Well, I am now officially a Tampa resident. After much searching, my wife and I found the right place and moved in last weekend. (Less than 15 minutes from Ray Jay + affordable ticket prices = farmer's sunburn in the 300 level for me a few times this year. Weeee!!!) As such, I haven't had internet access for over a week and didn't get to see anything but highlights from Sunday's win over the Packers (although I enjoyed a good part of Gene's call of the game). That said, after the first 4 games of the season, the Bucs are where we hoped they'd be: in first place.
Some random thoughts:
- Matt Bryant, may your family receive many blessings down the road. Our prayers are with you. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child.
- Barrett Ruud showed yet again that he's as talented and versatile a LB as you'll find. He's a headhunter/cannibal and capable of dropping into coverage on a tight end or back to pick a ball. If Barrett Ruud were a wrestler, I'd call his finishing move the "Ruud Awakening."
- I likies me some Antonio Bryant opposite Ike. Now if only Griese could get the ball downfield to him beyond the 15-20 yard range... sigh. Seriously, I would like to see them take more shots down the field.
- K... they talked all week on TV and the radio about the genius move that was splitting Jerramy Stevens (Mr. "6'7"" runs-like-a-wide-receiver TE... or so the pundits keep saying) out wide in a tight formation, matching him up on a mini-me CB and exploiting that matchup. From what I heard they didn't go back to it much last week, if at all. He didn't have a catch. Take. Advantage. Of. That. Talent. Stevens should have a catch every friggin game, especially where the Bucs dink and dunk in the 5-15 yard range on almost every pass. Move him around. Get him looks against a strongside backer or strong safety and go to work.
- Warrick Dunn has found the fountain of youth. Maybe I should follow him from the stadium and bottle that water for sale. When he gets the ball on a swing or screen pass, I put my hands together like that old guy on the Simpsons and giggle, watching him collect jocks on the way to a 24 yard gain. He's one of the biggest surprises of the year so far and has given the offense a nice change of pace. If the ends or LBs get too aggressive upfield, slip Mr. Dunn behind them with a couple of linemen and make them pay. Pretty nice way to counter a pass rush, I'd say.
- Give D-Jax some time. We can't afford to sit him. Do we want our WRs fielding kicks and taking cannonball shots to the chest from some 2nd year special teams scrub trying to stay on a roster? This team can't afford to lose anyone at WR.
- The Bucs have the best defense top to bottom in the division. The turnovers have been huge, giving the offense tremendous field position or scoring in each of the first 4 games, which is especially key with a sputter/cough/fart dink and dunk offense. If there's been a moderate concern, it has to be the secondary slipping up a bit too often, as........
- (Sans the Atlanta game...) The trend of giving up the long pass continues. Last week could be chalked up to Greg Jennings being uber-beastly, but Brandon Lloyd 2 weeks ago? Yechhh!! However.... on the positive side....
- NFC South QBs should start to lose sleep at the thought of Adams and White converging on them and crushing them like a vice. They are starting to look like a nice pass rushing duo.
- DISCLAIMER: OFF TOPIC CHARACTER ATTACK (BUT WARRANTED).... I want to use my position of writer/blogger to take a pot shot at Al Davis. Mr. Davis, I don't care if you were involved in the merger eons ago. How you handled the Lane Kiffin situation was unprofessional and childish. Calling out the guy as a liar and publicly attacking the character and credibility of Chris Mortenson, one of the true good guys in the media? Wow. If you're so pissed off and misled, why didn't you just sack it up and fire the guy in the offseason? Didn't 3-13 (and a totally disjointed team) tell you it wasn't working out? So you think you're not paying him... heh. Unless Kiffin's agent was a complete moron, it's a contract and you're stuck, no matter whatever "cause" you want to allude to. I only hope Lane burns your ass somewhere down the line like Shanahan repeatedly has and the Bucs and Monte bury your Raiders 41-2 at Ray Jay in Week 17, cementing the #1 pick for your team. After all, it wouldn't be an NFL draft without you preselecting an overhyped one-year wonder in the top 5 for your Raiders who will end up sucking or riding the pine for some other team. Sell the team, because even Raiders fans (as scary and mean looking as most are) don't deserve the misery of having their team run into the ground like you've done.
Anywho.... I'll get into the Bucs' game with Denver on Saturday. Consider last week as my bye week. Go Bucs.