Monday, September 13, 2010

The Good The Bad And The Ugly

How bout dem Bucs?! Ladies and Gentlemen after one game we are tied for the division lead. Gotta love it!!!

The Good

- Cadillac Williams: 22 carries for 75 yards with several big runs called back for penalty. Add in 23 yards on 2 catches and you have a nice start to the season. It was great seeing Caddy get 2 or more extra yards after first contact on just about every carry in that game. Hopefully next game when he breaks off a couple the refs will keep their laundry in their pockets

- Michael Spurlock: Spurlock ended up with just two catches but when one of them is the game winning 33 yard touchdown catch, you gotta give it up for the guy. Here is a player who probably wondered if he had played his last down in the NFL just a year ago. Its a testament to his heart and perserverence that he is back in Tampa and still making plays.

- Mike Williams: 5 catches for 30 yards and one amazing touchdown is a damn good start to a career. If he stays healthy Mike Williams has all the makings of a star. Imagine how his stats will improve when Josh Freeman's thumb gets better.

- D Line: Just check out my Bull Rush post

- Ronde Barber: People keep counting Ronde out and my old teammate just keeps proving them wrong. What a momentum changer his interception and run back was right before halftime. But we wouldn't expect any less from the wiley playmaker at this point in his career.

- E. J. Biggers: I was supremely impressed with Biggers yesterday and even moreso when I watched the game for a second time. This kid has a lot of presence on a football field. He didn't panic all day and he had a bunch of good open field tackles. Although he helped to give up a touchdown by not turning the ball back on a run in the first half, he made up for it with an outstanding interception in the second half with the game still in the balance. He also had a couple of really good pass break ups to go along with everything else. I know Myron Lewis was the third round pick this year but I don't think Biggers will be giving up that starting nickel spot any time soon.

- Quincy Black: The guy just fills up your stat sheet. Led the team in tackles. Had a huge play recovering a fumble. Had some decent pass rushes out of our 3-3-5 alignment and was really physical all day. Maybe the most underrated part of his game is pass coverage where he was all over the tight ends and slot receievers all day long.

- Connor Barth: I know it was only one field goal but I still remember the debacle our kicking game was to start off the year last year. Besides that the field goal represented the margin of victory. It is such a good feeling knowing that we have a kicker that is very accurate and very consistent.

- Kickoff and Punt Teams: Holding Joshua Cribs without a big return for a whole game is an impressive feat indeed!

The Bad

- Pass Blocking: My goodness, our offensive line and backs made the Browns look like the Steel Curtain several times yesterday. It got to the point where almost every time they blitzed they got pressure on Freeman. And its not like Free is a sitting duck or anything nor were they running anything all that exotic. The Bucs are going to have to fix this and fast if they expect Freeman to last the whole season

- Kellen Winslow's run blocking: Still pathetic. Look it, I don't expect K2 to be the second coming of Eric Green, but jeebus if he's going to be in when we run the ball something is going to have to give!

- First Half Tackling: Several times guys didn't wrap up and the Browns got big plays off of it. One play in particular Sean Jones looked turrible just running into the tight end who ended up gaining an extra 20 yards or so. We got better in the second half but that is not winning football. Not ever!

- Deep Balls: Its scary that we are still having problems with deep balls even with the change in defensive scheme. I'm not blaming him because honestly its not always his fault, but its not good that Elbert Mack seems to always be involved when somebody gets behind our secondary either. Tanard Jackson is probably still kicking himself over the poor angle he took on the Brown's first touchdown of the game. That not only should have been a pick, it should have also gone for big return yardage. We have an angle problem in the secondary that needs to get squared away quickly

The Ugly

- Turnovers: In my mind we had 3 turnovers in the Browns territory yesterday. We had the interception, Earnest Graham's fumble and the turnover on downs at the end. We can't keep giving our opponent opportunities. Instead of handily winning the turnover battle it ended up being a push. Which is why Bucs fans still had to hold their breath at the end of the game. The interception is probably due to Freeman's thumb but the fumble was inexcusable. And Freeman had two guys wide, and I mean wide open to throw it to on the fourth and 1 at the end of the game. If the coaches call that play evidently they have confidence that Freeman can throw those completions if the outside linebacker doesn't bite on the run fake (which he didn't). Therefore Freeman is going to need to find that same level of confidence in himself. Those were passes little league quarterbacks could complete but he ate it in what looked like a lack of self confidence. Maybe he was worried about the thumb or something, I don't know. I do know that a play like that can come back to bite you in the ass. Fortunately for the Bucs it didn't yesterday.


- Josh Freeman definitely deserves an honorable mention. The guy fought through what I am sure was excruciating pain and threw two touchdowns to lead his team to victory. I couldn't find myself to say he had a good game though because....well he didn't. Along with the interception and the bad decision on fourth and one at the end, several balls sailed on him. Balls that were thrown to guys who were wide open, sometimes for big plays. I love his heart but there comes a time when playing does more to harm your team than help it. If Freeman's thumb hurts so bad that he's going to be as wild as he was yesterday the Bucs need to consider sitting him another week or two. I know he is the face of the franchise and yes I would agree he usually gives us the best chance to win.

But his backup, Josh Johnson, is no slappy. He showed during the preseason that he possesses the tools to move the team up and down the field. And maybe his healthy thumb gives him an equalizer with Freeman's injured thumb. It will still be Freeman's team, I'm pretty sure everybody knows that. But both for short term concerns (ie winning ball games) as well as long term concerns (How much permanent damage is really being done to Freeman's thumb?) they should at least consider making that move in my opinion.

- Our run defense was a little shaky in the first half but in the second half we tightened up tremendously

- Geno Hayes had a good game but he could have had a great game had he been on some details. I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face. This kid can be special if he just learns to do the little things. He already makes the big splash plays, when he learns to make the routine ones on a regular basis he is going to give offenses hell!

- I do not agree with not dressing Michael Bennett. The guy is in my opinion our second best pass rusher at defensive end and he's pretty good against the run as well. We got away with it yesterday but I don't think we will be so lucky dressing only 7 defensive linemen going forward. If Bennett needs to play special teams then dammit coach him up to play special teams but we need to be able to get after opposing quarterbacks on our home field.

- If you aren't excited about yesterday's win...if you are looking for reasons not to be happy about it...if you can't enjoy it for even a few moments...congratulations, you are offically a HATER!


  1. "- Mike Williams: 5 catches for 30 yards and one amazing touchdown is a damn good start to a career. If he stays healthy Mike Williams has all the makings of a star. Imagine how his stats will improve when Josh Freeman's thumb gets better."

    And just wait till these guys get some more chemistry together! Like a whole offseason! Man, I'm excited. I hope Sammie can pick it up, he's another I'm rooting for. Spurlock tho, he looks like he wants it.

    I didn't see the game (live in Seattle these days) but dang man, did Ruud no play or something? No love at all? C'mon :)

  2. @Wordy

    I thought about putting Ruud up but I didn't think he did enough. He did have a decent game and he had a forced fumble but I like to make it a very exclusive club when I put somebody in the good category. If Ruud was on there then I might as well have put T Jax and Geno as well. But again I did think he played well. Maybe next week lol

  3. According to the stat sheet, Quincy Black had only 1 tackle.

  4. @aliov

    I generally don't go off the stat sheet. I go by what I see during the game. I had him with over 10 tackles which is obviously a lot more than just 1.

  5. I was happy for Spurlock also, how can you not root for that guy. Also when Ronde got that penalty, you just knew he was going to get it back sometime/somehow, even though I mumbled something when they flagged him. Wish I had kept track through the years as to how many times he has held himself accountable for a mistake/penalty. Call it grit, determination, personal/team accountability, professional pride, whatever, but that guy has it. Morris and mangagement kept him around so you have to give them some credit even with all the mediot and fan doubters. Going to be hard to fill those shoes when he is gone. Hope that attitude is rubbing off on all the new players, because a Coach can probably empower a player through Coaching, but the x factor is still inside the player.

  6. Steve, I read that Bennett has assignment problems. Do you see that because I assume that is a valid reason to keep a guy on the bench even if he has talent asa rusher?

  7. Steve, how do you account for the difference between the official stat sheet and your observations on Quincy Black's tackles? Is there a difference between what the NFL sees as a tackle and what you see as a tackle?

  8. Are the NFL stat keepers so prone to fault that they would only deem a player with 1 tackle when you had him at 10? This is possibly a huge deal considering coaches and owners utilize those stats(in addition to their own counts) for contract leverage, talent evaluation and roster cuts. On top of that, fans, fellow players and coaches use them for pro bowl analysis and voting.
    This giant disparity between your stat numbers and the official NFL stat numbers bothers me significantly.
    Are the NFL's stats that bad or did the NFL or you simply make a mistake?

  9. @Sander and @Mauha Deeb

    Here's the thing, I don't go to the NFL stat sheet so if nobody said anything in the comments I would have never known. The reason I don't check them, aside from the fact I would rather rely on what I see, is that NFL stat keepers on game day don't have the benefit of replay to make sure they are right about who they are crediting tackles with. Even with replay at times its hard to pick out which guy in a crowd to give a tackle or an assist too on some plays. If I had to guess the great disparity this time was over assisted tackles but again I have no way of knowing. I will point out that they also credited Gerald McCoy with a caused fumble which should have been credited to Tim Crowder. And if you look at my Bull Rush column the tackles I attribute to our defensive lineman hardly ever line up with what's on the NFL stat sheet after the game. Its the reason tackles are not an official NFL statistic. After games teams frequently have to contact the Elias Sports bureau to correct stuff like sacks, tackles for loss and tackle numbers.

    But it is what it is. Unfortunately I don't have a way of "proving" Black had more than 10 tackles but if you don't like my numbers that's fine you can go with whose ever numbers you want or even watch the game yourself and try to come up with your own numbers. All I can do is tell you what I saw and keep it moving.

    Hope everyone has a great day!

  10. Guys if you could come up with a handle when you leave messages it would be greatly appreciated. Kinda hard to respond to so many different "Anonymous"es lol

    RE the question about Bennett getting his assignments wrong. While its definitely possible he is a habitual screw up I didn't really see that in the preseason games and the fact that he didn't cut would make me lean against that notion. No defensive coordinator wants a guy they can't trust on the field. And if Bennett was that bad they likely would have just cut their losses and went looking on the waiver wire for his replacement. I don't have a good answer for why Bennett wasn't active this passed week but I don't think most other people have a good answer either. Only the people at One Buc know and they ain't tellin.