BJ Askew – Questionable
Greg Spires – Questionable
Ryan Nece – Questionable
Michael Pittman – Questionable
Tyson Clabo – Questionable
Roddy White – Questionable
Antoine Harris – Questionable
Head Coach Jon Gruden vs Head Coach Emmitt Thomas
Jon Gruden has 3 division championships, 1 NFC Championship, and 1 Super Bowl win under his belt. Mr. Thomas…zero. This season for the Falcons has to rank up there as one of the worst, emotionally for any team in the last 20 years. First Vick, then this Petrino thing. There could be one rallying factor for the Falcons though, as they all seemed to truly hate Petrino before he was even gone (an underplayed storyline that people just are not picking up on), and they all seem to geniunely like Emmitt Thomas. When Gruden is having fun calling plays, the Bucs will mix it up. Gruden will give you a heavy dose of pounding the ball, as he loves to do, but passing wise, the playbook is wide open. With Jeff Garcia back at the helm this week, the playbook opens up a little wider. Lastly, considering how crappy this Falcons team really is, Gruden should be devising some last minute trickery as we speak. If there was ever a game for Jon (notoriously risk averse) to pull something out of his hat, this is gonna be the one. Fake field goal, punt????
Pregame Quick Hits
- It’s felt like months since we’ve had a home game.
- Finally our QB is back at the helm. I’m expecting a big game from him tommorow.
- Ernest Graham is 2nd in the NFC with 9 touchdowns.
- I really hope Roddy White does not play, he has been looking progressively better each week, all season long.
- If we win this game, NFC SOUTH DIVISION CHAMPS!
- We need to come out with a little more fire than we had last week, I think getting our leader back offensively will help.
- We rank 10th in the league in rushing offense. A crazy stat considering our top 3 backs to start the year, Caddilac, Alstott and Pittman have missed the majority or all of the year.
- Our feel good story of the year Greg White has 8 sacks, and will look to take advantage of Wayne Gandy tommorow.
- Whoever is the starter at QB for the Falcons, well, they suck.
- Rookie DE Jamaal Anderson, whom a lot of Bay Area people wanted us to take instead of Gaines Adams, has a whopping 0 sacks.
- Gaines Adams has 5 sacks, and 31 tackles, and appears to be everything we wanted when taking him 4th in the draft last year.
- Derrick Brook and Barrett Ruud both have 100+ tackles for the season.
- Brian Kelly looked horrible last weekend, I wonder if the injuries have finally taken there toll on BK.
- A guy who was not supposed to be able to tackle, CB Phillip Buchanon has more tackles than tackling maching Ronde Barber.
- In 11 games, Jeff Garcia has only been sacked 15 times. In Luke McCown’s 2 starts, 9 sacks.
- We have a +11 turnover margin on the season.
- Atlanta only averages 14 points a game, and give up on average 23 per contest.
DE Greg White on how crucial it is for the Bucs’ to clinch this week:
“It’s very crucial. We’ll be ready to go. We’re excited and we want to get back in that playoff mode.”
June on not being talked about as contenders:
“It is not important, we are playing very good, and playing consistently well all year. Now it is up to us to take care of the Bucs, go out and make sure we are staying on the details, and not having any excuses when the time comes. We have to go out and play well in the playoffs and get wins week by week because that is all that matters.”
WR Joey Galloway on what he expects the emotional level to be on Sunday with the opportunity to clinch:
“It’s Atlanta, a divisional opponent, at home. That’s all that needs to be said. It doesn’t matter what’s on the line. Any time you’re going against a team that you’ve faced twice a year, and of course, at home, you always want to defend your home turf.”
Galloway on how rare chances to win divisions are and if they hold extra meaning as he moves through his career:
“I think the longer you’re around, the more you appreciate how hard it is to do it. I haven’t done it very often in my 13 years, so we’re excited about the opportunity, but yet we still have some work to do. But we’re excited about that.”
Greg White on how dangerous the Bucs can be in the playoffs:
“I haven’t thought about it. This is the Atlanta week and Jon [Gruden] does a good job of keeping us focused on that. We’re not worrying about who we’ll play in the playoffs. We’re worrying about Atlanta, and then we’ll go from there.”
Galloway on when he got the feeling that this was going to be a playoff team and could go to that next level:
“You start adding guys in the offseason, [and] the caliber of guys that we added, we felt pretty talented before those guys got here. If we could come together and work hard and play well, which we’ve done at times this season, we knew that we could go there, depending upon if we could put it together.”
Galloway on if he thinks the Bucs should get the same kind of attention as Green Bay, Dallas and other NFC teams:
“We’ll find out in a few weeks. It doesn’t matter who they’re talking about right now. It doesn’t matter what’s going on right now. In a few weeks when we get into the tournament, it’s a single-elimination tournament and each team has to come in and win a game if they want to move on, so we’ll find out.”
BJ Askew on whether he’s ever had a situation similar to Atlanta’s with an interim coach:
“No. That whole Falcon deal – I don’t even know what’s going on over there, but that’s got to be tough for them. I would hate to be in that situation, here one day and gone the next with your coach, but I’m sure they’ll handle it. It’s something they’re going to have to deal with. They will. They’ll handle it. You have no choice, really. We’re football players. We’re here to win games regardless of who’s coaching. That’s just the way it is.”
Brooks on what needs to be done to fine-tune the Bucs’ defense:
“First thing we have to do is play better on third down. That is a key stat right now, where the last three weeks were we have not played championship football. We have to keep the other things going, in terms of getting turnovers, creating trouble in the pocket for the quarterback, and first and foremost is always stop the run. Don’t let a team get their running game going to get their offense established.”
McCown on if there’s a feeling of confidence for the team knowing that the backup QB can come in and play well:
“I think so. I think every team needs that. It’s proven in this league that you’ve got to have capable backups that can come in and fill a hole for a week or two weeks and not lose momentum or the ground that you’ve gained through the season with your regular starter. You look around the league and just about every team, or half, at least, have turned to their backup at some point in the season, whether it be during a game, for a game, or for the rest of the season. You know things are bad when [Brett Favre] doesn’t finish a game. There’s things you’ve got to have to have a championship team, and hopefully we feel real good about that right now.”