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Posts Tagged ‘jovan haye’

Roster Moves That Don’t Matter

December 21, 2011 at 10:05am by Scott   •  No Comments »

Talib IR 1

A couple months ago, this would have been major news with huge implications for the rest of the season. But with the season over for all practical purposes and the the fact they’re essentially playing foosball out there on the field, it gets shoved to the side for two days and no one notices.

The Bucs have decided cornerback Aqib Talib isn’t fit to finish the season.

Talib, with a hamstring injury that has slowed him in the second half of the season, was placed on injured reserve Monday for the final two games.

E.J. Biggers, normally the nickel back, becomes the starter at left cornerback.

Biggers plays a lot anyway so this doesn’t change much, which in the Bucs’ case is unfortunate. When I was reading that talent gap article yesterday, Biggers was the first player I thought of that made me think he might have a point. There’s got to be a college player out there that both does not like guns and can cover. It seems like a relatively small list of requirements.

To fill his spot, the Bucs signed DT Jovan Haye, who spent time with the team from 2006-2008 and actually led them in sacks one year, which is probably a sadder statement than I originally thought. He was another one of those “work hard” players that found some success through his work ethic. This roster does seem to have a lot of those. That’s good, right? Someone tell me that’s good.

Oh Yeah, T.O. Would Have Been Perfect

September 22, 2009 at 11:15am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

I'd rather have Ike Hilliard with a limp.
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.

Jovan Haye Has A Secret

March 25, 2009 at 12:52pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Are you the one that ate the last slice of strawberry pie?  Because if you are, so held me God, I will reach down your throat and get it before it hits your colon.
Jovan Haye was talking about last season with Tampa Bay when he let go with this little bit:

“If I played on third down, it was third-and-1, third-and-2 when they’re probably going to run the ball,” Haye said. “You had things behind the scenes that nobody really knew of (Haye declined to elaborate). I never really caught that true flow from ’07.”

I guess it doesn’t matter now. Everyone who was involved with Haye has been swept away so whatever “things behind the scenes” there were are gone. But it would be nice to know if maybe there was some weird reason why the defensive line had so much trouble getting pressure.

One thing that’s not a secret: Haye needs a nutritionist.

Haye orders up two pieces of fried chicken — dark meat, smothered in gravy — with macaroni and cheese and sweet potatoes on the side. Then comes strawberry cake for dessert.

Macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, right?

Signs Of Life In The Front Office

March 03, 2009 at 10:30am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

Dude, when I get my signing bonus, I'm gonna buy a cheeseburger THIS BIG.
It took a few days, but the Bucs finally signed a player that I consider an improvement. Derrick Ward, formerly of the Giants, is now a Buccaneer and immediately brings big play ability into the backfield. And that’s not to say they didn’t already have it. Earnest Graham has been known to crank out a 60+ yarder from time to time as well. On paper they’re very similar. Graham is 5-9, 225 with a 4.3 YPC average; Ward is 5-11, 228 with a 5.6 YPC average. But Graham is more of a bruiser with a lower center of gravity. He’s a hard hitter. Ward has softer hands and is faster on the outside, making him a perfect replacement for Warrick Dunn.

Running back Derrick Ward has agreed to terms with Tampa Bay on a four-year contract worth $17 million. Ward will make $6 million in guarantees in the first year, $9.25 million over two years, and $13 million over three years.

It’s a reasonable deal, even though he’ll technically be a backup. I hope Jagz likes the “rocket” backfield as much as Jon Gruden did. He’s got the tools to take advantage of it.

And, hey, I finally got a guy I used in a banner pic!

To round up yesterday, the Bucs signed LB Niko Koutouvides who will provide limited depth at linebacker unless he has something in the tank that he hasn’t shown yet. But between him and Will Allen, the kick coverage team should be very good this year. The Bucs lost out on both T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Washington, leaving the receiving options a little thin now. Devery Henderson or Shaun McDonald would probably be all right, but after that it gets dicey. Oh, and Jovan Haye signed with Tennessee. If you’re keeping up with the News & Rumors page, you already knew all this. There’s also a lot of comments there, so if you’re not keeping up and joining in the conversation, you should.

The loss of Haye doesn’t bother me so much because he’s such a great player or anything, but I’d sure like to know how the team plans to address the gaping holes in the defensive line. Kevin Carter is still out there as a free agent, Haye is gone and Ryan Sims wasn’t all that good as a starter in relief of Haye last year. A good chunk of the top defensive linemen are off the market now, too. I wouldn’t mind taking a look at Igor Olshanshy. Dewayne Robertson has been a complete bust after being drafted so high, but could Jim Bates coax anything out of him? Maybe the Bucs are just planning on addressing these shortages in the draft, which would be fine with me. But they should stock up on a couple free agents in case the guys they’re targeting in the draft don’t make it down to their slot.

Still, despite these holes, things are looking a little better today than they did at on Sunday. So don’t start tying your slipknots yet, people. There’s lots of grumbling out there, and I know I bitch about various moves, but the fact is that the team is going to field 53 players in September. And they’ll all be qualified professional football players one way or another. If you have some faith in the coaching staff, give them the benefit of the doubt for now that they can mold this group into something competitive, or else you’re going to be miserable for the next several months, and I don’t wish that on any of you. Well, maybe one of you. But definitely not you. You’re fucking awesome.

Jim Bates Likes Man On Man

February 18, 2009 at 03:32pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

You can barely tell he's wearing adult diapers.
Jim Bates spoke with the media today about his plans for the Buccaneer defense. All in all, not a lot is going to change. Here’s what I took from it:

- He will try to continue using the Cover 2 philosophy of rushing only the front four. But he’s prepared to blitz if necessary.
- No more over/under fronts. Just a straight four in a one-gap scheme.
- He does like bigger defensive tackles and wants to rotate the linemen a lot.
- Lots more man on man coverage by the cornerbacks. This is not good news for Ronde Barber.
- Safety play won’t change.
- Mentioned Barrett Ruud specifically. Says he’s very bright.

Here’s the best part. He’s speaking about defensive ends:

“So many guys come out of college and they’re speed guys and all they do is just rush off the edge. And in this league, you can’t do it. They have to have what we call different pitches. If you’ve only got a fastball, you better lookout because they are going to hit home runs against you. You have to have some changeups.”

Are you listening, Gaines? You can’t line up ten yards from the ball and expect to get to the quarterback with speed. I’m really looking forward to Bates giving Adams a new repertoire of pass rush moves and him exploding for double-digit sacks in 2009. That, all by itself, would be change enough. He also said he likes bigger defensive tackles, but could work with undersized ones. But if they’re not productive (as Jovan Haye was not in 2008,) why would he keep them? Look for a big time defensive tackle free agent signing or a high DT draft pick this year. Peria Jerry (Ole Miss) is starting to look like a very strong possibility.

He said other stuff about his time in Miami and how much he respects Monte Kiffin and blah blah blah. The bottom line is that not all that much is going to change except the cornerback play. That could be huge for Aqib Talib and Phillip Buchanon, who are more physically suited for bump and run. Barber won’t be released, but if this plan goes through as Bates wants it to, he’ll be phased out this year and probably released next offseason.

Now, can someone tell me why Bates is six years younger than Kiffin, yet he looks about 20 years older? That’s the kind of accelerated aging usually reserved for presidents and meth-whores.

Distant Early Warning: Defensive Tackle

January 21, 2009 at 12:00pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »

What's that I hear? The sound of your orbital bone cracking under my shoe!
I covered the entire offensive line in one entry because the needs there were relatively few and the analysis was straightforward. The Bucs’ defensive line, though, is a different story. A sadder one. For example, if the offensive line was Lassie, the defensive line would be Old Yeller. Sorry, didn’t mean to make you think about dogs getting shot. Anyway, that’s why we’re splitting up the defensive line. Prior to Friday, I would have said that defensive tackle is definitely the biggest need on the team. But after all the personnel changes and the fact that we don’t know who the defensive coordinator is going to be or even what kind of scheme they’re going to run, it’s a little harder to predict what the team needs are going to be. Let’s assume for now that they’re sticking with a standard Tampa 2 as their base and go from there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Player Reactions To Gruden’s Epic Canning

January 16, 2009 at 08:56pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Jeff Faine is sad tonight.
Players are quickly being contacted for reactions to the Gruden dismissal. According to Adam Schefter, they had already been called to give their opinion on their head coach.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Glazer family called in various Buccaneers players to solicit their opinions on head coach Jon Gruden.

Suffice to say, the message delivered to the Glazers about Gruden wasn’t favorable.

The ones that are talking now are mostly surprised, have nice things to say about Gruden, but are supportive of the team.

Receiver Antonio Bryant (on ‘The Monty Show’ on Sporting News Radio):
“I’m very surprised, you know I felt very comfortable, especially in the environment. It’s a family atmosphere and everybody got along well, and it’s shocking, but that’s the nature of the business.
“I feel a sense of loyalty to anything that is Buccaneer. John Gruden was definitely a Buccaneer, he gave his all in everything. He was very devoted and a passionate guy about the game. I’m still a Buccaneer until March 1 and just the opportunity that he gave me, the organization, the ownership and the Glazers, I trust their decision in knowing that they feel they made the decision to do the right thing.”

Sign Bryant.

Center Jeff Faine:
“I was very, very shocked,” center Jeff Faine said. “I definitely did not see this coming. I thought we would add a couple of pieces to the puzzle and improve on what we had. I thought we had a solid foundation. Now, we’re going to have a complete overhaul.”

Faine is obviously disappointed. I don’t think he said anything negative about Gruden.

Defensive tackle Jovan Haye:
“Despite the wins and losses, Coach Gruden had a certain fire to him. He demanded a lot. I can’t complain about him. He found me on the practice squad when I was on the practice squad, down and out, and gave me a chance. How dare I complain about him. It’s sad to see.”

He sounds kind of shocked, but not heartbroken like Faine.

Fullback B.J. Askew:
“I find it shocking. It’s kind of like a kid at Christmas who wakes up and finds out all his presents are gone. It’s shocking like that. I would have bet my whole contract Coach Gruden and Bruce Allen would be here. Obviously, the Buccaneers decided to go in a different direction.”

Like all the Christmas presents are gone? Obviously disappointed.

Defensive End Stylez G (Greg) White:
“Yes. It did catch me off-guard. I just work here. Hopefully I’ll continue working here next year.”

He could give a fuck and probably had some negative things to say when he was asked.

“How do you build a championship team with all the inconsistency?’ receiver Mike Clayton said.

“You have to do it the right way. I’ve always been a person who feels like you reap what you sow. You have to treat people fairly.’

When asked what he wished Gruden would’ve done differently, Clayton said, “It’s about showing more confidence in your players. He was kind of a turncoat. He’d tell you one thing and then do something else.”

Yeah, not a vote of confidence there. So it’s kind of a mixed bag, and some guys who might have decent things to say to the press probably said something else privately to the Glazers.

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?

Bucs Should Be Healthy For Sunday

December 19, 2008 at 02:30pm by Scott   •  No Comments »

That's the same face Derrick makes every time he watches The Notebook.
It appears that the Buccaneers will have their full compliment of starters ready for the Chargers. Derrick Brooks, Gaines Adams, Greg Stylez White, Chris Hovan, Jovan Haye and, most importantly, Jeff Garcia should all be ready to go.

Regarding Brooks, Gruden said, “I think he’ll go. We’ll get to the stadium and make sure. But it does appear that our captain will be back.”

When asked about Garcia, Gruden said, “I believe he’ll be the starter. Now, what his playing strength and stamina is, I can’t be a true judge of that today. I know he’ll give everything he has.”

Additionally, Gruden must have received enough threats and dead fish in his mailbox this week to make him reconsider who was going to play backup to Garcia.

“We’ve had reps for the backup and Luke has taken most of those,” Gruden said “If need be, he’ll be ready to go.”

Gruden insists that it wasn’t Brian Griese who lost the game last week, but he’s just flat out wrong this time. Far be it for me to tell the head coach what happened on the field, but I’ve watched that game a couple times now and I can tell you that, yes, Brian Griese lost the game. The fact that McCown is now the backup would seem to confirm that, even if Gruden doesn’t want to admit he made a mistake and hurt Brian’s pwecious wittle feewings.

So, Who Appreciates Jeff Garcia Now?

December 15, 2008 at 11:09am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Jonathan Babineaux makes Brian Griese drop his torch and book.  BECAUSE HE'S A FUCKING STATUE -- GET IT?!?!
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present to get Brian Griese, buy him a gift certificate for a nice pressure-washing. That’s how you clean a statue, right? Holy shit, as soon as this guy takes his drop in the pocket, it’s like his feet grow roots into the turf. At first I thought Brian Baldinger was making too big a deal out of it, but if anything he didn’t say it enough. No quarterback can just stand back there and survey the field without any attempt to step up in the pocket or get out of harm’s way. I’ll take Jeff Garcia‘s happy feet over Griese’s anchors any day.

That’s quite a vote of confidence for Luke McCown, isn’t it? He’s gotta be pissed that Jon Gruden went with the gimpy Griese over him. I was thinking the quarterback competition for 2009 would involve McCown, Josh Johnson and some veteran, but I’m thinking now that McCown may not be part of the equation.

Seriously, this was the worst coaching decision from Gruden that I can remember in a long time.

The second-worst was the decision to, for some reason, forget about Antonio Bryant in the second half. I realize the Falcons adjusted to protect him better after halftime, but why would he ignore him altogether? Was that Griese’s call? Did Gruden not have enough faith in Griese to have him throw the ball to a receiver that is covered more tightly? And if that’s the case, why play Griese in the first place? Bryant can make plays. He makes quick adjustments and can catch poorly thrown balls. Everyone was clamoring for a playmaker this offseason. Now they’ve got one — one that had 200 yards last week and over 100 yards before halftime yesterday. I don’t get it.

Did you see the replay of the Domonique Foxworth interception where Bryant was running free well in front of his coverage? Griese threw it to a tightly-bracketed Michael Clayton instead. The only reason to have Griese at quarterback is because he makes better decisions than McCown. If that’s not the case anymore, Griese is nearly worthless to this team.

Joey Galloway was inactive and didn’t even dress for this game. He’s done as a Buccaneer. This was the biggest game of the year for the Bucs and if Gruden doesn’t trust him enough to put him on the field even as a decoy, there’s some kind of unfixable rift there. When he drops easy balls and doesn’t get separation, I can understand that his value as a playmaker are diminished, but shit, the defense would have had to respect him at least a little, right? Enough to at least free up Bryant a little in the second half?

Sorry, I have to go back to Griese for a second. Brian Clark and Sabby Piscitelli got the offense the ball back at the 22-yard line and the offense couldn’t score a touchdown in the last two minutes to win the game. First play: 10-yard completion to Clayton. Yeah! Second play: 3-yard run by Cadillac Williams. Fine. Then an 11-yard sack that could have been avoided with a little rolling out. I realize Donald Penn got beaten, but a few steps to the right and then throwing the ball away would have saved 11 yards. Then a holding penalty by Arron Sears, a penalty that probably wouldn’t have happened if they weren’t in third-and-18 because of the fucking sack. The more I write, the madder I get.

Hey, Cadillac Williams was the leading rusher yesterday! He really looks like he has his strength back and he has no problem going up the middle and pushing the pile. Things really got rolling for him in the second half when the offensive line figured out run-blocking. He’s always been a guy who gets better as the game goes on. Yesterday he had 14 carries, which is a nice number. But I think that if he gets up into the 20-ish range that he’s likely to break out a few really long ones.

Warrick Dunn may not have looked good on the stat sheet, but when you consider that some of his three and four yard runs should have been stuffed in the backfield and that his shiftiness and quick-cutting ability were the reasons why they weren’t, he didn’t do too bad. He also caught the ball seven times for 50 yards, so you have to add that into his production as well.

The offensive line was pretty bad yesterday. Everyone except Penn got hit for a penalty, some of them at the absolute worst times. Jeff Faine‘s false start on a third-and-inches that forced a long field goal that Matt Bryant missed was especially bad since it looked like he was the one that didn’t know the snap count. He knows he’s the center, right?

You guys didn’t pray hard enough. John Abraham beat both Penn and Jeremy Trueblood for sacks. Abraham had three sacks total, but then again, it’s a lot easier to hit a stationary target.

In a fun twist to the typical pattern of offensive line play this year, the guys changed it up a bit and were decent pass-protectors during the first half and decent run-blockers in the second half. Once again, they seem to not be able to do both simultaneously, but at least we’re getting both performances in the same game now. That’s progress, right?

Alex Smith is frustrating the shit out of me. Hold on to the fucking ball! I know he got leveled by Foxworth and it was a great hit, but shit, you’re only thrown to a couple times per game now. You’re expected to perform when you get your chance. Thrown to three times; one catch for two yards.

With Jovan Haye only playing a limited number of reps, Kevin Carter played a lot of under tackle and did a very good job. Much better than Jimmy Wilkerson did, who started at the position. Wilkerson looked like he got pushed around a lot.

In fact, Carter may have been the only real bright spot. No sacks by the defensive line and only one “QB hurry” — by Carter. Gaines Adams is playing the run pretty well (3 tackles) which is, you know, great and all. But he’s supposed to be the elite pass rusher that gets consistent edge pressure. But he takes his such shallow angles from so far away that there’s no way he can get to a quarterback with any kind of mobility no matter how fast Adams runs. Which means the only person he could possibly sack is Griese.

It’s entirely possible that Cato June gets cut after the season. He was repeatedly burned in pass coverage and he was lucky he wasn’t called for a taunting penalty after Aqib Talib‘s interception. He needed to be benched for a while to get his head straight.

Barrett Ruud and Derrick Brooks were a lot better at tackling than they were last week, but there were still a couple misses. Yes, Michael Turner is good, but so are most NFL running backs.

Note to Jermaine Phillips: Wrap up. He would have had Turner for a great tackle if he had just put his arms around him. Instead he bounced off him like he was made of rubber.

Tanard Jackson had the kind of game we’ve been expecting from him all year. He tackled solidly (seven tackles,) had the Bucs’ only sack and forced Matt Ryan to fumble.

Let’s be clear. Even though this still wasn’t a stellar defensive performance, they were not the reason for the loss. After starting slow, they held the Falcons scoreless for three straight quarters. They had three turnovers that the offense only managed to turn into seven points. The blame for this game comes down to Jon Gruden, Brian Griese, and offensive and special teams penalties. Special teams especially gave up a ton of yardage on kick returns, forcing the offense to start in bad field position. Not that it mattered much. Did I mention that they started at the 22-yard line one time and only got a field goal? Anyway, this was undisciplined and uninspired football from both of those squads. The defense tried to keep them in the game, but in the end the team couldn’t overcome its own shortcomings.

So, two weeks ago the Bucs were 9-3, had the second seed in the NFC and were in line for a bye week and a home playoff game. Now, if the season ended today, the Bucs would have choked away their playoff spot and would be sitting at home. As it stands, they need to win out and for Atlanta and/or Dallas to lose. If the Panthers shit themselves for the next two weeks, there’s still an outside chance at winning the NFC South, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. Dallas plays Baltimore at home and Philadelphia on the road; both games they could lose. Atlanta plays at Minnesota and at home against St. Louis. There’s a good chance they win both of those. Of course, none of this matters if the Bucs can’t beat two losing teams at home over the next couple weeks. San Diego is a desperate team. This isn’t going to be easy.