Taking aim at Vick


Good read by John Clayton about the NFC South. Clayton accurately surmises that the rest of the NFC South will be looking to take down Atlanta in order to win the division. An excerpt from his article:

"The Falcons were the best run-stopping team in the division last season and finished eighth overall in the NFL. Being the best running team and also being the best run-stopping team enabled the Falcons to win the NFC South, a very interesting division in that each team seems to have an edge on the other. The Panthers, despite a talented defense, don't matchup well against the Falcons. The Falcons usually have trouble with the Saints. The Saints usually have an edge on the Bucs."

Clayton is just dead wrong here about the Falcons having the best run defense. Stats might suggest that the Falcons dominated against the run, but that would probably be because they led in so many games they forced teams to go to the air. Plus the Falcons defense was abused for EIGHT rushing touchdowns when they played the Chiefs.

I would provide a further breakdown of the article, but since I'm at work I don't have the time. Damn the Man, always bringing the working guy down.

Cap Cut Casualties

Tomorrow, June 1st, is the beginning of the next round of cuts by NFL teams to make the salary cap. There are three Bucs on the hot seat.

Charlie Garner RB Charlie Garner

Todd Steussie T Todd Steussie

Matt Stinchcomb G Matt Stinchcomb

It's no coincidence that all the players targeted to be cut are on the offense. All three players were projected to be starters last season, but with the influx of young talent, all are considered expendable. Garner's starting job was taken last season by Pittman, and the addition of first round draft pick Carnell Williams sealed Garner's fate.

Steussie and Stinchcomb's starting positions have been taken over by younger offensive linemen (i.e. Chris Colmer and Anthony Davis). Additionally, the Bucs need to make salary cap room to sign their rookies. The potential cuts are all part of a larger trend which involves Gruden recreating the offense by bringing in young players that fit into his offense. As a result we're looking at one of the youngest starting offenses in the league this year, as opposed to one of the oldest offenses last year.


What is the Most Competitive Division in Baseball?

This is a pretty close call be between the AL East and the NL East. There are a lot similarities between these two divisions. Both divisions have been won year in and year out by the same team (Yankees and Braves). In the last two years the wild card team from each division has gone on to win the World Series (Marlins and Red Sox). Here are the standings for each division:

AL East
1. Baltimore 31-19
2. New York 27-23
3. Boston 27-23
4. Toronto 27-23
5. Tampa Bay 19-32

NL East
1. Atlanta 28-22
2. Florida 27-21
3. New York 26-25
4. Washington 26-25
5. Philadelphia 24-27

What surprises me the most about these standings, besides Baltimore's first place standing, is how well Toronto and Washington are doing in their respective divisions. Who would have guessed that Toronto would have the same record as New York and Boston at this point in the season? They lose their best player, Carlos Delgado, in the off-season and they have guys like Shea Hillenbrand, Eric Hinske and Roy Halladay carrying the team.

Additionally, it appears all the Expos/Nationals needed was a change of scenery. Well that and not having to fly 3,000 miles for a home game. The Nats have some talented young guys (i.e. Jose Guillen) and are getting outstanding play from their veterans (I'm talking about you Vinny Castilla).

Right now, the NL East gets the nod, barely, as the more competitive division. And that's mostly because the fifth best team in the NL East (Philadelphia) is better than the 5th best team in the AL East (Tampa Bay). But I think the AL East will become more competitive as the season rolls on. Since the AL wild card is gonna come out of the Central or West divisions the teams in the AL East are gonna be in a dog fight for the top spot for the next couple of months. There's really no telling which team, Baltimore, Boston or New York will end up with the pennant.

The teams in the NL East don't have the same kind of pressure on them to win the pennant. The second best team in the NL East has a better chance of winning the wild card (of course San Diego's recent rise could potentially throw a monkey wrench in this idea). Any way, I think it's a safe bet to say that Atlanta and Florida will be competing for the NL East pennant at the end of the season but that which ever team finishes in second place will still get in the playoffs. I don't see the other teams in the NL East competing with Atlanta and Florida after the All Star break. It will be interesting to check out the standings for each division in another couple of months.

Jersey Sales

The following is a recent list of the best selling jerseys in the NFL:

1. Randy Moss, Oakland Raiders
2. Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
4. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Ben Roesthlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
6. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers
7. Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Carnell Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Jeremy Shockey, New York Giants
10. Tiki Barber, New York Giants
11. Mike Alstott, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
13. Braylon Edwards, Cleveland Browns
14. Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota Vikings
15. Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins
16. Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers
17. Jake Plummer, Denver Broncos
18. Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys
19. Curtis Martin, New York Jets
20. Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
21. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
22. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
23. Cedric Benson, Chicago Bears
24. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals
25. David Carr, Houston Texans
352. Ron Mexico, Atlanta Falcons

Some things that jump out at me. It's funny to see Carnell Williams in the top ten ahead of other draft picks such as Ronnie Brown and Alex Smith. I'm surprised to see Mike Alstott at #11 considering he's hasn't been the same player he once was the last 2 seasons. I would really like to see the actual number of jerseys sold. Of course it's no surprise that the Moss jersey is #1, considering it's been bought by every rapper on the face of the earth.

And by the way, Ron Mexico is not really the 352nd best selling jersey, since, as we all know, the NFL refuses to sell Ron Mexico jerseys. Damn fun killers.


It's all about the "U"


In the last couple of years, the University of Miami has become famous for putting it's players into the first round of the NFL draft. This offseason, the "U" has become synonymous with everything that is wrong with sports. Miami alums from Ray Lewis to Drew Rosenhaus to Sean Taylor have put the "me" in team.

Let's start with Kellen "I'm a fucking soldier" Winslow. He's talented, he's competitive, but he let his ego potentially ruin his career. How else do you explain how someone who has little experience on a motorcycle decides to pop wheelies at speeds of 35 mph? Did Winslow not get the memo from former Bulls point guard Jason Williams? I'm guessing that Winslow spends the rest of his life regretting his decision to ride that motorcycle. But let's move on to another tight end out of Miami.

Jeremy Shockey was chastised by his teammate and quarterback Eli Manning for not attending the Giant's minicamp. Manning wanted Shockey to come to New York to work on the timing between the two. Shockey, ready to prove he's a teamplayer, stopped by the Giant's practice facility for ONE day before jetting back to Miami. When asked to explain his actions Shockey said, "I'm just trying to do what's best for me." But at least Shockey returned Manning's call.

Sean Taylor is so busy in Miami that he can't even bother to return his hall of fame coach's calls. All Joe Gibbs wants is an explanation for why Taylor is the only player NOT to participate in Redskins offseason workouts. Does Taylor want more money, is he unhappy with his role in the 'Skins defense, or is he simply an selfish and immature player? Until Taylor returns that phone call we are only left to assume. But lets move on to an MVP who is quite clear on what he wants.

Ray Lewis wants a new contract with a $50 million signing bonus. Never mind that Lewis has four years left on his current contract. Never mind the Ravens need to focus on resigning Todd Heap, Jamal Lewis and Ed Reed. Never mind that no team in their right mind would give Ray Lewis a $50 million signing bonus. But the me first attitude is not just limited to Miami players.

Drew Rosenhaus, Miami alum and agent to the stars, has taken selfishness to new levels this offseason. You want a new contract, call Rosenhaus. You want more money, call Rosenhaus. You want to alienate yourself from the fans, call Rosenhaus.

For years Miami alums have made a name for themselves as the most talented players in the NFL. NFL teams knew they could rely on Miami graduates to produce when they reached the pro level. Now NFL teams can rely on players from the "U" to demand more money in the middle of their contracts, to skip offseason workouts and spread the me-first attitude through the locker room. Hey coach, you still want that Miami player on you team?


Players give movie credibility?

The Tribune ran a hype article for "The Longest Yard 2" yesterday which is inappropriately tiled "Players give movie credibility." That's kinda like saying Vanilla Ice gives the "Surreal Life" credibility.

Rick Harmon attempts to say that the former NFL players in the movie give it an air of reality despite the fact that those players are Bill Romanowski, Michael Irvin and Brian Bosworth. One highlight (lowlight?) from the article.

" 'The toughest thing for me honestly was not being me,' Irvin said recently during a conference call. 'I am Michael Irvin. I spent the first 38 years of my life making sure as I came up from this little neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale everyone knows who Michael Irvin is. Now I had to spend these next six months making sure everyone forgets who Michael Irvin is and that I sell Deacon Moss.' "

Irvin never ceases to amaze, he refers to himself in the first person thrice. I'm just waiting for him to start using the royal we.

Romo was just about the worst player the movie could have used, a guy who most likely took steroids, and was known for taking cheap shots. Oh yeah, he also payed a former teammate $415 K for ending the guy's career by punching in the face and breaking his eye socket. You know what on? On second thought, I'm pretty sure this article is a practical joke by the Tribune.

For a good review of this movie check out this article by Bill Simmons. If I'm going out to the movie theaters this weekend, I'm going to see Cinderella Man or Madagascar.

And on a final note, check out this nugget of late night humor featuring Triumph the Comic Insult Dog and Star Wars fans. Consider this a bit of revenge for the week of the geek we all had to go through last week.


Where's Glazer?

Len Pasquarelli reports on Glazer at the owners' meetings in Washington:

"One of the comic-relief elements of the league meetings was watching the British media, represented considerably in Washington, try to track down reclusive Tampa Bay owner Malcolm Glazer for any comment on his pending purchase of the Manchester United soccer club. Their intrepidness was only feebly rewarded. Glazer, who apparently entered the meeting most days through a back entrance (one member of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl bid committee suggested the Bucs owner was ferried to the meeting level in a freight elevator one day), is a tough guy to nail down. Even when he appeared at the news conference after his city's bid for Super Bowl XLIII was chosen, he declined to answer queries about the Man U situation."

It seems like the British media are figuring out what the Tampa Bay media have known for awhile, the Glazers are infamously unavailable to the media.

The NFL does not have a problem with Malcolm Glazer's purchase of the Manchester United, but it does have a problem with his relationship with gambling. Writes Pasquarelli, "League rules prohibit an owner from having a stake in a casino. But Glazer apparently did a reasonable job of addressing concerns in that area, although there is still some work to be done."

article here

It Aint' Easy Having Green

Word out of Washington is that commissioner Paul Tagliabue is having trouble brokering a new deal between the big market clubs and small market clubs. The argument essentially comes down to whether teams should have to share local revenues.

I can see both sides of the argument here. Why should teams such as Buffalo or Indianapolis be punished simply because they don't have as big of an argument as Dallas or Chicago? But on the other hand why should a team be forced to share revenue it earns from stadium naming rights, when a team such as Green Bay refuses to name their stadium? This essentially comes down to an argument about which types of revenue are fair to share.

It's essential that the NFL owners figure out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by the end of the 2006 season. The current CBA lasts until the end of the 2007 season, but the salary cap agreement runs out for the 2007 season. That would mean the 2007 season would be played without a salary cap. And it would be next to impossible to get the player's union to agree on a salary cap without the owners giving up a lot more than they would like to.

On a final note, the player's union originally agreed to a salary cap in exchange for the owners agreeing to institue free agency.

Interesting Read

Solid article by Lee Bromfield that is worth reading (http://bucpower.com/bromfield40.html).

Its a fairly humorous article, at least it's funnier than my writing (but then again that's not that hard). I especially enjoy his top five "Cadillac" Williams headlines.

He also makes an interesting point regarding rookie reciever Larry Brackins.

"Generally fourth rounders and onwards are longer shotes to succeed, but 6ft 4 receivers with speed are at a premium in the NFL, and Brackins has the tools and the small college 'chip on his shoulder' type background to make it go. Lets hope so anyway."

I think that the rookie receiver out of Utah, Paris Warren, will make a bigger impact this season than Brackins. Warren has far more experience, and is coming from the best offense in college football last year. Brackins is still largely an unknown, who, while talented, has yet to prove he can play with the big boys.

Weather Smeather

There has been a lot of talk that Tampa won the 2009 Super Bowl because it has superior weather to Atlanta. While that is true, it is not the primary reason the bay area won the right to host the 2009 Super Bowl. The primary reason is the Glazers and the Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee where able to put together a package that trumped every other city's Super Bowl package.

If the owners could be scared off by bad weather then they wouldn't have agreed to hold the Super Bowl next year in Detroit, and they wouldn't have conditionally agreed to hold the 2010 in New York. The following is a list of average temperatures (in Farenheit) in February.

------------------ AVERAGE HIGH --------- AVERAGE LOW

DETROIT .............. 36 ............................... 22

NEW YORK ........... 42 ............................... 29

ATLANTA ............. 57 ................................ 37

TAMPA ................. 72 ................................ 54

To be honest when I was first making this list I expected Atlanta to be much closer to Tampa, than it was to New York. Instead it's right in between New York and Tampa. All the same, Atlanta is an indoor stadium, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank has proposed building a giant indoor atrium at the main entrance of the Georgia Dome.

Essentially, the Super Bowl experience would be insulated from the potentially harsh weather which could hit Atlanta in February. Additionally the freak ice storm that hit Atlanta in 2000 (the last time the city hosted a Super Bowl), was just that, a freak storm. The average low in Atlanta is above freezing (which is 32).

If weather did play a factor in Tampa's Super Bowl bid, it would have more to do with the owners desire to play golf than the conditions affecting the game. As I have mentioned before each owner was given an Arnold Palmer signature putter (which according to PGA.com is worth $119 for each putter) and each team was allowed its own golf tournament.

And finally, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee offerred $1 million in game day expenses which exceded any other teams offer. And Bryan Glazer gave an effective presentation to the other owners, which convinced many to vote for Tampa. The Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee and the Glazers are the ones who deserve the credit for bringing the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay. They where able to put together a package that, before the decision on Wednesday, was not regarded as the favorite. But in the end they pulled through with a victory for the bay area.


Another corner?

The Bucs have expressed an interest in meeting with cornerback R.W. McQuarters who was recently released by the Bears. Currently, McQuarters is meeting with the Giants and Redskins, and, assuming he doesn't sign with those teams, he will begin a tour of Florida.

McQuarters would be the 3rd corner at best, which means he would only play in nickel situations on defense.

How it went down

I know the next Super Bowl in Tampa Bay is not for another 4 years but I'm pretty excited about the news all the same. As an article in the Tribune points out Super Bowl week is basically a huge party for the city and football fans. It's a chance for a city to show off (or in the case of Jacksonville humiliate its self) and make an impression on people who are not familiar with the area. For that one week in February the media (not just the sports media) will descend on the bay area, and show the rest of America what they think of Tampa Bay. Here's hoping things go smoothly.

Anyway, out of the four cities up for the Super Bowl, it came down to a close decision between Atlanta and Tampa Bay:

"When Houston was knocked out in the first ballot, there was mild surprise because the Miami-Fort Lauderdale bid had been considered the longest shot, considering the 2007 game already has been awarded to Dolphins Stadium.

"South Florida was eliminated on the second ballot, leaving Tampa competing against Atlanta and aggressive Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

"Neither region received the required 21 votes on the third ballot, so it went to a simple majority, and Tampa was selected as Super Bowl host for the fourth time, and first since 2001."

I still don't think the bay area's weather was enought to convince the NFL owners, and more likely the extra incentives the Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee offered where what convinced many owners to change their minds in the end.

Still no word on if Mons lap dances were promised

It's amazing the things that the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Committee offered to "sweeten its bid":

- Each NFL club was promised its own individual golf tournament, which means there will be 32 golf tournaments at 32 courses Super Bowl week.

-Each NFL owner was given an Arnold Palmer signature putter.

-an exclusive Saturday night party at Busch Gardens, where each team has 150 invitations.

Additionally, the Glazers, represented by Bryan Glazer did a great job of lobbying the other owners. This is a slap in the face for all the local writers (Joe Henderson and Daniel Ruth) who accused the Glazers of not working hard enough for the area's Super Bowl bid.

"Each owner had five minutes to speak. Atlanta's Arthur Blank and Houston's Bob McNair went long, and some said their approach bordered on browbeating. Bryan Glazer talked concisely, effectively. The owners applauded. 'Bryan hit a home run, no doubt,' said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission."

Link to article here: http://sports.tbo.com/sports/MGBMDX3F69E.html


Super Bowl 2009 in Tampa Bay, Mons Venus Dancers ecstatic

The Houston Chronicle reports that Tampa Bay has pulled off the upset and has been chosen as the site for the 2009 Super Bowl over Houston and Atlanta.

I was dead wrong on this one, as it turns out that the Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee's ONE MILLION DOLLAR in game day expenses offer was able to knock out the competition.

"I'm surprised Houston was knocked out because they made a great presentation." Tennessee Titan's owner Bud Adams said."I'm surprised Tampa got it. It doesn't make sense. I'm in Houston's corner all the way and Houston had the best bid."

Bay Area's Last Ditch Super Bowl Effort

In what can only be described as the Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee's last roundhouse punch before being knocked out of the competition, the Super Bowl delegation offered to give the NFL ONE MILLION DOLLARS in game day expenses. None of the other cities competing (Atlanta, Houston, Miami) is offering $1 million.

As I've said before the selection comes down to weather (Tampa Bay) vs $150 million improvements to a stadium (Atlanta). If the owners are willing to hold the Super Bowl in Detroit next year in exchange for a new stadium in Detroit, then they will have no problem holding the 2009 Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Additionally, some owners are upset at Glazers Manchester United takeover, which will negatively affect Tampa Bay's Super Bowl bid. (of course, reports are that Glazer has been actively calling other owners to lobby for the area)

All this being said, Tampa Bay's Super Bowl chances will increase a hundred fold next year, after the eventual Super Bowl in Detroit debacle when Tom Brady is stranded in a Detroit strip club by a snow storm and the Ron Mexico Falcons go on to win the Super Bowl.

Whiny Rooney

Steelers owner, Dan Rooney is unhappy with Glazer's purchase of the Manchester United according to story in the Tribune.

" 'I'm in the football business,' Rooney said, 'and I believe our principle sport should be the National Football League. The NFL is the greatest league there is ... what are you looking for? Is he [Glazer] going to give full time to operating the Buccaneers? That's the issue. He might say, 'I'm going to send my son over there,' and it may work. You say am I concerned? Yes.' ''

On the other hand Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised Glazer's purchase, "I'm very impressed. They are impressive and have been since they've been in the league. They're outstanding owners who do it both on and off the field, in my mind. I give them A-pluses.''

NFL spokesman, Greg Aiello says the NFL has no problem with Glazer's takeover of the Manchester club or the way Glazers debt is structured. He does have a problem with Glazer's possible connection with gambling.

Link to article here: http://bucs.tbo.com/bucs/MGB5IIN159E.html


You know this gambling thing? Not cool.

Says the NFL to the Glazers. The NFL officially asked Glazer to explain his connection to Las Vegas casino owner Adelson. NFL policies strongly discourage owners from having any connection to gambling.

The FoxSports article quotes Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams:

" 'I asked him how much time he's going to spend over there, and he said, 'Not too much.' ' When it was pointed out that Glazer's takeover has met with hostility among United fans in England, Adams said: 'That's why maybe he's not going to go over there very much.' "

So for the record, the Manchester United fans hatred directed towards Glazer is good for Bucs fans since it means Glazer will be state side more often, and therefore concentrating on the Bucs more.

More hot air in DC

In case you haven't heard the owners are meeting in DC this week to mull over several subjects, chief among them the new CBA, horse-collar tackles, and the location of the 2009 Super Bowl.

Word is the horse-collar tackles have been banned from the NFL, which is completely idiotic. Somebody tell the owners we're talking football here, as in, it's a contact sport people are gonna get hurt.

I don't think are horse-collar tackles are malicious, as hitting a guy in the head or neck, which are illegal. Or even as malicious as chop blocks, which the Denver "can Elway unretire?" Broncos have used with success for many years.

My bold prediction about the 2009 Super Bowl, Atlanta's going to win this little competition. My guess is the owners are a little annoyed that Glazer is planning to build a casino, and will punish him accordingly. That leaves Atlanta, Miami and Houston. For reasons I have explained earlier, Atlanta is the clear favorite.

I think Manchester fans are pissed

The following is a sound clip of Manchester United fans chanting, "Malcolm Glazer, he's gonna die." http://850thebuzz.com/sound/manu.wav

This is one of those things that I crack up everytime I listen to, just because I would have loved to see the fans planning the chant beforehand.

Nigel: I dare say Pip, we need a catchy chant to rouse the chaps to action. Do you have any suggestions?

Pip: Hmmm, how about, he's gonna die, he's gonna die, Malcolm Glazer, he's gonna die?

Nigel: Genius!

Cummings Weekly Dose

I'm pretty sure Cumings writes about a dozen articles on the same topic, but fools his editors by changing the wording around for each "new" article. His latest is about Anthony Davis and the depth in the linebacker corp.

Cummings also reports on cornerback Juran Bolden (whom I never even heard of before I read this article) :

"He'll work as a nickel back for the Bucs, who usually move RCB Ronde Barber into the slot in those situations. Some believe Bolden's skills are best suited for safety, and he could get some time there if the team runs into injury problems. If Bolden can avoid giving up the big play, he'll prove to be an upgrade over Mario Edwards."

Also, he thinks Charlie Garner will be cut despite having recently restructured his contract. The Bucs would take a $1.25 million hit against the cap by keeping Garner around for another season.

Feel Free To Skip This Post

I have been busy lately with the job and vacation, plus it's the slowest part of the off-season, so I haven't been able to make as many posts as I would like.

But I have been brain-storming ideas for full length columns that I will post starting month before the season starts. Something along the lines of examing the Bucs roster by position, looking at other teams in the division, and making wild predictions about the NFL this season.

Of course, I am always open to ideas, so feel free to make suggestions (even if those suggestions are along the line of, "You're a fucking idiot, get a life" or "post more pictures of porn stars").


Approaching Mike Tyson Status

That would be Ron Artest, one of the few guys in sports who I would believe any story about him, no matter how crazy.

Friend: "So did you hear that Ron Artest recently adopted a small Columbian child, and that he plans to train the small Columbian child to be a horse jockey, but first Artest is going to travel around Eastern Europe on a motor bike with his posse while producing a follow-up record to his first rap cd?"

Me: "I can see that, good for the small Columbian child."

The latest story involving Artest is that he stopped by the Pacers-Pistons game on Thursday wearing no shoes, short-shorts and a t-shirt which he proceded to rip off before entering Canseco Fieldhouse:

"Suddenly, a dark Escalade roared into the loading dock, nearly hitting several people.
Out jumped Ron Artest, the Pacers forward who got a seasonlong suspension for his part in the Nov. 19 brawl. According to Pistons players on the bus, Artest was wearing an old (and short) pair of shorts. He had no shoes on and, upon getting out of the vehicle, he tore off his T-shirt.
Given the history between Artest and the Pistons, the team's security officials were on high alert. But Artest made no motion toward the bus. He simply walked, bare-chested and bare-footed, into the building, presumably for a midnight workout.

"There's something going on there," Ben Wallace said, not wanting to comment further."

So Ron Artest is so busy he can't stop by Reggie Miller's last game before midnight? With the exception of Mike Tyson and Ricky Williams is there anyone in sports crazier than Artest right now? Of course, Artest is one of the 20 best players in the NBA so I'm guessing the Pacers keep him around for awhile, at least as long as he has minimal trade value.

And just one more thing, who else but Ricky Williams would give an interview to Sports Illustrated through instant messager? Two highlights from the interview:

"It took me almost a year to figure out the reason for quitting. The analogy I came up with was that I was renting my life. I needed to go out and make a down payment so I would stop wasting money."

"So many of us cannot decipher between who we are and what we do. I am in the process of negotiating with the mortgage company."

So, either Ricky Williams wants to come back and play for Miami Dolphins or he's looking to refinance his home loans. What with the drafting of Auburn runningback number two, Ronnie Brown, I'm guessing the 'Phins don't have a real big need for Ricky "Don't call me crazy" Williams. Miami would be lucky to trade Williams for a second day draft pick at this point.

John Howell to become Seahawk

The Tribune reports that free agent safety John Howell is closing in on signing a deal with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Bucs would like to resign Howell but do not have the money under the salary cap to do so.

UPDATE: The general feeling on the Original Bucs message board (i.e. the St Pete Times) is that it would be best if the Bucs could resign Howell, but most people wish him well in Seattle. I agree with that sentiment, Howell is a good backup safety and special teams player but the Bucs have more depth at safety than the Seahawks. Howell will get more playing time in Seattle, in addition to more money so this is something that is going to happen.


Spent the weekend in upstate New York and Montreal for a college buddy's bachelor party. If I could sum up the past three days in one word it would be debauchery.

Montreal is a really cool, laid-back city that it worth visiting if you get the chance. Besides the novelty of being in a French speaking part of Canada, Montreal also has gambling and strip clubs to offer. There is only one casino in town, but Casino Montreal is a pretty nice joint. It has just about all the games you could want, with the exception of five card stud. My biggest complaint is that they didn't have enough low buy-in blackjack tables. You had to wait 30 minutes to an hour for a seat to open up on one the 10 dollar tables.

I enjoyed the Montreal strip clubs, but none of the ones I went to where in the same league as Mons Venus. We spent most of Saturday night in a strip club called Dante's Contact I think, but the most clubs don't really advertise their names. It was a solid club, but the dancers couldn't hold a Mons dancer's g-string.

But all-in-all a very good weekend.


Whizzinator suspended for season

Vikings RB Onterrio Smith has been suspended for the season. Link to article here (hat tip to Greenblood): http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_139134656.html

I couldn't be happier with the NFL's decision.

Montreal Baby!

I'm about to head up to Montreal for the weekend for a buddy's bachelor party. It will be my first time in Montreal, but so far I have heard good things, especially about the strip clubs (still not sure if Mons Venus can be topped).

I'll be back on Monday, but until then enjoy the weekend ladies and gents.

Albuquerque Saints?

The Saints could relocate to Albuquerque, NM or San Antonio, TX if the Saints owner, Tom Benson, can not negotiate a new deal with Louisana Governor Kathleen Blanco. Currently Louisana gives the Saints $186 million over ten years, but Blanco says the state can not afford to pay that much money.

The two were in negotiations when Benson backed away from the negotiating table. Benson can opt out of the deal after the 2005 season and move the team by repaying the state $81 million received from the first five years of the contract.

Additionally, 3 out of 4 Louisana voters are opposed to paying tax money to keep the Saints in New Orleans. Link to the article here: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2063142

Media runs Caddy metaphor into tree

And "Cadillac" Williams has only been on the team for a month.

The St. Pete Times uses the catchy title "Clayton polishing Cadillac" for an article describing Michael Clayton's mentorship of Williams. Apparently the Auburn alum (Williams) is staying at the LSU alum's house (Clayton) until he can find his own place. No word on if Clayton has been helping to clean the Cadillac's undercarriage.

The article also reports that rookie Barret Rudd is getting in time at middle linebacker behind Shelton Quarles. Originally, linebacker coach Joe Barry planned to ease Rudd into the backup strongside linebacker position, instead of the MLB position which requires calling the plays in the defensive huddle.

Additonally, Ryan Nece is backing up Derrick "Who's my favorite player?" Brooks on the weakside, and Marquis Cooper id behind Jeff Gooch at strongside linebacker.

article here


Ronde skips practice

Ronde Barber did not report to the teams voluntary workout on Tuesday, but not because he is holding out for more money. Barber is not represented by Drew Rosenhaus, aka Evil Incarnate, in fact only one Bucs player is represented by Rosenhaus, DT Lynn McGruder.

Barber did not report to Tuesdays practice because he is still recovering from knee surgery. Bucs GM Bruce Allen has acknowledged that Barber has still not been cleared by doctors to practice.

"Player without a Position"

The Tampa Trib had an interesting story on offensive lineman Anthony Davis and his search to find a position on the Bucs o-line. Cummings actually wrote a short column on Davis last week for CNNSI.com, but this article is still worth the read.

Davis and Bucs coachs expect Davis to get plenty of playing time somewhere on the o-line this season, but no one is exactly sure where. Davis would like to play left tackle (a position he has played since 5th grade) but 3rd round draft pick Chris Colmer is expected to start at left tackle. This means Davis is more likely to start at left guard, a position he more physically suited to playing at the NFL level. Davis is 6' 4'' and 329 pounds, which is about the ideal size for a guard, but a bit small for a tackle.

Despite the fact that Cummings already ran this article sans the quotes from Davis, Allen and Gruden its worth a read: http://bucs.tbo.com/bucs/MGBZAFQXU8E.html

Steroid Steussie

OT Todd Steussie has been cleared to practice with the Bucs, althought the Federal and NFL investigations of Steussie and his former Carolina teammates continue. According to a CBS 60 Minutes story (motto: What National Guard memos?) reported March 30 Steussie, punter Todd Sauerbrun, and center Jeff Mitchell all had prescriptions for a banned steroid filled a week and a half before Super Bowl 2004.

Buc's GM Bruce Allen has been assured by the NFL that Steussie will not face fine or suspension. Allen continues, "the NFL has a great substance-abuse program, including the steroids. We have zero tolerance for steroids, and I think when this comes out, you'll find out that it's not the issue that it was being presented as."

I think its ridiculous that the NFL has said it won't come down hard on Steussie or his cohorts. Steussie has made a mockery of the NFL's drug testing program that failed to detect the steroids he was taking. And for the NFL to lay down and play dead shows you how weak their steroid policy really is.

With the recent controversy surrounding baseball and steroids the worst thing that the NFL can do is punish Steussie with a light slap on the list. Considering the situation where San Diego Chargers defensive lineman Luis Castillo tested positive for steroids and was still drafted in the first round, the NFL has not appeared to be that agressive against steroids.

Finally, there is a good chance the Bucs will cut Steussie after June 1, when the Bucs would take less of a salary cap hit from the six year, $20 million contract Steussie signed last year. Steussie originally started last season before he was replaced by Kenyatta Walker, after Steussie gave up a sack against the Saints that resulted in a shoulder injury to Chris Simms.


Glazer has secret talks to build mega-casino

The New Zealand Herald reports that Glazer has been involved in "secret talks with a controversial billionaire casino mogul over ways he might exploit Britain's boom in gambling to help to pay for his acquisition of the club."

The article continues:
"Although a super-casino at Old Trafford is likely to face hurdles, including possible protests from British unions on the basis of Adelson's employment record in the United States, it might hold one clue as to why Glazer feels United can become profitable for him. Casinos have helped 71-year-old Adelson to amass a fortune of 8 billion ($20.8 billion), and his showpiece venue, the Venetian in Las Vegas, is the largest and most profitable in the city."

This is actually good news for Bucs fans since casinos have proven to be huge source of revenue (as long as your name is not Donald Trump), and, if the report is true, it would remove the possibility that Glazer would have to sell the Bucs to pay off the $490 million they borrowed to buy the Manchester club.

Here is a link to the New Zealand article (hat tip to Radio Man): http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=4&ObjectID=10126071

Appreciating What They Have

Good article by John Levesque of the Seattle Post on the reason why Mariners fans should come out to baseball games even though their club is headed for another losing season. What is that reason you ask? Ichiro. Read the following:
"For even when Ichiro looks as if he has made a huge mistake, he has the intelligence, inventiveness and artistry to make certain failure look promising. Witness his approach as he tried to score from first base Sunday on a double to right by Randy Winn. Mariners third-base coach Jeff Newman waved Ichiro home, but the relay to Red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli beat Ichiro by plenty and a half. On a conventional slide, Ichiro would have been more out than an eight-track tape player in a Pacer. So he cut short his slide, popped up a few feet from Mirabelli, vaulted over the catcher and touched the plate with his hand. A flailing Mirabelli tagged Ichiro with his glove, but the ball was in the catcher's other hand.

"Umpire Bill Miller was fooled, however. He called Ichiro out. Ichiro argued mildly, but graciously accepted the decision, knowing that what Miller had just seen isn't exactly everyday stuff in the umps' training films. Characteristically, Ichiro faulted no one, saying only that when he was waved around third it was his job to find a way to score. 'When I saw the catcher had the ball, I had zero chance of being safe,' he said. 'At that point you have to give yourself a chance. That's when I thought about what I could do.'"

Carl Crawford helps to make games interesting for the D-Rays in much the same way, but honestly their is no way I could compare Ichiro to Crawford. Here is the link to the Ichiro article (hat tip to the Sports Frog blog): http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/224606_leve17.html

Cumming's Weekly Dose

Some notes on Roy Cumming's weekly column on each NFL team:

Rookie LB Barret Rudd is projected to get plenty of playing time at strongside linebacker behind Jeff Gooch.

The promotion of Ruston Webber from college scounting director to player personnel director was a good move. Webber has been good at picking personnel that fit into Kiffin's defensive schemes and has quickly adapted to finding players that fit Gruden's offense. Cummings also argues that Webber should be given more power by the Bucs since Webber would have "been quicker to give PK Martin Gramatica the boot and avoided making costly mistakes such as signing LT Todd Steussie."

The team is also working on Pittman's grip on the ball. Last year Pittman lost six fumbles, but he only lost seven fumbles in the previous four years. The team has been concentarting on stripping the ball from Pittman in an effort "to help him secure the ball more instinctively."


75% and Counting

The AP reports that Malcolm Glazer officially controls 75% on the Manchester United. The report continues:
"With 75 percent, Glazer can place his personal debt on United's books and take the club off the stock exchange and into private ownership. Manchester United has been listed on the stock exchange since 1991.

"The NFL, which usually frowns upon cross-ownership, isn't sure if its rules would prevent Glazer from owning a foreign club. The league's finance committee will discuss it during spring meetings in Washington next week."

It is possible that Glazer could attempt to buy up 90% of the Manchester Club, which would force the remaining 10% to sell of their share.

Martin Fennelly . . .

Step right up the adult's conversation table.

If I'm going to rip Tribune columists for poor writing the it's only fair to praise them when they do a good job. Martin Fennelly wrote an interesting column on Saturday giving his two cents on the Glazer's Manchester United takeover. He is able to diffuse light-hearted humor into his column, while at the same time raising the question of how will the buyout impact the Bucs?

"It's hard for me to see how one man can own two gold mines without running one into the ground. Malcolm is reportedly worth $1 billion, or .47 billion less than his Man United offer. Hmmm.

"It's hard for me to see how Malcolm, having won a Super Bowl, won't eventually dump the Bucs to compete in salary-capless English soccer. It's hard for me to see how Malcolm won't siphon money from football to soccer, borrowing from Peter to pay Ronaldo."

And I would have to agree with Fennelly's assesment, even assuming Malcolm Glazer can pay back the $490 million he borrowed to take control of Manchester United, why would he bother with the Bucs? From what I understand he'll have one of his sons (not Joel but the other one) run the club, which is hardly a change of pace since Malcolm's sons have basically been running the Bucs for some time now. That being said it will be interesting to see how the Manchester United takeover affects the Bucs.

And, of course, here is a link to Fennelly's article: http://bucs.tbo.com/bucs/MGBO1JWWN8E.html

Media dislikes the Glazers

And the sun rises in the east.

Just got done reading Daniel Ruth's column from Friday in the Tampa Tribune (motto: "What inferiority complex?") on the Glazers and Manchester United. Ruth fails to bring any new information anything to the conversation table, and should be kicked to the little kids table until he learns to do so. He spends most of the column making lame jokes about the Glazers and poking fun at Manchester United fans.

Now here's the thing most people in the Tampa Bay media don't seem to be able to grasp, Buc's fans LIKE the Glazers. They turned the Yucs into the Bucs, spent money on the team, and, most importantly, won a Super Bowl. Fine, neither Malcolm Glazer or his sons are media friendly. Honestly, I could care less if the Glazers don't make themselves available to a two-bit reporter that has already formed a negative opinion about a person before interviewing them.

Normally, I would include a link to the article but in this case Ruth's work doesn't deserve such a service ('cause I'm a lazy man). Maybe when he steps up to the grown up's table, I'll link to his columns.


NFL to probe Glazer's finances

The BBC reports that the NFL finance committe has launched a probe to review Malcolm Glazer's bid to buy the Manchester United. Glazer has borrowed $490 million to in his $1.47 billion takeover to take control of the club.

NFL rules stipulate that an owner may borrow against $125 million of his club's value. The NFL finance committee is going to look into the possibility that the Glazers are using the Bucs as collateral in the deal.

Manchester United fans continue to be opposed to the takeover bid, as ESPN.com reports:
"The fan group Shareholders United is calling for a boycott of Manchester United sponsors, and is planning demonstrations at the FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 21.
'We won't do anything that endangers safety, but they may have to draft in the army to police the match,' said Oliver Houston, a vice chairman of Shareholders United."

Super Bowl update

As I have reported (and I use the term "reported" in the loosest possible sense) before, Tampa is competing with Atlanta for the 2009 Super Bowl. Atlanta is widely regarded as holding the edge due to Falcon's owner Arthur Blank's negotiations for a $150 million improvement to the Georgia Dome.

The St. Pete Times has reported that the Bucs have received 2 bids for a new training facility to replace One Buc Place. The proposed training facility across from Raymond James would be ready by the 2006 season.

Plans for a new training facility give Tampa's Super Bowl bid a much needed shot of adrenaline. Both cities are evenly matched, and Atlanta has had the perceived edge with Blank's continuing negotiations with the Georgia Dome owning authorities for a new leasing contract in exchange for Blank paying for an atrium at the main entrance, additional luxury suites, and other improvements. One of the biggets knocks on the Bucs has been One Buc Place, which is generally regarded as a relic compared to the state-of-the-art facilities of other teams.

The decision essentially comes down to which owner does a better job at lobbying for his city. This involves a good deal of behind-the-scenes work, something the Glazers have excelled at. In the decade the Glazers have controlled the Bucs their only high profile moves have been the search for a coach that ended with Gruden bringing the Bucs to the promised land.

The snag here is that Malcolm Glazer has been occupied with his takeover of the Manchester United. This has undoubtedly left little time for Glazer to privately lobby the other owners on behalf of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl committee. Additionally, Blank has scheduled the premiere of the Falcon's popular highlights film at the Fox Theater for May 25, the day that the NFL announces which city will host the 2009 Super Bowl.

Top Gun

Just got done watching Michael Clayton fly in a F-16 from McDill Air Force base. My first impression, Clayton is a very likeable and funny guy. The Air Force pilot tells Clayton that the F-16 costs about $26 million, and Clayton, without missing a beat, deadpans, "And you're going to let me fly that?"

While in the air Clayton did not puke (which is impressive because you could tell the pilot was doing his best to take Clayton on a wild ride), and actually appeared to be enjoying himself once he got comfortable in the jet. The pilot put Claton through a battery of aerial maneuvers including flying at 70% the speed of sound, barrel rolls and loopty-loops. After pulling a nine-point turn (a barrel roll that involves 9 sudden and jerky twists) Clayton did a little, and well-deserved, victory dance.


Update on Glazer's hostile takeover

There are reports on NPR and the Tampa Tribune that Malcolm Glazer currently owns 70% of the Manchester United. He needs to own 75% to take complete control on the club. Currently the Manchester United is a publicly traded company, but if Glazer can take control of the club he raise ticket prices and build a new stadium that would help bring in more profits.

Manchester United fans have been adamant in their opposition to Glazer's takeover of their beloved club, but seeing as how the Glazers have already turned around the Buccaneers franchise, I'm betting the Glazers do the same with a struggling Manchester club. Here is a link with detailed information on the fan's resentment of the takeover: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/headlinenews?id=333235&cc=5901
Some 2,000 fans showed up outside the United's soccer stadium to burn effigies of Glazer and season ticket renewal forms.

But there is good news for Buc's fans, Buc's GM Bruce Allen says that the Manchester takeover "won't change anything we've been doing'' with the Buccaneers. The Glazers have not used any part of the Bucs (valued at $779 million) as collateral to buy the Machester club.

Update: The following link takes you to a picture of the Glazer effigy (hats off to The Shark) http://http://images.thetimes.co.uk/TGD/picture/0,,199271,00.jpg

I'm Back

After sending an e-mail to one of the Buccaneers message board moderators, I am now able to post on the OFFICIAL, but not the ORIGINAL Buc's message board. And I have done so here: http://bbs.buccaneers.com/showthread.php?p=1578015#post1578015

In the thread I continue to beat a dead horse (Ron Mexico) and, as an aside, I link to the Ron Mexico name generator (my pseudonym is Jeremy Barbuda, what is yours?).

I'm interested in seeing if any action is taken against me for my latest post.

P.S. Does anyone know what the Moderator means when he/she says Ron Mexico has already brought down two other NFC South message boards? I have not been able to find any proof to back up that assertion, and I assuming Ron Mexico's herpes virus hasn't spread to the internet.

P.P.S. Man, it's a slow offseason. I have to resort to taking potshots at the Buc's message board moderators to make things interesting. Here's hoping the next 3 and a 1/2 months until football season fly by a lot faster.


The Bucs Department of (Mis)Information

Censorship at the Buc's official website.

I was scanning the Buc's Message Board when I noticed a thread where some guy is asking about the whole Ron Mexico thing. For those who don't know Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, allegedly gave a girl an STD. He also told the girl his name was Ron Mexico. The girl has since filed a lawsuit against Vick for lying to her.

Anyway, the Buc's moderator refuses to answer the guy's question and says that if anyone mentions Ron Mexico again they will be suspended for 90 days. The moderator claims this is because most of the message board members don't want to read about Ron Mexico.

I have gone ahead and published multiple posts that answer the question about Ron Mexico, they read as following:
"In response to the question by bucsfan58154, Ron Mexico is an alias Falcons quarterback Michael Vick used to give an STD to a girl. The girl has since filed suit against Vick."

At the end of the post I include my blog name and address. I look forward to seeing if I get suspended from the Buc's Message Board.

UPDATE: I have been banned from the Buc's official message board. Here is the link to the original threat from the Moderator and I ask you to read the entire message before you decide that I am an idiot. http://bbs.buccaneers.com/showthread.php?t=93882 (and yes, I am an idiot but so is this douchebag)

If you want to go to the ORIGINAL message board for Buc's fans go to the St Pete Times Bucs website here http://forums.sptimes.com/Forums/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=1

The Glazer's New Toy

Malcolm Glazer has upped the ante in his bid to take over the Manchester United, aka the New York Yankees of English soccer, according to an AP story. He launched a formal $1.47 billion takeover bid for the Manchester club today. This is despite strong resistance from Manchester fans, some of whom have attempted to raise money to counter Malcolm's bid.

I can understand the Manchester fan's anger over a foreigner from across the pond taking over their team. Can you imgaine if some slimy Frenchman came over here, bought the Bucs and then raised tickets prices? There would be mass outrage, in Tampa Bay, and throughout the country.

It will be interesting to see how this affects the Buc's management. Malcolm's sons have basically been running this team for awhile now, but you have to wonder if the Glazers will pay less attention to the Bucs when they own a team in another country.

(P.S. not all Frenchmen are slimy, just the ones that would attempt to buy the Bucs)


Where is it Tino?

The D-Rays sign Tino Martinez to a contract, but then a few weeks before the season starts he says he's going to retire and asks to be released from his contract. Nows he's homered for his fifth straight game in a Yankees uniform.

I can understand if you would rather play for the Yankess, let's be honest their fans are much more passionate than the D-Ray's home crowd. But don't spit in our face and call it rain.

Martinez was at the end of his career when the D-Rays offered him more money that anyone else last year. He rewards the D-Ray's faith in him by lying to the fans and working out a way to go back to the Big Apple to play.

On a side note, the Yankees record is 16-19 for 4th place in the AL East. The D-Rays record is 13-22 for 5th place in the AL East.


The Piss Man's Coming!

Vikings running back Onterrio Smith has been caught with a masking device designed to cheat drug tests the Minneaplis Star Tribune reports. He has detained at the airport for carrying a device called the "The Original Whizzinator" and a bottle of pills labeled "Cleansing Formula". Smith "claims" he was bringing these devices to his cousin. http://www.startribune.com/stories/510/5396655.html

Smith was suspended four games last season for testing positive for whacky-tobbacky, which was his second violation of the leagues substance abuse policy. Considering that Ricky Williams recently admitted he had been smoking pot for years and had simply taken a masking agent to cover it up, I'm guessing that Smith has been doing the same. From what I've heard masking pills are an effective way to pass a drug test. Of course the most effective way to pass a drug test is to NOT DO DRUGS.

Smith is another talented running back who is risking his career by fooling around with this kind of nonsense. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings and the NFL react to this news, considering the recent controversy surrounding steroids and drug testing in the NFL.

It Could Always Be Worse

You could be a Carolina fan.

In what can only be regarded as bad luck the Panthers have had a series of unfortunate events fall upon them in their short history. From the murder conviction of receiver Rae Carruth to the recent death of linebacker coach Sam Mills the Panthers have been cursed by misfortune and this off-season is no different writes Len Pasquarelli at ESPN.com.

"[W]ith a steroid controversy swirling around three players, the death of linebackers coach Sam Mills last month after a two-year battle with intestinal cancer, and last week's revelation by weakside linebacker Mark Fields that he will miss the 2005 season as he confronts Hodgkin's disease for the second time in two years."

Considering they have only existed for ten years the Panthers have accumulated enough black marks to make the Raiders jealous. Additionally no other club has been ravaged in the way that Carolina has been by cancer. They have lost a valued member of the clubhouse in Sam Mills, and Pro Bowl linebacker Mark Fields has said he will be forced to sit out another season because of his battle with Hodgkin's disease.

While the Bucs have been fortunate to have escaped the Panthers fortune, I can only hope for the best for Mark Fields and his family. I will root for him to beat up on the Bucs if that means he has finally beaten cancer.


Rookie impacts

Good news from Roy Cummings at foxsports.com on the o-line. Apparently the team is happy about the play of 3rd round pick Chris Colmer.

"Colmer plays with a mean streak, and he's a heady player who could step right in as the starter at LT. Colmer has a history of health problems, so his primary objective is to stay healthy."

Anthony Davis has also been playing with a chip on his shoulder since being moved inside to guard. Davis played at left tackle last year, but was forced to play another position with the arrival of Colmer. Both players should give the Buc's o-line a much needed upgrade in attitude.

Additionally the team has been happy with the showing by 7th round pick Rick Razzano at the team's rookie mini-camp. Of course, no word on from Gruden on Razzano's legal troubles. Razzano is accused of beating a man to a bloody pulp outisde a bar in Lafayette County bar on April 3rd 2004.

Feeling Left Out

Reciever Charles Lee will not return to the Bucs according to his agent. Lee is an unrestricted free agent and has been interviewing with the Dolphins. "We haven't spoken with the Bucs in a while, and after they got Hilliard, I'd assume they're pretty much set at the position," said Lee's agent, Richard De Luca.

Bucs fans will remember Lee as the guy who stepped up when Me-shawn was suspended for the second half of the 2003 season. It's a shame to see him go, but with the signing of Hilliard the writing was on the wall for Lee.


Gruden's future?

Sal Paolantonio has an informative article on the State of the Bucs on ESPN.com today. It's a good read for those who have not been following the Bucs closely this off season and raises some of the issues the Bucs will have to deal with this season.

The first is Gruden, who is in danger of losing his job if he doesn't produce this season.

"Of course, there have been the predictable cries that Gruden didn't actually win the Super Bowl -- that Tony Dungy's players won it and Gruden was just along for the ride. Well, of course, you could say that about nearly every head coach. Nevertheless, Gruden wears the ring."

To me, this is one of the most annoying criticism of Gruden. I think he should actually be applauded for winning with the players that Dungy brought. Fact is, Dungy could not win in the playoffs with the Bucs.

True, Gruden did bring in Michael Pittman, Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicious. But he won with a suspect offensive line and an immobile quarterback, Brad Johnson. In Oakland, Gruden had depended on just the opposite, a strong offensive line and a mobile quarterback in Rich Gannon. Put more simply, Gruden won with Dungy's guys.

Anytime a new head coach steps in for a college or NFL team that coach is given a 2 or 3 year grace period to turn the team around. Why? Because the head coach needs to bring in "his type of players". But Gruden was successful in his first season, and that immediate success has now hurt him. People wonder why Gruden was able to win so many games his first year with the Bucs and then they look at how the Bucs have done lately. These people are the same ones who criticize Gruden for winning with Dungy's guys.

You want a reason for why the Bucs haven't been successful the last two years? Simple, no early round draft picks and the salary cap. Veteran players cost much more than rookies, for example on the free agent market an experienced defenseive end would go for about $5 million. The 1st round defensive ends from this years draft are expected to sign for $2-3 million. The Bucs have had a difficult time replacing some of the veteran players who have left lately, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Warrick Dunn, etc. In the NFL you need to replace key players through the draft and the Bucs have been unable to do this the last couple of years.

As a final thought, I think that the Glazers plan on keeping Gruden around for the long term. They essentially invested 2 1st round picks and 2 2nd round picks in him. If you gave up that much for a guy why would you get rid of him so soon, especially when he won you a Super Bowl? If the Bucs struggle this season (and considering their suspect o-line, that could happen) plenty of people will call for Gruden's head. Here's hoping the Glazers are wise enough to ignore those idiots, and hold onto this young and talented coach.


Diamond in the rough?

Or ill-fated bust?

Interesting article by Rick Stroud in the St Pete Times from Sunday (I know, I'm a week late but at least I'm not your girlfriend's period) on Larry Brackins, the Bucs 5th round draft pick. http://www.sptimes.com/2005/05/01/Bucs/Hidden_Pearl.shtml

"Certainly, the odds are against him. According to the Sporting News, there were only three players in the NFL last season, Saints receiver Joe Horn, Jaguars defensive back Juran Bolden and Redskins defensive tackle Jermaine Haley, who never played at a four-year college."

Of course in the next paragraph Stroud compares Brackin to Randy Moss, T.O. and Mavin Harrison. I just can't take anything Stroud writes seriously for the rest of the article after he makes those comparisons.

Anyway, it seems as though Brackins has talent but is a project and will probably take two years to develop. Additionally he sounds like an idiot who couldn't even get into FSU. But, he's a Buc now so I wish him the best of luck.


Welcome Ike

Just call him Joe Jurevicius version 2.0

Thankfully, the Bucs have added a proven, veteran reciever in Ike Hilliard. Hilliard will bring maturity to a receiving corp that lacks experience (before Hilliard was signed the Bucs projected 3rd receiver was rookie Larry Brackins from Pearl Water Community College).

With Michael Clayton entrenched as the go-to receiver, and Joey Galloway the home run threat, Hilliard steps into the possession receiver position vacated by Jurevicius (now with the Seattle Seahawks). Additionally, both Jurevicius and Hilliard played for the New York "Football" Giants before coming to Tampa. *Warning to Giants fans, Gruden plans on taking Amani Toomer next.* Seriously, does Gruden just wake up each morning and say to himself, "I wonder if the Giants released a reciever today?"

Hilliard was released by the Giants after he was limited to 437 yards and no touchdowns last year during his battle with the injury bug. Here's hoping that the one year contract Hilliard signed with the Bucs provides him with the motivation to stay healthy and productive.


Super Bowl XXXXIII in Tampa?

Or in non-Roman numerals Super Bowl 43.

So, Tampa Bay has jumped into the running to host the Super Bowl in 2009. This is according to a story in the Tampa Tribune today. The other 3 cities to throw their hats in the ring are Houston, Miami and Jacksonville.

I think you can already take Miami and Houston out of the running. Houston hosted the Super Bowl last year (the Patriots win over the Panthers) and Miami has already been planned as the site for the 2007 Super Bowl. No way does the NFL award either one of these cities with another Super Bowl in 2009.

Atlanta has an edge over Tampa mainly because Falcons owner Arthur Blank is planning to spend $150 million to build an atrium at the Georgia Dome's main entrance. Other improvements include adding suites and club seats, improved concourses around the stadium, and upgrades to scoreboards and video screens. But here's the catch, NONE OF THESE RENOVATIONS ARE GUARANTEED.

Blank is signaling that he will make the improvements if he can get a new lease agreement from the Georgia Dome authority. Translation, he will spend the money on improvements if he can save money on a new lease deal. Since the NFL awards Super Bowls as a way to encourage cities to build or renovate stadiums (see Detroit and New York), Atlanta has an edge over Tampa at this point. Most likely this will come down to which team's owner can do a better job of lobbying for their city.

The Buccaneers owners, the Glazers, will try and sell the tropical weather climate and Blank will say he needs the Super Bowl to get a new stadium lease deal approved. I'm assuming that the NFL owners will be more persuaded by Blank and Atlanta's bid. The NFL will bless Atlanta when they make a decision May 25.


Under Construction

Welcome to the Best Bucs Blog out there (actually it's the only Bucs Blog, I think). This is a forum to post my thoughts, and the thoughts of others, about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As the sign says, this site is still under consruction, and I plan on having it ready by the time training camp rolls around (late-July). So feel free to check back then, when I will have plenty of posts on Gruden, the QB situation, the Kiffin defense and "Cadillac" Williams.