Graham made plays for the Bucs again

Midweek Gameplan 10-19-11


The Buccaneers’ Most Recent

I really like the Bucs’ decision this week to go to London shortly after their game and spend the entire week there before next Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.  Last time they played there, they went only a couple days before the game and looked lethargic.  Having lived on both coasts of the US, I can verify that it is hard to travel across a couple of time zones and be at your best.

In addition, I am excited about this game as we will get a really good look at our defensive line and especially the young ends.  Chicago has had trouble with pass protection the last year and a half and our ends have a chance to be a major factor in the game.  The Bears running game is a little better than last year, but there will still be plenty of opportunities for the ends to tee-off on the line and get after the quarterback.

Finally, I focused on Earnest Graham a couple of weeks ago on how he just makes plays and is valuable asset.  He just solidified those comments this past Sunday and I look for the same type of game for him against the Bears as a running and receiving threat.

Injury Updates and Commentary

The one big injury this week was to Jeff Faine who strained his right biceps muscle.  A strain of the biceps can be either a slight tear or a partial tear, but either way it has implications for returning.  The big issue here is that Faine plays center and this is his snapping arm.  The biceps is one of the flexors of the elbow, but is also instrumental in turning the wrist.  The muscle inserts on one of the forearm bones (radius), thus helping to turn one of the bones oer the other at the wrist.  Both of these motions are key elements of snapping the ball.  Thus, Faine will likely not return until this is almost completely healed.  That can take 3-6 weeks depending on how damaged it is.

NFL Matters

Carson Palmer was traded to the Raiders this week after Jason Campbell broke his collar bone in the Raiders game last Sunday.  Reports are that Campbell needs surgery, and that will keep him out likely 5-6 weeks or more.  Thus, the Raiders overspent on Palmer trading a guaranteed first rounder and another reported possible first rounder if the Raiders have some success in the playoffs.  Many of the reports are also saying this might be the end of Campbell’s time in Oakland.

It’s not like I think he is an elite quarterback in the NFL, but Campbell just can’t catch a break.  It seems like every year he has to endure a new coach or offensive coordinator only to find out he is being replaced after some misfortune.  He was playing well this year and was just getting going with this latest setback.  It is different when a player starts playing poorly and looses the job, but that is not the case here.

I think he still has the skills to be a viable starter in the NFL, or at least a serviceable backup.  I am sure a few Redskins fans may welcome a healthy Campbell back over the current quarterbacks.  If the Bucs can’t hold on to Josh Johnson after this year, I wouldn’t mind seeing them take in Campbell as a backup to Freeman next year.

Fantasy Focus

Earnest Graham and Arrelious Benn put up some good fantasy numbers this past week, likely because I wrote that I was unsure about how they would do.  Benn continues to get quite a few targets a game and may still turn into a viable receiver for the Bucs.  This week, though, I am predicting that Mike Williams breaks out and has a solid game in terms of yards and gets at least one touchdown.  He made a big deal about saying how he needs to do better before last week’s game, but this week he is more likely to get it done.

At The End of the Day

This weekend is the bye week for the college team I cover so I am heading up to my alma mater, Rocky Mountain College, to go to the homecoming game.  In addition to the normal festivities the school will be honoring those of us who played there in the mid to late 1990’s. I just want to take a second to say thanks to my teammates during those years and that I am excited to see as many of them again this weekend at the game.

Until next week, maybe it’s not a good idea to kick to Devin Hester.

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