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Dress Rehearsal: There is a lot to take in...

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JJ's TD run showed off his speed.
JJ's TD run showed off his speed.

Thousands of people watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their 2009 campaign last night, and each one of us came away with different opinions about every possible angle there is to look at. So what have we all been able to summarize from the first effort?

  • Never say Die: The team does not quit. They will provide us with 60 full minutes of effort and will on Sunday afternoons. 
  • Ryan Purvis will make this team. He may be on the practice squad all season, but those hands earned him a paycheck on the two point conversion on the Bucs last touchdown.
  • The Defense is stout, and fast. Quincy Black and Sabby Piscitelli rewarded Coach Raheem Morris for his confidence in them last night, and it may be the first sign that we may hear the words "Derrick Who?" at some point this year.
  • Stylez G White will resume where he left off after the 2007 season, not 2008. 
  • We now see how this defense works. Defensive tackles recorded zero tackles last night. No biggie! Because they clogged up the middle and forced runners to the outside where Safetys, Linebackers and Corners can get them for little yardage. Nice system Bates; its different, but after the last four games of last year, its nice. The biggest weakness of the Tampa Two was allowing a run up the gut. Now we have to deal with bombs against us. heres hoping Sabby and Tanard are fast!
  • While he may not be as reliable from long distance as Gramatica was, Mike Nugent at least shows there is a 50/50 shot at making a long FG from 50+ yards out or more.
  • You may need to get the nameplate ready. Kareem Huggins is looking like the new Mr. August.
  • Management is going to have a tough decision to make regarding QB Josh Johnson, who smoked everyone running around the Titans Defense for a 43 yard Touchdown QB sneaker!
And yet with all the positive results.. come an assortment of boneheadedness to be expected from such a young team!

  • Earnest Graham's fumble in the first quarter is not going to help his bid to have a majority of carries   away from Derrick Ward.
  • Donte Nicholson was not even within 20 yards of Kenny Britt when he scored that TD. If that truly was Tampa Two coverage like the announcing team mentioned, Monte Kiffin is jumping OFF of rocky-top about now.
  • Josh Freeman is not ready to start, however he shows great potential when he blows off a pick 6 and completes a couple of nice throws to navigate the team quickly into FG range.
Next week, Byron Leftwich will get a chance to start against his old team when the Bucs travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars at 7:30 next Saturday night.  He will have a chance to show everyone which Byron he can be, the one who came on the field and threw a TD on his second play, or the guy who was not really able to do much the rest of the half  save the last minute FG drive. Luke McCown looked like the same QB who threw a Pick 6 against the Saints in 2007 when he threw the ball behind his receiver in the first quarter, and when he carelessly fumbled the ball while being sacked similar to the Texans game of the same year. Its understood he doesnt have a lot of in game experience, but did we see what Jon Gruden saw the week before the Atlanta game last year when he bypassed Luke for Brian Griese?

Derrick Ward had a few nice runs that showed his power and speed, but Kareem Huggins was the suprise player of the game......perhaps on his way to becoming the new Mr. August? (Sorry Earnest Graham, you've got your full time gig now!)

John Lynch did a great job in the booth with Chris Myers, long time Bucs preseason TV man and Fox regular. He was insightful, let us know he has a knowledge of the game without cramming that knowledge in our face, and did his homework on the new Buccaneers squad. Fox has a winner on its hands, and Bucs fan have a lot to look forward to with Lynch looking good in the booth.

Other Tidbits of Useless information.....

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS LAST NIGHT.... 

- Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Jim Bates played for the University of Tennessee 

from 1964-67 and then was the linebackers coach in 1989. 

 

- Bucs Defensive Line coach Robert Nunn was the Defensive Ends coach at the 

University of Tennessee from 1989-1990. 

 

- Titans Offensive Coordinator Mike Heimerdinger coached as the Wide Receivers 

coach at the University of Florida from 1983-87. Heimerdinger coached FB B.J. 

Askew and K Mike Nugent when he served as Offensive Coordinator of the New 

York Jets in 2005. Bucs DC Bates and Titans OC Heimerdinger served together on the 

Denver Broncos coaching staff in 2007. 

 

- Bucs Offensive Coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was the Tight Ends coach in 2004 for 

the Atlanta Falcons where he coached Titans TE Alge Crumpler.  

 

- Titans Special Teams coach Alan Lowry coached with the Buccaneers in 1991 and 

served as the Special Teams/Tight Ends coach. 

 

- Titans WR Mark Jones played in six total games for the Buccaneers in 2007.  

 

- Bucs Pro Scout and former LB Shelton Quarles started all four years at Vanderbilt.  

Quarles calls Nashville his hometown. 

 

- Former Bucs DT Jovan Haye signed as a free agent with Tennessee this past 

offseason after spending three seasons in Tampa Bay.

 

- Titans DE Larry Birdine and Bucs S Donte Nicholson spent two years together at 

the University of Oklahoma. 

 

- Bucs RB Earnest Graham and Titans CB Reynaldo Hill played together at the 

University of Florida. 

 

- Bucs rookie G Ryan Schmidt originally entered the league with the Titans as an 

undrafted free agent in 2009.  

 

- Bucs rookie DT Roy Miller played with Titans QB Vince Young in 2005 for the Texas 

Longhorns and won the BCS National title. 

 

- Bucs rookie DE/DT Kyle Moore played with Titans RB LenDale White for one 

season at USC. 

 

- Bucs DE Louis Homes was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. 



NOTE: High Def Highlights will up later today!