Sunday, March 14, 2010

Still Carrying Their Water

Looks like another "anonymous source" over at One Buc has decided to kick Antonio Bryant one more time on the way out the door.

• Sources say the Buccaneers' strategy for grooming QB Josh Freeman was part of the reason the team chose not to be more aggressive in its efforts to re-sign unrestricted free-agent WR Antonio Bryant, who signed with the Bengals March 10. Tampa Bay was concerned that Bryant might put pressure on Freeman and demand the ball be thrown to him, which is not an environment the team is seeking to create for its young quarterback.


So we are up to something like what, 5 difference excuses now as to why the Buccaneers didn't resign AB? And why the incessant need to knock a guy who isn't even here anymore?

You know what I'm getting from all this? That although countless Bucs officials have played up Josh Freeman's poise, they REALLY think he's either such a delicate flower or such a mental midget that just the thought that his best receiver might actually demand the ball would destroy his confidence all together.

Now I don't know if that's what they really believe over at One Buc and I certainly don't have that opinion of Freeman, but what the hell else am I supposed to think when all of these bullshit quotes keep coming out trying to justify why they didn't spend the money to keep Bryant here? Not much more money in fact than they gave Michael Clayton for a helluva lot less production.

And I mean the notion that a wide receiver is a diva or unfit to pay on our team just because they want the ball? That's about the dumbest thing I have heard in all my years in and around football and that's saying something.

You know who we probably would have also allowed to leave as a free agent if that's the case?

Jerry Rice

DESPITE HIS complaints about not getting the ball enough, Jerry Rice not only is tied for fourth in the NFL in receptions but, according to Niners statistics, is also the most frequent target of San Francisco passes.

Not every receiver that complains about not getting enough balls thrown their way is Keyshawn or T.O. In fact, as I have said before, I WANT my number one receiver to demand the ball. Hell if he doesn't want the ball, what good is he? Receiver is the one position on the whole football team where their value and success is dependent on another player in such a major way. If a receiver has a quarterback that either can not or will not get them the ball then there aren't many ways for them to help the team win. So if there is a receiver happy with not getting the ball then basically they are saying that they don't believe in their own abilities and they are happy with just collecting a check every week.

While we are on the subject, lets take a look at some of the things Antonio Bryant DIDN'T do last year that perhaps he could have.

1. He DIDN'T sell Coach Morris out and question his coaching ability. With the atmosphere the way it was around here at the end of the season it would have been low hanging fruit for Bryant to pile on in an attempt to get Coach Morris fired. Hell most fans would have probably loved the guy for it. But instead his comments were generally supportive of this regime.

2. He DIDN'T call out his teammates, several of which make for very easy targets. You don't think he was disgusted when they gave Michael Clayton a long term deal but refused to give him one? But did he throw Clayton under the bus even one single time this year? Not that any of us heard of.

3. He DIDN'T ask to go on IR after the season started with such chaos. The truth is had he not played this season on his bad knee he probably would have had a higher value in free agency. But while some folks are trying to call him a quitter without having the courage to put their name on it, the truth is the guy fought through the pain and played almost the whole season.

4. Last but not least, he DIDN'T rain on the Josh Freeman love fest even though he had plenty of ammunition had he wanted to do so. He could have talked about all the missed read Freeman had during the season, and believe me there were plenty. He could have talked about how Freeman's fumble problems cost us a couple of games. He could have talked about the decision not to resign Jeff Garcia even though he had a great rapport with him. Instead once again he kept his mouth shut for the most part.

I really can't understand why the Bucs continue to go down this path of criticizing Bryant anonymously even though he is now a Cincinnati Bengal. It not only does nothing to help our team, its also very classless. But as much disdain as this whole ordeal has filled me with towards the Bucs, I have to say that I have sports journalists in my cross hairs as well.

Why exactly were these "sources" granted anonymity for this information about Antonio Bryant? There isn't a legal issue involved, they weren't saying anything truly confidential (obviously) so why then would a sports journalist agree to allow them to say whatever the hell they wanted to about AB without having to sign their name to it?

I wonder if that same journalist would grant Bryant anonymity if he wanted to rip the whole Buccaneer staff. Some how I doubt it but really I wouldn't want him to do that either. Rather, I would want him to treat Bryant AND the unnamed Buccaneers official both if they wanted to rip each other. Is that too much to ask that if someone wants to throw a player or a coach or a GM under the bus that they have to sign their name to it?

Evidently in this day and times it is. And that ladies and gentlemen is a very sad thing...

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