Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Last season, a rapid descent to 4-12

leave a comment »

Having a top 4 draft pick was not what most Buc fans were expecting at the start of last year. The team was expected to grow, Simms had started to perform at QB, Cadillac was expected to repeat his Rookie of the Year performance, and the feeling was the Michael Clayton would get back to his rookie form. Pundits had the team making a charge for the playoffs again, however the season very rapidly nosedived.

The team got off to a lousy start under Simms, and the pressure was on. The team were 0-2 and Simms was looking decidedly uncomfortable under centre, by the time he was replaced in the Carolina game by Gradkowski (a rookie out of Toledo) he had thrown 1 TD and 7 INT’s. An explosive fightback (in more ways than one, Simms would be at the ER less than 15 minutes after the game with a ruptured spleen) against the Panthers showed the team improving, but with the loss of Simms the season looked to be done.

Chris Simms

However things started to look up with a close loss to the Saints and two of the most unlikely wins you’ll ever see against the Eagles and Bengals. The loss against the Saints, heralded a vastly improved offensive performance (Caddy going over 100 yards and Gradkowski throwing over 200 and 2TD’s) and the feeling was positive.

The game against the Bengals was should have been a heavy defeat, however key defensive plays and a misfiring Bengals offence kept the Bucs in touch. Michael Clayton sealed the win with a disputed Touchdown. The defence and special teams conspired to keep the Bucs in the game against the Eagles despite them marching up and down the field at will. Two Ronde Barber interception returns for TD’s had kept the Bucs in touch, and it was left to Matt Bryant to seal the win with the 3rd longest Field Goal in NFL history.

Matt Bryant seals a place in Bucs folklore

The team were 2-4, but most Bucs fans knew that the team should have been at best 1-5 or more than likely 0-6.

The next seven games were typical of a team under pressure and with a rookie QB at the helm. However Gradkowski was not helped by a misfiring WR core and some distinctly poor play calling. The game against the Giants was typical of the team at this point in the season. On one of the windiest days on record at Giants stadium and Gruden asks his QB with noodle arms to try and force passes through the wind rather than pound the ball. The game was close and if Michael Clayton could have held on to one pass rather than fumble away possession (one of 6 on the day) the game could have gone the way of the Bucs. The rest of the season was one to watch from behind the sofa, teams knew that the passing game was failing and were happy to load 8 men in the box to stop the run.

One brief highlight was the televised game against the Bears, the Bears had raced into a 24-3 lead and the Bears then mentally switched off thinkng that the game was done against a 3-10 team. Gradkowski was benched late in the 2nd quarter in favour of Tim Rattay and the comback was on. The Bucs managed to tie the game late in the 4th but the Bears won out in overtime.

Then it was all about the draft slot, a win in week 16 against the Browns and a loss in week 17 to the Seahawks ensured a 4-12 record and we were in a coin toss for the 3rd pick overall. We couldn’t even beat Cleveland in a coin toss so that shows the sort of season we had just endured. So there we were with the 4th pick.


Written by UK Bucs Fan

August 3, 2007 at 9:17 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: