Midweek Gameplan 8-17-11

The Buccaneers’ Most Recent

Adrian Clayborn looked good in his first NFL action

I know it is preseason and it was written all over the web in the past week, but the Bucs looked good against the Chiefs.  The defense looked well prepared, and although they essentially did not see any of Jamaal Charles, they were fairly stout against the run.  They had a couple of lapses, but I liked the way they attacked the ball and did not wait for the runner to come to them. Clayborn and Foster stood out specifically, especially since it was their first live NFL action.

The offense also looked potent and I agree with Patrik Nohe‘s article regarding Josh Johnson.  He does deserve a chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL at some point and I want him to stay for purely selfish reasons in case anything would ever happen to Josh Freeman.  I am looking forward to seeing how they do over the next couple of weeks as they were way ahead of the Chiefs in terms of preparation and implementation.

Injury Updates and Commentary

Stephen Holder wrote an article on the Bucs Beat blog about Brian Price and the conflicting reports coming out about his timetable for return and the extent of his recovery from his offseason surgery.  This was the first confirmed report about him having the proximal aspect of his hamstrings detached from the pelvic bone.  I have to admit, that I am starting to become skeptical on if Price will return to 100% after this injury.

I have reattached hamstrings in a young adolescent before and the patient did very well, but this is very different.  Price is fully grown and the muscles and tendons are under extreme stress in this area given his sheer size and the explosiveness required to play defensive line in the NFL.  It may be hard for him to return to that level of play with this injury.  Also keep in mind that he also had a repair of the pelvic bone also.  Here is to hoping that I am wrong and he is not hampered by this for a long time.

NFL Matters

Who knew that moving where a team kicks off from would create one of the most talked about story lines of the preseason.  It almost reminds me of when the new Cowboys’ stadium opened up and for an entire preseason, there would be an article or commentary every week about how the scoreboard will be hit with punts.  Now I hear about how every kickoff will be a touch back.  Sure the longer kickers in the league will routinely have touch backs, but they pretty much did anyway.  Keep in mind that wind will also play a factor in the outdoor stadiums.  I think it adds a new dimension to some of the teams and games.  Teams will need to make a decision on how deep in the end zone they will consider bringing it out to have a return.

This was evident on the opening kickoff of the Bucs-Chiefs game.  The returner brought it out of the end zone and was taken down at the 8 yard line.  Last year, most kickoffs would land just inside the goal line and even the the returner decided to take it out, he would usually make it to around the 15-25 yard line.  This means that the downside was not that big of a deal.  Now, it is more of a risk/reward for the returner and thus kickoff returns can be more exciting.  It also will cut down on injuries, which may affect the previous heading in the column, but I will likely go on.

Fantasy Focus

This week is dedicated to Arrelious Benn, whom I consider a sleeper in fantasy right now.  Benn did not play in the preseason opener, but has been in practice and by all accounts has looked pretty good.  I think the Bucs will give more freedom to Josh Freeman this year, meaning more passing and more scoring out of the offense.  Benn showed some real promise at the end of last year just before his injury, and keep in mind he was a second round pick.

I don’t know that I will have the guts to draft him in the last round of this year’s draft like I did Mike Williams last year, but I am definitely going to keep an eye on him and after a good game or two, he will be on my roster.

At The End of the Day

College football is starting to really ramp up and it is exciting to be around a college campus.  I really think that the BCS format should be scrapped in favor of  some type of playoff system.  It is really sad that the major conferences have that much power over the whole system.  I know this is a old argument, but I just felt like I should put in my two cents.

Until next week, happy anniversary to my wife, Jennifer.  Hopefully she reads all the way to the end this week to get the message.

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