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Posts Tagged ‘ike hilliard’

McCardell Is Getting An Interview

January 27, 2010 at 08:51am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Is it just me, or were Steven Jackson and Donovan McNabb separated at birth?
It turns out that the Bucs really are taking Keenan McCardell‘s foray into coaching seriously and will be interviewing him for the wide receiver coaching position in Tampa.

Former Bucs WR Ike Hilliard is also in Mobile and likely is a candidate to interview for the job, although he doesn’t have anything set up with Tampa Bay yet in terms of a interview.

This is the opposite of what I thought would happen. Hilliard just seems more… coachy than McCardell. Hilliard is a serious student of the game and, moreover, also has a very recent relationship with the team. I thought that would make him the easy choice over McCardell. Maybe it still will, but for now Keenan has the edge. Maybe they should have a race to see who gets the job. Whoever can run the 40 in less than five minutes wins.

Hilliard A Possibility For Receivers Coach

January 20, 2010 at 12:59pm by Scott   •  No Comments »

Ike Hilliard runs slowly with the ball.
Ike Hilliard could be a name to watch out for as the new receivers coach for the Buccaneers. He was coaching the Florida Tuskers receivers a few months ago and apparently is set on being a coach now.

Hilliard’s agent, Jonathan Feinsod was seen talking to Mark Dominik several times during an East-West Shrine Bowl practice on Monday

The article also mentions Keenan McCardell as a possibility for receivers coach, but that isn’t happening. McCardell was a good receiver, but Hilliard is a natural teacher and was much more fundamentally sound than McCardell was. And you know how it pains me to say something nice about a Gator, so I must mean it.

You Know What This Team Needs? Some Veterans.

November 27, 2009 at 12:12pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Veteran leadership is so hard to come by. Where would we ever have gotten any?
Did Raheem Morris just say this?

“We’re youthful,” Morris said. “We need some veteran players, so we’ll get some veterans here with these young guys and have them grow.”

He just said that, didn’t he? Yeah, if only this team had had a little veteran leadership to guide them through this transition, maybe things would have turned out differently.

Are The Bucs Horny?

July 23, 2009 at 11:51am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

The single dumbest touchdown celebration ever. And that includes Steve Smith's diaper-changing routine.
Look, just because a player’s agent says something doesn’t make it true. Several media sources have grabbed on to this blurb by Ralph Vitolo, Joe Horn‘s agent, about him coming to the Buccaneers if the Ravens don’t want him.

According to Horn’s agent, if the Ravens do not work out, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is another team that could use his talent.

He didn’t even say that the Bucs were interested in him; only that they could use him. But they won’t. They had Joey Galloway and Ike Hillard, both players who have more in the tank than Horn, and they let them go. If one of the Bucs’ main receivers gets hurt and they need to go out to the scrapheap and pick someone up cheap, I’d say Hilliard would get the call. But the youth movement is in full swing in Tampa and media sources who mention the Buccaneers as a landing place for all the decrepit and unemployed veterans who happen to get a minute of screen time obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t let them trick you!

Marvin Harrison Ain’t Happening

May 30, 2009 at 11:13pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Marvin Harrison will shoot you.  Shoot you dead.

Come on, really? The Bucs are going to cut Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard and then go out and get Marvin Harrison? This whole thing started with a Rick Stroud twitter that he probably should have just kept to himself.

Hearing reports that Bucs might be interested in Marvin Harrison. Makes sense if they’re looking at Plaxico…Need depth at WR…

The thing about it making sense if they’re looking at Plaxico Burress is dumb — they’re completely different types of receivers. But everybody took this and ran with it. Stroud later commented on the hype.

People, if I tweet something bout Marvin Harrison it’s agent-driven speculation. If there’s news, I’ll post it on Tampabay.com. K? Sheesh

Although he says it in the douchiest way possible, he has a ppp… He has a pppoi…. Damn, I can’t say it. You know what I mean, though. If Stroud has some unofficial flake of a rumor that he wants to share, it’s not appropriate for him to do it on the Times’s official site or blog. And Twitter is about as unofficial as it gets, so that’s really the place for it. People should take it for what it’s worth — squat. I mean, come on. This is Stroud we’re talking about. If the Bucs are absolutely desperate for yet another receiver for some reason, Hilliard is still out there and would be the most logical choice. But they’ve got eleven wide receivers on the roster, not counting Jerramy Stevens and Kellen Winslow. They’re fine in that department. If they have some money burning a hole in their pockets, the Bucs should build some goodwill by extending some of the guys that have it coming.

Tampa Media Really Hated Gruden

March 17, 2009 at 10:08am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

The one thing I did like about the Winslow press conference is that he called out Roy Cummings by name.
During the Jon Gruden/Bruce Allen era, Roy Cummings was one of the most negative voices in the local press. Four out of seven winning seasons, the last two back-to-back 9-7, a few division titles, a salary cap position that went from pathetic to the best in the league… Roy was there to tell you why it all sucked. And now that the old regime is gone and the new one has culled the experience from the field and left in their place players who are only a little more experienced than their head coach, well, Roy’s suddenly the president of the Tampa chapter of the Optimist Club.

The big winners in free agency, though, are not the teams that spend the most. They are the teams that spend the wisest. With many of their objectives already met, the Bucs appear to have spent very wisely.

If you had told him in early January that Gruden was going to cut Derrick Brooks, Cato June, Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway and replace them with no one, essentially trade out Warrick Dunn for Derrick Ward, and fortify a tight end position that wasn’t a weakness with a malcontent that even the Browns didn’t want — spending a second round pick in the process — he would have worn out several keyboards with story after story that rode the line between editorializing and criminal hate speech. I realize Raheem Morris gets a honeymoon period as a new coach, and I’m willing to grant him that. But Roy was already blowing him in the limo as it left the church. I knew he hated Gruden, but man, he really fucking hated him.

Speaking of assholes changing their tunes, Steve Duemig said on his show last Thursday (which, for some reason, isn’t posted in his list of podcasts) that… fuck, I almost can’t say it. He basically gave his stamp of approval to Jerramy Stevens because he had kept his nose clean for two years. Remember, Duemig is the guy who wanted to run Stevens out of town on a rail because of shit he was accused of eight years ago. It all had to do with that Seattle Times article about shit that happened in 2000. After that article ran, Duemig said Stevens should never be allowed to play in Tampa (he may have even said the NFL; I don’t remember exactly.) Called him every name imaginable that the FCC allows. And now, one year later — coincidentally right after Gruden is fired — everything is okay. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, when Gruden signed Stevens, it was just another example of Gruden giving some criminal scumbag a chance to make loads of money. Gruden was the king of the no-character athletes, right? But now that Stevens was re-signed under the Morris administration, he must be a good guy.

It’s simple physics. When you swing your pendulum so far in one direction, it has to eventually compensate by going just as far in the other. And these guys spent so many years hating on Gruden and everything he did that now everything Morris does must look to them like unparalleled brilliance. “They signed a placekicker? What a stroke of genius!”

And while it didn’t jump out as a need, the Bucs improved their kicking game by signing Mike Nugent, who is five years younger than Matt Bryant and a lot more accurate from that critical range of 40 yards or more.

Except he’s not. For their careers, Nugent is 20 for 31 from 40+ (64.5%) and Bryant is 37 for 57 (64.9%). But Morris made the move, so it exists in the Reality-Free Zone where everything is happy and things like facts don’t matter as much. Actually, the Reality-Free Zone sounds kinda fun and sexy.

Here’s reality: Right now, the residents of Denver are pouring charcoal into a large pit at Mile High in preparation to barbecue Josh McDaniels for fucking up a Bronco offense that was working perfectly well before he got there. All he had to do was go in, deliver a new speech that players hadn’t gotten tired of, add some pieces to the defense, and he would have been fine. Raheem Morris had basically the same task. Come in, bring a new energy and spark to a team that may have been running on auto-pilot for a while, add a couple playmakers, and push his 9-7 team over the hump. Tampa fans aren’t digging the pit yet, but a lot of them have put shovels on their shopping lists. He’s betting his pot on a group of largely untested young guys that he hopes will show some progress in 2009. If he plays them, they gain some valuable experience and are noticeably better as a result, this Sartre-esque offseason will be forgiven. If they fall on their asses and continue to lose while not visibly improving, he should be held accountable.

It’s not all doom and gloom like they thought it was with Gruden, and it’s not all sunshine and unicorns like they seem to think it is now. It’s new territory, it’s unconventional, and it’s risky. No major additions are left to be made in free agency (which is why I’ll remove the tracker and Rumors page soon) and the only real additions before the start of minicamps will be the draftees. So we’ll go to camp with guys like Quincy Black and Geno Hayes and Luke McCown in the starting positions and hope that they rise above their obscurity and can manage some success. Christ, people, show some balance in your reporting.

Cut Wide Outs Want To Keep Playing

February 26, 2009 at 11:35am by Scott   •  No Comments »

I'm calling it here... after he retires, he'll come out of the closet.
Both Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard have made statements about their futures. Hilliard wasn’t quoted directly, but his agent addressed it. Galloway did a radio interview, so there’s more good stuff there. Both want to continue playing, and Galloway has a little chip on his shoulder about it.

Host, Solomon Wilcots: “Do you plan to continue playing?”

Joey Galloway: “Absolutely. I feel great. Physically, at the end of last season, because I didn’t play a lot during that season, I came out probably as healthy as I’ve been in my 14 year career. So I’m pretty excited about what happens next. I’ve started working out, preparing myself, which I always do at this time of year. So I’m looking forward to it and I feel great physically, mentally. I’m looking forward to the new challenge. So we’ll see what happens.”

[Hilliard's] agent, Neil Schwartz, said Hilliard “plans on playing in 2009. I don’t know for who just yet, but he plans on playing.”

Galloway went on to address if being cut was a surprise to him.

“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise, especially with the way the season went for me last year in Tampa. I fully understand that when you sit down and start making business decisions that sometimes guys don’t fit into what you plan to do. So, as part of this business, today is my last day in Tampa and I’ll look for a new team.”

So far, two guys have been unceremoniously cut and had nothing but nice and positive things to say about the team and its leaders. We’ll hear from the rest either today or very soon after. Derrick Brooks is going to be the interesting one. I really expect nothing but the same from him.

UPDATED: The Apocolypse Is Nigh

February 25, 2009 at 01:28pm by Scott   •  21 Comments »

I'm pretty sure plays like this were why Brooks was released.

[I'll be updating this post as I learn more. Page Last Updated: February 25, 2009 at 6:21 pm]

The Bucs release Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Ike Hilliard, Joey Galloway and Cato June. I gotta make some calls. I’ll update more when I know it.

Okay, I don’t really know any more than I did before, but I think the situation merits a swift response.

Cases can be made for each of these players being cut, mostly because of their age. Hilliard was a sure-handed third-down receiver, but lost his game-breaking skills years ago. Dunn wore down as the year wore on and his responsibilities increased. Galloway is getting fragile and has been replaced by Antonio Bryant. June didn’t turn out to be the playmaker at linebacker that everyone thought he was going to be. Fine. Despite all of their positive contributions, you can stand behind the reasons for letting these guys go.

But Brooks.

Brooks has earned the right to leave on his own terms. They could have chosen to not play him as much or use him as mostly a role player and a team leader and a mentor. But unless he asked for his own release, this wasn’t cool. One of the things I’m trying to find out is if Brooks did, in fact, ask to be released once he found out he was going to be riding pine for a lot of the season. I don’t think my contacts will know this, but I’m still trying. But if that’s the case you shake his hand, wish him well, and do as he asks. Otherwise, wow.

In politics, this is what new administrations call spending political capital. The new regime at One Buc inherited some capital of their own, and they just shot most of their wad in one big load. Remember all that change the Gruden haters wanted? Well, here it is! Hope it fits.

One thing that really surprises me is that Ronde Barber is still with the team. His Pro Bowl bid was on reputation and he was inconsistent for most of the season. If you’re truly purging the old, Barber should have been included. Did he survive because there’s no one better waiting to take his place, or because he’s a member of the secondary and Raheem Morris couldn’t stand to ax a guy he’s so close to?

So, does this put us far enough under the cap yet? What do you think? At least $60-million now, right? I really hope this doesn’t lead to some kind of Dan Snyder-esque free agency orgy where the Bucs sign a bunch of talented free agents for too much money that don’t play well together. We all know by now that you can’t buy a Super Bowl, right? Is it legal to trade cap space for draft picks? Son of a bitch, they better fucking re-sign Jermaine Phillips and Jerramy Stevens right the fuck now. There is absolutely no reason not to at this point.

I have to think that the Bucs have identified some players in free agency and the draft that they are going to aggressively target. There’s no way they cut these guys without a specific plan for who was going to replace them.

———-

Check out the banner on top of Buccaneers.com.

The old man in this picture is Earnest Graham.  Let that sink in.
None of those guys are on it anymore. Bryant, Barrett Ruud, Aqib Talib, Davin JosephJeff Faine got cut off by my screencap app, but he’s there, too. They wasted no time. Out with the old, indeed.

———-

Warrick Dunn released a statement:

“I am thankful for my Tampa Bay Buccaneer experience – in its entirety. It all started here and now in my second term I know I have been blessed to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in the NFL. I am thankful for the ownership, coaching, every teammate and especially the fans who have been with me through the highs and lows. It all adds up to an experience I often call “living the dream.” From here I don’t know what the future holds but wherever it goes I go with a full and grateful heart.” – Warrick Dunn

Not even a hint of a harsh word or even a sense of disappointment. What a class act.

———-

Yeah, Brooks had no idea this was coming.

“Right now, like all of you guys, I’m just trying to get a feel for it all, trying to come to grips with it,” Brooks said. “I don’t even know what to think. I’ll speak to all of you guys (Thursday).”

Yes, Brooks was getting slower and older. And there are definitely guys out there or even in-house that are better than him at this stage of his career. But this was flat wrong.

———-

Okay, umm… how can I put this? Is Raheem Morris… special? Like, you know, retarded-special? Did you see the press conference? I don’t expect him to be The Great Communicator in his first month on the job, but he really sounded unprepared, hesitant and completely lacking in confidence. Go watch it and see if you agree.

And Mark Dominik says he doesn’t know how these moves affect the cap? Oh holy fucking hell, tell me that’s not true. IT’S YOUR JOB TO KNOW EXACTLY THESE KINDS OF THINGS! I am scared for opening of free agency. My big concern is that they will drag their feet signing guys or they will fuck it up altogether.

Distant Early Warning: Wide Receivers

January 09, 2009 at 11:24pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »

This is Nathan Vasher's reaction after Antonion Bryant caught a 38-yard pass on him to set up the winning field goal.  Sign Bryant.
The Buccaneers entered 2008 basically with Joey Galloway as the sure thing and high hopes that someone else would also step up. As it turned out, someone else did. Too bad Galloway was as useless to the Bucs as a rifle is to a Frenchman.

Read the rest of this entry »

None And Done

December 29, 2008 at 02:20am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

Worth a thousand words.
I’ve been thinking for a few hours about what is really wrong with this Buccaneers team. What is it that makes a 9-3 team drop its last four games in a row and lose a playoff spot that they had really only had to have ten wins to clinch? I’ve gone back and looked at the game summaries for the season and came to the conclusion that this was never a playoff team. Instead of being a team that got screwed out of a couple games like Dallas and Denver, they actually were the beneficiaries of victories against Chicago and Kansas City that they probably should have dropped. And then as the season wore on, injuries mounted and linemen started getting sore, the team’s true colors came out and they shit themselves. This team was never good enough to get to the playoffs.

And I don’t care what any analyst says about Monte Kiffin announcing his intentions last month. That was not what caused the defense to meltdown. Any player that allows something like that to affect his play doesn’t deserve to be on the team. This is professional football. Really, were their minds so distracted by the idea of playing without Kiffin next year that they couldn’t concentrate on the last month of the season? Were they depressed and couldn’t muster the energy to tackle properly? These aren’t teenage goth girls. Give these players at least the credit that they can accept a change in coaching personnel and not forget how to play the game. I believe the timing of the announcement and the breakdown is coincidental.

Okay, onto the game. I predicted earlier today that Antonio Bryant would have a big day. I kind of assumed that Jeff Garcia would play better than he has been. I was wrong. Bryant was wide open several times during the game and Garcia either overthrew him or didn’t see him or did see him but chose to throw elsewhere. When Jon Gruden goes back to review this tape, he’s going to tell Bruce Allen to go out and find him a new veteran quarterback. A taller one; one that can see the entire fucking field.

I already noted my disappointment for Cadillac Williams and the knee injury he suffered as he was having one of the best games of his career. If anything caused the Bucs to lose focus, it was Williams’s injury. Williams was rushing for 6.5 YPC and was the game’s leading receiver, something you never would have thought last year. I don’t know if he spent part of his rehab time in front of a JUGS machine, but he caught everything thrown his way. That’s one of the most tragic aspects of this — he was actually on his way to being better than he was as a rookie.

Warrick Dunn has had a fine season and has been much more involved than he signed up for. But if Dunn comes back next season, it’s going to be as a very specific role player. His age plus the beatings he has taken throughout his career have added up and he’s simply not effective enough late in the season. After Williams went down, Gruden should have put Clifton Smith in behind center. He’s a playmaker and a rookie and can take some pounding from the defensive line. If Smith has his fumbling under control, he should be paired with Earnest Graham for that power/speed mix that is a staple of the most successful teams lately.

B.J. Askew‘s stuffing on third-and-one was all on Davin Joseph. He missed his block, plain and simple. I’m not really a fan of those up-back quick handoffs anyway because you’re basically playing 9-on-11 by taking your halfback and quarterback out of the play when the defense knows it can sell out to stop the run. But it’s even worse when it’s 8-on-11.

Hey, at least the offensive line had its best game in a long time. It started off kind of slow with the run-blocking, but picked up nicely in the second and third quarters. And Garcia’s protection was really very good for most of the day. Rich Gannon hit it right on the head when he said that Garcia scrambles around too much and he needs to trust his protection. Haven’t we been saying that for months now?

Specifically, Jeff Faine had an exemplary day. For a big dude, he gets downfield in a hurry. He knows when to take his protection to the next level and is really aggressive in making those later blocks.

So, how do you rate Michael Clayton‘s last game as a Buccaneer? A huge catch and run for a touchdown, but also a couple of catchable (but tough) balls dropped. It was pretty much more of the same thing that we’ve seen for years now. I really thought in 2005 that he would be the guy to build the new offense around. “Simms to Clayton — TOUCHDOWN! That’s their 100th connection for a score.” is what Al Michaels was going to say sometime in 2012. Oh well. It’s been nice, Michael. Whaddya think? Cincinnati?

Again, this game was not Antonio Bryant’s fault. Sign Antonio Bryant tomorrow, please. And consult him when interviewing quarterbacks. Seriously. He has to be frustrated with getting consistent separation and not getting thrown to. He needs to have chemistry off the bat with the new guy. I’m not saying to sign whoever he says, but you have to at least make sure he’s seen tape and feels good about the guy.

I also think Ike Hilliard spends another year in pewter.

Despite dropping another catchable ball, Jerramy Stevens needs to be re-signed and coached up. He had a pretty quiet day, but he’s a big, physical presence that can be a killer in the endzone. Alex Smith should be relegated to backup duty and rotate John Gilmore and Stevens depending on the situation.

The defensive line was abysmal. They started off stuffing the run pretty nicely, but that didn’t last long. Michael Bush had 177 yards rushing and everybody knew the Raiders were going to run the ball. I certainly did. Inability to stop the run plus no pass run equals a loss. Add in poor tackling in the fourth quarter and it turns into an embarrassment.

I really thought that the defensive line rotation with Jimmy Wilkerson and Ryan Sims and Greg White along with the starters would keep the line fresh and tackling well. But everyone just looked… tired. Listless. Is it possible that all these guys have small tanks and they’re all getting gassed by the fourth quarter? Or is it the scheme that’s keeping them from getting adequate pressure and penetration and they’re frustrated and sloppy by the end of the game? I’ve got to go with the latter. We’ve seen all these guys make plays at one time or another. Raheem Morris may want to consider making the defensive line his priority for the offseason — specifically, the coaching.

Would Derrick Brooks come back in 2009 as a part-time linebacker to help in the transition between defensive regimes? Because if not, this may need to be his last season. He’s had a decent year, but has been hurt and slow in the latter part and completely whiffed on a couple plays. Like, for instance, the long Michael Bush run. He didn’t come back after that play, but I’m not sure if it was because he was hurt or because he was benched.

This was Cato June‘s best game this year. That’s a sadder statement than you think.

You may think I’m going to start sucking Sabby Piscitelli‘s dick after his interception and long (and impressive) return. But the fact is that it was a very poorly thrown ball by JaMarcus Russell and Piscitelli was expected to make that pick. Still, good job, Sabby.

I never thought that Gruden was going to kick the 50-yard field goal on fourth-and-four. Matt Bryant is not reliable from that distance and he certainly shouldn’t have punted. He showed faith in his offense and was let down. The actual play call could have been better, but I don’t know if that should be pinned on Gruden or Garcia. Whatever. But the decision to go for it was the right one.

You know what else hurt the Bucs? Field position. Who knew Shane Lechler was going to be such a weapon? Oh, right, Gruden did. He’s the one who drafted him in Oakland. Between Lechler and Johnnie Lee Higgins, the Bucs were put in awful field position for most of the day.

Look, this team had a ten point lead in the fourth quarter. And in every game this month, they’ve either had a lead or been tied in the fourth. The Bucs have had offensive issues, but this entire month has been about the defense giving up big plays in the running game in the fourth quarter. It’s not a lack of effort and it’s not that Gruden has somehow just now lost the locker room. This is being physically overpowered.

Still, it is at least partially the head coach’s responsibility to get his team “up” for big games or to put the assistant coaches in place to do it. Gruden won’t be fired, but he’ll be in the hot seat yet again going into 2009.

Philadelphia bent over and gang-raped Dallas 44-6. You can argue that the Eagles might not have played that hard if they knew they were out of the playoffs, but that wouldn’t have made Dallas any better. Even if Philadelphia only gave 25% effort had the Bucs won, they still could have beaten the Cowboys. The playoffs were there for the Bucs to take. As I said, I don’t think the Bucs would have gone anywhere in the playoffs because this was not a team built for the long haul. In some ways, maybe it’s better that they lost out and avoided the embarrassment of (another) nationally televised pantsing.

We’ll have plenty of time to discuss what to do and who to get in the offseason. But the problems are evident and the solutions seem obvious. But for now, Go Titans.