple years, but part of that has to do with the fact that he doesn’t get thrown to as much. He’s got a lot of upside, but he’s not without his detractors. Mostly because of shit like this:

He’s also supposed to have a shitty attitude at times, which Raheem Morris may not want to combine with Aqib Talib‘s helmet-swinging, cabbie-punching ass. It would be a gamble, but we already know Mark Dominik doesn’t mind trading for big-name headcases and since Kellen Winslow‘s famous mouth didn’t make an appearance last year, someone must be doing something right. Ward is probably gone anyway, right? Might as well get a player for him that at least has shown that he can excel. Morris knows how to handle defensive backs. It might be a great fit.

The other possibility is that the Bucs trade Cadillac Williams plus a draft pick for Cromartie, but the Chargers likely don’t want to gamble on a running back with two reconstructed knees. Most teams wouldn’t. It is very likely that Cadillac is worth more to the Bucs than he would be to any other team. He doesn’t have nearly the trade value of Ward.

Controlling Your Own Destiny Is Overrated, Anyway

December 22, 2008 at 03:14am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

The entire month of December summed up by Antonio Bryant.
I’ll probably be a little late with the game summary Monday morning. Most of that time will be used to find synonyms for the words “fuck” and “fail”. Go ahead and start in with the comments on this thread and I’ll add to this post in the afternoon.

UPDATE: Okay, I think I needed to wander the streets of Atlanta and sell some fake crack to desperate whores to get my spirits up. Man, there’s nothing like the toothless smile on a ragged-out crackwhore’s face when she buys a $10 piece of rock salt to get you in the Christmas spirit. There was even this one with a limp that I started calling Tiny Tim. Hoo boy, that was classic. Well, I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, let’s start with Jeff Garcia. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Garcia is the best quarterback the Bucs have, which is really kind of sad. He’s tough, yes. He’s elusive, no doubt. And he made some plays when there were no plays to be made initially. But come on… missing a WIDE OPEN Antonio Bryant — twice!?! Throwing to a blanketed Ike Hilliard when Bryant was running free down the right sideline? I’m not even so mad about the interception off the deflection as I am that he missed the open receiver yet again. Are you kidding me?

Let me calm down a little. Garcia also took that shot to Bryant which, though underthrown, wound up being a 71-yard touchdown to put the Bucs ahead. He also hit a couple really nice passes in the first half as well as making some key scrambles to keep drives alive. But then he does something stupid like throwing behind Michael Clayton or taking an intentional grounding penalty when getting the ball to Jerramy Stevens was not only possible, but very doable. At the least he could have overthrown him intentionally just to avoid the penalty.

I can’t put this loss on Garcia. I can’t even say that he didn’t put the team on his back and try to lead them to victory. He did — bloody face and all. But where great quarterbacks do that and win, he did that and lost. Is that an indictment of him? Probably a little, yeah. It means that the Bucs don’t have an elite quarterback that can take over a game. Peyton Manning is one of those guys. Hell, Phillip Rivers might even be one of those guys. Jeff Garcia is not.

Now that I think of it, it was kind of the same with the offensive line. They tried, you could see it. But the year has taken its toll on them and they’ve just gotten weaker over the course of the season. The running lanes aren’t there very much. The first drive of the second half had a couple holes for the running backs to run through. They also created just enough daylight for Garcia to squirt through a few times. And the pass-protection was pretty good for the most part. The team did get 342 yards of offense. But this is not an offensive line that can dominate a good (or even decent) defensive line. Not at this point in the season. Even a mountain of a man like Davin Joseph got blown up a couple times.

The running backs were nearly worthless yesterday. The best run of the day was a one-yarder that Cadillac Williams took for a first down after being stopped initially. Again, great players make something out of nothing. The offensive line didn’t open up many holes, but the running backs didn’t make many of their own. Without Earnest Graham, the team doesn’t have a bruising running back that can plow through the defensive line and punish linebackers. Warrick Dunn can make guys miss, but he didn’t do it yesterday. The Charger defenders were still fresh after three quarters because no one really took the game to them.

Did anyone else notice that the Bucs started the game in a run-and-shoot formation with no tight end and no fullback? So, I guess it is possible to get Bryant and Joey Galloway on the field at the same time? Who knew?!? Oh, right. We all did. Galloway had one catch that didn’t mean much, but the time he was on the field, he took more than one defender with him. That won’t work forever if Garcia doesn’t ever try to get the ball to him on the deep routes, but it worked yesterday.

Bryant’s day started with a couple drops, but he made up for it later and actually ended the say stronger than he started it. To me, that’s a key quality of a great player. If 2009 is going to be a rebuilding season with a new quarterback, he’s going to need a reliable #1 target to go to. Bruce Allen, do not let Bryant test free agency.

The good news for the defensive line is that they held LaDainian Tomlinson to 90 yards. The bad news is that Tomlinson isn’t half the running back he was last year. Jovan Haye helped out a lot in that area, though, and his presence evidently really does make a difference.

But the pass rush was pretty awful. The only guys to really make Rivers uncomfortable were Jimmy Wilkerson (who had the only sack of the say) and Kevin Carter. Neither Gaines Adams nor Greg White got any measurable pressure on Rivers and, like most of the rest of the team, have faded down the stretch of the season. Isn’t this about the time in a high draft pick’s career that he really starts taking shit over? His first year you can forgive. Training camp and the first part of the season were awesome for Adams. Then a few weeks ago, POW! It’s like the fuse blew and now he’s powerless. Is he hurt? Is he sad that Monte Kiffin is going away? Did he drop his low fat diet and now he’s all lethargic? Why are you sucking, Gaines?

Barrett Ruud continues to be the best player on the defense. I understand why the other MLBs on the Pro Bowl roster were chosen, but Ruud is better than Jon Beason.

So when there’s no pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line, it’s up to the secondary to pick up the slack, right? They have to maintain their coverage longer and keep up with their responsibilities. Pfffft.

They all got torched, but none more so than Phillip Buchanon. Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates picked on Buchanon all day and it always paid off. Rivers even told the announcers that they were going to pick on him. Sabby Piscitelli got burned pretty good a couple times, too. I’m glad Piscitelli is getting some starting experience and he’s going to be a better player next year for it. I just wish it wasn’t coming during a must-win stretch.

And who the hell is Legedu Naane? And why was he allowed to get any catches at all? Two first downs in the second quarter, one over Ronde Barber and one in front of Tanard Jackson. Are you kidding me?

I guess I’ll cover special teams, which was okay. Clifton Smith had a great return, Donte Nicholson had a great open field tackle, Matt Bryant actually had a touchback on a kickoff. But then there was the Darren Sproles returns (average 22.5 per punt and 31.8 per kickoff) and the Josh Bidwell shank for 25 yards. The Chargers kept getting good field position, but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have mattered. The way Rivers was playing against the Buccaneer secondary, it would have been only a matter of time before they got into position anyway.

I know some of you are calling for Jon Gruden‘s head. This loss wasn’t on him — it was the execution of the defense that really lost it. But eventually the head coach has to take some responsibility for the team’s overall performance. If one area gets sloppy for a game or two, you can forgive it. But over the course of the last several seasons, you’d hope to see some kind of forward progression. Some kind of indication that this team is built for the long haul. They’re going to lose their starting quarterback next season, a wide receiver, a safety, maybe a linebacker or two… they’ll be halfway rebuilding. Not a full-on rebuild; the offensive line will stay intact and probably all the running backs will stick around for another year. But if a good chunk of this team is going to fall away in the offseason, you would have liked to have gotten something out of it. The Bucs got a NFC South championship last year which led to a one-and-done against the Giants. And this year, at best, they get to back into the playoffs in order to get slaughtered, probably by Minnesota. That’s not a lot of return on a head coach that has been treading water for a number of years now.

Is it him? Is it because he sticks with the same offensive line coach that only gets him marginal improvements before taking steps backwards? Is his playcalling getting stale? Does he need an offensive coordinator to give him some fresh ideas? This is all stuff we’ll talk about in the offseason. He’s not going anywhere at the end of this season. All you Gruden haters can save your breath for another year. Even if he loses next week, he’s the coach in 2009. Believe it. But something has to change. Just about everything around him has changed — players, general manager, assistant coaches (mostly). If he continues to be unsuccessful with a stagnant offensive and a defense that can no longer bail him out, what’s left?

Holy Balls They’re Still In It

December 16, 2008 at 10:00am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Buttsecks - UR doing it wrong.
Apparently my calculations were off on Sunday because I thought for sure after the loss to the Falcons that the Bucs were currently out of the playoffs and the first “In the Hunt” team. But according to NFL.com, the Buccaneers are still in control of their own playoff destiny.

The Bucs are the #6 seed in the NFC and would have a wildcard game in Minnesota. But nothing is guaranteed unless they win out. The Chargers are on a two-game winning streak, but those wins were against the Chiefs and the Raiders, so it’s not like they count for much.

And in case you’re wondering, the banner pic is only there because it amuses me. It’s like a visual representation of what the Panthers and Falcons did to the Bucs over the last couple weeks.

UPDATE: As an answer to a message board question out there, I ran the playoff scenarios and it turns out that the Bucs can still possibly win the division if the Panthers lose out and the Bucs win out. The Bucs would beat the Panthers with the #4 tie-breaker, conference wins. If the Vikings lose out as well, the Bucs win that head-to-head and move up to the #2 seed. It’s a lot of “ifs”, but if you’re looking for some hope and positivity, there ya go.

REAR ENTRIES: I Guess I Wasn’t Done Bitching Yet

December 09, 2008 at 03:35pm by Scott   •  No Comments »

You're doing it wrong, Brian.
KELLY WAIVED: Twelve games into a three year deal, the Lions waived Brian Kelly, letting him keep his $3.25-million signing bonus. That plus his $1.25-million salary over twelve games comes to $375,000 per humiliating defeat with Detroit. And before anyone pipes up and suggests the Bucs try to sign Kelly if he falls to them or clears waivers, consider that he has zero interceptions, zero forced fumbles, 26 tackles, and one lonely pass defensed. Pass.

BUCS FLEXED OUT OF PRIME TIME: It took about twelve hours for the NFL to decide that the Bucs defense was too shitty to show on primetime again this season, so they moved the Chargers/Bucs game to 1:00PM and “flexed” Giants/Panthers into the Sunday night spot. In all honesty, that will be a great game if the Panthers win next week because they’ll both be playing for the #1 seed. Come on, people! Can no one instigate Steve Smith into punching them? What am I paying you for?

HOVAN NOT HURT: Chris Hovan says he’s all right after leaving the game with armtacklitis an undisclosed injury. The trainer needs to be shot if he prescribes rest for Hovan. The only rest he’s going to get is the balls of opposing running backs resting on his nose as they run over him if he doesn’t crank up the intensity and move people out of the way like we all know he’s capable of doing.

Michael Bennett Can’t Catch A Break

November 13, 2008 at 12:06am by Scott   •  No Comments »

It's yesterday once more.
Poor Michael Bennett. I was pretty sure he’d get scooped up by the Rams because they’re down to Kenneth Darby and Antonio Pittman and that worked out to the tune of a 47-3 unlubed fisting at the Meadowlands (although Darby did have an 8.0 YPC average) on Sunday. Apparently they think they can work with that because they didn’t submit a waiver claim for Bennett.

The next choice was pretty obviously the Broncos who are playing with rookies and whatever pieces of Terrell Davis‘s knee are still left on the field. And they did submit a claim for Bennett. And then so did the Chargers who, by virtue of their worse record, were awarded his rights. The interesting part is that San Diego doesn’t need a running back. They’re stocked.

Why so with LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and Jacob Hester on San Diego’s roster? Well, the running-back needy Broncos could have used him in the worst way, and clearly San Diego was aware of it.

As Adam Schefter points out, the only reason for the Chargers to claim Bennett was to keep him from Denver. All of which means that Michael Bennett will move 3,000 miles to the other side of the country and sit on the bench out there. The upside is that San Diego has some nice weather and those benches are probably really comfortable no matter what time of year it is.

John Lynch Is Respected, Old

August 01, 2008 at 09:24am by Scott   •  No Comments »

Two former Buccaneer assistants who are now head coaches extolled their admiration for John Lynch, but made it clear that they will not be offering him a job. First, Rod Marinelli:

“We’ve got a lot of depth right now,” Marinelli said Thursday. “He’s a great player. I love him to death. I wish him the best.

“We’re not looking right now.”

Then later, Lovie Smith:

“We’re OK right now with what we have,” Smith said. “I think the world of John Lynch. You’re talking about a player who plays the same way always. One of the toughest guys you’ll be around. But we’re going in a different direction.”

Lynch is going to find it kind of tough to find a starting job, and he’s probably figuring that out right about now. Somebody mentioned somewhere that they thought San Diego was a good landing spot for him, which I hadn’t considered. Lynch is from San Diego and that would probably be the only club he would consider a backup role for. The Chargers have Clinton Hart as a solid starter at free safety and Eric Weddle will probably win the start on the strongside this year. If the Chargers thought that Weddle still needed a little development, they could bring Lynch in as a mentor (even though he thinks the whole mentoring thing is overrrated) and as a first down player. But Lynch is slowing down and can’t be counted on in coverage like he used to. Weddle is much faster than Lynch ever was and will certainly be on the field in passing situations.

Lynch is going to make a good color guy for some network somewhere. He’ll be like Daryl Johnston: a non-threatening, kind of boring but super-smart white guy to break down the plays with sharp analysis on a B-team for someone like Fox. If he really wants to be in broadcasting, that’s the perfect spot for him. Come on, look at his serious broadcasting face. He’s a natural.

He looks like he's singing karaoke of a Sammy Davis, Jr. song.

Mark Jones Signs With Chargers

June 23, 2008 at 10:27am by Scott   •  No Comments »

In case you still cared what happened to Mark Jones, he signed with San Diego over the weekend. What makes the story interesting is that now there is some speculation that Jones’s arrival in San Diego is starting the clock ticking on Eric Parker‘s tenure with the team. But in addition to being the main punt returner, Parker was also a good receiver; Jones is not. Jones has a decent punt return average, but never quite seemed capable of breaking the big one. Parker will probably seek a trade if he senses the end is near. Anyway, I’ve already devoted more keystrokes to this story than it is worth.

See how his knees are bending?  They don't do that so well anymore.