The Buccaneers’ Most Recent
The Buccaneers opened camp this weekend and from all accounts, they have looked pretty sharp, and ready to go. Multiple sources have stated that Kellen Winslow has looked dominant already, which should continue if he is truly over the knee injury problems and can stay healthy all year. It is always an exciting time of year full of hope and expectations, but it just feels different this year.
Another thing I really like is how the Bucs are just getting to work and not making flashy predictions or doing things to draw unneeded attention to the team. They did speak to a couple of the high end free agents, but chose not to overspend on them and successfully retained most of their own players. The only major loss was Barrett Ruud, who signed with the Titans, but the writing had been on the wall for the past year, that they were not especially interested in retaining him by not giving him an extension last year.
I do think they should resign Cadillac Williams, though, as he can still teach the young guys and was very good on passing downs as a third down back. Even if he doesn’t get on the field much his locker room presence is important. He also provides insurance if Blount goes down, as a proven runner in the league.
Injury Updates and Commentary
The first major injury of camp was rookie tight end Luke Stocker who sustained a hip injury and was on crutches later. He has been reported to be week to week and his return is expected in another week or two after he “jammed” the hip. He described the injury as a twisting injury. It is difficult to say exactly what the injury is, but it sounds like a muscle strain of the hip.
There is a group of muscle around the hip that contributes to rotation and moving the hip away from the body. If he strained or tore one of these muscles it is very difficult to do much on the leg, even straight ahead running. In addition, these injuries tend to linger as they are sensitive to re-injury once you start to go full speed again. Hopefully, his injury is minor and it does not cause him to miss more than the week or two currently projected.
One final injury note: Da’Quan Bowers is going full out in camp and does not appear to have any current effects from the knee operation. This is very encouraging, and he should continue to do well if he is going this strong already. Now that he is in the facility, he can also be monitored by the staff and trainers daily for the first sign of aggravation to the knee and get the rehab he may need.
I got to log quite a bit of time in the car this past weekend, as we are moving to the middle of the country. While listening to ESPN Radio and the NFL station on Sirius/XM Satellite radio, I noticed that all anyone would talk about is the Jets and the Eagles. I understand dedicating time to those two teams, as they made some of the biggest splashes in free agency, but around 90% of the NFL content was Eagles and Jets related. Even when callers would call them out on it and want to talk about another team, the focus would somehow shift back to those two teams.
As I sat and listened, I was amazed how the ultimate team game was reduced to who could make a bigger deal of who they signed rather than focusing on what was going on in training camps around the league. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t want broadcasts of press conferences introducing free-agent acquisitions while there are actual practices going on. In addition, as an NFL site, they should give some time to more than just a couple of big market teams.
This week the focus on where to take Buccaneers in your upcoming draft centers on LeGarrette Blount. He is one of the most difficult players to place in the draft this year for me. He had a great second half to last year, rushing for over a thousand yards after starting about half of the games. Also, he is in better shape this year and has a better understanding of the offense. He did have some trouble in short yardage situations and punching it into the endzone from inside the two yardline, though. This may make him a good, but not great fantasy back this year.
He should be better in the passing game, which will add yards to his total, but the Bucs are definitely looking for a change of pace back and drafted a short yardage back. Thus, he may lose some touches and touchdowns, which are what separates the elite backs in the league. Even with this, I think he can be very productive to put up consistent numbers and I would still consider using an early round pick on him. I don’t think he is quite first or early second round material, but definitely in the third to fourth round in deeper leagues if you need a solid running back after addressing other positions in the first couple of rounds.
At The End of the Day
I don’t think the NBA labor situation will resolve anytime soon. Compared to the NFL owners, the NBA owners are in a heap of trouble because the sport is played at a fairly high level around the globe. Some of the players have already signed to play overseas if the lockout persists and this means that they will not be under as much pressure to get the NBA season going again. I pretty much guarantee they will miss games and perhaps an entire season this year.
Until next week, don’t leave your pets in the car when it is hot out.