Bucs Beat: 10/12
By Patrik Nohe
It always seems like the work-week is better after a Buccaneers’ win. The high of Sunday’s road victory against the Cincinnati Bengals is only just fading. But now it’s five more long days before more football. Let’s break up the monotony of Tuesday with some Bucs news and notes.
Bucs Release Chris Bryan
The Bucs have released their punter, Chris Bryan, after an abysmal start to the season. Bryan was averaging just a hair over 37 yards per boot, and he was netting the Bucs just 34. In the NFL those numbers simply don’t work, you need to be consistently efficient in the punt game to keep your job. In this league kickers are literally a dime a dozen.
Bryan was an experiment of sorts, coming over from Australia the Buccaneers hoped his conversion would turn him into one of the best punters in the league. Unfortunately that never quite came to fruition. Especially on a young team where field position is key, you have to have a punter you’re confident will reverse field for the defense. With Bryan, the Bucs defense constantly found itself starting in a hole. Chances are the Bucs will have a new punter in by Wednesday morning when they start preparing for the Saints and the odds-on favorite will be Brent Bowden, whom the Bucs selected in the sixth round and let go before the start of the season.
Culverhouse Partners with NFL
Gay Culverhouse, the daughter of former Buccaneers’ owner Hugh Culverhouse has teamed up with Roger Goodell and the NFL to help benefit retired players. The plight of players from the preceding generations of the NFL has become more and more publicized and will be one of the main points of negotiation in the upcoming CBA. Currently the NFL does next to nothing for its retired players, there is nothing in the way of pensions, numerous hoops to jump through for medical coverage and a good majority of the aging NFL legends from yesteryear find themselves crippled and in some cases destitute. The most famous example was the hall of fame center, and former Steeler Mike Webster, who died homeless in a subway in his mid-50’s.
The partnership will seek to improve the lives of ex-players through the hiring of case-workers, the development of a toll-free hotline and outreach efforts for former players and their families through events sponsored by NFL Alumni and Culverhouse’s Player Outreach Program. The cause of ex-players is one Culverhouse is passionate about:
"“I am delighted that we have formed this new partnership to allow even more former players to receive vital information and benefits,” said Culverhouse. “Our Player Outreach Program has accomplished a lot, and our model works. By joining with the NFL and the Alumni Associates, I know we can reach many more former players and their families.”"
Nike to Overhaul NFL Uniforms
The NFL has announced Nike will replace Reebok as the official outfitter of the league. Immediately Nike released comments mentioning their intentions to “dramatically” alter NFL uniforms as it has done for college. Now a few thoughts, I like most of the NFL uniforms. With the exception of the Bush-League Division II-looking rags the Jacksonville Jaguars have switched to, I like the NFL’s look.
But Nike has a great habit of taking a very good look and then just defecating all over it. Case in point, these are classic uniforms. Like them or not, you have to admit they’re iconic. Now, last year Nike took those uniforms and managed to derive this. Yes, they actually looked kind of cool but they didn’t even bother to get the colors correct. FSU doesn’t even where black helmets when they black out (which is another phenomenon I hope Nike reserves for college).
My point is this, Nike is great for college. They make new-age, fresh looking uniforms for a ton of teams and frankly, that’s perfect for the NCAA. When you cater to 18-22 year olds, it’s good to have variety and constantly updated uniforms. Hell, a lot of coaches think the Nike uniforms, with all the excess piping and weird striping, make great recruiting tools. But the NFL is different. You don’t mess with a classic look. Notice the Giants and 49ers reverted back to their old-school uniforms after redesigning them in the 90’s and early 2000’s? Notice the Vikings wear their throwbacks as often as possible. Even Tampa Bay embraces the creamsicles. Those are classic looks. Those endure. If Nike wants to bring better technology to the uniforms that’s one thing. Some of the advances they’ve made in fabrics, with lighter dry-fit materials and better sweat-wicking technology would be great. Redesigning teams uniforms so they look more like Oregon or a UFL team, not acceptable.
And here’s another idea for Nike. When you sell jerseys to the fans, maybe size them appropriately? I’m an average sized guy, I don’t want a medium jersey that fits me like a moo-moo. I promise I am never going to find an occasion to wear shoulder pads under my jersey, so just make it fit, is that really so hard?
Young Receivers Playing Like Veterans
The Buccaneers have dropped just five passes all season, giving them the third fewest drops by any team (only the Cowboys and Steelers have dropped fewer with three each). Considering the Bucs receiving corps came into the season extremely young and very unheralded, this is a great spot to be in early on in the season. I’m going to have a feature piece up on Mike Williams, hopefully later in the day, but this whole Bucs receiving crew has been impressive early on. A tip of the ol’ hat to them.