The thought was, the Bucs would not be a good team, because there were too many questions.
Well now we have some answers. Not all, but enough to make some assumptions...
Q) The Quarterback position-
A) Byron Leftwich cannot have one critic out there right now. He truly led this team up and down the field with nice passes, and his numbers wou ld have been better if not for some key drops. It is doubtful if Luke McCown would have performed this good had he won the position. It would seem Coach Morris and staff made the right choice. The Bucs can win NOW with Leftwich.
Q) Bucs 4 Horsemen Running Attack
A) Cadillac Williams as the starter brought out all the Naysayers, myself included. I rooted for him, but did not thing he should have been the starter. Again, Coach Morris shows he knows what he is doing. Cadillac dominated the attack from the beginning, and set the pace for the entire game for the Bucs rushing attack. Ward came in the game and produced as well, including as a receiver. Earnest Graham told Coach Morris to keep Cadillac in as he was hot, so his unselfishness is reaching epic proportions! Clifton Smith did not really do much, but he was used on 3rd and long. I imagine the line up will change based on the type of team we play.
Q) Defensive Linemen bringing pressure, supplemented with blitzes, would it be enough?
A) Only Ronde Barber got a sack on the day....however the D Line did bring some pressure. The Cowboys ran well against the Bucs, but there were times linebackers closed in nicely. Book is still open on this.
Q) How will new backers Black and Hayes do?
A) Doesnt feel like we lost because of them. Several big hits were registered by both. They were seen flying around.
Q) New Coaching staff would have a big learning curve..
A) No strategic mistakes were made by the new coaching staff, and it looks as if Coach Morris made the right call on the offense with the removal of Offensive Coordinator. The Bucs rolled up 450 yards of offense, on a very good defense, a 3-4 defense that the Bucs supposedly have trouble against. It remains to be seen what changes, if any, can be made to correct mistakes that resulted in the loss.
Q) How would the new kickers fare?
A) Despite heavy fan criticism, Kicker Mike Nugent has only missed one FG attempt, with the first one blocked due to poor blocking assignment by TE Jeremy Stevens.
Bucs Punter Dirk Johnson also incorrectly has received some criticism, unfairly, as he averaged 41 yards per punt, and pinned two punts inside the Dallas 20 yard line. Dallas only had 2 punts returned for under 5 total yards. Not exactly shabby Punting!
Q) Antonio Bryant we get, But resigning Michael Clayton? for that much?
A) even when it happened I backed up the move, with my movie at the time, "Michael Clayton, Friend or Foe". You can search for it on here from around april of this year.
If we didnt sign him, Seattle was ready to pounce on him. It couldnt have been easy to get benched on opening day, at New Orleans, Your HOme, with about 75 or more family in the stands, and your a SCRATCH! He was in Jon Grudens Doghouse, and it was obvious it had a lot to do with his declining stats. It doesnt really explain the drops, but Clayton showed 2008's improvements were no fluke yesterday, with one of his best days since 2004; His rookie year.
One of the few strengths the Bucs were given credit for, the offensive line, opened nice holes in the running game, and for the most part, gave Leftwich time to throw. Obviously you cant go an entire game keeping your QB clean, but they did keep him off the ground: Leftwich was not sacked once.
Lets take an updated look at the NFL, which we can now judge a little better, without using last year...
@Buffalo- We will see tomorrow, but so far, TO has not scared anyone in preseason. Again, see you tomorrow...
NY Giants- Struggled with a poor washington team. This game is at Home
@ Washington- Not a very good team
@ Philadelphia- McNabb could be hurt, we could see Vick
Carolina x 2- Looks terrible. Delhome finally showing his age!
Patriots- will see tomorrow
Packers- Playing now, but its at home, and they play a 3-4 like Dallas.
@ MIami- They look like a drop off from last year
New Orleans X2- No defense, again. But boy can they score. We better have our D fixed by then!
Atlanta X2- Looked pretty good at home. Could be the class of the division. Still, in 40+ years, theyve never had back to back winning seasons...
NY JETS- looked good today, but rookie QB, by the end of the year....at home....
SEATTLE- beat the rams. Big deal. Last year they won 4 games, and 2 were vs Rams!
So perhaps a 3 or 4 win season is now looking like a little bit on the low end of the possibilities huh? Maybe 6 wins should now be the minimum? Especially after Tanard Jackson gets back?
A) If you dont mind the other teams fans, Games vs Giants, Jets, Packers, should not be blacked out.
If we have an offense that puts up 450 yards a game, we will win some fans back to Raymond James QUICK!