Thursday, September 30, 2010

Your Week Three Leader

Ok maybe I didn't make this clear but trash talking IS allowed in this fantasy football pick em league.  Preferrably in the comments of these posts each week so we can all join in.  Its been wayyyy too quiet for my liking.  I'll tell you this much, after a terrible week one for me I am now officially kicking asses with steel toe boots on and taking names!  I wasn't number 1 this week but I finished just behind our week 3 champ ....uhmmm ...the uhmm....Butt Water Drinkers?

Yeah.....that name....LMAOOOO

Anyway yall had better get on your hustle because the I'm trying to run away with this thing by the middle of the season.

Alternately, what happened to Top Dog this week?

Remember to make your picks and good luck this weekend!!! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In Which I Totally Disagree With Coach Morris On Gerald McCoy

Someone, I think it was Roy Cummings but I can't be sure, finally asked Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris about the possible negative effects of moving Gerald McCoy around so much on his development as an undertackle. I'm not big on transcription but you can look at the video for yourself here (unfortunately the Bucs don't provide embed clips) and the guys over at Pewter Report did a partial here which I will be excerpting.

Here are the relevant parts of his answer.

“I think it helps him because they can’t find him a little bit,” said Morris. “It helps to get him in different spots where he is able to make disruptive plays. He has two tackles for a loss and a bunch of tackles for us. The sacks will come; we just have to continue to rush. … So we’ll do some different things up there and search for different answers.

First off no offense to Gerald McCoy but at this point he hasn't done anything that would warrant opposing offenses looking for him pre snap. I've watched all the games and as of yet nobody has broken their regular protection rules to try to double team him. Any time he has faced a double team in pass protection it was because he was lined up to the side the offense would normally slide the center regardless of whom was there. And the fact of the matter is in the kind of defense that Tampa runs there is no more disruptive place to play than the undertackle position.

Understand that for me this isn't about sacks. I know that sacks come in bunches as long as you are rushing well. The problem is from my perspective McCoy's pass rush has regressed each week so far. He went from making some really good moves against the Browns to trying to run right down the middle of guys in the Steelers game. But that's what happens when one play the guy is rushing a guard and the next play he's rushing an offensive tackle or maybe even a tight end. Its a whole different ball game rushing from inside or outside and McCoy is still trying to learn how to rush from there on the NFL level. Asking him to try to do both isn't helping him in any sense of the word and it certainly isn't hiding him.

I'll have some fun with the next quote.

“Yeah, it is helping him because he is flushing guys out and Quincy (Black) is capping guys off,” said Morris. “It’s not about the sack numbers. It’s did you affect the quarterback’s throw? Were you able to knock the pass down? Did you make the quarterback run outside the pocket so that he couldn’t see his wide open receiver? All those things happen when you talk about one-on-one rush. But the sacks will come.”

First off one of the things that was frustrating about watching and listening to this exchange was that Coach Morris focused almost solely on the times when McCoy is lined up at end in a 3-3-5 and Quincy Black rushed on McCoy's side. Well in the first three games McCoy has ALSO played defensive end in our regular 4-3 alignment when opposing offenses have put in heavy personnel like two tight ends with or without a fullback. And as I said in my Bull Rush column, you can't tell me that we don't have other defensive ends who could hold up just as fine in that situation while allowing McCoy to stay at undertackle where he is needed.

Also even when we do run the 3-3-5 personnel Quincy Black doesn't always pass rush and even when he does he doesn't always pass rush to McCoy's side. If you listen to the presser Coach Morris almost makes it sound as if Black is leading the league in sacks or something. The sack he notched against the Panthers was impressive but it was off a pass rush game. It wasn't because McCoy flushed the quarterback. He rushed the double team well I'll give him that but had Kyle Moore, Tim Crowder or any other defensive end been over there they would have also been double teamed. Hell Black rushed on Stylez White's side against the Steelers and White got double teamed in exactly the same fashion. As for me I don't remind the occasional Redskin call with Black coming. But what about the times we run Redskin and he DOESN'T come?

Has anyone seen Gerald McCoy get a pressure rushing as a defensive end with a 3 man rush out of Redskin?

I know haven't.

Oh and to answer those questions Coach Morris asked, no, no and no.

I don't get to watch the coaches film unfortunately so I can't see all the angles of every play. But even from the TV copy or watching it online its apparent that McCoy's rush went backwards the last two game a little bit more each week. That's not a hypothetical, that's a fact.

Now we come to the most revealing part of what Coach Morris had to say and also where he and I have the biggest disagreement.
“If I was thinking selfishly for McCoy, I probably would say, ‘Yes,’ but thinking selfishly for a defensive standpoint, that makes us better,” Morris said. “If he was a selfish player he would come to me and say, ‘Hey just leave me at this one position so I can get better at it,’ but does not have that in him. Our defense needs him to move around to be productive and be smart, and be sharp, and be wise beyond his years so to speak..."

It is with that opening line that Coach Morris admits that, yes the moving around IS stunting Gerald McCoy's development at undertackle. He does it under the cloak of "selfishness" but he admits it nonetheless. And that's where the rest of what he says becomes moot to me.

I've seen what a disruptive undertackle can do in this scheme. I played with probably the best undertackle that has ever played the game in Warren Sapp (who oh by the way agrees with me). And if its not him then I watched film on the only other guy that could give him a serious run for his money in recent Hall of Fame inductee John Randall. I'm not saying Gerald McCoy will ever become either of those guys, but if he is at least a reasonable facsimile he can wreak enough havoc from just that one position to make everyone and I do mean EVERYONE around him better. A good to great undertackle can be the force element of a defense versus running plays to his side. A good to great undertackle can force so much attention upon himself that the three other defensive linemen all end up with one on one opportunities. A good to great undertackle can allow a defensive coordinator to have a much smaller playbook because they bring so much pressure on any given play that there isn't much of a need to blitz, especially in 2 minute situations.

But McCoy will either take longer or never develop into a good to great undertackle if he is also trying to be a decent defensive end on either side as well as part time nose tackle as well. It's just not going to happen.

And the reason why I'm being so vocal about this is because it reminds me so much of the way Gaines Adams was mishandled may he rest in peace. I don't care who I piss off I'm going to keep talking about it either until it changes or the season ends. I may end up looking like Ahab screaming at the sea but I really don't care. I know what kind of undertackle Gerald McCoy can be. I watched him in college, I saw him in the preseason and I saw glimpses in the first game against Cleveland. Its not selfish to want to see more of that, its smart. You don't draft a guy number 3 to be a utility man, you draft a guy that high to be a dominant force AT ONE POSITION.

Maybe in 3 years when McCoy has established himself and has some game experience under his belt he will be able to dabble a little more at end keep his productivity up at undertackle but I don't see it happening as a rookie. And the thing of it is the defense doesn't "need" him to move around. That's just not true. We have enough talent on our defense to not have to use gimmicks and trickem dickem stuff. That defense can line up and whup people's ass if they are put in a position to do so. Last year I could understand trying to fool people to victory but not now. Not with the talent we have on this defense.

I don't know how McCoy feels about this because I haven't talked to him nor have I talked to anyone close to him about it but like I always say I go by my experience and by what my eyes tell me. You will never get me to believe that making McCoy a jack of all trades but master of none helps him or our defense overall. If the implication is there are holes at other spots that need to be filled then as Eddie Robinson is quoted as saying "Get a player better, or get a better player!" but don't use that as an excuse to have smoke coming out of McCoy's ears with little to no benefit to show for it.

In closing I would like to give props to whomever asked the question today. I get on the media at times when I think they have done something wrong but I will also show love when they get it right. That was the most astute question I have heard so far in all of Coach Morris' press conferences since the regular season started and if nothing else now more people will be watching to see how this all plays out and that is a good thing.  On another note it was also good to hear Coach Morris mention Michael Bennett as a guy they might take a look at to upgrade the pass rush. Why it has taken 3 games is anybody's guess. But hey, its a start at least.

Now if only somebody can start asking about why Kyle Moore is in on third and long with our four man rush instead of Brian Price then we will be cooking with fish grease...

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Good:

- Quincy Black: One of the few bright spots on defense Black had two tackles and three assists with an interception.

- LeGarrette Blount: I have to admit I really didn't think Blount would be ready to contribute after just two weeks of being with the team. But he looked really good running the ball for us yesterday. He ran hard to daylight and he wouldn't be denied on the goalline. I would definitely like to see more of him with the ball in his hands.

-Josh Johnson: I know it was during garbage time but JJ looked really good coming in and leading the team down the field for a touchdown. Six for six for 67 yards and one carry for 7 yards, it doesn't get much better than that.

- Connor Barth: Ask the Saints how important a good field goal kicker is. We are lucky to have that guy.

The Bad:

- Run Defense: We gave up over 200 yards rushing including a 26 yard run to the "elderly" Charlie Batch. While we weren't physically overmatched per se, we were undisciplined on our gap assignments on some breakout runs. I don't personally believe that we did enough to help ourselves on first down ie with blitzes against a running team like the Steelers but that's just my opinion.

- Turnovers: The Mike Williams fumble as well as the wide receiever screen pass to Sammie Stroughter that turned into a pick six were down right disastrous. The one thing that the Bucs could not afford to do was turn the ball over to that nasty Steelers defense. You have to wonder what would have happened but for those two some what fluke plays. Unfortunately there are no do overs in the NFL so we will never know.

- Offensive Line: In particular Donald Penn had a terrible game. He gave up two sacks,he had a holding penalty and he got a dumb 15 yard penalty near the end of the game. The rest of the offensive lineman didn't fare much better. The two bad snaps by Faine were direct results of the Steelers' nosetackle Casey Hampton giving him the business. Then Caddy had two of his better runs called back for a hold on Davin Joseph and a call on Jeremy Trueblood for lining up too far off the line of scrimmage. The offensive line gave up 4 sacks yesterday and that is simply unacceptable.

- Offensive game plan: The Bucs were in the shotgun wayyy too much yesterday and I believe we didn't run the ball nearly enough. I know that the were down early, but I still felt like we could have and should have continued to pound the rock until it cracked. I know we had a few penalties but to me a commitment to running the ball means running on first AND second down more often than not during a game. It also means going from under center most of the game so the defense can't be sure what you're going to do. It also allows the quarterback to see the coverage as it changes. Not only that it opens up play action because it allows the quarterback to fake the run in a way that might actually get the secondary to react or at least hesitate. If we are really going to have a tough, violent offense I would really like to see it rather than just hearing about it constantly.

- Chris Bryan: You know..the punter! I had no idea what our punter's name was yesterday but I was still MFing him all afternoon long. His efforts yesterday were pathetic. I swear one of his punts had to be no more than 20 yards. And make it so bad we were at or across teh 50 yardline when he uncorks this foul tip that doesn't come close to pinning them back close to their own goal line. After cutting our 6th round pick after the preseason only to sign another rookie I had a feeling it would come back to haunt us. Now we just have to hope that this guy Bryan gets better or its back to the drawing board. And thanks to commenter Bill for reminding me of his suckitude!

The Ugly:

- Its 4th and 3 and we are down 38-6 in the second half and we decide to....punt? WTF?!

- Its 3rd and 3, 23 seconds left in the half, we are on defense and the Steelers are at our 9 yard line. We go.....3 man rush with a spy? And Charlie Batch promptly throws a TD after making a sandwich, having a beer and playing a game of Madden whilst sitting in the pocket with no rush to speak of threatening him.

- I have to say that as an ex Buccaneers player it made me sick to my stomach to see the stadium that full of Steelers fans. It was straight up disgraceful and I'm as understanding as anybody. I can't even imagine how the players had to see looking up into the stands and having it look like an away game. We all have to find a way to do better to support our team.


- There were a lot of people who had mixed games. They made good plays but then not so good plays as well. That is why there aren't more people in any of the categories.

- Cody Grimm kind of fits that description. Obviously he got burned on the early touchdown and that was really ugly. But he also had seven tackles and assist by my count including a tackle for loss and a big time stop on fourth down. But he also had a couple of missed tackles and one play where I believe he made the wrong fit in the run game and allowed a big run by Rashard Mendenhall.

- Aqib Talib is another guy who made a big play with an interception but also allowed a potential pick go off his hands into the Steelers' Mike Wallace's hands for a TD.

- I think the coaches need to stop moving Gerald McCoy around until he feels more comfortable and looks more dominant at undertackle. I also think there is no excuse for not having Brian Price on the field on third downs to rush the passer inside instead of Kyle Moore. You can read all about that and more about the defensive line in my "Bull Rush" column.

- Cadillac Williams has to be the most snake bitten running back in the NFL. Every time he has a break out run its called back. He had at least 19 yards taken off the board yesterday off of penalties. I don't know what you can do about that but I imagine it has to be very frustrating, especially with everybody now crowning Blount the starter as if he had a 200 yard day with 3 touchdowns or something.

- I really hope we either move Ronde to free safety or use our extra roster spot to go out and sign a veteran at the position. Cody Grimm gives his allbut he simply isn't ready to be a starter in the NFL atthat position yet and real soon we are going to play some teams that are a lot better at throwing the ball than Pittsburgh.

Bull Rush

Well, that sucked.

I have to admit that I am not as much surprised that we lost to the Steelers as surprised, and dismayed, at the manner in which the Bucs lost to the Steelers.  They gave them an old fashioned ass whupping right on their homefield with mostly black and gold in the stands cheering them on. I honestly thought the Buccaneers left these kinds of blowout losses behind them when this season started. Sure I thought they would lose some games but not by this kind of a margin.

I don't like making excuses but the truth is the defense missed Tanard Jackson out there and I don't think anybody could dispute that. Not only in pass coverage, but also in their run fits, the defense a needed a guy back there with experience who knew what he was doing against an offense as physical and as disciplined as the Steelers. I'm not throwing Cody Grimm under the bus, he played about as well as you could have hoped for him to. But he is no T Jax and that is just the truth.

On the other hand I don't believe the defensive gameplan helped all that much this week either. With a team that runs the ball as much as the Steelers do I would have expected Coach Morris to have more run blitzes dialed up. Instead they tended to stay in their base alignments on early downs with some line stunts sprinkled in here and there. Instead of imposing their will on first down to try to force the Steelers into 3rd and long situations the Bucs seemed to be allowing them to dictate the flow of the game.

The blitzes Coach Morris did call also left a lot to be desired. Since Morris took over the defense last year he has called a certain blitz where Ronde comes from the strong side, the end to that side drops and Geno blitzes the weakside B gap. I have never liked this blitz and I said so last year. As far as I can tell it has only worked once, but it still keeps getting called. Yesterday that's what was called when Charlie Batch, CHARLIE FRIGGIN BATCH, scrambled and ran for the most yards in his long long LONG career.  It might just be time to throw that play out of the playbook.

I can't understand why, when they do blitz. they don't overload one side and bring one more than the opposition can block. Failing that bring four off one side for their four blockers and give somebody a chance to win a one on one. This may be Tampa 2.5 but I know in the beta version of Tampa 2 we ran a lot of Bark and Frisco for years with success back in the day and I still see teams running some variation of them. Sometimes the upgrade should bring along the parts of the original that actually worked.

To me what this game boiled down to on defense when it was all said and done was guys being not being gap sound and or not making the play when it was their turn to make it. Unfortunately after some initial success against the run we started getting undisciplined and all it took at times was one guy to be out of their gap or one guy to let the ball break containment or one guy to miss a tackle and we were in trouble against the run. Again they could have helped themselves with some run blitzes but even without them the defense could have cut down on the breakout runs had everyone been on the same page.

Lastly, I still believe in Coach Morris as a defensive coordinator, one bad game doesn't change that. But I think at some point he should ask himself if he should use all the different schemes at his disposal just because he can. Is the defense better off by doing more or doing less? In my opinion in a lot of ways the Bucs could be doing more with less and just letting guys play, especially on third down.

And while I've been quiet about it until now I think I have to say at this point that using Gerald McCoy at end when we have a four man line does not help in any tangible way. There is nothing he is doing at defensive end that Tim Crowder couldn't do against running formations. Also, at least so far, instead of bringing in Price to replace him at under tackle they have been bringing in Ryan Sims. I actually like Sims more than a lot of people and felt he had earned a spot on this team, but you can't tell me that he is a better option than Gerald McCoy or Brian Price in there. So even if I could sign off on McCoy being at end, which I can't, I still wouldn't be able to sign off on the whole deal because we aren't better in any quantifiable way with that lineup in the game. Period.

Now on to the individual critiques:

Kyle Moore: I didn't think Moore played poorly but at the same time I didn't think he was all that productive. He gave up containment on a play when the offensive tackle reached him, he did not get much penetration against the run, he kept getting washed inside when the Steelers ran their trap plays and he didn't do much on pass rush. He also came inside and gave up contain on the opposite side from a line stunt. We were told in the preseason that when Michael Bennett did the same thing and got a sack that he had committed a cardinal sin. I await the similar outrage from the coaches toward Moore.

I'm still waiting on some enterprising member of the media to ask why Moore is in the game on third and long to rush the passer inside when we use a four man line rather than Brian Price who is without a doubt a better option for that role. I had him down with an assist for the game as far as the stat sheet goes.

Gerald McCoy: I had McCoy down for a pressure, that's all, and I was probably being generous. He didn't necessarily have a bad game because aside from one play when he got caught with an influence trap he was in his gap most of the day. He also had a pretty good rush with an arm over on that first touchdown pass Charlie Batch threw. He beat the guy off the line of scrimmage but he wasn't precise with his move and he didn't dip low enough to be able to turn a tight enough corner with the guard still riding his back to be able to get a hit on Batch. Instead he just made him move a little bit to his left and then he set up again and chunked it down right over Grimm's head.

McCoy's pass rush on the whole regressed though in my opinion. He is now getting stuck right down the middle of guards instead of getting on an edge and rushing the guy. It goes back to why I am not a fan of moving him around to end. Hell let the kid learn how to be a dominant undertackle first. Let him learn to set up moves and counter moves from a 3 technique with game reps. Every rep he takes at end is potentially a rep he is losing at undertackle. A rep that could make him better. A rep that could teach him something. In the end we may see another one of those jack of all trades, but master of none if they don't let him develop at the position they drafted him to play in the first place.

Just my opinion.

Roy Miller: I have Roy with two assisted tackles. He also got reached by the center twice and he was on the ground two other times. I thought at times he played a little too soft both against the double team and the zone play. I would like to see him play on the other side of the line of scrimmage a little bit more and also I'm going to need him to quit allowing the guards to pull him down to the ground because he is off balance. There is no reason for him to be on the ground as much as he is and when he is on the ground that means he's not making plays.

Stylez White: I thought Stylez started the game off pretty strong but then kind of dissappeared. I had him with two tackles including a tackle for loss and that's it. No assists, no pressures and definitely no sacks. Mind you he had several opportunities. The Steelers went max protection quite a bit leaving a tight end and back in to block on passes but most of the time they let Stylez go one on one with the left tackle Max Starks. And while Starks consistently set for White's outside move, here was another game when he never or rarely tried to come inside unless it was a counter move late. I don't know what its going to take to get him to at least try to threaten the B gap when its wide ass open for him but I do know as a potential free agent he is practically giving away money every time he doesn't. I know that he likes his hump move and he even had a good one during the game but that hump move is not going to get the kind of immediate pressure that the Bucs need most of the time.

For a guy who is as good a pass rusher as Stylez is he is not going to get the kinds of sacks he should unless and until he makes offensive tackles respect both his outside AND inside moves. Until that day he will keep trying to turn the corner and you will keep seeing the offensive tackles ride him by the quarterback most of the time.

The other problem with taking the corner route to the quarterback all the time is that Stylez slips about two or three times a game doing it. Those are two or three reps when he has absolutely no chance of getting to the quarterback even if he holds the ball for a long time. And honestly I don't so much care about the sacks as I care about getting consistent pressure and hits on the quarterback. Had we touched up Batch yesterday, I doubt he would have had the same kind of game that he ended up having. But because he was upright for most of the day then he could feel comfortable standing in there and serving up deep balls. And Stylez is supposed to be the lead dog on this team when it comes to pass rush so a lot of the blame has to be lumped on him.

Fair or not that's just the way it goes.

Tim Crowder: I didn't think Crowder played particularly well either. He had a tackle but that was about it. No pressure on pass rush and on one play when we were in under he totally gave up containment from the left end position and inexplicably went inside. Its a shame too because Brian Price had a pretty decent rush going inside of him and instead of Batch getting hit because he was flushed, he simply rolled out to where Crowder should have been and threw the ball. Its too hard to get sacks and hits on the quarterback to be giving away an opportunity like that.

Ryan Sims: Sims played ok in limited duty. He had a tackle by my count and he did a good job with staying in his gap.

Brian Price: I'm not sure whether or not Price is in the doghouse or not but there is really no excuse if he isn't in the doghouse for him not getting more playing time. I'm a fan of Roy Miller's but this kid Price can play. He gets off the ball better than any defensive lineman we have active on Sundays and he has the ability to make positive things happen. He had a couple of really good pass rushes including one from the nose tackle when we only rushed three people. He still needs to work on staying on his feet more which will come with more experience. There is no doubt in my mind that Price should be with the first nickle group. I don't care if that means Kyle Moore has to sit the bench on third downs. With he and McCoy inside the Bucs could be giving offensive guards and centers nightmares. I don't know what is going on with that situation but again it would be nice if somebody who has access would at least inquire about it.

That's all I have for today. Not a whole lot to say when we get our asses handed to us like that. I will say that a lot of the breakout runs weren't the defensive line's fault, but you have to wait for my The Good, The Bad and The Ugly column later today to find out who was screwing up. One thing is for certain though, EVERYONE on defense needs to get better over the next two weeks if we expect to go to Cincinatti and beat the Bengals. If not it could be another long day...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Two Totally Random Thoughts On The Bucs Vs Steelers Game

Two things just popped into my head about the Bucs game this weekend.

First, I hope that the Bucs keep Josh Freeman under center for most of the game.  The Steelers rely heavily on disguising their blitzes and their coverage and confusing opposing quarterbacks.  When a QB is in the gun, they have to take their eyes off of the receivers and the coverage for a split second so they can catch the snap. Its at that point when the Steelers' secondary guys can roll their coverages and wait for Freeman to throw the ball right to them.  If he is under center however, he gets to see the whole field the whole time while he is dropping back in the pocket.  It also allows him to run more rollout and bootleg plays.

My second thought is it would be great if the Bucs came out for the second half going no huddle on offense.  Get those big guys on the Steelers' D down here in that heat and they will melt.  And by waiting to spring it on them after half time you don't give them any time to make adjustments.  It will also prevent the Steelers from doing a lot of substitutions between plays in order to try and match up with our personnel.  We could just run a bunch of quick passes, maybe even screens.  Stuff that will make those guys have to run around 7 or 8 or 9 plays in a row.

If done correctly a no huddle attack will make those guys wilt in the fourth quarter and we are definitely going to need all the help and advantages we can get.

The Legend Of Gerald McCoy

So I'm minding my own business this evening and I happened to see that TBO had an article up about Gerald McCoy. Obviously anything about our defensive linemen is going to pique my interest so I pulled up the story. It was pretty good stuff explaining how McCoy has been playing well even though the stat sheet may not reflect that to some people and even though he hasn't made a lot of splash plays so far. That is pretty much the same assessment I've made about McCoy after two games so it wasn't all that surprising.

Then I got to this graf:
Finally, on that critical fourth-and-goal play from the Bucs' 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, McCoy occupied three blockers yet again, this time allowing linebacker Geno Hayes to knife through and stop Jonathan Stewart for a 1-yard loss.

I literally let out a chuckle.

But to make sure I wasn't tripping I went back to the DVR copy of the game to make sure. And sure enough there was McCoy on the side AWAY from that play and instead of three guys blocking him he got cut by the guard and the offensive tackle to that side tried to block him high. He actually did a good job of not getting taken to the ground but on that particular play he had no role in the outcome. The guy who DID get the penetration was Brian Price who was lined up on the opposite side and who cleared the way for Geno Hayes to come in and make the play.

It's not a capital crime or anything but at this point I have to wonder who is feeding these kinds of stories to the media. For one I don't think that McCoy needs anybody giving him credit that he didn't earn. And for two I imagine Brian Price might not be too happy about not getting the credit he deserves.

I realize that many beat reporters simply don't have the time to go back and watch the tape to verify their information but I would say that they might at least attempt to so to insure that these kinds of mistakes stop.

It is what it is.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cody Grim Gets The Call

The Buccaneers announced today that rookie Cody Grimm will step in to replace the suspended Tanard Jackson at free safety. I was pretty sure that Grim would be the guy to get the call because after all he was listed as 2nd string at the position. I guess the folks over at One Buc Palace either don't read my blog or didn't think much of my suggestion of Ronde Barber lol. Of course its also entirely possible that Ronde wouldn't want to make that move at this point either.

As for Grimm I think we can get through this Pittsburgh game and be ok with him in the lineup. Because he is the free safety its likely he won't see a lot of time around the line of scrimmage and he also isn't likely to find himself in many one on one man to man situations in pass coverage either. The Steelers are going to try to pound the rock and tackling is probably one of the best things he does. I would expect them to throw more than 20 times this game which again means less opportunities for him to get exposed in the passing game.

Our next game, however, is against the Cincinnati Bengals and yeah that one has me worried. The Bengals can put so much speed on the field one time, especially with their rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham, that its almost a given that they are going to try to go after Grimm.  And it doesn't get any better from there as the New Orleans Saints are next on the schedule after the Bengals. The team needs to take it one game at a time but the coaching staff has to be looking down the road and wondering just how well Grimm will play.

I'm certainly pulling for the kid but I still think that during the off week Ronde should at least get a look there.  Corner just seems to be a place where we have a glut of talent and Ronde seems like the one guy who could change positions and still be very productive.

I also wonder how his starting will affect Grim on special teams where he has been very disruptive and productive.  We can't afford to take special teams lightly this week because the Steelers realize how bad their offense is and are looking to score by any means possible.  

I'll say this much, having thought it over I still believe the Bucs will beat the Steelers this weekend. Coach Morris may not be quite as aggressive calling the defense but I still think we will be up to the task with Charlie Batch in at quarterback for Pittsburgh. Of course the game is blacked out so most of us won't be able to see it, but I still believe we come out of this game 3-0.

Your Week Two Leader

For the second week in a row Top Dog is in fact the Top Dog of our fantasy football league with a scorching 79 points. I did a little bit better than my first week with a respectable 57 of my own. Remember that your lowest week will be dropped at the end of the season and that is why right now yahoo shows you with only having only the points from your highest week so far. I'll tell you this much, if Top Dog doesn't slip and or somebody else doesn't get on a hot streak most of us are about to get embarrassed lol.

Might have to take that guy with me out to Vegas!

Don't forget to get your picks in for this week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hey Tanard, Thanks....For Nothing!!!

I have to say its probably a good thing that I couldn't write this post when I first heard the news of Tanard Jackson being suspended indefinitely. To say I was pissed off wouldn't come close to doing justice to my mood in that moment. I have come down some now but I won't lie, I'm still pretty angry.

I will never understand guys who pull this kind of shit. At least with performance enhancing drugs while you know its wrong and illegal you can kind of get that guys were looking for a physical edge so they could perform better. Maybe for a new contract or maybe to help the team win, either way that kind of cheating is centered around a guy trying to make himself better.

But by all outward appearances Jackson was popped for some form of recreational drug. And this would have to be at least his third time getting caught. I sincerely thought that after he lost four games last year to start off the season that he would have learned his lesson. Not only did he embarrass himself and his family, he also put his teammates in a helluva jam. For whatever reason I thought his pride wouldn't allow him to make the same mistake again.

Boy was I wrong.

And while its obvious that he was popped for this infraction sometime ago and is just now being punished, the timing couldn't be any worse. Right at the point where folks are starting to believe in the Bucs again he just ruined ALL of that.

And for what?

This guy has every tool you would want if you were building the prototype for a free safety. And the truth of the matter is with another strong season this year he likely would have set himself up for a substantial pay day. Now all that is gone because he couldn't find it in himself to lay off his drug of choice.

In my opinion he should never wear a Buccaneers uniform again. Somebody that stupid, selfish, and foolish can not be counted on to be there when the team needs him. If he has a legitimate addiction then I hope and pray that he gets help to free himself from those demons. But he doesn't deserve the privilege of playing for this team ever again. Especially after they stood by him last year only to be repaid in this fashion.

Am I judging him? You're got damn right I am. Because his actions affected not just him but also his teammates and his coaches who were counting on him to help them turn around the team. This isn't a case of just making a mistake, the guy is messing with people's jobs and livelihoods.

I am getting pissed off all over again so I'll let that be the end of my diatribe towards him.

On another hand a radical thought occurred to me. I don't know about you but the last thing in the world I want to see is Sabby Piscitelli out starting again. And honestly the thought of having rookie Cody Grim starting is scary as hell also. But then I got to thinking, maybe there is a third option.

I honestly don't think this will happen in a million years but my proposal would be moving Ronde Barber from corner to free safety and then plugging in E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis in his spot. I don't know if Ronde would even be open to the move, especially since he has played so well the first two games. But after being in the defense for over 10 years its pretty much a given that he would know all of the plays and responsibilities. Also it would allow him to use his ball skills more all over the field. He wouldn't have to play in the box all that much but then again its not like he hasn't played there a lot before as a nickel back.

It also gets one of the two young talented corners that we have on the field in spots where they probably won't hurt us too bad. In the first game E.J. definitely looked like he was ready to start if necessary and you gotta think that Lewis has gotten over his injury bug and is ready to contribute now as well.

Then if need be we could bring Grim in on third downs and let Ronde go back to his regular nickle back slot or maybe even start grooming Biggers or Lewis to take over for him. And think about it, after this game we have an off week where Ronde could really work on the switch and the other guys could get comfortable with starting also.

Again I know a snowball probably has a better chance lasting in hell than this change happening but I think if people think it through it doesn't really suck. In fact it has the potential of allowing one of our playmakers (Ronde) to be put into position to make even more plays. And its not like its unprecedented. Rod Woodson, one of the all time great corners, ended his career as a hell of a safety in Pittsburgh. I know it wasn't planned this way but maybe Ronde could mirror the same kind of success.

Just a thought.

I gotta say I'm sick as hell over this situation with T Jax. But it boils down to this, he had already been warned and punished prior to this and he is a grown ass man. He had every opportunity to keep his nose clean and he was an utter failure at that. He has to live with that and with the chaos he has brought to this team and his family, but for everyone else its time to move on.

Charlie Batch It Is

Charlie Batch will start at quarterback for the Steelers when they play in Tampa on Sunday, coach Mike Tomlin confirmed after practice today.

Byron Leftwich returned to put in a full practice Wednesday for the first time since the MCL in his left knee was sprained Sept. 2, and is the only other available quarterback on the roster.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Two quick thoughts on this. First Batch doesn't have the arm strength anymore to make the deep throws. For that reason we should play a little more man and make him have to try to stick the ball in tight spaces. Second he isn't very mobile and they only have an injured Byron Leftwich behind him. That reiterates why we should play a lot more man and man under along with 8 man fronts because if we can knock out the run which the 8 man fronts will help with and force him to throw, playing man will give the defensive line at least another step to get to him.

With the right game plan we should have at least 5 or 6 sacks on Sunday.

RIP Kenny McKinley

I heard about Kenny McKinley's death like a lot of other people did, from being on twitter Monday night during the MNF broadcast. The news of what appears to be a suicide was so shocking that I really was numb for a minute. I didn't know McKinley, had honestly never heard of him before then but it didn't matter. Here was a young kid, a draft pick in the NFL going into his second year, a father, a son, a teammate. It just didn't make any sense to me and it still doesn't. To be honest that it hit me so hard is the reason why I hadn't done a post on it until now.

But the incident also made me look at twitter in a different light. Twitter is like this free stream of everything coming at you all at once and the more people you follow the more of that everything you see. I have never understood people who have thousands of followers but only follow a hundred or so people themselves. To me that kills the whole concept of twitter because you aren't opening yourself up to reading about different topics and different points of views. But to each their own.

Twitter however can be a horrible outlet to find out bad news, especially a story so tragic. The reason being is that not everyone is going to hear about the bad news at the same time and some just won't care or be interested. So while I am sitting there reading about McKinley's story I am seeing commentary on the game still going on. I'm seeing people still telling jokes. I'm seeing people have conversations about totally meaningless stuff. And on some level I felt....wrong. Like as if I had just witnessed a crime but did nothing to stop it. I know that's a severe comparison but for me there's always a question of how do you show the proper amount of respect in these situations.

That's not to say everyone should break down crying over a guy they also may have never heard of who plays a sport they may not even like. But, I don't know, it just seems like hearing about a young man killing himself even when it seemed like his life was going pretty well would give people more pause than what I witnessed on twitter.

I'm sure I'm not making sense at this point to many of you and maybe I even sound a little judgemental. I apologize if that's so because that's not my intent at all. It's just that social media seems to be desensitizing us even more than I would have ever imagined. I guess I was expecting there to be more of a conversation after the news break and instead people just kind of noted it and kept it moving. Again its not incumbent on tweeps to feel the same way about the news as I did, I was just...surprised I guess would be the word.

But we live in a facebook/twitter/tumbler world now for better or for worse. Even though I felt uncomfortable its not likeI logged off. And after some time passed I too jumped back into the conversation about the game. I just wonder how much of a negative a platform like twitter has on us that we don't even realize.

As for McKinley, as I stated before he was a father of a young son. According to Adam Schefter the NFL has set up a trust fund for little Keon has been set up and here is the information on how to donate.

Contributions for Keon can be sent to: Kenny McKinley’s Trust Fund, c/o NFL Players Assoc., 1133 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Monday, September 20, 2010

Well It Won't Be Dennis Dixon

Per Adam Schefter

Steelers QB Dennis Dixon tore his lateral meniscus cartilage, will get a second opinion. Likely arthroscopic surgery, out a few weeks.

Sorry to hear that the young man was injured yesterday but honestly it probably helps our prospects this weekend. Whether its Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch that gets the call neither guy is all that mobile. I'm sure they are going to lean heavily on their running game but if we get them in third and long they are going to have to throw sooner or later and that's when we have to capitalize!

Copy Cat League, Running Game Edition

I just wanted to weigh in on something that kept popping into my head while I was watching the game again.

Why don't the Bucs utilize the same kinds of running schemes as the Panthers?

I'm dead serious about this.

People always call the NFL a "copy cat league" because when one team has a success running a certain scheme then before you know it you will see other teams trying to do the same thing. And if there is one thing the Panthers have been good at over the years its running the ball.

Hell its part of the reason why we signed Keydrick Vincent this offseason.

But its not enough to just pick up their former players, why not pick up some of their plays.

Don't get me wrong, we run some of the same plays that they do. But we don't use them with the frequency or precision that they use them. And when you think about it our offensive personnel blocking wise is pretty similar to the Panthers.

A lot of what they do involves getting the defense moving one way and then cutting one guy on the back side so you have a cutback lane. Usually its a fullback or a tight end leading up on a defensive end or outside linebacker and they just cut them and the running back starts hard to the strong side then cuts back for nothing but open road.

And the Panthers themselves don't mind copying other teams. They ran a play yesterday that they definitely copied from the Saints, where they fake a bootleg to get the defensive end up the field then run a split belly inside of them. The Saints used the same play last year and killed us with it.

So why don't we take some of the things our opponents do well and use it against everybody else?

Ill tell you this much, it would help our tight ends a lot because Carolina finds ways to put their tight ends in favorable positions to block defensive ends and linebackers. Rather than always keeping them on the line they will put them just a little outside of the box and then have them come back in and crack on a linebacker. I think Kellen Winslow would be much better served in that set up. One thing is for sure, he isn't doing so hot trying to block a defense end right in front of him.

I would love to see the Bucs run a bunch of split bellys and Ram belly's this week and mirror the Panthers' running game. I think its a perfect scheme for Cadillac too because he likes to make one cut and then get down hill. It seems like it should be a no brainer.

So why not?

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Good

- Josh Freeman: Freeman continues to show that he is the real deal. Both with his arm and his legs he killed the Panthers yesterday by keeping the yard sticks moving and getting the team in the endzone. His ability to avoid the rush has helped our offensive line tremendously. And his maturation has shown in immense fashion by the plays he doesn't try to make as much as the ones he does. The fact that he was patient and didn't try to force the ball into coverage and yet still took shots down the field shows just how far he has come in a year. Hell even Peter King is now on board, he of the opinion that the Bucs would only win 2 games this year. :-/

- The Linebackers: All three guys, Geno Hayes, Barrett Ruud, and Quincy Black, deserve a mention this week. You are talking about two guys in Ruud and Black having 9 tackles or more. Then Quincy hits the Panthers for a sack, a tackle for loss 6 other tackles and a pass broken up.

You may think I'm crazy but if these guys keep playing up to this level by the end of the year people may see the Bucs as having the best linebacking corps in the NFC. Quick, try to name a better group, I dare you.

- Mike Williams: I have a feeling the kid will be up here a lot this year. Only two catches but one of them was a 35 yard touchdown where his run after the catch was ridiculous. I thought sure they would bring him down just short of the goalline but he ran through those tackles and damn near didn't even break stride. He definitely has to be seen as the steal of the draft so far.

- Tim Crowder and Stylez White: You know what to do

- Kellen Winslow: K2 was HUGE yesterday. Four catches for 83 yards and if I'm not mistaken each catch was for a 3rd down conversion. The forty yard bomb he hauled in from Freeman was just sick. And to think that he was a game day decision as far as whether he would even play. I would hate to think what we would have done without him.

- Connor Barth: No jinx so far, the guy is still perfect with two more FGs yesterday. Again a lot of people don't understand the value of a good kicker until you don't have one. Not me.

- Ronde Barber: Five tackles an assist and his second interception in as many weeks. Its going to be hilarious if Ronde makes the Pro Bowl after all those haters were saying he should retire. I know I'm pulling for him!

The Bad

- Missed tackles: We had too many of them yesterday. I know we were going against some good backs but most of their big runs came when someone had a shot at bringing them down but didn't do it. I love the fact that we are back to swarming to the ball and that helps minimize the damage of those missed tackles, but how about not missing them in the first place?

- Deep balls: For the second week in a row we let guys get behind our backline and for the second week in a row we were bailed out by the other team not making us pay. Well our luck is going to run out sooner or later so we need to get that fixed and quickly. I know everyone was all abuzz about the fact that we only ran Tampa 2 one time in the first game. Well hell if this is the consequence of that, maybe we should run it a lot more than that.

Just a thought.

- Five man defensive line on short yardage: Throw that out of the playbook, please and thank you.

- Busts on blitzes: If we can't run these new Tampa 2.0 blitzes any better then maybe we need to get back to Bark and Frisco or Boston and Fox. You may not know what those words mean but I'll bet Ronde, Coach Morris, and a few others over there do. First off I think we should be going four man rush more on 3rd downs anyway but that's just me. But if we are going to send pressure then we should try to, you know, actually pressure somebody. And failing that at least cover the people we are supposed to.

Otherwise maybe we should stick to what we know.

Again just a thought.

- Davin Joseph: I started to put Davin up last week but I held back because I wasn't 100% that he didn't play well. Well this week I'm 100% sure he didn't play the way we are used to seeing him play. I don't know if his leg is still bothering him or what but you didn't see the power on his run blocking that we are accustomed to seeing and he got beat quite a few times on pass rush. Whatever the problem is I hope he figures it out because we need him and the rest of the offensive line to be playing at a high level if we want to win those close games this year.

The Ugly

- Jerramy Stevens: I really need to know why Stevens is still on our team. I'm serious about this. And it has nothing to do with his past transgressions. It has everything to do with the fact that he's a shitty blocker. Now he isn't the only shitty blocker on the team to be sure. Winslow is probably a hair worse in fact. But the flip side is Winslow had 4 catches for 83 yards. What has Stevens done lately?

I listened all last year when people blamed the offensive line the Bucs problems running the ball. And finally I came out and stated what was obvious to me, that Stevens was the primary culprit. But yet and still another season is here and the guy is still out there getting people killed. I don't know how it is that Cadillac Williams hasn't put his foot in his ass by now but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened soon.

Its a damn shame when one guy can screw it up on a running play were everybody else is blocked up. There was one lead play to the offenses' left where all Stevens has to do is block a corner, A CORNER, and Caddy is out the gate. He should be ashamed that the cornerback not only got of his block like he wasn't even there but ended up making the play. Now sure Jeff Faine got a holding call on the play so it was coming back anyway but Stevens didn't know that at the time. And that play is just indicative of how Stevens perpetually stands in the way between a good run and a great one or a good play and a disaster.

The difference between his blocking and John Gilmore's blocking is unbelievable. And I don't know that Gilmore is a world beater. The point is if we have a tight end on the roster who can't block and isn't catching any balls at some point we need to evaluate why he's there in the first place. I am pretty sure there is somebody on the street right now who is hungry and will knock somebody's block off if given the opportunity and maybe, just maybe, we will get our running game on track.

Anybody who knows me knows I don't like saying people should be fired in general, but this is officially ridiculous now.


- Maurice Stovall should get an honorable mention. In his first work back off of that ankle injury he sustained in the preseason he forced two holding penalties on the Panthers' punt return team. He is still an animal out wide at gunner.

- I wasn't thrilled with our clock management in the fourth quarter. We were already up 20 - 7 with a little over 10 minutes left and then we all of a sudden got pass happy and had to punt the ball. Yes I like being aggressive but when you are so aggressive that you end up costing yourself a game then call that stupid. Thankfully that didn't happen yesterday but hopefully in the future we will run the ball at least once to try to milk it down.

- Earnest Graham's touchdown catch yesterday was the first of his career, who knew?

- The defense as a whole holding the Panthers to 7 points and making them go to the backup rookie quarterback on their home field was pretty damned impressive.

- Having said that, I would love to see us run under defense more. I think its a much better defense against the run than our 3-4 look and when a team is really trying to run it down your throat it makes it harder for them to do that. We ran it about 8 times yesterday but I would think more in the 15 play area would be better. Just my opinion

Bull Rush

Well what do you know, for at least a few more hours the Buccaneers are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Who woulda thunk it?

In fairness some of us did see the potential for this kind of success but none of us really knew how things would work out once the regular season began. Its just great to watch the team performing up to its potential and getting back to what we have come to know as "Buc Ball"

It was particularly gratifying to see us dominate the Panthers, a division opponent, on their home field after so many years when they had dominated us. They showed a shot of the stadium at the end of the game and just seeing all those empty seats made me smile

Having said all that the reality of the situation is that the Buccaneers have beaten two teams that have yet to win a game. That doesn't mean the Bucs aren't good, but on the flip side it doesn't mean they are world beaters either. Even though they won yesterday we still have a lot of things to work on. They continue to let guys get deep on our secondary and just thankfully haven't faced a quarterback that could get the ball to them or the receivers are dropping the passes. Their run defense was good overall yesterday but we had too many missed tackles and gave up several big runs. They ended up with 4 sacks yesterday but at times our pass rush was none existent on early downs. They continue to have busts on blitzes that lead to big plays against us. And up front we have to get better on some details.

The Bucs are going to have to get better if we have any expectations of beating a Steelers team that is also 2 - 0 and is playing some fantastic defense themselves.

Still there was a lot to be excited about. Holding the Panthers to 7 points. Keeping DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart under 100 yards COMBINED. Forcing four turnovers including a turnover on downs after a magnificent goal line stand. And the hustle to the ball was outstanding.

So Bucs fans should enjoy this victory and in fact savor it. Then get ready to give the Steelers hell this Sunday. Only one team is coming out 3 - 0 and it needs to be the Bucs!

Now for the individual breakdowns

Kyle Moore: Moore played ok notching two tackles, a pressure and a fumble recovery by my count. I saw a little more out of him from a pass rush stand point and he had a really good spin right at the level of the quarterback in the second half of the game.

There are two major things I think Moore needs to work on. First and foremost he needs to be more physical on the tight ends. As a starting left end the tight end is going to be on his side the majority of the time. And Moore is definitely strong enough to win the matchups in dominant fashion. Unfortunately it seems like he catches the tight ends block instead of dishing out the blow. The more he gets knocked off the ball the easier it is for opposing runners to get to the corner. It doesn't help that he also starts peeking around the block to try to find the ball.

I always try to tell guys that the blocker will tell them where the ball is or is going to be. You don't have to look for the ball if a tight end tries to cut you off from the gap inside. The ball is going to be inside. You don't have to look for the ball if the tight end tries to block your outside shoulder. The ball is coming outside. The easiest thing to do is just get your hands inside on the tight end and run your feet then depending upon the block rip off to where the ball is going. Or just rip off to your gap. You won't be wrong and you will put yourself in position to make a play instead of allowing yourself to get pushed around.

The other thing Moore needs to work on his is pass rush. Specifically he has to learn when to stop running passed the level of the quarterback and come back to make a play. Too many times he is ending up five or more yards behind the quarterback when the ball is thrown. Its almost impossible to affect the quarterback from that position. At least if you come back to the level you have a shot to get a hand in his face or tackle him should he decide to take off running.

Kyle Moore is a second year player and he didn't play all that much last year so he's still learning and I realize that. But if he just works on those two things I think he will see his productivity go up dramatically in a short period of time.

Gerald McCoy: I had mixed feelings watching McCoy yesterday. On the one hand he was productive with two tackles and two assists along with a quarterback pressure. He really played the slip blocks and double teams well in my opinion. And his effort, as always, was outstanding.

But on the other hand I thought he regressed as far as his pass rushing went. Especially when it comes to pass rushing play action on early downs. Too many times I saw him just running right down the middle of guards with no plan on how to get off the block to try to get to the quarterback. And I saw him in wayyy too many K Lang's* against an offensive line that I thought he would dominate. He also came out of a pirate defensive line stunt instead of staying in the gap and he ran what looked to be a pass rush game with another defensive tackle and instead of looping around the opposite side guard where he likely would have gotten a hit on the quarterback, he stopped in the middle of the game and tried to go back the other day.

Obviously those things didn't hurt us too terribly yesterday, but against a better team it will. On the line stunt and the pass rush game the thing he has to know is that although he might not come free if he runs it right its highly likely that someone else will. But conversely when he doesn't go where he is supposed to be, with violent intentions, he will end up in a situation where he isn't in position to make the play and nobody else is either. And when it comes to pass rushing he just has to be ready every play to make a move. Its not like he can't get good pressure with a bull rush, but for a guy that has his kind of skill and quickness that shouldn't be his signature move.

Now I don't want to come down too hard on him because its not like he didn't play well. But I just have seen what he can do now so that's what I expect every week. And in fact that's what that defense is going to need from him every week in order to be special.

Roy Miller: Roy had a tackle for a loss, two other tackles and an assist by my count. But he also was a little soft playing the double teams yesterday. He is a guy who usually plays with great pad level but for whatever reason he appeared to get high against a lot of those double teams which made it much easier to push him around. Now its not easy holding that point, especially against a team as physical as the Panthers. But that's the job of the nose tackle on this defense so Roy is going to have to figure out away to anchor down in there against the run. He isn't getting any burn on 3rd downs so he is going to have to make his name as a run stopper.

Last week I suggested he tilt a little more to give the offensive linemen less surface to hit. This week I'm going to recommend that he work on being a knee bender and staying low when he feels that double team coming. But I know that's all easier said than done. At the end of the day Miller is going to have to find his own way when it comes to playing those double teams. But one way or another it has to happen because we all know he has a guy breathing down his neck coming off he bench.

Stylez G. White: Stylez had another productive day at the office, this week turning in two tackles, an assist, a sack and a pressure. He is off to a very solid start to the season. He continues to be really technically sound in the run game and physical on his tackles as well. He did however let one running play get outside of him and missed the tackle as he was trying to rally to the ball.

As well as Stylez is playing I think he could be even more productive. So far he hasn't really run many pass rush games on his side on 3rd and long. Some of that is because we aren't always getting four man rush calls on 3rd and long. But still there have been opportunities in both games for him to run an EX or TEX game and he hasn't taken advantage of it. I know some guys just prefer to do one on one rushes and I totally get that. But one thing I have noticed is that offensive tackles are setting Stylez for an outside move now. One way to get them to stop doing that would be to run some pass rush games and give them something else to think about.

Another way to do it, of course, would be to make a....say it with me...inside move. I am going to make this suggestion into I'm blue in the face because I know the impact it can have. If Stylez would just hit a spin move on an offensive tackle early in the game, even if it didn't work, then for the rest of the game that guy is going to have to worry about him doing it again. That means he can't feel as comfortable kick stepping back looking for a speed rush. And conversely it means it will open up the outside rush even more.

One thing I worry about with Stylez is that he doesn't use finesse moves enough. Its not like he isn't strong enough to bull rush and all that, but using those kinds of rushes repeatedly game after game wears your body down, and takes a lot out of you from rush to rush. The reason why making a spin move or for that matter any other quick inside move matters is because when you have an offensive lineman worried about that inside move now you he's not jumping way out for the speed rush and thus you don't have to run into him as much and instead you have the opportunity to run around him.

I know Stylez says he isn't a spin guy but I think if he just tries it out a couple of times early in the game he will see how much easier it makes pass rushing the rest of the game for him.

Tim Crowder: See now this is the Tim Crowder I expected to see in the preseason. Of course in the preseason Crowder wasn't on the left side, but instead the right side. I won't keep beating that dead horse but if you have read my blog any length of time I think you see what I'm getting at.

Crowder hit the Panthers over the head with two sacks, one of which was accompanied by a caused fumble, a tackle an assist and another really good bull rush on a play where the ball was completed. The Panthers came into the game without their starting right tackle and Crowder made them pay for that. He was also stout in the run game as that assisted tackle came on the fourth down play on the goal line where he jacked up the tight end and got a hit on the running back to finish him off after Geno Hayes clipped his ankles. If there was one guy that I was say had the most consistent pass rush all game it would have to be Crowder. The sack he got on the roll out play was just an awesome display of hustle and he was very physical in his hit on the Panthers quarterback Matt Moore.

The question for me is how long can Crowder continue to be this productive, especially pass rushing, and continue to be a back up?

I guess we will all see.

Brian Price: For what ever reason Price didn't play all that much this game. I guess when you aren't in for most of the third down plays and you are a backup to a guy who mostly only plays on first and second down then the numbers are just going to end up that way for now. Still he was productive with limited reps notching two tackles. He also had great penetration on that 4th and goal goaline play which helped to clear the lane for Hayes to come in and hit the running back.

Because we haven't gotten a lot out of Kyle Moore as an inside rusher on 3rd and long I would expect to see Price inserted into those situations going forward. Pairing him and McCoy up inside to pass rush on 3rd downs just makes sense to me and honestly I can't understand why it hasn't happened so far unless maybe Price's hamstring is still holding him back. I just do not believe that Moore is a better interior rusher than Price and I don't think its even close.

But hey just because something makes perfect sense doesn't always mean it will be done does it?

Although one has to wonder how long a high second round pick can only play a handful of plays before someone (maybe the player himself) complains. Id say not very long.

Ryan Sims: Sims also didn't play much. But when he was in the game he was also high and a little soft playing the double teams. Not many reps to go on but I thought he could have played a lot better.

*P.S. - I was so ecstatic to see the defense go back to using six defensive linemen on the goal line I almost didn't know what to do. Last year we kept trying to use five linemen and we kept getting our ass kicked but nobody did anything about it. I wrote so many posts on it that my fingers were about to start bleeding. I'm not saying that because we were successful yesterday that it means we will win on the goalline every time. But I am saying that using six defensive linemen instead of five gives us a hell of a lot better chance at doing so.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



I can't really laugh too hard because I can remember several plays that looked just like that one being run against us when I played with the Bucs and we were still in the old NFC Central.

I will say this, if you don't have Moss as at least the 2nd best wide reciever of all time, slap yourself.


2 - 0 HATERS!!!

Here are my quick thoughts on the game.

-Right now its a lot of people in this area who are pissed off that Coach Morris and the Buccaneers are 2 - 0. Make sure you rub it in!

-The defense was balling and the pressure was there all day. Tim Crowder is pushing for more playing time every week.

-Much was made about us only playing Tampa 2 one time last week but me personally I would like to see more of it on 3rd down. Our pressure packages aren't always on point and our four man rush is getting pressure so why not let the guys rush?

-I still wish Quincy Black would get another step or two up field before he loops inside on a TEX but if the young man keeps hitting quarterbacks in the mouth like that I promise I won't complain too much lol.

-If anybody still had any doubts it should be apparent now that Josh Freeman is the real deal. He can do it with his arm and his legs and he's gonna give defenses fits all year.

-Mike Williams continues to defy any talk about rookie wide receivers not being able to perform at a high level. His run after the catch on the touchdown got me up out of my seat!

-When everything is said and done our linebacker corps might be seen as one of the best in all the NFL.

-It was good to see Aqib Talib get a pick in his first game back. Ronde also got his 2nd in as many games. We have to keep winning the turnover battle to help our young offense out. Crazy question, can Ronde make the Pro Bowl this year?

-Jerramy Stevens is as soft as puppy shit when it comes to run blocking. I'm surprised Caddy didn't get up and punch his ass in the mouth after he got him blown up today. Something has to give man, the guy isn't catch passes and he isn't blocking. What use is he?

That's all for now. I'll watch the game again and give my regular breakdowns tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Details Matter: Epilogue

I'm sure there will be a gazillion articles written about the letter the NFL sent out proclaiming that they were forcing all 32 teams to go through "proper conduct in the workplace" seminars in response to the Ines Sainz incident. For the most part I'm sure these articles will focus on whether the punishment was fair and or adequate. But that's not what I'm going to focus on.

I'm going to focus on the questions I asked in my previous post about this incident because now we have some answers about what actually did and maybe more importantly, did not happen to Sainz.

Here are the final four paragraphs of the letter NFL sent out outlining the new "proper conduct in the work place" programs and they focus on the fruits of the NFL's investigation into what actually occurred.

» "Regarding last Saturday's practice, while there seems little doubt that passes were thrown in Sainz's direction at last Saturday's practice, it is also clear that she was never bumped, touched, brushed against, or otherwise subjected to any physical contact by any player or coach. Sainz herself was unequivocal in saying both that no physical contact occurred, and that no player or other Jets staff member made any comment or gesture that could be construed as threatening, demeaning or offensive."

» "As far as the locker room, Sainz explained that her postings on Twitter while in the locker room reflected her general lack of comfort in that setting, and were not related to any specific act, comment or gesture directed to her by any member of the Jets organization. She also advised in her interviews that she had not seen or heard any catcalls, sexually explicit or offensive comments or gestures directed at her, and did not believe she was subjected to any improper conduct. She was able to obtain the interview with Mark Sanchez and was quite satisfied with her conversation with him. She did not believe that the activity in the locker room interfered with her ability to do her job (namely, obtaining an interview with Sanchez), and did not identify any member of the Jets organization who did anything that was in her view improper. That being noted, Sainz did state that the locker room environment "could have been better."

» "Sainz's public remarks were consistent with her comments to NFL Security. For example, on September 13, she gave a televised interview on TV Azteca, in which she said, "I want to assure you that at no time did I feel offended, nor at risk, or in any danger. Simply it was a situation that comes from the natural context. I want to say that in my perception at no point did I feel attacked nor did I feel that there were gross things going on around me." At another point, she said, "It was definitely a joking tone, very amicable. I wasn't offended."

Other reporters who were in the locker room described the atmosphere as "juvenile, immature, high school," but "not over the top." Others agreed that the atmosphere was not hostile, that no obscene or lewd comments or gestures were made and that nobody had physical contact with Sainz, that Sainz did not appear concerned, disturbed or troubled by what was going on around her, and that nobody had difficulty doing his or her job, but also described the atmosphere in the locker room as "unprofessional, uncomfortable, and disappointing."

It turns out that at the end of the day the NFL investigation showed that Sainz was not harassed nor was she was not subjected to "obscene or lewd comments or gestures". Moreover there was clarification on the one consistent element of the story, that of the footballs being thrown in her direction, so that the NFL is now assured that "she was never bumped, touched, brushed against, or otherwise subjected to any physical contact by any player or coach".

So after almost a week, what were we arguing about again?

Oh I know as the week went on people got sucked into a bunch of extraneous arguments about Sainz's dress and the appropriateness of women in the locker room, but that, to me, was never the fundamental conversation to be had here from the get go. Instead the much less discussed, but definitely in my mind more important conversation was always about what had actually occurred and was it harassment. Thankfully now we have the answer to those questions, but the question is how many people will even notice.

I'll be willing to bet you that if people are still talking about this a week from now they will continue to ASSume Sainz was sexually harassed. I'll also bet you that the overwhelming articles written about this subject going forward will focus on the NFL's reaction to the incident rather than what was shown to have happened, and what was shown not to have happened.

About the only thing we gleaned from the results of the investigation is that the there was some "immature" or "juvenile" behavior in the locker room. NEWSFLASH the locker room is not a Wall Street board room.  Whether journalists of either sex are in the locker room or not "immature" and "juvenile" behavior happens there all the time.  Guys are loud, obnoxious, they play games, sometimes fight, sometimes haze, all in the confines of most locker rooms.  So forgive me if those characterizations of the behavior in the Jets locker room don't surprise me nor disappoint me.  It never was about whether guys were sitting straight up, facing straight ahead and speaking in library tones.  It was about whether or not they harassed a female reporter, and its pretty apparent they did not.

The funniest part is some in the media will use this very letter as "confirmation" that the players did something wrong even though it pretty much proves the exact opposite of that.  But you had to know the NFL couldn't not be pro active on this issue, especially with a pending lockout.  The sensitivity training pretty much had to happen no matter what they found.

In the meantime players on 32 teams will have to go through some type of training because of some harassment that the NFL themselves say never happened.

Gotta love it...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Your Week One Leader

Week one of the NFL is in the books and it's time to check in with our fantasy pickem league. The leader in the clubhouse is the appropriately named TopDog with a whopping 74 points. In stark contrast after one week I am pulling up the rear with only 14 points.

I will post every week to remind announce the leader and to remind everyone to get their picks in. So Congrats to TopDog but I'm coming for you this week. Any trash talking can commence in the comments section!

Something's Missing...

Ira Kaufman has a column up at TBO today lauding the Buccaneers Brass for cutting guys like Michael Clayton and Derrick Ward even though they had been signed to big free agent deals. Kaufmann rightly notes that many times roster moves are motivated more by finances than by performance and this time the Bucs really did get it right by rewarding the guys who actually earned roster spots.

There were some interesting nuggets throughout the piece including this one from Barrett Ruud:

"What's nice is guys are being rewarded for their work," middle linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "Spurlock should be here, and with respect to the guys that aren't here, some of them didn't work that hard. The nice thing about this team is that all the guys who step out on this field trust each other."

Although he doesn't call anyone out by name there were only a few guys who were released that had actually been around long enough to actually fit the description in Ruud's comments. I hadn't heard that Clayton and or Ward weren't hard workers but generally when guys don't perform on Sunday's its because they haven't prepared themselves the rest of the week.

Still it was kind of weird seeing a guy like Ruud who is usually kind of quiet call them out, unnamed or not, like that. Evidently it had really struck a nerve with him.

Now I hate to be nitpicky but there is one ginormous fact that is missing from the article to give it context. The fact that because there is no salary cap this year it was much easier for GM Mark Dominik to unload those two guys' salaries. If we were still under a salary cap its likely one or both guys would still be on the team.

It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't give Clayton so much guaranteed money in his deal. They didn't break the bank for him but it was apparent that they expected to have him for at least two years. That means that even though he is gone he is still cashing Buccaneers checks.

All in all I still think it was the right move to cut both guys because it would be hard for the rest of the team to believe anything Dominik or head coach Raheem Morris said if those guys had a roster spot and other guys who stood up and performed well and worked their tails off in practice were let go. But if you are going to tell the story, and especially if you are going to be laudatory towards Dominik and Morris for cutting bait, you simply HAVE to include the fact of why they were able to pull it off.

At the end of the day the Bucs had the opportunity to admit their mistakes and move on as a team. But there had been a salary cap this year one or both guys would probably have been spared. And at that point we probably would have been focusing on something that can't be forgotten and that is that the mistakes were made in the first place. Hopefully while Morris and Dominik are drawing praises for moving on they will spend some time not try to commit those mistakes in the first place going forward.