Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘sabby piscitelli’

REAR ENTRIES: A Black And White Tribute

December 03, 2010 at 11:46am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

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JOHN MCKAY SLIDESHOW: In preparation for the throwback game on Sunday, the Tribune put together this Flash slideshow of John McKay photos. You’ve seen most of them, but the banner pic of him at Oregon University kicking back and smoking a cigar is new to me. He looks like he just got laid. Or put a hit out on someone. Maybe both. Remember this lesson, ladies: If you fuck a guy and then he hires someone to kill you, you’re doing it wrong.

GRUDEN COMMITTED TO ESPN: We were all pretty sure Jon Gruden wasn’t going to coach Miami, and now it’s been confirmed by both Jon and his boss. And his boss sounds like he’s sick of Jon entertaining all these coaching rumors.

“Jon’s contract with ESPN runs through the 2011 season, he’s made a commitment to us, and in the contract there’s a commitment to us,” Norby Williamson, an executive vice president for Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, said on the conference call. “He won’t be having any conversations to entertain a college or pro offer through the 2011 season.”

Gruden’s name will still come up when notable teams fire their head coach, and Gruden is doing the smart thing by letting the rumors linger for a day or two before re-affirming his commitment to ESPN, but it’s obviously pissing off the executive VP for the station. And Gruden still never actually says, “I will not accept a coaching job while I am under contract with ESPN.” This is the kind of balls you can grow when your former employer is still paying you $5-million per year to work elsewhere.

SABBY WANTED OUT: It turns out that Sabby Piscitelli‘s release wasn’t necessarily because he allowed a 65-yard touchdown as soon as he got in the game. He requested it.

The Buccaneers had tried since before the NFL’s October trade deadline to move S Sabby Piscitelli, but not solely because of their unhappiness with him.

Piscitelli, who lost his starter’s job to Sean Jones during training camp, had grown disgruntled in Tampa. And while he never made his feelings public, he did make his feelings known to the Bucs, who released him Tuesday.

No one is saying the exact cause of Sabby’s discontent, but do we really need to guess? He never got over the fact that he didn’t win the starting job and Sean Jones hasn’t been all that spectacular in his place. But instead of handling it with class like Jeremy Trueblood is doing, he whines and bitches and stomps his feet and now he’s a Cleveland Brown. Karma’s a bitch.

How classy is Trueblood being? Pretty damn classy.

“We have a lot of good guys on this O line,” he said. “We’re all friends. And the best part about it is how can you get mad when you still have a job playing a kid’s game? We’re living a dream. I actually have been able to enjoy things a little more because I’m competing more. It kind of brings back your love for the game a little.”

“Raheem really means it,” Trueblood said. “And it’s all out there and up front, so you can’t be mad about it.”

That’s how you handle a demotion. Evidently, the Bucs really looked out for Sabby and accommodated whatever he wanted, so maybe we won’t be hearing former players talking shit like they did about the Gruden/Allen regime. Except Derrick Ward, who we all know is a sack of shit.

Big Load O’ Pat

December 03, 2010 at 10:21am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Sad Ronde will have no gold jacket.
A few months ago, you would have thought the NFC South blog at ESPN was off-limits to any team not wearing gold and black. Now that the division is more competitive, we’re seeing more Buccaneer articles, and Pat Yasinskas just unloaded a bunch of them yesterday.

First, here’s his Buccaneer male mail bag, which is wholly unimpressive this week. People ask a lot of dumb shit. “Should the coaches let Josh Freeman make more plays?” Jackasses.

Next up is yet another revisit of the Ronde Barber Hall of Fame argument. Pat doesn’t think Ronde gets in and I agree with him, although not just because Ronde is a system corner. He’s more than that, but he hasn’t been at a Hall of Fame level for long enough to warrant it.

Then we have an interesting Josh Freeman stat about his efficiency in the fourth quarter, followed by a more thorough explanation of yesterday’s Gerald McCoy/religion story.

“I was out of whack in my life,’’ McCoy said. “I wasn’t out drinking or carousing or anything like that. I just had the wrong mindset. We do not have entitlement and I had kind of developed a sense of entitlement. We’re here to serve God and, although I’ve always believed in that, I wasn’t quite living my life that way.’’

As I said, whatever works for him is great with me. I like hearing when guys don’t think they’re entitled.

And his final piece is on the Buccaneers’ payroll compared to other teams. And since the Bucs are mostly made up of rookies and office temps, guess who’s the lowest.

The Bucs are on the books for $80.8 million this year. I’m looking around the rest of the league and the only other teams that are at less than $100 million are Arizona ($98.1 million), Jacksonville ($91.5 million) and Kansas City ($93.7 million). The league average is $124.2 million.

He notes that the Bucs’ payroll has shrunk even more lately with the releases of Keydrick Vincent and Sabby Piscitelli. At some point the Buccaneers should consider charging the players to play, the same way strip club owners charge strippers to dance. And then whenever a player makes a good play, we can all stuff $5 bills in his jock. I don’t know why everyone things these CBA negotiations are so hard.

REAR ENTRIES: A Snow Job Is Better Than No Job

December 02, 2010 at 11:04am by Scott   •  No Comments »

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OUR GM CAN BEAT UP YOUR GM: Ira Kaufman takes a break from, well, whatever the hell he’s normally doing or eating, and does a little bit of research into what some Bucs who have been released by this regime are doing these days. The answer: Very little. Some of the names include Derrick Brooks, Joey Galloway, Cato June, Ike Hilliard, Chris Hovan… well, you get the point. All had good performances for the Bucs at one time, but Mark Dominik knew when to cut the cord and did so despite tons of fan opposition. And taking their place is a group of hungry, talented, barely-pubescent youngsters who are eager to do anything necessary to succeed. And I think I just wrote the copy to my next personal ad.

LARRY ASANTE READY IN A WEEK?: Everybody loves enthusiasm in a rookie. They’ll run through a wall for you, and it’s pretty fun to get them to try it. But Larry Asante seems to think he can master this new whatever-the-hell-it’s-called scheme of Raheem Morris‘s in one week, and that sounds less like enthusiasm and more like delusion.

Asante said Tampa Bay’s defensive playbook has similarities to the scheme used by Nebraska, although the terminology is different. He estimated it would take him a week to master the Buccaneer system to the point where he is reacting rather than thinking too much.

“I’m picking it up real fast,” Asante said. “I was real excited because it was the Bucs. The GM (Mark Dominik) called me and I talked to Coach Morris after that. I figure after a week I should be ready.”

If Asante really does get it all down in a week, either he is the smartest football player to ever live or Sabby Piscitelli is dumber than paint. You know what, never mind. It’s always so convenient when I answer my own question.

THE SNOW BOWL REVISITED: If you were following the Bucs in the mid-80s, you probably remember the Snow Bowl. It was the 1985 Bucs game at Green Bay that took place in a real, honest-to-God blizzard. The Bucs were in all white uniforms and no one could see each other on the field. Steve Young was the quarterback and the Bucs gained a total of 65 yards in the entire game, losing 21-0. Packer Report, a offshoot, revisits the game by reprinting their summary of it from exactly 25 years ago.

For everyone who grew up in a winter climate playing in the snow always seemed like a lot of fun. Safety Mark Murphy remembered from his Ohio childhood days. “It was fun, I’m telling ya. It was real nasty in the third and fourth quarters. I thought it was worse than Denver last year. The wind was blowing and it was hard to see.” has a page on the game along with screenshots from the video. I’m the one who sent him a copy of that game and I watch it myself every now and then. It’s surreal. I really think this game would be postponed in today’s NFL. I’ve seen more weather delays in the last couple years than I have in the rest of my football-watching life combined. Buncha pussies won’t play through lightning. Oh shit, I hope I don’t get punched for saying that.

Ronde Won’t Be Playing Safety

December 02, 2010 at 09:45am by Scott   •  No Comments »

You're looking at about 100 years of football experience right here.
Since the Bucs have three actual safeties on the roster that can take over for Cody Grimm, it kind of went without saying that Ronde Barber wouldn’t be the one to fill that spot, but he went ahead and said it anyway.

“I’ll only go back there in case there’s an emergency,” said Barber, who constituted an emergency as “Corey or Vince going down.”

It sounds like Larry Asante is already out of the competition for starter, possibly because the Cleveland scheme he has been practicing all year is so different from the Bucs’. This Rick Stroud article says Asante will backup Sean Jones this Sunday, but Raheem Morris liked him enough back when he coached at Kansas State to recruit him out of junior college, so he may eventually get in the mix as well.

Speaking of Cleveland and safeties, Sabby Piscitelli was claimed off waivers by the Browns yesterday, probably because their good rookie, T.J. Ward, isn’t practicing this week and his backup, Nick Sorensen, has never started a game in his ten year career. So basically the Bucs traded a former second-rounder for a practice squad player. And I still think the Browns got screwed. I would wish Sabby good luck, but I really, truly don’t care one way or the other.

Sabby Was Not Well-Liked By Teammates

December 01, 2010 at 01:26pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Don't touch me, whitey.
Joe Henderson does a good Martin Fennelly impression in his most recent post about Sabby Piscitelli‘s dismissal. It’s not the total shit sandwich that most of Fennelly’s articles are, but Henderson is trying to be too clever by repeating the “honesty” thread throughout. But one thing Henderson does have is actual good information mixed in with his witticisms. For example…

A lot of players didn’t like Piscitelli all that much, because he can be arrogant and even delusional when it comes to his abilities, but players don’t have to like each other. They do have to produce, though, and Piscitelli never did.

Henderson doesn’t quote a source, but in a case like this I wouldn’t have expected him to. But it would have been nice if he had personalized it by saying that players “told him” that they didn’t like him or something to let all of us know that he isn’t just pulling this out of his ass. Assuming for a moment that he isn’t, this is surprising to me (on both counts). Sabby gave up a lot of plays, but he made his share as well and his teammates always seemed to be fired up for him when he did. Special teams guys stick together because they’re all in the same boat, and I would have thought Sabby was popular in the locker room. I was always popular in the locker room, too, but that’s because the hole to see into the girls’ locker room was right next to my locker.

Tight end Todd Heap was completely open in the spot where the safety should have been, running his merry way down the field to complete a 65-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco.

Honestly, could a practice-squad guy from the Browns do any worse?

On that one play, no. But Sabby wasn’t a total abortion all the time, right? I don’t disagree with cutting him because I think it was due, but it’s just hard for me to believe that Corey Lynch and two practice squad players are going to be better prepared to deal with Matt Ryan than Sabby. The timing is curious, that’s all. But that’s Raheem for you. Raheem don’t need no turk. Raheem will end your career personally.

It’s worth remembering that Raheem Morris coached the defensive backs before taking over as head coach. You figure he’s going to know who has the goods back there and who is just a lost cause.

Excellent point.

The 2007 draft of Jon Gruden/Bruce Allen now adds another chapter in its mix of misfortune and misjudgment.

The first two picks — Gaines Adams and Arron Sears — had tragic turns in life. And who knows if fourth-round pick Jackson will ever play again after his yearlong suspension for substance violations is finished next fall. has a piece on the 2007 draft in the wake of Sabby’s termination. It’s interesting to see them all listed there with only two players from a four-year old draft even on the team, especially considering how highly the Bucs were slotted that year. Although, to be fair, when you look back at who was chosen between Sabby and Tanard Jackson, there isn’t a whole lot of quality there. James Jones is a good receiver. I think Johnnie Lee Higgins is a good special teams guy. Ryan Harris is a decent tackle for Denver. Anyone else? Considering Sabby’s measurables, I bet a lot of teams would have drafted him in about the same slot. Or he could have just lifted his shirt and hypnotized them with his abs. You just… can’t… stop… staring.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if another team claims him off waivers before he clears. My guess is he will clear and a team will pick him up for depth in a week or two. You gotta have some eye candy to keep the cheerleaders interested at the team Christmas party, right?

Situation Critical: Sabby Gets Cut

November 30, 2010 at 05:41pm by Scott   •  12 Comments »

Look for Sabby in the exciting new reality series, 'UFL Shore'.
The Bucs made a bunch of roster moves today, putting some guys on injured reserve, elevating others fromthe practice squad, and oh yeah, RELEASING SABBY PISCITELLI.

The Bucs released 2007 second-round pick Sabby Piscitelli today, a move that comes only days after the Bucs lost Cody Grimm and Piscitelli was the first player off the bench to replace him.

I can’t say it enough: Do not fuck with Raheem Morris. If you aren’t getting the job done, you’ll get cut faster than elementary school teacher salaries. Sabby was given every chance to succeed and what he’s going to be remembered for is flying past tackles, being out of position, and phenomenal abs. So now the three most senior safeties from just one year ago, Piscitelli, Jermaine Phillips and Tanard Jackson, are all history. Guess what position is getting drafted in the first three rounds next season.

With a total of four open roster spots (with Grimm and Davin Joseph headed to injured reserve), the Bucs filled them with practice-squad call-ups safety Vince Anderson, receiver Dezmon Briscoe, guard Brandon Carter and Browns practice-squad member Larry Asante, another safety.

Everyone’s panties are all moist for Briscoe, so I’m eager to see what he brings to the receiving corps. Micheal Spurlock better keep his bags packed if he drops another endzone catch that hits him in the hands. Briscoe is there specifically to make some of those guys nervous. Obviously Carter gets the nod to add some depth with Jeremy Zuttah being elevated to starting right guard.

As far as safeties go, the Bucs look like they’re throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks. I remember Asante from Nebraska but that’s about it. Anderson is listed as a cornerback on the official roster, but everyone is calling him a safety and that’s where they need him. And we’ve still got Corey Lynch on the roster, who is a special teams monster but hasn’t impressed enough at safety to keep the Bucs from making all these moves. Whoever it is, Sean Jones is going to play opposite someone who still gets carded for rated R movies.

Two More Go On Injured Reserve

November 30, 2010 at 10:54am by Scott   •  10 Comments »

Davin Joseph and Cody Grimm were both put on injured reserve yesterday for injuries they sustained in the Ravens game.

Both players were injured during Tampa Bay’s 17-10 loss at Baltimore, Joseph suffering a broken foot on the opening drive and Grimm sustaining a fracture in his lower leg while blocking for Aqib Talib after a second-quarter interception.

Grimm’s injury was originally reported as an ankle, but now I guess it’s his lower leg. Either way, he needed the cart to get off the field, so it’s bad. Jeremy Zuttah will fill in for Joseph just like he did a couple years ago and we’ll probably get to see Sabby Piscitelli starting at safety for Grimm, so get your protractors out because you’re about to see some really bad angles. The funny thing is that the Buccaneers web site doesn’t commit to Sabby being the new starter.

Fourth-year player Sabby Piscitelli finished the game at free safety for the Buccaneers after Grimm’s injury, and he will certainly be one of the options the team will consider to fill that spot for the rest of the season. The Bucs will also look at third-year player Corey Lynch, who has been a special teams standout in his second season with the team, and may elect to promote first-year prospect Vince Anderson from the practice squad.

I haven’t heard much about Lynch since Grimm beat him for the free safety spot and Anderson has never played in an actual game, so even I think Sabby is the best option right now. Oh hey, guess who Steve White says is to blame for the 65-yard Todd Heap touchdown.

I have watched the play where the Ravens tight end Todd Heap catches the 65 yard touchdown and in my mind there is only one explanation. Everyone in the secondary appears to be playing cover 2. Everyone that is but Sabby Piscitelli. He rolled up in the box and then kind of stood flat footed at the snap while Heap ran right by him. I don’t know how he ended up that out of position but with both corners rolled up and with Sean Jones on the opposite hash at cover 2 depth its hard to see how the call was anything but cover 2.

If you watch the replay, you can see Sabby bite on the play-action fake and then let both the outside receiver and tight end run by him while he doesn’t really defend either. And as Steve points out, if it’s cover 2, he should be deep anyway. Oh well, at least now I’ll be able to use all those Situation jokes I had stashed away.

Tom Balog Finally Goes Too Far

October 14, 2010 at 11:33am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

I was wondering in an entry a couple weeks ago who would be Tom Balog‘s newest obsession on the Buccaneers. It would have to be someone who is either completely under the radar or underachieving that he could wave his banner (made of human skin) for and chastise the team for not basing all their gameplans around. And it looks like he may have found his man.

Where have you gone, Maurice Stovall?

That’s his article’s title. Notice how he subtly draws the comparison of Stovall to Joe DiMaggio using Simon & Garfunkel‘s phrasing. Because we all know a baseball Hall of Famer and legend is exactly the same as an unknown wide receiver with 44 catches to his name.

Maurice Stovall, a five-year veteran with the most experience among Tampa Bay’s young receiving corps, should be in the receiver rotation for the Buccaneers. At least for “leadership” purposes.

Because nothing says “leader” like catching one smoke route in a game and losing two yards. The receiving corps is one of the best performing groups on the team. Why would you want to fuck with that?

He’s been healthy for three weeks now, but inactive for Tampa Bay’s last two games and three of the four this season. He had no catches in his only appearance in the road win at Carolina.

The team is winning without him in the lineup. Ergo, they should change the lineup. Tomorrow Tom will teach us why you should always hit on 20.

Stovall is only 25, but, as far as the Buccaneers are concerned, he’s an old 25.

This part is true. Stovall has had a ton of injuries and other people have emerged around him. It happens. That noble shit about not losing your job to an injury fell out of favor years ago in the NFL when teams learned that — surprise! — playing healthy guys will win them more games than playing beat up ones.

He’s just hanging around, being the practice/workout demon that he’s always been, collecting the pro-rated weekly share of his $1 million salary for the 2010 season, and hoping that he’s not the unfortunate guy who gets cut the next time the team needs to create a spot on the 53-man roster.

Who writes like this? All Stovall needs is a straw hat, a hayseed in his mouth and a pair of overalls to shove his hands into so he can bow his head and mozy down to the old fishin’ hole to think for a spell. Poor old Maurice. Is he overcoming some kind of malady or circumstance that I’m not aware of? Is he really a sympathetic character? Or is he just an injury-prone wide receiver who was picked in the third round several years ago? I mean, he seems like a nice guy and all, and he’s shown he has talent, but it just hasn’t worked out for him. Why is he getting the Rudy treatment?

This abandonment should never have happened to Stovall, who ought to be a tough, physical receiver, at 220 pounds. Although the odds were that it would, given his injury-riddled track record.

The word “abandonment” is meant to manipulate you. Nobody left Stovall in a basket on someone’s doorstep. If he gets cut, then maybe you could more accurately use that word, but even then it’s implying more than it is. God, this is hacky.

And you know what, Stovall isn’t even all that upset about being forgotten, at least not to the point where he’d express peeved-off bitterness when I asked him last week where he stood.

I suppose in the era of Terrell Owens and Darrelle Revis, we need to take time out to recognize when football players aren’t being jackasses. So fine. Enjoy the moment.

“I feel like that’s up to the coaches to make that decision,” he said. “That’s not my job to make that decision.”

How about sticking up for yourself, Maurice?

But Balog just expressed admiration for the way he handled it. Now Stovall should have gotten feisty? Which is it?

”It can be frustrating, but at the same time, that’s what happens when you get hurt,” Stovall said. “You give opportunity for other guys to make plays, make a name for themselves.

”At the same time, all you can do is get healthy, keep working hard and just wait for your opportunity again.”

Stovall just destroyed Balog’s article by showing a clear understanding of the process. After Balog got that quote, he should have said, “Well, shit, I guess I don’t have anything to write about” and then gone home to dress up like his mother and stab hotel guests to death.

Although Stovall is mild-mannered to begin with, he’s probably afraid that he’ll end up released like Michael Clayton. He doesn’t have the self-assurance and feisty demeanor like safety Sabby Piscitelli, to get in Morris’ face about losing his job, like Piscitelli did.

This raises an interesting point that would be a good subject of another article. Sabby got benched in favor of Sean Jones, bitched about it, and then after Sabby turned in a good performance against the Bengals, Raheem Morris almost praised the way Piscitelli handled the benching. We all love it when players are humble and respectful and determined, but is it the best career move for them?

[Damn it, I can’t find the quote from Morris where he kind of patted Sabby on the back for his outburst. I know I read it, though. If anyone has the link, send it and I’ll update this article and give you credit.]

[UPDATE: Thanks to reader Stephen for the link. It was a transcription of the Raheem Morris show on Monday and can be found here. Here’s the quote:

“[Sabby] put it out in public and it became kind of a thing that brought our team together,” Morris said. “It was a great example for me to use for our team. It was a great example for me to use for our guys.”

Complaining that the coaches didn’t conduct a competition fairly is a good example for the team? I would think exactly the opposite. Take your medicine, keep your nose to the grindstone and your mouth shut and when your opportunity comes again, take advantage of it.]

Anyway, that’s just something that would be cool to write about. Someone with persistent access should do it. But it has nothing to do with Balog’s article.

All Stovall can hope is that somebody gets hurt, just like safety Sean Jones went down in Sunday’s game against the Bengals, forcing the team to send Piscitelli back into his old job, where all he did was make an fourth-quarter interception that enabled the Buccaneers to win a table-turning road game.

Go ahead and read those first few words again. “All Stovall can hope is that somebody gets hurt…” That’s awful. To suggest that Stovall should wish for a teammate to get injured is beyond just being a hack writer or crazy. Now we’re moving into the realm of being a bad human being. Like, a guy whose hand you would refuse to shake if you met him. What a piece of shit.

”He had to play the ‘catch-up’ game a little bit,” Morris said. ” ‘Mo’ will be ‘Mo’ and ‘Mo’ will start to come back along and try to get back into this rotation and try to fight his way back in.”

We’ll see about that.

Yes, because Big Daddy Balog is always watching and will call you out to the fine citizens of Sarasota if you don’t play his favorite marginal players enough. You know what would be great is if we could get Maurice Stovall and Michael Clayton, the two receivers he has singled-out for being underused, and somehow put them on the same team. What a scoring juggernaut that would be.

I had another joke or two I was going to try to work in, but that thing about wishing for an injury really pissed me off. From everything I know about Stovall, that’s the very last thing he would ever do. He is praised for his humility and his relentless work ethic and is said to be a good teammate. I’ve never met him personally (although I nearly ran into him with a tray of barbecue chicken), but I can’t imagine that the thought of actively hoping for one of his fellow receivers to get hurt ever crossed his mind. I’m sure he’s preparing in case it happens, but that’s a far stretch from what Balog wrote. For the second article in a row, I end by saying fuck that guy.

Secondary Comes In First

October 11, 2010 at 10:46am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

For the kind of beating Josh Freeman took and as much as he had to leave the pocket, he had a good game. He had that one awful interception that he threw across his body and seemed to just lob out there for anyone to get, but besides that I can’t think of any really bad decisions he made. Freeman was good on third downs and scrambled when he had to. And that “sack” they gave to Rey Maualuga was the worst example of “in the grasp” I’ve ever seen. “In the grasp” means that the quarterback isn’t going anywhere, but you don’t want to or can’t actually get his knee to touch. Freeman legitimately got out of that sack because of his size and strength. It wasn’t even really that close. Maybe instead of tackling, the NFL could have players shouting mean things at each other. No swearing, of course. That would be considered a personal foul for unnecessary rudeness.

Don’t bother looking at the rushing stats. I hate it when other people do this because every play counts, but that 61-yard run by Earnest Graham is not representative of the rushing effort yesterday. Cadillac Williams had two nice runs (9 and 14 yards) but lost yardage on several also. But at least he outrushed LeGarrette Blount, the guy everyone was ready to hand the starting job to. Blount had 3 yards on 4 carries. I think he should have been given more touches, but maybe he still needs to learn pass protections and the coaches didn’t want to expose Freeman any more than he already was. Kareem Huggins looked good on his one carry. That would have been nice to explore, too. But by and large, the running game is ineffective. No one is scared of it, so it’s going to make passing that much harder down the road.

Oh, and according to my notes, Cadillac dropped all three passes thrown to him. That’s a big step backward for a guy who has made big strides in that area.

The receivers were one of the best groups on the field yesterday. Mike Williams continued to look great with his team-leading 99 receiving yards and a beautiful touchdown catch between double coverage — outside of that fumble. I had heard that the fumble in the Pittsburgh game was his first one ever. And now two in two weeks? Get that shit fixed. Also note the surprising start for Arrelious Benn, who caught a nice pass for a first down on the second play by the Bucs. Sammie Stroughter looked like the player we all wanted him to be in training camp when he had that incredible diving catch and then had the awareness to know he wasn’t touched and get up and run for more yards. Micheal Spurlock saved the game with his tiptoe catch on the sideline in the fourth quarter, but I’m pretty sure he got away with one there. I’m still not convinced he had both feet down before going out of bounds, and then he definitely juggled the ball on his way to the ground. But whatever. The Bucs have been burned by those things before; I’m certainly not going to argue when one goes their way. Those things even out. I chalk it up to redemption for fumbling away that kickoff return in the third quarter.

Kellen Winslow made his typical 75 yards off some more fantastic grabs. Even John Gilmore got into the action with a catch for a first down. I honestly didn’t catch much of how their blocking went, but when they were part of the line, everyone looked pretty bad.

At this point, I’m not sure how to judge the offensive line besides looking at quarterback pressures and rushing stats. Cincinnati had 3 sacks, 9 QB hits and allowed 125 rushing yards on 22 carries. Donald Penn also had a false start and Keydrick Vincent nearly twisted a guy’s head off on a facemask penalty. It just looked like Freeman got the shit beat out of him and was always running around. Add to that Jeff Faine‘s injury and Jeremy Zuttah‘s bad snap soon after replacing him, and I’m having a hard time being optimistic about this offensive line. The good news is that Jeremy Trueblood didn’t have a single penalty.

By the same token, if I am grading the Bucs’ defensive line based on the same criteria, they were damn awful. No sacks, 3 QB hits and a running game where Cedric Benson rushed for 144 yards and 6.3 YPC. A legitimate 6.3 YPC. Benson didn’t make one huge run for 100 yards and then get stuffed the rest of the day; his longest run was 22 yards. He just kept gashing the line and the linebackers for big numbers. And Carson Palmer usually had all day to throw the ball. I saw Brian Price get some pressure when he was in there, and I think Greg White got a hand on him once, but it was largely ineffective.

Just like the wide receivers were the stars of the offensive, the defensive backs were the ones who saved the day on defense. They all made mistakes early on and then made up for them in big ways later in the game. Aqib Talib gave up a ridiculous touchdown to Terrell Owens in the first quarter. I rewound that thing five times and Owens just runs by Talib. He doesn’t stumble or slip or anything. He was on an island with Owens and Owens won. But then Talib came back and picked off a pass intended for Owens with only 2:28 left in the game. Same with Sabby Piscitelli, who did his trademark fly-by on a couple tackles throughout the game, but came up big with an interception off a deflection and, maybe most importantly, a nice runback to give the offense a chance to get in field goal range. Even E.J. Biggers had a couple nice pass breakups and stuck with his receivers nice and tight. But the superstar was Cody Grimm, and not just from the flashy pick six he got in the second quarter (again, intended for Owens). Grimm led the team in tackles with 9 (6 solo) — some of them bone-jarring. He was solid all day long both in coverage and in the box, making plays when the linebackers could not.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to leave off Connor Barth from this rundown. He’s still perfect in field goals this season and kicked the game winner in the clutch. Sorry I made fun of you the other week. Just keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.

I’m not going to sit here and bitch about a win. Sometimes you get robbed, sometimes you steal one. The Bucs stole this one. If you’re grading fundamental football like running the ball, stopping the run and limiting mistakes, this one blew. But this is also the kind of game that the Bucs would have absolutely lost last year and probably the year before when Jon Gruden was still around. They could never figure out how to close out a game, and now you can’t give up on them. After the Bengals’ two-point conversion and the Bucs punting with 3:24 left in the game to an offense that had Cedric Benson doing anything he wanted, I was pretty sure it was over. Chalk up Talib’s interception to a bad coaching decision by their offensive coordinator or whatever, but they made it happen. No one gave up and when things didn’t go their way, they just kept pressing. And now they’re 3-1, second in the division, ahead of the defending Super Bowl champs. They’re winning on the road, keeping things close to the end and are fun to watch. For a rebuilding year, that’s not bad.

Pat Rundown

October 06, 2010 at 11:40am by Scott   •  10 Comments »

Pat 1

According to Pat Yasinskas, who apparently has some kind of Vulcan mindmeld thing going with the Elias Sports Bureau’s supercomputer, Josh Freeman has a 65.2 passer rating off of play-action this season. But when your running back can’t get three yards per carry, that’s bound to happen.

He also notes that the Bucs are tied for the fewest penalties in the league, although most other teams haven’t had a bye week yet. But still, 14 in three games isn’t all that bad. If only someone had a rundown of the penalties so far. Like me. If I’m not going to keep up with game stats anymore, at least I can do stupid shit like this now and then.

Barber: Neutral Zone Infraction
Pressley: Illegal Block Above the Waist
Winslow (2): Holding, Holding
Joseph (2): Holding, Holding
Piscitelli: Holding
Benn: Holding
Trueblood (2): False Start, Illegal Formation
Penn: Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Faine: Holding
Hayward: Unnecessary Roughness
team: Delay of Game (in punt formation)

Also, two penalties were offset by the opponent, one was declined, and one was superceded, which I didn’t know they could do. I’ll update this from time to time or whenever it gets funny and/or sad. But for now, it’s good news. A disciplined football team doesn’t beat themselves with stupid stuff (like, oh I don’t know, having 13 players on the field at once.)

Finally, Pat gives his High Energy Player of the Week award to 46-year old John Carney, who actually played for the Bucs in the 80s. Carney would have accepted the award in person, but he was at the grocery store paying for a single piece of fruit with pennies and coupons.

(The clicky is by request of reader Meatmaster. I don’t normally post ones like this, but it was sitting in my library and once in a while, okay.)