The Buccaneers’ Most Recent
No matter how you want to put it, the Bucs got dominated in all aspects of the game against the Patriots.
The offense did not look in sync or rhythm, like it was their first preseason game rather than the second one. The defense looked slow coming to the line and coming off the ball. This was supposed to be a test of how far the Bucs have come to be part of the NFL elite, and they failed miserably. The last three times the Pats and Bucs have played, the Bucs have looked horrible, so maybe the Pats just have the Bucs’ number. I am just glad they are not in the same conference.
I am actually okay with the poor performance. Young teams tend to have these types of games from time to time (think Pittsburgh last year). Part of what made the Bucs fun to watch last year and successful, is that they were challenged and everyone told them that they would not be good. Then it was that they could not beat a team with a winning record. This makes a team hungry, and keeps them focused. Teams have bad games every so often and luckily the Bucs had this one in the preseason.
I can’t say I completely agree with Raheem Morris taking away the time off this weekend, but I guess that is why he is a successful coach, and I have found employment elsewhere. The players likely get it that they stunk up the joint. I think he may be doing it due to the high number of penalties, which were atrocious. They need to get it together over the next two games in the preseason so that they can be ready to hit the ground running at the start of the regular season. This can serve as motivation and a reminder that they are not quite there with the upper tier of the NFL just yet.
Injury Updates and Commentary
Roy Miller was held out of last week’s game with a knee injury, which has been described by the coaching staff as an MCL strain. The MCL is the ligament on the inside of the knee and is under the most strain during cutting and side to side movement. These rarely need to be addressed surgically, and because it is a large fan like structure, it usually heals well with rest. They can be a nagging injury, but it should heal well with no major long term implications. I would expect that he would be ready for the regular season.
In a positive turn of events, Luke Stocker was back in action at practice, meaning that his hip strain is doing well. This means it was just a minor stain with no permanent damage. If he continues to go over the next couple of weeks, I don’t think this injury will affect his season.
I can’t say I am a huge fan of the new rule in the NFL where every scoring play is reviewed. I understand what they are thinking about getting it right every time in those crucial plays of the game, but it still causes a delay. Currently there is a replay official at the game who evaluates the play, then sends a message via pager down to the referee on whether the play will be reviewed or not. My solution would be to have the officials on the field make the call, and if any one of those officials had any question about the play, they can then signal to have the play reviewed. This way there is only a delay if the officials on the field feel that they need to be sure about the call, or if they did not have the perfect position. They could do this as often as they see fit during the game on any scoring play.
Another beef I have with replay is that the NFL continues to have the referee go to the view box on the side of the field to assess the play. In the normal coaches’ challenges during the game, I would like to see this deferred to someone off the field, who can manipulate the replays and see all the angles they want. The NFL would only need a couple of guys in one location to do this and they could make the assessment very quickly and consult each other as needed. That way they are not influenced by the coaches or fans at the game and can view the play in the best setting.
A big question mark this year for fantasy production is Earnest Graham. Drafting back up running backs is a tricky part of fantasy. Most people leave them alone, but in deeper leagues, people will often draft one of their starter’s back-ups as a “handcuff” in case the starter gets injured. Teams that share their rushing load are a little easier, as both will get touches, but neither one will be spectacular.
Graham will likely be the fullback or the change of pace back for the Bucs this year. He won’t get a significant amount of touches each game on a regular basis, but he may get some goal line carries and Blount was not the best short yardage back last year. Overall, I do not think he is worth drafting and only worth a pickup if Blount gets hurt and the Bucs turn to Graham instead of Lumpkin to carry the load.
At The End of the Day
I think this is a tad overdue, but I just wanted to thank Patrik Nohe, my editor who runs ThePewterPlank.com. He just accepted a job for the Miami Herald to cover FSU athletics. He will continue to work with us too and does an excellent job running the site. In addition, he is the one who is responsible for giving me this opportunity and I was hoping to at least somewhat embarrass him by thanking him publically in the column.
Until next week, get your blood pressure checked every once in a while, wathing games can be stressful at times.