It's Week 13

....so all the Falcons bloggers must have given up on their team.

Falcons Daily hasn't posted in a month. And his last post is on how Vick has attained greatness.

The Falcons are now tied for first place in the south with both the Bucs and the Panties lookin bad. If #7 continues to play like this, the south could be a cake walk to the finish for our Falcons. We can't let up though, the Lions game is big, so lets make it happen.

How'd that Lions game work out again?

Let's take a look at the misnamed Vick for MVP blog, or let's not since it hasn't been updated since the Bucs game in week two.

In fact, the only Atlanta blog to even take any kind of a look at the train wreck that is the Falcons is Birds and Braves, which is typically too wrapped up in college football to even acknowledge the pros. Although Michael's last post on the Falcons sheds more light on the team than the two above blogs can ever hope to do.


He was ours first

When it comes to Martin I feel like a proud parent. Actually strike that, I'm thoroughly embarrassed he was ours first. Martin is like the kid who was the teacher's pet in high school, got good grades, then went off to college where his grades started slipping and started listening to Marilyn Manson (or whatever it is the kids listen to these days). Now he's transfering from college trying to find the major that is right for him.

Surprisingly the Cowboys will only be Martin's third team (I could have sworn it was more). Which means Dallas is about go through the Martin Experience. It begins with a couple of impressive kicking perfomances, followed by a few of the ugliest tackling attempts you have ever seen and ends with the entire fan base calling for Martin's head on a pike.

Enjoy the Martin Experience Cowboys fans.


Revisiting the Thanksgiving Day Massacre

With the exception of the Bucs game (more on that later), one could not have asked for a more relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. There is nothing like mocking my friends who are heading home to Jersey and Ohio for the holidays. Instead of spending my Thanksgiving inside huddling for warmth, I was outside playing disc golf (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite pseudo-sports, up there with beer pong and bowling). I played two courses for the first time, Cliff Stephens in Clearwater and Maximo in St Pete. I thoroughly enjoyed both courses (with a slight edge to Maximo) although I was surprised by the number of former Deadheads who took the sport seriously. It seemed like every other person on the course, despite not owning a shirt, had a golf push cart converted into a frisbee carrier.

Switching gears, there's not a whole lot to say about the Bucs loss that hasn't already been written by Buccaneer Harbour. Gradkowski is not the answer at quarterback that I hap hoped for seven weeks ago. Bruce has misfired on most of his deep passes and has ten turnovers in four weeks. Simms will be a free agent in the offseason and Bruce Allen will be under a lot of pressure to resign him. Simms makes plenty of mistakes but at least he gives you the big plays. Unlike Buccaneer Harbor, I don't think bringing Favre in is an option.

At least when the Bucs are strugggggling, there is always Vick to make fun of. Much like I predicted at the beginning of the season the Falcons are falling apart (although that's not exactly going out on a limb on my part). For all the talk about how much of a warrior and a leader Vick is, do you Tom Brady or Peyton Manning would give their own fans the one finger salute? You stay classy Vick.


Best Bucs Gameday Thread: Thanksgiving Edition

It's a special Thanksgiving edition of the Gameday Thread. Which is essentially an excuse for me to post pictures of bacon-wrapped Turducken, which might be on the of the greatest inventions of mankind along with the wheel and BBQ sauce. Just remember, everything's better with bacon.

You can find my Sticks preview here, and my Fanhouse preview here.

At stake in today's game, the highly coveted Galloping Gobbler. How is this better than six-legged Turducken? Now maybe if you added bacon to the trophy it would be better.

Perfect timing, just as I finish dinner the game is about to start. And the Bucs are not wearing their retro jerseys. I knew there was a 99% chance this would not happen, but still, it would be cool if they did.

Two ugly deep balls by Grads, Simms will definitely be the starter next season.

Two mistakes by the Bucs on the second Dallas touchdown. First mistake, they should have stacked a man on top of Glenn instead of giving him a 10 yard cushion on the goal line. Second, they should have called for an instant replay, Glenn was a foot short on the end zone.

Make that three underthrown deep balls by Grads.


Savoring my opponents sweet tears of failure

You know what my favorite episode of South Park is, the one where Cartman tricks the kid into eating his parents. In a final act of revenge Cartman has the Scot Tenorman's parents killed, then Cartman grinds them up into chili which he serves to Scot Tenorman. In a final coup de grace Radiohead mocks Scot Tenorman for crying while Cartman savors his opponents sweet tears.

Jack Kogod, aka Unsilent Majority from the transcendent Kissing Suzy Kolber, was good enough to fulfill his end of the wager, giving us Five Reasons the Bucs are Better than the Skins.

Well I lost the hell out of that bet, and now I have to come up with five reasons the putrid Bucs are better than the resplendent Skins. Clearly I've picked the wrong week to quit absinthe. Let's get on with the subjugation.

Read on if you enjoy your opponent's humiliation as much as I do.


Under the Magnifying Glass: NFC South Playoff Race

It's week 11 of the NFL schedule which is typically about the time pundits and forecasters alike turn their collective attentions to the playoffs. After the vastly superior AFC West the best division is the NFC South, sporting 3 teams with a .500 record or better. And considering how mediocre the NFC is this season there is a good chance the top three teams from the division could make it in the playoffs, especially since the NFC South has already played more than half their intra-divisional games. Let's take a gander at the playoff chances for each team.

Bucs- As GNorb pointed out before the Bucs cooooooould win their next six games and finish 9-7. But I think we're more likely to see a Michael Richards comedy special on BET than the Bucs in the playoffs. Although they could play the role of spoiler if they can get a few wins.

Falcons- I would love to say the Falcons look set to fall apart except they already are falling apart. Although one of my guilty pleasures is watching Falcons fans justify Vick's play at quarterback. As though the 20 yard run justifies the three or four boneheaded plays he makes. People forget Drew Brees was drafted the same year as Vick and has since adjusted to the pro game. And more than anything else when Vick and DeAngelo are their leaders you know the team will be in trouble when things get difficult and it's easier to quit than tough it out. So yeah, I don't think the Falcons make the playoffs.

Saints- Speaking of Brees, if he can make the Saints a contender does that make him a top five quarterback? My top four would be Brady, Peyton, Palmer, McNabb. I think Brees has earned his way into the top five. I keep wondering how long the Saints can go on borrowed time, they just don't have much talent on the defense and their best receiver/tightend could be gone for awhile. They still haven't beaten a team with a winning record, and they are entering the toughest part of their schedule. But if the Saints go 3-3 down the home stretch they would finish 9-7 which is good enough to get into the playoffs out of the NFC. Saints will lose in the first round though.

Panthers- People are sleeping on this team big time. The Panthers ALWAYS finish the season strong, and they have a soft schedule down the home strech to boot. You heard it here first, with DeAngelo Williams back from injury Fox will gradually center the offense around Williams, using the run to set up the pass. Which is exactly what the Panthers did during their Super Bowl run.

Once the Panthers get to the playoffs they only have to worry about two teams, Cowboys and Bears. If they get lucky they'll only have to face one of them hopefully the Bears since Panthers apparently own the blueprint for beating Chicago in Chicago. If the Delhomme-Stevie Smith connection gets hot come January the Panthers will be the most dangerous team in the NFC.


You Lose Some, You Win Some, You Lose Some You Win

Living outside of D.C. I don't get to catch many Bucs games anymore. I was down here in Tampa for Thanksgiving and ironically I was able to make it to the see the Bucs play the Redskins.

The game itself wasn't a barnburner, but the weather was gorgeous.

It must have been about 70 degrees and the skies were clear. I mean it. I looked around and there was exactly one cloud.

I have to say, I was amazed at how many Skins fans were there. Those Washington people travel well (heh). They weren't shy either they were rooting loud for their team, even when we the people around us heckled them.

Don't let the 20-17 score fool you. It really wasn't a close game. I don't remember being worried about losing anytime after the first quarter.

The good news is that I got plenty of time to play with my new camera. (Not
bad, eh?) Oh, and also that I finally got some decent fantasy points out of Cadillac.

The bad news (as the people in the stands near me pointed out repeatedly) is that this game was really about who got the better draft pick.


Congratulations Mr. Brooks

Lost in yesterday's game is that it was Derrick Brooks 183rd consecutive start for the Bucs. Brooks ties a franchise record set by Paul Gruber, who would be a lock for the Hall of Fame if had played on some better teams (Gruber not Brooks). Brooks will likely set the record with a start against the Cowboys on Thursday.

Ronde Barber also has a chance to set a Buccaneer record if he intercepts one more pass. Barber currently has 31 interceptions.

One Buc who will definitely not break any records this season is Simeon Rice. Before his injury Rice had a shot at setting the franchise sack record for the Bucs, which is held by Buc Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon (78.5). Rice currently has 69.5 sacks in a Bucs uniform, but there is the possibility that Rice will not get the chance to improve on that mark. Unless Rice agrees to lower his team-high cap figure there is a good chance Rice will be cut.


Best Bucs Gameday Thread

Two previews for your enjoyment, Fanhouse here, and Sticks here. All my Virginian/DC readers will recognize a theme in both posts. A hint for all you Floridians, Macaca is the key word.

Ode On A Floridian Run(-ner), Earnest the Poet. Yet another reason to like the former Gator back.

Another hint, the father of the man below coached the Skins. His brother is the Bucs GM.

Game Recap: Memo to Gruden, this is what happens when you commit to the running game. Cadillac, 122 yards. Alstott 28 yards, Pittman 17 yards. Alstott did an excellent job of softening the defense for Cadillac, and Pittman stepped in when Cadillac needed a breather. It's no coincedence that Grads had a strong game (178 yards, 2 TDs, 1 int).

To recap the recap, a strong rushing attack makes things easier for the rookie quarterback.

Walking Wounded: Good news and bad news for the upcoming Turkeyday Game. The bad news first, Alex Smith tweaked his right ankle and could miss the Dallas game. The good news, Juran Bolden also injured his ankle and could be unable to play on Thursday, which would allow rookie Zemaitis to see his first extended game time of the season.


5 Questions with the 'Skins

Here at the Best Bucs Blog we are all to happy to preach the greatness of Gruden and company (this season not with standing) to our opponents. Which is why we were all to happy to answer five questions about our Beloved Bucs for the Curly R. And in the interest of fair and balanced reporting we had five questions for these Skins fans.

1. Do you think it is time for Joe Gibbs to retire (again), or do you think that given more time he can bring the Skins back to glory?

Short answer: Gibbs cannot, simply by just being there, return the team to glory. Many Redskins fans can't accept this.

I think the question of whether Gibbs should retire is irrelevant because I don't think that Gibbs is the problem with this team. What the Redskins need most is for Dan Snyder to stop playing Fantasy Football each offseason by trading away all the team's draft picks for mercenary free agents. The best teams in the NFL grow together as a core of players, each drafted in consecutive years, coalesces to form a great unit. Think of Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh of the Bengals. Those guys have been running routes with each other for four years now. The Redskins have a different QB or receivers almost every year, so the continuity never develops. The problem isn't limited to QB and WR, either...it's all 11 guys on both sides of the ball. All Gibbs can do is make the best of what he's given.
2. With Portis out for the rest of the year do you think that Betts and Duckett can get the job done, or do you feel like the season is over?

Absolutely! In fact, I think Betts has been one of the few bright spots for the team this year. He's having a terrific season, 600 total yards rushing and receiving and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He's a playmaker that can break open a great run or catch a key pass in the flat. Duckett has received almost zero PT this season, causing many of us to speculate that the Skins traded for him merely to keep other teams from getting him. Ironically, Duckett was acquired as insurance against Clinton Portis's original injury in the preseason that caused him to miss time. Now that Portis is out, the Duckett trade is looking pretty good. He was always solid on third down and at the goal line for the Falcons. The Skins might as well use him while they can.

3. Is there a reason your most famous fans dress up in dresses and wear pig noses? And did Chief Zee ever get tickets from Dan Snyder?
Yes, there is, and it's a very good reason at that. The Hogettes started in 1983 as a way to raise money for sick kids in Children's Hospitals at the Redskins games. You can read the whole history on the Hogettes' web site. It's a pretty cool story.

Alas, I do not know the fate of Chief Zee. Anyone have an update for us?

4. Who is taller, Snyder or Tom Cruise? And who would win in an octagon, Ultimate Fighting Matchup?

Numerous sources list Cruise's height as 5'7" so I'd have to assume that Snyder is taller. All things being equal, Cruise would handily win the Ultimate Fighting Matchup, but Snyder would be likely to simply hire Chuck Norris to whip Cruise's ass on the Redskins owner's behalf.

5. What EXACTLY does Gibbs do, besides (to steal a line from Kornheiser) give press conferences and hand out free tickets to Six Flags?

LOL...I have wondered this exact same thing aloud all season long. Gibbs is flanked by two "Associate Head Coaches" that could easily be hired as head coaches elsewhere in the NFL. Al Saunders and Gregg Williams take care of all the play calling. As far as I can tell, Gibbs's job is prevent a wholesale fan defection by reminding Redskins fans of the good old days. He seems to have somewhat of a Dick Cheney-type role, taking all the heat for his organization's abject failure in order to distract people from the utter failure of his boss. But again, it's not about Gibbs...in football, it's never just about one guy.


Ronde Ties Buc Record

I over looked this last night but Ronde Barber recorded his 31st career interception tying him with Donnie Abraham all time. The above picture is fitting in so many ways, thie first being the juxtaposition of Ronde and Brooks, two of the original cornerstones of a Once Great Defense. One man has seen his star rise this season, while the former has been largely absent from the ink sheets.

While the decsion to keep Ronde around for another couple of years looks like it will pay off, would it be wise to bring in a replacement for Brooks in the offseason? I love Brooks but he has relied on his speed (whereas Ronde has always seen his speed as an obstacle to be overcome). Can Brooks learn to play half a step slower, and more importantly, can the defense learn to play with a Brooks who has lost an extra gear?

The Ravens overcame the same problem with Ray Lewis by surrounding him with talent to cover up his deficiencies. Could the same solution work for the Bucs?


Best Bucs Monday Night Thread

BREAKING NEWS (and a bit of good news at that)- Jason Campbell will make his first start for the Skins next week in replacement of Mark Brunell against the Bucs.

Two Previews for your perusement: Sticks and Fanhouse.

Also, 3 starters on the defense in addition to Brian Kelly are out for tonight's game.

I will not be liveblogging this game but you can find a liveblog at the Fanhouse here. Dave, the Panthers blogger, has a live blog here.

Halftime Update: Theismann is actually making some sense, good play calling by Gruden (and by Kiffin on the defensive side) but Grads is holding the offense back from at least ten more points. As I have previously pointed out Grads has struggled throwing the deep ball. Ike Hilliard must be upset about USC's BCS ranking cause he's having his best game as a Buc. Ronde Barber and the play calling are the reasons the Bucs are in this game.

Final Score: Bucs 10, Panthers 24
Panthers win the Puke Bowl, and keep their playoff chances alive. Bucs lose and look like a lock for a top five pick.

Random Side Note: How much must it suck to be the Official Bucs photographer right now? The Tampa Bay Organizatiom, following much the same guidelines established by China and North Korea, only posts flaterring pictures on its website. Because if you don't post negative pictures then maybe the fanbase won't realize your team blows....


Two weeks later and the Bucs still suck

I have a bit of a mea culpa on my part, I have been absent from the internets the past two weeks to the point that I was a few days away from being canned from the AOL gig. But with election day coming and going (you might have seen me outside a polling station in Great Falls yesterday) I should finally be able to go back to wasting my time blogging. So for the record, that's a victory for me and another victory for you.

I was able to find the time to watch the Second Saints Debacle although to be honest I spent more time trying to figure out if our cute (but not hot) waitress was Russian or Irish. Again, for the record, she was Russian.

The game reaffirms my belief that Colston has been as valuable (if not more so) than Reggie Bush. And I don't think Colston is a flash in the pan since he's relied on good route running and using his body to get position. He's not one of these quick, undisciplined receivers (i.e Santonio Holmes or Donte Stallworth) who have become the soup de jour.

Like minds may disagree but Grads is not the answer at quarterback. He makes good decision with the ball, and is mobile enough to move the chains on third down but he struggles throwing the deep ball (although I did miss large portions of the Saints game so I may have missed something here). Grads is essentially a Shaun King with better decision making.

Is Cadillac injured or has Gruden completely abandoned the running game? 12 carries for the Caddy last weekend. 8 the week before in the loss to the Giants. In the Bucs two wins Caddy had 23 and 19 carries.

And I haven't even touched on the pitiful state of the once mighty defense. Over the next couple of days I should have plenty of posts on here and the Fanhouse (and the Sticks!) including 5 Reasons the Saints are Better than the Bucs, the Midseason Report and a preview of the Bucs Monday Night game against the Panthers.