Yet no mention of the atrocious Saturday night crew

52 Reasons why Disney/ESPN sucks.

By the good folks at EDSBS (a fine Gators blog), 52 reasons to hate the Mouse's sportstainment empire. Some of the highlights:

15. Bob Ley’s banishment. Outside the Lines, one of the best shows on ESPN, is relegated to the status of “Sunday Morning Boring Old Man News Thing.” How Ley stays at the network when he could be at HBO’s Real Sports is a testament to his loyalty–or his laziness, perhaps.

17. I…love…highlights without shtick…songs that don’t suck dick…and twins!!!

49. The disappearance of Chris Mortensen. He’s your NFL insider, and you put him–literally–behind the set. Because he’s working back there during the show! It Sportstainmenttastic!

Very good list, although not a single mention of the worst feature of watching football on ESPN: Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, and Paul Maguire. I'm pretty sure you could have caffeinated pre-teen girls broadcast Sunday games and get higher ratings than the ones these jackoffs get.


Bucs sign another kicker

Following Sunday's kicking debacle, the Bucs have signed Todd France to the practice squad. France was narrowly beat out by Matt Bryant during the preseason (the idiot that I am I originally thought France would win the competition). France, the younger of the two, got some of his first NFL duty earlier this season with the Eagles while Akers was injured.

I'm not going to dogpile on Bryant anymore (I've expended enough energy on this subject) but if Bryant is not ready to go against the Saints France will get the start. Bryant is still recovering from his pulled right hamstring, and his start Sunday is doubtful.

When did the NFL become the BCS?

The Colts only needed one play to beat the Steelers last night. Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison for 80 yards and you could already hear the fat lady singing. I don't know if the Colts can beat the Broncos in the playoffs, but Indy will finish with the best record.

But they will not finish undefeated, nor should they try to.

Sports writers, such as Peter King, who even suggest that Tony Dungy should play Peyton and company in meaningless games are idiots. What happens if the Colts lost Edge for the playoffs because he played into the fourth quarter of the last game of the season? The same writers who called for Dungy to go for the undefeated record would be all over Dungy for playing his starters when they did not need to be played.

The goal of every NFL team is to win the Super Bowl, and unlike the ill-fated BCS, a NFL team does not need to go undefeated to play in the championship game. So why should a team try for a perfect record other than to provide sports writing hacks another story to write about?

My Two Cents: Notes from the Bears game and the NFC Playoff Picture

Even with the Bears loss the Bucs are still in a good position for the playoff hunt. The Bucs are tied for the third best record in the conference and they currently own the tie breaker over Atlanta and Washington. But I will break down then playoff picture in greater detail later in this post.

I had the opportunity to watch this game in person, which also continued my bad luck charm streak for Tampa Bay teams. In the last four games I have seen in person (Bucs twice, Bolts and Rays), none of the Tampa Bay teams have won.

Matt Bryant deserves the lion's share of the blame for the loss. Any kicker worth their salt would have made that 29 yard field goal. Bryant is a right footed kicker who lined up from the left hash mark. It doesn't get much easier for a kicker. Besides missing a makeable kick, Bryant made another mistake which led to a Bears touchdown.

I will add this caveat, Gruden says Bryant injured his right hamstring on the opening kickoff, and Bryant made the rest of his kicks in pain.

On the opening kickoff Bryant hit a squib kick which hit the ground before the 20 yard line and was easily returned to the Bears 43. The Bears went three and out on their first possesion, but were able to pin the Bucs at the 7 yard line on the punt. Simms would go on to fumble the ball at the 1 yard line and set up the Bears only touchdown.

Now I don't know if the coaches called for a squib kick on the opening kickoff or if Bryant simply pooched the kickoff, but as I said in my preview the only way this Bears offense can score touchdowns is when you give them a short field.

I'm playing the "What If" game now, but IF the Bears has started around their 20 and then punted the Bucs would have started with the ball around the 30. Then IF Simms had fumbled the Bears would have started around the 20 yard line. Chicago is tied (with Tennessee, St. Louis and the Jets) for the 12th worst touchdown percentage in the red zone this season. The Bears only score a touchdown 50 percent of the time when they are in the red zone.

Quick note from the game before I move on to the NFC playoff picture. Chris Simms throws a real nice deep ball. The stats don't back this up but from the last couple of games I have seen Simms has had some nice clutch throws deep down the field. Quarterbacks who can throw the ball deep consistently (i.e. Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer) open up the field for their runningbacks. If Simms can keep up his current level of play I would feel a lot better going into next season.

The NFC Playoffs

The NFC lacks a power house team like Indianapolis or Denver. With the Eagles fall from grace the NFC is more wide open this year than in seasons past. Seattle, Chicago and Carolina all have good records but all these teams have their weaknesses. Chicago and Carolina are proving to have little offense outside of Thomas Jones and Steve Smith respectively. And Seattle needed Jay Feely to miss three kicks to win an overtime game against the Giants.

If the Bucs make it to the playoffs (and this applies to any wild card team) they have a good chance to run the table. It would be extremely difficult to win at Chicago in January, but the Bears have no offense as long as Kyle Orton is their quarterback.

The current playoff picture:

1. Seattle 9-2
2. Chicago 8-3
3. Carolina 8-3
4. Four teams tied
. . . Dallas 7-4
. . . New York 7-4
. . . Tampa Bay 7-4
. . . Atlanta 7-4
8. Minnesota 6-5
9. Washington 5-6

Dallas owns the first tiebreaker (head to head) over the Giants, as does Tampa Bay over Atlanta. The second tiebreaker, better division record, will not be decided until the end of the season.

Remaining schedule:

Seattle- at Philly, San Fran, at Tenn, Indy, at Green Bay
Chicago- Packers, at Pitt, Atlanta, at Green Bay, at Minnesota
Carolina- Atlanta, Tampa Bay, at New Orleans, Dallas, at Atlanta
Dallas- at NY Giants, Kansas City, at Washington, at Carolina, St. Louis
NY Giants- Dallas, at Philly, Kansas City, at Washington, at Oakland
Tampa Bay- at New Orleans, at Carolina, at New England, Atlanta, New Orleans
Atlanta- at Carolina, New Orleans, at Chicago, at Tampa Bay, Carolina
Minnesota- at Detroit, St. Louis, Pitt, Baltimore, at Chicago
Washington- at St. Louis, at Arizona, Dallas, NY Giants, at Philly

Easiest remaining schedule- Seattle, only one tough game at home against the Colts. And by the time Seattle plays Indy the game could be meaningless for both teams.

Toughest remaining schedule- Carolina and Dallas. Both teams have only one easy game apiece, the Panthers against the New Orleans Saints of Baton Rouge, and Dallas at home against the Rams.

My NFC Playoff Prediction:

1. Seattle
2. Chicago
3. NY Giants
4. Carolina
5. Dallas
6. Tampa Bay

The NFC South and East could go either way. Tampa Bay could win the division as easily as Carolina could but I'm basing my prediction on the results of the previous games (i.e Carolina's pounding of Tampa Bay). I'll feel a lot better about my picks after next weekend's games, specifically Giants vs Dallas and Atlanta vs Carolina.


At least he's not Feely

As poorly as Bryant played yesterday, at least he did not squander three opportunities to win the game, a la Giants kicker Jay Feely.

If you did not see Jeremy Shockey's reaction to Feely's first miss, expect to see replays plenty of times. Comedy this golden is too good to pass up.

(hat tip bennyshoe)


Insert Rant Here

I hate you Matt Bryant. I hate you so very, very much.

You're dead to me, you hear? Dead.

Don't call, don't write, don't text me. I just don't want to hear from you for the rest of the season. How do you miss a field goal from that close after your offense put together such a nice drive? How do you dissapoint the fans by giving the Bears that game?

You're dead to me Matt Bryant.

Eye for an Eye, Right?

I'm a little late with this story but Greg Spires and three Falcons have been fined a total of $30,000 by the NFL for unsportsman like conduct in their game last week.

The problems in the game started when Falcons return man Allen Rossum claimed he was poked in the eye at the bottom of the huddle. While the NFL did not fine any Bucs players for poking Rossum in the eye Falcons coach Jim Mora claims he has video showing just this offense.

The NFL did fine Falcons linebacker Demorio Williams for poking Cadillac Williams in the eye. Demorio Williams may not be the next Derrick Brooks but he is certainly turning out to be the next Bill Romanowski.

Greg Spires was fined for falling on Michael Vick's leg when he was sacked at the one yard line and forced out of the game for one play. Tampa Bay went on to score a defensive touchdown on the next play when Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub entered the game.


Bucs vs. Bears Preview

Mon Venus has become one of my favorite places on God’s green earth. As I have mentioned before I am displaced Bucs fan. I moved to Northern Virginia about a year ago for the job, which means I am home this weekend for the holiday.

Originally, I figured the Bolts game would be one of the highlights of my weekend, but that was the worst Lightning game I have ever been to. Just atrocious goalie play by Sean Burke.

But then I ran into some guys from high school and some how ended up at Mons, and suddenly my Friday (or early Saturday morning) wasn’t all that bad. I've been to Gentlemans Clubs in Scotland and Montreal but nothing beats Mons. Although few things feel worse than waking up after you left your contacts in all night.

Anyway, for my game preview I stealing the format from Mistake by the Lake (again) and using Football Outsider’s stats to examine the match ups in this game. You can find a more detailed description of Outsider’s stats here, but basically they break every team’s plays down and compare them to the league average.

First, let’s look at the Buc’s offense versus the Bear’s defense.

DVOA . . . . . . Buc's offense . . . . . .Bear's defense
Passing . . . . . -4.4% (#21) . . . . . . . . . -49.5% (#1)
Rushing . . . . . -15.1% (#26) . . . . . . . . -27.0% (#1)

When it comes to DVOA, if you’re an offense you want a more positive percentage, but if you’re a defense a more negative rating is better.

As well as the Bucs offense has played in the last two games they will struggle to put points on the board against a solid Bears defense. If the Bears defense looks familiar it’s because it has been modeled after the Bucs defense. Bears coach Lovie Smith studied under Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin, before leaving for St. Louis and eventually Chicago.

Simms will have to play Dilfer-ball to win this game, i.e. focus on not turning the ball over. The Bears defense is the definition of opportunistic as evidenced by their 108 yard defensive touchdown against the 49ers a few weeks ago. If he does turn the ball over and give the Bears offense a short field the Bucs will lose the game.

DVOA . . . . . . . Bears offense . . . . . . Bucs defense
Passing . . . . . . -40.0% (#29) . . . . . . . . 3.3% (#17)
Rushing . . . . . . 1.8% (#11) . . . . . . . . . . -15.9% (#9)

Forget everything you’ve heard about Bears quarterback Kyle Orton playing safe ball and not making mistakes. He has 11 interceptions and 4 fumbles this year. But as bad as the Bears passing game is their rushing game with Thomas Jones has proven to be dangerous.

The key for the Bears offense has been the improved play of the line this season which has benefited from playing with a short field. The Bears defense is tied for eighth with 22 turnovers, but the offense has turned the ball over 23 times.

If the Bucs can shut down their former runningback they should be able to create turnovers by forcing the bears to throw the ball. Then just hope kicker Matt Bryant has a little of the magic from last week left in his leg.


"We're so bad, we know we're good . . ."

"Blowin' your mind like we knew we would.
You know we're just struttin' for fun
Struttin' our stuff for everyone.
We're not here to start not trouble.
We're just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle."

Watch the entire Super Bowl Shuffle.


This Defense ain't gettin' any younger

I'm going to do something I don't normally do and piggyback on a column about the Buc's defense by Roy Cummings. Cummings, who might be the best Bucs beat columnist, points out the recent slump the Bucs defense has been in.

In their past three games -- two of which the Bucs have managed to win -- the defense has surrendered a total of 96 points and 412 yards rushing and allowed opponents to convert 41.8 percent of their third down tries.

That three-week point total marks the worst stretch the Bucs have had under the guidance of 10th-year defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

Cummings continues by blaming this un-Kiffin like stretch of poor defense on the injuries in the secondary, which is a good point. Third string safety Kalvin Pearson has been getting beat more often than Mike Tyson does in scrabble.

But where is the young talent on this defense? The best players are all over 25. And the only young guys who look like they could possible be studs are Will Allen and Barrett Rudd. Which means there is no reason to predict that this defense will suddenly turn around its play.

If I had time to do further research, my guess is that this is because the Bucs have not had the same emphasis on drafting defensive players under Gruden as they did under Dungy. But just looking at the small sample size of first round picks, Gruden has taken Cadillac and Clayton with his two first round picks, while the last defensive player taken in the first round was Booger (under Dungy).

In the era of the salary cap every defense needs to bring in young stud defenders through the draft in order to stay at the top. Sports Illustrated ran an interesting article on just this subject a week ago where they pointed out that the top defenses this year, for example the Bears, Steelers and Broncos, all have young guys (i.e. players who have been in the league three years or fewer) making plays, Charles Tillman, Troy Palamalu and Darrent Williams respectively.

Anyway, feel free to post your thoughts on why the Bucs defense has been in decline.

And to take you in a completely different direction, check out the intro at Buccaneers.com. First decent intro I've seen at the site all season (much better than the Packers/Bucs eating cheese intro).


Oh no you didn't

In a story likely to gain steam, Steve Young (aka Mr. Get Rich or Die Tryin') laid the smack down on Chris Simms.

"His dad was one of the greatest at being tough and handling all the criticisms . . . I worry that he grew up in a much different atmosphere, a laissez-faire kind of atmosphere. And I'm worried he really doesn't have the mental toughness to deal with the information overload that comes with the NFL."

Young, who grew up on the mean streets of Salt Lake City, Utah himself has every right to say something like this about Chris Simms. But Young's comments did not go down well with Papa Simms:

"I don't know how Steve Young lives his life, but I don't live mine that way. And I didn't raise my kids that way. You can say whatever you want about my son; the one thing that will get me mad, and I'll stand in your face about it, is about toughness. Who in the hell can be tougher than him, physically or what he endures?"

Chris Simms followed his father's statement up with, "keep talking pretty boy and you'll feel my gangsta."



Seattle's win today leaves them alone at the top of the NFC with 8 wins and 2 losses. But behind Seattle are five teams with records of 7-3, including Tampa Bay.

While this logjam at the top of the NFC won't be cleared up until the last few weeks of the season who would have thunk just two weeks ago the Bucs would still be in the playoff hunt coming out of Week 11? But if the playoff started today the Bucs would be in, while the 'Skins and Falcons (the Buc's last two opponents) would be out.

As easy as the Bucs first half schedule was, the second half is brutal. In their last nine games, the Bucs play only one team with a losing record, the Saints (although they do play them twice). Which means if the Bucs can win out against teams not named the Panthers they can put themselves in position to make the playoffs.

And, finally, is there a better exchange than the one in Big Lewbowski when the Dude watches Logjammin?

Maude says, "You can imagine where it goes from here..."

Dude replies, "He fixes the cable?"

Next week's game comes against a very difficult Bears team that is a poor man's version of last years Steelers. Rookie quarterback, good running game, great defense. Should be a fun one to watch if you like good defense and a low scoring game.


Mel's Picks: Week 11

It's that time of the week. Cheesy sports bettors are offering their picks on sports talk radio for a nominal fee. Sports writers (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense) on ESPN and SI.com are offering their guesses for free.

And Mel Kiper Jr. is being mocked by Tony Kornheiser. You know how Tony likes to open each segment of the show with a song? Well, for Mel's picks Tony went with Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Women."

On to the picks. (and for the record Mel's record picking winners is 52-15)

Carolina (-3) at Chicago: This is an easy week for Mel to just pick winners, and no surprise here, he thinks the Panthers will win.

Miami (+2) at Cleveland: In the closest spread Mel still goes with the favorite, Cleveland.

Indy (-5.5) at Cincy: Colts.

Jacksonville (-4.5) at Tennessee: Sense a theme here? Mel goes with the favorite, Jacksonville.

Detroit (+7.5) at Dallas: Cowboys.

Minnesota (+4.5) at Green Bay: Mel thinks Minnesota could be this year's big rebound team, akin to what the Panthers did last year. Vikings still have a shot at the playoffs and need a win to stay in it. Mel picks Vikings to win.

Philly (+7.5) at New York Giants: The Giants.

Oakland (+6) at Washington: In all of the games Mel went with the favorites, but then again there's only one game this week with a spread of less than three points so it's not a tough week to pick winners. (oh yeah, Mel picks the Redskins)

The Masochism of Mike

So I'm doing this interview with a Falcons blogger who calls himself Eric Love. And the funny thing about Falcons fans, which also applies to ol' Eric, is that they have this huge hang up about Michael Vick. At least twice (although you will not be able to read the full interview on Eric's blog), he asked me why I hate Vick so much. And here's the thing, I don't hate Vick, I just can't stand people who think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It's like the Falcon's fans have taken the "world is against me" mentality made popular by Ron Mexico himself. At some point this Vick hangup goes from being self deprecating to reaching the levels of plain old masochism. You would think Falcons fans couldn't get off until somebody told them Vick was overrated (which he is).

Anyway, I have a difficult time dealing with fans who refuse to apply any rational and objective logic to their favorite team (and that includes Bucs fans). Everybody's got weaknesses, feel free to admit them.

Finally, for all you Mel and Tony fans I have The Hair's picks for this weekend and I will be posting them later. But feel free to leave stalker-like comments if that's your thing.


Internet Goodness

'Cause frankly, my blog sucks. Bad.

But I'm not such a bad guy, so I'm gonna share some blogs with you. These are well-written and/or humorous sports blogs which are pleasurable to read. In each of these blogs the authors share valuable insights into their favorite teams in a creative way. Basically, they are all the exact opposite of the Best Bucs Blog.

Mistake by the Lake Sporting Times
Poor Cleveland fans. Since Browns version 2.0 their starting quarterbacks have been Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia and Trent Dilfer. There's something about a trainwreck where you can't look away.

Funniest sports writer on the internet not named Bill Simmons. Although he would rather have sex with a man than a goat.

Chaz Sports
You notice where LaVar Arrington was when Alstott ran for two points? He was flying through the air right past the A-Train with the holy-crap-I-just-gave-up-the-game look on his face. There might be something to this "LaVar is an undisciplined player" talk.

Heisman Pundit
Up until the Gator's first loss of the season these guys thought Chris Leak was going to win the Heisman. Despite that this is one of the better college football blogs out there.

Pewter Pirates
What can I say about Cutthroat's blog? Unlike previous Bucs blogs this one does not have the stench of death on it. Keep it up Cutthroat.

Speaking of the stench of death, anyone remember the
Continuing Saga blog? Flamed out after a few months, which is a shame 'cause the internet needs more Bucs blogs.

And sticking with the theme of a death I leave you with a joke from the late Mitch Hepburn.

"On a traffic light green means go and yellow means yield, but on a banana it's just the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead . . . and red means where the fuck did you get that banana at?"


This one you can blame on Canada

A huge shot of Jager (as some people are want to say) to Scottie for his help with the new banner (well, basically for creating it).

Much appreciated my good man, eh.


My Two Cents: Two Risky Calls and a Two Faced O-Line

As you know if you are a regular reader I am a displaced Bucs fan. Roughly a year ago I moved to Northern Virginia for my job, which means I am surrounded by Redskins fans. Almost all of the fans up here have been whining about the last offensive play for the Bucs.

As controversial as Alstott's two point play may or may not have been, the 'Skins have no right to complain since they put the Bucs in position to go for two. Looking at the offsides play, it appears that the 'Skins coaches sent their players after the kicker under the understanding that it did not matter if they were offside. The two 'Skins players rushing from the outside, who were both offsides, looked like they were in synch.

And if the kick was not blocked then maybe Gruden doesn't take the penalty and go for two.

The reason I mention this is because, I believe that the 'Skins coaches risked an off sides penalty under the belief that Gruden would still kick the extra point from the one yard line. Gruden proved them wrong by going for the risky play and rushing for two points to win the game. And Gruden deserves a great deal of praise for making a move which could have backfired horribly on him as the coach.

Many times announcers will describe a game as a chess match, when it is everything but. But the last offensive series was like a chess match. The 'Skins coaches took a risk to try and block the extra point. Their gambit backfired when Gruden made his own risky move by going for two from the one. And yes, I've used "risky" multiple times to describe that last series, but that's because both sides made unusual moves to try and prevent the game from going into overtime.

The Bucs stole this game from the 'Skins. Coming into the game everyone was picking the 'Skins to beat a Bucs team that looked like it was on the decline. With Griese out Simms had been unable to put togther a complete offensive performance. And up until the last minute it looked like the 'Skins had won the game. With the way their defense has been playing this year, the 'Skins should have won after they scored that last touchdown.

But Simms proved his doubters wrong by driving down the field to win the game for HIS team. Because make no mistake, the Bucs are now Simms team after this win.

The key to this game was the play of the offensive line. As dreadful as the o-line looked run blocking, they looked brilliant against the pass rush. Which is really odd.

For most offensive lineman it is far easier to run block than it is to pass block. Run blocking requires a lineman to attack a defender, which based on my own high school experience playing tackle, is much easier than pass blocking. Pass blocking is typically more difficult because all the defender has to do is get around his blocker. You ask any lineman and they will tell you they would rather run block than pass block.

But the Bucs o-line could not run block yesterday. For example, let's look at the Cadillac fumble. On that play 'Skins defensive tackle Joe Salave'a pushed by center John Wade (who was one of the better plays on the o-line last season) to force Cadillac to fumble. I don't blame Cadillac for the fumble. Cadillac had only a split second to secure the ball before he got hit in the backfield.

If the line deserves praise for the 100 yard rushing games by runningbacks, then it also deserves the blame when its runners get stuffed in the backfield which was what happened yesterday.

But the Bucs defense looked really good against a complicated 'Skins pass rush. The o-line allowed ZERO sacks and Simms threw NO interceptions. The line gave Simms time to make throws, and when he has that time he can make accurate passes. This was not the case in the game against the Panthers when Simms had little time to throw the ball, which led to costly turnovers.

Next week the Bucs go up against a team with a horrible rush defense, the Falcons. To win that game the Bucs need to get their run game going, and return to the blocking schemes that made them so successful at the beginning of the season.


4th Quarter Notes

Good call by Joe Gibbs on fourth down. Bucs are expecting a run, and Brunell runs the naked bootleg pass for a first down to Chris Cooley.

Shelton Quarles over pursues (again) and gives up a first down to Betts. As well as Quarles has played this season, this is something he has done far too often. Quarles made the same mistake last year against the Skins, allowing Portis to run for a long touchdown which sealed the game for the Skins.

Peyton Manning is a huge dork.

Okay, this is the test for Simms. Two minutes left with your team down by a touchdown. This is what makes or breaks quarterbacks. If you can drive down the field for a touchdown you will be a hero, but if you fail you will be the goat of the game. Which one will Simms be?

Damn, definitely a hero.

One of the best Bucs games I have ever seen. Not as good as the win against the Eagles in the playoffs, but it's better than the game to open the regular season the following season against the Eagles.

The story today will be about Chris Simms coming through in the clutch when the Bucs needed him to play big. Mike Alstott showed the nation he still has some gas left in the tank but everyone everyone knew who Alstott was.

Before this game Simms was viewed through two lenses. As the Phil Simms' son and the guy who got replaced by Major Applewhite at Texas. One game won't turn around people's opinions but it proves Simms can win games for the Bucs by making big plays. Just as important Simms did not turn the ball over today. The key seems to be the play of the line who looked better pass blocking but continued to struggle in their run blocking.

This win gives the Bucs some much needed momentum heading into a raucous Atlanta dome next week against a tenacious Falcons team. Simms is still young and will have problems playing in a loud stadium. But let's worry about that next week, for now I'm going to enjoy an exciting victory.

3rd Quarter Notes

My apologies. I mentioned Maria Sharapova and did not post a picture of the Russian hottie. Consider the mistake remedied.

Torrie Cox continues to make a strong case for why he should be cut as soon as possible. Fumbles the ball on the kickoff before recovering his own fumble.

Cadillac fumbles, Redskins score eight points and tie the game. I'm now waiting for the announcers to mention how exciting the game just got.

Edell Shepard just dropped the kickoff return, maybe there's something with the lights or the ball affecting the Bucs returners. Or maybe they just have crappy return guys. Prob the latter.

Good job by the Skins o-line. Bucs need to blitz 6 men just to get any kind of a pass rush.

I'm really starting to despise Betts.

BIG TIME PLAYERS MAKE BIG TIME PLAYS !!!!!! (Edell Shepherd just made a nice catch)

Anybody just see Hilliard get rejected by the goal posts? Hilliard tried to dunk over the goal posts and then half way up realized he didn't have enough air so he tosses the ball over the cross bars. That won't make the highlight reels.

2nd Quarter Notes

Portis's ability make quick cuts is killing a speedy Bucs defense that far too often over pursues. On the bright side, Portis is a huge dork who took his mom to his high school prom.

Simeon Rice coming up big after forgeting about day light savings time two weeks ago.

Rare drop by Galloway on third down. Perfect throw by Simms, hits Galloway in the numbers and then bounces off his chest. Ouch.

Random stoy from earlier this week about a Star Wars geek. I'm at the gas station and the guy at the pump across from me asks me where this Mexican restaraunt is. I give him directions and at the end mention that is is close to the Best Buy. When I tell him this his face lights up like a kid at Christmas and he says, "Awesome, Best Buy is having a release party today for the new Star Wars dvd."

Of course, who am I to poke fun? I left work to buy Madden the first day it came out.

Alsott continues to make his case for the title of Most Overrated Fantasy Player. 6 carries, 17 yards, 2 touchdowns. The previous owner of this title was Jerome Bettis.

I hate you Ladell Bett. You now have more kick return touchdowns than the entire Bucs franchise.

Is Big Nasty right next to the Redskins/pig nose fan? Most awkward sitting sitution, ever.

Good job so far by the o-line. I think they were to blame for Simms ealry struggle, but if the line does it job Simms can win games for this team.

Just caught Alstott in Ugly Orange unis. We're getting closer to seeing the throwbacks at a game. I give it another two seasons before the Bucs break out the old school jerseys.

Galloway makes up for his earlier drop on third down.

In good news a fellow Pole, Kozlowski, is making big plays. In bad news he plays for the 'Skins.

Sasha Cohen is a hottie. I would rank her before Mia Hamm but behind Maria Sharapova.

Red flag for the Bucs. They are still are having trouble running the ball. Skins are getting into the running lanes and pushing the Bucs' players off the ball. This could spell trouble for the Bucs later in the game.

1st Quarter Notes

Sean Taylor is out of today's game. Must be busy looking for the real shooter.

Let's see it's third down and long, time for Simms to throw short to his check down receiver. Done. 'Skins ball.

Another big run by Portis against the Bucs. Portis is having a subpar year, 4 tds with three coming against the 49ers. Still, he's the one guy on the offensive side of the ball for the skins that scares me.

I like Mike Alstott but don't tell try and tell me how blue collar the guy is. He gets paid millions to play a game. Blue collar guys work in construction or coal mines, they don't have big screen t.v.s in their locker rooms.

Bucs catch a lucky break, Galloway was out of bounds but because he was called out on a push (which he wasn't) the zebras can't review the play.

The day gets a little sweeter. Green Bay 14 - Atlanta 0.

Chris Simms calls timeout, undoubtedly because he does not understand the play called. No wait, the dirt is too tough for Simms. Damn, that's some strong dirt.

Game Time

Quick post before the game starts. Since almost all of you are either fans of the Bucs or Kornheiser I recommend the Game Day Blog by Mr. Tony. Entertaining read during those many breaks in the game.

Right now, watching the Giants tenth home game of this season, this one against the Vikings. My man, Darren Sharper (also of the College) is having a big day so far against My Other Brother Eli. Three interceptions, one touchdown.

. . . and Fox just switched from the Giants-Vikings game to the Bucs game. Good move considering the Giants were inside the red zone and down by eight points with less than two minutes to go. Bastards.


The Hair vs the Old Man: Week 10

Y'all know the deal.

Mel refuses to pick games against the spread.

Tony calls Mel a little girl.

Mel continues to only pick winners.

This week was no different. On Monday (when Mel was not listening) Tony called Mel a girly-man. Then today (while Mel was on his show) Tony demanded that Mel put some pants on and pick against the spread. No luck.

Washington (-1) at Tampa Bay: Mel thinks it's only a matter of time before Rattay takes the reins from this team. Until Gruden makes that move the Bucs will be lucky to make it to .500 so Mel picks the Skins to win.

Kansas City (+2.5) at Buffalo: Buffalo is desperate right now. Mel believes that if the Bills don't win this game their season is over. Mel goes with the desperate teams so he picks the Bills to win.

New England (-3) at Miami: Mel picks the Pats to win.

Dallas (+3) at Philly: Eagles are the more desperate team so Mel picks them to win.

Denver (-3) at Oakland: Mel picks the Broncos because the Raiders defense is so bad.

Arizona (+3.5) at Detroit: Detroit must win this game to stay alive in the hunt for the division title so Mel picks the Lions to beat a lousy Cardinals team.

St. Louis (+6.5) at Seattle: Mel likes Seattle this year. The Seahawks seem to have chemistry on offense for the first time in awhile so Mel picks them to win.

Houston (+17.5) at Indy: This is a slow ball over the middle of the plate for Mel. The main reason Tony brought it up was because it was the biggest line he's seen in a long time. Even though it's a trap game for Indy you have to go with the best team to beat the worst team in the league. No surprise, Mel picks the Texans.

(Just checkin' to see if you're still paying attention there, Mel picks the Colts)


I'm In

You paying attention Panthers fans? I'm in. I'm rooting for your team to win the Super Bowl.

Before the season started I thought Carolina would make it to the Big Game. Now I'm actively cheering for your team to get to Super Bowl XL.

I'm not about to make an ass out of myself when the Panthers score a touchdown (I'm still saving that honor for the Bucs), but let's face it Tampa Bay would be lucky to finish the season 8-8. The Bucs can't even smell the playoffs right now.

Somebody's got to make it past the NFC Championship game and it might as well be the best team in the conference that doesn't have a quarterback who whines about the media criticizing his arm or a quarterback who doesn't throws tantrums about being drafted by San Diego (oh wait, Ron Mexico and Eli both did that).

Even before the game last weekend I liked this Panthers team. No-name quarterback making good. No-name defense playing tough. Hell, the biggest name on this team is Kemp Rasmussen.

But the Bucs-Panthers game is what convinced me. I was on the fence going into the fourth quarter of the game, but Steve Smith's touchdown dance converted me. Any team with that much style is destined for the Super Bowl.

And the great thing about this bandwagon is that nobody else is on it yet. With the T.O. saga, the Colts win, and the huge pair of balls exhibited by Dick Vermeil, the Panthers have been getting very little press lately. That will change in a couple of weeks, but until then I am going to enjoy this ride while it lasts.


Eye of the Beholder

I'm an absolut gasbag and a dumbass for suggesting that yesterday's game might be close and/or exciting. What was I smoking for thinking the Bucs might have a shot in this game? I should have the Mayor of Las Vegas cut off all my fingers for the inaccurate predictions which I made during a haze of fatigue from hours spent mountain biking.

As I mentioned before this was the first game I have attended all season (since I moved to Northern Virginia about a year ago). Additionally, it was the first time I had been in a luxury box.

And not just any luxury box, but the Raymond James Financial suite.

You know those luxury cruise commercials where the guy in the business suit drones on about how he was treated like royalty? That's how I feel after watching a game from the luxury box. There's just no way I can return to the regular seating. I have seen how the better half lives, and I am now worse off for the experience.

Forget the free food, free beer and private bathroom, the best feature of the Raymond James suite is that it's right on the 50 yard line. From the suite you have an unmatched view of the field. And I'll give this to Tom James, the President of Raymond James, he watched the game up until the ugly end when Simms threw that last interception.

About half of the dozen people in the suite could have cared less if the Bucs won or lost. The two people sitting in fornt of me spent more time dancing to the music than they did watching the game. Most of suite was gone by the fourth quarter (but then again so was most of the stadium). But with two minutes left in the fourth quarter Tom and I were the only ones still watching the game with interest. And for those of you who think I'm saying this to kiss up to Tom James, I'm willing to bet he'll never read this blog in a thousand years. Dude's got more important things to do, like planning for the New World Order.

Anyway, on to my notes from the game:

  • Kenyatta Walker is Julius Peppers' bitch. Three false start penalties on Kenyatta in one series, including two back-to-back penalties. Peppers, who notched two sacks in this game, gets my vote for best defensive end in the game. He's a much more complete player than the Colt's end Dwight Freeney, who is vulnerable to the run.

  • I don't think Cadillac Williams is 90%, or even 80% yet. While the Panthers do have one of the top rushing defenses, Williams didn't seem to have the pop to his runs that we saw in the first three games. At the beginning of the season, Williams would run over defenders. I only saw Williams do that once or twice yesterday.

  • Joey Galloway deserves a good deal of the success he has had this season. Last week, he turned a short throw by Simms into a long touchdown. This week he made a nice play on a deep ball by Simms to score another touchdown. It wasn't a great throw by Simms but he threw the ball to where the defender could not reach it. Then Galloway, who had already beaten his man, had to accelerate to get to where the ball was thrown.

  • Simms has to quit throwing to his check down man on third down and long. He got away with it early in the game on a short pass to Alstott on third and ten when Alstott broke several tackles to fight his way for a first down. But later in the game Simms kept throwing to his checkdown man on third and long. On third down you have to throw the ball to a receiver at the line of scrimmage.

  • I'm surprised by the amount of success Stephen Davis had. He has essentially entered the Jerome Bettis/Mike Alstott phase of his career where he is only useful around the goal line. Davis didn't gain many yards in this game, but he did have some key runs to keep Panther's drives alive.

  • Torrie Cox is a decent return man, but my grandmother got tackle better than he could. At least twice on punt coverage Cox ran right past the punt return man. Each time the punt returner gained another five to ten yards after Cox missed the tackle.

  • Finally, I have to admit I enjoyed Steve Smith's sword fighter dance in the fourth quarter. The celebration was original but a little on the sloppy side. I'll give him a hundred Best Bucs Points for creativity but subtract 20 for execution.


Girls Gone Wild

Panthers cheerleaders caught having sex in a bathroom at Banana Joe's in Tampa last night. They then got in a catfight.


(hat tip TommyBoy)

EDIT: The Panther's website has taken down the pictures so this is one of the few websites where you can find the above pics.

Panthers Preview: Back in the Bay edition

The nice thing about being back in the bay is that it's a good ten degrees warmer and I'm surrounding by beautiful women. The down side is that my dad wants to go mountain biking with me.

If we can get over the whole oxymoron that is mountain biking in Florida, there are actually some really good trails in the bay area, and for those familiar with some of them I spent the day out at Boyette which is out by the lovely town of Wimauma (aka Little Mexico).

Problem with mountain biking is that I'm in the worst shape of my life. Been working a lot of nights with the new job which means not a whole of free time to exercise and be healthy. Throw in the Florida sun at 2 in the afternoon and there was a good chance I would have to been airlifted out of Boyette.

Fortunately, no helicopters were called in to save my useless ass, but unfortunately my mind and body have sapped of any energy or creativity. This means you are left with a bland and dull preview of tomorrow's game that is only fit to be read by Bolsheviks.

  • Bucs defense will bring their big sticks tommorow afternoon. Sure, Carolina has traditionally had Tampa Bay's number, but playing at home should motivate the defense. If you like a lot of defense and little scoring (and who doesn't like 9 to 6 games?) this will be the game for you.

  • The Panthers quarterback, Jake Delhomme can be forced into throwing interceptions. Delhomme is like Aaron Brooks sans the famous cousins, both NFC South QBs play Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to throwing interceptions. (the more I think about it the previous sentence made no sense but let's just move on shall we?)

  • Steve Smith has been obscene this season, but he's also the only receiver Delhomme throws to so let's look forward to double coverage on Smith all day.

  • Stats say the Bucs should shut down the Panther's ground game. By most statistical rankings the Bucs have the first or second rated rushing defense. Personally, I think their rushing defense is much worse than the stats show, and a good rushing team should be able to dominate the Bucs. Are the Panthers a good rushing team? They certainly have the talent for it although they have yet to run the ball consistently.

  • The Panthers do have a good rushing defense with the front seven to back it up. They should have little trouble shutting down Pittman and a hobbled Carnell Williams.

  • Which essentially puts the game on Simms' broad shoulders and narrow urethra. The Panther's weakness on defense is their secondary, so if the Bucs are going to win they need to be effective passing the ball. The easiest way to do this would be to establish the run, and then move the chains through the air. But as last week proves the Bucs are not about doing things the easy way.

Should be an exciting game tomorrow no matter which way you cut it. Bucs are the home underdogs in a divisional matchup. So as much as it looks like odds are stacked in Carolina's favor, the Bucs have the 12th man behind them and a chip on their shoulder.

And if you have any complaints about the little effort put into this post, remember the Bucs play the Panthers one more time this season, so I have one more opportunity to do a half assed preview.


Picture Goodness

On the heels of Fisher Deberry's factually corrent but politically incorrect statement comes this sign from a BYU fan at a game against Air Force.

Whatcha talking about Willis?

Little bit of smack talk from Stephen Davis on Carnell Williams before the big game Sunday. More of my thoughts on the game later.

And yes, the title makes no sense, but I can't think of elite runningbacks without bringing up Willis McGahee.


About damn time

As you probably did not notice, my site has been down since Monday. I would like to claim some measure of intelligence for fixing the site on my own (i.e. no help from the people at blogger, despite my constant asking), but truth be told I am probably to blame for crashing it in the first place. Either way, you were spared three days of my bitching about how bad this team is and how much Griese means to the team.

As bad as Simms played yesterday, I still blame the loss against the 49ers on Gruden. The 49ers are so atrocious that the Bucs sans Griese should have been able to beat a San Fran team that looks more comfortable in Division 1-AA. To steal a line from Buc Stats, the 49ers put in their waterboy at the end of the game and still beat the Bucs.

Exhibit A, Joe Gibbs and the Redskins treated this 49ers team like they were the '72 Dolphins to the point that he was mocked by Tony Kornheiser. What Gibbs (a coach who doesn't lose to bad teams) did was convince his players that the 49ers were better than everyone thought they were. And his 'Skins went out and played hard en route to scoring 500 points on the 49ers.

This trick will lose its potency after a few seasons as players grow tired of hearing a coach who sounds like a used car salesman, but it works really well when you are dealing with young players. And last time I checked there where a good deal of young guys on the Bucs offense.

Anyway, I'm heading back to the bay area this weekend to catch my first Bucs game of the season. Three weeks ago I was looking forward to this game with baited (sp?) breath. The Panthers were my pick (as well as half of America's pick) to make it to the Super Bowl out of the NFC. (Just for the record, the Panthers and the Colts were my Super Bowl picks, and I'm staying on both of those bandwagons. As much as the media folks and Archie would love it I just don't see a Manning vs Manning Super Bowl. I would hope that if the Giants made it to the NFC Championship and the Colts to the AFC Championship, Archie would pull a Richard Williams and have My OtherBrother Eli deactivate himself because of a pulled vagina.)

Now, this looks like an easy win for a resurgent Panthers team looking to make a statement. Assuming the Bucs defense plays the Panthers tough (which they will at Ray Jay), the Bucs offense will be unable to move the ball against the Carolina defense. Carolina is just too good against for the run for the Bucs to get their ground game established. This means I may have to face the prospect of watching Simms pass the ball thirty plus times. Good times.

On a final note, who else is glad to see the NBA? If the NFL is alpha male big brother of professional sports then the NBA is the younger sibling, crying for attention by starting bar fights and shacking up with its cousin. Where else can you hear Steve Kerr talking about "girth"?


What the hell is wrong with my blog?

Somebody must have put a hit on my site 'cause it's been down for the count the last two days.

I have no idea what's wrong with it but the only way to see any of my posts is by viewing them individually (which means only all you highly educated and sophisticated TampaBLAB readers will be able to view this post).

When you go to the frontpage you get nothing. Try it (if you haven't all ready), it's like the Buc's loss this weekend was so depressing it crashed my site.

Anyway, I'm an idiot when it comes to all things technology so the chances I can fix this problem are slim to none. I'm willing to offer one million Best Bucs Points to whomever can help me fix the problems with my site (as always, Best Bucs Points are entirely fictional and can not be redeemed for anything of material value).