Midweek Gameplan 9-21-11


The Buccaneers’ Most Recent

I am excited as the next Bucs fan about the thrilling victory over the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday.  I do have some reason for concern for the rest of the season though.  First, they have only played well for about one half of one game of the season.  Josh Freeman and the entire offense did not look good in the first half and he seemed almost tentative with his throws.  When Fox puts the stat up on the screen about the Bucs not scoring more than 7 points in the first quarter for 55 straight games, it is getting to be as painful as when they used to run the stat about the Bucs having never returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

This is not a "form tackle" by Cody Grimm
This is not a "form tackle" by Cody Grimm /

I have alluded to it before and I think that the Bucs need to run some simple passing plays at the beginning of games to get Freeman in a rhythm and get his confidence going.  The Vikings did it last week with a play action rollout where Donovan McNabb completed a short pass.  The Lions did it in week one on a similar play with a short pass to Jahvid Best on the right side.  What did the Bucs start with?  A full drop-back which resulted in a sack.  Then, Freeman’s first real pass became a long pass out of a shotgun formation.  Why not start with a quick pass or rollout out of the backfield to get Freeman’s first pass jitters out of the way?   The offenses slow starts have more to them than just this point, but this one is easily remedied

Second, I am really disappointed with the defensive line thus far in the season.  I know they are young and coming along, but it still concerns me.  They are not getting much penetration up the middle, which would disrupt the opposing team’s running game.  In addition, the ends are not getting to the quarterback.  Against the Vikings, the Bucs had two sacks; by a linebacker and a safety on blitzes.  I am not going to count the time when McNabb fell down and Bowers officially touched him down.  I would like to see the interior lineman be more disruptive and the ends get to the quarterback a time or two a game, or they are in for a long season.

Also, how painful is it to watch Cody Grimm hang on for dear life to ankles and feet as he drags down runners?

Injury Updates and Commentary

The only major injury to report this week is Quincy Black being held out of the second half with an ankle injury.  It sounds like he has a sprain, and it may have as much to do with Dekoda Watson playing well as it does with his ankle.  I will continue to scan the internet for information, but I expect him to recover quickly from the injury.

Quite a few of the Bucs defenders were treated for injuries during the game, but they all returned (except for Black) and played well.  I was especially surprised to see Mason Foster return so quickly after twisting his leg under another player, but he didn’t appear to be affected by it.  This once again proves the point that injuries can look much worse when replayed in slow motion.

NFL Matters

For all the offseason talk about the Eagles, the Patriots have looked like the “Dream Team” thus far in the young season.  I still don’t think they have a very good defense, but they get the job done and Tom Brady continues to look like the game is slower for him than everyone else.  I am sure that they will come back down to earth at some point, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  The Houston Texans also look to be the real deal this year with a much improved defense, but I want to see them play a couple of more times before I judge how good they may be.

On the flip side, the Chiefs and Seahawks have looked absolutely terrible.  The Chiefs can at least shift some of the blame to the injuries to their best offensive and defensive players.  The Seahawks, however, just look like they are lost.  For as bad as the Bucs looked for the first three halves of the season, I still think they could have dominated Seattle in that time.

Finally, regarding the injury (rib fracture and punctured lung) to Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo, this could be a big problem.  Fractured ribs are painful and they tend to linger for multiple weeks.  Part of the problem is that anytime you take a deep breath or cough, the pain returns.  Also, it can be hard to turn your torso (which is required for throwing), depending on where the injury is.  No matter how much protection or padding you put on the ribs, it still hurts considerably if someone hits or falls on you.  This could keep Romo out for a while, and even if he does come back, he may have less zip on the ball and passes may sail on him.  He stated today that he will play this Monday, so let’s see how he does.

Fantasy Focus

So, I guess my bold prediction of Jamaal Charles being the leading point getter for fantasy running backs has come to a screeching halt before it ever got started.  Of course, I owned him in my fantasy league and I don’t have great depth at running back.  What I do have, though it depth at receiver with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Kenny Britt.  Thus, I am reaching out to other owners in the league with productive running backs on their bench.  I don’t want to give up one of those receivers, but I will likely have to in order to get another quality running back.

I have always followed the advice of selling high on receivers in fantasy.  Receivers are very inconsistent overall, and will vary considerably from week to week.  Look at Mike Williams over the past couple of weeks.  Therefore, I am likely going to trade Britt, even though he is my top receiver up to this point.  The reasoning is that his numbers are likely to go down, and there is a possibility that the team will start playing rookie Jake Locker near fantasy playoff time if the Titans are out of the playoffs.  His propensity for legal trouble is also a red flag.  I don’t know if this is the right decision, but it is the hand I am playing.

At The End of the Day

I have to admit that at first I thought it was a little hokey, but I have really started to like having the NFL Redzone as part of my NFL Sunday Ticket.  It is actually quite addictive and I find myself switching to it during commercials of the Bucs game and then constantly watching it during the afternoon games.  I thought it would be a little too hectic with switching from game to game, but they stay with an exciting game for a while if it is at a crucial moment.

Until next week, be careful playing flag football, I have treated more intramural flag football players this past week than actual football players on the collegiate team I cover.