Posts tagged ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers’
Coach Gruden may be gone but the Buccaneers continue to collect those quarterbacks.
Sources have confirmed that Byron Leftwich agreed to a two-year deal with the Bucs in which he will compete with Luke McCown, Josh Johnson, and Brian Griese for the starting gig.
The Washington Redskins (?) and the Pittsburgh Steelers were also interested in signing the 6’5 250-pounder but he took the Florida money. Leftwich has not played much since being a first-round draft pick in 2003, but he played very well as Ben Roethlisberger’s back-up last season.
With what the Bucs have, I would guess that Leftwich takes the starting job. I’m not a huge fan of his “wind-up” and extremely slow release, but we’ll see how it works out in Tampa.
Unfortunately in the NFL, like many other sport organizations, teams are forced to part ways with some of their most recognizable players in order to stay under the cap or create more space. Well the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took that to a whole new level, parting ways with a number of key guys.
After firing their head coach Jon Gruden just a few weeks ago, some believed that the team was done with firings. Not so fast. The team released linebacker Derrick Brooks, running back Warrick Dunn, linebacker Cato June, and wide receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard. And if you watch football, or even catch a few short highlights every once in a while, you know who these guys are.
Derrick Brooks is one of the best linebackers in the game today, even at his ripe age of 35. He is an 11-time Pro Bowler and the face of the Tampa Bay franchise. In my opinion, and in many others, Derrick Brooks has enough in the tank to continue to play. He can come in and play, obviously, but he can also bring leadership and veteran experience to any team who is smart enough to give him a three-year deal. Brooks is a first ballot Hall of Famer and it’s tough to see something like this happen to such a great guy. He may very well retire in Tampa Bay.
Warrick Dunn is another awesome guy that has graced us with his talent and his generosity to the community. He has a compelling story and he is one of the most humble guys to ever step foot on a professional football field. Again, it’s tough to see a guy like Warrick Dunn be released. However I am also sure, that out of all players in the NFL, Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn understand that the NFL is a strict and harsh business.
As for Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway, they were both old and probably can’t play with any other teams. Hilliard was good at one point but everybody gets older. Galloway was a stud pick in 1995 but never really got to show his full potential due to injuries, but sh*t happens to everybody. Sorry guys and so long. Cato June, on the other hand, came as a surprise to me. The guy has only been around six years and he’s decent for his position. My guess is that another team picks him up, maybe not as a starter but he’ll contribute.
That NFL, rough stuff.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Jon Gruden yesterday, along with general manager Bruce Allen. The Bucs did a lot to pry Gruden away from Oakland seven years ago and have him coach in Tampa…which seemed like a great move after Gruden’s first season when he won the Super Bowl.
The team that Gruden coached to the Super Bowl was a team that was assembled by their former head coach Tony Dungy, which created arguments about whether Gruden can build a Super Bowl winning team. After that first successful season, Gruden stuck with a plan of drafting poorly and collecting quarterbacks of all ages. In seven seasons in Tampa, Gruden recorded a 60-57 record.
Gruden’s fiery personality and his close resemblence to horror character “Chucky” made for an entertaining and fun-to-watch head coach. However, the Glazers feel like Tampa Bay can be a powerhouse and can consistently win their division. Gruden did not make the moves that would lead to what the Glazers want. Gruden will probably be a hot coaching candidate for many jobs including the Jets, Rams, and OAKLAND!
All of the teams I put in my Lucky Seven last week won except for the DeadSkins. Here’s how I see it going into week 12, hard to believe we’ve come this far:
1.) Tennessee Titans (1) – They are still without a loss and Kerry Collins is doing it without alcohol, I like it. It may not be attractive, it may not get any style points, but the Titans are the real deal. No explanation necessary.
2.) New York Giants (2) – They are so close to moving up to number one on the chart after crushing such a good Baltimore defense. However, they lost to the Browns and the Titans have beaten everyone they’re suppose to. We’ll see when the head-to-head match-up arrives.
3.) Pittsburgh (3) – They won an ugly one in some really tough weather. They were also apart of a game that cost bettors an estimated $66 million, which is why I stopped betting on the NFL. I still don’t think they lost their intensity but Big Ben scares me at times (along with his $27M this year).
4.) Arizona Cardinals (6) – They may not have beaten a great opponent, but they beat the Seahawks that was reasonably staffed. And their offense is just so dominant. The other teams that may have been in this spot had dismal games or just are not yet deserving. Warner is still up for the Heisman and Boldin is the best receiver in the league.
5.) Carolina Panthers (5) – They won a ugly game against Detroit. They did have an absolutely unbeleivable game on the ground, racking up over 200 yards. However, my not-so-favorite Delhomme cannot pass right now to save his life. He had just 98 yards passing and it makes the overall outlook of the Panthers’ offense unknown. I still like the Cards’ over this Panthers team right now.
6.) Washington Redskins (4) – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just a few weeks ago this team looked like it could really make some noise. Then people realized that their offense is the most hilarious thing to watch in all of football besides Al Davis’ reactions to reporters. If defenses lock down Santana Moss (which isn’t all that tough) then this offense is completely flat. Campbell has no protection and the 5-yard passes on 3rd and 12 isn’t going to get it done. The defense is getting turnovers but they have no pressure from their line. Serious issues need to be addressed on both the lines if this team has any hopes of doing anything.
7.) Tampa Bay Bucs (7) – They sit here behind the Skins’ because the Skins’ should still be able to beat these guys. Tampa Bay has been on a pretty solid roll and Jeff Garcia continues to impress the people that thought AARP couldn’t play football. Their receiver situation is a little shakey but I really like their defense and it could take them to the playoffs as a division-winner.
Atlanta may have dropped their game last week but they are destined to win the division, according to the crazy NFC South stat that says the team that finishes last in the division one year is the division winner the next. Ravens are still kind of on my radar but I am looking more at the other purple team, the Vikings. They dropped one but the NFC North is wide open.
I take a little time away from the NFL weekly Power Rankings and some things have certainly changed. Here’s my opinion of the top seven teams in the NFL going into week 11:
1.) Tennessee Titans – They’re on the road to the Super Bowl; who could argue otherwise? Defense is dominant, running attack is balanced, and Kerry Collins controls the football games. My only concern is lack of wide receiver production, a problem that has plagued the organization for the past couple years. However, big-time play from the Titans’ tight ends have made up for the slack.
2.) New York Giants – They’re in the toughest (no arguments allowed) division in football. Their running game is the most balanced in the NFL, even more than the Titans. I don’t like Eli but he finds ways to get the ball to the unexpected. No-name guys are producing for this team and that’s why the Giants will go far. The whole team plays as one unit…minus Plexiglass of course.
3.) Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are a beat up ball club right now and it still doesn’t stop them from being the most physical team in the NFL. Two of Pittsburgh’s key players (Roethlisberger and Parker) are out and they continue to find ways to win. I won’t count out Pittsburgh until they miss the playoffs.
4.) Washington Redskins – They dropped a tough one to Pittsburgh on national television and took it into the bye with them, hopefully they come out with a little more fire. The Skins’ problem is not scoring touchdowns and thinking it’s okay to score field goals. They have a chance to sweep the Cowboys on Sunday night and they need to take advantage of the opportunity. Portis is 50-50 on whether he’ll play Sunday night, and his health could possibly determine the Skins’ future.
5.) Carolina Panthers – Self-explanatory. I may not be a huge supporter of Jake Delhomme but he can definitely sling the football and that’s what seems to work in Carolina. Steve Smith is one of the top receivers in the league and DeAngelo Williams is having a good year on the ground thus far. But what is really winning ball games for the Panthers is their defense. The Carolina defense has given up only 133 points on the year, which is the lowest given up in the NFC. Carolina’s 7-2 record puts them in a prime spot to carve their own path to the playoffs.
6.) Arizona Cardinals – It seems like the Cards’ should be playing in the Big XII rather than the dismal NFC West. Kurt Warner has Heisman-like numbers (Fanzak article) and it looks like their running the spread offense with big receivers on each side. I like the Cardinals to win the division and do some damage in the playoffs using their high-powered offense.
7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa is similar to the Carolina Panthers, and never did I think two teams from the NFC South would make the top seven teams in the league. In fact, the NFC South has proven to be quite a force in the NFL this season. Jeff Garcia is showing that he really isn’t that old and the defense continues to be their strong point. Tampa is a good ball club but they need to keep an eye out for Atlanta who is hot on their tail.
Watch out for teams like the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens. Both have rookie quarterbacks but have found ways to prove the early critics wrong. Atlanta’s offense is on fire right now while the Ravens’ defense continues to be the best in football. The scary part is that Flacco is turning the corner, or so it seems, and the team could possibly be just as good on offense as they are on defense. I also wouldn’t say anything about the Patriots. They have the best coach in the league and they have 98% of the undefeated team from last year.
Not a whole lot changed over the past week that influenced any major changes to the Lucky Seven. In fact, only one team dropped one position and one new team took the place of an old one. Take a look and get ready to see some fireworks around the NFL this week.
1.) Tennessee Titans (1) – This team has to be the most feared team in the NFL right now. They go against the Indianapolis Colts this week in a match up that a lot of people are saying is in the favor of the underdog. Say what you want, I like the Titans entire team.
2.) Pittsburgh Steelers (2) – Smash mouth football is defined when you watch a Steelers game. This team is so physical and their defense is a nasty group of huge guys. I would take the Pittsburgh Steelers over almost anyone in the NFL right now, even without Willie Parker.
3.) New York Giants (3) – They didn’t just beat the 49er’s last week, they shut down the 49er’s last week. Although Frank Gore has been up and down recently, the Giants’ defense put a padlock on his ankles and allowed him to do absolutely nothing (which resulted in a fantasy loss for me). Brandon Jacobs seems to be getting better every week and the Giants haven’t shown any rumble in the tank after dropping a big one to Cleveland. However, these Eli v. Big Ben comparisons are absurd and there is no way that I will convinced that Eli is better than Ben Roethlisberger. Check out the match-up this week when the sack-leading Steelers pressure little Eli ten times more than Cleveland did….then come back and talk about comparisons.
4.) Washington Redskins (4) – It has gone from home team bias to pure truth, the Redskins are a good football team. They have already proven the critics wrong by winning 4+ games and I believe that, if they can get past a Detroit Lions team this week (yes the Detroit Lions), then they can win 7 of their last 8. And the reason I say ‘get past the Lions’ is because, we have yet to see the Skins demolish an opponent who they are actually suppose to demolish. They looked past the Rams and it bit them, lets see how it changes against the worst team in the league.
5.) Tampa Bay (NR) – Wow. The Tampa Bay Bucs have gone from nothin to somethin pretty quick. Jeff Garcia is back and he is certainly doing what we all know he is capable of. The defense is stellar and the Bucs look like the current front-runner in a real toss-up division. Looking at their remaining games, this Bucs team could be on to something pretty special. I’m just guessing, but I would say that the Bucs are going to be favored in the all but maybe two of their last nine games unless something odd were to happen.
6.) Buffalo Bills (5) – They did win a tough game against San Diego last week, but its hard to put them above the Cardinals after the Cardinals have already pounded them three weeks ago, 41-17. Buffalo is a good football team and I think they make it to the playoffs, but their record isn’t all that strong. The only team they have beat thus far worth arguing for is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sure San Diego is a good team, but they have underachieved this year and the Chargers had to make the cross-country leap. Buffalo makes the playoffs, but is possibly the weakest team there.
7.) Arizona Cardinals (6) – I think it’s only fair because they beat two really good teams (BUF and DAL) before going into their bye week. During the bye week they got some rest and brought back some guys, including the crazy-nice Anquan Boldin. I look for the Cardinals to continue their little winning streak on way to capturing the NFC West with a possible record of 9-7 or better.
So last week wasn’t so good, especially the college half. So what’s the easiest fix? Give it another shot. It seems like you would be fine this week if you picked the home team for every game, but watch out for a few games on Sunday. Pay attention to these:
Arizona @ Washington (-3)
Both teams are coming off some pretty nice wins in Week 2, but this is more of a pick ’em game with the edge going to D.C. because it’s played on their turf. The truth is, Washington’s secondary isn’t all that great. The guys going against that secondary are half past great. That match-up alone could prove the outcome of this game. However, the Skins have a lot of confidence this week and they look to shake up Kurt Warner. Andre Carter and Jason Taylor on the ends will mean trouble against a quarterback, Warner, that is 87-years-old with lead in his shoes. Stick with the Skins, 24 – 21
Tampa Bay @ Chicago (-3)
Again, the favorites are do to the homefield. But the Bears are no slouch this year. I have zero confidence in Kyle Orton, but I think he can control the ball. Not to mention that Matt Forte is showing to be the 2008 version of Adrian Peterson. Tampa Bay has a good defense but Derrick Brooks (future HOF) has a hamstring issue and he won’t have the range that he normally does. With Kyle Orton looking to pass to his backs and tight ends often, Brooks might not be able to hold up with their speed this Sunday. The flip side is that Brian Griese knows the Bears defense from when he used to play in Chicago. This will be more of a defensive battle. Take the Bears, 23 – 20
Cleveland @ Baltimore (-2)
People are already labeling the Browns as “busts” for the season, yet their first two opponents could very well be the same teams that are playing in the Super Bowl. So, lay off. The Browns will smack up the Ravens on their home field in Baltimore. Cleveland might not be a Super Bowl team this year, but they can damn sure beat the Flacco-driven Ravens. Who have the Ravens beat this season? The Bengals (two-person applause). The Browns, however, allowed only ten points last week against the Steelers. Stop looking down on the Browns and realize that they will have no problem beating crappy teams. Browns, 23 – 14
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (-3)
I thought Philly’s game last Monday was awesome. Sure they lost, but McNabb looked like himself and that is always exciting. Their defense is never their weak point, but their receivers are. The Steelers, on the other hand, look like a SB contending team. Roethlisberger’s shoulder is banged up, which is not a good thing against someone like Philly. I like both teams, both quarterbacks, both running backs, both defenses, but the Steelers get the edge when it comes to wide receivers. The game will be close, and the Eagles will probably win, but when it comes to betting purposes I would take the upset. Pittsburgh, 20 – 17