Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘tampa media’

The Great Price Controversy

August 17, 2011 at 09:50am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Price Injury

So first Brian Price is practicing in full contact drills and then he isn’t. And then the Bucs sound like they’re going to play him against New England, and now they don’t. IT’S LIKE THEY’RE FUCKING WITH OUR MINDS. At least if you go by the title to Stephen Holder‘s article, “Conflicting statements, actions regarding Bucs DT Brian Price’s injury“, it does. But the content isn’t nearly as controversial.

After hearing Morris’ remarks and observing this situation over the past few weeks, a reporter’s instinct says the Bucs maybe, possibly, arguably, rushed Price into action too quickly. Another possibility is that he had a setback in his recovery or maybe the Bucs have adjusted his timeline.

Perhaps none of that is true. But we would be remiss in not asking.

I don’t know why Holder is treating this as some huge secret that the Bucs are trying to keep from everyone. Sometimes players get put back on the field too early and they have to be pulled back off again. Sometimes injuries get re-aggravated. Holder used the word “conflicting” in the title not because it was the best word, but because it raises eyebrows. Now all of a sudden, people are suspicious of what’s going on with Price.

Price is understandably frustrated with the focus on his injury, and he won’t be happy to read this particular piece. But he’s a second-round pick in whom much money and hope is invested. That alone justifies the attention.

I don’t remember ever seeing a professional writer being as self-conscious as Holder is here. He really doesn’t want to piss Price off. The whole article is just unnecessarily awkward. Real, credible reporters don’t have to justify why they’re asking a question because they’re always relevant questions, just like this one is. And every time a team changes its position on a player, it isn’t because they’re being sneaky. Most of the time, shit just changes. Ask the question, print the answer and move on. It’s not a conspiracy. Am I missing something here? And am I justified in asking that question?

Betrayal! Scandal! Ruuuuuuuuuuuuud!

August 03, 2011 at 09:31am by Scott   •  16 Comments »

If Barrett ever gets desperate for a blow job, he can always make the trip to Sarasota.

Since the lockout ended, sportswriters in Tampa Bay have been too busy reporting on camp and free agency signings and trades and rookies to worry about much of the trivial bullshit that they usually spend their time on. If the lockout was good for anything, it seemed to make beat writers more appreciative of their jobs, and they’ve been taking it more seriously lately. But no party can go on forever without some asshole taking their dick out and making everyone else in the room uncomfortable. Enter Tom Balog.

‘Rah’ betrays Ruud

That’s the title of his piece. Right away, the guy is a prick. Balog is the only reporter who refers to Raheem Morris as “Rah” in his articles. People may call him that in casual conversation, but Balog is the only one who puts it in print. Is he trying to brag that he knows Raheem well enough to refer to him that way? Because he doesn’t. I promise you.

And “betrays” is a big, weighty word. You don’t use it in everyday conversation. It sounds like scandal right away. Whatever happened, it’s sure to be very dramatic and highly controversial, right? Can you guess the answer?

There’s a cold hard lesson that every Buccaneer player needs to take from the departure of free agent middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, who was perhaps the player closest to Raheem Morris, this side of Ronde Barber, in his first two years as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

“Betrayal”? “Cold hard lesson”? Holy shit, did… did Raheem kill a member of Barrett’s family as an example to the rest of the team of what happens when you hold out of voluntary OTAs two years ago? Now that’s a fucking scoop! I can hardly wait.

”Barrett was more than just my ‘Mike’ backer, he was a close friend,” Morris said Sunday. “I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he goes on and proves us wrong and makes it happen. But it’s time to move on.”

Just like The Godfather. Oh shit, the hammer’s about to drop.

When Ruud’s contract expired after last season, and he desperately wanted to remain a Buccaneer, for the rest of his career, how much influence did Morris try to exert upon general manager Mark Dominik to keep around the player who had been Tampa Bay’s leading tackler for the past four seasons?

The answer: Not enough, if any at all.

Umm…

The translation for the rest of the Buccaneers: Despite however much Morris tries to be close to you now, someday, at contract time, he will not be there for you. He will disown you, just like he apparently did Ruud.

So that’s it? That’s the big betrayal? This scenario can be summed up in three words, and I’ll even repeat one of them: Business is business. Every single football player knows this. Ruud knows this. Does Balog think Morris has never had to say goodbye to a friend before? Anyone remember Derrick Brooks? Morris knew Brooks years longer than he knew Ruud. Brooks was a Buccaneer icon with an active contract, and Morris very unceremoniously released him for the good of the team. Someone ask Derrick if he feels betrayed by Morris as a friend. Isn’t Derrick on a daily radio show now? Someone call in and ask him. I guarantee you he doesn’t. Maybe by the team as a whole or the Glazers personally, but not by Raheem as a friend. No way. Brooks knows that the business of football and personal relationships are completely separate. Balog, evidently, doesn’t.

And who said Ruud “desperately” wanted to be a Buccaneer? If he was so desperate, he would have taken the minimum to stay in Tampa, and I’m sure the Bucs would have kept him for that price. What he desperately wanted was a long-term contract that he felt was commensurate with his skill level and experience. Maybe he would have preferred to stay in Tampa, but he certainly wasn’t desperate to.

As a head coach, Morris certainly was not there for Ruud. And if he was not there for Ruud, who is he going to be there for?

Oh my God, this guy is such a drama queen. Technically, Morris wasn’t Ruud’s head coach. Ruud was unemployed — a football player with an expired contract looking for work. That aside, is Raheem supposed to put personal feelings before the good of the team? Should he stock the team with all his best buddies regardless of their talent? If Raheem, the defensive coordinator, felt that Barrett Ruud was the best option for middle linebacker, he would have brought him back. It’s that simple. I thought Ruud was good enough to keep, but you know what? I’m an asshole in front of a keyboard who has never worked a day in the NFL, so who the fuck am I? And who the fuck is Balog? The coaches watch tape, evaluate players using their years of experience (of which reporters have none), and make personnel decisions they think will win them games regardless of how many times they’ve gone to dinner with them.

There is no excuse for Morris, if him and Dominik are really that close, for him not privately telling Dominik in the offseason, “‘Hey, look, man, we gotta keep Barrett for another year or two. He’s my guy.”

Now it gets silly. No excuse? This is Balog’s M.O. right here. He did the same thing with Michael Clayton. He gets really close to a player and then gets personally offended when that player gets released regardless of how it will affect the team. He’s championing players he has a personal, emotional stake in. That’s not being a reporter, that’s being an agent who works for free.

Because, look at what an embarrassment it is now for the Buccaneers, that the Tennessee Titans signed Ruud to a one-year contract.

You mean the Buccaneers couldn’t have done at least that much?

Ruud’s contract with the Titans is 1-year, $4-million. No, they couldn’t have done at least that much. And it’s in no way an embarrassment for the Bucs. Since when is allowing a player to walk away in free agency such a fucking crime?

Someone get Balog an internship with Rosenhaus Sports so he can practice the job he truly wants to have and stop subjecting the rest of us to his insecurities. Or at least get him some therapy. This dude was left alone in a department store one too many times. On purpose, no doubt.

Unofficial Bucs Minicamp Next Week

June 23, 2011 at 11:07am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Unoff Minicamp 1

According to Pewter Report, Josh Freeman has set the time and place for the three-day minicamp we heard about a couple weeks ago. Next Tuesday through Thursday at IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton. The “institute” part means it’s important. The NFLPA (or whatever they’re called now) will be holding the rookie symposium at the same place at the same time. Each Buccaneer veteran is bringing an extra duffel bag filled with tape.

The Buccaneers rookies are expected to attend the rookie symposium in Bradenton and focus on the seminars geared towards learning about life as an NFL player rather than the Freeman-led workouts, which are for veterans only. However, with the rookies and the veterans both being at IMG during the same time, there will undoubtedly be some time for bonding.

If bonding is one of the goals of the minicamp, someone should tell the linemen.

…most of the Bucs offensive and defensive linemen are not expected to attend and participate on the field due to safety reasons as the players will not be wearing helmets or pads during the workouts. Aside from cadence work and footwork, which can be done in private workouts away from the team, several linemen have told PewterReport.com there is little need to have a presence at OTA-type activities because of the injury risk without helmets and the fact that there would be little to gain without any contact.

That’s dumb. Even the official OTAs are non-contact, and these are going to be even more non-contact than those. There is zero risk of injury for linemen. Wide receivers may pull a hamstring or twist an ankle or something because they’re still running fast, but that’s going to be the only true injury risk next week. You can argue that there is little to be gained by the lines’ presence, but shit, they haven’t done anything football-related since January. Are three days really so much to ask? Show up, be supportive, offer advice. You think LeGarrette Blount wouldn’t like a lineman’s perspective on a few running plays? Hell, I never say a word in 90% of the meetings I attend at work and in most cases no one would notice if I taped a picture of myself to the chair and walked out. But sometimes I’m the one who can answer a question when no one else can. Every now and then I have something useful to offer and it helps the group. The linemen are the same way. Add in factors like chemistry and camaraderie and there’s every reason in the world for those guys to be part of this.

Apparently this minicamp will be open to the media, so local bars and buffets should brace for a sharp three-day decline in business.

No Offseason != End Of World

June 20, 2011 at 10:51am by Scott   •  No Comments »

Who's idea was it to have a lockout graphic with wood doors?
Gary Shelton started out this article with eight paragraphs on why he doesn’t care about football anymore. Eventually, he gets to his main point that if offseason activities are missed, the quality of the football will go down during the season. And then he tied an onion to his belt, which was the style at the time.

The quality cannot be the same, you know. A league cannot sacrifice all the organized team activities and offseason workouts and minicamps without losing chemistry and cohesiveness. The result is bound to be a lessened product on the field.

He’s not talking about full training camps here. Just OTAs. To this day, most journalists, even those who were not alive at the time, call the 1958 NFL Championship the greatest football game ever played. Back in 1958, there were no offseason workouts, OTAs or minicamps. The players had offseason jobs; they couldn’t afford to take time off to practice for a season that didn’t start until September. They got all fat and drunk from February until August, had a training camp where they got back in shape and re-learned the offense and defense, played a shitload of preseason games, and then started the season. And yet we still refer to that time as the glory years of football. No one seemed to mind the product on the field back then. Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr and Sammy Baugh and Otto Graham are all remembered quite fondly despite the lack of OTAs.

Forever, coaches have told us how important such activities are to the development of a football team. And so it stands to reason: If these workouts are vital to success, how can it not be a concern when they are stripped away?

Because coaches are control freaks who aren’t happy unless every player has a dumbbell in one hand and a grilled chicken breast in the other. Do I think all the extra training and studying helps the game? Sure. But I don’t think the players are going to run haplessly into each other like they’re on an electric football table as Shelton implies.

So what happens this time? Does a team have to spend some of its training camp learning what it should have learned in minicamp and part of its regular season learning what it should have learned in training camp? Will a young team have progressed as much as it would have ordinarily? Will there be more injuries, more fumbles, more miscommunication? Will coaches get fired next year because the lockout kept them from doing their jobs properly this year?

Sure sounds like he doesn’t care, right? Here are his answers in order:

1) Yes, although there may still be a preseason to learn more stuff before the regular season starts.
2) No, of course not.
3) Maybe, it’s tough to draw a correlation between more injuries and fewer OTAs, especially since players keep themselves in shape all year long. No, any fumbles caused by lack of preparation by the offense will be canceled out by the fumbles defensive players aren’t forcing. And yes, communication will be the big area impacted by less time together.

None of this means that we’re not going to get good football when the season does start. Only a small percentage of players aren’t going to keep themselves in decent shape during the lockout. And coaches are using this time to improve and modify their coaching techniques for a shortened offseason. My prediction is that the only real issues will be that interceptions will increase some and completion percentages will go down because quarterbacks and receivers won’t have developed that tight chemistry they need to really get good. So maybe teams run the ball more, which is fine, too. It’s really not going to be that bad no matter how much time is missed. I think Gary just needs to assure himself of something to bitch about in case this lockout ends soon and everyone else seems a little too happy.

He Could Be Great, But Maybe Not. Or Maybe.

April 29, 2011 at 11:21am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Okay, Raheem, I like our pick. Go do your presser, just don't say something dumb in the first minute.
The good news for Gary Shelton is that he was the first of the local reporters to write a full article on the Bucs’ selection of Adrian Clayborn. The bad news is that it’s a horrible, pointless piece of shit.

This time it will be different.

Won’t it?

This time he will work out.

Won’t he?

“Hey, Martin? Martin, yeah, it’s Gary. Look, I’m stuck here at Dunkin’ Donuts arguing with the manager. Apparently, bear claws aren’t supposed to the size of actual bear claws and ‘free refills’ only means for today. I know, right! Anyway, I’ll pick up something big and cream-filled for you if… HA! I didn’t even catch that! Anyway, I’ll pick up something for you if you’ll just write the first four paragraphs of my story about Clayborn. Deal?”

This time the new Buc will not bust.

Will he?

This is the last one of these he does, but the rest of the article is just as meaningless. Maybe he’ll be a bust, maybe he won’t. Gary can’t tell the future, so he doesn’t bother having an opinion or taking a stand. The whole article could have been, “Will Adrian Clayborn be good? Maybe, maybe not!”

If Clayborn is the real deal, he gives the Bucs a young, talented defensive line, lining up alongside Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. If Clayborn is the real deal, the secondary just got better. If Clayborn is the real deal, he will help neutralize a division where the opposing quarterbacks are Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and now Cam Newton.

So now you know what a defensive end does.

If he is not, the Bucs will gather back here in four years to chase another defensive end.

Die.

At a time like this, it is recommended you attempt to dispel doubts by remembering how the Bucs have drafted and developed over the past two seasons. There is not a lot of tarnish there.

That said, every organization has missed on defensive linemen over the years None, however, have missed more than the Bucs.

So you should have faith in the Bucs, but remember no one has missed more than they have. I’M SO AFRAID OF BEING WRONG! Please comfort me with your gifts of leftover Cadbury Creme Eggs.

Time after time the Bucs have tried, and time after time they have failed. They have drafted players who weren’t strong enough (Gaines Adams) and players who weren’t swift enough (Ron Holmes) and players who weren’t athletic enough (Eric Curry) and players who weren’t vicious enough (Regan Upshaw) and players who weren’t polished enough (Booker Reese) and players who weren’t driven enough (Keith McCants).

Yeah, yeah. The Bucs also drafted Lee Roy Selmon with their first pick (though they put him at defensive tackle for a year).

None of those picks matter now. None. They were all done under different regimes, most of them done under different ownership. But, if you’re going to argue that they do somehow matter, you can’t just dismiss Lee Roy Selmon with “yeah, yeah”. The very first pick in Buccaneer history goes to the Hall of Fame. Despite Burger King’s propaganda, you can’t have it both ways.

It has been a conga line of underachievement…

He finally writes something amusing. Congratulations.

This time we’ll see if they have picked the right guy.

As opposed to every other time when we learned of their failings by smoke signal.

If this was going to be a news piece, it should have just been a news piece with none of his commentary carelessly shoved into it like he’s writing for some piece of shit blog. If it’s going to be an opinion piece, he should have a fucking opinion. If he’s going to frame it as a prognostication of whether Clayborn will be successful, he should have picked either yes or no and given his reasons. As it is, it’s several hundred words of ramblings that leave you no more informed than you were when you started. I’d actually suspect most of us lost a few IQ points after reading it.

(For a decent news piece on Clayborn and a brief summary of his qualifications, Rick Stroud has a nice one here.)

REAR ENTRIES: Return Of The Rear Entry

April 25, 2011 at 10:33am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Rear Entry 72

BUCS SERIOUS ABOUT CHARACTER: According to an upcoming draft pick who had a meeting with the team, the Bucs have been more focused on character than any other team in the league. For players, anyhow.

There is no foolproof method, but after meeting with the Bucs, prospects know character is being stressed. According to one prospect who recently visited One Buc Place, the team discussed character more extensively than other clubs. Team officials quizzed him about his past, his family and, in particular, his habits.

Habits? Like smoking and drinking or like picking up hitchhiking Cuban transients and implying that you’ll throw them off a bridge if they don’t dress like clowns and sing “Mademoiselle from Armentières” for your amusement? Because some things just shouldn’t matter to an employer. If the Bucs don’t stop being so picky, they’re not going to have anyone left to draft.

FENNELLY IS BACK: I bitch about him, but I have to admit that I miss him when he’s gone. It’s like I have some deep need to say the words, “Holy shit, that’s awful!” a certain number of times per month and no one can make me do it like Martin. It’s the same reason I always look forward to new Black Eyed Peas albums. In his latest sharticle, Fennelly covers the draft, Aqib Talib and the lockout with his standard contempt for humor and intelligence.

Sometime late Thursday, the Bucs will probably use the 20th pick of the 2011 NFL draft to find a pass rusher, one from London, if possible.

Because… the Bucs are playing in London again? And so they must like London a lot? Still trying to figure out why this is funny.

It’s a different kind of offseason, and we’re not even talking about what we can only hope is the Bucs Last Annual Drinking and Driving Festival.

Do two people make a festival? Because this offseason it’s just been Shelton Quarles and Jay Kaiser. Chris Mosley was last September.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. continue to battle for world supremacy.

And don’t forget their special “Easter” mock draft. Sneak preview: Judas sliding down board, “character issues.”

Yep, you can never go wrong with a Christianity joke. On Easter. And I’m just a third of the way down the page with this crap. This one isn’t so much infuriating as it is exasperating, but either way it filled that need of mine to point and gawk, and I have to thank him for it.

MCCANTS ARRESTED AGAIN: This is becoming an annual story, but Keith McCants was arrested. Again. For drugs. Again.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Alvin Keith McCants is in jail after being arrested on a cocaine possession charge.

Pinellas County Jail records show the 43-year-old McCants was also booked Saturday afternoon on a charge of resisting an officer. Bond was set at $4,000.

McCants is also being held on a warrant from Mobile, Ala., for failure to appear on a controlled substance charge.

Man, that dude has got a lot of mugshots. Like, dozens. Well, I won’t kick the guys while he’s down, which seems to be always, so I’ll just use a picture from his good old days back when he had hope in his eyes and functioning sinuses and Sam Wyche roamed the sidelines with impunity.

REAR ENTRIES: All Aqib All The Time

March 29, 2011 at 01:37pm by Scott   •  10 Comments »

Rear Entry 70
Again, big thanks to Aqib Talib for getting the ball rolling here during this interminable lockout. If some Buccaneer could do something dumb and illegal every week, that would really help out. But just the guys on the bubble from now on, not the good players. Entertainment at the cost of wins is not a good trade. Unless my readership really takes off after someone important gets arrested. Then we’ll talk.

GARY SHELTON SAYS DUMP HIM: The opinion pieces on Aqib Talib‘s incident have started rolling out and Gary Shelton (goo goo ga joob) is the first to call for Talib’s release.

I know, I know. Over the course of Talib’s rap sheet, the easy thing always has been to say it’s someone else’s fault. The other player started the fight. The cabbie was looking for a payday. The referee he was cursing shouldn’t have cursed him back. And on and on. The stories keep spinning, and the excuses keep coming, and Talib keeps getting a pass.

If the latest allegations are true, however, if he fired a gun at another human being, how can the Bucs defend Talib this time? Other than the usual way, of course, which starts by talking about his considerable talent.

The story will be that Talib wasn’t aiming for the boyfriend and was just firing to scare him, even though he was evidently already plenty scared since he was running away from the house. But the intent to kill will be put in doubt. That’s how the Bucs could defend Talib this time.

MARTIN FENNELLY SAYS DUMP. HIM.: Martin Fennelly says pretty much the same thing Shelton does, although much more annoyingly. His solution is for the Bucs to trade Talib for whatever they can get for him as soon as business hours begin in the NFL again.

The NFL has locked out its players, so things are complicated with the work stoppage, but clearly the work of being a numbskull goes on for Talib. If he wants to lead a thug’s life, let him lead it in another town. He has had chance after chance. He’s just not worth it, not the interceptions, not the lockdown Pro Bowl potential.

I agree with the sentiment. It’s too bad he ruins it with stupidity a few paragraphs later.

Look, imagine if things had gone differently.

Aqib Talib could be in the morgue. Or someone else.

Imagine if something we don’t know all the facts about happened in an even different and more shocking way. Now imagine that the conclusion of that imagined event ended in a death. Wouldn’t that be tragic?

PAT ON THE DRAFT: Pat Yasinskas‘s job is different than the guys above. He doesn’t generally do opinion pieces, so his thing on Aqib is more just repeating the facts from the original story with a brief mention on how this incident could impact the Bucs’ draft plans.

With one suspension already under his belt, Talib could face a longer suspension. As the Buccaneers prepare for the draft, this could impact their strategy and the secondary could become a bigger priority.

Safety Tanard Jackson already is serving a one-year suspension and isn’t eligible to apply for reinstatement until late September. The Bucs have some promising young players in cornerbacks E.J. Biggers, Elbert Mack and Myron Lewis and safeties Cody Grimm and Corey Lynch, but the possibility of being without their two best players in the secondary could change their thinking.

I think corner has to move up the priority list, or at least a guy who can play either corner or safety, depending on how the Jackson thing shakes out. Biggers and Lewis are the best options right now, but both need playing time. Lewis is a gifted corner who, I believe, is better than any of the corners selected in the second round last year. And Biggers has already shown he can play, he just needs more reps. But if Ronde Barber retires and the Bucs trade/cut Talib, there’s a serious depth issue at the position. Jimmy Smith (Colorado) isn’t looking too bad, especially in the second round.

Here’s the thing: Talib hasn’t been charged or even arrested. Shannon Billings, the boyfriend Talib allegedly probably took shots at was arrested later that night on previous assault charges. The investigation is ongoing and it may be that Talib was perfectly within his rights in the state of Texas to fire that gun at Billings. Hell, in Texas he was probably within his rights to gut him and hang the skin on his wall so long as he actually ate the meat. None of those things are the point. Talib is a trouble magnet, and specifically a violent trouble magnet. Regardless of the excuses given on his behalf in all of his prior incidents, someone got hurt and it was Talib who did the hurting. Granted, no one got hurt s far as we know this time, but Talib did try to hit Billings in the face with a gun. At some point, being in the wrong place at the wrong time runs out as an excuse.

If I get into ten car accidents in a two-year span, none of which are my fault, my insurance company is still going to drop me because it stretches credibility too thin to write them all off as coincidence. I am apparently doing something wrong. Same thing applies here. There are other talented cornerbacks who will not draw this kind of attention to themselves.

REAR ENTRIES: Zzzzzzzzz

March 08, 2011 at 10:43am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Rear Entry 64
NO ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU NEVER ASKED: I know everyone who writes about football is hurting for content right now, but Stephen Holder is better than this non-story published yesterday under the headline “Where do the Bucs owners stand in labor negotiations?

We do know from various reports that certain owners want to pursue this fight more aggressively than others. That got us wondering: Where do the Glazers fit in this whole picture?

From the headline and the above quote, you’d expect Holder to have spoken with various people within the organization to get a feel for which way the Glazers are leaning on a CBA resolution. Maybe he would have even spoken to a Glazer himself, extracting some non-committal answer but still maybe giving a slight indication as to how he’d like things to turn out. But at the very least, you’d expect to leave the article with an idea of, you know, how the question posed in the headline is answered. Here’s the last sentence of the article:

Wouldn’t you love to know?

That’s it. He just wanted to ask the question to give you something to think about while your empty lives are rendered even more meaningless each day the CBA negotiations drag on. The entire content of the article is based on a rhetorical question that never gets answered. Next week, he’ll author his masterpiece, “What does she think I am, an asshole?” Just take the week off, Stephen.

MORRIS VISITS RAYS PRACTICE: Raheem Morris and two of his assistant coaches will visit the Rays’ camp today. Yup, they sure are.

Wide receivers coach Eric Yarber will dress and work out at shortstop and take some swings during batting practice.

Hey, what the hell else are they going to do this week? I mean, how many hours of film can you watch of sweaty college boys before you finally can’t conceal your erection have to take a break?

(The banner pic is of the Bucs coaches at batting practice. The pic beneath it is much more interesting.)

Everybody Worry!

March 02, 2011 at 10:49am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Lockout 1
For the past week or so, articles on how much the Buccaneers will suffer in the event of a lockout are more ubiquitous than a Charlie Sheen rant (I’m topical!) Holy shit, just about every source of Bucs news has the same take on this tired story. Only TBO.com has resisted the urge to beat this horse, and they should be congratulated for their restraint. But don’t get a big head, boys. I’m still watching you.

The rest are essentially pulled from the same set of notes. Gary Shelton did his piece for the Times:

The Bucs need this offseason. They need it because they are so young. They need it because their defense needs the same sort of talent infusion as the offense got a year ago. They need it because they are a team on the rise. They need it because there is improvement yet to be made. They need it for the chemistry and cohesion that such times offer.

And Peter King shat his out yesterday:

This is the kind of team that needs a good offseason program, with players on a schedule and needing regularity. You don’t want young players, particularly young players with off-field issues in their past like wideout Mike Williams, being on their own for months at a time. I heard some teams fret over the weekend about offensive linemen possibly not working out much, and coming back woefully out of shape. There are all kinds of worries.

Way to throw Williams under the bus there, Gravyboat. Williams was under the legal limit in his non-DUI thing and his Syracuse situation is old news. I have absolutely no issues with Williams having time off.

Dan Pompei included the Bucs as a team that could be affected by a lockout “more than most”:

this is a young team that needs as much work as possible to take the next step

Hell, even Jeff Faine (the Bucs’ union rep) sounded off a couple weeks ago that a lockout would stunt the team.

“We need preseason. We need training camp. We need the offseason,” Faine said.

First of all, the idea that young players are more likely to get in trouble in their free time is laughable. Arrests in the offseason seem pretty well spread out among young and old. The most recent NFL player arrest? 9-year veteran Albert Haynesworth (way to represent the Vols, Al). Before him, Michael Bush (4-year vet), Everson Griffin (rookie) and Laurence Maroney (5-year vet). And someone ask Lawrence Taylor if he’s still feeling young after jerking it while a 16-year old hooker watched. Man, what a waste of a perfectly good 16-year old hooker.

As far as practice and chemistry, yes, it will hurt a little, but it’s not going to be as bad as all these Chicken Littles are making it out to be. Will a work stoppage hinder progress? Of course. Will no training camp and no preseason lead to shitty football in 2011? Most likely. But the Bucs are no more at risk than any other team. If the Bucs lose two months of the offseason, they’ll be two months behind just like 31 other teams. The Bucs are the youngest team in the league whether or not there is a CBA. A labor agreement won’t magically give the players extra experience.

This is why leadership and character and all those intangibles that people talk about at draft time are so important. When the coaches can’t be there, those leaders can step up and rally the team together. Josh Freeman is the undisputed field general of this team and he has lieutenants like Ronde Barber, Cadillac Williams and Mike Williams to make sure guys are keeping in shape, studying their playbooks and possibly even getting together for semi-organized practices during the stoppage. It’s a shame the Bucs couldn’t get Davin Joseph and Barrett Ruud under contract before all this happened because they’re not going to put a hell of a lot of effort into their leadership responsibilities if they aren’t actually employed by the team, but that may also explain why the team made sure Barber was in the fold so early. You don’t think the double-barreled shotgun blast of Freeman and Barber will kick the lazy out of the vast majority of the team? Those guys have this covered.

Worry and bad news make people click links, so it’s not a surprise that the biggest story for the Bucs this week is one that predicts doom in the face of difficult circumstances. Kind of like everyone was predicting doom last year after a bad season and the dismissal of even more veterans. That turned out pretty good. So will this.

REAR ENTRIES: Call Me Daddy

January 11, 2011 at 02:30pm by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Rear Entry 58
FEWER BLACKOUTS IN 2011?: The Bucs started telling us real early on that the local Tampa market was going to be blacked out in 2010. Now, even earlier in 2011, Bryan Glazer is saying that things will be better this year. HE’S A WITCH!

Glazer described the 2009 rebuilding plan as “painful” at the start and said the organization is optimistic blackouts won’t be routine at Raymond James Stadium next season. The Bucs were the only team to have all eight regular-season home games blacked out in 2010.

I didn’t know that. Cleveland, Buffalo, Cincinnati… they all had sell-outs and the Bucs didn’t? That’s terrible and people should be ashamed. Not Tampa residents, but the people in Cleveland and Cincinnati who spent hard-earned money on those awful teams. They’d have been better off burning a small pile of $100 bills for two minutes of warmth than buying tickets for those games.

ANWAR IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION: In this video blog on TBO.com, Roy Cummings and Anwar Richardson debate whether or not the Bucs should be active in free agency this offseason. Anwar thinks the Bucs need to find some high-priced free agents to push them over the top while Roy takes the opposite position and thinks they should stay the course, which is of course the correct answer.

It’s a shame that a guy like Anwar who is paid to follow this team is completely oblivious to how they found success this season. His argument seems to be that Mark Dominik can’t keep finding great value in undrafted free agents and other teams’ practice squads. Unless Anwar knows of some special enzyme NFL general managers have in their blood that makes them stupid after two years, he has no basis for this assumption. Dominik has shown himself to be an excellent talent evaluator and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to find young players to integrate into the “Buccaneer Way”. Hell, Anwar practically uses the phrase “buy a championship” with his argument, and haven’t we learn anything from Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones other than facelifts can go wrong?

OH LEGARRETTE: Pewter Report got us some inside scoop on the feud going on between Cadillac Williams and LeGarrette Blount since both of their college teams played for the National Championship.

“Wherever Carnell is, let him know to have everything I asked for ready to go,” Blount said. “Tell him I’ll bring my jersey to work for him to wear. You know that Oregon has an unlimited supply of stuff for him to wear. Whatever he asks for, I’m going to bring it to him. If he wants a LeGarrette Blount No. 9 jersey, I’ll bring that to him.

“I’ve got all my jerseys. I’ve got the white and silver. I’ve got the white and green. I’ve got the black and silver. I’ve got the black and yellow. I’ve got the yellow and green. I’m just going to bring all of them and spread them out in the locker room and let him have the pick of the litter. I’ll bring in some yellow Oregon shoes – the ugly ones. I’ll let him rock this Oregon paraphernalia. Then when we beat Auburn he’s going to have to call me ‘Daddy’ all week.”

Oooh, I’ll bet he wishes he could take that daddy comment back. Cadillac seems like a nice guy, but he also seems like the kind of guy who takes his college football seriously and might just make the loser of a football wager tattoo “War Eagle” on his arm out of spite. Cadillac took a big risk, though. I can’t imagine a worse punishment than having to wear those fucking awful Oregon uniforms for any length of time. They look like the unholy love children of a highlighter and a roll of sheet metal. Way to embrace tradition.

SEC! SEC! SEC!