2005-08-12

Pre-Game Notes

The Bucs play the Titans in Nashville tonite at 8. Both teams are fully enthrenched in rebuilding mode, so in an odd sort of way this game may be interesting simply to see how some of the young stars on each team will play.

Of course the one guy Bucs fans will be looking for, Carnell Williams, will most likely not see a lot of playing time tonite, simply to protect him from injury. Offensive line coach Bill Muir created a bit of a flap when he suggested that the best way to test Williams was to see how he responded to getting hit by NFL players. Gruden wasn't too happy about Muir's comments.

"I love Bill Muir as a brother and a father and a friend, but I don't agree with everything he says, you know what I'm saying?" Gruden said. "And I don't like this conversation. Obviously, you don't like to see any of your players take a great hit. The great backs, the ones that play for a long time, they avoid those hits, they know how to avoid them."

Expect to see more of Pittman, Ernest Graham, Ian Smart and rookie Derek Watson, while Alstott is side-lined with the neck injury. Another guy who will be getting of playing time is Chris Simms, who is competing with journeyman Luke McCown.

On the Titans side of the ball is will be interesting to see how the runningback situation plays out. Last season Chris Brown looked like he had what it takes to start, until injuries limited his production in the second half of the season. As a result the Titans picked up Travis Henry from the Bills. Brown is slated to start the game, but Henry will also get plenty of action. The third runningback is Jared Payton, Walter Payton's son who played at Miami, and even though he is a Hurricane I'm rooting for him to make the team.

Finally the Titans first round pick Adam "Pac-Man" Jones will not play because he is busy suing a night club owner in Nashville. Now Jones feels he has been unfairly treated by both his teammates AND the people of Nashville simply because he was a high pick. I'm all for making a fool out of T.O., but ESPN needs to do a better job reporting on what has to be the second most interesting sub-plot in the NFL right now. Someone needs to follow Pac Man Jones around with a camera and then put that tape on the Ocho.