Chad's Corner

Chad Johnson is easily the most entertaining player in the NFL, and has been this site's favorite non-Buc since its creation. In fact, I might like C.J. more than my buddy Plugs who is from Cincinnati and loves the Bengals (and has a man-crush on Carson Palmer). Which is why I was ecstatic when Plugs brought this video clip of C.J. interviewing his teammates, capped off by Chad's conversation with the Bowling Ball that goes bing-bing. (You already know what it means.)

You dig?

On the pop up screen, click on the Sept. 24th "Chad's Corner." Then jump half way through the video to about the 2:20 mark. If anyone knows how to convert this to U-tube, can you help me out?


Little bit more of that

And the Bucs are the third most popular team in the south, behind only the Boys and, oddly enough, the Titans.

This and that

Bunch-O-Shit to catch up on. Simms is out of intensive care but still in the hospital for the next couple of days. Fans can sign a giant get well card at Authentic Team Sports up until Friday.

Shaun King, Tommy Maddox and a bunch of other no-name quarterbacks are in town to try out for the 3rd string. Scott's language is apt, quite apt...the Bucs have a nearly empty quarterback carousel.

My 5 Reasons the Panthers are Better than the Bucs post is up, and well, let's just say it's been a long week to be a Bucs fan. A very long week.

Only Parcells has had a worse week.

T.O. did what? How long until the season is over...


My NFC South Rankings

1. Panthers
2. Falcons
3. Saints
4. Bucs

Official Standings
1. Saints, 3-0
2. Falcons, 2-1
3. Panthers, 1-2
4. Bucs, 0-3

The top rankings are how I think the division will shake out at the end of the year. The Panthers should be much better with Steve Smith back in the fold and the Panthers have pulled themselves out of deeper holes.

The Falcons' achilles heel was finally exposed last night, and I expect teams to start stacking the box and forcing Vick to throw to his receivers (who will then drop the ball). I would move the Saints ahead of the Falcons if the Saints could beat a good team on the road.

Then we have the Bucs. The Bucs have more talent than the Saints, but with Simms out for the rest of the season the Bucs will struggle to win six games. I would like to think Gradkowski is the second coming of Steve Young but I won't hold my breath.


Random thoughts from the Saints-Falcons game

No surprise, much like their first game from last season, the Saints are playing with more emotion than their opponent. The Saints won that game against Carolina, can they do the same against Atlanta?

NO's offense looks pretty vanilla with a couple of trick plays thrown in. It's a system that relies more on the talent than schemes and mismatches. The Saints got lucky to a certain extent that Bush and Brees where available and that Colston turned out to be so good or else this team wouldn't be staring at a 12 loss season (like the Bucs are now).

And as long as I have the opportunity, let me say I thought Houston was nuts to take Mario over Bush. Although in Houston's defense Mario will most likely have a longer career.

This is what happens when you have time to prepare, the Saints are shutting down the Falcons spread offense. And Vick can't throw the ball. Kinda eeiry how accurate my prediction is about how the Falcons can't play from behind.

Deuce McAllister (the north-south runner) is having more success against the Falcons than Bush.

These in-booth interviews might be the worst idea for Monday Night Football since Dennis Miller. Part of what makes Madden and Michaels so good is that they know when to shut up and let the game speak for itself. This version of MNF just feels over-produced much like most of ESPN's products (except Cheap Seats, which is a great show for guys that liked MST3000).

Sweet, Thiesmann just called Bush "Reggie Brown." It's not like Bush has been insanely hyped or is on every other commercial where you would recognize him immeadiately or nothing.

How dependent are the Falcons on the run? On third and five, which is almost always a passing down, the Falcons run a dive.

Theismann continues to impress, he calls Alge "Mr. Clutch" when he catchs a first down on 4 and 1, even though Alge has dropped two touchdown passes in this game.

The Saints are wisely shadowing Vick with a linebacker (Harper) something I didn't see the Bucs do a lot of last week.

Despite what Theissman is trying to sell the Saints defense is not this good (normally at least). Fujita, an outcast from a lowly Chiefs defense might be the Saints best player. Bottom line, the Falcons offense is horrible when they are playing from behind and forced to throw the ball.

Horn seems like he would be a huge asshole in the real world, the kind of guy who would rip one and start laughing when everyone else smelled it.

Remember when USC played Notre Dame last year where the Irish let the grass grow long to slow down the Trojans? I wonder why more NFL teams don't do that. The Saints crappy field is clearly working in their favor seeing as how with the exception of Reggie Bush the Falcons probably have more speed at every position. Is there any reason why the Titans or Texans shouldn't do the same thing to try and equalize the playing field?

Conflicting Emotions

There are seven seconds left in the game. Your team is up by one point. Your 0-2 team is up by one point to a hated division rival.

There are seven seconds left in the game and the bad guys send in their kicker to attempt a 46 yard field goal to win the game.

The bad guys send in the kicker you have playing in your fantasy league to kick a 46 yard field goal.

The kicker in your fantasy league where you are also 0-2.

The kicker in your fantasy league where you are playing for money.

The bastard/hero nails it.

What is the appropriate emotion at this point? Is it too early to start rooting for a really good draft pick? What is the proper reaction when your starting quarterback (who has been sucking it) loses his spleen? Am I supposed to be laughing or crying? I remember reading somewhere (maybe The Sports Guy back when he was still good) that if your team wins a Super Bowl you aren't allowed to complain for five years. 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006... I'll talk more about this in January 2008.

Cross posted on Draft Day Suit

Are the Bucs QBs cursed?

Call it the Curse of the Dilferino, but since Trent Dilfer left in 2000 this team has had five different starting quarterbacks, and that number is likely to increase to six with Chris Simms injury. Thanks heavens, all reports are that Simms should be fine but his season could be over especially if the Bucs are out of contention. Here are the quarterbacks who could possibly make a start next week with their chances of doing so.

Bruce Gradkowski: The sixth round rookie looked good at times during the preseason and moved up the depth chart past Tim Rattay. But he's still a rookie and neither the defense nor running game has looked good enough to make his transition easier.

Chances to start: 55%

Tim Rattay: Rattay, who was added after Griese went down with an injury in week 6, has the most experience in Gruden's offense after Simms. He also looked bad in the preseason.

Chances to start: 30%

Rich Gannon: He is obviously familiar with Gruden's offense, and I would be surprised if Gruden hadn't already thought about giving him a call. The only question is can Gruden lure him out of retirement?

Chance to start: 9%

Jay Fiedler: Fiedler has a good deal of starting experience but he has also been suffering from an injured shoulder. Fiedler was with the Bucs during training camp but was cut because his shoulder injury was slow to heal.

Chances to start: 5%

Other: The Bucs could trade for Brett Favre, they could sign Jeff George, with two weeks to go before their next game against the Saints Gruden and Bruce Allen has a good deal of time to make a decision.

Chances to start: 1%

Whoever earns the start it is too early to write off the Bucs season, although I tend to agree with BH, it's gonna be a long season.

Update: Pro Football Talk is already questioning Simms toughness playing with a ruptured spleen.

Update #2: Grads has been named the starter for the next game.


Best Bucs Gameday Post



My Sticks Preview is here (strike that, Sticks site appears to be down). My Fanhouse Preview is here.

The Times has an interesting quote from Keyshawn who apparently believes if he had not been deactivated the Bucs could have won a second Super Bowl.

"It would've been nice to win two (Super Bowls) in a row," Johnson said. "I felt we had the team to do it. I felt had I not been deactivated, we were right there and would've made the playoffs. We could've snuck in the backdoor. It wouldn't have been easy, but we would've done it."
Random note: Martin Gramatica is kicking for the Colts today in replacement of an injured Vinatieri.

Injuries: Bucs,
Davinh Joseph
Brian Kelly

Dan Morgan

Note: I am at the girlfriend's in Richmond, and since she doesn't have Sunday Ticket (what kind of girlfriend is she?) I won't be able to catch the game until I get home to watch it on DVR.

Final Score: Panthers 26, Bucs 24

My Fanhouse quick recap is up.

And more bad news for Bucs fans, Simms has been hospitalized and his spleen has been removed. Little news has been released so far but it typically takes 4-6 weeks to recover from surgery to remove a ruptured spleen.

Over the next couple of weeks where all going to learn a lot more about ruptured spleens and splenectomy (the surgery to remove the spleen). Here is some info I've been able to find...
Spleen injuries dangerous but common (ESPN)
Ruptured spleen can take 7-8 weeks to recover from (Clemson)

Peter King says he spoke to 2 doctors who said it would take 2-3 months to recover.

The St Pete Times has been updating their Bucs beat blog all night. Apparently there is a four point scale when grading spleen injuries.


Bush at practice, Kaufman perpuating rumors

Couple things to cover, when not challenging Pittman to arm wrestling contests or showing Simms how to throw the ball, President Bush was talking to players at the Bucs practice today.

Ira Kaufman appears to be spreading rumors about Steve Smith. I've gone on my rant about Pro Football Talk before so I'll save my venom for Kaufman. The local reporters and columnists are pretty atrocious for the most part but you would have figured Kaufman would know better than to report a rumor, especially one that is impossible to substantiate. Smith can make for an easy target, but it's just mean to kick a man when he's already down.

More bad news injury wise, Simeon Rice hurt his knee in practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. He joins Brian Kelly, Booger, Chris Hovan, Ryan Nece and Davin Joseph on the injury list.


Give me an R!

Give me an R! Give me another R! What's that spell? ARRRRRRRGH!!! Avast matey, today be talk like a pirate day, so in honor of buccaneers from all seven seas I bring you my favorite gameday chant.

Before I get to the most overlooked story from the Bucs game, I have two Fanhouse posts to pimp. The first is my long game review and the second is 5 Reasons the Falcons are better than the Bucs. I might just work in a herpes simplex joke in there.

You wouldn't know it from reading any of the Falcons blogs but Atlanta unveiled a new offense, finally abandoning the west coast offense. Instead they are running more of a spread option offense, lining up Vick in the shotgun with Dunn next to him and allowing Vick to read the defense. The Falcons offense caught the Bucs by surprise, and kept them off balance while gaining 99 yards rushing from the shotgun. Braves and Birds has the best take on the Falcons I've seen so far...

I was very happy to see the Falcons do what I and most fans with a passing knowledge of college football wanted them to try: running zone read plays. The personnel fits the play perfectly. It was great fun watching Vick and Dunn repeatedly break big gains on the play that Texas rode to a national title and West Virginia rode to the best season in school history. Eventually, Tampa figured the play out and started blitzing on the weak side of the play to stop Vick from breaking outside, but it seems likely that the Falcons have (or will put in) a countermeasure, probably a pass play to the outside to take advantage of that sort of blitz.

It also makes sense for Atlanta to throw more deep balls as defenses start stacking eight or nine men in the box. Vick threw only two deep passes on Sunday, both to Lelie, who will be the target of most of Vick's bombs. Vick is still not good enough to complete more than 55% of his passes so the Falcons will be screwed if they have to play from behind, but as long as the Falcons offensive coaches are creative the Falcons should be competitive. Although I will add the caveat that the offense will fall apart if they have to play a hard-hitting defense a la the Steelers or Jaguars.


Bring in Major Applewhite!

Well, it's started. John's prediction has come true and Buccaneer Fandom is beginning to demand that backup quarterback Gradkowski be promoted to starter. Never mind Grads is a sixth round rookie who looked spotty in the preseason.

For the record, I say stay with Simms unless the Bucs are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. In which case Simms first born should be sacrificed to The Spirit of Vince Lombardi to make appeasement for Simm's transgressions.

0 - 2

0 - 2 doesn't even begin to cover how bad it has really been. As Gabe likes to say, watching the game yesterday was like watching a series of slow motion train wrecks.

I can't take much more of this.
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Just promise me next week will be better. Oh wait, we play Carolina? I think I am going to be sick.


The Best Bucs Gameday thread

Two previews for you to read, I have one up at the Sticks and one at the Fanhouse.

John Abraham is out.

UPDATE: My recap is up at the Fanhouse. Let's just say I'm not happy with Gruden or Simms.


Since everyone's talking about it...

Cadillac Williams is suffering from back spasms but will play tomorrow.

It's anybodies guess how much the back spasms are affecting the normally taciturn Cadillac. Last season Cadillac failed to tell his coaches how much the foot/ankle injury was bothering him, leading Gruden to run Cadillac more times than he should have. Which means Gruden will have a tough balancing act tomorrow, the Bucs have relied on Cadillac to beat the Falcons before but they also don't want to re-aggravate his injury.


Is Clayton Back? (and other catching up)

Ok, I had a whole post written up before it disappeared into the nothingness of Blogger so I'm going with the condensed version here. First off, I have a post up a the Fanhouse which basically says Clayton will outgain Galloway this season. Since I'm basing my post on a one game sample size I'm sure there are no holes in my argument.

Also at the Fanhouse, I lost a wager to the Ravens blogger and since the Bucs got their asses kicked I had to post 5 reasons the Ravens are the better team. And since I'm pissing off Ravens fans I must be doing something right.

I'm not sure who's to blame (the illegals) but this site has not given much love to Buccaneer Harbour. Despite my negligence BH has a good breakdown of the Ravens game.

Finally an injury report...
Cadillac: strained back, should play Sunday.
Davin Joseph: out until October with knee.
Buenning: returned to practice.
Quarles: will be back for the Falcons game.


Pleased to Meet You

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know me from the comments section. Ski has been kind enough to ask me to join up here on Best Bucs Blog.

My name is Sarah. I grew up in Tampa and lived there again for seven years after college. I recently relocated to the D.C. area* where people for some odd reason seem to actually like The Redskins. (I know, I don't get it either.) There are four people living in my house and we collectively own eleven Bucs jerseys, five of which are size 4T or smaller. We're fans.

I want to keep this fairly brief, because I don't think there is much I can say about the "game" yesterday without using a lot of very bad words, and I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. Here is what I will say - Cadillac Williams was my first pick in my fantasy football draft. I was not pleased.

But it could be worse - I could have played Chris Simms.

Stupid Ravens.

Anyway, come visit me at my regular haunts and say hi. I'll be around.

*Did I mention that the Bucs play both of the teams that I can easily get tickets to this season and BOTH games are in Tampa? I think the NFL scheduling committee hates me.

It's just one game

I keep telling myself that. No week is more atypical of a team's performance than the first week. That being written, if this game is a microcosm of the Bucs season then it's gonna be a long one.

Joe Montana would look like Ryan Leaf behind the Bucs offensive line yesterday. Simms was constantly being pressured and the Ravens defense didn't let him get into a groove. The interior of the Bucs o-line looked especially bad, and had difficulty picking up the blitz. In the words of the Captain, "what we have here is a failure to communicate."

The offense flat out looked scared of the Ravens defense. On one play Joey Galloway dropped an easy catch because he he took his eyes off the ball to look for Ravens defenders. It just seemed like the Bucs offense tried to do to much, but instead of hitting the home run they struck out.

On the flip side the defense looked good even with Ruud in for an injured Quarles. McNair did what you expected him to, buy time with his feet and find open receivers. For a team that has had so much success against Vick the Bucs failed to contain McNair. The defense will be top ten this year but they are not so dominant they can win games by themselves. Simms and company need to pick it up.


Well that was embarrassing

Ravens 27, Bucs 0. I need some time to digest this loss, will get my thoughts out later.

Again, ouch.

So apparently some football is being played today

And just in time I have my game day preview up at the AOL Fanhouse. If I can ever figure out WordPress I should have my second preview up at the Sticks.

Boston has been released to make room for offensive lineman Scott Jackson. It sounds like Boston will be resigned when the offensive line heals up.


Third string, first love

Preseason football action each year brings several routines that I have come accustomed to... You've got the two-a-days, you've got the head coach raving about players to no end, you've got the heat, the humidity, and you usually get the most loyal of the fans in attendance at training camp sessions along with preseason games. The opponents number one offense tends to play more possessions in an attempt to score against 2nd stringers in the Buccaneer defense (and sometimes, they can't score until they face the Bucs 3rd string D)... Oh, and Tampa Bay media and fans playing up their 3rd string quarterback as if he is the second coming of Christ.

Buccaneer fans tend to be extra sensitive about their quarterback and his abilities - they need him to be all world, all of the time and anything less than spectacular is a disappointment. It's as if there is an expectation that the QB must be a college/high-school throwback: doing it all on offense and doing it amazingly at that.

And every preseason, the Buccaneer faithful see this accomplished by a benchwarmer or rookie trying to make the roster. After they see it, they're no longer content with the defacto 1st stringer.

Gary Shelton decided to address the passing-fancy that the Buc faithful have towards their QB's -- it was accompanied in the print edition with a picture of Bruce Gradkowski who has had a nice preseason and has won the crowd over by his gamesmanship against backup defensive players while surround by the 2nd and 3rd string offense.

The Gradkowski hype -- and I don't use that term to play down Bruce's abilities as-so-much the fan and media's expectations of the guy -- is overblown. It's the yearly right-of-passage for the Bucs. Chris Simms earned this preseason wonderkind accolades during his rookie year. Before him came the likes of Shaun King and Scott Milanovich along with various names that I've long since forgotten except for how much they won over the crowd.

Suffice it to say, I'm happy preseason is over but I'm shaking my head because I know what's going to happen next: The minute Chris Simms stumbles, or the Bucs offense has a shaky game (no matter if it's a win or a loss), a portion of the fan-base will call for Chris' immediate ouster in favor of Bruce. Gradkowski has won hearts and minds by performing well against backups during late summer scrimmages that amount to nothing once the season starts. He's the "it" man of the moment and yet he's the next likely casualty of fans lofty QB expectations.


Can't we all just get along?

First, my secondary preview is up at the AOL Fanhouse. The Bucs corners look solid but how reliable will the safeties be this year?

The Bucs and the Tampa Sports Authority are going at it again. First it was over who was going to pay for extra security at Raymond James, now it's over who gets the $12 million originally designated for the new training facility. Since the Glazers spent their own money for the training facility, TSA is demanding that the voter approved $12 million is their's to spend. The Glazers say the money was approved for their use and should remain in their back account. Much like the extar security costs this dilemma will most likely have to be solved by the courts.


A couple of quick updates

It looks like Davin Joseph and most likely Dan Buenning will miss the season opener. Bummer but neither injury sounds serious....so far.

BucStats was/is correct, first round bust Charles Rogers worked out for the Bucs yesterday. Unless the Bucs lose two or three receivers its hard seeing Allen offering Rogers a contract.

Jamal Lewis is questionable for the Ravens game against the Bucs and even if he does play will not lack any kind of a burst. Kinda glad I dropped Lewis in my keeper fantasy league.

Also, Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden is worried that Simeon Rice might make Ogden his bitch. There's no need to worry Ogden, it will definitely happen.

Finally, I have a little wager going with Eric from Off Wing Opinion, who is the Ravens blogger for AOL Fanhouse, if the Bucs win Eric has to write 5 reasons why the Bucs are superior to the Ravens. I'm not going to even mention what I have to do if the Bucs lose.

Super Bowl predictions and other useless information

First off, go check out my list of least sexy NFL teams at the AOL Fanhouse. The Bucs come in second in my highly official ranking of which teams have gotten little to no love going into the season. Which team takes the top spot?

My Sure-to-be-wrong Super Bowl prediction:
Long time readers of this blog will remember my uncanny ability to incorrectly pick every game in the postseason. I'm the George Castanza of NFL Pick'em, I'm always wrong. Which means the next two teams have zero chance of making the Super Bowl.

AFC: Cincinnati Bengals

This pick is partly fueled by my man love for Chad Johnson, the next great showman of the NFL, but the Bengals have everything you're looking for in a great team. The offense was already one of the best in the NFL and is only going to get better. The defense is still young but Marvin Lewis' hallmark has typically been defense, so the Bengals should be better on both sides of the ball.

The biggest roadblock for the Bengals is not Carson Palmer's health but the teams mental condition. If the team comes out satisfied with its performance from last season, they are going to rack up the losses early in the season. But if they come out with a chip on their shoulder then they should easily repeat as division champs.

NFC: Chicago Bears

A bunch of idiots have been knocking Sexy Rexy, citing him as the reason the Bears don't stand a chance come playoff time. How quickly people forget that the Bears offense put up 21 points in the playoff loss to the Panthers, and that the vaunted Bears defense lost the game for Chicago. With the exception of the Pats, the last couple of teams that have won the Super Bowl have had crappy quarterbacks (Roethlisberger, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer). A defense and a solid running game are more important than quarterback play.

The biggest question mark surrounding the Bears is whether their head coach has the balls to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Lovie Smith is a defensive guy, so it's a bit of a red flag that the Bears defense played so poorly against Carolina. But I'm going to give the former Buc coach a mulligan in his first playoff game.

Anyway, those are my picks for Super Bowl XLI. Who are your picks to play in Miami on Feb 4th?


Loyalty, where is it Tampa Bay?

Bizjournals.com has released an interesting study which ranks the Bucs 23rd in terms of fan loyalty. If I can find a hole in the study they seem to give a lot of weight to cold weather teams. The only warm weather team which even cracks the top ten is Dallas. After all, is it really the Bucs fault that the citizens of Tampa Bay can go to Clearwater Beach, Busch Gardens or Mons Venus instead of the game?

And a big thanks to Tommy at Sticks of Fire for the heads up.

Best Bucs Preview

My season preview is up at the AOL site, along with all of the other 31 team previews.

The Bucs are the Adrien Brody of the NFL. Both were rarely watched during their early years. Both have been overlooked for their more star-studded counterparts despite consistent strong performances. The Bucs and Brody even won their profession's top awards in the same year (Lombardi Trophy and Oscar for Best Actor respectively). But unlike Hollywoodland the Bucs are not garnering the type of accolades you would expect from a defending division champ returning 21 starters from last season.

And synching in nicely with my preview, the Panthers have garnered 67% of the vote in the division champ poll on AOL. The Bucs come up short with 15%, narrowly edging out the Falcons with 13%.

My quarterback preview is up as well. Find out which quarterback I think should start this season.


Boston makes roster, I eat crow

If Gruden had not said he was praying for Boston to make the roster (WTF?) then this move would have come as more of a surprise. Although Boston was a workout warrior in training camp, come game time he disappeared and he showed absolutely no reason for Gruden to keep him until the last exhibition game. But come Saturday, Edell Shepherd was cut and Boston was on the final roster.

To be honest I was rooting against Boston making the roster, not so much because I despised Boston but because I wanted to see Shepherd redeem himself. There's a fine line between hero and scape goat and for Shepherd that line was holding onto the ball for one more second. And while everyone remembers the dropped touchdown in the 'Skins game few people remember that Shepherd was wide open in the endzone the next play only to be overthrown by Simms. Here's hoping Shepherd can find some measure of redemption playing in Houston for the Texans.